... making kittens cry since 2001

You Have Got To Be Shitting Me 2008-11-23

It may have become apparent at some point that I like to play Guild Wars. I typically play it on my Eurocom laptop which is brutally loud. The fan on my Imprezza laptop whines in a high pitched slightly varying manner that would drive the calmest of individuals to kill. This laptop was some sort of beta or test model, and as a result it is hard to find drivers that work with it, and it has this terrible problem where the lid likes to crack if you open and close your laptop too often.

image Busted Eurocom case hinge.

OK, so the laptop sucks. That is why I decided to just make a PC for playing games on (which would primary be Guild Wars but could also include some others including Worms World Party or Solitaire). I have a few PC's around but I wanted to choose one that had good video (you know, for the games). I have a GeForce 8600 that isn't the best video card by a longshot but it is better than any onboard crap I could choose. The problem is that my video card was PCI Express and I was having trouble finding a suitable motherboard for it. For those of you who do not yet know... The term "express" is synonymous with "cheap", "crappy", and "manufacturer that wants to save money". I'm sure PCIe is just fine in it's own right but it IS annoying when trying to match motherboards to video cards.

Eventually I found a PC with a PCIe slot and enough RAM to make me happy. The board ended up being an Asus P5B-VM with 2G of memory already on it. It was already in a cute little case with a fanless power supply and I was all set to start setting up my new box. Too bad Windows XP barfed on it. I was getting a parade of problems trying to get Windows working on this thing. It has some nifty onboard RAID and the problems seemed to be related to that. I tried all kinds of crap and at one point even got close to finishing setup before it barfed. I had seen some forum posts about related issues and lots of people were fixing their problems with hard drive controller modifications. A few posts though had eluded to Windows potentially choking on some of the onboard devices. I disabled all onboard devices except the HDD controllers and jumpin' Jesus it worked. So I started enabling devices again and found out that it was the USB controller that was killing it. I quickly scrambled back to the forum searches I had done and someone had said he fixed his problem by flashing his BIOS. I was already annoyed enough that I figured I would do it even though a BIOS update gone bad usually means a dead board. When I looked at the Asus driver page (and my PC) it appeared as though I had a BIOS revision that was quite new but listed as being a Beta driver. I downloaded and installed the latest stable BIOS and it appears that Windows XP is actually installing now.

I was annoyed to find that Ubuntu Linux would install just fine on this machine with everything enabled while Windows would just hang at a screen saying "Setup Is Staring Windows". I would have left Ubuntu on there if the folks at ArenaNet would make a GW client for Linux (but they won't). Even Windows Server 2003 hung at the exact same spot with no indication of what was actually wrong. Thanks fellahs, we love ya!

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