Jesus Christ. Every time I mess around with hardware or upgrades, I swear I'll never do it again. Then I forget.
My first computer, bought eight years ago now, was a 486 w/16MB of RAM and some amount of HD space. I installed Slackware on it, got a 33.6 modem, and had email and net access. Then a roommate sold me his old P90. It crashed constantly until I figured out I had set the CPU voltage wrong. It took me a long time to figure that out, and I was nearly ready to hurl the thing out the window.
A few years later I upgraded to my current desktop machine, a 333 Celeron overclocked to 450 MHz. The machine is fine unless I open up the case to add/remove/shift something in it; then it will, for a day, spontaneously reboot. I've checked it for shorts and can't find any. I don't know what I'm missing, but I'm sure it would be obvious to someone else.
And now the latest. My wife bought an iMac from her old work a few years ago, and has had problems w/it since. It just crashes for no good reason. It'll work fine for two weeks, then she can't keep it running for more than an hour. So last week I went out and bought her a fairly skookum machine: Athlon 2600 (I think...details to follow), ECS K7S5A mobo, 60GB HD and 256 MB RAM.
I got it all home and assembled it. The mobo and Red Hat 9 (not my favourite, but great for my wife) called the CPU a 2000 (1.6GHz instead of 2.0), so I looked around and decided a BIOS upgrade would be in order. Did that and promptly lost the back USB -- bad, since her keyboard and mouse are USB. The front ones, hooked up to the pins on the motherboard, still worked. Tried rolling the BIOS back, but nothing: the back, onboard USB just didn't go. Fuck.
So I went out and got some additional USB risers a few days later. I added them; no problem. Then I had to add a connector from the CDROM's audio to the motherboard. I made the mistake of removing one of the USB connectors while the power was still on. Didn't even think; just did it. Now the BIOS freezes at "Checking NVRAM...". Flashed the CMOS half a dozen times, left it off most of the night while we went to see Finding Nemo (not as good as Monsters, Inc., but still well worth it), and no change.
Today I'm going to stop by my new [hardware supplier of choice|http://www.ntcw.com/] (well recommended if you're in Vancouver; prices nearly as good as Atic, but much better service) to pick up a Gigabyte 7VAX. We'll see if I got ripped off on the CPU or what.
Mostly, though, I am not going to fuck with this computer again. I mean it this time.