Two things that I forgot to put on the list.
One, Kristien keeps complaining about the loud computer in the living room. I want to keep it on at all times (I access it remotely from Barcelona), but it’s too noisy for her. So today, I called Peter and we went shopping for ways to cool the system.
We started out by looking for a silent power supply and a silent CPU fan, but in the end we realized that the CPU in the desktop (A Dual Core P4 of the first generation) is just always going to be a heat generator (it runs at 60C when idle), and in the end I decided to change motherboard (also getting more RAM), CPU (Quad Core, it was just 90 euros more expensive than dualcore), get an Antec low-noise case, and a Noctua CPU cooler (which the shop guy claims is better than the funky Zalman CPU coolers). The only thing I’m really worried about is the video card – an ATI Radeon 2400 HD – it doesn’t look to well-supported under Linux.
All this stuff gives me a new desktop for around 700 euro – amazing. I remember how I painfully emptied my wallet to get an Athlon 550 system – top of the range at the time – for the equivalent of 1700 euros.
So, what better project for Nerd Night than working on a silent PC ?
The other thing is going to be even more fun. Yesterday evening I froze one of my hard drives – literally. I put it in a ziplock bag filled with grains of minute rice and put it in the freezer. According to a mail Peter sent me, this might just give me enough working time
Why, you ask ? Well, Remember my previous problem. I never followed up on that post, because it was just too embarassing. Here’s what happened right after that post.
Recall that I had a software RAID with one of the two drives failing to work. I was fiddling around with the good drive and a new drive, trying to copy stuff. Of course, I just had my desktop lying flat on the floor, with the drives sticking out a little under various angles, the way I always do when I’m working on the guts of a computer. Then, at some point, I reached to grab something from the shelf, and from the top of my shelf a motherboard box slipped and fell down.
It fell down with a point of the box *right on the good hard drive*. Yes, a 50 cm2 target, and the box hit it. It knocked the drive out of commission. So, this left me with the curious situation of having both of my software RAID drives out of order.
I again contacted some data recovery companies, but all of them would charge at least 1000 euros to recover the data. Even though I’m absolutely convinced it can’t be much more work between a 400 GB drive and a 100 GB drive, they still charge you a lot more for the bigger drive.
Well, I am no one if not the kind of person that sees opportunity in every problem. I have two identical broken drives. So I can use at least one of them to try out a non-conventional recovery method. Peter suggested the freezing method, so that’s what I did. And tonight we’ll know if it works!
I have a USB carcass ready to take the drive, and some scripts that should copy the things I need in order, to maximize useful working time in case it works. I don’t have high hopes, but one never knows…