Water Cooling Vindicated...#

When last we left the Water Cooling War, I was battling unreliability of my 800Mhz FSB machines. All along I thought it was the RAM overheating, although I was thinking the heat spreaders I added would do the trick. For one of the systems (the one from my last blog entry on water cooling) has been pretty darn stable. But the other machine (the triple screen beastie) was still getting BSODs every few days.

The interesting thing about these failures is that the hard drives would disappear afterward. It actually has two Samsung 160GB SATA drives in it, which I had planned to use as mirrored drives with the onboard RAID 1 Promise controller. After all, this is my main development machine, its worth while making sure the data doesn't go anywhere. But one of the drives had disappeared, I figured it had failed, so I was running the other drive solo.

And with the BSODs, both hard drives would be gone. I'd wait a half hour or so (I do have other machines to work from after all) and the drive would come back. I knew I'd have to replace the hard drives eventually, they have a three year warranty, but extricating water cooled hard drives isn't a lot of fun.

Well, it all came to a head last night when the drive just wouldn't come back. So I hauled the machine out and ripped both hard drives out... very carefully, so that I wouldn't cause any leaks.

As you can see in the photo, the hard drives have blocks on either side, connected by a plastic tube. This plastic tube is just press fit into place to handle the variations in width between hard drives, pull too hard and it would pop off and water will go everywhere.

I replaced both drives with identical models, put the whole thing back together and viola, two hard drives, mirrored and happy. I fired up Acronis to restore the image backup I have of my workstation (the easiest way to recover a system - you DO have a backup strategy, doncha?) and left the machine whirring away til morning.

When I returned in the morning, the machine had failed, both hard drives disappeared. Guess it wasn't the drives failing after all.

So, what could it be? The onboard controller? These ASUS P4C800-E motherboards have TWO different SATA controllers on them, could they both be bad? I think not. So what would knock out both drives?

Gosh, lookie there... the SATA power adapter plugs a 4-pin molex connector and provides connectors for BOTH SATA drives. Could there be a connection problem?

I replaced the adapter with a new one, and fired the system up - both drives recognized, no problem. I have to guess that once the system heated up, the connectors got loose and deprived the drives of power. This, naturally, would cause Windows to BSOD... and then there'd be no drives left.

So in a way, overheating is still the culprit, but I suspect that water cooling is not responsible for this. Of course, I won't know for sure til its been running for a few months.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 11:55:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [2]  | 


Celebrity Auction for Aceh Aid to Help Tsunami Victims#

We were all affected by the tsunami that struck southern Asia, but my friend Julie Lerman really did something about it - she dropped everything and started working with an aid organization in Indonesia called AcehAid. She's pretty much done nothing else since, I don't know if she's eating, much less working.

Julie had a brainstorm to get a bunch of us consulting types together and auction off an hour of our time on eBay, all proceeds donated to AcehAid. My buddy Stephen Forte put out the call, wrangled us in and got the auction posted today. We've already gotten some pretty good press even before the auction was up.

So, here's the link to the auction - bid early, bid often!

Actually, I wouldn't mind getting an hour of these folks time, many of them are friends, and they're all so busy that actually get an hour to just talk to them is bloody difficult. For myself, I've been booked up with work for so many years, I haven't worked with a new client since 2001.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 8:11:59 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [3]  | 


Dustin' Off the Ole Blog...#

Been a long while since I've posted to the blog - and no, I still haven't finished the Kili picture site. I will one of these days.

So here's a recap of the fun post-Kili:

Back in November I got together with all the DotNetRocks folks for a little party and we invited along some friends - about thirty people showed up in Las Vegas for some laughs and a first screening of DotNetRocks: The Movie. It was about that time that DNR reorganized, cutting back to one hour and focusing on a more serious interview approach to the show. The silly stuff (which includes me as the ToyBoy) moved over to a new show called Mondays - What Sunday Threw Up.

Also in November my buddy Joel Semeniuk dropped into Vancouver to do a presentation on Smart Client Development to the local users groups. Which was helpful for me, because I'd do the same presentation to the Victoria .NET Users Group the following week.

This year Christmas and New Years were low key events - last year the fam went to Costa Rica, which was good fun, but not exactly winter time any more. My favorite goodie for Christmas was a new set of chef's knives. Yeah I know, its weird, not a tech toy at all, but I already got lots of 'em, and everyone has given up trying to buy them for me, I'm too particular. But a good Heckel knife, well, that's a great gift.

So what's coming up? Well, DNR's 100th show is coming and I've been invited to reminisce with Carl and the gang. There's a new tour on Interoperability coming too. And I've got a whole bunch of crazy new hardware to set up. And then there's some really important stuff (see next post).

Sunday, January 23, 2005 8:00:10 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [0]  | 


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