My new MoBo

I replaced my motherboard Tuesday night with a DFI LanParty NFII Ultra. This is a great motherboard. The dual-channel memory access makes a noticeable difference in the speed of memory-intensive operations. The board is stylish, too, which is great if you have a windowed case (I don’t – I have a monster full-tower case and I have yet to take a dremel tool to it). It came with a “FrontX” connection box that goes in a drive bay and lets you put USB, FireWire, audio, etc — just about anything — in the front of your case in a clean manner, which is great for a custom computer. This board has some other nice touches, too — such as power and reset switches on the motherboard that you can use before you hook up the case switches, and POST diagnostic LEDs right on the board that let you know what’s going on. And the NForce 2 Ultra is the hands-down best chipset available for AMD CPUs. I rate this mobo 9.5/10.

Changing a motherboard is probably the most labor-intensive computer upgrade task. Everything connects to it — what a pain. It’s better to build a new computer from scratch than to change its mobo, but that wasn’t an option for me at the time.

As for my old mobo, the BIOS chip that went brain-dead can be replaced for $20 (and who knows how long it will take to get here), so it looks like I have a part for a new computer for a kid or something.

BIOS upgrade tanks my system

I have built my own computers for years. I have upgraded motherboards, CPUs, video cards, and everything else in a case, many times. Today, I needed to update the BIOS on my computer’s motherboard — something I have done many times before without difficulty.

But today, there was a difficulty. That is to say, it tanked. After the BIOS was flashed, it said “press F1 to continue.” I pressed F1. Black screen… black screen… nothing happened. A sinking feeling in my stomach set in as I realized that the software that makes the computer’s spine (motherboard) work was broken. I hit reset — hoping that just maybe the program just froze up. Nothing. Black screen. They always say that flashing a BIOS constitutes a “risk.” But this is the first time I have ever seen it actually fail.

Part of the costs of living on a small island like Kauai is that you can’t always drive to a store to get something you need. I called up the only computer parts store on the island that is likely to carry a selection of motherboards and asked: “do you have any Nforce2 chipset boards with RAID?” Their response made it obvious that they didn’t know what I was talking about. So I have put in an order with NewEgg for a new motherboard and it will probably take four or five days to get here.

So for now, I am stuck with my laptop. At least I can still check email, fill orders for SwordSearcher, and update my blog.

Blaster Virus maker arrested. He’s fat.

A 18 year-old has been arrested for making a modified version of the “Blaster” virus. [Article] The weird thing about this is that every news story I have seen or heard about this has mentioned that the guy is 6′ 4″ and 320 pounds. Yeah, that’s big. Odd though that it has to be included in every report about the guy. If he was smaller, do you think they would always mention that he was of average height and build?