Tag Archives: Gigabyte

Computer Down

After a morning of playing around in Draenor, I went off to do other things, leaving my computer sitting idle.

I came back a while later to find it off and unable to power up.  I figured it was probably the power supply, as the whole thing had been making some odd, high pitched noises when I started up that morning.

I ran down to Fry’s and picked up a new power supply, took the old one out, blew out all the dust bunnies while I was there, installed the new one and… nothing.

Well, not nothing.

The unit starts to power up.  The fan on power supply starts to spin for a second, and then everything stops, save two LED on the motherboard.

Motherboard lights...

Motherboard lights… yellow and green

I have been digging around to find out what that might mean for a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard, but haven’t had any luck.  I opened a ticket with Gigabyte, but I do not expect they will get back to me quickly during a holiday week.

I have pulled everything out, pared down the motherboard to the bare minimums, and no change in behavior.  Then I put everything back, piece by piece again, and still no luck.  The power supply looks good (I went out and got a second one just to make sure it wasn’t the first one I bought) and various components such as RAM or the video card or the various fans have no effect on the status, so I am at a loss as to what to try next at the moment.  This is, of course, made more difficult by not being able to use my computer to look things up.

I hate to chuck the lot, but I am not sure I can pare this down to what needs to be replaced.  Just a new motherboard seems like a possibility, but then I thought just a new power supply was all I would need a few hours back.

Anyway, there will likely be a dearth of posts as there won’t be much video game playing while I work on this.  Not the way I wanted to start a week’s vacation.

The Rebate

Rebates

I don’t like them.

Generally, I mentally removed any mail-in rebate listed in an ad from my calculations, since at least half the time I send in the documentation for a rebate I never hear anything again.

And a good percentage of the time, when I do hear back it is to be told that I failed to provide something or fell outside of the required date range.  I think Sony’s policy used to be to return rebate forms claiming that the offer had expired regardless of the actual date. I had two forms returned from them that were clearly within the rebate period printed on the rejection form claiming that the offer had expired.

I still fill out the rebate forms all the same.  The effort is usually small and it tends to be an indicator of what sort of company I am dealing with and whether I will deal with them in the future.  It is very difficult, for example, for Sony to sell me any consumer electronics any more.

So, when I built my new computer back in October, there was a $20 rebate for the motherboard I purchased for the system.

Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R

And, proving that miracles do happen, this time around I actually got my rebate.

It took some time though.

Time line:

  • 10/12/2010 – Purchase Gigabyte motherboard at Fry’s, which prints out all the rebate information on a separate piece of paper for me. They find it easier just to do that so they don’t have to deal with rebate questions.
  • 10/13/2010 – Fill out online registration form with fulfillment company that is handling the Gigabyte rebate. The domain for the fulfillment company site is 4myrebate.com which according to a whois lookup, is owned by Systemax, Inc. Hrmm…
  • 10/13/2010 – Receive confirmation from the fulfillment company which includes further instructions and a tracking number and direct link to get status on my rebate. At least I can if it goes into a black hole.
  • 10/18/2010 – Mail rebate forms and UPC code to the San Diego address provided. Estimated time for first class post to reach San Diego from San Jose: 1-2 days.
  • 10/28/2010 – Receive email acknowledgment from fulfillment company that they have received my forms.
  • 11/1/2010 – Receive email notice that my rebate, which will come in the form of a pre-paid VISA card, has been approved and that it will be mailed out in 8-10 weeks with the basic level of service. I can, however, opt for expedited service for $10.00 if I need my rebate sooner. I decline.
  • 1/13/2011 – 10 weeks and 2 days after my claim was approved, I receive notification that my pre-paid VISA card will now be mailed to me and that I should receive it in the next 7-10 days.
  • 1/22/2011 – The $20 pre-paid VISA card actually arrives. Elapsed time since purchase: ~15 weeks.

The sad part about this time line is that this is, without a doubt the absolute best rebate experience I have ever had.

I bought the item at Fry’s which has a policy of giving you a separate related print-out with full instructions and a special rebate receipt.

The fulfillment company had a web site that let me track the status of my rebate.

The fulfillment company sent me status updates via email.

And the fulfillment company actually met the (low) expectations they set, give or take a few days.

More than a quarter of a calendar year, but at least I got my $2.00 $20.00.

And I still don’t like rebates.

The Proposed System Configuration

Like most of the voters in my poll, I am leaning towards going the self-built route for the next computer.

After a week of digging around, this is what I think I am going to go with:

  • Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit System Builder 1pk – $140

The OEM, single machine kit.  It may, or may not, be okay for me to use this.  But I am going to.

I went looking for cheaper alternatives, but if you want an X58 chipset motherboard, you’re going to be spending $200 and you’re going to get SLI support whether you want it or not.

Still on the fence.  I might spend $15 more to get the 950 that clocks at 3.06GHz.

I weighed all the $100+ units, but reviewers seemed to like this unit unless you plan to push the envelope of overclocking, and it is about $30.

1 TB, SATA 3, and 6GB/second throughput for under $100.  Met my goals there.

  • Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D Dominator 6 GB 3 x 2 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 240-Pin DDR3 Core i7 Memory Kit – $190

Not married to this particular kit, but it works as a placeholder.

The bigger, more expensive HAF cases are… well… bigger and more expensive.  I still might go with the HAF 922.  I went by Fry’s to look at it.  The drive bay architecture is very nice on the 922, I just have to decide if it is worth an additional $35.

  • Ultra X4 – 600 Watt, ATX Modular Power Supply U12-40505 power supply – $95

Recommended by a friend and in as a placeholder.  It is rated beyond 80% efficiency, but since I’m going with a Cooler Master case, I might just opt for one of their power supplies.

All of which prices out to about $1,100 at Amazon.com.  My personal goal was to keep the whole thing around $1,200, so I am in the ballpark.

I was mildly surprised to find that Amazon.com ended up having the best prices relative to ZipZoomFly, TigerDirect, and NewEgg.  Plus there is no Sales Tax with Amazon.com, unlike those three, which in my part of California adds 10% to the price of goods.  And if I am feeling really frugal, almost all of the items on the list qualify for free shipping.

I will likely buy the case, and probably the power supply, at Fry’s though.  I have to support a store that has all of the stuff I’ve list here on the shelf somehow.

The only item not on the list is the video card.  My current GTS 250 is still a decent card, runs cool and all that, plus I still have an ATi 4850 card sitting around.  So I may just use one of those.  Both support DX10 and I can wait a while before I need a card with DX11 support built-in.  We’ll see.