Does this mean I have to give up my “professional geek” license?

Good news: Came home today to find that my new processor arrived a day earlier than it was expected to.

Bad news: Turns out it wasn’t a fried processor after all.

So I get the new processor unboxed and installed and then I sit here for a few moments trying to decide if I’m going to use my new HSF that got me into all this trouble or the stock one that came with the new processor. Seeing as the thermal grease on the new unit was pretty thin at this point and not wanting to press my luck, I went ahead with the stock HSF for now. Got it installed, plugged in the PC and turned it on only to have it exhibit the same behavior as with the old processor. Oh shit.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt my heart sink so quickly before. You could almost hear a “thunk” sound when it hit bottom. OK, if it’s not the processor then what the hell is it. Turn off the PC. Yank one of the RAM sticks out. Turn it on. Beep. Video signal. Boot up. Well shitdamnfuck! (I often combine various cuss words to make whole NEW cuss words when I’m really pissed at myself) Turn off the PC. Put RAM stick back in. Turn on. Beep. Video signal. Boot up.

Seems when I was trying to get the new HSF installed the motherboard flexed in just the right way to leave one of the RAM sticks not quite seated properly and that was the source of my problem. This means my old processor is probably just fine. So now I was left to debate whether I should uninstall the new one and slap the old one back in. Nah, I’ve gone without my PC for long enough. I’ll debate doing that this weekend when I get a new pack of thermal grease and feel like putting the new HSF in my box. Supposedly the newer Athlon 2500+ is supposed to be clock locked whereas my old one wasn’t so if I were inclined to overclock my processor I wouldn’t be able to do so with the new one. Yet oddly enough my new processor is reporting itself as being .01 MHz faster than my old one (1.84 GHz vs 1.83 GHz) and is running considerably cooler than my old one with it’s stock HSF at a very comfortable 44 degrees Celsius at the moment so perhaps I won’t push my luck.

So now I’m feeling extra dumb as I’ve spent money I didn’t need to. I asked Anne if this meant I had to give up my professional geek license and she said no, but I am on probation.

10 thoughts on “Does this mean I have to give up my “professional geek” license?

  1. One word: eBay

    Seriously, you could easily sell one of them and re-coup the costs in part. But at least you’ll know to check the memory next time

    Actually my Dad did something similar when he tried to add memory to our computer some years back (this would have been 7-8 years ago now) - the IDE cable for the hard disk came loose, so it would run through the BIOS but couldn’t boot.

  2. Actually, I think I’ll just hold onto it for now. Just in case. If nothing else, it’ll make upgrading one of the other boxes around here a little easier later on. Can’t have too many spare parts as far as I’m concerned. Though my wife tends to disagree with that sentiment.

  3. Les,
    Been there done that. Sometimes it’s the silliest things we misdiagnose as being bigger more complicated and costly things. I once put a new clutch in my wife’s Civic, when it was the bracket the pedal was mounted to that was the problem.

    The strangest thing that ever happened to me once with one of my first PCs was adding RAM and finding that I could use either the new RAM I’d bought, or the original RAM that came with the box, but not both together, even when both were spec’d the same… because when I did, the PC would do nothing when I powered it up, other than BEEP, and I kid you not, make my garage door opener freak out and go up and down like crazy. Apparently, with the bad combination of RAM, the PC from the ‘90s sent out frequencies that the garage door opener from the ‘70s understood. That PC is long gone, but I’ll never forget the sensation of the whole room shaking as the door of our attached garage on the other side of the wall went out of control, all because of a bad RAM combo.

  4. No worries, Les.  Your geek license should remain in tact…  Mine did after the following story, after all:

    One of my first real IT gigs right out of college had me doing DBA stuff for a small manufacturer of NCAA-licensed keepsakes.  It was a one-machine company and I decided to take it upon myself to increase productivity by upgrading RAM.  I opened the box, shifted the necessary components around to gain access to the RAM slots, and installed the new stick.  I then proceeded to close the box, plug everything in, and viola! When I hit the power button, the case fan would spin twice and then a whole bunch of nothing would happen!  No POST, no BIOS—NOTHING!.  Long story short, I spent a shitload of time trying to figure the damn thing out when (on the third day) I realized that shifting the components around had unplugged the power button from the motherboard! 

    I ran from that job screaming like a banshee and hiding my face in shame.  It worked out OK, though, because I bet you can guess the first damn thing I check every time I go to close the box after fiddling with components…


  5. Is it possible to hook both of them up together for increased computing power?

  6. Good idea, Pop Tarts, but can’t be done. There are Athlon processors and motherboards designed to allow dual processor setups, but the AMD 2500+ isn’t one of them.

  7. That is kind of a pity. Are there ones that allow for triple or quad or more setups? Because every once in a while you hear those newsreports of universities buying like 500-1000 PCs and hooking all of them up to create a sort of supercomputer.

  8. The most amusing computing cluster I’m aware of uses 70-odd networked PS2s

    As far as a single PC is concerned, dual-CPU systems are relatively common, if priced at a premium. 4-way and up tends to run into serious money.

  9. As Elwed said, there are quite a few dual processor motherboards out there these days as well as versions of both AMD and Intel processors designed specifically for those environments. I just saw an AMD motherboard the other day that allowed for a quad-processor setup.

    As for my spare 2500+, my wife’s PC inherited my old MB which I think will accept a 2500+ although it’s not the best MB for that processor. I may need to update the BIOS, but if I can toss it into her machine then she’ll get a nice speed boost out of this whole deal.

  10. Again, this is exactly why I buy my computers put together already. I just don’t get hardware like I used to.

    Sorry to hear about your blight. However, I assume that you could either sell the extra part on eBay. If not, well, at least you have a spare CPU when the old one does fry…

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