LG Update; hard times are here again
My avid reader may be wondering after last month’s tirade, if LG
actually followed up on the promised delivery of the CD containing
the bundled software to replace the dead one in my GMA4020B DVD
re-rewriter drive pack – after initially attempting to supply me
with a fridge door by way of replacement.
Well, the answer is no, since I can find no trace of having been
sent anything. I think that this means that they appear to have lied
in order to get me to release the hostage fridge door. So I shall
now crusade on up the echelons of LG management until I get
satisfaction, or at least enough of a fridge to be useful.
It’s been a long time (2 years) since I stuck my nose deep inside
a PC chassis and enjoyed a thorough hands-on experience of wrestling
with the iron. This comes about because a twin P3-800 system I was
setting up as a complex server test bed started falling over for no
apparent reason, and randomly rebooting.
I did all the usual things and removed all cards, tried a new
video card, swapped the memory. No change. I then did something
really shouldn’t be necessary and defies a rational fault-finding
process (but we all do it anyway) and fiddled with the (once
perfectly OK) BIOS settings, no change.
The motherboard in question is a 694D Pro from MSI and supports
IDE RAID, ULTRA DMA 100 and a host of other goodies. But when I went
looking for the details on the MSI web site (www.msi.com.tw is much
more comprehensive than the www.msicomputer.com US website).
I realise that this is a fast moving industry, but I was still
pretty bemused at the number of motherboards in the sections titled
“discontinued” and “archives”, and searched the archives and found
the pdfs of the entire thing. The quality of documentation is first
class and was delighted to find all the software that was one the
original and now long lost CD ROM (no fridge door options required
Nevertheless, despite being empowered with every word and diagram
ever created for the product, I spent a day watching the damn thing
reboot randomly and concluded that this must be one of those
nebulous “motherboard faults” that means throw it away and start
Enquiries revealed I was seriously wasting my time looking to get
a replacement of the same motherboard – which I really wanted so I
could use the existing CPUs, memory and other ancillaries – but
mostly to try and get the existing boot drive to work, so I wouldn’t
have to reinstall the whole darned thing.
But I was universally regarded as a quaint old thing for even
thinking that it might be possible to source the same motherboard as
I had 2 years previously.
So I gave up and got a new P4 motherboard. I fiddled about and
screwed it into the chassis and then discovered at the end of the
process that the hard drive bay blocked the memory position on the
So I took it all apart, got a new case more closely designed to
fit the motherboard, and put it all back together again. Somewhat to
my surprise after all this hacking about, it all worked and I set
about reinstalling Windows 2000 and a load of applications.
The moral of this story?
You rarely win if you fight old hardware that doesn’t respond to
the quick and obvious fixes of a RAM and CPU swap. I struggled
because I really didn’t want to reinstall the software on the boot
drive, but if I had got the new system in the first place and just
accepted that shit happens instead of struggling defiantly against
all the odds, I would have saved myself at least a day. Although I
might then have had to write about a piece of 3d screensaver
creation software here instead, so I think on balance, I did you all
If anyone has a spare MSI 694D Pro motherboard and wants to
prolong this saga, just let me know. Or next month I’ll be writing
about that screensaver creator…