OK, I've been away for a while, this is why: I have a new computer.
My old one has died, it's incapable of anything more than the simplest of tasks. Anything more than some text editing or whatever hangs it up badly.
So I dug into my savings and got myself a new PC
Here's what I got:
MSI K7N2 Delta mobo (nForce2-based with the SPP Northbridge and the MCP2-T Southbridge)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ CPU (FSB 333, L2 cache 256K)
512MB DDR333 RAM (2 sticks of 256, running in dual-channel mode)
80GB HD (7,200rpm, ATA133)
nVidia Geforce FX 5200 (128 MB RAM, manufacturer is ABit)
Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2
Creative Inspire 4.1 speakers
I put all of my old drives into the new machine - floppy, 14GB ATA66 HD, 16x Liteon DVD drive, and a BenQ 32x10x40 CDRW.
I had a few problems setting the new computer up.
Here are some details of a couple, in case anyone else ever experiences similar problems.
First, the HDD was overheating, since I had it in a pretty tight space.
Solution: I went and bought a bracket for mounting the HDD in one of the CD Drive-sized slots. Much cooler now with the extra space for airflow
The major problem I had was with RAM. I got some OEM RAM along with the other equipment and it just wasn't up to it.
I found the error because Windows XP kept giving me Blue Screens of Death. The Stop codes I was getting were all consistent with bad RAM so I decided to run a RAM diagnostic test on the RAM.
I downloaded MemTest86, which is a brilliant freeware memory tester, and it recorded around 20,000 RAM read errors in the space of 4 hours. Not good.
In MemTest86's documentation, it suggested that the symptoms I was experiencing was common on Athlon-based systems and the reason was that the RAM wasn't up to dealing with the timings that an Athlon chipset puts it through.
So I went and got my money back for the crap RAM, then went and bought some TwinMOS RAM, same type and spec.
Tadaaa - the computer works! B)
So now I just have to finish setting up Windows and all my programs... what fun