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Someone give me some Advice Please!!!

Posted on 2003-02-19
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Hi. Today I got a call from the computer shop cuz I brought it there to have it checked cuz it was really messing up alot .. the blue screens came on, it rebooted and froze. First they said it was the CPU cooler but they also said they are gonna run a overnight test to test the WHOLE computer. Today they gave me the worst news. My motherboard and CPU are practically fried because the CPU fan wasn't running fast enough and it fried up everything. They said that they will have to change the motherboard, the processor (AMD atlon 1.2 to AMD Atlon 1.8 .. which is good), the 250 DDR ram (which I also suspected before had gone wrong) and they have to change the whole case. Because the computer I had was from HP (fu**ers). I swear from no on I am never gonna but a computer from damn companies who think they are all that. I could build my own computer for much less. Anywayz, the price that the computer shop is tellin me that is gonna cost me is $400. I know that is a hell of a lot but I would appreciate if someone can tell me if I should just go ahead with it and let it be or what. Thank you again for all your help.
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Question by:pimpp1184
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58 Comments
 
LVL 13

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by:magarity
ID: 7985765
This problem happens all the time.  Fans do wear out and slow down.  It is especially a problem with AMD Athlon chips because they run hot and have no built in thermal control like the Pentium3 and 4 chips.  The manufacturers usually have software temperature monitors available.  Whatever brand you get next, be sure to use the monitor from time to time since it will be another Athlon.  Especially when running the computer for extended periods like "a overnight test to test the WHOLE computer."  Suspecting a cooling problem and then running the machine overnight is like suspecting your car's oil is low so you drive faster.

One strong suspicion I have is the claim of the motherboard going bad because of the CPU overheating.  This should not be the situation at all.  How reputable is this shop?  You should be able to nearly melt the CPU without damaging the motherboard.  If this shop admitted suspecting a heat problem and then ran the system excessively anyway, they killed it either on purpose or through complete idiocy.
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Expert Comment

by:theblackwings
ID: 7986023
I think magarity is right. Before you send any cash get someone you turst to look at it. I had a AMD CPU burn up on my comp and the mobo still works fine. Heating may not be the problem at all.
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by:slink9
ID: 7986698
I agree.  I had heard the same.  Crispy frying a chip does no other damage.  If these people did happen to kill your stuff you should give someone else (that you trust) the job anyway.  If they are that shady, this $400 job will probably end up costing $600 or more.
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LVL 13

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by:magarity
ID: 7986850
"First they said it was the CPU cooler but they also said they are gonna run a overnight test to test the WHOLE computer"

This is the most important part of your question.  If this is correct then the second part of my first reply is the part you need to read.  Running a stress test is the fastest way to get it to heat up.  If there is a cooling problem, what moron would run a stress test?  If this situation is true, I wouldn't trust this shop to sell me a pre-formmated floppy disk.

PS - There may or may not be other issues with this particular machine but fans wear out no matter what the brand.  Don't blame this particular issue on HP.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 7987390
But I heard from someone you would know your motherboard is bad when you start gettin blue screens .. that means your board is bad ... so I guess I just have to see ...
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rrhunt28 earned 200 total points
ID: 7987456
If your chip was fried, it would probably not do anything at all, now it might be damanged in some way, but you do need to get a second openion before forking out that much money.  And to the person that said Athlons run hot,  The Athlon chips run around the same temp as any of the other chips, the fact that they sometimes burn up is because of the lack of thermal protection.  To get around this get a good quality motherboard, like asus that includes its own protection built in.  And physically go look at the motherboard, processor chips can damage the motherboard when they fry, however you would probably see the damage as a burn spot.  And I agree with magarity, if the shop knew you had a processor cooling problem, yet ran a stress test, the damage is their fault.  
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by:magarity
ID: 7988634
"But I heard from someone you would know your motherboard is bad when you start gettin blue screens"

A DSoD can be caused by any number of problems, including just really poorly written drivers for system level devices like the drive controller.

Furthermore, little parts of the motherboard may develop issues but not the whole thing in a generic sense like a bad carton of milk.

I have had a CPU overheat so badly there is a burn spot stained on the PCB of the motherboard.  This is not a problem for the motherboard (though it is for that CPU, hah hah) and the board still works today.

Umm, what do you mean by you have to see?  I hope that means you are taking the machine in question to another shop (one that is NOT owned by the first shop's cousin) for another opinion.
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Expert Comment

by:Justinwelke
ID: 7989646
Next time get the extended warranty dude
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 7989859
I just ahead with this deal ... at least the parts I am gettin now got warranties .. the motherboard for 1 year, the processor for 3 years and the ram for lifetime. It isn't like HP if one part goes bad and you are out of warranty and you are done for and crap like that. This time I am gonna make sure everything is fine. I ain't gonna leave the comp. all the time. May I ask any of you one thing? Do you think it would be a good idea to change the CPU cooler once a year cuz I really don't want this happening again ... I mean $400 doens't come easy if you are workin at a crappy job and still go to college ... I would appreciate if you can give me some suggestions to how I can have my computer in perfect condition for the next couple of years and not 1 year. Thank you all.
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by:nomorefuzzylogic
ID: 7990783
Having a 1 year w'ty on the mobo won't help you if your cooling fan fails and the AMD burns.
Go for Intel CPU - make sure you get the retail boxed CPU with the Intel fan - never had one fail and if it did you get no smoke just a slowdown which will make you notice you have a problem. You get what you pay for!
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by:magarity
ID: 7990840
"May I ask any of you one thing? Do you think it would be a good idea to change the CPU cooler once a year cuz I really don't want this happening again"

I have already discussed this, please see my note dated 02/19/2003 11:04PM PST RE: hardware temperature monitor programs.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 7991112
You are getting generally good advice, and the computer shop is probably honest, but maybe not terribly sharp. Ask them to show you the log file of what failed the diagnostics, then get back to us.

If the motherboard they want to sell you won't fit the HP case, that could be a problem (in $$, not technology). Big companies often do non-standard proprietary things. They think of it as "adding value" when in fact it is often locking the customer into paying big $$ if something goes wrong.

If the CPU is failing diagnostics, you could probably replace the CPU and fan, then retest the RAM to see if it is really bad, too. Or, you could replace the fan, replace the RAM, and I suspect that the problem might be fixed. You mentioned that you suspected the RAM before, for some reason. Get yourself some diagnostic software and run it. As a college student, you probably have some classmates you could borrow the diags from.

If it were my money, I would first replace the fan (about $10, maybe less). Then I would run some diags, or swap out the RAM and test. If the RAM didn't fix it, then I would replace the CPU.

I would only replace the motherboard and case if I were going to do a major upgrade, such as 2+GHz processor.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 7995506
I would not get a Intel chip, they cost more, and tyipcally run slower.  If you go with a good name motherboard like asus it comes with monitor software, and a motherboard that will shut down should the temp go outside the range.  And there is no guarente that the throttling technology in an intel chip will work.  So if it does not your stuck with a even more expensive lump of carbon.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 7995818
Well I put the computer in order. The motherboard I am getting is a ECS Mboard Duron/ Atlon XP DDR/SDR 5PCI. The processor chip is AMD Athlon XP 1900+ Boxed 1530 MHz. The type of Ram is 256MB DDR PC2100 184PIN Unbuffered 2.5v. And the case is a Codegen 6044 ATX MID Black P4/AMD 300W. So that is it.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8008952
Sounds nice.  It will be alot faster than what you where used too.  Have fun.  You might have them up the power supply alittle.
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by:SHONNER
ID: 8012005
Was your computer on the floor or on a desk?  Floor computers suck in loads of dirt.  Fans may have to be changed every six months.  Blue screens can be caused by anything.  Software corruption is more likely the problem since the CPU was able to display the error.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8012333
The computer was on the floor in like in a little condenced spot. I am pretty sure the blue screens wasn't due to the software corruption because over the period of 2 weeks that I have been gettin this problem I reformated and reinstalled windows like 10 times ... so that is what I think. I just hope this computer stays fine alot longer than the one I used to have. I do have one question though ... is the motherboard that I got pretty descent because I looked up on it and it got pretty good ratings. The motherboard is ... ECS Mboard Duron/ Atlon XP DDR/SDR 5PCI. This motherboard is supposedly to turn itself off automatically if the computer goes out of the heat limit.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8016886
I have seen good and bad things about ecs.  So I can not say.  I always buy asus, they tend to be alittle more expensive, but I have had good luck.  
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8017695
I realized that my since I am practically gettin a brand new computer and all why shouldn't I change my video card also ... It is a GeForce2 64 MB DDR. So I called the computer guy up to see what kind of cards he had ... He had lots and the best one he has was the ATI raedon 9000 Pro 128 MB DDR. I asked how much it was ... he was like $75. I was like holy sh** ... so I told him to put that in. Do you thikn that was a good bargain or not?
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8017770
It is a good card.  It is not the fastest out there but its a good card.  You can find reviews at www.tomshardware.com
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by:magarity
ID: 8018152
"Do you thikn that was a good bargain or not?"

Umm, if you don't get offended at a little constructive criticism:  you've already told the shop you'll buy it and THEN you ask us if it is a good deal?  Isn't this backwards?  Also, you seem to have completely ignored the majority opinion that you should not patronize this shop in the first place because they are at best completely incompetent due to stress testing a system with heating issues.
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by:slink9
ID: 8018699
Magarity, haven't you learned that some people either just don't understand or care to understand?  It doesn't matter if they are the ones who killed the machine in the first place.  It doesn't matter that they are incompetent.  It doesn't matter if they don't know a mobo from a mofo (sorry, I just couldn't resist).  Whatever we say, this guy's mind is made up to do whatever he wants.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8022370
Well I guess some people are really nice here ... I guess I am at fault here to for asking you guys question after I already made the decision ... Sorry. I do have one last question though ... I am gonna go pick up the computer tomorrow. I wanna know is there anyway like I can check somehow or another if the computer shop actually did more harm to the parts than before I gave it to them to have it checked. The reason I ask this is because I get all parts originally from my computer. I would like to say thanks to all those to replied to my questions.
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by:magarity
ID: 8023285
"check somehow or another if the computer shop actually did more harm to the parts than before I gave it to them"

Besides the simple logic that it at least kind of worked before you gave it to them and then they burned it to a crisp?

Once a CPU is terminally overheated it isn't good for anything except modern art.  About the only thing I can think of is that you can check the motherboard with a replacement CPU to see if it really is also dead.  Look for brown or black burn marks on the underside where the CPU socket is located.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8027735
Perhaps you know someone with an old system that could act as a test bench for the various components. I'd recommend doing it only on an old system no one cares about. One weak component can sometimes hurt other good components.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8027851
Alright well I brought home the computer. I told the guy to put my old video card back becuase I looked at it and it was nuthin wrong with it so I told the guy to put the original card back in. He told me that he ran a diagonistic check up to see if there was anything wrong with the card AFTER he put everything in ... something wrong is with this picture. He told me that a certain number should have been like 500 for a well run card but my card was runnin at like 120. I was wondering if you anyone can tell me when I hook up this computer when I come back from work to what site I can go to ... to look if there is anything at all wrong with the card. And listen to this ... the person said that it was my fault that I touched the computer and "played" around with it alot. All I did mainly was clean the fan and like take out the memory card which I persumed was bad at the beginning. Well I gotta go to my work so I will look at any away messages
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8027881
LOL, do not use that shop.  You can find a video card diagnostic program on the net to see if it finds any problems.  The way to clean your fans and computer is with canned air.  And anytime you take out parts or open the case you need to make sure your always grounded.  
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by:slink9
ID: 8027983
It doesn't matter, they now have the money.  They like suckers.  No matter how they are treated, they keep coming back for more.  I wonder if they have any repeat customers?  Oh yeah, I forgot, they keep coming back to be screwed again.
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by:brakmat
ID: 8030380
Where do you live I need to make some quick cash off of stupid people.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8030593
Not kind, brakmat. We all make errors, both of judgement and from lack of experience. We are here to help, I hope, not criticise. Constructive criticism can be good, but must be carefully metered out in formats that serve, not denigrate.
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by:slink9
ID: 8030678
But there is a limit to patience.  Someone asks for advice and then does something else anyway.  Then they ask for more advice about what they have already done.  You must be much more patient than I am.
How long have you been doing this?  Maybe you haven't had to deal with too many blithering idiots (if you are lucky).  I concocted that term when I had to try to teach salespeople to use barcode scanners and plug them into RJ12 wires and hit a few keys to download the sale.  It fit perfectly there, I have yet to decide if this instance is at a BLITHERING level yet.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8030688
Well I guess even after having regretted what I have done. I am gonna just get my video card after 30 days ... cuz that is the amount of days I have for the labor warranty. They have a sticker on the case so I can't open it without breakin the damn seal and if I do the warranty will be voided. I am gonna check this computer to the max to see is anything bad happens to it ... if not I am gonna put a new video card (any suggestions will help). Oh yeah the guy said that he was gonna put a TNT 32 MB card in there .. he said that this card that he would have put in there is gonna be much faster than the one I have which is a GeForce 2 64MB DDR. They guy also didn't put my sound card in .. he told me it has too many scratches or some bullshit like that. The sound that I can get it built into the ECS motherboard so I will use that for now until I get a new soundcard. The fucker also kept my 256MB DDR ram which he said was wrong, he kept my cooler fan which I had with HP, and then he kept 2 of my system recovery CD's I got with HP. I got the first one ... I asked him where it was he said I remember u givin only one ... I didn't do anything then. I am gonna call that dumbass tomorrow and tell him I need my parts somehow or another ... it doesn't give him any right to throw anythign away even if it doesn't work. Oh yeah regardin to magarity question about whether or not if I have brown or block spots under the processor. I don't see anything like that but the processor does seem to be burned badly. I noticed that much. And oh yeah one last thing ... I bought a cd-rw burner and told me to install it since I was paying him. Today when I went to get the computer and told him to show me the inside of the computer. He opened it up and started telling me that this cd-rw wasn't that good because I didn't get it from him. Oh yeah .. if I were to replace something what would be the most cautions thing to do. Thank you again.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8035024
slink9  > You must be much more patient than I am.
How long have you been doing this?  Maybe you haven't had to deal with too many blithering idiots (if you are lucky).  

I've been doing tech support for about nine years, worked with 200 to 300 different people, maybe more. Been visiting E-E since last September.

About the only ones who bother me are the ones who ask my advice, don't follow it, then blame me when things go wrong. There is a percentage of the population who just can't seem to accept responsibility for their own actions.

I also have a lesser problem with people who don't know and don't want to know, and never learn from their mistakes. They are a pain to support because they make the same mistakes many times. I can relate to those who are simply busy and want their problems fixed fast so they can get on with their work, but taking a minute or two to learn how to avoid the same problem in the future would be a good use of their time.

Ignorant people don't bother me, so long as they are willing to learn. In fact, teaching people new skills is one of the fun parts of what I do.

pimpp1184 - as soon as this transaction is finished, try to find a better place to deal with in the future. ALL the signs point to a bad place to do business.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8035089
How many times do i have to say it, DO NOT GO BACK TO THAT PLACE.  They have lied to you, and screwed you over from day one.  A TNT2 card is about 3 generations older than your geforce.  He is taking out all the good parts in your computer, and giving you junk.  That way he can sell your good stuff to the next idiot that walks in.  If you are in the united states you need to call the better business people,  and report this shop.  You probably had some small damage that would have cost you less than 100 dollars to replace, and instead you paid how much, and probably have less computer than you started with.  
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8036168
Can someone tell me where I can get a software to test my video card and see if there is actually anything wrong with it? Thank you
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8036170
Can someone tell me where I can get a software to test my video card and see if there is actually anything wrong with it? Thank you
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8036175
Can someone tell me where I can get a software to test my video card and see if there is actually anything wrong with it? Thank you
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8036216
Go to www.downloads.com and put in video card test, it will pull up 2 or 3 things to try.
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by:slink9
ID: 8036257
What does it matter?  They have your money.  It would have been nice to have done this BEFORE giving your system and your money to shysters.  Chalk it up and live with it.  But don't go back to the, please.  By the way, if you do decide to go back to them to give them some more of your money don't tell us.  Unsibscribing.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8036394
Nvidia is the leader in 3D accelerator cards. If you can back out of the other transaction, do so. If you were paying via credit card, you might have some recourse if you explain the situation to Visa, or whoever.

I haven't looked up the TNT card specs, but rrhunt28 is probably right. Various other manufacturers do use the Nvidia chipset, though. If you want more performance for games, a newer Nvidia is probably the way to go. In any case, don't let the guy keep your old parts.

It seems to me that outfits that tool people around would usually make a better living by treating people better and building a long term clientele. I guess some just don't see it that way.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8036634
a TNT2 card uses Nvidia, however it is an old Nvidia chipset, it was around before Geforce even came out.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8036693
Interesting. I really don't keep up with the gaming cards race. Seems like there's a new one every month or two. My card is an Nvidia GForce 3 TI200, 64MB, and a vast improvement over my old 2MB card. :)  It runs everything I want to run. Seems like I seldom find time to play games, anyway. It was an OEM sold under some other brand name I can't remember.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8037251
Alright I just wanna get one thing straight .. I learned my lesson the hard way but I learned it. I know some of you will still make fun of me and stuff. I will NEVER EVER go to a computer shop ever again. Next month or so I am gonna try to get a new video card (any suggestions), a new sound card, and a hard drive. I know I keep askin all you you about where I can go to download a video card testing software. I would like if you can show me the exact site where I can go to. I tried looking for it everywhere. Thank you again
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8048148
Hi. I have another question. How many cooler fans do any of you have in your computer? I know you have one for the CPU but do u have a System cooler fan. I did have one on my other computer but when they gave me a new box they said that there is no need for the System cooler fan. Thank you for your help
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8051607
Power supply fan, of course, then processor and video card. I have one case fan to suck air in. A case fan can vary with the size and type, but typically under $10. I think of the case fan as a cheap insurance policy. Things like routing cable properly, and bundling them neatly with tie wraps can improve air circulation and cooling.

Don't give up on all computer stores because of the one bad one, just remember that it's kinda like restaurants - some good, some bad, some good value, some badly overpriced. Some places the cook is good, but some will give you food poisoning.

A place like this, plus comparative magazine reviews will tell you what equipment is good and what isn't. As for the video card, it depends. If you are an avid gamer and can afford it, get the hottest newest Nvidia. You always pay a premium price for the latest and greatest, and most people don't need it. The best value is probably one to two notches down from the top - maybe last year's hot new 3D accelerator card.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8053153
I swear my life can't get any worse than it is with computers. Well listen to this ... everytime I start my computer the monitor light would keep blinking and nuthing will show on the monitor. Then I turn off the computer and start it over again ... it works ... this has happened all the time ever since I got the computer. Then another thing ... the computer seems to be giving off a burning smell if I leave it on. I don't know if that is normal for "new" computers or what. I am gonna have to take it back to their dumbasses tomorrow ... I bet the dumbass is gonna tell me my graphics card is bd .. what is up with that bullsh**? So any opinions would be helpful. Thank you
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by:SHONNER
ID: 8053328
It's only normal for a PC to smell like smoke if it's been in a room with a chain-smoker.  But even that is not necessarily good for the PC.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8053787
With a new power supply, a mild electrical heat sort of smell might be regarded as normal, because things are getting hot for the first time, but not a strong smell.

It could be the video card, but could be something like the card wasn't seated fully or the monitor cable is loose.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8053847
Yeah but why does the computer work fine the rest of the day no matter how many times I shut off the computer and then restart it. It only happens in the morning after I shut it off the day before.
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by:SHONNER
ID: 8053913
Either RAM or BUS init problem at cold start.  Once a boot is successful, a warm boot (restart) is less forgiving to failing or non-compliant hardware.

Your situation gives more ammo to techs out there that believe computers should never be turned off.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8054427
Well, the turn it off or not debate will rage forever. If the hardware is healthy, this sort of thing doesn't occur. Whether it will last longer without shutting off is really a different discussion.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8054484
Yeah ... I understand your point about not turning the computer off but listen to this. My HP computer before I found out the problem. It like would do the same thing too ... well the problem with HP is greater but anyway it would like not turn on and stuff like that but after I had it on for a while it would stay perfect for the whole day. So leaving the computer on all the time is a good thing (not for the electrical bill) but it is good for the computer since the cirucits hate being turned off and again all the time. But still the problem with the computer not being able to turn on in the morning for the first time is sorta wierd and then it works fine. I mean I just got this computer like 3 days ago ... I wanna let the shop figure out what the problem is ... I am also gonna tell their asses to put the System cooler fan which was in my HP but they never put it in the "new" one cuz they said it wasn't usefull. They better not charge for it either cuz those dumbasses never gave it to me when they gave my computer back. So I don't know. Thank you
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by:SHONNER
ID: 8054551
Some CPU's don't need a fan on their heatsink.  Which is pretty nice because that's one less moving part to worry about.
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8054601
Repeatedly we see signs that they are not ethical. They have no right to scavange your old PC for parts they can sell to someone else. A case fan is a good idea on most systems. Tell them they must return all old parts or void all transactions.

A cooling fan is a necessity on most newer processors.
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by:pimpp1184
ID: 8054661
yeah that is what I told them. They said I don't need it .. actually the one guy did. Then he also told me to give him the recovery cd's that came with HP computer. I gave him 3 and I got back 1. When I asked for them he said I don't need them anywayz. Now I am gettin mad .. I am so gullible at stupid stuff like that. What should I tell him straight out about everything? I should tell him straight out everything cuz I fu**en paid him bad money and then he treats me like crap. Thank you again for all your help. I know I have been annoying through all this. I am appreciate all your help
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by:tanjnt
ID: 8057542
Tell him the CDs are your property and you want them returned. If nothing else, they are proof that you own the OS license.
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by:rrhunt28
ID: 8060709
Thank you for the points.  I am glad you learned alot from this, at least you got something out of it, better than nothing right?  It sounds like you at least have a better machine now.  Hope it keeps running nice for you.  And I would check into turning them into the better business bureau.  Or maybe a local tv station that does sting operations. GOod luck.
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