My desktop computer, a very old Dell Dimension 4700, bought in April 2005, has started having problems lately. Last year I had installed a new hard drive and rebuilt the operating system, which worked great for a while, but sometimes lately it wouldn’t start at all. Instead, while booting, it would click off and an orange light on the front would start flashing. I looked around on the internet and the light seemed to usually indicate a bad power supply. But it was an intermittent problem, so I opened the computer and tried blowing out a lot of dust and cleaning dust out of the vents and fans. Then it would work, but I would still have problems sometimes. If it did start up, it would usually stay on just fine. I even unhooked one of the two optical drives and one of the two hard drives, thinking I needed to reduce the power consumption.
By Friday I couldn’t boot up at all. I would get the orange light pretty early in the process no matter how much I cleaned it. I had never replaced a power supply before, but Eric said he had done it and it was pretty easy. Plus they are almost all the same. He wound up taking the power supply out of his computer so I could test a known good power supply in my computer. It booted up just fine with Eric’s power supply on Saturday, so that was definitely the problem. I took my power supply apart and blew some more dust out of it and then tried again, just to be sure, and it still didn’t work. Eric said a new power supply should be about $20 and I could get one from NewEgg.com. I looked around and you can get a power supply for anywhere from $13 to $160. They typical price seems to be around $40-60. The original power supply was only 305 watts, so I didn’t need a high power model. I looked at New Egg, Amazon, Office Depot, and Frys online, and decided to go to Frys so I could get one and have it this weekend. They had one for $25 before a $9 rebate. I probably spent another $5 in gas going up to Frys, but it was worth it to get it right away. The new power supply is much lighter than the old one, but fit perfectly and the computer is running like a champ. Due to the configuration of the cables on the power supply I wasn’t able to hook up both DVD drives, but that’s okay. And the new one is much louder than the old one as well.
I am still thinking I would like a new computer, but I’m waiting for a good price on a notebook that has the new 4th generation Intel processor (Haswell). My thought is the notebook will replace the desktop and laptop, so I also want it to support two monitors. The power consumption of desktop computers made me think they are no longer necessary.