Single Status Update
Well, some chips on my motherboard, anyway. Sorry, no graphical documentation because I have no digital camera. (Yes I know, I fail)
My Alienware computer suffered significant damage last week when I was playing Diablo and the computer powered itself down into some sort of hibernation mode, but it wasn't the typical 'stand by' position. The keyboard, monitor, and CPU lights were all on, but the fans had turned off (as well as the CPU). Anyway, holding in the power button for 5 seconds didn't work. I walked away to get a drink, and when I came back, all the lights that were previously lit had gone out. :/ I pressed the power button and heard a loud pop and strong burning solder smell, but the CPU light did come on. However, nothing else responded. I immediately turned the machine off. I was sort of scared when I thought the chief culprit of all this was heat damage (after all, the computed was crammed in a small wooden 'holding spot' that was attached to a desk).
My next course of action was to pop the hood and see what was going on. I opened up the CPU and turned on a fan that blew on it to cool things down. I peered around the motherboard and stuff. After minimal searching I found a small black plastic fragment that had blown off the motherboard. I found the small black chip that the fragment had blown off of. Wasn't too sure what to do next, so I turned the machine on again to see if that little plastic corner would make a difference. Another pop noise and burning smell. Oh snap.
Sure enough, I found another little plastic fragment detached from a chip. I wrote down the combination of letters and numbers on the front of the little chips and discovered that they were both the same. I continued to attempt to turn the machine on only to hear another pop noise (CPU light still did come on, but nothing else). After I found the third chip fragment, I wondered how many of these little chip corners would be sacrificed before the Alienware would succumb.
I pressed the power button again. No CPU light. After the third chip had blown, the computer wouldn't pop or burn. Hmmm. It was dead. Well, it gotten taken to the computer repair place and the guys there diagnosed it with a dead motherboard. Unfortunately, those young computer guys took out my mutilated motherboard and put in their own and attempted to turn the machine on. In the process, their own motherboard was killed. They added "bad power supply" to the list of troubles.
In the end, I'm getting a whole new computer. The repair place is putting in a new motherboard, new graphics card, and a duel core processor. :D After rupturing its major arteries, my computer is now beefed up and will be able to run Quake Wars with the best settings when it comes out. Discuss this epic that will be handed by word of mouth from generation to generation.