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  #1  
Old August 3rd, 2004, 03:33 AM
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Default OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

Ok, I've been thinking about my broken computer for almost 3 months, and I'm still not sure which part is actually broken.

To set this up, here are my specs:
MSI 845 Ultra ARU mobo
1.8 Pentium 4 Northwood
Leadtek GF 4 Ti 4400
Creative SB Audigy 1 Platinum
1 gig of DDR
Plextor CDRW
Toshiba (?) DVDROM
Generic floppy
Generic 100/10 ethernet card
80 gig ATA drive (7200 RPM)
2 x 2 gig ATA drives on an on-board Promise RAID controller

This setup ran fine for a long time, no problems. However, at the end of Last semester, it started going wonky at bootup (random stops during POST or whatever). After I brought it home, it lived for about 2 weeks and then finally bought the farm (when I press the case power button, all the system fans spin up, but no beep, and no display on the screen). Mind you this computer is only about 2 years old at the most, so I'm kinda miffed. Now, I've checked the video card (swapped in a PCI card), removed all unneccessary parts (still won't boot), checked the powersupply (on another computer and with voltmeter), the RAM is good (less than 6 months old). I've pretty much narrowed it down to CPU or mobo.

Is there any way to tell which is broken? I don't have a known good mobo or CPU to try, so that's hampered me (this machine I'm using right now is a "slocket" P3).

Arg... any thoughts?
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

My bet would be HARD DRIVE. That or MB is bad. Could even be a heat issue. Good luck Instar in figuring it out.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

I don't think its the hard drive, the POST quits before it even goes to the HD for something to boot from. It can't be heat (I've got 3 case fans, and I've tried booting with side panel off).
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When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat. The two will hover, spinning inches above the ground. With a giant buttered cat array, a high-speed monorail could easily link New York with Chicago.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 04:21 AM

Baron Munchausen Baron Munchausen is offline
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

If it doesn't even give the 'I'm awake' beep that comes at the end of POST then it's either the CPU or the Mobo itself. You'll need spares to swap things around and figure out which it is.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 04:44 AM

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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

A working computer should POST without a hard drive. Pull out the drive and if it still won't POST then the HDDrv isn't the only problem.

Unless one component is under warranty, I've rarely replaced motherBoards and processors separately. Except when my place of employment has many space processors lying around for testing.

Buy new both. You wanted to upgrade anyway, didn't you?

You know you did.

Don't you deserve it?
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:08 AM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

I hate to say it, but it could be your video card.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

I've had plenty of MoBo's giving beeps without a CPU or with the CPU placed the wrong way( 486sx and it did work when I turned it 90 degrees, didn't know it was possible to put it wrong!)

So my guess is atleast the MoBo..

As you've tried it with another graphic card as you've stated, I don't think it's the video card AT!
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

Fans spin and no drive activity or post activity is usually RAM. Pull the drives and do a hard reset on the CMOS. Then try to boot it from a floppy. If it still just sits there, then try a stick of ram.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

I have a deep distrust in MSI mobos... As Ruatha has mentioned, no beeps at all is the bad sign hinting for a dead mobo.

First check: fans spinning? -> power supply ok, no shortcircuit on mobo (or stuck reset key, I had this one once too), fine.

Second: the mobo should do a number of beeps while checking the most basic things like cpu, memory, video card. In this case, number of beeps gives you the damaged part.
(Unless its an modern EPOX mainboard, which have a 2-digit display onboard displaying in hex the status while booting up, thus giving a hex code for the error at the point of failure. What luxury - I have come to hate counting numerous too-short beeps and probably even riddling about if it has been a long or short beep. Guess what Boards I currently prefer )

If no beeps at all (speaker properly connected?) -> mobo does not even start properly with its BIOS. To make sure remove everything including RAM and CPU, try again. No beeps -> trash the mobo. You could try resuscitation, exert some moderate pressure on various parts of the mobo, especially on all socketed components, loosen the screws a bit - maybe its a hairline crack that fixes itself (hopefully for some time). But thats extreme luck if it should work.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: OT: Which is broken?! (computer part)

Quote:
Originally posted by Gryphin:
I have to go with the RAM theory (and it is the cheapest to test).
Not so sure. I just took the RAM out of a system and still got beep code.
I think I have to go with the processor issue. I doubt it is the temp as it is cool at time of boot. Try removing the chip and replacing it
It depends on the make of the bios software. That board should have an AMI bios. Bad or wrong ram = no beeps.

Other than the old swap it out testing, there is a device called a Post Card that will let you run AMI's CheckPoint software.
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