There’s A Bee In My…

ASUS A8NE motherboardMy new computer is dying. There are three fans in it: one on the CPU, one on the video card, and one for the motherboard’s chipset (NVIDIA nForce4). A month ago a loud buzzing sound started emanating from the computer case, sounding like a big-ass bee stuck in a glass jar; and then a few days later the computer froze with the BIOS message: Chip fan is running at a low, unsafe speed. I turned it off then back on, and the buzzing went away.

The buzzing came back today. This time I took the case apart and good clearly see the cooling fan for the nForce4 chip was spinning irregularly, almost stopping every second; and it’s loud; annoyingly loud.

I emailed ASUS, the motherboard manufacturer, the following:

The nForce4 ultra chip fan on the motherboard has recently started making a loud buzzing sound, with the BIOS giving alerts that its RPMs is low. I disabled the chip fan warning alarm, but the buzzing continues; it sounds like a loud bee stuck in a glass jar. Looking at the fan itself, it’s obvious that it isn’t spinning at a consistent rate.
I bought and installed the motherboard in May, 2005 and had no problems until this started to occur about a month ago. The system is behaving normally except for the loud buzzing sound the fan is making.
Does this require warranty work? Is there anything I can do to fix it? No changes have been made to the system since I first installed the motherboard.
I look forward to your response.

So if SWT is down, it’s probably because my PC’s motherboard has melted.

Update: ASUS sent me a free replacement motherboard in the end. See my comments below for how their excellent service dealt with the situation.

Another Update (Jan. 17, 2007): The fan failed AGAIN. It started humming loudly, and looking at it you could see it slowing down, trying to spin quickly. This time I replaced it with a heat-sink – no more damn fan to deal with.

Building A Computer

new computer partsI finally bought a new computer. I bought it in pieces from (I’ll post about them later), who are on the other side of Canada, but with shipping it was still cheaper than buying the equivalent pre-assembled PC. It arrived in less than a week. Here’s the important stuff:

bloody knuckleIt took me five hours and two beers. The part I worried about the most was the easiest: attaching the CPU and its fan onto the motherboard. AMD included a poster-size diagram on how to do it. The hardest part was fitting the DVD burner and hard-drive into their drive bays. That’s how I got the blooded knuckles.

assembled computerThe last step in the process was plugging the power supply into the motherboard. Easy. Well, I discovered the power supply had a 20-pin connector but the motherboard had a 24-pin connector; there would’ve have been four empty slots if I tried to plug it in (if it even fitted). The specifications for both were “ATX”, which is some kind of standard; neither said anything about the pins required! Pissed me off.

The next morning while running weekly errands, I dropped into a few computer shops and no one had a 20 to 24-pin adapter, and some hadn’t even heard of one. Exasperated, I went home and decided to start phoning shops I didn’t visit. The first place said I didn’t need an adapter. I was incredulous. He said the power supply’s connector would fit in only one position; that is, it was dummy proof. Their shop did it ALL the time. He guaranteed it wouldn’t blow up my motherboard, asking if I had a PCI Express card and what my power supply wattage was, to be sure. So a big thanks to Ron at PCMedic in Dieppe for saving me 10 bucks. Seriously.

Putting together a PC from its pieces is a pain in the arse, but it IS cheaper buying the parts that way. I’d only recommend it if you’re tech-savy.

So the PC is up and running now except I haven’t hooked it up to the net yet.

Update: The motherboard’s chip failed six months after this. ASUS sent me a replacement motherboard.