My dads computer saga and my need to hoard old computer junk

Yet again, my dad is having computer problems…

On a side note, I should really have a t-shirt with the superman logo on it.

Apparently, unbeknown to me, the computer at his office has been acting up. Every few minutes/hours/days (it’s somewhat random) the computer screen would just go solid black for a fraction of a second, and then back to normal. So it was workable, but annoying. Then, out of nowhere the screen would just get these totally random pixelated messy blocks and stay like that. It would be completely locked up.

The computer has an Asus P5PE-VM motherboard, which has on-board video.

I remembered that I had an old-ish (but brand new) motherboard and CPU in the basement, so I grabbed them, popped them in, but they were the wrong type, so the CPU fan didn’t fit.

So I decided that I would boot up in safe-mode, and run some diagnostic burn-in software to see if there were any errors that came up. It ran flawlessly for 90-minutes. I thought that maybe it was just luck, so I booted up into Windows normally, ran the software, and within 5-minutes – BAM – locked up and frozen.

That to me sounded like it was a driver problem. So, I upgraded the video drivers, windows updates, etc, etc. Nothing helped!

My next thought was to put in an AGP or PCI video card, and disable the on-board one.

So I found an old 16MB Voodoo 3D card that I had lying around. Popped it in, got into the BIOS, disabled the on-board video, and voila – no black flickering, no crazy mess of video displaying.

Outstanding!

Until…

The computer just totally locked up… out of nowhere.

Now it makes sense… it had to have been the RAM. You see, on-board video cards use a fraction of the RAM to run.

So off into the BIOS I go, play around with the timing, and whatnot, but no dice… the computer was still locking up.

I called Tom to see if he had any RAM kicking around – he wasn’t home but thought he did. A few hours passed, I’m playing around with other settings, cooling, but nothing worked.

Finally, I remembered that I had some old RAM. At least I thought I did. I spent about 30-minutes looking for it, and then I found them. I had 5 “older” sticks – 4x 512MB, and 1x 256MB. I remembered though that one of them was BAD… but why would I have labeled them? Why would I have kept bad RAM in the first place? I have some kind of nasty need to retain old computer junk for no good reason – well… in this instance (for the RAM) it was no good reason, but it was a good thing I had the video card.

So I pop in the first one, I run memtest-86 on it… after 35-minutes it found an error. This goes on for all the RAM. EACH FRIGGEN STICK IS BUSTED!

Why would I have kept bad RAM? What is wrong with me?

Anyways, going to pick-up new RAM tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens… hopefully that’s the end of it.

The 5-sticks of dead ram...