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Yeah, that bent pin? Apparently, it’s been that way for eighteen months. Yes, it’s been taking a few tries to boot all the way, but once it got up and running it was perfectly stable. (When I unpacked my desktop machine after the big move, the CPU was just rattling around in the case, so I popped it into the socket. I must have bent the pin then).

Computers are more forgiving than we have any right to expect. I bought myself a new motherboard and CPU for Christmas one year — I believe the chip was a 486-SX and the motherboard would also take a full 486. At any rate, there were more holes in the m’board than pins on the chip and — but of course — I plugged the chip into the wrong holes.

Christmas morning, watched in horror as I flipped the switch and solder hissed and bubbled out of the smoking socket. But I killed it, let it cool and got it plugged in the right way around and it lived a long and happy life. For a 486SX.

This one is finally kaput, though. I got the pin straightened and re-reseated, but I broke the thingie that holds the heat sink in place, so it overheats before it even finishes booting.

Eh. Six years. Time it crossed the rainbow bridge to live with Grandma.

Now comes the tedious business of looking at barebones systems and Googling all the components to figure out what the hell I’m looking at.

Do all motherboards come with on-board graphics now? Is the AGP graphics card socket a dead standard? Are there wifi cards for desktops, or do they assume wired LAN? And this dual/quad core thing — does software need to be written specially to take advantage of that? I mean, is any of my funky old software (particularly Photoshop) going to benefit from it?

God, I hate learning new stuff.

August 18, 2010 — 11:13 pm
Comments: 48