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Re: Machine died

Gilles wrote:

Three years and a half ago, I bought a machine composed of what I thought
were good quality components:

  MB: Dual Opteron MB Tyan Tiger K8W (S2875)
  Graphics: Asus V9520 TD (FX 5200) - AGP
  Power Supply: FSP Blue STorm (500W)
  RAM: Kingston KVR333 (4x256MB)

Ten days ago, I halted the machine after 106 days uninterrupted use.
Strangely, it didn't shut down completely by itself: I had to switch the
main power supply. [IIRC the last line on the screen contained

Then the machine simply wouldn't start.

After clearing the CMOS, switching on the main PS would (directly, i.e.
without pressing the power button on the tower) start all the fans, and
all LEDs are on (power, HDD, CD). But nothing more happens (no boot).
A LED display on the MB indicates "FF". Removing all the extension cards
doesn't change this behaviour.
I also tried another PS but that one doesn't even start the fans, which
seems the correct behaviour (?) but I cannot be completely sure.

Then, we discovered that the fan of the graphics card had burnt!
Could this be cause of the MB not working anymore?  Visually there isn't
any sign of other burnt components on the MB.

I sent an email to Tyan last Friday; they haven't even acknowledged
receiving it... And their web site warns that you shouldn't send a message
twice lest you want that they answer even more slowly. Really nice.

One last thing I wanted to try is to have the BIOS chip reprogrammed (in
case it was somehow corrupted during the problem, whatever that was). But
no one offers this service here (Brussels) and the reseller is not really
helpful either...

So, it seems that after less than 4 years I am obliged to buy a new MB and,
consequently a new CPU (while we are otherwise still using an 8 years old Athlon machine!). And a graphics card.

So I come here for:
1. Suggestions about the possible cause of the problem. Is there anything
   else I can do to know what went wrong (if not repair)?
2. Advice on what to buy (CPU, MB, graphics and RAM) since it is doubtful
   that I will get any help from Tyan.
   With the usual provision: Everything must work with Debian GNU/Linux,
    - Audio: both play _and_ recording (on the ThinkPad laptop I recently
      bought, recording doesn't work: The chipset is not supported by the
    - 3D graphics acceleration
    - Network
   And, are there makes that offer longer warranty?

Thanks for reading my lament. :-{

Best regards,

I am thinking, no BIOS reprogram necessary. Power Supply is always a good guess. I think it is time for a new system, but don't completely give up on the old one. Build a new machine, and when it is up and running, go back and see if the old one can be salvaged and put to good use.

Build the new machine using an Intel CPU this time 'round, whether it was AMD or Intel before. Core 2 is your best bet, A Xeon for servers or multisocket workstations. It is too soon to buy Nehalem, if you need to buy it today. If you can wait three months, consider a Core i7.

Almost any wired network NIC will do. The onboard ones are probably supported by Linux.

Get a 80+ PS, meaning a PS that is at least 80% efficient. If you use it in an office building, or business, get one with power factor correction.

For a personal desktop machine, if 3d is necessary, nVidia or AMD/ATI both will do. AMD recently had its fiasco with the midrange chips. You may with to go with the red team (ATI) this time, until nVidia gets its act together.

An Intel motherboard (I mean the motherboard itself is Intel) is generally supported well by Linux.

This is general advice. For specific advice, often the enthusiast magazines are a good place to start.

Mark Allums

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