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Dead Computer After Build


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#1
ThunderT

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I assembled a system for a co-worker. Here are the specs:

AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Newcastle core) Socket 754
MSI Neo3-F - nForce4-4x chipset
2x512MB Corsair ValueSelect PC-3200
420W Aspire PSU (18A on 12V rail)
80 GB WD HDD
Lite-On DVD-RW
ATI Radeon X300SE

Now, initially I assembled the system, it ran great, I installed Windows, it still ran great. I boxed it up and handed it to my co-worker. He tried plugging it in but it didn't work. I posted before here the problems that I had. It was pretty much concluded, thanks to the help of members of this forum and MSI Tech. Support that motherboard was dead. My co-worker sent the motherboard back to the vendor, and he received a new motherboard last week.

Again, I assembled everything in the case, it ran perfectly, I tested it several times, with multiple boot-ups at different times, and the computer ran great. My co-worker got his "new" computer on Friday, plugged it in, and claimed that same problem happened as before.

What do you think the problem is...a bad power strip or a bad home service connection that is killing the motherboard? My co-worker claimed that the power strip he's using is the same one that is/was used with other computers in the house. Are newer motherboards more sensitive to voltage spikes/dips? I haven't had the computer since it failed the 2nd time to power on at his house, but I'm assuming I'll find the same symptoms that I found when I posted previously.
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#2
dsenette

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if it's possible i would see if the machine will start up at your house before replacing the mobo again, and then if you can you should physically go to the location where it is going to be and watch the user's set up...also check the power strips
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#3
Zarkahn

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tell him to try a different plug in his house to. Maybe it's just a bad plug or strip or something. I can't imagine replacing the mobo just cause it wont turn on when it turned on at your house...
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#4
ThunderT

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Yeah, I thought of that too. The problem is that the last time this happened, the thing wouldn't turn on at my house after he'd plugged it in at his house. I checked for loose connections, motherboard grounding on the case, re-seated the processor, etc...but nothing worked to get it to boot until the replacement motherboard came, and then it worked perfectly until he plugged it in at his house. I have yet to try it out at my house again, but I suspect that the same will happen as the last time.
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#5
shard92

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Also if he is using a different power cord than you did I would check that to see if it is a problem as well. Oh and yes the newer computers are more sensitve ( so are the newer power supplies.... In fact you might want to consider replacing it as well. ) All else fails tell him to get a UPS.
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#6
Zarkahn

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Has he ever had problems like this with other computers?
Maybe his house just doesnt like his new computer.
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#7
ThunderT

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Zarkahn: that's my theory too. Since this machine is better than mine (processor-wise at least), I told him that his new computer will have to reside at my house and he will have to come over during normal business hours to use it. :tazz: As far as I know, he hasn't had any other computer-related problems...other than that his old "fast" computer was a second-hand K6-2 500 Mhz that I sold him a few years ago.


shard92: That's noted about the power cord. I actually thought of that one myself. I used the power cord that came with the new PSU, and I've also used some of the other ones around my house to test that computer. As far as I know, he used the same cord to plug it in at home - but I'll ask him to check.

As far as the PSU goes, I guess I don't know too well how a PSU transforms the AC power to be useable for the computer, but the PSU worked fine in my house when both motherboards came out of the box. When I got the computer back from him the first time, the thing wouldn't run at all, but as soon as I changed to the new motherboard, it worked perfectly. Seems to me like something on his end is killing the motherboard, and not killing the PSU...or I guess something could be causing the PSU to kill the motherboard. I wish I had the technical knowledge to find out exactly what on the motherboard isn't working anymore...just because I'm really curious what is going on with that thing.
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#8
bdlt

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you might want to read about electrostatic discharge before installing a new motherboard. the things mentioned previously are more likely to cause the problem, but you don't want to zap the motherboard at any time. you may not completely destroy a component with ESD, but it can be degraded and shorten it's lifespan.
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#9
ThunderT

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This problem continues on. I tried out his computer at my house after it wouldn't start for the 2nd time (2nd motherboard). I couldn't get it to go. The fans spin, but no action on the POST front. I tried out a 3rd motherboard. It ran perfectly at my house just as the previous 2 had. I made him sit there and watch me turn it on and run it. He went out and bought a new surge protector, took the thing home and again it wouldn't POST yet the fans spun. What do you think, change the PSU? I wonder if his motherboard is truly dead (or if the other 2 had actually died either)? How can it run in my apartment flawlessly (3 different motherboards), but each time he takes it home, it won't POST and when I get it back, I can't get it to POST either? He is using the same power cord that I used to boot it, but I've also used other power cords that have all worked fine. The motherboard is properly getting power to the system fans, but apparently something is impeding its ability to POST.
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#10
ThunderT

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Here is my last point...(forgot to add previously)...if I do nothing except change the motherboard, the system runs again at my house. So the CPU is fine, the memory is fine, the HDD is fine, etc...
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#11
shard92

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Very possible the power feed at his location is bad or he is doing something that is causing a problem. I would recommend taking it to his location and hooking it up. I'd also recommend using a UPS to eliminate the possible problem of bad power from his line. It's also possible that the power supply is unstable.... maybe power at his location agrivates that...


Also does it not work from the beginning at his location? or does it run then die?
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#12
ThunderT

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I agree that I think there must be something with the power supply aggrevating something with his power feed. Since the power passes through the power supply, I don't understand how the power supply can be fine yet something kills the motherboard. I have worked on a computer before where I think the power supply died, surged, and then killed the motherboard, but this is clearly not the case in this instance since the original power supply works fine each time I install a new motherboard.

His new computer has never ran at his house. There have been 3 different motherboards used, and each time, the computer runs fine at my house and then it never runs at his house. After this happened the first time, I was unable to start the computer at my house even after pulling everything except video, CPU & 1 stick of RAM. I did do this check after it died the 2nd time, and I have yet to work on the "dead" system since it has failed this 3rd time.
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#13
ThunderT

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Just to conclude this case. I got him a UPS and also replaced the power supply with a 520W Aspire model that runs up to 34A on the 12V rail. I started the machine at his house off the battery then plugged in the power to the UPS from the wall and it ran without a problem. To say the least, I'm completely relieved. Thanks for all the help.
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