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Old 04-03-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
sittykitty
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Ubuntu incompatibility? Or hardware problems?


I tried for hours yesterday, off and on, and could not get Ubuntu 8.10 to boot on my desktop. (The one time I did, I received a boot error message and was told to reboot.) BIOS was set to boot from DVDR first, but it still would not work. I unplugged everything, checked all inside connections, and finally got it to run from the CD again. I chose install this time because I wanted to install it over whatever is was going buggy on my pc. However, that failed. I got it to boot a couple times more, had it fail a couple times more, before my computer started rejecting it.

BIOS started to naturally knock the DVDR out of first. Eventually, BIOS stopped recognizing the CD drive all together. I tried to see if I could find a BIOS update, but couldn't understand anything I found. I inserted the motherboard cd but my pc froze. (Asus motherboard, AMI BIOS, Intel Pentium 4 processor, 160Gb HD, 1.24 GB RAM, home built pc)

I completely reinstalled XP Pro over the old partition in order to hopefully get the system functional again, as trying to use that CD messed up my PC even more. I had to go back into BIOS again in order to get XP Pro to install as well.

After this, I tried to boot Ubuntu again (livecd) and every time I get an error message. Either a screen full of I/O error messages or the same box I got before "boot error" "reboot" pop-up box.

I'm trying to determine whether this is a hardware or software problem with my computer.

Ubuntu runs live with no problem on my laptop.

Inside the fresh install of XP, I am having trouble with AIM and McAfee. I didn't have this problem to I reinstalled windows. I'm not sure if it could be the video card or drivers or what. AIM won't load at all (the box comes up and then automatically shuts down again). McAfee keeps giving a message that says there's a problem with Java. I downloaded the recent version of Sun Java, but that didn't fix the problem.

Last edited by sittykitty; 04-03-2009 at 10:17 PM.
 
Old 04-03-2009, 11:05 PM   #2
GrapefruiTgirl
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How old is this computer and the various components it contains? And how clean inside?

If the hardware is more than several years old, it could be a weakening power supply, broken or damaged IDE cables, and/or other deteriorating parts (there was a 'situation' several years ago where motherboards from many major manufacturers and other components were being knowingly or unknowingly manufactured with cheap or defective knock-off components which died prematurely; I have a video card like that-- I replaced the bad components and it is good as new now.).

Or, it could be DIRTY parts, as in, the insides of the CD or DVD drive (the laser lens). Stuff like fireplace fumes, cooking vapours, cigarette smoke, etc, can really play havoc with optical drives after a while, and I have had very bizarre-seeming problems go away completely by cleaning the lenses in my optival drives with alcohol and a Q-tip.

There's a lot going on in your post, what with the BIOS settings changing, Windows, Ubuntu, AIM, McAfee, and all, but based on the info you provided, I vote for a hardware problem.

And FWIW, I doubt a BIOS upgrade will fix it, but usually you would get a BIOS upgrade from your motherboard maker-- Asus in your case.
 
Old 04-03-2009, 11:55 PM   #3
sittykitty
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Yeah, I have a fan and exhaust running in there but cleaned it out a little also. CD ROM etc. I did go to the Asus site as well as AMI, and for the life of me, I simply couldn't find what I was supposed to do. I'm not sure if I was in the wrong location or what. The power supply was replace a few months after the computer was built. (Not sure why, but the one my cousin put in there blew prematurely.) I want to start rebuilding the system myself, in pieces, anyway. But it sucks not know what I need first! Initially I was just going to get a much larger hard drive and work my way up, but I wasn't sure if my motherboard would take it. So, I said maybe I should start with the motherboard, but I don't know necessarily know how to build a computer and wanted to be sure before I started throwing money around.

I don't know how old the parts are because I didn't build the system. But, I've been using this desktop since.... fall of 2005.

To make matters worse, my installation of Ubuntu 8.10 seems to stall on my laptop! I selected install while running live cd, to partitioned with Vista. I'm afraid to reboot it now! lol
 
Old 04-04-2009, 12:09 AM   #4
GrapefruiTgirl
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Well, FWIW, my machine is custom built by me, and I first got it (built by another person) in November 2003.
The only thing that remains of the original machine is the case!! Since 2003, the original HDD went kaput, the original motherboard went kaput (CPU voltage regulators I think), my original CDROM went kaput, the original DVDROM is sketchy at best and is now in my old firewall machine, and I got a new one a year ago.. Hmm, the letters wore off the original keyboard, so I replaced that. The original power supply never actually 'died' while in my machine, but I replaced it anyways and scavenged some parts from the old one. The original video card had defective capacitors on it which were leaking, so I replaced them and now that card is in my room mates computer.. The original monitor works and is on the firewall machine, but I had to replace the cord because the wires wore out near the VGA connector.. The new motherboard I got wasn't compatible with either my old memory, video card, or CPU, so they're all new now. Whew...

I've rebuilt the whole thing, and currently nothing inside the box is more than 18 months old.. This stuff doesn't last like it used to :/ -- OH, I stll have my original Logitech mouse

Building a computer is not hard, it's kinda like 'plug & play' only with a phillips screwdriver and more wires but either way, if it were me, I would start with a decent new power supply and go from there.

Not sure what else to suggest, but if you want feedback, just ask; you'll prolly get lots of it!

Cheers,
Sasha
 
Old 04-04-2009, 12:29 AM   #5
masonm
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It would help if you would post the exact error messages you are seeing. It could be nothing more than a bad download or a bad burn. Could be any number of things, but without specifics any answers are just guesses.
 
Old 04-04-2009, 01:16 AM   #6
sittykitty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masonm View Post
It would help if you would post the exact error messages you are seeing. It could be nothing more than a bad download or a bad burn. Could be any number of things, but without specifics any answers are just guesses.
It's not even possible to write all of the i/o errors. There were way too many different numbers listed. As for the burn, it installed fine on my laptop (I think).

As for the other error message I mention, it was a pop-up window (gray & red) and it said Boot Error at the top, and the message in the box said "reboot", and it had a button that said "OK".

Last edited by sittykitty; 04-04-2009 at 01:49 AM.
 
Old 04-04-2009, 02:11 AM   #7
sittykitty
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Thanks Sasha -

Since you're here, do motherboards come with their own sound and video cards? I know you can buy kits that include "everything", but I want to make sure it really is everything I need. The harddrive isn't a big deal, nor are the CDROM & power supply, etc. The only issue I have with the last two would be aesthetic.

When I first got this computer, I planned to put it in a new case. However, I never could decide what I wanted. Basically, ignorance leaves me torn between price and quality. If I don't know enough about the function, technology, or manufacturer, it leaves me feeling like I'm shooting blind.

I want a case with a window, so do I want the pretty power supply? Will it last? Do I save money by going with the $80 processor? If I go with the one for $200 will it really last longer? Will the price drop next year because something else was released? LOL There are soooo many types of CPU coolers out there. heh heh heh


Those would be my main concerns.

Last edited by sittykitty; 04-04-2009 at 02:12 AM.
 
Old 04-04-2009, 11:28 AM   #8
GrapefruiTgirl
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sittykitty
Q: do motherboards come with their own sound and video cards?
There's pretty much *always* an onboard sound device, ie a built-in sound card. I cannot think of a desktop board that doesn't have that, though surely there are some.
Video is a different story. Many boards DO have an onboard video card built in, and a lot do not. As a rule, an onboard video device will not have the capabilities of a plug-in card. Your selection for a video card depends on exactly what sort of video you will be doing; there are loads of good video cards out there that cost very little, while conversely you could spend hundreds of dollars on a video card, and it would be a waste if you did not need that sort of card.
Quote:
Q: I know you can buy kits that include "everything", but I want to make sure it really is everything I need. The harddrive isn't a big deal, nor are the CDROM & power supply, etc. The only issue I have with the last two would be aesthetic.
'Kits' can include a variety of stuff, but often (IMHO) I have seen kits that *look* like a really great deal, at big-box stores or online computer suppliers; often the case is that they have an overstock of a particular CPU and motherboard for example, so they pair them up and sell them as a package. Or maybe they have manufacturers incentives to pair up certain parts... Now, if the parts suit you, then great, it's a good deal. But a good PRICE only makes it a good DEAL if there is VALUE in it in your view.
No company is putting together kits to make our life easier, or to save us money-- they are doing it for some reason that makes THEM money.

Quote:
Q: When I first got this computer, I planned to put it in a new case. However, I never could decide what I wanted. Basically, ignorance leaves me torn between price and quality. If I don't know enough about the function, technology, or manufacturer, it leaves me feeling like I'm shooting blind.
Use Google, and go to sites like TigerDirect and Newegg.com and check out parts that you are considering. These sites and others allow customers to post reviews of stuff they buy. You can see what real people think of the product: Do they like it, or is it junk?
Cases are a) a matter of personal preference; b) quality vs. price; and c) need to fit your motherboard... Motherboards come in a number of physical 'sizes' including ATX, BTX, mini-ATX, Micro-ATX, etc.. An ATX case will fit them all, and so it is larger than for example a Micro-ATX-only case.

Quote:
Q: I want a case with a window, so do I want the pretty power supply? Will it last?
Depends.. If the window is large enough to show off the power supply, you might want a prettier power supply but whether pretty or not, it's the quality of the power supply that determines how long it will last. Again, search for product reviews online, and use common sense: A $20 power supply will probably not be as good as a $80 power supply. Get a decent power supply froma reputable manufacturer, and make sure it is of suitable wattage (power output) for the components you plan to connect. For a normal computer, a 500WATT power supply is generally suitable.

Quote:
Q: Do I save money by going with the $80 processor? If I go with the one for $200 will it really last longer?
Processors drop in price constantly as newer ones come on the market. Some people prefer AMD, some prefer Intel. Intel tends to be more costly for a comparable processor. Me for example, I prefer Intel, and I am willing to pay a bit more for an Intel processor. However, there are just as many AMD folks out there who swear by their AMD units, and the price is usually lower.
Generally, any processor will last a very long time, provided it has adequate cooling and a good power supply, regardless who makes the processor. Some are more prone to failure because of poor design or old technology; for example, Intels 'Pentium-D' series are reported to run very hot, which likely shortens their life.

NOTE: Any motherboard only fits a certain family of processor; boards are designed for AMD processor families, or Intel processor families. Each processor family is of a certain 'socket' type, which determines physically what processors will fit into the socket on the motherboard. As far as I know, a given motherboard will not fit BOTH AMD and Intel processors; they are designed for one or the other, so you must examine boards you like vs. processors you like, and match the two for each other. Motherboards specifications will tell the shopper what processor/socket they are made for.

Quote:
Q: Will the price drop next year because something else was released?
Yes, definitely! You can't win in this department.

Quote:
Q: There are soooo many types of CPU coolers out there.
That's true.. However, most processors (maybe all of them?) come as a 'boxed' version, which includes a cooler, or an 'un-boxed' version, which allows for YOU to get your own cooler of your choice. Coolers are designed to fit only a certain family of processors, so you must match the cooler to the family of processor you are looking at.
For simplicity and guaranteed proper fit, I would go for a 'boxed' processor with the cooler/fan included.


Hope this helps a bit! Always shop around, and always read customer reviews when available. Check the HCL here on LQ too, for reviews of hardware that people have and like (or do not like).
 
  


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