My father would have been 85 today. My 5 year old PC has been acting erratic for the past year. I decided that It would be wiser to replace it than to keep repairing it. I usually build my own PC’s but I decided that I would order a custom built PC to save time. I chose a Core 2 Duo computer from a company that has a 3 or 4 page ad in several major computer magazines. They offered a special deal featuring next day shipment and a fat discount, so I ordered one. It two weeks to get the computer and it wasn’t configured as I ordered. I then spent almost 2 days loading it up with all of my applications, and copying almost 100GB of data on to it. As I loaded software on to it, it became more and more unstable. After 2 more days it became totally unusable. At first my e-mail and phone calls went unanswered or not returned, or I got responses like “you shouldn’t be using 64 bit Windows”. They sold it to me! I asked twice for an RMA # to return the whole PC. Then I finally got to e-mail a tech. By this time my whole workbench is covered in dismantled PC and software. It has been almost a month since I placed the order, and I finally have figured it out (with some help from their techie). It seems that the machine will pass a complex suite of memory test software (the one on the Suse 9.3 distribution CD) for 6 hours with 0 errors, but the system memory is schizophrenic with 64 bit Windows, stupid with 32 bit Windows, and just plain dead with Suse Linux. Two memory SIMMS from a local store and the machine is happy, and awesomely fast too. Now I get to load the software all over again. Maybe I will have my workbench back in a few days. I think this could have happened if I built my own machine as well, but I have built a lot of PC’s (50 to 100) in the last 20 years, and I have never seen memory that passes a complex test suite, but fails in normal use.
I am posting this update from my laptop.