Board - MSI K9A2 quad PCI, updated BIOS. Open Box.
CPU - 4850e X2 2.5GHz low power, idle, no OC.
PS - Are you kidding? Seasonic 850 watt ($60 rebate).
HD - Seagate 250GB SATA, because smaller sizes didn't make sense.
DVD- Samsung, because my last one works. SATA.
GPUs(3) - All 96 shaders, 8800GSs and 9600 GSOs. EVGA and ASUS.
OS - Vista 64 (I just posted the phrase epic failure elsewhere, need I do it again?)
Floppy - You name it; generic, Teac, NEC, and my savior BYTECC! No, seriously.
I'm rarely home so updates have been slow. Bad weather kept me from doing yard work. I spent over 6 hours trying to update the BIOS and FAH. First part was I made a bootable CD from an ISO file. My first download was an IMG file, and neither of my freshly downloaded burning software packages could handle it. Eventually I got an ISO burned, but there was no way I could add the flash program and BIOS, so that went to CD #2.
Bootable CD's are odd beasts from what I encountered. The CD-ROM/DVD drive became the A drive (huh?). C, D, E nowhere to be found. I assumed at this point that the system files are in memory, so I pulled out CD #2. It's not recognized. Huh? So I restart and boot Vista, go to My Computer (there is no YOUR computer, so just call it computer). Windows burned CD #2 in UDF format, the bootable CD was ISO9660 aka CDFS. I make another CD, CDFS format, BIOS and flasher.
I restart with the bootable CD. I go to change CDs and same error. I tried making another bootable CD, with just DOS. I found an ISO file to download, it's 1.4MB. I drop it onto the burner and hurray for me, Windows gives me CD with an ISO file. Uh, the website says "bootable CD" but these ISO files are for diskettes. Don't believe anything you read on the web. The CD burner software won't address the floppy.
Speaking of floppy, why didn't I make a bootable floppy? Well I tried 3 different floppy drives and I get the same error on all 3. I would insert a diskette and Windows didn't recognize that I did that. It would sit there and keep prompting me for a diskette. Did I mention these 3 floppy drives work in 4 other PCs? I figure the floppy controller is bad. I call it quits after about 5 hours.
The next day just for laughs I try my brand new BYTECC floppy drive. It's actually built better than my older drives, no exposed circuit board or moving parts. It's heavy, whoda thunk? I install it, and it works! So WHAM I make a bootable floppy and a BIOS diskette, but only after numerous attempts. Seems it will only format 2MB floppies, not the older 1MB floppies I have laying around. OK OK, fine by me.
MSI - oh you just so suck. I download the flasher program, UDEX4281 and BIOS from the MSI website. I can't get it to work. It looks like I need to run the UDDOS command, it won't work. I go to the AMI website for the latest flash program. It's called UDDOS. Well DUH! MSI renamed the program for no apparent reason. It flashes, with some warnings. My personal warning, flash successfully or you're going out the window and into the street. It flashes. Mission accomplished, but like years ago, the saying doesn't mean too much.
I reboot Windows and try to start the GPUs. Yeah right. They all fail. Some can't find CUDART.DLL (that error AFTER they were working?) and 1 GPU fails with the wrong driver, just one. I check, all cards have the same driver. Go figure.
I download a new driver (135MB for Pete's sake). I install it once, they all pick it up OK. Still doesn't work right. I delete all my FAH folders, application and work directories. I download a fresh copy. I install for one GPU, and then make 3 duplicate directories for the other GPU's, both program and application/work folders. Get this, I place CUDART.DLL in all EIGHT folders. Helen Keller could find CUDART.DLL on my PC. I set my short cuts to -config (I wish it would do config only). GPU 0 blows it off and gives me CUDART not found error. Not so fast you chump. GPU 1 and 2 config, but after several attempts. GPU 1 and 2 start (I haven't installed the 4th card, even though I created the directories for it. I can't get 3 to work right just yet.) GPU 0 refuses to start correctly through the short cut. There is no file not found error, just the CUDART error. So I open Windows Explorer, go to the directory and double click the GPU exe file. There's no config file just yet, so I finally get a config popup box. I fill it and, then get the CUDART error. That's swell.
GPU 1 is folding, GPU 2 went through half a dozen unstable machine errors and decided to break for 24 hours. That's it's imitation of Dick Cheney - Aris, fxxx yourself. I thought it was pretty obvious by now that I did just that with MSI and MS.
I have no idea why the CUDART.DLL error is still happening. I have eight files in every location imaginable. What the hell is wrong?
I left the house defeated. I did the BIOS update with little success afterwards, and it was as easy as a root canal. Message to self - don't ever buy an MSI board again, let alone one that was NewEgg Open Box. I don't know even recall now if GPU 0 is running, idle, closed. I'm pretty sure it didn't self combust yet. I do have some gasoline on the porch, so that remains an option as well. I purchased BIOSTAR open box more than once, they work fine.
I have some spare HD's, I think I will try the Ubuntu route. Oh, after I updated the device drives for the GPUs (185.85) I opened Riva Tuner and the tab to OC is gone. Only the fan speed is left available. I need to find the latest EVGA tool that came with my GTX 260.
People who put money and political ideology ahead of truth and ethics are neither patriots nor human beings.