Windows Update ate my GPU

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (364 Words)

Or rather, my wife’s GPU. Updates resulting from good/bad old Patch Tuesday kicked in yesterday, and for some reason my wife’s machine never recovered. It did the usual “I’m going to reboot your machine now” thing, (with that incredibly irritating habit of popping into the foreground and making the ‘Restart Now’ button the default, so that if you’re typing and hit space just as it pops up you don’t get to avoid it; plus it continues to pop up forever until you do it so you’re bound to get caught out eventually - ugh), but after rebooting the GPU was so dead as to not even display a boot screen. Now, the engineer in me knows this was a complete coincidence, that there’s no element of Windows Update that could have broken it this fundamentally - perhaps beyond a driver which turned the fan off and then ‘floored it’ or something - but nevertheless I feel like blaming it anyway.

Luckily I have a bunch of older GPUs lying around so I could swap it out and she could carry on working. It is, however, my only remaining ATI test machine (now that my laptop is nvidia now too) so I’ve ordered her a replacement. Nothing very fancy, just a X1650 Pro which are pretty reasonably priced, and there’s not much choice considering her mobo is still AGP based. And no, I’m not going to change that because that will require either a repurchase of XP (OEM license, and mobo changes exceed the number of hardware change ‘votes’ allowed) or a switch to Vista, neither of which either of us wants to embark on at this stage. Not that I feel like she’s missing much, the ATI HD’s look pretty underwhelming anyway. Seems like ATI / AMD have pretty much given up trying to win at the high end and have let nvidia have that now, and are concentrating on low to mid end - except their latest crop, beyond the Dx10 support, don’t seem to cry ‘buy me’ very loud when you can buy an X1950 XT for less and get better performance in todays games, if the reviews are to be believed…