The computer shop finally called me on Friday. They told me the problem with my computer was that the mother board was not working. He wasn’t exactly sure but thought it might have died because of dust. They could not swap out the mother board because the CPU was on it. I was not surprised that the mother board had died. This was the original mother board in the computer when I bought it in 2004. There were always problems with the CPU overheating and in fact, it ran hot from the time I bought it until a friend diagnosed the problem in 2006. From then on it had big honking fans on it to try and keep it at a reasonable level heat-wise. Long story short we determined the computer was not really fixable.
On to plan B. I know they build refurbished machines at this shop and a lot of the parts had recently been replaced and/or upgraded recently:
High-end video card
500 GB Seagate hard drive
1 GB of RAM
What I wanted them to do was to poach parts from mine to put together a working system so that I could give it away. As we went through the parts of my PC he pretty much had an answer for why they could not be used. I will refer to this staff member as the Officious Asshole who Lacked Creativity (OAWLC for short).
Me: I think we can use the case. It was a very high-end case at the time, it had several extra fans and the ability to open up the front of it to get more air in*.
OAWLC: Our new cases are better. Your case has a bar inside it that makes getting at the components more difficult.
Me: So? Why does that matter?
OAWLC: Our cases are new and state of the art and because they are open it is so much easier to get at the components.
Me: My case has extra fans and a couple of layers at the front so that you can adjust how much air gets into it. This computer will be going where there are a lot of dogs and ventilation is very important.
OAWLC: Your case only has 2 bays our case is better.**
Me: Moving along, the 500 gb hard drive is relatively new and I am sure it can be salvaged.
OAWLC: No, not really. It is a Seagate.
Me: Why does that matter.
OAWLC: Well we used to use Seagate hard drives but we stopped because they don’t have a long enough usable life.
Me: (sounding incredulous)You put the Seagate hard drive into that computer!
OAWLC: Well that was before we knew they weren’t very good.***
Me: The hard drive was fine. I am sure you can put it in.
OAWLC: Well we would have to adjust the warranty then.
Me Whatever. I am sure you can use the power supply.
OAWLC: I don’t know about that it might be what blew your mother board.
Me: You put the power supply in! (snorting back a chuckle) Besides, I told you before the computer had been sitting since September, so I doubt the power supply had anything to do with it.
OAWLC: Let me check your mother board to see if there are blown capacitors on it. (I am put on hold with advertisements about TV tuner cards and putting up a mini disc to get HDTV for free).
OAWLC: (Comes back on the phone and says) the capacitors look fine.
Me: Out of curiousity – how does the mini-disc thing work with the TV tuner card?
Me: I heard it on your hold announcements.
OAWLC: Oh, I don’t know a thing about that.
Me: The RAM, can the RAM be used.
OAWLC: Depends what kind.
Me: Can you check?
OAWLC: Please hold. (I hear about the HDTV mini-disc thing again)
OAWLC: It should be fine as long as it is not blown.
Me: The computer will have to have a parallel port because I have an old HP laser printer that needs one.
OAWLC: That is not possible. Mother boards don’t come with parallel ports anymore. Besides, printers are cheap – we can sell you one for $60.
Me: I know they are cheap. The ink costs a fortune though so why would I want to replace a working printer?
OAWLC: Well you can get a parallel card for $25.
Me: Ok. It also needs a modem because there will not be access to high-speed internet where it is going.
OAWLC: That is another $25.
Me: Fine. There is also a TV tuner card in that computer, I want that put in too.****
OAWLC: There are not enough slots for all of this.
Me: What about the high-end video card?
OAWLC: It would take another slot.
Me: Does the new mother board that you use in your systems have video and sound on-board?
Me: Fine then don’t worry about the card. Can I get a quote of how much a system would cost using the parts of mine that are salvageable?
OAWLC: Sure. What about an OS? That is another $170. Do you still have the serial number for this one?
Me: If you look on those drives you will find it in a word file.
OAWLC: We can’t do that. We don’t know if those drives are ok.
Me: They were fine when I shut the PC off 6 months ago when I got a mac. Never mind, I will see if I can find it. (which I did in under 5 seconds using spotlight on the Mac)
OAWLC: Ok. I will do the quote for you.
Me: Can you email it to me?
Me: Of course you can email it to me! Here is my address: firstname.lastname@example.org
*I bought a case like this as I was always having problems with my PCs overheating. I don’t know if it was bad design or overuse on my part but it kept happening and it annoyed me because they would start to scream. I hate errant noises especially when I have no idea where they are coming from.
** Sensing that I was once again talking to a broken record I gave up.
***I am beginning to get very frustrated now…
****I will not bore you with the discussions of drivers and such.
Edited to Add: Sorry about the odd formatting in this post. I wrote it in pages and it looked really pretty there! Not so much here! Plus the wonky formatting is not showing up in the WordPress window!