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The mother of all crashes. Which part do you think has failed?


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#1
unfoix

unfoix

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Hello all.
A few days ago my computer completely hung. the mouse wouldn't move, keystrokes didn't register, audio in and out stopped, all programs stopped dead. Nothing. So, after a hard reboot I sat back and let winxp load to wait and see. With nothing other than the bare minimum running it still crashed after a few minutes.

Booting into safe mode was fine, so after updating/running my virus scanner/spyware tools in safe mode (no problems found), I gave it one more test in standard winxp.

This time, after the inevitable crash and hard reboot, the power stuttered off and on 2 or 3 times before I got to the off switch properly.

And this time, upon bootup, there's nothing. No bios screen, no beeps. Just the fan powering up and staying that way (normally the fan slows down/stops after the initial surge)...

So, I've checked all the connections, they're fine. Checked to see if theres any visible damage on the cpu, looks good (its a core 2 duo so it runs fairly cool). RAM seems to be seated. All cards are in. Just no love.

What do you think these symptoms point to?
I initially thought CPU failure as it looked like the processor had just dropped out leaving whatever was in memory to run static, but the power supply stuttering upon the final boot seems to remove the cpu from the equation...perhaps the psu failed on the cpu's supply, which caused the initial freezeups, and then finally kicked it in later on?

I'm really not sure though, this is the first time I've experienced this kind of crash.
If this helps, the system is
Core 2 duo 1.8+
2gb ddr2 800
gigabyte mobo (although off the top of my head I cant remember the model)
ati x1950 256mb
external edirol ua25 usb soundcard
500w psu (brand I cant remember right now, i'll post it tomorrow if needed) - it was a mid-range one though.
running winxp sp2

With no recent hardware or software changes.

??

Many thanks in advance.

- Unfoix.
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#2
The Skeptic

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I would suspect the psu. Try to pull the power cord from the back of the computer, reconnect and bootup. If still no good try to replace the power supply unit. If you can get one temporarilly install it and see what happens. This may save you the expense in case that the problem is not there. If still no good we'll have to keep checking.
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#3
unfoix

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Hey.

Hrm..OK. I'll see if I can borrow a psu from somewhere to test this.
Thanks.
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#4
unfoix

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Havn't been able to borrow an approriate psu yet, some further symptoms are:
front panel leds or pc speaker don't work (although the power switch does)
powering on and then removing the power cord, then plugging it in hot - the system stays powered down.
pci-e video card fan powers on - is fed by a separate connection.

Additionally, the psu is a Thermaltake tr2-550W, and the mainboard a Gigabyte 965P-S3.
I've also noticed on the mainboard there are some brownish marks on the flat metal contacts of the TMP component...
TMP isn't listed in the board manual, and I didn't notice this when I first got the board, so obviously I can't say if it was like this out of the box. TMP is an array of 10 or so flat metal circles arranged in two rows, right next to the front panel jumpers, and the majority of them are rimmed in brown, what look like scorch marks. an artifact of manufacturing or burnt out board?
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#5
krmooo

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i have a feeling your correct. perhaps a closer look with a magnifying glass will tell. also look for bulges around the rims of those capacitors. fans spin? cd tray opens? but no lower voltage activity?not good :whistling:
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#6
The Skeptic

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If you find burnet capacitors then you have to repalce the motherboard but, even then you must test the psu to look for the source that fried the capacitors otherwise you may install a new board and ruin it. This is almost certainly a faulty psu or some electrical short in the system.

Where I live generic psu units of about 500W cost about 20 dollar. I suggest that you replace it if you replace the motherboard.
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#7
unfoix

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Thanks for your time guys,
by adjusting the feng-shui in the room I've managed to fix the problem :whistling:

I showed the mainboard to the tech at work and he agreed it looked damaged, but had never seen it before, and testing the PSU separately on another board showed that it worked fine.

I'd tried removing all the components from the mainboard earlier, but it looks as if this problem was solved by moving the mainboard around...a piece of crap on the bottom of shorting it? A screw gone astray? Who knows.

It seems to be running fine now...

Thanks again.
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#8
The Skeptic

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Yes, it's very possible that there was a short between the motherboard or an exposed wire to the box itself. Overtightening the screws that hold the board can have the same effects. I am glad it didn't end up with serious damage.
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