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 Post subject: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:16 am 
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I've got to ship this PC to my brother fairly soon and I'm thinking about the best way to protect it. Not so much the outer packaging, as I've got the original case box and internal polystyrene protection and I know I need to find a larger external box to put that in, cushioned on foam peanuts or similar.

What I'm worrying about is mostly the heatsink and trying to prevent it shaking/wobbling around in transit, putting stress on the bracket. I've got a Xigamatek HDT-D1284 top-down heatsink with stock fan attached (although I removed the rubber bungs and re-attached it with zipties to make it easier to replace in future). I did think of shipping it without the fan attached to reduce the weight on the heatsink a bit but it's a bit fiddly to explain to my brother how to attach it, so I think I'm going to leave it on. I'm using the ACK-U01 mounting hardware http://www.xigmatek.com/product.php?productid=130 not the default AMD mounting bracket, so hopefully it will be OK.

I was thinking of stuffing the interior of the case with packaging airbags, to try and keep the heatsink from moving at all but I'm not sure that's going to work. I'd have to remove the one PCI card to put airbags between the PSU at the bottom of the case and the bottom of the heatsink (which will be where the heatpipes are) but that's not a problem. I've ziptied any cables to the case to keep them secure.

Anyway, maybe some of you have got some experience with shipping PCs with big old heatsinks and can pass on your wisdom?

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:04 am 
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I'd worry about static electricity/ESD issues with plastic bags...

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:17 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
I'd worry about static electricity/ESD issues with plastic bags...


Oh really? Never occured to me that this could be a problem. Oh well, I'll have to think of something else then.

Perhaps I could wedge some polystyrene in there instead then?

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:37 am 
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This video covers it in detail nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMffTpGKBdc


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:52 am 
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did i miss what case this was, or was it not mentioned?

Id use a nice heavy stock cardboard panel or two (laminated), cut to fit inside snugly inside case, right over top of cpu fan.
tape or hot glue the cardboard to the case and drive trays to lock it in place.
screw cardboard to top of fan with large washers.
put a foam block on top of cardboard over fan that snugly contacts the case cover.
3m double sided tape or hot glue to affix foam to either case lid, OR to the cardboard right over the fan.

I shipped a PC to my brother all the way across country like that, and it arrived intact.

Edit: you might want to disconnect the power switch, so they cant power on the PC without opening the case it first. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:32 am 
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When you say 'shipping' how do you intend it to be done? To go slightly off topic the word 'shipping' is heavily misused nowadays to mean any form of freight transport which is of course incorrect - shipping is done on... a ship. :lol: Road freight, rail freight and air freight are not shipping despite the overwhelming majority of businesses using the term shipping universally.

Be aware that cases generally come in much thinner boxes that are less well protected than an entire computer should be. This is because they only have to cushion the case itself, not the extra weight of components too. Case boxes are generally fine for putting a computer in a car or van and driving it yourself but I'd suggest you don't hand it over to a carrier and let them dump loads of other boxes on top of it then drive through every pot hole in North America and expect it to work the other end. A company I used to work for that supplied workstations in LianLi cases specifically had it's own boxes made up rather than using the included LianLi boxes after too many problems were found with delivered systems. You've already picked up on this point but I wouldn't try using foam chips as they have a nasty habit of migrating around in transit. Putting bubble wrap all of the way round the inner box a couple of times would be better.

Have you thought about self expanding packaging foam? You could built a customised box this way and include a self expanding section for the inside to keep the heatsink and other components in position.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:27 pm 
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xan_user: you didn't see the big honking Antec P182 cardboard box? :) I liked the big red bars in the video with "I use anti-static foam now"...but I wonder if he still wraps them up in cellophane tape?

Expanding foam is what Puget Systems uses.

Image

Maybe there's a shipping service that can provide this.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:42 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
xan_user: you didn't see the big honking Antec P182 cardboard box? :)

nope. i had the thread open and was reading/typing/getting coffee before that was put up. :/
I still like my method better. reduce, reuse, recycle! :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:26 am 
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xan_user wrote:
did i miss what case this was, or was it not mentioned?

Id use a nice heavy stock cardboard panel or two (laminated), cut to fit inside snugly inside case, right over top of cpu fan.
tape or hot glue the cardboard to the case and drive trays to lock it in place.
screw cardboard to top of fan with large washers.
put a foam block on top of cardboard over fan that snugly contacts the case cover.
3m double sided tape or hot glue to affix foam to either case lid, OR to the cardboard right over the fan.

I shipped a PC to my brother all the way across country like that, and it arrived intact.

Edit: you might want to disconnect the power switch, so they cant power on the PC without opening the case it first. :mrgreen:


Yeah sorry, it's a Aerocool VS-4 case https://www.amazon.co.uk/Aerocool-VS-4- ... B004OXXQ82 although I modified it by cutting off that section below the power/reset buttons and fitting a piece of wood with a removable magnetic fan filter in it's place. I've ziptied a piece of black foamboard to the inside of the side panel using the fan mounting holes on that as well to help absorb some reflected sound.

Thanks for the detailed advice. I'm not entirely clear on what you suggesting, do you mean the cardboard panel should have a hole cut for the cpu fan to poke through? When you say screw the cardboard to the the top of the fan, do you mean put screws down through the cardboard into the four screw holes in the corner of the fan?

Other than that, it all seems pretty clear and sounds like a plan :)

EDIT: There's some pictures of the case interior here http://www.aerocool.com.tw/2011/08-august/93.html

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Last edited by doveman on Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:38 am 
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flemeister wrote:
This video covers it in detail nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMffTpGKBdc


Thanks, that's very helpful. The only thing I was surprised by is that he didn't put the Antec case box in another outer box. Obviously it's a pain to try and find somewhere to get such a box from, not to mention the cost of buying it and the extra shipping costs as they go by size as well as weight but it seems better than taking the risk.

In my system, I've only got one card (TV Tuner) so it'll probably be easier to remove that and wrap it in bubble-wrap and put it in a box, rather than wedging in pieces of foam to keep it secure and then I'll be able to put a big block of foam between the PSU at the bottom of the case and the underside of the CPU heatsink to help keep that secure.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:42 am 
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edh wrote:
When you say 'shipping' how do you intend it to be done? To go slightly off topic the word 'shipping' is heavily misused nowadays to mean any form of freight transport which is of course incorrect - shipping is done on... a ship. :lol: Road freight, rail freight and air freight are not shipping despite the overwhelming majority of businesses using the term shipping universally.

Be aware that cases generally come in much thinner boxes that are less well protected than an entire computer should be. This is because they only have to cushion the case itself, not the extra weight of components too. Case boxes are generally fine for putting a computer in a car or van and driving it yourself but I'd suggest you don't hand it over to a carrier and let them dump loads of other boxes on top of it then drive through every pot hole in North America and expect it to work the other end. A company I used to work for that supplied workstations in LianLi cases specifically had it's own boxes made up rather than using the included LianLi boxes after too many problems were found with delivered systems. You've already picked up on this point but I wouldn't try using foam chips as they have a nasty habit of migrating around in transit. Putting bubble wrap all of the way round the inner box a couple of times would be better.

Have you thought about self expanding packaging foam? You could built a customised box this way and include a self expanding section for the inside to keep the heatsink and other components in position.


Thanks. Yeah I already had in mind to put the case box in another external box to protect it better. It'll be going by road (Parcelforce or DHL probably as most of the other couriers in this country have pretty bad reps).

The self-expanding packaging foam idea is intriguing but I can't picture how I'd make a box out of it (guess I'd need a mould of some sort), nor how to fill the inside of the case without making an ungodly mess!

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:45 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
xan_user: you didn't see the big honking Antec P182 cardboard box? :) I liked the big red bars in the video with "I use anti-static foam now"...but I wonder if he still wraps them up in cellophane tape?

Expanding foam is what Puget Systems uses.

Image

Maybe there's a shipping service that can provide this.



All I see in that picture is a plastic bag wedged in there and didn't someone say

"I'd worry about static electricity/ESD issues with plastic bags" ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:51 am 
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doveman wrote:
The self-expanding packaging foam idea is intriguing but I can't picture how I'd make a box out of it (guess I'd need a mould of some sort), nor how to fill the inside of the case without making an ungodly mess!

You don't make a box out of the expanding foam, you have to have a larger box anyway. You then use the expanding foam inside of that box, around the smaller box. This works very well.

For the inetrnals, CA_Steve had the same idea as me. Self expanding foam packaging is not a loose foam material, it is enclosed in a sort of plastic bag as shown in Steve's pic. This will work well for the internals.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:48 am 
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To spell it out: There are anti-static bags with this foam inside. Put the bag in place as the foam activates and it expands as shown in the picture...but I have no idea who might offer this on a retail basis. Again, maybe a local shipper.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:51 am 
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edh wrote:
doveman wrote:
The self-expanding packaging foam idea is intriguing but I can't picture how I'd make a box out of it (guess I'd need a mould of some sort), nor how to fill the inside of the case without making an ungodly mess!

You don't make a box out of the expanding foam, you have to have a larger box anyway. You then use the expanding foam inside of that box, around the smaller box. This works very well.

For the inetrnals, CA_Steve had the same idea as me. Self expanding foam packaging is not a loose foam material, it is enclosed in a sort of plastic bag as shown in Steve's pic. This will work well for the internals.


Ah, OK. I obviously misunderstood what you meant by "build a customised box".

I still don't get how that expanding foam in a plastic bag would secure the heatsink and only really see it fitting into xan_user's method to replace "put a foam block on top of cardboard over fan that snugly contacts the case cover." but maybe it's hard to understand just from that picture.

Anyway, I still don't understand why that plastic bag would be less of a risk for "static electricity/ESD issues" than plastic airbags.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:53 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
To spell it out: There are anti-static bags with this foam inside. Put the bag in place as the foam activates and it expands as shown in the picture...but I have no idea who might offer this on a retail basis. Again, maybe a local shipper.



Ah, I see, so they're anti-static bags OK.

So they come with the foam inside? How do you activate them as you put them in place to make the foam expand then?

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:16 am 
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Aluminium foil apparently works well as anti-static surface. So if all else fails ... your brother just has to remember to remove all of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:24 am 
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Cistron wrote:
Aluminium foil apparently works well as anti-static surface. So if all else fails ... your brother just has to remember to remove all of it.


Yeah, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, with a little bit of foil left behind and blowing the thing up as soon as he switches it on :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:31 pm 
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A simple google search for "foam in bag packaging" explains the method referred to above much better than just waiting for people to explain it one bit at a time.

I've unboxed several of such computers, shipped from the company that built them for us, coming from another city a couple of hundred kilometers away with heavy tower coolers for the cpus. This is exactly what they use.

This would be the correct solution for your problem, but it seems you can't just buy one or two of these bags - they seem to be targeted for retail operations so you might need to buy 50.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:06 pm 
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lm wrote:
A simple google search for "foam in bag packaging" explains the method referred to above much better than just waiting for people to explain it one bit at a time.

I've unboxed several of such computers, shipped from the company that built them for us, coming from another city a couple of hundred kilometers away with heavy tower coolers for the cpus. This is exactly what they use.

This would be the correct solution for your problem, but it seems you can't just buy one or two of these bags - they seem to be targeted for retail operations so you might need to buy 50.


Ah yes, having looked at a few sites I get it now.

You'd think some enterprising soul would be selling them singly on e-bay. I did find one listing http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Instapak-Expa ... 232ecf5d61 for 3 but I'll have to check if they're the size I need and see what price they end up going for.

Otherwise, I'll use xan_user's method, which I think sounds pretty good.

There don't seem to be many single cardboard boxes for sale on e-bay either, mostly being 5+ packs. I did find a few singles but the biggest was 30*20*20" and my case box is 23*20*10.5" so that's a bit small in one dimension. I suppose what I could do if I can't find the right size box is use panels from several boxes with polystyrene sheet between them and the case box and just tape the outer panels together to make a box. I'd have to find polystyrene panels to match the size of the case box, which will probably be even more difficult than finding a suitable cardboard box. I suppose at a pinch I could use airbags instead, althought that would be a bit more fiddly trying to tape it all together with them wobbling all over the place!

Ah, Big Yellow have a large box that might do that they sell singly for £6.50 https://www.bigyellow.co.uk/boxshop/pro ... arge%20Box It's 24.21*24.21*32.60", so a bit excessive in one dimension and those are the exterior measurements, so I'd have to check there's enough space for the 23" of my case box to fit some packaging between.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:19 am 
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doveman wrote:
Yeah, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, with a little bit of foil left behind and blowing the thing up as soon as he switches it on :roll:
It could be. But you could make sure only the wrap the stabilising foam pieces with the heavy variant of the foil. Is your brother really that clumsy and inapt regarding technical equipment?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:59 pm 
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Cistron wrote:
doveman wrote:
Yeah, that sounds like a recipe for disaster, with a little bit of foil left behind and blowing the thing up as soon as he switches it on :roll:
It could be. But you could make sure only the wrap the stabilising foam pieces with the heavy variant of the foil. Is your brother really that clumsy and inapt regarding technical equipment?


Heh, maybe not that inept but he doesn't really know what the inside of a PC is meant to look like, so I need to keep it pretty simple for him and using cardboard as per xan_user's suggestion just seems easier.

The bigger problem is finding an outer box 6" larger in each dimension than my current case box, as per Fedex recommendations, which would make it 29*26*16". I think I might have to just try and find a box around the same size as the case one, 23*20*10", but stronger and more suitable for shipping a loaded PC in, rather than an empty case.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:05 am 
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doveman wrote:
The bigger problem is finding an outer box 6" larger in each dimension than my current case box, as per Fedex recommendations, which would make it 29*26*16". I think I might have to just try and find a box around the same size as the case one, 23*20*10", but stronger and more suitable for shipping a loaded PC in, rather than an empty case.
You can always make your own - stapler and tape are your friends -, or wrap copiously in bubble wrap and thick bin bags and forget about the second box.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:54 am 
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Cistron wrote:
doveman wrote:
The bigger problem is finding an outer box 6" larger in each dimension than my current case box, as per Fedex recommendations, which would make it 29*26*16". I think I might have to just try and find a box around the same size as the case one, 23*20*10", but stronger and more suitable for shipping a loaded PC in, rather than an empty case.
You can always make your own - stapler and tape are your friends -, or wrap copiously in bubble wrap and thick bin bags and forget about the second box.


Yeah I thought of taping a load of airbags to the outside of the inner box and getting some sheets of strong cardboard and joining them together to make an outer box. I'd need to find someone with a stapler gun though and would still need to find suitably-sized sheets of cardboard, which isn't going to be easy (but probably easier than finding a box the right size).

I don't think bubble wrap and bin bags would be very good, as even thick bags are vulnerable to ripping, particularly in the rough and tumble of shipping and they probably make it harder to grip as they're more slipperly than cardboard, increasing the risk of it being dropped.

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:49 pm 
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Well I managed to find a box 30x24x20", which was close enough, for £8.95. I had to cut the height down to fit within the Parcelforce limits of girth+length<=3m (just got in at 2.98m and just under the 15kg limit at 14.8kg as well) otherwise I would have had to pay an extra £20 or so for the large parcel service.

Happily, using xan_user's suggestion to use a cardboard panel screwed to the fan and taped down to the case seems to have kept the PC intact and it booted up fine. I couldn't get my brother's old PC to see the new one on the Network (or vice-versa) for some reason, so I installed Filezilla server and copied across his data files that way (which we had to leave going overnight as there was about 190GB to transfer and it was going at about 5MB/s!).

It did lock up and so I lost the Teamviewer connection when I tried running HwInfo64, which it had been doing with the Nebula TV card installed but I thought I'd resolved that. Anyway, it booted OK later and I showed my brother around his new PC and then we installed 7 Windows Updates and I think Avast updated as well. Unfortunately, in the process of unplugging/replugging his USB printer cable in an attempt to get Windows to install the drivers, he managed to knock the power cable enough to cut the power! I have no idea how he managed this as I never found the connection to be dodgy and I'd already told him to make sure it was pushed in securely as when he first powered it up he said it was a bit loose and crackling.

Anyway, when we rebooted, it came up with the "Windows did not shutdown properly. Start Normally or Repair" (no safe mode, last known good config, etc for some reason) and it just BSOD whenever he tries Start Normally. It's probably one of the Windows Updates rather than the power cut that's buggered things up but it's rather depressing after spending so long tweaking the damn thing to perfection that this has happened. I've got a EaseUS ToDo Backup on there which we could try restoring to but that's dated 30-08-2013 and I probably adjusted some thing between then and packing the PC up to ship, so I'm going to see if it's fixable first. It BSOD even booting into Safe Mode with networking at the moment (I had to create an additional Windows boot menu entry "Win 7 (Safe) with BootICE and set it to use Safe Mode, because as I say the default entry strangely doesn't offer Safe Mode, even if he presses F8) and only Safe Mode (without networking) boots but of course I can't then access it via Teamviewer to fix. I've had him remove the Nebula card and even tried a clean boot and disabled the onboard Qualcomm Atheros NIC but it still BSOD.

I've got a Win7 x32 VHD (Portable) on there which is working and we managed to install TeamViewer Portable in that and so I can edit the offline registry for the Win7 x64 install that way, so hopefully I'll find a way to get it working again eventually :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:26 am 
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bummer. You might want to reset the CMOS, too. If you ever need to transfer that much data again, you might consider removing the HDD from the old PC and just attaching it to the new one - SATA is a tad faster the ethernet. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:28 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
bummer. You might want to reset the CMOS, too. If you ever need to transfer that much data again, you might consider removing the HDD from the old PC and just attaching it to the new one - SATA is a tad faster the ethernet. :)


Reset the CMOS. Not if I can help it, I don't fancy having to talk my brother through that and changing all the settings back to what they should be! I did take the precaution of taking photos of the BIOS screens and sent him a printout of them though, just in case he ever has to do that.

I did buy him a Gigabit switch and install a Gigabit PCI NIC in his old PC a while ago but he's just moved and wasn't sure where the switch was, so I thought I'd just get on and transfer the data anyway over the 100Mb router. Once I've got the new PC working stably, I'll probably get him to remove the HDD from the old PC and stick it in a caddy I gave him to use as a backup drive. It's IDE not SATA but yeah, even that is rather faster than 100Mb :)

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:08 pm 
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You should have bubble wrapped your brother and shipped him to you. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:32 am 
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Lol. Yeah, then I could have supervised him whenever he went near the PC ;)

Maybe I should have just shipped him some extra bubble-wrap to wrap himself him in, to protect the PC from him :lol:

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2nd PC: MSI 990FXA-GD80, Phenom II X4 955@3.5Ghz, TRUE Rev. C/Nexus, HD6850 1GB, Yate Loon 140mm intake, Nexus 120mm exhaust, HD103UJ, WD6400AAKS, Nexus Value 430W, Bach VX case


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on shipping PCs with large/heavy heatsinks
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:05 pm 
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Hi Doveman
Did he receive it in one piece?
What did you finally use?

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