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Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Heat Issues

I've recently run into a spot of bad luck when it comes to computers. First the power cord for my laptop dies. Soon after, the battery ran out of juice, and with no way to recharge it, the laptop was done. It survived 7 years of abuse, so it wasn't a huge loss.

A week later my wife's computer began shutting itself off. Annoying, but still not completely unexpected. At 6 years old it had reached the end of its expected lifespan. I was hoping it would last one more month, so the timing was rather terrible.

Then my computer died.

My computer was only 3 years old. It had no excuses. Turns out there's a bug in the motherboard that locks it up tight when you send it to sleep. Unrecoverable.

3 computers in as many weeks, and we were suddenly living in the 80's.

We picked up a fancy new Dell for only $600. From a raw power per dollar standpoint, no one is even trying to compete with Dell. It was a thousand bucks cheaper than the closest comparison.

I ordered a $60 motherboard for my computer. I haven't installed a motherboard since 1999, so anxiety was a bit high as I played operation on one of modern life's necessary components. Luckily, everything went smoothly, and the office had a computer again. I set this machine up on my wife's desk, and placed her broken machine in the corner for later analysis.

I then ordered a new gaming machine for me: liquid cooling, 12 gigs of ram, and a processor 5 times faster than my last computer. That's a bit faster than Moore's law.

The new computer runs amazingly, everything pops. I ran 3Dmark to rank it in the journals of history, and a long beep came ominously from the box.


I killed the benchmark fearing the worst, that I'd overheated my CPU and melted my new box to slag.

To my relief, it was fine. Nothing appeared to be broken, so I ran the benchmark. Again the beep, and again I canceled the benchmark.

I rummaged around in the CD's they'd sent me and came up with the motherboard disc. Modern motherboards are covered in sensors to tell you all about what is going on in hard, merciless numbers. My CPU was peaking at 60 degrees celsius during the most brutal benchmark test. That's a full 35 degrees BELOW the danger zone. Clearly the liquid cooling was the correct purchase.

That means the trouble is in the GPU. Unfortunatly, nVidia does not supply an easy way to monitor your GPU tempurature, so I had to pull down the third party app, Afterburner. It has some really neat histograms on temperature, fan speed, and memory usage. My GPU was climbing all the way up to 80 degrees celsius during the graphics benchmark. Lucky for me the GTX 470 is rated up to 105 degrees.

With my heat worries alleviated, I decided to let the benchmark complete. It wasn't going to melt to slag, so maybe something else would shake out. Half way through the test, the machine powered completely off.

Shit. Again.

I stared at my beautiful dead computer, and realized it was still beeping. Why was it beeping without power? I pulled the case off and stuck my head inside.

The beeping was not coming from my computer.

The beeping was coming from my battery back up. The new machine pulled too much juice at its peek performance for the backup to handle. I plugged the computer directly into the wall, and it wasted the 3Dmark11 Pro benchmark with a score of 4300.

All is right again at the homestead, or will be when the new lamp for our TV arrives.

GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?