Help: Is This Guy on The Up-and-Up?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ike, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Okay, this could be kind of long and detailed, but I'll try to make the situation as clear as possible.

    I posted here not too long ago with problems I was having. My computer was incorrectly showing my processor speed as 700 when it was actually 1400. The hard drives were seemingly unistalling themselves, and were having to be auto-detected, which only worked some of the time. When they did load, the computer was unusually sluggish, and there would occasionally be an odd sound coming from the PC I'd never heard before; sort of a loud clicking.

    So, the computer seemed to get to where it would only occasionally crash, and I seemed to be able to live-for now-with it running at half speed. It began to get worse, until it finally just stopped recognizing the hard drives (I have two, a C: for everything, and a D: which is solely for home videos I've edited). I was recommended a guy (who I'll call Danny) by a friend who said he was a good guy.

    When he came, I was not there, so a relative dealt with him. All I know, is that Danny took the computer back to his "shop" (He works on PC's on the side).

    He brings it back, seemingly good as new. The "clicking" sound I heard was my video card's (a Leadtek 64 meg Geforce 2 GTS Pro) fan going out. He pulled out the card, and the fan was rather tight. He replaced it with another Geforce 2 64 megs (a different brand, but I'm not that picky) All systems were seemingly go. He let the computer degrag my D:, and left, charging $160.

    During the defrag, the computer locked up again, displaying the usual symptoms-the hard drive light came on, and stayed on, and it sounded like it was reading, then it locked up-came back up. On reboot, I noticed my processor was still incorrectly reading, but this time as 1050.

    I met Danny for the first time when I gave the system back to him. He said he'd get it working for no charge on labor, just on parts. He said my computer was nice, except for the hard drives were kind of cheap.

    That was on a Thursday, and I didn't hear from him until the next Monday. He said he'd let someone else look at it, and that he was now sure it was the Hardrive selector, or something like that. He said he let "too many experts" look at it for that to be wrong. He said he didn't know if it could be fixed without replacing the motherboard. He said he'd give me a call the next day.

    The next day, I called his house, and was told he was working late. I said that was okay, I stayed up late, just to give me a call when he got in. He didn't call me.

    I get hold of him the following day (Wednesday) and he says it's the motherboard. I assumed this meant that the hard drive selectors were separate from the motherboard. I didn't even really think to ask why the new diagnosis. Either way, he says I need a new motherboard. Everything else is nice, he says, except the motherboard is kind of cheap. I guess a guy's allowed a contradiction. Problem is, I bought the motherboard, and I remember it not being that cheap. I don't remember the brand, but it certainly wasn't a cheapie.

    He says I got two options. The cheap route-$100 motherboard-or what he'd do, which is to put in a new ASUS-$155. I tell him to put in the ASUS.

    A few days later, I get another call. At this point, I'm getting a little frustrated, not to mention a little ancy letting this guy fool around with my computer. He tells me that it's been struck by lightning, and that it should be claimed on Home Owner's Insurance. He says he has a friend that looked at it that works at a computer place, and would sign an affidavit. I should claim the computer, take the money, and let him build me a new computer.

    At this point, I'm not sure. I'm really not. He's trying to get me to upgrade, which I'm all for, but I'm on a budget, and I don't know what's really the matter with my old one. He wants to go to a hardware store with him and pick out some of the components. I need what's on my D:, since it can't be replaced and it's not backed up, but he's using terms that scare me; "I just pray that I hook it up and it just comes up and I can transfer everything."

    He says that he couldn't pry my processor off my motherboard because it had melted to it. You couldn't read the AMD tag on it because it was melted, he says.

    Is it really possible that he could have been this wrong this many times? How would he have not noticed the processor being melted? If the computer was struck by lightning, would it come up and run for hours (Danny says he was able to get it up for 4 hours running)? Should I let him use the insurance money to build me a new one? I know someone who got their computer built by him, and they enjoy it.

    I'm really between a rock and a hard place here, and I hope someone can look at this objectively and advise me. I'm sure I painted this guy negatively, but I hope you can look through it and tell me what's really going on.
     
  2. Larry Seno Jr.

    Larry Seno Jr. Supporting Actor

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    Ike-

    No it's not possible that your processor could MELT as it's not made of metal! I would say DO claim the computer on your home owners insurance and DO call Dell. This guy is not on the up and up, and all video cards AREN'T made the same. Everyone knows someone that works with computers, get your computer back and have someone like that look at it for FREE. See if anything in the computer is salvageable. Most likely if it was struck by lightning your hard drive's should be good (Assuming they weren't bad) and your cards should be OK. Your power supply will inevitably be gone, as will your motherboard (And processor, even though it wont be melted).

    I had a Cyrix computer start on fire. It worked WHILE it was on fire. So it's possible that after being struck by lightning your computer stayed running for awhile. The thing is, there is no way for a processor to melt as they aren't made of metal, they are made of either porcelein or plastic, depending on what kind of CPU you have. There are copper pins inside the porcelein, so it's POSSIBLE those melted. I just don't trust this guy. You shouldn't either. Call Dell, if you have a monitor, they can get you a GOOD CPU for $700 including shipping.

    Also:

    RE:Hard drive clicking-

    This has to do with bad IDE controller in my experience. I installed a new hard drive and moved my old clickers to a new channel and the clicking stopped.
     
  3. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Larry,

    The guy, and the computer, is not from Dell, and I don't want to deal with a corporation.

    I think he was using melted in the sense that plastic will melt. I don't know what the proper term is for plastic, but that is the best I could use.

    And when he replaced the video card, the clicking did seem to stop.
     
  4. Travis Olson

    Travis Olson Supporting Actor

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  5. Peter-PP

    Peter-PP Stunt Coordinator

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    Go to your local "mom & pop" computer store and pay them to repair your computer. If you are looking to buy a new machine, get one custom built from your local "M&P" store and stay away from crap like dell from hell, hp, comcrap, gateway. Yeah, sure you will be paying more but you are also getting what you want and quality parts unlike proprietary junk.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I hardly know where to start with this one. You didn't say that you had seen it after it had ben struck by lightening.
    Funny that you didn't mention too that anything else that he owned was struck, and he could have claimed it on his policy, as he had it in his possession.

    At the beginning of your post it sounded to me like your PC's battery had died.

    Anyway, I'm not sure about this, but if you did claim it, maybe they'd want to see the machine? What if you told the agent up front that you think he's scamming you, and have him demand that you get it back so that they can look at it.

    Not sure about that 'clicking' noise, but I have heard that kind of a sound coming from hard drives too. I'm not sure if a fan would 'click' like that.

    At any rate, someone else needs to look at it. Maybe the claims adjuster knows a friend that knows enought to give you another opinion. Yuck!

    Glenn
     
  7. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    He's leading you around, Ike. I don't know what to say, but it is clear he is not trustworthy at all, and Dell etc are much much trustworthier than guys like these. He charged you $ 160 for something when the computer wasn't running fine from the get-go? Slime.
    Get the computer from him and i don't know how to get the money back from him. I hope you do, and you get the money back. This kind of thing sucks.
     
  8. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Ouch Ike...I think you got a raw deal. The fact that you can't verify his claims by having a look at the computer itself is suspicious.

    From the initial problems you described, it sounded like the powersupply was dying. Perhaps there was dust-buildup in the powersupply vents, causing inadequate cooling and hence eventual computer failure.

    In any case, the tech guy didn't follow proper scientific reasoning. He should have been able to find the cause within a day or two if he was any good! Replacing connectors to the hard drives, swapping out the power supply, resetting the CMOS in the BIOS, etc. All of those things could have been done in your home, in your presence! A few visits may be necessary for swapping parts, but I don't see any reason for him not to perform the procedures in your home!

    The data on your hard drives should have been backed up onto another (working) machine's hard drive before anything was done, especially for that exorbitant charge he gave you! It would have been a simple matter of removing the hard drive and inserting it into another ready-and-waiting PC, and copy the files over. It would also verify that the harddrive itself is still working.

    His actions make me mad. I don't fix computers for a living, but I do fix my friends' and family's computers for free. I ALWAYS explain, out loud, my thought processes when troubleshooting. That way, they'll have a better understanding of the problem, which is a great help if another problem crops up later, since they will be better able to describe it.

    I've also been able to diagnose computer problems over the phone (a brother-in-law in Washington state), and had him reset the CMOS on his motherboard to get it to boot again. Then I talked him through a BIOS flashing procedure. And this man is a dyed-in-the-wool redneck too!

    In short, you got shafted!

    Not sure what you can do at this point, but at least get your harddrive back and find a friend who is knowledgeable with computers and try hooking it up to his computer and recover as much data as you can. Failing that, try searching for a data recovery company. They'll very likely charge you by the hour.

    If you need help with the data recovery, let us know. You may need to set the drive as a slave (via a jumper) before attaching the HD to another machine, for example.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    BTW, Ike, I will guess one of the problems you are seeing right now:

    You have a 1.4 Ghz AMD Athlon CPU. When you first got your machine, it was running at 700Mhz. This tells me that the BIOS was not set correctly for the CPU you were using, and was hence running at the default lowest CPU and FSB settings. At this point, the FSB was running at 66Mhz. The processor has a fixed 10.5x multiplier. 66 * 10.5 = 700Mhz. Simply entering the BIOS and changing the FSB speed to 133Mhz would have netted you 133*10.5 = 1400Mhz.

    Your machine continued to have problems, and when you last booted, it was running at 1050Mhz. This means the BIOS decided to set the FSB to 100Mhz. 100*10.5 = 1050Mhz.

    I can only guess that your CPU was designed to run with a 133Mhz FSB, and isn't an old AMD processor designed to run at 100Mhz. My brother-in-law in Washington has the same problem...he cannot get it to run at 1400Mhz! Only 1050 would run, but it would randomly crash. We still haven't been able to resolve the problem, and suspect that the Epox K7S5A is at fault. Probably a hardware design problem in the motherboard, even though we updated the BIOS which was supposed to allow the 1.4Ghz CPU to work.

    Any idea what the old motherboard was? And what the new one is?

    Struck by lightning...yeah...right.
     
  10. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    Hey, it wasn't me! [​IMG]
     
  11. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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  12. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    And $160 for a GeForce2 !?!?!?! OUCH! $160 could have bought you a Geforce4 ti4200, or at LEAST a Geforce 3 ti200. The smart shopper can find a Geforce 4 ti4200 for $160.
     
  13. Travis Olson

    Travis Olson Supporting Actor

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    I bet it was a GeForce 2 MX to boot.
     
  14. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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  15. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    True, but it is wrong that a 1400 would show up as 700Mhz, even if it was running at the wrong bus speed (possible, 100 vs. 133) that would still be the wrong math (should be like 1050 vs. 1400, not 700 vs. 1400)

    There are too many things about this that seem wrong. Clicking hard drives do happen, and occassionally are the drive mechanism.

    As far as struck by lightening, it happens, but in all honest, when it happens you generally see it in this way: (1) Dead Power supply (completely dead) or (2) Dead modem.. with things attached dead if it's the PS. If the powersupply is still good, a lightening strike is a real rarity. Now, quick power-outs (brown outs) can kill raid arrays, etc. by causing certain mechanism problems (seen that once) but if your power supply is good, you haven't had a lot of brown outs, and your modem is still good, then the odds of a lightening strike are.. well.. about zero.
     
  16. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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  17. Larry Seno Jr.

    Larry Seno Jr. Supporting Actor

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    Ike-
    No offense, but it's obvious that this isnt your area of expertise and you are getting fucked. Why you think that it's not going to happen again is beyond me.
    I have a little saying
    "Fuck me once, shame on you, fuck me twice, shame on me"
    You are going to get NOTHING close in terms of quality and reliabilty for $700 from a local guy that you will get from Dell for $700. I run my own consulting firm in that I scam wholesale prices and have a wholesale license. In order to make $$ a local place is going to have to charge you $200 worth of labor on top of parts to make money for themselves and pay for shop space. Dell on the other hand can charge $50 for the SAME services and SAME parts and still make a profit.
     
  18. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  19. Peter-PP

    Peter-PP Stunt Coordinator

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    Larry Seno Jr,

    Play nice here. Do you always insult people who disagree with you? If you want to pimp for dell, that is fine but don't start calling me names just because I don't care for the name brands. I also know a lot of people who don't and some that actually do and I respect their preferences.

    I know my local computer is very reputable and they hate even going near dells or any name brands because they are so inferior.

    Have a good day!

    Pete
     
  20. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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