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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tinker, Gamer, Techie, Fried

 or "How I Spent My Weekend, by Salem MacGourley."

The weekend started normally enough. I'd dragged a dear friend through the horror that is Aliens: Colonial Marines (made better, but not great, by the overhaul mod), and we'd just finished late Friday night. We were considering playing just a bit of another game before calling it a night, but we took a break first. I went to the restroom and fixed a drink, and when I'd come back, my computer had shut itself off. I turned it back on, sat down, and...

The LEDs came on. The fans spun... then stopped. And started up again. And then stopped again. And started up again. And repeated this a few times.

I sent my friend a couple of messages stating that I suspected the computer had overheated, and took the time for the weekly call to my mum. 20 minutes later, it was still refusing to power on completely. This had happened a couple of times before, but leaving it off for 10 minutes fixed it. This time, though...this time it was through.

So I called up a friend in Texas and he was on the phone with me through various tests. I ripped out all of the external components and tested: same thing. I opened the case and disconnected the video card; same. I swapped memory around; same thing. Unplugging the hard drives let it boot into the BIOS, but as soon as I'd attempt to boot to anything, even a flash drive with the windows installer on it, it crashed again.

After much frustration and loud swearing, we determined that the issue was most likely the CPU. This was unfortunate, because if wasn't covered by warranty, it would have been a $250 replacement. Fearing the worst and being stranded without a comforting screen, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest stand-in I could find: a $200 HP Stream laptop. I spent as much time as I could researching and reading tech sites for an alternate solution on the stuttering and sputtering little potato, and I eventually found another possible culprit: the power supply.

Fortunately, I'd needed a new power supply when I'd bought a video card a few years back,  as the original did not have the proper connectors for the video card. After figuring out a way to make the archaic and under-powered power supply connect to the current-gen motherboard, I powered it up... and the system booted to Windows. Later that day I was off to Best Buy for a new power supply (I hate waiting for shipping when it comes to emergency parts), and some replacement fans as I'd noticed two of them weren't turning and had cables frayed beyond repair.

Oracle (yes I named my computer after Barbara Gordon, shut up) is now currently back online and functional, as well as properly cooling again. I returned the now-unneeded laptop to Wal-Mart, and learned a valuable lesson last weekend, one that nobody should ever forget:

Windows 10 should *never* be put on a laptop with only 2gb of RAM. Don't buy an HP Stream. They're junk. Fork over the extra hundred bucks and get a real laptop, even if it's an under-powered piece of junk, because even then it won't be as worthless as an HP Stream.

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