Friday, March 13, 2009

Not a hardware person

I am not a hardware person. Given a working system that supports the operating system, I can get things installed and configured. Even the many cases where the software is not really supported but it can work are fine. Oh sure, I can deal with hardware but it is definitely not my favorite activity.

I built a machine from scratch one time. I had a number of colleagues and friends who loved the activity. A bunch of us went to one or more computer shows at the fairgrounds and picked out parts. Then a friend came over to my apartment and we put the box together. I remember at the end signing the date and our names on the inside of the case as a sign of accomplishment. The friend was bouncing with excitement, I was just exhausted. At least that was over and now I could do the fun stuff of installing an operating system which at that time was probably OS/2. The friend wandered off bored and I started having fun. But then, I also had fun helping customers get a DOS box to connect to TCP/IP, IPX, and Netbios networks all at the same time with a bunch of tweaking to memory management and protocol.ini configurations. Now that was fun.

Why do I mention this? Well, a couple of weeks ago I finally moved my home desktop from Fedora 7 to Fedora 10. This involved a complete reinstall since when I ordered the machine with the "defaulting partitioning" I assumed it was Fedora 7 default partitioning including LVM. It turned out to be the company's default partitioning which did not include LVM and because of a few other issues, I did not reinstall it until after I was sure I would not need to return the whole thing and by then I would have to backup some stuff so I might as well wait for the next release which was due soon and the comedy goes on and on.

Then this week I discovered that I don't have enough memory to boot the F11 alpha in KVM. So I am spending some time looking at the book and the machine and the BIOS to figure out my options. The first book I find says the motherboard has 3 slots for 184 pin DDR DIMMs and a max on 3G RAM. The system (dmidecode) tells me I have 2x1G in there now and 4 slots, a maximum of 4G, and a bunch of supported speeds but unless I am missing something, it does not tell me anything helpful for ordering additional memory. Taking the case off reveals 4 slots and a pair of 1G DIMMs labeled PC2-5300 and with a part number that turns out to be 240pin non-ECC memory. I dig a bit deeper into the pile of hardware and manuals and find another book. This book now matches with the 4 slots and says I can have up to 8G which sounds much more like what I would have ordered.

Turns out I still had the book from a previous machine that used the same brand motherboard and I wasn't paying attention to the model numbers. No wonder I was confused. Sigh. Maybe I should go back to watching basketball now.


1 comment:

quaid said...

I have always admired my friends and colleagues who can rattle off chip codename and what goes with them. More power to 'em. I have sympathy with your search and grok and search and grok experiences.