Two days ago, my PC froze and refused to boot. This was highly irregular, as I’ve never had a PC fail on me before. I’ve bought parts that were DOA, parts that I’ve destroyed myself by accident, but I’ve never had a part fail on me from prolonged use.
I managed to trace the fault to my CPU, It’s not even that old, I bought it July 2004, being at the time, one of the most overclockable CPUs around. The AMD Athlon 2500+ Barton core. It runs at 1.8GHz default, with a 333MHz FSB, but, I was able to push the FSB all the way to 420Mhz, giving a healthy 2.3 GHz overclock.
I’ve had it running at this speed for many months now, and not had a single problem with stability. A couple days before it died, I was encoding vidoes to xVid, taking upto 12 hours at a time, without any problems. Then, when I’m watching TV (something which takes about 15% of the CPU, as it’s just MPEG-2 decoding), the whole PC freezes. I try to turn it back on, it powers up, but a blank screen and no sounds. I start getting worried, so I start dismantaling the PC, checking which component was broken. I prayed it wasn’t my hard drive, as I hadn’t done a backup for a while, but I eventually singled it out to be the CPU (using another motherboard, graphics card and RAM, it was the only component I hadn’t changed).
I thought, “Oh thats good, it only cost me Â£40 to buy that CPU”. It was the cheapest (crucial) component in the whole PC. So I go off to my usual online suppliers, and I find that most of them don’t even stock the 2500+ anymore. If they do, they charge an extortinate amount for it (around Â£70, same as a 2800+).
So I guess its off to eBay then, unless anyone who reads this wants to sell their Athlon XP processor?
Update: I managed to find a 2500+ Barton CPU for Â£60. So I took the bullet and bought it.
Update: It seems my graphics card is dead too. Oh goody.
Update: I’ve ordered a cheap-ass ATi Radeon 9250 for now. Â£30 is a reasonable price including next day delivery.
Update: It seems the CPU wasn’t dead after all, just the graphics card. I’ve now bought a new ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, and sold the AMD Athlon 2500+ I bought in mistake