Touch wood

Filed under: Geekiness — iain @ 22:00:37

The first draft of this post began: "Without wishing to tempt fate…"

Needless to say that wasn’t a great idea.

You see, I had an ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard for my gaming PC. It worked well. Very stable and very reliable. When I came to upgrade it I decided to buy its successor the M2N-SLI. This turned out to be a massive disappointment.

I had to poke around the BIOS and manually set the RAM timings before the thing would stay up long enough to install Windows. Indeed I managed to get the machine into a state where it wouldn’t boot at all until I reset the CMOS. When the OS finally did install it was very very flaky. The system would randomly crash or hang. and upgrading to the latest drivers for everything was no help.

I would continually get STOP errors whose error codes indicated a problem with the SATA disks. Forcing the disks to run in SATA1 mode didn’t help. Removing all but one disk didn’t help. Removing the CDROM drives didn’t help. After updating the BIOS yet again I got the system to the point where it would run reasonably well but would lock up in a big hurry once the disks were placed under load. I could play games all day long but if I initiated a big file transfer while playing the system would bluescreen.

One crash occurred while I was editing the local group policy and since then the group policy editor has never successfully started. My system was a complete mess and the only reason I continued to run it was because I was too lazy to rip everything out and start again. I decided I’d rather have a broken system that was forever at risk of falling over than spend more time rebuilding everything yet again.

I never thought that the problem was with the disks themselves. It seemed more reasonable to assume that the SATA controller was screwy. Three different, brand new disks broken? Unlikely.

Last week my semi-regular trawl through the various manufacturers’ sites revealed that ASUS had released a new BIOS. Of course I downloaded it straightaway.

After a week’s worth of uptime, during which I had games and BitTorrent running concurrently as well as some other disk-intensive stuff, I was beginning to think that maybe this BIOS had fixed whatever problems there might have been with the disk controller.

And then just as I was about to write this post Windows started complaining about delayed write failures and predicting that everything was about to die!

Things have been fine since the obligatory reboot, however. Not that I wish to tempt fate or anything…

1 Comment »

  1. Problems like yours are one of the reasons that I’m about to give up on gaming PCs. I’m going to use a Mac for Internet access and multimedia applications and a game console like the Wii for playing games.

    Comment by Tron — 2007-05-08 @ 10:03:42

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