Hardware is evil (Or, at least frustrating...)


Ken dropped off the replacement case exhaust fans, CPU heatsink and UPS this afternoon. No problem at all with the UPS or the case exhaust fans, but the CPU heatsink turned out to be a serious PITA.

I started on replacing the CPU cooler... read the instructions and realised there was a little plate that needed to be installed behind the motherboard. I'd actually asked just for a replacement fan for the old cooler to avoid even needing to pull out the old cooler (it always produced so much suction on the CPU that it would just pull the silly thing out of the socket when you pulled the cooler out). Still, Ken wanted to go with the Zalman copper+aluminum cooler, and since it made his life easier I went along with it.

Reading the instructions for the new cooler, it seemed I needed to pull out the whole motherboard to do the replacement (in order to get that little plate in behind the motherboard). So off I go on the long process of ripping out all the cards, disconnecting all the cables, and putting the plate in place...

First problem showed up in ripping out the cards. You see, it's been a long time (9 months? something like that) since I built this iteration of my workstation, so I'd forgotten that the 1.5V-only AGP slot had this little black plastic holder that lets you know you're trying to plug in a non-1.5V card. When I tried to pull out the Radeon it wouldn't come out... so I pulled... and the holder broke. Not a huge problem, it just means that the next time I change video cards I'm going to have to be a little extra careful... unlike today.

Okay, a little frustrated with myself, I finish pulling out the motherboard and turn it over. It already has one of those little backing plates for the current bracket. Luckily for my sanity it didn't match the little holders for the new bracket :) .

Everything went fine going forward until it came time to reconnect the IDE cables. Apparently as I got frustrated with the card-holder breaking I was a little rough on the IDE header... I bent a few of the pins... grrr. I managed to get the cable back in, but now every time I work with the drives I'm going to have to mess around with that header.

Anyway, machine is back up, and the new CPU heatsink is ever so slightly better than the last one (CPU temp is about 2 degrees cooler). Turns out that it's almost exactly the same volume as the (failing) old one, but that's probably because I've not put on the little potentiometer to slow it down... but then it's already a bit hot, so I don't know that I should really slow the fan any more.

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