February 24, 2008

New Computer Parts = Broken Computer

TigerDirect.com had a deal I just could not resist. Quadcore processor? Check. Motherboard to support quadcore? Check. Enough RAM to support an eventual upgrade (downgrade?) to Windows Vista? Check. Essentially, this deal had everything I was looking for in my quest for computer upgrades.

At the time, this all made sense. I wouldn't just stumble into the multi-core processing scene, I would blast into it with a quadcore! Unfortunately, in my haste to capitalize on a great combo deal, I didn't do my homework. Now, I'm left out in the cold, posting this via my secondary, can't run World of Warcraft or Team Fortress 2, computer.

Everything started out great. Motherboard and hardware install went great. Booted the computer up to my Windows XP Pro CD to do a repair install to update the Windows HAL (hardware abstraction layer) to support the quadcore processor. Install completed perfectly and a short call to Microsoft and my copy of Windows XP Pro was divvied over to my new hardware. Then, I did a bit of work and reinstalled service pack 2 and several other updates.

The computer worked beautifully at this point. CPU temps were holding steady, RAM was working fine, and I was just about to throw this machine into it's first workout. However, I ran out of time for the day and shut the machine down. Unfortunately, that was the last time it was seen running.

Long story short, the motherboard died between bootups. No amount of CMOS resetting or hardware finagling can save it. Doing a bit more research, I am not the only one with a dead XFX motherboard. Every corner of the Internet seems to have someone with a dead XFX nforce 680i LT Sli motherboard. Even the TigerDirect.com customer reviews section is littered with dead on arrival (DOA) motherboards.

I am not some newb to computer hardware. I tear down and rebuild hundreds of PCs every year at work. I've helped numerous gaming friends build kick-ass rigs. I have never been stupid enough to jump on a hot deal. Yet, here I sit with a piece-of-garbage motherboard that needs to be returned. All because I wanted to catch a deal before it ended. I'm learning my lesson the hard way.

If I could, I would return the entire packaged deal, but I opened the CPU and it can not be returned. So, I will keep the OCZ RAM and Intel Q6600 quadcore CPU. However, the XFX nForce 680i LT Sli motherboard is history and I will never purchase another XFX product.

Lesson learned, be patient and smart about your computer purchases.