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Friday, 4 September 2015

Motherboard problems

I used to think that the parts of a computer that broke, tended to be the mechanical parts, like the fans, and if a CPU fan dies, the CPU overheats and the system crashes.

Power supplies also seem to have a finite life. I guess that's because they have to control a lot of power, things get hot, and that shortens the life of components.

And, of course, hard drives. Some hard drives I've bought in the past are terrible, lasting less than a year. Others are golden, lasting a couple of decades!

But I'm finding a fourth problem - motherboards.

There's a type of Foxconn motherboard that I bought a long time ago - maybe about 10 years ago I bought a lot of them, because once I find a motherboard that has the characteristics I need, I like to standardise on it. So I have a lot of these. They use the Intel Pentium chip, 775 pinout.

Now they're failing, in fairly large numbers. Ten years sounds like a long time for a computer to work, but I don't see why it shouldn't still be working 50 years later. It's very obsolete, of course, but if it's fast enough for the job it's doing, that's not a problem.

Until it fails.

So I'm busily replacing them with another board I bought a lot of, made by Gigabyte. Again, bought about ten years ago, and I've had them in boxes ever since. They're so old, the CMOS battery on each of them is dead and has to be replaced.

I also have a bunch of motherboards that take the Intel 478 pinout CPUs. These are even older than the Foxconns, and they're starting to fail too. I only have a couple of mobos that I can use as replacements, and I have several CPUs now without motherboards. So I went on to Ebay, and found I could get Intel motherboards (and Intel make quality mobos) for a mere £8 each, so I bought four, which was all the vendor had.

The reason for all this activity - I'm doing a big data processing job. And I currently have 22 computers sharing the processing!

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