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Author Topic: nearby lightning skrike kills neighbours computers (and mine)  (Read 14490 times)
nudone
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« Reply #50 on: July 02, 2011, 05:38:01 PM »

I admit, I don't trust the machine yet. It appears to be working fine but I am almost expecting to turn it on tomorrow to find it bluescreen after 5 minutes.

Or, to be more precise, I'm expecting the problem(s) to reoccur if I attempt to put my other hard drives into the machines - as that could mean I'll move the "special" sata cable by a few nanometres and that will kill the solid state drive.

I guess I've just got to bight the bullet and see. Put all the hardware inside and then stress test it like you say.
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westom
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« Reply #51 on: July 02, 2011, 06:14:15 PM »

I replaced the sata cable connected to the solid state drive with one of the 'special ones' still wrapped up in the motherboard box. This suddenly allowed windows to install perfectly.
...
If you want something done properly, then you better do it yourself.

  Your story is why better manufacturers provide comprehensive hardware diagnostics for free.  That find failures by first identifying them.   And to also locate strange problems later when your working machine suddenly goes funky.

  Windows intentionally works around and tries to avoid failures.  Windows is a poor hardware diagnostic tool.   Is it Windows or hardware?  More confusion when comprehensive diagnostics are not provided.

  Burn-in was never about executing diagnostics overnight.  That myth perverts a well proven diagnostic procedure.   Burn-in is literally just that.  A computer is heated to over 100 degrees F.  Then tested.  Computers that are defective but still work at 70 degrees F will quickly identify an existing and 'what will get worse' defect when tested at a completely ideal room temperature:  100 degrees F.  That is always what burn-in was.  And how to find a defect long before its warranty expires.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 06:47:12 PM by westom » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #52 on: July 02, 2011, 06:37:44 PM »

Quote
The machine was built by Overclockers (in the uk), a store that have dealt with high end machines for years - so you'd assume they know what they are doing when it comes to putting a new build together for a customer. Somehow they overlooked using the correct 6gb sata cable.

It's inconceivable that the machine didnt work and test at last minimally ok before they sent it out.  While it's possible that the cable was bad, it seems just as likely to me that the cable was perhaps loose or flakey, and so seemed to work when they sent it.

The very first thing to do when hardware in a pc seems not to work, is unplug it, and then reseat it.  This goes for all cables, memory chips, cards, etc.  So it may just be a matter of unplugging the cable and reseating it that fixed it, rather than changing the cable.  Who knows.
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nudone
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« Reply #53 on: July 02, 2011, 10:55:13 PM »

I don't think the cable was bad; it was simply the wrong cable for the socket it was plugged into. The manual clearly states that the socket is 6gb as does the 'special' cable itself (the one I had to plug in, which clearly looks different to the standard sata cable that they'd used).

The conversations I had on the phone with their support staff indicates that their testing procedure may be nothing more than a quick visual check. Their first response to the problem was: it could be the ram or the ssd.

So, how could it be either if they were tested before shipping.

I think they just made a simple error. They thought a cable is a cable. Maybe it is with a different motherboard and ssd. Maybe the cable isn't the problem; I believe it is as I'd tried connecting the original cable into a second socket several times.

The truth may simply be that the machine was built in England. A common work attitude here tends to be if you make a mistake and can't be bothered to correct it then that's perfectly acceptable. It's far more important to get your fag (cigarette) break in or steal something from the company you work for. So someone used the standard sata cable, wrapped it all up nicely with plastic tie wraps with all the the other cables, stood back and admired the nice neat cabling they'd done all through the case, then realised they'd used the wrong sata cable for the ssd. At this point they had two options: redo all their precious work or go and have a fag-break and pretend they didn't see the mistake.

Or they just weren't paying attention or thought they knew best and didn't need the 'special' cable. Either way, they used the wrong cable and wasted my time. Next time I'll just save a lot of bother and build the machine myself.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 11:16:34 PM by nudone » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #54 on: July 03, 2011, 05:39:50 AM »

It is inconceivable that the computer wasn't switched on to check it worked ... but then it is overclockers and they are ALWAYS right (arrogant bastards) - which is why I don't shop with them any more.

Try getting warranty support from them. I had an ASUS board go bad (with 3 year warranty). ASUS don't deal with the public (which is illegal) - you have to send stuff through the dealer (though what you do when the supplier has gone out of business I don't know).

Anyway OC refused to send the mobo back to ASUS for a replacement (even though ASUS told me they had stocks of the same board for warranty claims) and instead they gave me 30% refund since it was 2 years old. They refused to be budged on this and I couldn't be arsed to take it to court.

Moral of the story - if you want a reliable supplier that actually gives a crap don't use overclockers.co.uk
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 05:44:12 AM by Carol Haynes » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: July 03, 2011, 05:45:28 AM »

Please forgive the following quote...some posts in this topic remind me of:

Quote
[Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

smiley

Surely troublesome to receive such pricey equipment that doesn't work out-of-the-box, my condolences.
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Shades
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« Reply #56 on: July 03, 2011, 06:35:23 AM »

Mouser was right. And maybe I was just lucky.

I tried to get windows installed for about the twentieth time this morning (after wasting about five hours of my life yesterday attempting the same). I decided enough was enough and arranged for the machine to be collected monday. The shop I ordered it from could have a go and I'd happily pay them to do so.

But, after finishing the phone call I decided I'd try one last thing...

I replaced the sata cable connected to the solid state drive with one of the 'special ones' still wrapped up in the motherboard box. This suddenly allowed windows to install perfectly.



The machine was built by Overclockers (in the uk), a store that have dealt with high end machines for years - so you'd assume they know what they are doing when it comes to putting a new build together for a customer. Somehow they overlooked using the correct 6gb sata cable.

I could have just ordered the parts myself and then built the machine AND double checked which cables to use as I put it all together. I didn't as I thought it would be good to let the experts do this one and save myself hours of stress and trouble.

Moral of the story: it's an old one but...

If you want something done properly, then you better do it yourself.


Here is a general rule. Whenever a PC is moved, check the cabling inside (especially from those flimsy SATA connectors). Thermal and electrical 'creep' from cabling, together with moving the PC case can have unexpected results. When you move the PC with a car (LAN party or something) you can add vibrations to the list of events that will disconnect your hardware.

Being burned twice myself with this I always (and I mean always!) check. 
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nudone
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« Reply #57 on: July 03, 2011, 07:00:07 AM »

I didn't realise Overclockers were like that, Carol. But then, you never do find these things out until the damage is done. Any recommendations for a similar styled store but with a nicer attitude?

The advice people are providing about checking the cables and anything else that might have come a little loose when equipment gets moved around is sound good advice. But, I hope I've made myself clear about the problem I had, if not, here goes again: it was not a loose cable it was a wrong cable. I disconnected and reconnected this "wrong" cable several times during my install procedures (I disconnected it whilst installing to an old hard drive I had - which allowed a perfect install first time, and I also tried putting the cable into a 2nd socket).

Okay, I haven't ruled out that the orignal "wrong" cable may just be damaged, maybe there isn't even any difference between a normal sata cable and a 6gb - I suspect there is as they are clearly labelled with 6Gb/s on the connectors. To me, it now seems quite obvious that a 6Gb/s solid state drive connected to a 6Gb/s socket (clearly marked on the motherboard and in the manaul) require a 6Gb/s sata cable, not just a standard cable.

I'm boring everyone by repeating all this as it's not my job to check every component in the machine to see if it's correct - not when I paid the extra for the "professionals" to build the machine for me and make all the cabling look neat and tidy inside the case. I assumed they knew what they were doing. Seems they aren't much better than any other typical computer shop - and as Carol has pointed out, they are probably a lot worse.

p.s.

Just thought I'd quickly comment about Carol's (and mousers) comments about they should have checked the machine before shipping it. I'm sure they did check it. But what does that entail? They could only check it so far - maybe they do an electronic test but not a visual inspection - so they never noticed that they'd overlooked using the correct type sata cable. Their test simply showed that the hardware was fine and working correctly - which it was, until you try putting windows 7 64 bit onto it.

(I guess I'm banging on about all this as I am trying to convince myself that the problem is solved. I've not turned the machine on today. Maybe I'll be looking for a pickaxe to put through it later on today.)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 07:08:55 AM by nudone » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #58 on: July 03, 2011, 08:17:06 AM »

Quote
Their test simply showed that the hardware was fine and working correctly - which it was, until you try putting windows 7 64 bit onto it.

Absolutely.. As you said in your initial posts, the drive was found but only gave trouble when you tried to do a full OS install.  Very possible their testing did not check for real hard drive use.  So they turned it on, everything was detected, they turned it off.

So many of us have had problems with loose cables or unplugging and replugging components that it's just a natural thing to suspect.

A quick look around the web about 6gb sata cables is not definitive but it seems quite plausible that the problem was indeed that the non-6gb cable they attached as either not good enough or was defective.

Given how clear the change in behavior was when you swapped the cables, i STRONGLY suspect you have indeed fixed the problem.  thumbs up
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2011, 08:17:43 AM »

I am trying to convince myself that the problem is solved. I've not turned the machine on today.

Remember the occasion when your old machine was flaky and you turned it off for a while? When you went to turn it on again you tripped over the cat, spilt a can of pop all over the carpet, fell and banged your head on the case whereupon the cat turned around and scratched you? Remember how, then, the old machine worked okay after you turned it on?

Have you tried that this time?   huh
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Chris
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« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2011, 08:50:38 AM »

  Currently unknown is if that cable solved a problem or only cured symptoms. For example, a cold or broken solder joint on the motherboard or disk drive still exists.  Many would then blame a loose cable that (if properly constructed) must never be jarred loose by moving a machine (Michael Dell did not have routine cable problems when his machines were moved far more violently by shippers.)

   Actual problem was not identified before it was changed.  Just another reason why better computer manufacturers have and use comprehensive hardware diagnostics.

  What happens if you have future problems?  Will you again spend hours of frustration trying to solve what could have been identified in minutes by diagnostic software?

  Why a problem even existed, the resulting frustration, and excessive time to find a trivial problem: that is the real lesson.   Comprehensive hardware diagnostics would have identified this problem immediately, without doubt, and without hassle.  Diagnostics also convert future failures into obvious solutions.  Diagnostics are even necessary for a useful burn-in test.  Burn-in test that finds a defect (ie cold or broken solder joint) before it becomes a problem.  Comprehensive diagnostics are necessary even for effective burn-in testing.

  They hope you never discuss or complain about what should have existed and was used even before shipping.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 08:52:14 AM by westom » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2011, 09:40:44 AM »

I am trying to convince myself that the problem is solved. I've not turned the machine on today.

Remember the occasion when your old machine was flaky and you turned it off for a while? When you went to turn it on again you tripped over the cat, spilt a can of pop all over the carpet, fell and banged your head on the case whereupon the cat turned around and scratched you? Remember how, then, the old machine worked okay after you turned it on?

Have you tried that this time?   huh

Hey that was me - failing that I kill a chicken and examine its entrails. Usually works.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #62 on: July 03, 2011, 09:41:44 AM »

A more serious comment - have you invalidated the warranty by fixing their mess?
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40hz
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« Reply #63 on: July 03, 2011, 01:13:31 PM »

FWIW I'm surprised more people don't just build their own if they're going to spend over $800 on a PC. Most likely it won't be the biggest bargain out there. (Bespoke seldom is - no matter who does the building.) But at least you know exactly what you've got, what your warranty status is, and how to fix it.

Today's PCs are more than easy enough to put together as long as you don't want it water-cooled. A chimpanzee with a screwdriver is all it takes. I suspect that's what assembles the bulk of the manufactured models anyway now that China's slave...um, entrepreneurial labor pool is starting to demand subsistence wages. (Ungrateful gits! Where do they get off asking to be paid...)  Wink
 Cool

« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 01:21:33 PM by 40hz » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
nudone
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« Reply #64 on: July 03, 2011, 02:53:10 PM »

A more serious comment - have you invalidated the warranty by fixing their mess?

I really don't want to know the answer to that one. Really, you know how to push my stress levels into the red don't you, Carol.

Anyway, more importantly, I've put my hard drives from the old machine into the new one.  The "wrong" sata cable is still in there and being used but I didn't pay enough attention to remember if I've attached it to a hard drive or the DVD. I suppose, time will tell if there's a problem with it. Okay, so it was stupid of me to leave it in there...

...It so happens that I'm even more stupid than that. I've just been adding up the cost of the components they sent me as part of their "choose your own system" deal. It appears I've paid them around £150 simply for the task of putting the components into the case. In other words, I've paid them £150 to put the machine together wrong, let them waste 8 hours of my life AND, I've had to undo all their daft neat cabling as I needed the plugs for all of my old hardware.

Honestly, I was absolutely shocked when I calculated I'd paid them all that for building the machine. I only went for the "choose your sytem" deal as I thought it would involve a discount compared to buying all the parts individually - like what usually happens when you buy several items at once.

When I think about it, it makes me feel sick. An absolute insult to injury. Okay, maybe charge a bit for building the machine, maybe £50, but not £150. That's just robbery.

You know. If I really didn't want to just move on and get back to sitting in front of a working computer, I'd send the whole lot back and ask for a full refund (it looks like they do that under their terms & conditions under the 7 day distance selling thingy). Anyway, I can't as I've messed about with all their tidy cable ties so I'm sure they'd say the machine isn't as sold.





Moving on, something I found interesting. Because of the 12 gig ram and pagefile, hibernate and other stuff, Windows was occupying around 40 gig on the SSD. Before realising this, I thought I'd made another mistake in buying only a 60 gig SSD - believing there was nothing I could do to stop Windows hogging everything. But it's quite simple, you just disable or reduce all the hogging features. Now Windows is consuming around 11 gig, yes from 40 down to 11 and everything works fine. No doubt Windows 8 will be a bit more intelligent when it comes to drive space (or maybe not, the Microsoft solution is probably just to recommend only buying drives above 200 gig).


This would be the final chapter but I've a 30" monitor being delivered. I'm sure this will induce more pain - especially when it was £300 less than all the other places I saw online. Too good to be true? We shall see.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 02:56:50 PM by nudone » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #65 on: July 03, 2011, 03:13:49 PM »

Sorry to say it but it just wouldn't be worth a business building a machine for £50. It doesn't cover labour costs, national insurance, stock depreciation etc. and you also have to factor in providing warranty service, facilities for building (unless it is a small one person business), insurance etc..

I certainly couldn't/wouldn't build a computer for the price for a client.

If you look at off the shelf computers from the big boys I'd guess that over 75% of the cost is split in profits for the manufacturer and retailer (given the huge scale of bulk discounts they must get).
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nudone
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« Reply #66 on: July 03, 2011, 03:26:50 PM »

True, I can't complain that they want to make money. I just wish I'd not been so eager to buy a new machine and then I'd have spent a bit of time calculating what it would cost me. Maybe I'd still have gone for the option of them building it regardless of the cost - because I would have considered it worth it to avoid all the hassle myself.

Oh well, it's done now.
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mouser
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« Reply #67 on: July 03, 2011, 03:30:33 PM »

spending time worrying about wasting money is often much worse an affliction that wasting a little money.  if you had built it yourself you'd just as likely have a whole host of different problems.

just put it out of your mind, it sounds like you did well in the end -- just enjoy your new super pc  thumbs up
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JavaJones
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« Reply #68 on: July 03, 2011, 11:16:32 PM »

Just for the sake of info, from everything I can find (and this was not something I knew so I was curious enough to look around a bit), SATA 3, AKA 6GB/s SATA, did *not* change the cabling at all. That being said, there *may* be differences in cable quality and *shielding* and due to the higher data rate SATA 3 is going to have lower tolerance for mediocre cables.
http://forum.crucial.com/...-C300-UD7/m-p/11960#M4271
http://www.jdhodges.com/2...-iii-6gbps-cables-solved/

With that in mind, unless the cable you had problems with is a different brand from your others that work (not the 6GB/s one you have now, but any others you might be using), or otherwise seems like it may simply be a "low quality cable", I would tend to suspect it may actually be flaky/bad. Something to think about. The cables are cheap, may be best just throwing that one out...

- Oshyan
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nudone
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« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2011, 02:32:35 PM »

Right. Can't say I'm too surprised that they are the same (unless there is a genuine improvement with shielding and quality). I didn't want to research if there was a difference or not as I didn't want to find out they were identical and then blow my "wrong cable" theory out of the water. Knowing that there isn't a difference also explains why the store didn't bother to use the special cable.

Not sure what to do or say, really. The machine appears fine now and I really don't know which is the original "bad" cable as I've got four identical old style sata cables in there now (plus the "special" 6Gb/s cable) that all came with the ASUS motherboard.

I guess first sign I see of something not working correctly I should just buy four new cables to replace the ones I have, that's the only way I'll really know I've removed the possible dodgy cable.

Or, I just order four new cables right now and avoid the trouble of something going wrong. One annoying problem is that I don't know if it's the socket on the motherboard that's at fault (or even something else).

Having said all that - there IS a potential difference because of the quality of the cable. Perhaps there genuinely is a good reason for this and that is simply why the solid state drive now works.

I'm beginning to really hate computers. I think I'll just go and bury my head in the sand until the machine explodes in a spectacular fashion.
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« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2011, 03:03:47 PM »

I'm beginning to really hate computers. I think I'll just go and bury my head in the sand...

know that feeling (with sympathies)
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« Reply #71 on: July 04, 2011, 04:02:15 PM »

I'm beginning to really hate computers. I think I'll just go and bury my head in the sand until the machine explodes in a spectacular fashion.
It’s not the computer that is a problem.  You keep ignoring posts you don't like.  Feelings and subjective recommendations should be nowhere in this discussion.  As a result, you are confused and frustrated.

  What you need to know about the cable was already suggested. 
Quote
Your story is why better manufacturers provide comprehensive hardware diagnostics for free.  That find failures by first identifying them.   
  Does the cable work?  Is it sufficient?  Why so many answers and you still do not have one?  Even citations did not provide numbers; were only subjective; were only speculation.  To not be confused means ignoring every post that is subjective, that does not say why, and does not include numbers.

  What is the worst case test for disk drive access - unique only to your machine?  Comprehensive hardware diagnostics.  That (and a backup machine) has always been your best solution.

  Computers are easily.  Hard part is unlearning bad habits. Hard for most is to love what is best - posts only with technical facts and numbers.  Recommendations that are subjective, without reasons why, and without numbers are best ignored.  Then computers get much easier.

  You have no idea if the SATA cable is relevant.  Even diagnostics were not executed.

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nudone
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« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2011, 04:53:44 PM »

westom, i do appreciate what you are saying but i've not responded directly to your suggestions as i really don't know how to go out diagnosing the problem.

the "bad" cable doesn't appear to be bad at all at the moment. so i can only conclude there is nothing wrong with it. same applies to the solid state drive, works fine as does the motherboard and other components in the machine.

i don't have any real testing equipment, other than to keep swapping hardware around until i find something that doesn't work. i don't have the time for that and i wouldn't find any satisfaction in doing it either.

so, i think i understand and agree with you that it is important to find the solution to what caused the problem - but i don't know how. not in any practical way, i need the computer to earn a living so sending it to the store only creates even more problems for me.

maybe i'm just missing something obvious, are there simple ways to diagnose the trouble i've had. any suggestions will be appreciated (other than taking it to the store or buying equipment to test it with).
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westom
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« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2011, 05:24:52 PM »

i don't have any real testing equipment, other than to keep swapping hardware around until i find something that doesn't work. i don't have the time for that and i wouldn't find any satisfaction in doing it either.
Swapping is a worst diagnostic technique.  Do you have a computer, a disk drive, and that cable?  Then you have all necessary test hardware.

  Apparently you are making assumptions rather than asking for the details.  Provided was only enough information for the executive summary.  What is done to have facts means you knew good diagnostic procedure or asked for details.  Finally you asked.

  First, only better computer manufacturers provide comprehensive hardware diagnostics for free.  That should be a major lesson for your future and for others.

  Second,  every minimally acceptable disk drive manufacturer also provided comprehensive hardware diagnostics for free.   Download those diagnostics from drive manufacturer site or from bootdisk.com

« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 05:32:47 PM by westom » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #74 on: July 04, 2011, 05:36:07 PM »

There are times when one needs to really do a hardcore investigation into the cause of a failure, and then there are times to say "the problem is fixed, that's good enough."  at this point i think your best bet is to get back to enjoying your new computer and just be religious about keeping backups of any data on that new computer, in case the problem turns out to be a bad hard drive.

Personally I would also try hard to put that drive and pc to the test in the next week or so -- defrag it, run benchmarks on it.  If it's going to fail, better to find out sooner rather than later.  And just relax and enjoy it!
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