I got woken up this morning by Duncan's desktop not coming out of sleep. He power cycled it, and it still "didn't work", so I got up and had him do so again. Windows loaded up, started a bit, then the monitor went to sleep. Checking things out, the PC was still responsive, just no video signal... I noted a while back that the fan was going out, so I surmised the problem was GPU related (his GPU is the ancient HD5770 that I mined Bitcoin with once upon a time, gamed with for multiple years, and now he has it, so it's done well).
Pop the side off the case to check, and yes, the GPU fan was not spinning. I foolishly touched the heatpipe, and gave myself a minor burn. "Welp, it's toast." I thought as I turned the machine off. I rotated the fan by hand, and it was very stiff, but freed up after a few turns. I turned the thing back on again, and it functioned properly, so I used MSI Afterburner to crank the fan speed, and started out pricing a replacement.
Replacing this machine is going to be another money pit! I bought one nice desktop because Sabriena didn't want one at the time, but she's been using this one to play Dark Souls 3 on and has thus changed her mind. I figure if I build another, more moderate desktop, the three of us can share two desktops and two laptops with a minimum of inconvenience. About the minimum workable gaming specs prices out to about $700 shipped. Ouch!
But in the meantime, maybe I can just replace the GPU with something that the rest of the machine can grow into? Not really, as the minimum GPU (an AMD RX470) I'd probably bother buying (so as not to have to replace it in 12 months) is about $250 or so. But none of the better modern, low-end gaming GPUs come without 8-pin power plugs (interestingly enough, my GTX1060 has 6 pin!), and the PSU only has 6-pin GPU connector, so we'll have to replace that too. For a decent PSU that'll last, that's nearly another hundred bucks after shipping, making up almost half the cost of the build. Why even fuck around?
So at this point, I've just got the thing sounding like a hair dryer, turning it off at night, and hoping it survives long enough for us to save up some money... because I'd rather not just put it on the credit card if we can avoid it.
Update (September): I can't recall when, but at some point in the last month or so, this machine gave up the ghost. The GPU is had it, I fear. We tried running off the iGPU but performance is really poor, so we'll have to look at building him a new machine. In the interim, I've given him my laptop to use - I'm not super chuffed at that idea because the whole reason I stopped using it for games is because it overheats!