The Pentium II Cooling Fan
The problem - a noisy fan on the CPU heat-sink of a Simply Computers Pentium II system. The fan was running at 3,000-4,000 rpm instead of 5,000 rpm and really struggling until it had warmed up a bit.
An email to Simply Computers' Technical Support department brought a reply from their Sales Department - saying that they did not stock Pentium II heat-sinks and fans. Luckily(?), PC Advisor magazine had an item about noisy CPU fans in the Helpline feature of the current issue [May, 2001]. They recommended going to the website maplin.co.uk or coolermaster.co.uk.
Fine! No problems if you're looking for a 486 or a Pentium III heat-sink and fan. No help at all in the search for a fan for a Pentium II.
The Solution Part I? A phone call instead of an email to Simply's Tech Support Department. The guy checked the serial number of the system, announced that it was out of the parts warranty but switched the call to Sales and they were able to supply a Pentium II heat-sink and fan after all!!!
Of course, when the new bits arrived, the problem didn't go away. Both the old and the new heat-sinks were made by Coolermaster but there had been a design change in between. The new incarnation was just a box of bits with no instruction leaflet to tell the user how to fit them to the CPU. Obviously, Coolermaster thinks its customers are psychic.
The Solution Part II? The PC's owner had another bad moment when he took the side off the tower case and found that the system for anchoring the CPU/heat-sink wasn't the same as the one in the motherboard manual supplied by Simply Computers. The Guru knew that Simply's excellent Tech Support staff would have been able to sort the problem out, but the different attachment system for the CPU turned out to be a whole lot simpler than the one described in the motherboard manual. And then it was just a question of unclipping the old fan, chucking it in the bin, removing the new fan from the new heat-sink and clipping it on to the old heat-sink, and bunging the CPU back in place. The most difficult part of the whole operation turned out to be manoeuvring the plug for the fan onto the 3-pin connector on the motherboard!
So, in conclusion, it looks like it's a good idea to talk to another human being on the phone when you have a problem rather than sending off an email, which may result in a misleading reply. The owner of the PC was certainly pleased with the outcome. With the PC was quiet again, he could hear his audio CDs playing.