Here is the project that took most of my time last week. The components got here fast enough. Even the build went fairly smooth. Yes as usual for me placing the heatsink was a real pain and aggravating. But Asus has done a very simple thing that solved some of my previous build aggravations. Asus now includes an adapter they call the Q-Connector with their motherboards. Why is this helpful? Because there is no set industry standard between motherboard manufacturers and the companies that design and build computer cases. So the cable connections that are within your case aren’t always easy to match up with the motherboard. When you purchase a pre-built system from one of the well known computer builders this normally isn’t an issue. A standard plugin setup easily plugs into the motherboard. But for some reason the industry can’t come up with a set standard in this regard. So when you build you own you’re always having to check the pinout setup. The Q-Connector and the USB cable adapter Asus now includes with their motherboards solves this aggravation. It’s a simple fix that solves an annoying problem. Honestly it’s a sad state that this even has to be an issue. I’m not sure if other motherboard manufacturers offer similar fixes. But what I can say is that this is an example of a company finally thinking about solutions to problems that can make a fun project a headache. It’s simple things like this that many industries overlook when designing products and services.
As I somewhat hinted above not all went well with this computer build. This is one of the main reasons I didn’t get any articles done here last week. Granted when I do builds like this I make more money than I do here on any given day. That is a whole other article in itself. Either way the building process went smooth. There really weren’t any major aggravations at all. Vista 64 bit installed with no problems and I thought I was off to a great computer building experience. At this point I was getting that feeling everything was going to good. Unfortunately it turned out I was right. The first start of Vista went as it should. This had me thinking I was just being paranoid. But then the blue screens of death ( BSOD ) started coming. Now all you Microsoft Vista bashers just hold your tongues because your out of line. Everyone who is reading this should keep a few things in mind. I’ve been playing around with Vista since it’s early beta days. I have installed Vista on many types of computers as well as machines that I have built. At no time during these builds or when the person is using their machine after have I seen the dreaded blue screen of death with Vista. Let me slightly clarify that. With my main machine when I pushed the overclock to hard I would of course see a BSOD.
Of course when I saw the blue screen of death I knew that my easy build had just become anything but. This is when the troubleshooting process begins. My first thought was an Nvidia video card driver conflict. It is common for driver conflicts to cause problems during computer builds. In many cases a video driver is the source of the conflict. So I went about trying to resolve the problem by using updated drivers. At first this seemed to have worked. Only after a hard shutdown and restart did I find out I was wrong. Which of course leads to more reading and frustration. I tried various solutions to resolve the situation. There of course were many topics online offering up different methods to try. Yet nothing was working for me. Asus P5N-E motherboard has many topics related to it online. I had seen a few of these before deciding to purchase this model for the build. Personally it’s my opinion you will rarely find any product without a few negative reviews. I have had great results from Asus in the past so I wasn’t to worried. That was until I started seeing the BSOD problems. So my thoughts started to drift to the reality that I may have made a bad purchase choice. Why? I had tried all the logical solutions I could think of. I’d done a good amount of reading till my eyes hurt. Yet none of the solutions had resolve the BSOD problem.
I can hear the Vista haters screaming just get rid of Vista that will solve it. Not so fast you haters – just keep reading. Before deciding to call it quits and give up. I of course went out to the Asus website to see if a BIOS update for the motherboard existed. Of course it would be the case that the Asus P5N-E hadn’t shipped with the latest BIOS. Which makes you wonder if this was just because the model had been sitting on the retailers shelf for awhile. I haven’t checked the manufacture dates to be honest. It doesn’t really matter. The fact is there where several BIOS updates to choose from. Of course I chose the most recent BIOS to download and install. The BIOS update went very smoothly. Asus now has BIOS related tools right in the BIOS itself. I’m sure other motherboard manufacturers have this as well nowadays. My older Asus board from a few years back doesn’t have this option. This feature makes BIOS updating very easy compared to the past. All I had to do was place the BIOS update onto a thumb drive – actually I put it onto a 2 Gig SD card and used a USB adapter – then rebooting the machine I went to the BIOS under the Tools header and started the update process. The update went smoothly and Vista booted as it should. This is the point where I just got the feeling I might have solved the glitch that was making my life a pain. Now many of you who are reading this know where this is going. Yes my joy was short lived. Upon a hard shutdown and restart of the machine the dreaded BSOD was back. A sinking feeling was being felt by my body inside and out. At this point total despair was setting in. Would I really let this machine build win? Of course not – I was going to bang my head against a wall some more and solve the problem like I always do.