Saturday, August 19, 2006

Successful Shuttle Upgrade


Ran by the local BigBox electronic store. Picked up two 512MB sticks of Kingston DCC PC3200 memory. Before I left I checked online and they also had a Sony (52x32x52) Internal CD-RW Drive (Model: CRX230AE) for about $50.00. Last one on the shelf. I use both TDK and Sony burners in my desktop machines at work and have been very pleased with them. The selling point on this one for me was actually that it was a "short-form-factor" drive. Which means that it is about 1-1/2" shorter in length than standard CD-R units. I didn't get a DVD/CD burner combo as I only sometimes watch DVD's on the desktop unit and Lavie's laptop handles dual-layer burning just fine. I just couldn't stand burning data/backup disks on the Shuttle at 10x speed. Ughh!

The NerdUnit (from whom I had to get my memory in the store) helpfully asked if I wanted them to install it for me as it was a "pretty technical process". I politely told them (without even smirking) that I did system and desktop support and thought I could handle it. He grinned and asked if I was interested in joining them. Thanks, no. (I prefer a more corporate/enterprise working environment.) Nor was I very impressed with the hard security-software sell they were laying on the nice woman who was trying to get her pc checked into. She seemed to be resisting NerdUnit extra-service assimilation pretty well, though.

Note to self: Make up some GrandStreamDreams business cards to hand out...

Anyway. I got home just as Lavie and Alvis were leaving (Lavie doesn't like to be in the house for some reason when I am upgrading hardware components on the pc.) I've mellowed out considerably now that I have both her laptop AND Alvis's Linux box to use as backups in case something goes wrong.

Which it did; Expectedly.

I opened up the case, took it outside and blew the dust off (minimal this time).

I pulled out the two 256MB old memory RAM sticks and placed in the new 512MB sticks.

Removed the dial-up PCI modem card. Didn't seem needed at the time any longer. Might put an extra USB expansion PCI card in there eventually....

Modded the case (put a strip of tape across the open slot as I couldn't find the original steel blank plate and didn't want to impact the airflow in the tiny case with that big open slot in the back).

I pulled out the long and heavy CD-R/RW unit and dropped in the short and light new one.

Plugged it all back up boot.

I had expected this. Really.

First thing was to swap the old memory back. Nope. Nada. Swapped the new sticks back in.

Then I yanked the power off the CDR (this Shuttle model only uses a 200W PSU). Maybe this new one took more juice.

No boot and no post.


Pulled all the system-board connectors and resnapped, just in case something was pulled loose.

No boot and no post.

I could see a friendly green LED light lit on the systemboard so I knew it was getting power.

Finally I just started mashing the powerbutton and after a minute--bam. It sprang to life and did a good boot.

Since I upgraded the RAM, CD-drive and yanked the pci-modem card, Windows XP required me to "re-activate" my copy. I did and it took with no problems.

I had to uninstall the old HP DLA (drive letter access) software and the old Nero version before I could install the new Nero and DLA software. Rebooted with no issues.

It is running fine. I can't say for certain that I am noticing any performance gains just yet. I work hard to keep the system apps and processes only to the bare essentials so it was pretty quick before. Probably when I move to more multi-window work will I begin to see a difference.

And why my ongoing issue with this Shuttle not always booting?

Only thing I can figure is that there is a leaky capacitor somewhere on the systemboard. I had to RMA my first Shuttle unit after a month because it never would end up posting/booting. I'm not an electronic component guy so I can't say for certain, but an "older" team-member in my group who is suggested that. That makes sense as to why sometimes when it acts up I can get it booting again my leaving the power button held in. It finally builds up enough charge to kick off.

Most days I don't have any issues, but sometimes I do.

Like I said...I've come to expect this behavior now and can cope.

I would replace the PSU but it is a special-slim model and I don't know if hanging a standard PSU unit outside the Shuttle's micro case would be that safe--or even if that is the problem.

Oh well. It's running fine now. Upgrades succeeded. Lavie can come back into the house with confidence.


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