Dell woes…

When I started in the Video Memories group about 24 months ago, I got two new "dev boxes" from Dell.

A "dev box" is a configuration that is good enough to develop on, which at that time meant a dual-proc 3.4 Gig Pentium 4 with 2 gig of ram and about 60 gig of disk.

A nice box. One of them was dedicated to dev duties, and the other to running tests.

A couple of weeks ago, my dev box started misbehaving. It would reboot unexpectedly (which sounds like an oxymoron - aren't all reboots expected? Well, you aren't running our internal "keep things up to date" software...).

A tech visited, diagnosed swollen capacitors, and recommended a full motherboard transplant. After the surgery, the patient was fine.

And I looked with a bit of a cautious eye towards my test machine, purring happily under my desk.

Yesterday, I needed to update my installation of vista. This is usually done through a nice automated system - I boot under 2003 server, run the utility, and it goes off and installs vista. I rebooted to 2003 server, found that it had expired (how I got an evaluation copy on my system, I don't know...). Installed XP, put on the automated software, started to install Vista, left to go home. Came back in today, hit the power button to bring the system out of suspend, and the fans turned on. I'm used to that - the fans power up when there's lots of CPU or GPU load, and when the system is first started, but this time they kept powering up. Past "loud fan". Past "hairdryer". All the way to "jet engine". I power cycled a couple of times, got the same result, and called up our helpdesk again.

While I had the tech on the phone, I turned the system on, and asked him if he could hear it at "loud fan". Which he could. When it got to "hairdryer" he said, "that's loud", and when it got to "turbine", he said, "turn it off! turn it off".

My best guess is another motherboard issue, and that something is sending a bit more voltage than expected to the case fan. Or perhaps the power supply.

Kudos to whoever built the case fan - I wouldn't have thought it could take that much power.

Comments (2)

  1. BobTurbo says:

    I would suggest putting the case on wheels and seeing how fast it goes.

  2. I recently updated my Precision 670 (same specs as you’re mentioning, maybe same box) to the newest BIOS and enjoyed the turbine engines… as did everyone in our somewhat silent office.  The BIOS was reflashed back after the others came knocking with pitchforks and torches.  I haven’t tried to reflash the BIOS since then, but who knows.  =/

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