Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Computer Parts = Broken Computer had a deal I just could not resist. Quadcore processor? Check. Motherboard to support quadcore? Check. Enough RAM to support an eventual upgrade (downgrade?) to Windows Vista? Check. Essentially, this deal had everything I was looking for in my quest for computer upgrades.

At the time, this all made sense. I wouldn't just stumble into the multi-core processing scene, I would blast into it with a quadcore! Unfortunately, in my haste to capitalize on a great combo deal, I didn't do my homework. Now, I'm left out in the cold, posting this via my secondary, can't run World of Warcraft or Team Fortress 2, computer.

Everything started out great. Motherboard and hardware install went great. Booted the computer up to my Windows XP Pro CD to do a repair install to update the Windows HAL (hardware abstraction layer) to support the quadcore processor. Install completed perfectly and a short call to Microsoft and my copy of Windows XP Pro was divvied over to my new hardware. Then, I did a bit of work and reinstalled service pack 2 and several other updates.

The computer worked beautifully at this point. CPU temps were holding steady, RAM was working fine, and I was just about to throw this machine into it's first workout. However, I ran out of time for the day and shut the machine down. Unfortunately, that was the last time it was seen running.

Long story short, the motherboard died between bootups. No amount of CMOS resetting or hardware finagling can save it. Doing a bit more research, I am not the only one with a dead XFX motherboard. Every corner of the Internet seems to have someone with a dead XFX nforce 680i LT Sli motherboard. Even the customer reviews section is littered with dead on arrival (DOA) motherboards.

I am not some newb to computer hardware. I tear down and rebuild hundreds of PCs every year at work. I've helped numerous gaming friends build kick-ass rigs. I have never been stupid enough to jump on a hot deal. Yet, here I sit with a piece-of-garbage motherboard that needs to be returned. All because I wanted to catch a deal before it ended. I'm learning my lesson the hard way.

If I could, I would return the entire packaged deal, but I opened the CPU and it can not be returned. So, I will keep the OCZ RAM and Intel Q6600 quadcore CPU. However, the XFX nForce 680i LT Sli motherboard is history and I will never purchase another XFX product.

Lesson learned, be patient and smart about your computer purchases.


  1. Exact same problem here, with exact same motherboard. Got windows installed, all nice, up and running. Turn power off to swap a drive, wouldn't power back up. Checked everything, removed drives, etc. - noticed one of the 2 little LED's on the MB wasn't lit up (yellow or green, I forget which).
    I actually got 2 of those deals (one for me and one for GF), and I had a different problem with mine (it was my mistake, but the board easily went dead). Called up Tigerdirect for an RMA, and the person was a total dick. He said "You know the chances of both boards being bad is nearly impossible?" WTF? We called back because we didn't have invoice available at the time (and didn't wanna deal with the dick) and got a nicer person, who actually said they would reimburse us for some of the shipping cost (they don't have to do that). Got 2 new boards about a week later, and thankfully, no problems.
    But yes, XFX sucks majorly, and lesson learned.
    Funny thing is, I did a lot of research on the other parts (vid,mem,proc) but I think I forgot to research the Feedback on the motherboard. Like you, lesson learned.

  2. Fortunately, I had no problems with Tiger Direct, and if I did, I have a contact for our account rep at work and she would remedy the situation in a heartbeat. Pissed I didn't go through her in the first place.

    I have found a ton of bad info on XFX now that the problem has occurred. Apparently, a lot of XFX products lack some serious quality control and there are tons of horror stories about their customer service... who don't work weekends btw. Not to mention there isn't even an official forum!

    Anyways, I am going with an entirely different motherboard. Sticking with ASUS.

  3. Wow, sorry to hear that! Good luck on your next purchases.

  4. Anonymous10:08 PM

    Sorry to hear that, man. It really sucks when a new computer breaks down, especially when you were waiting to play with it. :(

  5. Sorry to hear that HL. I have been using Intel motherboards for years without a problem. While they may not be the best overclocking or gaming motherboard they are drop dead reliable. And nowadays I just want reliable and working.

  6. Yeah I've never had a problem with a ASUS motherboard yet. Though I haven't had time to build a computer from scratch for awhile now.

  7. Worst part about all of this, I used up one of my Windows XP Pro product-key activations. Now I have one left for that key and have to go through the fun process of transferring it to a new motherboard (hardware ID) and re-activating.\

    Anyways, Newegg to the rescue. Great deal on an ASUS P5N-E 650i Sli board. Apparently both the 680i and 780i chipset guidelines from nVidia are horribly unstable.

  8. I hate Windows Activation. The worst part is when it decides you have changed your hardware enough to warrant reactivation. I can't count how many times I have popped a new stick of ram in a computer and turned it on to have Windows pop up and say my hardware had changed and I had three days to reactivate. One stinking piece of ram. Big hardware change.

  9. Interesting, in hundreds of PC builds I have only ever had to reactivate Windows on a motherboard change. Never have seen it for any other hardware, not even CPU changes.

  10. I should mention, that it may be a CMOS battery failing that could of caused your re-activation requirement, or so I'm told by people who know more than me.

  11. Activation can be crazy. I have had ram do it. Yet I have done a full swap of motherboard, CPU, NIC, Ram, and have Windows continue merrily on its way. Sometimes I think there is a random number generator in there picking whether to require activation or not. :)

  12. Also depends on your license type. I had a guy swear he needed to reactivate a Windows XP Pro key, even though it did not warn him to reactivate at boot up. Turned out he was using a 'borrowed' volume license key installed via a slip streamed SP2 install CD.

    Anyways, got a reply back from the XFX tech support. I kid you not, the guy asked me to check the pins on the CPU and if any were bent, to bend them back gently. Holy fuck, Q6600 processors don't even fucking have pins. Then he ran down things like thermal paste, heatsink backplates, etc. Absolutely sealed the door closed on ever purchasing from them again.

  13. Makes note to never buy XFX products.

  14. I love calling the customer who has a 'borrowed' copy of XP when their machine has crashed. I need your CD and XP number is usually followed by, "What is that?", "I never got those.", or the best, the customer showing up with a CDR with the number printed on the top with a marker. hehehe

  15. Yep, we get all sorts of students that use various means to get the volume license keys out of our XP installs at school and then use them at home. Nothing we can really do and eventually it will get leaked to the net and before we know it, we can't install any new PCs.

    I actually have a friend that bought a volume license and we share the key every now and then when we are messing around with a spare machine. However, as I do more with Linux, the more Linux boxes show up around the house :P

    Once I get my new parts, I will finally be able to throw up my old hardware as a Linux DHCP/DNS server, just to say I've done it.


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