One of them days / I dunno mate I just work here.

  • Post by JuliaRez
  • May 02, 2021

Oh, computer.

The ancient m/b, which I had managed to keep mostly working by throwing a SSD and lots of memory at, finally couldn’t keep up with the weight of the JS required to make FB work. There’s probably a coin miner deep in there somewhere.

Anyway. I thought to waste ¬£overtime on a previous-gen gamey-game rig because I’d got quite used to several cores and lots of GHz and memory.

Supplier emailed to say ‘we can’t get the one you ordered, would something smaller and faster be ok?’ I allowed as how that would be fine, and discovered that sourcing hardware is all sorts of fun RN.

Board arrived. I discovered that it would work best with an 8-pin +12v connector, but be ‘ok’ with the 4-pin I had. I thought about it for five minutes and then overnighted a new PSU.

I plumbed it all together, made the appropriate blood sacrifice to the gods of poorly-deburred casework, and sparked the thing up. No howling, no smoke, but no video either.

Modern kit is supplied with a LED array to show you what you’ve fucked up. In this case, the critical difference between the board I originally wanted, and the smaller and faster one that arrived, was the lack of integrated video. Not really a surprise for a gaming rig that is mostly matt black, crinkle finish heatsinks, and probably somewhere to fit a picatinny rail.

I thought about it for five minutes, asked a younger person about linux-friendly video cards, discovered that fucking coin mining has made everything expensive, and overnighted something cheap and fanless.

I plumbed it all together, avoided making any blood sacrifice this time, and sparked the thing up. No howling, no smoke, but no video either.

This was when I told myself to walk away, make supper, and think about something else that wasn’t ‘Have I just feckered several hundred pounds of new kit?’

Supper came out good, and I went off for a spot of yoga. Mid down-dog, I spotted a surplus VGA cable and wondered if that was the default video output, rather than the HDMI or DVI ports.

It was. Hurrah! At this point I also discovered that the board needed to be configured for not-UEFI boot in order to cope with the existing Linux boot devices. More hurrah!

About twenty minutes later X locked up. I shelled in from a different box to discover no load, but a busily segfaulting X server. It was now half-eleven and I needed sleep.

After breakfast, I installed the proprietory Nvidia drivers. The load on the system dropped from one core running hot to sod-all. Meanwhile, since Linux, there was no audio. Some digging revealed people trying all sorts of malarkey to appease the audio gods, and one person going ‘You probably want to turn off the Nvidia HDMI audio and turn on the starship/Matisse ditto. Then it will work.’ and so it did.

In short - JFC I hate PC hardware and this is why I avoid it as much as possible. Also, I am equally happy and horrified that I can overnight hardware and it not be stupid expensive like the blackbox/betterbox catalogues used to be.