July 13th, 2006

jim

hardware problems?

Sigh ...

Jane's pestering me about the fact that the old desktop computer keeps locking up at random moments. Of course, even with a freakin' Ph.D. in CS, there's no way to figure out anything on a PC anymore. Maybe, though, I've got a handle on it.

Did a little Googling and found a GNU program called memtest which does an exhaustive memory test. Twice I've run it (you can boot into it, so no nasty Windows stuff to get in the way) and it's hung at the same point each time. Since Windows isn't involved, that suggests to me it's a hardware thing.

So, in the old tradition of "try the cheapest thing first", I'm gonna try buying some new memory for it. The old paperwork I have for this thing claims that the memory are 128 MB DIMMS, SDRAM, 168 pin, 133 Mhz. I can get two of the same thing at Best Buy for $70, so that's a relatively cheap way to try and fix it.

So, to anyone who's bothering to read this:

a) Am I missing anything terribly obvious in my analysis here?

b) If indeed dumping the old memory chips solves it, any chance I can get bigger memory chips in the same slots? (I'm quite hopeless when it comes to hardware stuff ... that's why I teach theory. :))

I'd take it back to the manufacturer, but we bought it from Ekos, which is out of business. :(
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