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» Tuesday, October 29, 2002
When Last We Met in the Computer Saga...
,,,we’d gotten the USB card to work on my computer. Later James did get the network card working on my computer--ironically it makes my dial-up connection log on faster (???)--but hadn’t gotten the fool thing to work on his.
And now back to our story:
Thanks to some advice (you know who you are; thanks!), James went surfing on a site called pricewatch.com and not only found a Slot A processor chip for the computer he’s building, but found an AMD K6 450MHz processor for my computer. They shipped over the weekend and he installed my processor last night.
It was understood that the processor was not going to run at 450MHz. The chip runs at that rate only on a 100MHz bus, and I have only a 75MHz bus. That meant any processor speed I had would be decreased by one quarter. A couple of jumper changes and voilá, it was done. And sure enough, the system now clocked at 333MHz, 3/4 of 450.
Recall that one of the reasons this upgrade was done was to make the DVD player work. Hmmm. Sound and picture still stutter. Other advice we got was to load the latest version of DirectX from Microslop’s site and then enable DMA.
Note to Readers: Do not start downloading DirectX at 10:45 at night if you wanted to be in bed by 11:30. It takes almost an hour to download. I did all my little chores, put Bandit to bed, brushed my teeth and took my nightly meds, and finally sat down for 10 minutes as the download drew to a close.
James said, “You might as well install it. It only takes 5 minutes, if that.” I did. Tried the DVD player again. Every time we make some improvement to the system, the DVD plays a little bit better. You can almost watch it now. But it’s not smooth.
“Let’s try the DMA thing.” The advice had been to enable DMA in the BIOS. But we saw a DMA checkbox in Device Manager and clicked it. After all, if it didn't work we could always unclick it.
Big Note to Readers: Do not click the DMA box in Device Manager (at least not without enabling DMA in BIOS). It causes nothing but a world of trouble. The computer got to a certain spot after Win98 started to boot--and froze, again and again. Naturally, there’s an easy solution: boot in safe mode and unclick the DMA checkbox, right?
When you boot in safe mode there is no DMA box to unclick. Egad.
James eventually found a minimal boot sequence that would give us the Device Manager panel that did have a DMA checkbox to unclick and got the poor computer back to normal. (In retrospect, this makes sense. DMA was not enabled in BIOS. When Win98 tried to boot with DMA specifications it was like sending someone downstairs before the party to get the cartons of soda chilling in the spare fridge--and then remembering you forgot to put them in there in the first place. They won’t be able to find the soda, and neither will Windows be able to do anything with something that’s not enabled.) We’ll have to try it the other way around.