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I've been wrestling with hardware issues for about four days now. That is what I get for naming a server fireball! Basically, the machine that has been my internet router, NAT box, development web server, database server, RDP proxy has gone through quite a few upgrades. It originally was my old overclocking desktop (thus, "fireball") running a 300 MHz Celeron. It was upgraded to a 500 MHz PIII and it currently has a 700 MHz Duron. A month or so ago, I bought a new 120 GB drive for my desktop (thanks, Slickdeals!) and last week I finally got around to putting my old 30 GB drive into fireball.

The problems started then. Since the 30 GB drive was already in my desktop, I decided to install OpenBSD 3.4 on the drive before transferring it to the server. That install went smoothly, but the drive would not boot when I transferred it. I figured it just didn't like the transfer, so I reinstalled OpenBSD while in fireball. When I tried to boot after the second install, the bootloader would come up with crap like "@$%&@#$&*@#$#$%!@#(&(^%". After 45 minutes of playing around with the bootloader, the BIOS and the boot sequence, I finally figured out that it wouldn't boot unless the drive was the primary on the IDE chain. Ok, finally got the new drive up and running! When installing OBSD, my first steps are to install the ports tree, tcsh, vim, the source and add 'mbibik' as a user. I got as far as compiling tcsh static when the machine just froze, hard. I figured, whatever, just a random lockup. Nope, anytime I taxed the processor, the machine would freeze. Obviously (at least to me), this seemed like a heat issue. I opened the case to check out the CPU fan, but it's a fairly small (AKA cramped) case so I couldn't see the fan behind the power supply. I monitored the CPU temp and it never seemed to get into dangerous territory.

I gave up at this point and told Russell the internet would be down for awhile (no server, no NAT, no internet). I started to play with it again, but there isn't much you can do when the damned thing freezes every 15 minutes! I gave up trying to install tcsh, vim, etc and just started surfing the net from my desktop. Oddly enough, it didn't lock up. At this point, I realized that interactive activities such as installing or compiling are probably accessing the disk more than just using the box as a router (which would only access the disk to periodically write logs). I switched back to the old drive, and all is well. Too bad my 30 GB drive is fried!