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PS, MB or other HW prob??? Please help debug

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Blinkin, Feb 15, 2005.

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  1. Blinkin

    Blinkin Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
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    Power supply, motherboard or other hardware problem?

    Some symptoms:
    • New Seagate 120G hard drive makes clicking noises (like as if it is parking it's heads every few seconds during disk activity)
    • USB Memory stick reader no longer works (I can plug unplug it an plug it back in and it will appear for a short period, but then disappear again)
    • Firewire memory card reader no longer works (but firewire from DV cam still works - both plugged into same firewire card) - again, just like the memory stick reader, I can unplug it and plug it back in and it shows up for a short period)
    • Printer disappeared one day; re-appeared after unplugging USB cable and plugging back in - hasn't done it since
    • Previous hard drive (IBM) just started powering down; removed from machine and installed into 2nd machine and it has worked flawless since
    • Sometimes the monitor will flicker at random (once or twice an hour)

    Other things in/about my machine:
    • XP Home (with most OS/driver updates)
    • Athlon XP 2000
    • Cheap case with 300W PS (probably a cheap PS too)
    • Nvidia 5200
    • 8X DVD writer
    • Ethernet card
    • Sound card

    I'm leaning towards this being a power supply problem (again, because it's a cheap PS), but I guess it could be a motherboard or other hardware problem (dirty card connections, flakey memory). Wanted to get some opinions or suggestions of things to check or try.

    Thanks!
     
  2. marioh

    marioh

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2001
    Messages:
    541

    I'd get at least a 350w p/s for that rig. 300w is just barely scraping by. One thing to try to see if it is the p/s is to reduce the load on the p/s to see if that helps with the problems you're experiencing. Unplugging the power for the DVD writer for starters. Check the following link to see estimated power consumption per device and to get an idea of what to look for when shopping for a p/s.
    http://www.firingsquad.com/guides/power_supply/page2.asp
     
  3. Blinkin

    Blinkin Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
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    Thanks for the info. I'll give that a try.

    I'm looking to get the Antec SL350. Good PS for $. On budget, so can't afford to just swap parts (which is why I'm here for help debuggin). :)

    Any more ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  4. griffinspc

    griffinspc

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2001
    Messages:
    4,022
    I'd start with the new HD. The clicking noise could be one of the two recognized clicks of a failing drive. One sounds like a wind up then click. It's called "Cycleclick", the other is "Excess" and sounds like a ticking clock that repeats after 8 or so ticks.

    Sorry that the descriptions are poor, you'd need to hear them to be precise but I'd download the Seagate diagnostic ASAP and run it. If it's new it's still under warranty.

    You may still have power supply problems or mobo problems but I'd sure test the HD. It could be causing all the other problems as described too and you can rule it out at no expense.
     
  5. Blinkin

    Blinkin Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Messages:
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    The wind up noise - would that sound like when it's accessing data? Like, a very, very faint chatter and then click? Cuz, that's what I'm hearing.

    I called Seagate and they said it should not be making the clicking sounds that I'm hearing and they were prompt to offer an exchange. But I'm reluctant to swap it out until I find the other problem first - just in case that is what's causing my HD probs.
     
  6. griffinspc

    griffinspc

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2001
    Messages:
    4,022
    If you want to send me a PM with your email address I'll send you a small wav file so you can hear exactly what it sounds like. I'd still download the Seagate diagnostic too.

    http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/
     
  7. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    wav files on the way per your PM.
     
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