Coin Winners: 15 Worst User Upgrades of All Time

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Philips

These coins are well crafted. The event has been great. Many laughs and wondering monents were experienced. 

dewalt dw087k laserchalkline

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Glycerin

I have kept every issue of MaximumPC I've ever had, since August 1999.  I'm still missing more than a few issues though :(  Who wants to do the timewarp back to 2000 with me??

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Mahachippy

Got my coins in the mail today and they are awesome!  The pictures in the magazine didn't do them justice and I will carry them as my geek badge of honor! ;-]

Thanks again for the opportunity, Maximum PC!

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wheelnut53

 I enjoyed reading these stories and applaud MaxPC for giving the space . I like to tell this if its Ok . I have a PSU with a  clear case and for the second time I took it a part for a thourogh cleaning all went well untill it came time to power up, I got nothing . I  wiggled everything checked and recheck since i dont have a car I jump on the city bus with my PSU and went to my local brick and mortar computer store . The manager plug a tester into my PSU and nothing he promptly proclaim it was dead untill I said you are not getting power, his surge protector was not plugged into a working outlet . oh he said and we went to another station and this time we got green lights my PSU was working but I notice he had plug into the 24 pin cable which I had not I was trying to explain to him that that was what it was I had forgotten but he switch into sell something mood and refuse to hear me.He told me it might look like it was working but it was not long for this world .I thank him for his time and I took my unit and left out without purchasing the canned air I wanted. Needless to say it worked and is still working and I'm looking for another store.  

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Devo85x

 Got mine in today and thay look amazing =]

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Shagga

Great stories, I learned a lot. Anyway, I heard somethings that brought up a few questions. I'm going to be building my first computer soon enough and was wondering: Do I need anti-static wrist wrap while assembling it? and Do I need to surge protectors?

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Caboose

 You should ALWAYS have a properly rated surge protector. And a real one too. A powerbar is not a surge protector. Even if it's got a "reset" button.

As for the anti-static wrist strap, I've built hundreds of PC's and never used one. I find them more of a hassle than anything else. As long as you touch the case before digging inside, and ensure you leave all your parts in or on their anti-static bags/case/materials, you should be ok.

 Just be smart about things, and if you're not sure, ask!

-= I don't want to be dead, I want to be alive! Or... a cowboy! =-

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Shagga

Thanks!

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JustMe42

  I had used a Commodore 64 from 1982 until 1993.  Within that time I had read computing magazines that showed quite a few robots that looked just like rackmount cabinets with a monitor and motorized wheels,  Also during that time, I saw my first portable computer, the Commodore SX-64.

  It didn't seem like Commodore would be viable for the future, so I finally bought my first PC, a 386-16. I had also started reading PC magazines, especially the Computer Shopper, which had pages full of parts for the PC enthusiast as-well-as articles on building PCs.  Needless to say, after reading about PCs for a while, I quickly realized the 386 was obsolete before I had ever bought it, so 2 months later, I finally bought a 486SX-20.

  After having a PC for a year and having read many articles on building PCs, I finally decided to take the plunge and assemble a system.  Now, since I had enjoyed reading about the robots from the 80s and I thought the Commodore SX-64 was pretty neat, I decided I was going to make a portable computer for myself.  The goal was to get a full tower case with casters on it and put a small monitor into it so it would look like a mini 80s robot and have the small screen like the SX-64.  So, I specc'd out my parts, sent my check out, having to wait the week for the check to get to the company, another week for it to clear, and yet another week to get the parts, after the 3 day burn in.  After weeks of waiting, I finally got my Cyrix processor, RAM, Floppy drive, Trident video card, VIA motherboard, Maxtor hard drive, Soundblaster sound card, and full size tower case in the mail.  Woo Hooo!

    I checked and double-checked every component, making sure al the screw were tightened down properly and reseating the components to make sure they were in properly.   The moment of truth was here, so I put my MS-DOS floppy disk in and flipped the power switch and prayed that everything was connected properly.  POST.  Ha Ha! Sucess! The PC boots up, I get DOS and WIndows 3.1 installed, then the drivers.  All that stress and it worked, but the glaring silence indicates something is wrong.  No Sound!  After 8 hours of DOS, Windows, and driver reinstalls, with Tron playing in the background to keep me inspired, it hits me; Check IRQ and DMA settings.  Sure enough after switching the IRQ and DMA, the sound worked brilliantly.

  Proud of my accomplishment, I wheel my "portable" computer into work to show it to my friends and to let them see the innards of a PC.  With the computer on and the case cover off, I point at the various components, indicating what it is and does.  During my presentation, I brush my hand against a loose Molex connector, which swings freely, then makes contact with some exposed pins on the motherboard.   Sparks fly and the screen goes black and I quickly rush to turn the power off while my friends laugh hysterically at my untimely light show.  So, there I stood with the sense of dread, thinking of how long it would take to send the parts back and get the replacements, if any would be issued.  I could claim defect, but the scorch marks would definitely indicate incompetence.  So, with heavy heart, I secure the Molex connector and flip the power switch so the POST beeps can mock my pain.  And then...POST.  Yes!! 

  The PC lasted for a few years and to this day, I still I check for conflicts with IRQs, loathing that PnP doesn't do a good enough job with IRQ allocation.

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michaelh

I'm surprised after all these comments that nobody's corrected the misunderstanding about lapping. Lapping's not really the right word when it comes to this due to the process involved, but it's done to the heatsink not the CPU. 

Not sure where Shrody got "belt sander" from, but you use a very fine sandpaper to smooth the heatsink to a smooth polish, leaving fewer grooves and pits that can trap air bubbles (a good heat insulator).  This, along with staining the heatsink surface and applying the right amount of thermal paste can do wonders for temperatures compared to a poor installation.

 

 

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OCNoob

You can lap a CPU that has a heatspreader on it. It helps when the heatspreader has large dips and peaks.

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M-ManLA

OMG These are funny!

 

Electronically charged

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Devo85x

 People seem to be putting more hate comments in this article than any other MPC article I have ever seen.  First of all, people aren't stupid for making mistakes... second, why are so many people bitching about proper English when the writer still got the point across? and third, don't post hate comments just because your epic failure didn't make it in the 15...

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lunchbox73

What's the point of speaking clearly when you can just grunt and point? Gets the message across right? What's the point of upgrading from fuzzy rabbit ear TV reception to HDTV? You still get the point of the TV show right? right? RIGHT?!?

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Devo85x

Except we aren't talking about that stuff... we are talking about a misspelled word or a missing apostrophe... 

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Shrody

Why in the world would you ever use a belt sander on a cpu? To make it faster? You would get a hell of a lot better preformance by spending another 50 bucks instead of trying to shorten the physical distance between the cpu and socket. Really I mean, I have a hard time believing that.

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Queenof1

My favorites are 7, 5, and 3

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Caboose

I've got a story for you guys.

 

I work as the PC Admin for a medium sized company. I've done some "personal time" computer work for a few co-workers. And only if they ask politely first. I refuse to help those that just demand, or suddenly appear with a computer in hand and ask me to fix it.

So this one co-worker, I've done a little PC work for him in the past. Rebuilt his machine this past January (Win7 64bit and new HDD). Everything was working fine until 2mo ago, when the display driver was randomly crashing during playback of HD video and games. I took the PC in, cleaned out the dust that was building up, and ran a number of tests. I never got the display driver to crash once. I played HD video (720p & 1080p), and spent a few hours playing some Half-Life 2 Ep.2. I even launched WoW (for an entire 45 seconds). Nothing. I performed a full system update (Incl. BIOS) as well. So I returned the PC and chalked it up overheating. My co-worker said that he'd make a few changes to the computer desk that the PC lives in.

All was fine up until 2 weeks ago, when the same co-worker came to me, and said that he's not getting any image on the screen. The PC "turns on" (no post Beep), and the fans spin up but nothing else. I gave him another DVI cable as well as a VGA to DVI adapter just in case it was a cable or adapter issue. I even suggested testing on a 2nd monitor. He came back a few days later and reported that there was no change. So I took the PC in to run some tests.

First tests pointed me towards a bad PSU, but the PSU tester I used indicated that it was fine. So I told the guy that he needed a new motherboard. Purchase one and I go to work. I rebuild the entire machine, get everything all working just great and go to turn the PC on and I get... nothing. Fans spin up, no post BEEP, no image. Nothing. So I think that it IS the PSU. Walk over to work, grab a PSU off the shelf and some new RAM just in case and return home. I connect up the new PSU and the PC boots! AWESOME! So, now I start to second guess myself. Maybe it was the PSU. I reconnect the 2nd HDD... AND THE DAMN THING DOESN'T BOOT! SO I figure there's something wrong with the HDD and the PSU. I'll replace the PSU (the 2nd HDD wasn't really used).

The next day I purchase a brand new Thermaltake 750w modular PSU. Install it and... THE DAMN THING DOESN'T BOOT! So yell, crush my empty pop cans, then start searching for the ram I borrowed from work. Install it, and... THE DAMN THING BOOTS UP!

At this point I'm pretty pissed off. "Alright... Lets just get this thing working" I say to myself, and grab my Win7 install disc and the key from the PC and start to rebuild the PC. Windows installs, I load up drivers, and get everything working happily. I reconnect the 2nd HDD and... the PC freezes at the Windows splash screen. At this point, I've given up for the night. I let the machine run a full memory and HDD test (primary HDD) overnight. At one point the test freezes, so I just power off the system and call it a night. (the next day was Sunday. I spent it drinking beer, playing STO and watching all 4 Terminator movies)

The next day before work, I decide to re-hook my fiancee's PC back up, and what do you know, her monitor doesn't want to turn on, it just sits in standby the entire time. I know her PC works. Maybe it was her monitor all a long... No... It's got to be the PC. So I get to work and explain whats going on to my co-worker. He discusses with the Minister of Finance (aka his wife) about putting more money in to the PC to get it fixed, and she agrees, so we purchase a brand new LGA775 dual-core CPU (E6300) and a 2GB kit of Muskin DDR2-800. I get the parts home, install them in to the motherboard, connect the PC back up (to my fiancee's monitor) and....

NOTHING! Not a damn thing! No beeps, no bloops, nothing! It just sits there and hums (fans spinning). I'm just about to give up and call it quits.

As a last ditch effort, I decide to hook the PC up to my monitor and just see what happens. If it doesn't boot, I'm returning all the parts. And guess what...

The godforsaken thing boots up. And runs fine! 2 nVidia cards, 2 HDD's, new CPU, RAM and mobo. Everything runs fine!

So my co-worker, his son and his wife are all happy now. The PC's running along smoothly with it's all brand new parts, and a used 8800 GTS, with it's existing 8800GT acting as a dedicated PhysX card.

Some days, I absolutely hate computers. Other days, I can't imagine a world without them. This must be why I keep coming back to doing tech work!

 

-= I don't want to be dead, I want to be alive! Or... a cowboy! =-

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PawBear

 Hey, come on, who hasn't made some of these mistakes, except for you "smart" people.

Lesson one: don't work tired

Lesson 2: always use a back-up power supply - especially in Texas

Lesson 3: expect the worst, hope for the best

Lesson 4: experience counts

Lesson 6:  wifes always know best

I'd like to read the funny ones.

"Either we conform the Truth to our desires or we conform our desires to the Truth."

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dentaku

I couldn't read most of these. They where just long and boring stories of people who didn't know better and ended up breaking stuff.

 If it doesn't "just work" don't bother messing with it, it's not worth the trouble.

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NicciAdonai

I can't decide whether this post is funnier if you actually meant it or if you were poking fun at iPeople. Either way, thanks for the laugh.

This is not flamebait, by the way. Apple's products are simply made for a certain type of consumer, and I'm not that consumer. Apparently I may never be, seeing as being that type of consumer apparently includes, among other things, leaving the computer repair business because none of the stuff people pay me to do "just works," and throwing away hundreds of dollars of my own perfectly fine equipment if one component gets twitchy.

Much love to all the iPeople, though. Apple and Microsoft keep each other on their respective toes. 

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cc3d

just kill that article, those were some of the worse stories ever (not because of what happens in them, but because they are just terrible stories.)  Put me to sleep.

Even the number one story, sorry buddy, you just sound like a freakin' idiot!  (if I belive the story)

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lunchbox73

Yeah, I don't understand what could get "messed up" to force you to use water cooling. Wouldn't that be the opposite? And when you say the "damn thing broke in half" are you talking about the mobo breaking in half? How could you possibly do that just trying to fit a dimm?

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Caboose

Ya, the last story sounds like my fiancee's step-brother. Thinks he knows all, but in reality is clueless as all hell!

-= I don't want to be dead, I want to be alive! Or... a cowboy! =-

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zippzom

Why is the grammar so bad in some of these? It was difficult to read them as the grammar and spelling were so poor. I'm not usually a nitpicker of such things, but couldn't the MPC staff proofread them a little bit? The last one, while nothing was really wrong with it, was written in a format more suitable for texting. Nevertheless, interesting stories, good tales of poor judgements that can be looked in a humorous light.

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Vano

Don't forget, English is not everybody's first language ;)

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goom9er

Fair enough.  But I do have a retort.  Many non-native English speakers speak and write better English than a bulk of native speakers do.  Furthermore, based on my experience seeing native Chinese, German, Spanish, and French speakers write in English, the mistakes they make are often with verb order, subject-verb agreement, tenses, and conjugation.  The mistakes in these stories, however, did not fit into these categories, for the most part, but were instead just plain sloppy errors that appear to have been made by native speakers. 

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Rocketpop

You must be new to the Internet, since you just stated something so fundamental to it that I can't believe the site didn't crash. Don't worry, you'll get used to seeing this strange new phenomenon soon.

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goom9er

Unfortunately, the MPC editors erred too.  I assume the headings were written by MPC staffers.  Notice #14's use of "Percocet's"?  Using an apostrophe to pluralize a proper noun?  On a general note, while it is easy to harangue high-schoolers for their poor grammar, adults tend to be just as inept and careless (LOL's notwithstanding).  Apathy has killed grammar, and blame for that is squarely on parents, educators, and society at large.

Regarding the stories themselves, two or three of them are decent.  They are the ones that are just bad luck or regrettable mistakes that even seasoned geeks can make.  But a vast majority of the stories were just illustrations of epic ineptitude by people who did not belong inside a PC chassis (at least unsupervised or without help from a knowledgeable person).  These stories hardly deserve space on a site like MPC; rather, they may belong on a site for beginners or a tech site named "Minimum PC."

I don't mean to belittle the authors of these stories.  I have made plenty of bone-headed techy mistakes; that is how I learned to use and fix computers and other electronics.  But there are two categories, at least, of stories like the ones here.  There are the rookie mistakes that are uninteresting and unhelpful to most MPC readers.  Then there are the screw-ups and ill-fate tales of woe that can befall even the pro; those stories merit mention on a site like this.  Those stories would entertain and educate.

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titan8813

You point out an improper use of an apostrophe (Percocet's), then repeat the error (LOL's).  Zoinks, Scoob.

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lunchbox73

Why? Because most people under 20 either don't give a damn about spelling or grammar anymore or they don't know any better. When you call them on it you'll get every excuse in the book like "I didn't know this was suppose to be a term paper" or "it's just the internet, who cares" or "I'm more concerned about getting my point across than wasting time checking spelling" etc, etc.

It's getting worse...

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Zallomallo

Well for one this weren't MPC writing this.

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Queenof1

I saw what you did there^

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