In the last three weeks, I've encountered three different PCs that have all died the same death: Crusty Brown Goo Release.
There is nothing wrong with the chipsets - all three rendered useless by capacitor failure.
Its a bitch soldering in replacement caps.
They are all PIIIs or better - in fact, the last five years, I've probably seen ten or eleven systems dead from this.
Its stupid that it should fail that way.
I have Pentium 100's that have run for over 15 years without a problem. The sysadmin monitor processor for RenegadeMime's Epicentre cluster was a 486 SX, and at 19 years of age was cycled on and off every six minutes for months on end.
Without problem.
Of course, everyone knows that this is stupid and wasteful and irritating and yada yada yada.
It was while I was waiting for the soldering iron to heat that I remembered something, a paragraph from T.J.Bass's incomparable Godwhale:
'...neck and shoulder circuits were bright and shiny, winking back at him with silvery beads and wires. The neural web inside the skull resembled a dusty cobweb - soot. He pulled down the viewer and attached it to his forehead. Blowing carefully with his nitrogen gun, he checked each chip.
"Here it is! Another of those damned Hive chips exploded." he pulled over his forehead brace and leaned into it as he made the microcuts. "I don't know if its worth it. I seem to spend more time putting these in and taking them out then you do using them." '
The Hive's high tech products tended to fail after a short service period, often by the growth of single-crystal whiskers that ended up shorting out the chips. Here I have expensive and complex circuits dying because they could not use a decent quality electrolytic capacitor.
This is ridiculous : electrolytic capacitors should have a service life of decades. Not a couple of years.

RenegadeMime wants to point out that he used a 486SX for the process monitor because he had one lying around and without the co-processor it wasn't fast enough to bother using in the Epicentre's processing cluster;and that he used it for so long because it worked great and there was no need to tear it out.
So There.

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