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Good News — Bad News

Remember all my “I’m a Geek!” chest pounding?   I lie.  I’m sure I am the lowest form of Luddite.  Not sure if that is the good or bad news.  Lets pursue this farther.

The latest Dell hasn’t been perfect. [understatement alert]  The latest is the audio.  It sounds like the speakers were put in a barrel.  It is to the point I have trouble making out speech. So, I figured I’d better get hold of Dell while the warranty still worked.  Nice guy in India (Mohamed — they quit trying to fool us by saying their name was Bruce.) reinstalled the driver and when that didn’t work scheduled a mother board replacement.

Yesterday was the day.  Scott showed up with a new (refurbished) motherboard and installs it.  Put the machine back together and windows shows loading and then stops and reverts to restarting.   Scott says do a restore.  I say it is finding the OS and it worked before the switch “Are you sure?”  He wins.   System churns.  I say, “Something seems wrong.”   I’m right again.

The disk controller couldn’t fully find the drive.  The BIOS confirmed that when we got around to looking.  I have the drive installed in an external cabinet hoping I could copy stuff from it.  No Go.  Temporarily at least it is cooked!

This is the second time I’ll be rebuilding the Dell from scratch.  The previous time the tech was out the disk got bombed.

Oh, I did say good news / bad so I better have some good here to offer.  Well the computer is the XPS 8300 which is their performance system just below the no holds barred one.   And, the one I got in their (return/referbish) closeout store had all the addons that brought it even closer to the dream machine.  Really, the only change is likely to be the video card will be a bit nicer.  8-9 months is two lifetimes in the video adapter area.  I do hope they have a better power supply.  This one was a 380W Foxconn.  The reviews of it on the net are horrid.

So that the good and bad of it.  More bad than good, I fear.


If you ever have a computer that gets weirdly flaky and it doesn’t even happen consistently, it is probably the power supply.  They’re one thing you shouldn’t stint on.  There are reference designs galore for active power supplies.  But, the thing is the manufacturers can cheapen them six ways from Sunday.  It one of the situations where you are most likely to get what you paid for it.   A couple of years ago, it was also ridiculous in needing huge ones.  Fortunately, the video cards and processors have been lowering their power requirements from that high point.  Unless you went overboard 400 watts should be adequate these days.  I wouldn’t go below that and an extra 50w wouldn’t hurt.

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