This part is never easy... I write this post in a saddened tone, if a tone could be added to words typed in a word processor.
My main system, housing most of my support utilities, files, information, music, games, pictures, and all sorts of fantastic
things is on its death bed. Prognosis: Hard drive cleared; CPU fan dead
According to Murphy’s Law,
“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, and this certainly applies to this system. Built with the highest
quality parts and assembled with the greatest diligence, the Achilles heel of this system was its creator. A vow made never
to buy new parts for 10 years is now broken.
An unlocked Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition with a $20 heatsink/fan. A
dead fan. It had been dying for weeks. And finally, after I realized my Windows Side-by-Side manifest had been corrupted due
to power failures associated with the failure of my UPS system several months ago, this was the nail in the coffin.
Ironically, in a video I had made, showcasing the diagnostic utilities one can use to identify the hardware and software of
their system, and relay it to others, I noticed something while making this video. My CPU was idling at 70/80C. I was so busy
doing other things, creating graphics, responding to messages, checking service packs, installing virtual machines, that it
was placed on my to-do list.
The to-do list that came and went far too late.
As it so happened, I did
check the internals of my system, and what I found was punishing. While my backup system is a i7-920 idling around 20C with a
high quality cooling system and conventional hard drives, this system had a fan and heatsink teetering on the brink of
self-destruction. How long was this happening? Weeks? Months? Was my processor clocking itself down to compensate? The
silence of the solid state drives served a newfound and deadly purpose: I could no longer determine a change in any sound if
my CPU fan inexplicably stopped working. And it certainly stopped working.
With Windows needing to be re-installed
due to problems from power failures that occurred months ago, I checked the internals… in a haste, I tried to release
the fan from the bondage of the dust or debris that must have been causing its malfunction. An incorrect assessment, as soon
after, I placed the fan back into the chassis and noticed its 200 RPM speed. Its slow, songbird twilight wind was masking the
harsh reality of this spinning fan. At the center of its axis, the most tremendous heat could be felt, as it was surely
struggling to spin at the highest possible speed. No doubt, the motherboard was sending heavy voltage to the device to
increase its speed due to the CPU temperature overload – but it could not compensate.
And now… with
the CPU gone, the operating system obliterated, and much of my work destroyed, I await new equipment. It’s not like I
had not planned for disaster to strike. I knew that all equipment does eventually fall into disrepair. All systems fail. I
had no idea of how quickly it could sweep from underneath me, like a tyrant once again.
Now, stuck on backup
equipment, with sub-standard software, and limited capabilities, I have ordered new equipment. But my primary system will
never be the same. While I mitigated as much data loss as I could, my two-years of Windows 7 stability has come to an end.
Days will be spent restoring my ability to manufacturer even the smallest graphic, or to change even one line of code. A
history of files that survived additions and removals from various motherboards, RAID controllers, and so on… all is
gone. And the need for a better heatsink and fan ever vexing me, as I am unable to do much but type…
like these can often remind us of how much we rely on our computer systems for work, play, news, information, media, and so
forth. Without this computer, I feel as though my car died in the middle of the desert. And there is nothing in that car but
Now, it is up to me to bring it back. Of course, I will. The installation of a new back plate, the
careful recoating of the processor with Artic Silver 5, and the placement of a better heatsink and fan combo will ease the
shock to my system, assuming no shock occurs to my other system. For so much as I tried to fortify my backup devices from
harm, the main system itself had inadequate protection.
Or perhaps it just was Murphy’s Law. Either way, a
system is down today, and it is hoped to be repaired soon. I only hope the CPU is not irrevocably damaged. But from all
system failures comes a lesson. I will have to check the internal integrity of my system at least once a week, from top to
bottom, to ensure its ultimate reliability.