I love hardware...
Date: 8/2/2004
I've spent the last week running audio and video rendering tasks that take 3-4 hours per run. And my machine has consistantly failed to finish the task at hand without locking up, rebooting or crashing the application. So for all you neophyte hardware geeks out there the standard procedure for tracking this sort of stuff down is:
  • Go through your BIOS settings that relate to motherboard settings (ie performance options) and gradually down tune them to the most conservitive settings. A few at a time and retry the procedure that kills the machine.
  • If you get it to work go back over all the settings you changed in the last run and retry them just one enabled at a time until you isolate the setting that causes the machine to be unstable.
  • If nothing works then move on to hardware. Swap out the RAM sticks, trying one at a time. If you only have one stick, beg borrow or steal another one to test your RAM.
  • Check the temp on the CPU, maybe you need to keep your system a bit cooler. Generally most modern CPU's run hot, somewhere in the order of 70°C. Anything above 80°C is dangerous. You can try taking the case off the machine and pointing a room fan at it to help test whether tempurature is an issue.
  • After that I'd look for issues on the mainboard or it's settings. Possibilly you need to look at swapping out the mainboard or CPU to see if one of those is at fault. This is the least fun option, but it's the only way to go when you've isolated everything else.
In my case one of my sticks of RAM (6 yrs old) had developed a fault. Fortunately it was the 128mb stick not the 256mb stick. So I still have plenty to get by on.

Over the weekend I finally put my head down and had a go at finding that "stuck account" issue that some people are having with Scribe. So I wrote a simple email server that servers up unlimited amounts of random email, with throttled sockets to simulate the latency and bandwidth issues you get in the real world. Then I setup 7 accounts in InScribe and let them hammer the random server for a couple of hours. Nothing. Nada, zip. It was still running smoothly after all that time and 2000 or so messages downloaded. Quite often 4-5 of the accounts were active at the same time. So it seems that it's going to be more difficult than I hoped. I've got some more avenues to test though and I'm not going to give up. I will get to the bottom of this :D
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