PS Consultants - ideas & solutions

LG Update; hard times are here again

LG Update

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.

Hard times

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 ( is much more comprehensive than the 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 here).

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 over.

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 new motherboard.

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 a favour.

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…