Thursday, March 25, 2010

So much for relying on unknown brand and useless warranty *le sigh*

My so-so gaming rig's 250GB HDD got busted....well, almost. It's still usable, but it's effin' annoying to do reboot(s) just to recognize that block-of-metal-full-of-uber-phail. >.<

I bought a 250GB ExcelStor Jupiter last June of 2008 (I was still working at an internet cafe as an attendant that time) for like P2,400. At that time, it wasn't a great deal, IT'S A STEAL!! I mean, at that price tag you can get a measly 160GB of any known brand (Samsung, for example), but you can get more gigabytes on ExcelStor! But knowing that only 1 unit in stock left, I decided to pull out some moolah from my work's salary to buy one. Aaah... those were the days where you can buy what you want right after you get your salary. *looks at a distance in flashback mode*

Anyway, 250 is quite big and spacious for my downloading needs, although that stupid Smart BRO-ken held me back (advertised an up-to-512kbps burst rate.... not happened; 380kbps average rate... fine, no big deal, but I still get lower than 300kbps on succeeding months, which suckz ballz... AAAAAARGH!! >.<). I was like... installing a lot of games and softwares, downloading media files like videos (I've downloaded a lot of anime shows ever since I got a ancient Pentium 166mhz PC a.k.a. "Pentium 1", although upgraded to 226mhz processor or so... can't remember exactly but it's close to that) and music, etc. And there's a DVD writer in any case I run out of disk space. Pretty convenient, really.

But as more downloads I get, the more frustration I get as well. Frustration in a sense that you have to constantly backup files as soon as the HDD ran out of space, not to mention that I have to buy a lot of blank DVDs and have to wait 5-15 minutes to finish burning files onto a DVD which is time-consuming. Now that I've ditched that horridly stupid Smart BRO-ken in favor of Globeline's 1MB of pure awesome goodness (1mbps = 512kbps x 2, which is also 384kbps x 3), I began to face disk space crisis. But what the hell, that's not my point of story here.

I was hooking up some CCFLs (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) inside my gaming rig's PC case to test out its brightness ( me and my buddy were working on a CCFL VU meter project that time). Thanks to my stupidity, I attached the CCFL connector to its power inverter, while forgetting to turn the inverter off first for like.... umm... 2 times (ya, that was kinda stupid so sue me). Then poof! Instant shutdown in a second. Although doing that is a no-no for sensitive components like HDD, the high-end power supply (Cougar CM Power 700W; I wrote a blog about it
here) should have avoided that, as it has a power safety feature.

Last Monday right after the ICT day, I got enough time to have my gaming PC a lot of cleaning. After assembly of the cleaned components and added dust filter in front of the system box, I flipped the AVR switch, puhed the power button, waited for a few seconds, P.O.S.T screen shows up, saw everything there is to see in it... except for one thing: the SATA HDD. That was the very first time since I bought the 250GB HDD that didn't show up in the POST screen, given that I made sure that I got everything covered: from checking loose cables, then removing components that require 4-pin molex plugs and SATA power cables one-by-one, to actually dig right in to the BIOS setting. All of it are made of fail. Like what others said in the interwebz.... EPIC FAIL IS EPIC. *sigh*

Then after a few reboots, it finally recognized the 250GB HDD. To make sure if it still recognizes on the POST screen or not, I decided to restart the PC. Got back to the POST screen, then the HDD was recognized again. I felt like I wanted to blame on the motherboard's southbridge chipset (responsible for data traffic on PCI, sound, and SATA components), but since everything's cool I felt relieved.

I woke up at 7AM, then I turned the PC on so I can check some websites and emails, as well as to recharge my mp3 player. POST screen showed up right after I turned it on... yet, the same problem happened. What's worse is that it won't recognize the HDD no matter how many times I reboot the PC! Seeing that the time's almost 8AM, I decided to leave the problem for now.

I got back home, then I continued on making that damn HDD to work. I changed the entire motherboard to a one exactly the same brand and model (I have 2 PCs at my room, both have the same motherboard but have different components), but the problem still exists (yeah, so much for 3 hours of changing it but ended up the same problem). Now that my suspicion on the motherboard part is over and dealt with, I begin to suspect the HDD itself. To make or break my suspicion, I tried to pull out the suspected HDD, brought out 80GB Hitachi Deskstar from my other PC and connect it. POST screen showed up, but the 80GB HDD recognized right away on 1st boot. Not entirely convinced, I tried to re-enact the situation that the PC is turned off for a long time and turn it back on. While the 250GB HDD won't recognize after that, it's an opposite for the 80GB HDD: it also recognized on the POST screen.

Then I begin to wonder.... what's with the 250GB ExcelStor, a product of a not-so-known company, that only got its problems in 2-year time span, while the 80GB Hitachi Deskstar that took a lot of abuse (heat, spinups and spindowns, power outages, rough handling, you name it) and still got no problems whatsoever (well, it got the clicking sound problem which is pretty common when used for a very long time; not a big deal, just a minor annoyance to the ears), and I bought it last 4 years ago! I tried to return the defective HDD to the shop (ByteWorld) where I bought it, but when I got there, the saleslady I met (which is familiar to me since I'm a loyal customer of their shop) denied my request, as it's not ByteWorld anymore and the previous owner closed it (they named the shop "Technolife"... yaaaaaaa riiiiiiiiight). It still has the very same staff but now have a different management. Ah ok, what's with the stupid 3-year warranty if the management can't even cope with the business-related problems and ended up giving it up? We customers now ended up having a piece of junk?

Dammit, I should have stick to the known brand.... and a shop that lasts longer and won't do the same stupid mistake that ByteWorld did. So much for their "award for the best PC shop in Davao". Pfft!

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