Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

More Fun Than Human Beings Should Have

The entertainment with the studio computer is almost finished. It was, as the phrase goes, more fun than humans should have.

When we left off, I had broken the heatsink trying to reinstall it with some fresh thermal paste. This meant another trip to Micro Center to get a new heatsink (of a nice design that I've used before). The problem is that you have to remove the motherboard to install this heatsink.

Being tired of working on the computer balanced on top of the subwoofer in the studio, I took the whole thing upstairs to the dining room table and stripped everything out. Then I carefully read the manual.

Ha! Apparently, my hard disks had been upgraded from 3Gb SATA to 6Gb SATA after one replacement or another. They were still plugged into the 3Gb ports, but there were 6Gb ports available. Well, that would be easy to swap. And the video card was not in the recommended slot, but -- again! -- that should be easy to move.

Installing this heatsink is a pain, but once it's done, you can forget about it for a long time. I put the motherboard back in the case and started to screw it in, but several of the screws were less accessible than when I removed them because of the huge heatsink. Happily, I still had the smallest of my magnetic Phillips screwdrivers in the nearly 40 year old kit in the basement, which made getting the screws back in place a lot easier, although I did have to keep extracting cables from underneath the motherboard.

The SATA connectors on this board on on the edge next to the drive bays, which means they are nigh unto inaccessible themselves. I got all but one of the connectors connected, but had to call in Gretchen with her smaller hands to get the last one in.

Then there was plugging in the small power connector on the corner of the motherboard near the new improved humongous heatsink. Gretchen, K, and I all failed to plug this in, aided by the fact we were plugging 2 2x2 connectors into a socket designed for one 4x2 connector. Eventually, I realized that I could take the fan off of the heatsink, which gave me an extra inch of room, which was what I needed.

I also remembered to replace the CMOS battery before installing anything over the top of it, which was good, because it was probably due for replacement. And it was bad, because -- well, read on.

I got everything wired up internally and took the system back to the basement where I attached all of the external wires. Now to fire it up!

The problem is that the keyboard and monitor are on the opposite side of the room from the computer. So after I turned on the power, the system gleefully booted into Windows and started trying to repair my hard drives before I could get to the keyboard and into the BIOS.

I looked at this and decided that the better part of valor was to power down the system forcibly, so I held the power button in until it was good and ready to shut down. Next was a restart and a dive for the keyboard to start spamming the DEL key until the BIOS opened up.

The BIOS was pretty hashed up. The date and time were very wrong, which was fine. The BIOS had also reset my RAID mirrored drives to be *not* RAID mirrored drives, which apparently had confused the heck out of Windows. Well, let's flip them back to RAID mode and see what happens.

Is the phrase "Nothing good" at all familiar to you?

The system now had no intention of recognizing the drives as a RAID array or as individual drives with my data on them. I eventually made a Windows 10 USB stick and figured out how to boot up from it on this old machine, but there was nothing that I could do to repair those hard drives. The partition with all of the data on it was visible, but nothing on it was.

I had just managed to do what the RAID mirror was supposed to prevent: I had lost the installation.

The good news was that there was both an old *and* a current backup of all of the interesting data on the NAS. So I installed Windows 10 onto the new SSD drive and called it a night.

The next morning was spent figuring out what combination of switches I needed to throw in the software for Windows 10 and the NAS so that I could look at and directly copy files from the NAS back to the new Windows installation. Eventually this worked and many GB of data were copied back to the computer.

The afternoon and most of the evening were spent downloading and reinstalling Cubase, WaveLab, and almost all of my plugins. (I managed to get myself locked out of the FabFilter website *after* changing my password, but I should be able to get back in there tomorrow.)

(In between, I grilled some lovely steaks that Jeff and Carol sent us for Christmas. Yum!)

Finally, it was time to see if anything worked.

I loaded up Cubase 11. I loaded up the complex demo track that had killed Cubase before all this started. All sorts of stuff was missing. Cubase crashed.

What the heck?

Oh. The Steinberg Download Assistant is not as smart as they make it out to be. Although I had downloaded a ton of Steinberg content, none of it had actually been installed. Hang on while I click on each one of these twice; first, so that the Download Ass knows that the files have already been downloaded, then again to actually do the installation.

And then the complex demo track opened up and played without glitches. Task Manager says that Cubase was using a bit north of 3 Gb of RAM during this (and 60% of the CPU), which sort of explains why the 8 Gb incarnation of this box fell over.

But wait! The story is not yet over, because I noticed during the afternoon that the computer was now making a consistent and annoying low hum. I went over to poke at cables and fans and eventually determined that the case fan was the source of the hum.

I have ordered a new case fan from Amazon which should arrive tomorrow. Then I can install it.

And then, with any luck, I can button this machine back up.

Wish me luck. :)
Tags: computers, dodeka, filk, home, musings, tech

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