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The Woes Of Rebates And A Fubared System

*sigh*.. Seems as if ole faithful finally bit the dust....

Recently a rebate center lost my UPC code for a Hitachi Deskstar 1TB drive I bought in January. After venting some controlled frustration with the rebate center (they're people too, of course), I was given a very inconvenient option: Submit a photocopy of my UPC code. Let me tell you. Photocopying a UPC code you don't have is a very difficult task.

I decided the best course of action I could take on was to photocopy my HDD itself, as I remembered the UPC code was also printed on the HDD's label. So today (a few days after I decided I would do that) I had to restart my computer due to some audio issue I had been noticing. In the past week, my PC has completely crashed twice, which is very unusual for how well I maintain my system.

Both times my PC crashed was while playing Left 4 Dead. Before I left for Mexico, I played a little with N2Gaming and had a blast introducing him to the Dead Air campaign (my personal favorite). Before we actually were able to play normally, I shared my settings with him to try. Additionally, I tried something my steam friend Puma suggested-- Disable multicore rendering. It's supposed to reduce stuttering that the game will occasionally do.

When I would crash, my monitor would go completely black and into sleep mode. Nothing to display. I don't remember now if there was audio loop both times or even in just one of them at all.. But I do know everything stopped, and I had to power down my machine for 3 seconds before I could boot up again. No reset switch action. The first time it crashed.. No problem really. Second time we had some issues.

I didn't notice what was wrong right away until I tried to listen to some music via foobar2000. Along with my recent love for flac, I am now loving this media player as well. I was absolutely devistated when I opened up my beloved media player to find that it crashed instantly on startup. Googled a bit, found out .Net framework 2.0 had been corrupted. Did a repair on it, and foobar2000 loads perfect.. Aside from the fact that any track I tried to play would instantly stop. Naturally I check my output settings. I set my default audio device to Realtek audio and apply, and I can listen to my music again. That was yesterday. Today I experienced more audio issues elsewhere.

Next program that gave me trouble: SAM Broadcaster. This morning I went to connect to my resident internet radio station's stream to start my 3 hour playlist.. No audio. SAM is set up to relay artist names and song titles to our IRC server. All that was working fine.. But when I opened the station in iTunes to hear the output, I heard the default audio loop played when no DJ is on air.. Even though I was "encoding". Realtek audio wasn't working, so I try setting it to "silent output".. It worked, but it did me no good-- It throws off my timing if I can't hear what I play in realtime. Updated audio drivers, set it back to realtek output and everything was fine again... Until I shutdown my PC to make that photocopy.

The fact that Left 4 Dead was linked to my crashing makes me wonder though.. A pal of mine used to crash in CoD4 this way before. He crashed a lot in that game, and eventually had a dead motherboard from it. I can't help but think this could be exactly what happened to me.

Maybe it's just a coincidence that the two crashes happened after disabling multicore. For all I know, my beautiful Lanparty UT nf4 Ultra-D's zombification could have nothing to do with that... After all, this motherboard has been in constant use for 6 years now. Components have all been changed and HDDs have been added, but it's the last to remain.

Admittedly, the motherboard could have been a PEBCAK error. When I took the HDD out of the case to photocopy it, I also removed a wireless card that hadn't been working for well over a month (dunno why). The screw was being a little bugger to get out, and eventually it fell. I couldn't see where it went in my Professional Cable Management Systemâ„¢ (rat nest), so I let it go for the time being and got to photocopying. I come back, put the HDD in, close up my case, plug in the cables... And power on. One long beep, three very short beeps. And then it hit me: I never removed that screw.

So did I accidently short something? That's what I'm thinking. But considering the types of crashes I had with L4D (no beeps though..), it's possible that loose screw was unrelated. After all.. It's possible my Professional Cable Management Systemâ„¢ caught it before it hit the board.

All I know is the motherboard is dead or just borked in some funky way. Maybe something attached to the motherboard is borked. Iunno, but I do know the wireless card was installed under my video card. With the tower standing straight up when power was connected, I feel there's little chance the screw could have touched the card.


Extra Audio Aid: BSOD - Lollercoaster (Kinda Funny Mix)

All comments welcome.


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