Dead Motherboard?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by GideonD, Sep 19, 2010.

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  1. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    I was on my girlfriend's PC tonight just browsing the internet when suddenly the screen went black and a few seconds later the tower shut down. The power button turns the tower back on but I get no video signal and the fans seem to be running full force without slowing down. I opened it up and cleaned all the dust out but that didn't help at all. I'm thinking it is either the video card, PSU, or motherboard. The board looks to be fully powered with all lights and fans running so I doubt it's the PSU. Also when it won't boot, I can hold down the power button to shut it off, but then pushing the button again results in the power light coming on but nothing else seems powered. Holding the button at this point results in power "pulses" but not full power up or shutdown.

    It was about 3 A.M. when all this occurred so I haven't put a lot of effort into checking it out yet. The machine is one I built myself several years ago. It has a Chaintech nForce 4 Mobo with an Athlon XP 64 CPU. Sapphire Radeon video card, Antect Sonota II case with Antec PSU. My girlfriend says she heard a loud pop about a half hour before this occurred. She thought something fell over in the next room over, but thinking back decided that it could have come from the general area of the PC.

    I'm pretty sure this is no virus. I had done Avast and MBAM scans a few days before it occurred with everything coming up clean. I'm going to look at it again today to see if the heatsink fan on the CPU is spinning as well as the other fans. It's plugged to the board and the others are plugged to the PSU directly since it has a built in fan control. Unfortunately there is no onboard video on this thing but I do have an old PCI graphics card I could plug in just to see if I can get the BIOS screen. At this point I can't even get to that. I'll check and reseat everything as well. I may have a spare PSU around here I can test as well so long as it has the correct pinouts. Outside of that I'll have to find the manual for the VNF4 Ultra mobo and see if there are any error codes I can check. I did pop the CMOS battery as well and reseat it with no success.

    Update:
    Some more info:
    1) plugged in the main leads from my own PSU. Everything lights up with fans running just like the original PSU does. I don't think the PSU is the issue.
    2) Put in an old PCI graphics card. Still not video.
    3) Cleaned and reseated all connections. No good.
    4) I noticed that my DVD drive does not seem to get power when I turn the computer on. I can't eject it. When I remove it and plug it into a power adapter it works fine. The HDDs on the other hand feel like they are vibrating even with all fans disconnected. Can the Mobo controller which devices the PSU sends power to?

    I've been told the Mobo will not POST without a CPU but it should give an error about no CPU found. In my case the monitor only says No Signal so I'm getting nothing from the Mobo. I'm almost certain the Mobo is at fault. Any additional input?
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Fans running simply means they are getting 12V. It says nothing about the required +5V or +3.3V. However, connecting the 2nd PSU, if known to be good, with the same results does suggest the motherboard.

    Popping sounds typically indicate a capacitor blowing - literally, from too much internal pressure. If you inspect the motherboard, you should see a bunch of soda can looking devices surrounding the CPU socket. Look for leaking or bulging capacitors. Note that a bad PSU can cause a weak cap to fail, so you have not eliminated the PSU as part of the problem. That said, I suspect the motherboard.

    Only fans and even then, it only slows them down, not off. But the capacitors mentioned above are part of the power regulation and distribution circuits so if bad they could prevent some integrated devices from getting power. But the DVD should be getting power via a direct connection to the PSU.

    Some motherboard will not POST at all without a CPU connected as the BIOS itself uses the CPU to process. Certainly, without a CPU, it will not complete the POST.
     
  3. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    I pulled the IDE cable from the board that connects the DVD drive. The then lights up and the door will open normally on it. Unfortunately that didn't help the computer boot any better. Tonight I play to pull all the cables off and get it down to bare bones with just the CPU, GPU, and RAM installed and see what happens. If I still get nothing I guess I can assume the mobo has to be the culprit. I can fire it up with no RAM and nothing attached and still get no video at all. I would assume the PCI video card would have at least given me a video signal of some sort so I don't think the GPU is the issue.
     
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The tray opening only means the drive is getting 12V. You don't need the data cable for eject button to work.

    With just the bare essentials installed (using just 1 stick of RAM), if all is fine, you should see the initial boot stages and then the system will halt when it cannot find a boot drive. If you don't get that far, you can try swapping out the RAM with another stick, but I think we are still looking at the motherboard.

    Are there any beeps?
     
  5. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    What I'm saying is that the drive does NOT get power when the IDE cable IS attached, but it does get power when the IDE cable is not attached. Quite odd. No beeps. I'm thinking the Mobo doesn't have a speaker but I'll have to look closer on that.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    That suggests there is a short on the motherboard. So it keeps pointing back to the motherboard.

    If the motherboard has a speaker, it will already be connected. I don't know about the Sonata II case, but I have a Sonata case that has a speaker that is used for system sounds. If the II does, then you can use that.
     
  7. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    I haven't found a connection for it yet but I'll keep looking for one. I'd like to know for certain before I invest in a full system rebuild, especially since I'm having a hell of a time finding RAM that works well with an i3.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    The connection for the case speaker will be in the same header as the connection for the front panel power and reset buttons, HD LED, and Pwr LED.

    Oh? I have two i3 systems here running fine. You actually need to find RAM that works well with the motherboard the CPU is in, not the CPU itself.
     
  9. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    That's what I always go by. Reviews at Newegg are spotty on the RAM I was looking at. I was looking at G.Skill Eco series but I may just order Crucial like I normally do. I'll attach my build list in case you'd be so kind as to look it over.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6392841/ChasPC.pdf
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    FTR - I happen to like Gigabyte boards and use them almost exclusively on all my builds. That said, I always go out to the motherboard maker's site for the board I am looking at (yours is here) and check the memory support list or QVL (qualified vendors list) for compatible RAM. I don't always buy off the list, but if the list is extensive, it says the board is pretty flexible. I've never used G.Skill but it is good stuff. I do use a lot of Corsair, and lately, I been using a lot of Mushkin and been very happy with it. And like Corsair, Mushkin makes some great PSUs too.
     
  11. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    Yeah they definitely have a slim selection of memory. Crucial's site pulls memory for it that is suppose to be compatible. Of all the brands I've used Crucial has yet to fail me. I have an email in to their customer service about it. I might have to look at other mobos. I've mainly had experience with Gigabyte and Asus. I'm kind of glad Chaintech is no longer made. That board has never been the most cooperative thing.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  12. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Who has a slim selection? GB has at least 80 different types of RAM listed for that board. I call that a decent amount.

    Below is my canned text on RAM wizards that will surely give you more options.

    ***

    These popular RAM makers have auto-scanning and/or manual entry RAM wizards to help you determine which RAM is compatible with your motherboard. For manual entry, enter/select the PC or motherboard make and model number and the wizard will list compatible RAM.
    Crucial - Memory Advisor
    Corsair - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
    GeIL - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
    Kingston - Memory Search (manual data entry only)
    Mushkin - Advisor
    OCZ - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
    Patriot - Memory Search (manual data entry only)
    PNY - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
    SuperTalent - Memory Finder (manual data entry only)​
    The following retailers have auto-scanners and manual wizards. They sell brand name and/or "house" brand (re-branded) RAM.
    Newegg - Memory Configurator System Tool
    MemoryStock - Upgrade Configurator
    18004Memory – Configurator
    4AllMemory - Memory advisor (automatic and manual)
    TigerDirect - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)​
     
  13. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    Well it's not exactly a slim selection. It's just slim compared to the last Gigabyte board I used which had 6 pages for just one speed of memory.
     
  14. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Gideon, fwiw, you describe the exact same symptoms, and I do mean exact, that I encountered with one of the family computers a few days ago. It's an old ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe M/board, the case is a Sonata and the PSU was a Antect 380W that came with the case. Long story short: it was the PSU. Even the part where you remove the data cable from the DVD to get the door open, well I had to do the same thing. I did measure correct +12 and +5 VDC voltages with my trusty Fluke DMM, so it had to be one of the other voltages (+3.3 or -12VDC) that failed. I know you tried a different, working PSU, but I can't begin to tell you how your situation incredibly mirrors the one I had. I bought a decent Antec 550W unit to replace it and all is good. All i could think when reading your post was: "it's the power supply".
     
  15. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Yeah, but he tried another PSU.
     
  16. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Right but as I mentioned, and no exaggeration, the symptoms he describes are exactly like those I encountered.
     
  17. GideonD

    GideonD Registered Member

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    It's really odd because I have the Sonata case and the 380W PSU that came with it! I might do some more extensive testing before I order all new parts.

    I have since found some info that states the board does have a PC Speaker built into it and I'm pretty sure I found it. I get no beeps from it though. I pulled all cables tonight. No SATA or IDE connection, and no connections to the PSU except for the 24 pin and the 4 pin to the mobo itself. Still no luck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  18. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    It's like a read a re-run of what happened to me a few days ago :blink: The loud pop your girlfriend heard is intresting. Assuming the psu is out of warranty, a #2 phillips screwdriver can be used to reomove the screws of its cover, so you could look for signs of burnt/blown components, maybe an electrolyitic capacitor. Check the m/moard carefully as well. On my psu there were no signs of blown components, but a different psu did of course prove it to be the culprit.
     
  19. Tarnak

    Tarnak Registered Member

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    Just thought I would mention...:)

    I have been pleased with my first custom build from 2007 with Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 motherboard, Corsair ram and Corsair HX520 power supply in an Antec P182 case.

    P.S. I didn't put it together, but my parts supplier did > http://www.itsdirect.com.au/ ...a good job too! I just installed the OS. :D
     
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