* shawn wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org> [101226 12:28]:
> I don't think that brand or manufacturing process are the issue here
> unless you bought cheap asus boards
Cheap boards generally do not have solid capacitors exclusively.
> > purchased -- Asus M3A78-T (AMD64) and Asus P5Q-EM (i386)
> So, assuming a decent board (it doesn't sound like you have a problem
> spending $200+ usd if you're replacing it because video is starting to fail
> vs just putting another video card in)
How can you trust a board (still in warranty) which has video
problems, even if you use an external video card?
> then, I wonder about outside factors. First, have you had the
> machines plugged into a ups?
UPS and surge arrestor.
> Did you check your RAM before trashing the boards (and probably in
> another computer that doesn't use shared RAM for graphics as I don't
> know how memtest86 handles that)?
Recall that the M3A78-T made three RMA trips to Asus. If the RAM is
defective, Asus should have detected it.
> Are you in a real humid or dry setting? Is it real hot all the time?
Tropical mosquito swamp. Summer is hot and humid. Winter is cool and
humid. There are two nice days a year; one is called "spring" and the
other is called "autumn".
> As for your issue with electrolytic caps (let me see if I can remember my
> electronics here). They are more suited for higher voltages and can hold a
> charge longer than the solid state variants. Personally, I like them better
> because when they blow, its visually noticeable (mushroom head or
> electrolyte all over the place).
I am a graduate engineer with electronic expertise; you obviously do not
understand electrolytic capacitors.
Electrolytics are low-voltage capacitors; they tend to be leaky; they
lose capacity with age; the aging process is accelerated by heat; they
are subject to internal shorting. Even the best of electrolytics have
a rated operating life of about five years. The heat generated by an
internal short causes internal pressure to rise and may cause the case
to burst. Electrolyte from a burst capacitor can ruin a motherboard.
Electrolytic capacitors are widely used because they provide high
capacity in a small volume at a relatively low price.
Ten years or so ago, electrolytic failures gave every motherboard
manufacturer much grief, because after only a three to six months of
service, many of the electrolytics had decreased in capacitance to the
point that the associated circuitry quit working. This problem was
front-page news for months in professional electronic design journals.
It is this problem which has lead to the use of so-called "solid
capacitors" (there is no such thing as a "solid-STATE" capacitor) on
motherboards, despite the higher cost.
> Lastly, I've got stereo cross over circuits with those caps that
> have been used for 10+ years.
And as the electrolytics decrease in capacity, the crossover
frequencies change. But the human ear becomes accustomed to slow
changes. A frequency response curve made with a calibrated microphone
likely would surprise you.
> Point of all of this is, in most environments, I wouldn't really
> dwell on the caps one way or the other. Buy what works, treat it
> well and, in five years or so, you'll end up throwing away an old
> motherboard with perfectly good caps.
Not so. In five years, the typical electrolytic has only a small
fraction of its nominal capacity, so that parameters (such as ripple
and time constants) of the circuit of which the capacitor is a part
are outside of specification. There may be as many as a hundred
capacitors on a motherboard; many of the function as essential
elements of the power supply circuit.
> As for specific board recommendations, I can't really give you any as I
> don't work that way. I either get whatever cheap dell I can get gold support
> on and then replace it or I get proliant servers. If this is truly a desktop
> system for you and nothing more, you might opt for the dell with gold
> support (crap hardware with insurance
Obviously reliability means nothing to you. You really should not
speak concerning things of which you are ignorant and about which you
are indifferent. All in all, you and a Dell appear to be made for one
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