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PC powers on but won't boot or POST

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by YoshoMasaki, May 30, 2003.

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  1. YoshoMasaki

    YoshoMasaki Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Hello! Thanks for providing this service, I hope you can help with my issue.

    System specs are as follows

    Windows XP Pro SP1a
    ASUS A7V8X with a lot of the special features
    Athlon XP 2400+
    512 MB PC2700
    Enermax 530W power supply
    Dr. Thermal EXTREME SE + Arctic Silver III
    3 IDE HDD (huge front case fan)
    1 SCSI HDD (single drive front-mounted fan)
    1 DVD
    1 CD-R/RW
    Radeon 9700 Pro 128 (requires A: drive sized power thingy)
    SB Platinum Extigy
    Adaptec SCSI controller
    Extigy extension card (ditto)
    Lots of ports and stuff
    Way more system fans than anyone will ever need

    Pre-existing conditions:

    Several months ago, when I installed my CD burner and tried to turn my PC on, it killed my old 230W (stock) power supply, which took with it my MB, video card, one of my 3 256MB RAM chips, and CPU, prompting the upgrade to the above specs. Several weeks of video card instability followed until ASUS released a more mature AGP driver, and other minor hardware issues came and went. Still looking at a rather un-burdened WinXP install. Due to high CPU temperatures with the stock fan, I switched to the loud but dependable heatsink listed above. Before, all that hefty new gear meant that doing anything more than surfing the net bought my CPU past the 180 F (82.2 C) safety threshold of the MB and made the system restart or shut down. With the new cooler came average temps of 110 F (43.3 C) that only rose a few degrees even under great stress. And all was good.

    The problem:

    With all the power and stability of my system, I found it unnecessary to restart as often as before, sometimes going all day without an unwanted re-start i.e. BSOD. About 3 days ago, I restarted my PC from the start menu and it just went kaput. Well, it looked like it TRIED to restart, but the monitor never came back although all the fans and hard disks were doing their thing. I held power until the system turned off (the 'reset' button did nothing) and then turned it back on, and it booted fine. Since then, every time I restarted or turned off the PC it did the same thing, taking more on/off cycles and more time between them to eventually come back. As you are probably guessing now, today it won't come back on at all. From the first time I saw this problem, the monitor coming on or not proved to be a poor indicator of a successful boot, so instead I paid attention to the NumLock light and the red light on my M$ optical mouse. I get the flash of all three lights when I first press power, but nothing after that. A little closer inspection showed that the fan on my Radeon was not spinning. Also, thinking that maybe the recently-applied Arctic Silver had run all over my motherboard, I lifted the heat-sink and found dust deposits in the shape of the fins (http://www.pcabusers.com/reviews/v86n/cpu.jpg) around my ZIF socket. I lifted the processor, anti-static wrist-banded of course, cleaned off the AC3 and after drying and cleaning the processor, added a bit of AC3 on the core and dropped the cooler back on top. Same thing. I also notice that the HDD active lights stay lit for both drives that have them.

    Theories:

    1. NOT the power supply. It's more than strong enough, and besides things are getting power fine. I know from before that if the power supply's gone you get nothing.
    2. NOT a heating issue or cable connection problem. I disconnected and reconnected everything a couple of times to make sure, and in the process improved the airflow in my case even more.
    3. MAYBE the processor. No matter how careful I was, maybe I somehow fried the CPU, or maybe the stress of running 155 F (68.3 C) for 3 months was all she could take.
    4. MAYBE the video card. Processor or no, why is that fan not going? Also this card has given me loads of trouble in the past, so it's easy to blame.
    5. LONG SHOT, but could the motherboard have somehow been damaged by the dust flung around by Dr. Lawnmower? I've had way way dustier MBs survive after choking for months in the stuff, but not so much around the ZIF socket. I think not, because the power is getting from the supply to the cards and other hardware via the MB but ... ?

    Well, what do you think? Thanks for your time and effort on this.
     
  2. dai

    dai

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2003
    Messages:
    11,198
    do you get any beeps
    reseat the video card and the ram replace the fan on the video card if the fan has been out for a while it could be the ram on your video card and it might be easier to put in another card have you got an old one lying around you can put in to check whether it is the card causing the problem if you haven't one of your friends probably has one.i would lean towards the video card being the problem
     
  3. gws226

    gws226

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Messages:
    8,121
    I would start be isolating any items that were part of your last rig that did not get fried that you put in this one...
    Your machine will not post if...
    the ram is bad (try using 1 stick/switching sticks)
    Processor----> well not much to test with here...got another processor handy?
    (ie: disconnect everything that is not vital to POST PC...HDD,cd roms, floppys etc. etc.)

    But, you pointed out that there is activity when you attempt to boot... lights etc. etc.
    What about the fan on the heatsink? (some machines will not boot without the fan speed sensor seeing the heatsink fan running)

    Are the cables properly secure/inserted correctly...nows a good time to double check.

    Did it give you any information? Checksum error... etc. etc.
     
  4. Derrick

    Derrick

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,824
    Keeeripse your FAN on your video card is not running?? I can say without a doubt thats your problem,How long has it been like this? Take the card out of the computer and replace the fan, or even better get an aftermarket beefed up heatsink and fan like you did with the Processor on the board. If you havent already fried the vid card that should help.
     
  5. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    52,935
    First Name:
    Rob
    You said the you had an old powersupply fail that took out some parts. I would be looking at the remaining old parts as the culprit although it really can be anything. Run with a bare minimum - no pci cards, one piece of ram at a time, a video card, and no drives -

    Running without a video card fan is not a good idea - could have destroyed that. And never rule out a powersupply.
     
  6. YoshoMasaki

    YoshoMasaki Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Thanks everyone for responding so quickly and helpfully! I'm not at home right now, but I'll try the stuff you said as soon as I can. For now, I'll answer some questions you had.

    dai - I am not getting any beeps, but then again the possibility arises that my PC speaker is somehow disconnected. I'll check that. When I saw that the fan was not going on the video card, I decided that if nothing else, it is probably a goner. I just moved out here and didn't bring much of my spare parts, and the old card got fried before ... but believe me, swapping the video card is one of the first things on my list.

    gws226 - The only that I kept from the old PC were the drives. Now I'm running with a single 512MB DIMM, but I'll see what I can do about finding RAM to switch it with. Ditto with the processor. I will disconnect all the unneeded stuff and try to boot one more time, just to make sure. My MB does not require the heatsink sensor to be connected (I forgot to connect it when I first installed the cooler and it still ran). I will check the cables again. When this problem started, my PC didn't crash, I just restarted it as usual, so there were no error reports.

    Derrick - I just now noticed that it wasn't running, so I can't tell how long it's been like this. I would like to think that I would have noticed if it weren't running before though. I'll look into a better heatsink for the video card if it's not already gone, I didn't think of that.

    Triple6 - Looks like the best thing for me to do is follow your advice and start from the bare minimum and work through to isolate the problem. It takes time, but since I really want to get the PC back up I guess there's nothing else to do but grit my teeth and get to work.

    Thanks all, I'll be back to report after I try everything. (y)
     
  7. Derrick

    Derrick

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,824
    Right on good luck dude(y)
     
  8. YoshoMasaki

    YoshoMasaki Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Hey, I just wanted to let everyone know that this issue was solved. I tried switching out the CPU, RAM, video card and MB and it turned out to be the motherboard! Dead as a doornail after a mere 6 months. I am getting an RMA from ASUS as soon as possible. I am also getting a passive cooler for the Radeon. That's it, thanx all.
     
  9. Derrick

    Derrick

    Joined:
    May 24, 2001
    Messages:
    1,824
    Darn mobos. What kind of heatsink are you getting for the radeon?
     
  10. YoshoMasaki

    YoshoMasaki Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    I got it fixed up with the Zalman ZM80-A. No more fan failures, w00t :D ASUS already sent back an RMA so I should be back up soon.
     
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