Hardware Problems

I think I’m starting to have hardware problems. A few times recently, my PC has just turned off without warning. I put it down to the long hours it spends on every day as it goes on when I get up and doesn’t turn off until I go to sleep. I bought the best parts I could afford at the time and put them in the largest, cheapest case I could find so it might be to do with cooling, my room heats up quite a lot when it’s on all day. I lost a newish drive not long back and I’d noticed a few weeks before that the drives were almost too hot to touch, theres very little space between them, so maybe it’s too hot in there. I ought to investigate a better case or some extra fans.

Recently another problem has started appearing. In Windows, though I haven’t used it in ages, the PC used to freeze hard whenever I played a game. Championship Manager, Wolf ET or whatever. Couldn’t even ping it. Well I don’t use Windows any more anyway so I just thought it might be a driver bug and forgot about it, but recently it’s started happening in Linux too when I play Wolf ET and the other day when I played Tux Kart with my 6 year old neice. It locks up hard, can’t ping or ssh into it or anything. I have to reach for the power button.

I hate hardware problems like this. I’m pretty good at identifying hardware problems but these kind do my head in. Theres nothing in the logs to help identify the problem. Maybe my graphics card is dying, maybe I have a dead spot in my memory that the increased usage of the game hits. Sadly for me, I normally check things like this out using spare parts but my desktop machine is the one machine I don’t have suitable spares for. I have a spare graphics card, but if thats the problem the nVidia GTS 2 is no replacement for my ATI Radeon 9500 Pro, a rough £100 price difference.

I’ll try the other card and run a memtest I think.

On a software note, I’ve managed to solve the annoying problem that meant my WolfET menus were in French. I moved the WolfET_Fr_Alpha2.pk3 from out of my ~/.etwolf/etmain directory and I’m back to English.

I’ve also noticed that Kaffeine doesn’t exit when I close it (even using the residual system tray menu, which I believe should be final). Instead it lurks without trace, using up ~95% processor time and memory until I run top and then kill the process. My 2GHz, 1GB RAM system starts to crawl if I watch a few video files one after another. It sounds like this has been fixed in the next Ubuntu Kaffeine package. I’ll just have to wait.

I prefer Kaffeine as it has playlists and works with a lot of codecs thanks to the Xine backend, unlike Totem.