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Computer won't POST, which part is busted?


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#1
WhydoIask?

WhydoIask?

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(Read the bolded bits for the quick version [context not guaranteed.])

I have a fairly nice gaming rig I built myself:
  • MSI X79MA-GD45 Motherboard
  • Corsair TX750M PSU (750W)
  • i7 3820 (3.6Ghz, OC'd to 4Ghz using the MSI BIOS's "safe" auto overclocking options)
  • Sapphire HD Radeon HD7950 GPU
  • 2x WD 1.5TB Hard drives (RAID 1)
  • SSD Cache (60 GB, Crucial "Adrenaline" drive)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (yay student pricing!)
the other little parts and pieces aren't important.

Well, I've been having problems with the SSD cache. When my computer blue-screens, the caching software that comes with the drive attempts to restore the "cache map" before the Windows boots. When it works, it takes about 3 seconds to restore, then I can press any key to continue. But about 75% of the time, it never finishes restoring, never allowing Windows to boot. I have to turn off the tower, unplug the SSD, and restart. The software disables itself with no SSD cache, so I can boot to Windows. Now I have to uninstall the software, shut down, plug the drive in, and reinstall the software.

I might switch to the Intel software soon.

Anyway, my computer BSOD'd yesterday, and the map restoring failed again. after I shut down the computer, I pulled the SATA cable on the SSD and restarted, and now this happens.

It starts for a second or two, then shuts off for ~5 seconds, then repeats. I've unplugged all the drives, and moved the RAM sticks all over the place. I went to the Tech office at my college, and they said that broken RAM or disks wouldn't prevent the Mobo from POSTing.

So one of three things are broken, the CPU, the PSU, or the motherboard. I read that CPU's don't tend to just break (especially if they're only a few months old.) So which do you think it is, the PSU or the motherboard?


Thanks!
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#2
phillpower2

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Hello WhydoIask?

Some questions if I may;
Can you access the BIOS, if yes does the computer stay on.
Is the OS on the SSD or the HDD.
Have you tried the add on video card in the second PCI-E slot.
Any attempt at O/Cing other than using the MSI BIOS's "safe" auto overclocking options.

Things that may cause this type of behavior include (in no particular order)
A bad PSU, the Power Good Signal failing, see http://www.pcguide.c...owerGood-c.html
Overheating which can be caused by inadequate TIM application and/or a bad CPU fan.
Bad Ram, add on video card, HDD/SSD or OS installed on it or keyboard.
A system short which can be caused by a stray screw or bared wire.

I went to the Tech office at my college, and they said that broken RAM or disks wouldn't prevent the Mobo from POSTing.

I hope that you are not taking lessons off the person that told you this as it is incorrect, the POST (power on self test) checks the integrity of all of the major hardware when the computer attempts to boot up, if it encounters an item with a problem POST fails and the system will shut down, some BIOS will attempt to POST again which leads to an endless loop, for a full explanation see http://www.webopedia...BootProcess.asp
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#3
WhydoIask?

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1) Nope, I can't get to the BIOS, and I've tried resetting (pulling the watch battery.)
2) The SSD is a cache, so everything is on the HDD.
3) Unfortunately, the heatsink is blocking the second PCI-E slot.
4) I tried once to OC myself over the summer, but the Mobo stopped POSTing, and I had to reset. I left it to the motherboard after that.

I have unplugged the power from the video card before, and that didn't work. Would I have to fully remove it to be sure it's not the problem?

I have tried both RAM stick by themselves in almost every slot. could both stick fail at the same time?

I have ALL the hard drives unplugged (and my disk drive,) so it's not anything to do with those (the motherboard would give me an "OS not found" error, right?) And I really want to know how a keyboard could cause all this.

This whole thing literally happened over the course of ten seconds. I'd been using the computer fine all morning, then when I got the SSD Caching program stuck, I turned off the computer, and 3 seconds later, without touching anything or even shaking the tower, I pulled the SATA cable from the SSD drive. 3 more seconds and I turn on the computer, and it stops POSTing.
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#4
phillpower2

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Am I correct in that the MB has an onboard speaker which is intended to transmit error beeps.

NB: Are you aware that the MB will not POST unless there is a working stick of Ram in slot one (commonly the slot nearest to the CPU)
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#5
WhydoIask?

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Yes, it has an onboard speaker.

In this case, slot 0 is farthest left, and I've tried both RAM sticks individually, and both together in slots 0 and 1.
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#6
phillpower2

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Thanks :thumbsup:

You have not mentioned receiving error beeps at any time so does this mean that you none have been transmitted.

Please remove all sticks of Ram, check that all internal connections are secure, reconnect the power, display etc then power up the computer, it will not POST obviously this is suggested to see if any error beeps are given out, if they are it suggests that the video card is the item that has issues.
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#7
WhydoIask?

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Nope, no beeps. Nothing has changed.
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#8
phillpower2

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Your next options are first to try a known good PSU and second do a barebones set-up outside of the case.
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#9
WhydoIask?

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One of those techs I mentioned is going to try to bring a PSU that would work in on Monday(the extra ones they have on campus don't have the separate 8-pin CPU cable I need.)

How far do I go with bare bones? just the CPU and RAM sticks?
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#10
phillpower2

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See my canned text below for a barebones set-up;

First remove the MB and do a barebones set-up on a piece of cardboard (make sure it is larger than the MB) only connect the PSU, the GFX card, 1 stick of Ram and the keyboard.
IF your MB doesn`t have a power test switch you will then need to short out the 2 power on pins on the MB header to get the PSU to activate, you can use a small flat bladed screwdriver or a paper clip bent into a U shape, this is perfectly safe if you do not touch anything else, the idea is to see if we can get a BIOS screen if you do you can then add one component at a time until you find the problem component, you must power down and remove the power cord from the wall before adding a component, second suggestion try a known working PSU, it is not unknown for new components to be bad, third suggestion try and loan an ordinary PCI graphics card (not pci-e) again to try and get a BIOS screen.
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#11
WhydoIask?

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Alright, I'll try the other PSU the tech is bringing, and if that doesn't fix anything, than I'll do the barebones setup.

*edit: Oh! also, is it possible the motherboard is the problem, or would the computer not turn on at all?

Edited by WhydoIask?, 21 October 2012 - 10:16 AM.

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#12
phillpower2

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The MB could have a problem such as a short circuit, Corsair PSUs are one of the top brands but they do occasionally have one go bad, as do other brands though.

Good luck with the testing and let us know how it goes.
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#13
WhydoIask?

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Alright, the tech couldn't find one with that specific 8-port CPU plug, so I brought mine to their office and plugged it into an unused computer.

This time, my PSU was missing a specific 4-pin connector. I noticed the both mine and the tech's PSU did the same exact thing (all the fans spun up, GPU fan included, but the monitor didn't display anything) when the 4-pin connector was left out, so I assume it's working.

Later today I'm going to start the bare bones process.
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#14
WhydoIask?

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I went and set it up before I ate lunch, and it's working!

I have a to eat lunch, then I'll be back after a class to find the problem.
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#15
WhydoIask?

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Alright, I put it together piece by piece. Now, the only things not attached are the SSD and temperature sensors, both of which were in the first round of things I unplugged.

I am confused.
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