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We have owned a Packard Bell PC for almost five years now. Yes, that is very old, but as I had a new computer 2 or 3 years ago, the old Packard Bell was never needed for anything more than word processing.
It was a Intl 486, 66MHz processor, originally with just 4Mb of RAM and a 512Mb hard disk. By todays standards, thats tiny! Anyway, about 6 months ago it died. Caput. It did switch on, made a bleap as it always did, and then nothing. We took it to two indepent computer retailers in our area (Pembrokeshire), who said that there repair staff could not find the fault.
Being quite good with computers, I worked by way through the computer, and eventually worked out that the problem could be one of two things - The processor or the BIOS (or it's battery, most probably). It hadn't been struck by a dreaded virus, as it hadn't had contact with disk from the outside world in years. So, from a small PC retailer in Swansea I eventually managed to obtain an identical replacement processor and fan, for just £7. I installed it, but with no succes. So, it wasn't the processor. So, the BIOS was the problem. I though, 'right', just change the battery, simple enough, yes?'. Well, no actually. Most batteries just clip in, but Packard Bell has actually soldered the battery into place, thus making it impossible to remove without destroying the motherboard.
So, we decided to give up, and just upgrade the motherboard. Urm..., well, we thought we would, until we found that no where made, and probably never did make, compatible motherboards. It was a very strange case design, and the expansion cards were mounted on a riser board. Not a problem in itself, though it does make things more tough. It was a slim line case, so everything was packed in tight, so the design of the motherbaord was hyper critical, as no parts of it could go under the PSU or drive bay cradle.
In the end, we could find just one retailer who 'thought' he had a compatible 'board. Problem was, he was in America, and was asking $100 for it plus shipping. And with no guarantee that it would actually fit.
In the end, we gave up! I salvaged what I could from it, such as the sound card and floppy drive, but that was basically it. The death of our beloved PC. I have found that many of my friends with Packard Bell PCs have also had similar upgrading problems.
We had contacted technical support at both Packard Bell and Currys were we had purchased it. Neither were able to help, and didn't seem that interested in our problem anyway, as being five years old it was well past its three years warranty period.
If you do by a Packard Bell PC, be careful with the case design. Plump for the biggest, most standard shaped case you can find, as this will increase your chances of being able to upgrade it. I know our PC was old, but plenty of second hand parts were available for this 'generation' of PC, just none were compatible with the incredibly strange Packard Bell.
We (that is myself and fellow ciao member, theforce) spent eaons installing Windows on a Packard Bell heap of sh*t that my brother got from Dixons. Even though it was under warrenty, they didn't want to know. As they never supplied the correct software (no operating system and drivers disks!) it took us many driver installations to get it going. Non-standard equipment, a complete nightmare but what do you expect coming from Dixons and the worst computer manufacteurer on the planet (compaq are a close second) M.
aljones 03.06.2001 14:28
Thanks wigglypuff! Nice pseudonym, by the way! Alan