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PC does not power up


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#1
Thomas Greene

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Had been experiencing numerous game crashes on my PC, some with just the application crashing, others more serious with blue-screen requiring reboot. Additional problems in the past got me to try replacing the graphics card, reseating memory, etc. Usually I would get the PC running pretty well, but problems would return. I lived with them as best I could.
This time I tried using a memory test program to check out the memory. Results were inconsistent, sometimes reporting numerous errors, sometimes a few. During one test, the program aborted. During another the PC shut down and would not power back up.
Replaced the power supply with no improvement. Starting the PC would result in a brief LED flash on the power switch and slight movement of fans, but nothing else. Removed the 4-pin auxilliary power connector, leaving the 24-pin power connected. All fans (case, powersupply, cpu fan, graphics fan) and drives would start up and remain active, but since the auxilliary power was not connected there was no real startup that would give me access to bios or video. Connecting the auxilliary power returned the PC to the state with the LED flash and momentary movement of fans. Tried resetting bios using both the bios reset jumper and removing the battery methods but to no avail. Tried removing memory, graphics card, power from drives, drive connectors, but no improvement. PC will not power up when the 4-pin auxilliary power is connected. I HAVE NOT tried to remove the heat sink on the CPU or the CPU itself.
At this point I am considering replacing both the CPU and motherboard, but seeing as I am currently unemployed and under a tight budget, I am looking for anything I may have overlooked before spending anything else.
PC is running Windows XP with an ECS NFORCE6M-A V2.0 motherboard and Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core CPU. Self-built in 2007.
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#2
eyetripoli

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This time I tried using a memory test program to check out the memory. Results were inconsistent, sometimes reporting numerous errors, sometimes a few. During one test, the program aborted. During another the PC shut down and would not power back up.


Are you still using the same RAM now or have you had it replaced? If you get ANY errors on a memory test, you should send it back for a replacement.

If this is not the case and you are using good RAM, I can try to help you figure it out and we can move on. Have you tried a barebones setup? Motherboard, CPU, 1 stick of RAM in slot 1, video output, nothing else. I would try that first and let me know about the results. The idea at this stage is to get all the unnecessary components out of the way to isolate the problem component.

~ieee
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#3
Thomas Greene

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I tried a configuration with 1 memory stick (one that did not report any errors during testing). I also tried a configuration without any memory. Either way, the PC does not power up when the 4 pin auxiliary power is connected. In the past, when there was no memory installed, the PC would make a beeping noise. In this case there was no beeping and nothing appeared to power up.
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#4
eyetripoli

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I tried a configuration with 1 memory stick (one that did not report any errors during testing). I also tried a configuration without any memory. Either way, the PC does not power up when the 4 pin auxiliary power is connected. In the past, when there was no memory installed, the PC would make a beeping noise. In this case there was no beeping and nothing appeared to power up.


How long was that one stick of RAM tested for in memtest86? Tell me if you did NOT use this program.

As far as your other comment about the no RAM boot, that makes me suspect a motherboard problem. I don't have detailed knowledge about this specific motherboard model, but from my experience, when you start a computer without any RAM, you will always get a beep code. If you are not getting any beep code when you have both the 4 pin and 24 pin ATX 12V plug connected then I would suspect the motherboard as the culprit. I suspect the probability that you got two defective PSUs is fairly low.

~ieee
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#5
Digerati

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Results were inconsistent, sometimes reporting numerous errors, sometimes a few

I concur with ieee - if you get any errors, even 1, replace the RAM. Note almost all RAM has a lifetime warranty.

Are you sure the 2nd PSU was good?

If you are sure the 2nd PSU was good too, then I agree, this points to the motherboard (and/or CPU).
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#6
Thomas Greene

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I did use memtest86. It was when I was running the tool with one memory stick that the fatal shutdown occurred. The test was almost complete with that one stick with no errors on the screen that the computer shutdown and did not restart. I'm looking at finding a new motherboard and CPU since I don't think that I can distinquish between the two as failed. Would I expect any different results if the motherboard was okay and i pulled a failed CPU (no CPU installed)?
Thank you both for responding. Much appreciated. I will reply back when I have a working system again.
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#7
eyetripoli

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I did use memtest86. It was when I was running the tool with one memory stick that the fatal shutdown occurred. The test was almost complete with that one stick with no errors on the screen that the computer shutdown and did not restart. I'm looking at finding a new motherboard and CPU since I don't think that I can distinquish between the two as failed. Would I expect any different results if the motherboard was okay and i pulled a failed CPU (no CPU installed)?
Thank you both for responding. Much appreciated. I will reply back when I have a working system again.


Well, memtest86 can run forever, or at least a very long time. Considering the fact that you said the computer shut down during the RAM test makes me further suspect the motherboard or as Digerati said, the PSU. Inconsistent voltage on the 12V rail can cause a computer to power off, but like I said before, the probability of getting multiple defective PSUs is fairly low.

I would advice first sending the RAM in for replacement and while you have that out, also set up an RMA for the motherboard. There is no sense in sending the RAM back and having the possibly defective motherboard sit there while you can't test. For good measure, send them both back and go from there. The complete lack of boot beep codes on a RAM-less start raises a red flag for me.

~ieee
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#8
Digerati

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I'm looking at finding a new motherboard and CPU since I don't think that I can distinquish between the two as failed.

It is often not possible without swapping in a spare, sacrificial CPU. But not many have spare CPUs laying around they would not mind losing. Testing motherboards is a real challenge. But most shops have spare boards around they can use to easily test a CPU. So you might call around to see if they will give you a price.

There is a problem with replacing the motherboard. Understand the motherboard defines a computer. Unless the motherboard is replaced with the exact model replacement from the same board maker (or the maker's suggested replacement if original is no longer available), a new motherboard is considered a new computer. And a new computer typically requires new licenses for all your OEM software, including Windows. So if your current Windows license is an OEM license, that is if the disk is “branded” with a computer maker’s brand name, or is labeled with “OEM/System Builder”, “Upgrade”, “Academic Edition”, or "For Distribution with a new PC only", it is not transferable to a new PC (or upgraded motherboard) under any circumstances. So if that is the case, it may be time for a full upgrade to that new 64-bit Windows 7 computer you wanted anyway! ;)
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#9
Digerati

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Well, memtest86 can run forever, or at least a very long time.

ieee and I are tag-teaming you! ;) He posted while I was typing my last post. Yeah, a memory tester needs to run for several passes - I usually just let it run overnight if no immediate errors are indicated. And FTR, I use MemTest86+ (note the "+") and Windows Memory Diagnostic.

That said, no software based memory checker is conclusive. And usually, unless there was a power anomaly, all RAM sticks do not go bad at once. So that "suggests" - though again, not conclusively - the motherboard is having problems (assuming good power).

There is no sense in sending the RAM back and having the possibly defective motherboard sit there while you can't test. For good measure, send them both back and go from there.

Well, you may be able to send the RAM back, but a 2007 motherboard will be long out of warranty.

but like I said before, the probability of getting multiple defective PSUs is fairly low.

I agree - if you know the source/condition of the second PSU. A new PSU out of the box will probably be good. But an old, used PSU pulled off the spares shelf, maybe not.
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