02/03/2001

I’m starting to think I’ve got a defective board. I cracked out one of the Soyo SY-7SBB motherboards yesterday (the $29 wonder) and couldn’t get it to work, regardless of what mount holes I grounded. I’ve never seen a board this sensitive to grounding before, so I’m really starting to wonder about it. (Most modern boards don’t mind being grounded in all possible spots; most ATX cases do just that and that’s what most people use. And I can’t think of a time when I built a system and it objected to being grounded in only one place either. Most boards just aren’t all that picky.)

So, since I’ve had an otherwise identical board running, I’m inclined to suspect the board itself.

I’ve had the other one running briefly, outside of a case, so I’ll try the second one and I’ll probably have to exchange the first.

It just dawned on me that how I came to this conclusion is probably useful information. First, I tried a different power supply, and got the same result. I connected the PC speaker and tried powering up with no memory present. With a system with an Award BIOS (or just about any other system), that should have resulted in beep codes. Motherboards don’t like to boot without a video card or RAM, so you can do a quick-and-dirty test for life by trying to make it boot without one or the other of those.

No response. So I cleared CMOS (check the manual; the way you do this varies). Still no response. I tried yet another power supply. Nothing. I knew the CPU was good because I pulled it from a working system. Same for the memory, though if the memory were bad I should get a beep code. I put the board in three different cases. Nothing.

And yes, I did check for shorts each time I put the board in a case. Loose bits hanging around inside the case are very detrimental to a board’s health.

It’s kind of a drag; I’d have liked to have one of the systems up and going by now. But this isn’t mission-critical; for mission critical stuff I buy Asus boards and now I remember why. I had good luck with Soyo a few years back, but I haven’t found anyone who matches Asus’ track record overall.

Reviews. I found several reviews yesterday, none of which were remarkably good or remarkably bad. I’ll put together a roundup for tomorrow I think.

Apologies to all of those who’ve sent e-mail. Hopefully I’ll catch up this weekend. Between cleaning my place up, working slightly longer-than-usual hours, a couple of meetings in the evenings, and writing another article for Shopper UK I haven’t been responding to mail very promptly this week.

One last thing: the story of a true hero. One of my heroes got a writeup in the Kansas City Star this morning. His name is Jim Eisenreich. Eisenreich was a promising young outfielder who battled (and beat) Tourette’s Syndrome. He made his comeback in Kansas City, then went on to win a World Series in Philadelphia. I don’t know how long the story will be online at the Star, but it’s worth a read even if you’re not a baseball fan. He’s another never-give-up story, but you can’t have too many of those.

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