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In July’s "Budget Upgrade" issue, we extended an offer to our loyal readers: Tell us about your best/worst PC upgrade story, and earn yourself two of the kick-ass, custom-made Maximum PC coins we featured on the cover of that issue. We had no idea what we were in for.
Hundreds of submissions later, we emerged traumatized. Drained of all emotion. We laughed. We cried. We got angry. We felt your pain. And, in more than one instance, we literally had no idea what the hell you were talking about (but thanks for trying!).
Alas, as you have no doubt guessed, the majority of the submissions weren't aflutter with touching, heartfelt stories about successfully upgrading a GPU or processor. No no. There were a few of these—and we promise to publish them next week—but not many. And you know, to be honest, we prefer it this way. We know the heartache of breaking a PC in the process of attempting to improve it. We also know the grief we give each other when it happens.
Don't get us wrong, a lot of these stories were hilarious-- full of D'oh! moments and stupid mistakes. But some of the winning entries were absolute horror stories; the type that make tech nerds ball up in their seats and bite their lower lip. You know the look a die-hard sports fan gets on their face when their home team loses? That's the look we had while reading through some of these.
That being said, we humbly present the 15 Worst User Upgrades of All Time. We wouldn't be able to do so without all you guys. Thanks for making this happen.
So back in the beginning of 2009, I decided to upgrade from my aging Pentium 4 system. I decided on going with a Pentium Quad Core setup, bought a motherboard and cpu combo from a e-tailer, and other components to follow. Well, allowing myself to get caught up in an overclocking frenzy, I decided to Lap my CPU (sanding down the processor to enable a better contact with the CPU cooler) while waiting for my other components to arrive in the mail. So once I actually received the remaining components, I put my computer together, powered it up, and got nothing (and I mean not even a POST beep!). So, after several troubleshooting sessions (which included phone calls to each of the components manufacturers) and replacing EVERY component over the course of two months (even the power supply), it finally came down to being the processor. Either it was bad to begin with, or at some point in my lapping I screwed it up. So, after two long months, several phone calls, and about $1000 dollars, I finally had my whole-computer upgrade. Lesson learned and my advice to everyone: test EVERY product before doing any type of after-market modifications (otherwise you have to buy a new one)!
I was reading the July 2010 issue and saw that you wanted people to send in their best/worst PC upgrade stories and thought I'd send my 'horror story' along.
I had built a computer back in 2002 it was a Soyo SY-P4X400 Dragon Ultra MoBo, socket 478 P4 2.4GHz and 1GB of RAM. It worked excellent until April of last year. I woke up one day to find that all the fans in my computer were running yet there was nothing on the monitors. I then opened up the computer to find that the plastic retention bracket that was holding the heat sink to the CPU had cracked and caused the heat sink to separate from the CPU thus frying the CPU and MoBo while I slept (I've got a picture of the CPU here if you're interested, http://twitpic.com/39tig).
I should mention that I had broken my ankle February of last year and was on Percocets at the time and that could have explained the
following: Once I found out that the MoBo and CPU were dead I then ran to the internets and found a used MoBo similar to the one I had (although it was the step down from the one I originally had) and a used
P4 since the only OEM P4s that I could find where incompatible with the MoBo. I put it all together once the parts came and I ended up having to reinstall Windows, but once that was done the computer was working fine for a while until I started hearing low fast beeping and then random restarts. This went on for a few days until it wouldn't even POST. After doing some investigating I couldn't come up with anything and decided to just retire it since I was still on workman's comp and didn't have much more money to put into it and it was about 7 years old then.
So since that day in April I've been stuck using a MacBook Pro (which I recently had to put $330 into since the graphics chip died) because I am now unemployed and too poor to build a new system. Although I do have Windows 7 on it so it's a little more tolerable.
I guess the moral of my story is that it doesn't pay to be on pain killer while trying to do an emergency 'upgrade' otherwise you'll be stuck with a Mac and OSX. If I wasn't on pain killers I most likely would have been thinking clearer and would have spent $300 - $400 on building a cheap PC for the time being.
Anyway thanks for reading my ramblings and as you can see I could really use the "handful of coins" so I can get off this damn Mac.
I am a student in high school without a job, so most of the money I get for upgrades comes from either birthday/Christmas money or from repairing computers. This is how I got the money for my best upgrade (which also ties into my worst upgrade). I bought a EVGA GTX260 SSC Edition graphics card the week after they came out (to replace an old ATI X1550). About six months later I bought another one and put it in SLI. Overall this upgrade cost me about $500 and is by far the best upgrade I have done so far. But now comes the bad part. Recently (about three months ago) I bought a new Cooler Master HAF 932 case, AMD Phenom 9850 (to replace an Athlon 64 X2 6400+), and a Corsair H50. As I was taking the parts out of my old case to put in the new case, I started unscrewing the last screw holding the motherboard to the case, but instead of the screw coming out, the standoff screwed out. This bent my board in just the right way to effectively kill my second PCI-E slot. Now I may be running a quad core, but my second graphics card (which cost me a little over $200) will not work (yes I troubleshooted to make sure it was the board). So my best upgrade ties into my worst failure. Oh the irony.
I hope you enjoyed,