This little tale requires some background information. First, my house does not have central air-conditioning. We put window units on the main and upper floors, which works well on those floors, but does nothing for the basement. Second, my office (and all computers) is in the basement, and it gets INSANELY hot down there. Whether or not that information actually has any part in the cause of the problem is beyond my caring at this point.
My desktop machine, an Athlon 1400 mhz gentoo linux home-built PC named LINGUO, was building some apps when suddenly it started giving just crazy errors that made no sense. The more I re-tried things, the worse/weirder the problems got. Finally it shutdown and gave me CPU temperature warnings, and I smelled burning metal. That's probably not the best sign. Anyway I bought some thermal paste and put things back together, and it seemed to do the trick. I could build apps just fine again, and no more burning metal smell. Until ...
Tonight I was playing some RTCW: Enemy Territory and doing pretty well for myself when all-of-a-sudden the computer just shutdown and the burnt metal smell had returned.
Bottom line is that I *hate* dealing with hardware. And having to worry about replacing CPU/motherboard/RAM right now was NOT appealing at all. Half of me wants to just shelve the whole thing and buy some Dell/Gateway thing and leave XP on it.
Not sure when I'll have the desire to go back downstairs and do any more troubleshooting. Too much drama.
UPDATE: Perhaps some good news. My man Alan at work confirmed that the power supply is dead, so perhaps the CPU/mobo are just fine and it was the PSU all along. We shall see when my geeks.com order comes in.