Almost exactly two months ago, my original Xbox 360 gave up the ghost after over 4 years of service. I had Ol' Bessie replaced with an Arcade unit (I needed one on the cheap, and that very night), which currently helps the spirit live on through the old 20GB hard drive it has strapped on its back.
Three nights ago, I was looking forward to spending the extra hour gained from the end of Daylight Saving Time by playing a little bit of Crysis and then passing out. I got back home from dinner with the missus and decided to watch a little bit of Giant Bomb's quicklook at Fist Of The North Star: Ken's Rage before starting up Crysis. About 15 minutes into the blood- and explosion-fest, my computer completely shut down.
No warning.No blue screen of death. Just immediate silence and dark monitors.
Two nights prior I had overclocked my CPU by about 100MHz. I also had my video card overclocked by the same amount. I figured maybe they were overheating, so I booted up again to revert both components to their normal clock speeds. Everything looked fine, so I figured I'd just finish the rest of the quick look. But about 2 minutes further into the video, the same thing happened again. I'm not sure if the chill went up or down my spine, but it went somewhere, and I panicked. Did I boot up too quickly, and were the chips still too hot?
I waited for about 20 minutes, then started it up again, this time turning on all the software I used for monitoring temperatures. I decided to run my video card's fan at full blast, which resulted in a comically audible uptick in "wooshiness". About 45 seconds into super woosh mode, the computer shut down again.
It certainly wasn't that the temperatures were too high. But Al and I had a couple of theories. Maybe there was a virus in the OS. Maybe I had a failing hard drive (later ruled out because failing hard drives blue screen; they don't just shut off). Maybe it was my power supply... which meant that my computer would be completely useless until I got a new one. I have multiple hard drives and more spares; a dead drive just means that I would have to swap out the dead drive and reinstall XP. If my video card were blown, I'd use the on-board video until I could get a replacement card. The worst things that could have happened would be a dead power supply or a dead CPU, and none of the symptoms pointed to a dead CPU.
After I watched 2 episodes of House on DVD, effectively giving my PC a "rest", I decided to go for one more try. I pressed the power button. The monitors stayed black. Waited a few seconds. Darkness. Waited a few more seconds... ...and the machine fell silent again. It had to be the power supply.
The next day I plugged the supposedly-dead power supply into a backup PC I had lying around, a PC prone to blue-screening because the case was too old and not well-ventilated enough. I left the case open in the living room, so that it wouldn't overheat, and crossed my fingers. I turned it on. "Whiiirrrrrrrr--" and then silence. Turned it on again "Whirrrrr---" silence. I went to go shoot a video on my Droid of the power supply dying there too, but right when it gets put on the spotlight, it decides to put on a show and work.
I left it looping a Baten Kaitos preview video I had sitting on that old backup PC. It looped for six whole hours while I was away at a dinner. I came back, found it still running, mentally punched it in the face, and turned it off, wondering if I had somehow revived it. After plugging it back into my current system, it pretty much gave me the finger and refused to run.
I've just begun the RMA process with OCZ, the provider of my power supply. However, that crap usually takes a few weeks to run through, and I have to pay for my own shipping. Instead of waiting, I went ahead and bought a new power supply. After rebates and discounts, it ran me $65, and it's an upgrade over what this one could do when it was alive... but that's $65 I could have put towards a new game, or a season of a television show on DVD/Blu-Ray, or some nice dress shirts, or--whatever, you get the picture.
The moral of the story is to buy two of everything. Buy two Xbox 360's in case one red rings (though that should no longer be a problem). Buy two of every computer component. Buy two smartphones. Start dating two people, marry two spouses. If you are heterosexual or homosexual, become bisexual just in case.
No--screw that. The moral of the story is that tech sucks and we should go back to the stone age and draw pictures on walls. Or something. Herp-a-derp. Oh hey, e-mail our podcast! Yeah.