I've spent the last two nights configuring PCs. Yes, Outi got herself a brand new display card, and I got the honor of installing it.

The following text may contain words that are inappropriate for the younger people in the audience.

I haven't slept well for two nights now. I have been crawling on the floor, scraping my knuckles on sharp metal parts, resetting CMOS, twiddling with BIOS settings (yes, I checked AGP Voltage, tried them all out), staring Yahoo search results with bleary eyes, upgrading BIOS, drivers - even reinstalling Windows XP - and that crappy pile of shit not worth a fart from Stalin's embalmed ass still crashes randomly. Sometimes it runs, sometimes it does not. The best combo I've so far found is to lower the bus speed to 133 MHz and manually make sure the AGP speed is half that - it works with the 100MHz/50MHz combo, and 133 MHz/67 MHz, but not any faster that that. Which sucks because the machine used to have FSB @ 166 MHz...

Why the blazing fucks do I have to do this!?! Why can't I just plug it in and It Would Work? Who was the mind-maggot who designed something which makes you wish you were a Teletubby on a barbeque stick over fire, because then you would at least be having fun?

I hate, hate, hate, HATE PC hardware. People tend to think that geeks like to tinker with PC hardware, but let me tell you once and for all: We positively HATE it. We'd rather make cool things and not spend precious hours crawling under the desk, and trying to live with the mistakes made by shitty-brained morons from outer space.

If anyone has any ideas on how to make a ATI Radeon 9600 card (which has already been exchanged once, so the card is unlikely to be faulty) to work on an EPOX 8RDA+ motherboard, I sorely need your advice about now. Otherwise I will shoot the bunny.

(And "buy a Mac" is not good advice in this case: if it were an option, I would've already done it.)

(While I am complaining, I would also really like to know what the guy who decided that the default state of KMix in KDE is to have all the channels MUTED, was thinking. It's completely non-obvious, and makes configuring sound a royal PITA, unless you happen to know what you are doing. And you need to log out if you want to save the settings; otherwise it mutes all the channels at the next log-in again. Hel-lo? Do you guys have any brain cells left from all the C++?)

Update: temporary solution was to rip my nVidia Geforce 3 from my Linux box to Outi's computer, and install the Radeon 9600 to my Linux machine. Outi's computer works now fine, but I still spent several hours trying to make Linux understand about 3D acceleration and failed. If the suckage in our apartment was gravity, the Sun would revolve around Earth, not vice versa.


I feel your pain. I wish I could offer words of advice or encouragement to make you feel better but unfortunately, there are none. Atleast it was your own system. I have told my friends and family not to mention to anyone that I know anything about computers because they always ask for me to install hardware. Inevitably something goes wrong and the first thing the say is "I thought you said you knew what you were doing." They act like it is not my fault that they have an 8 year old computer that was the first computer ever to have USB and expect a brand new scanner to work flawlessly on it with Windows ME. I tried installing an ATI video card in a friends system for him and we had nothing but problems. Finally traded it in for and Nvidia and have not had a problem since. I have heard good things about ATI but lately I have heard just as many bad ones as well.

--JPS, 14-Oct-2005

From what I've heard, Radeon cards are notoriously bad for not working well under Linux, especially when it comes to 3D acceleration. In that field, NVidia is way ahead. I do feel your pain though, having just spent a long evening trying to install, actually not hardware but D-Link's Wireless ADSL Modem (note: avoid this product, the configuration is really really awful) and having my head bleed in the end (by banging it on my desk when connecting the ADSL modem to the phone line).

--Tuomas, 14-Oct-2005

I also feel your pain. I have always built my own systems and have been willing to put up with the pain since it is the exact hardware I want/need.

I've had family members ask in the past, and I built a few systems. When they now ask I reply "Dude, you're getting a Dell!!!"

I second the votes for NVidia cards, I've had a few and they work well. (Well they do run hot, but that may not be an issue.

In your case, try to think of it as a labor of love :-)

--Foster, 14-Oct-2005

About Linux and 3D - the only cards that really work are older ATI Radeons, up to 9200. Anything later, or an nVidia, requires binary drivers form the manufacturer. And if you're going that way you might as well use Windows + Cygwin.

Ubuntu configured my Radeons nicely without me doing anything, btw. Debian requires lots of hacking which I rarely do as the only use for 3D are the OpenGL xscreensaver hacks....

As for the AGP card not working, never seen that one. Then again, I don't own anything later than a bunch of 9200s and one Quadro 2. Trying to get hardware released during the last two or so years up and running is a waste of time IMHO.

--Kimberly, 14-Oct-2005

PCs = activity generators Macs = tools, cost more, some hate them, because they are marketed with design

Always were, always will be.

Try the following:

- Disable "fast writes" in bios (and in drivers, if allowed) (unless you are on A64 platform) - Make sure your 3.3V and 5V lines are up to snuff (measure from the molex with a meter, not using bios sensors) -> If not, consider PSU upgrade

It was a bit unclear from you post, if the error is at A) bios/power level, B) OS/device driver level C) application/API layer level.

If you can't get it fixed, please elaborate.

Off-topic (not a troll):

PS Yes, I use, build and configure my own PCs, but I recommend Macs to everybody who don't need special devices or don't want to tinker. I've accidentally converted several PC users to Mac and they've been happy campers ever since (always thanking me and asking why they didn't switch earlier). It's not that Macs are without their problems, but for the average user or somebody who doesn't want to tinker (and requires no Linux/Win32 specific apps) they are a killer, imho. Example: my friend is doing design on a Mac bought in '95, with only 1 cpu/mem upgrade/new monitor in between otherwise exactly same hardware. No problems they can't deal with (sure it crashes occasionally), no continued re-installs, no tinkering - just works. And this is MacO S9. I can't count the number of times I've re-installed various Windows versions during the same 10 years :)

--vasra, 17-Oct-2005

Thanks. I think I've fiddled with all the functionality in BIOS. It seems that the problem in question was some incompatibility between nForce chipset and the ATI board - once I moved it to my older, AMD 761-based system, it started to work fine.

Now the problem is that Ubuntu has become exceedingly unstable under the new graphics card. Both the Xfree and ATI official drivers seem to be very flaky (the XFree driver is more solid, but it crashes any Java AWT application almost instantly, so it's a nogo). The ATI official drivers (both the ones that come with Ubuntu and the ones downloaded from their web site) somewhat work, but Java still crashes on occasion.

Though it could be sound as well: running amaroK for more than 15 minutes tends to kill aRTs.

So I'm sort of fine, provided that I don't use a) 3D, b) sound, c) any graphical Java app.

This sucks. I already own a Mac, and it has been the most trouble-free machine I've ever had. I'm sort of waiting for the x86 Macs, but I might just buy whatever Apple brings out on the 19th...

--JanneJalkanen, 17-Oct-2005

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