inside the tower

I recently had some issues with my dear computer.  Note: this is the same computer I’ve had since summer of 2003.  It’s survived like the ship of Theseus.  I’ve upgraded the hard drives, RAM, video card, etc.  (Obviously none of the software is the same.)  It’s not really like the ship of Theseus.  The case, monitor, motherboard, and some other stuff is the same.  But recently it started making some noises that made me a bit nervous – a loud intermittent whirring.  At first I was afraid one of my hard drives was crashing (I don’t have solid-state drives, and though I’ve never heard a normal hard drive fail, I imagined that’s what it would sound like).  Turns out, it was just the power supply fan, an apparently common failure in aged power supplies.

Step 1. Open up and get to the power supply and its fan.

Yeah, pretty terrifying, I know.  Keep in mind, it’s been seven years since this stuff saw the light of day.  And it’s not like I’ve never cleaned out the tower.  I have, but I’ve never taken the power supply out, let alone removed its case.

Step 2. Clean!

What a difference a can of compressed air and toothbrush make!

Step 3. Reassemble.

Step 4. Realize that, though better now, the noise hasn’t stopped.

Step 5. Cave and buy a new power supply in the EXACT dimensions, i.e., the exact same model (no better power supplies with those dimensions, damn).  (This solved the problem, at least.)

Step 6. The old power supply becomes a bookend.  (Industrial home decor?)

*                       *                       *                       *                       *

In other news, I’m TAing a summer course, “Freedom and Responsibility”… see, high schoolers take summer classes at Brown.  This one is two weeks, three hours a day.  It’s been so long since I’ve talked to high schoolers, I forgot that they aren’t quiet without being asked/made to be so.  Culture shock.  I know it’s a long class, but there’s a sizable break in the middle.  And really?  I mean they have (at least) six-hour school days that they’re supposed to be quiet for, so three hours (really 2.5 after the break) shouldn’t be seriously different.  Otherwise, it’s always good to revisit things, and I get to read a couple new papers.  It also gets me up and out, so that’s nice… although I worry I will be encouraged to put off my own work for the duration.  And that I can’t afford.


One response to this post.

  1. Hey-o
    I’ve taken apart some computers for recycling for a business. I have never seen one as dirty as yours. Good you were able to clean it out yourself and replace the power supply. Tina

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