Fun with Computers

First some background: our primary office file server has been acting
up periodically for a while now, and recently has become much more
insistant.  All things considered, it'd done it's job remarkably
well, and without anything even approximating sufficient
hardware.  So after this morning's crash, we moved on getting a
new box to replace it.  The load is light (we have an office about
about 15), and space isn't an issue, so a low-end workstation tower
with an extra bit of memory is all we needed.

Then the fun started.  I strolled the block down from my office to
Northwest Computer Supply, and asked them for some parts.  I knew
basically what I wanted, but not the specifics, and (foolishly, you'll
see) trusted them to make that work.  The list was megar: a
motherboard, the cheapest P4 on the rack, 1GB of RAM, a cheap case and
a cheap CD drive.  I already had hard disks.  Pretty
simple.  Got my parts, and was back at the office in less than
half an hour.

Get everything installed except the processor, and realize numbnuts has
given me a motherboard for the wrong processor footprint (Celeron, vs
Pentium, I believe).  No No worries, I go to trade the P4 for a
Celeron; it's not like a file server needs much processing power. 
No can do, because I opened the processor box.  Fine.  I'll
get a new motherboard ($150 vs $97).

Come back to the office, pull everything back out of the case so I can
get the motherboard and take it down the street, exchange it, and bring
my shiny new P4-compatible board back to the office, and get it back in
the case.

Pull the RAM back out of it's sleeves, and go to put it in. 
Whoops!  It doesn't fit!  Back down the block.  "We
don't have any in stock, but we can order it for you.  Probably be
here Friday.  We can do overnight, but it'll probably cost an
additional $12 or so."  "Excuse me?  You want me to pay the
shipping, because your sorry ass can't read that the MB takes DDR2, and
you sold me DDR?"  Of course, I shouldn't have assumed he was
clever, he had just sold me an incompatible processor a couple hours

I returned the DDR, and went to the store on the next block to get some
DDR2, which they had in stock, and while it was more expensive, at
least is was in the county.  Back to the office, ready to finally
get this computer together.


Everything back in the case, and go to hook up the power supply. 
Now I learn that numbnuts has managed to provide a power supply that is
incompatible with the motherboard. I had no idea this was even
possible.  So now I'm waiting.  Hoping.  Praying. 
Dear God, please let these idiots manage to fix their mess.  I
have little faith.

So, what have I learned today?  Never, ever assume that people
selling computers know ANYTHING, even if their job is nothing except
putting computers together.  I am absolutely flabbergasted that
this man has a job, and has had it for quite a while.  Perhaps
it's just been my unlucky day, but c'mon, the only things that fit
together were the friggin' IDE cables.  Of course, I should have
been suspicious when they refused to sell me a system without a copy of
Windows attached, and instead required me to buy unassembled parts, but
even so.  Needless to say, they will no longer be getting any of
my business.

4 responses to “Fun with Computers”

  1. johnb

    it's the same over here, the salesman in PCWorld are attrocious – i've let one try and sell me a computer before now pretending to be an 'average joe' and the rubbish they were coming out with was incredible – even overhearing them talking to other customers, what they won't say is amazing!!!

  2. Adedeji Olowe

    Hey mate! you ain't better than the sales man. Any one feeling techy about buying computer parts should know what he's buying.

    I thot memory/power,MB have descriptions on them…

  3. Barney

    Yeah, yeah. Have no fear that I will definitely do complete research and arrive at the store with specific model numbers from now on. However, the tech guy at the store should just know that you can't put a P4 in a Celeron motherboard, without having to do research to tell which motherboard is which, because, well, that's his job. I say "should", because that's obviously not the case. But whatever.

  4. mtangorre

    What a dumbass the computer guy is… PC hardware is the easiest thing to master; there are only a handful of different options!!! Everytime I go into BestBuy or Circuit City to take advantage of a slickdeal ( I am amazed at how stupid their salespeople are… bunch of dunderheads. The last time I went in I was looking for heat spreaders for my RAM… the kid says "why would you want to spread the heat on your RAM, you should add more fans and blow onto the processor".. I shoulda kicked him in the balls! :-)