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Opinions & Diagnostic Help Needed with Acer AX1700

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Got this system off of ebay as a DOA. HD had been wiped and there was a caveat from the seller:

NOTE: Notes: VGA mode not supported. Also all USB ports does not work either due to driver or component itself.

When it arrived I gave it the "Shake to see what rattles" test and sure enough there was a screw floating around in the innards which if it was lying on the motherboard when it was powered up could account for all of this. First effort was to attempt an XPP install. As expected the USB keyboard and mouse were both dead. I didn't bother with the onboard VGA since it came with a fairly nice Video card. The XPP install blue screens after file installation on the HD (Whoops! Where are the files???).

It's now stripped to the motherboard. I checked the memory, CD, and HD and these are all good. I found an exact replacement for the motherboard on eBay and on the basis of what I could see It's not the drivers but a major component failure that's at issue here so I just went ahead and ordered the replacement.

My question is: How do I diagnose the Southbridge? You can see I'm guessing here. Is there a definitive procedure for these issues?

Any help you can give in this regard would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much!

Tim Darraugh

Addenda - Having the onboard VGA output go out is significant? Apparently this is Northbridge controlled and much closer to CPU and a little worrisome. These symptoms point someplace I just have no idea where.

Edited by timdarraugh, 07 February 2010 - 04:46 PM.

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