Being the computer geek in the family means I am frequently called upon for computer emergencies. The most recent one involves a Dell computer that bit the dust. The machine wouldn't POST and gave only a memory error beep code. After several rounds of moving the memory chips to different slots and then trying new memory, I finally gave up and decided it's time to start fresh. I figured it was most likely an issue with the motherboard.
Now the folks at Dell are kind enough to use a bunch of non-standard hardware. This means that whenever you want to replace something, you pretty much have to go to Dell or to Ebay. Their power supply connector is a standard ATX connector, but they wire it differently. Therefore, you need a Dell specific power supply as a replacement.
Anyway, not being absolutely sure that the motherboard was the problem, I figured it was a good time to go for a bit of an upgrade. I went online and found a new motherboard, cpu, and power supply on NewEgg.
The goods were promptly delivered by UPS the other day, so last night I decided to start putting the parts together. It didn't take me too long to discover that Dell also doesn't use standard connectors for the case power switch. Arghhh! So since I had the day off from work today, out I went to pick up a new case. The last thing I wanted to do was to waste time trying to mod their power switch connector and then try to guess what goes where on the new motherboard. That just sounded too much like a recipe for disaster.
So now all that remains of the original computer is a 160 GB SATA hard drive, a stupid DVD-ROM drive, and a CD-RW drive. I have all the parts put together and I'm typing this post from the new setup booted into an Ubuntu 8.04 Live CD. All the hardware works just fine without any drivers installed by me. I only wish it was that easy for my upcoming Windows XP install on this thing.
Ubuntu worked quite well to back up the hard drive data to an external drive before I wipe it clean for a fresh XP install. I may have to go ahead and make this thing dual boot to Ubuntu. Who knows, maybe I can make a conversion.