PC crashed: what could be the cause?

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Palindroman
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Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:00 am

PC crashed: what could be the cause?

Post by Palindroman » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:14 am

It had to happen sooner or later, my first hardware crash. When I tried to turn on my PC two days ago, fans started to spin, lights turned on, but no booting, no BIOS even.

System:
Asus A8N-VM CSM
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2.0 GHz, S939
2 x 512 MB Kingston ValueRAM
Samsung HDD Spinpoint PS80SD, 80 GB
Seasonic 350W PSU in Arctic Silentium T4

I checked the HD: it functioned.
I swapped the 2 sticks of RAM around, tried them in different sockets: nothing happened.
The PSU seems to be working fine too.
I don't think it's the IGP because the CPU fan spins at full speed and doesn't slow down (normally it slows down as soon as Q-fan takes over) and the lights on my keyboard don't light up either.

My guess it's either the mobo or the CPU. Now because all the lights turn on on the mobo (LAN port for instance) I have a hunch it could be the CPU. I'm planning on ordering a new S939 CPU on ebay today to find out.

My question is: Am I going about it the right way or am I overlooking something? Some input would greatly be appreciated. :)

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:58 am

Have you tried to remove battery for 30 seconds to make hard reset for bios and see if that helps?

When my old system crashed like that, no boot but fans and light were onm, cause was that power surge had friend my VGA card. My brother had same symptoms but his cause was failed antec PSU.
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Strid
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Post by Strid » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:12 am

Well, the only way to tell what part exactly is bugged, you have to replace/test each part individually. Sounds like motherboard to me, although it's not more than just a hunch. Instead of buying a "new" 939 processor, why don't just take it as an "it's-time-to-upgrade-a-little"?? :)

A basic motherboard+CPU+RAM upgrade isn't very expensive and you won't ahve to waste money on buying a very outdated CPU.
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lm
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Post by lm » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:39 am

My friend had the tiniest bit of scrap metal shorting something on his motherboard, and it worked after cleaning. Taking everything out of the case and just connecting the mobo, 1 stick of ram, cpu, cpu cooler, gpu and psu together sitting on a clean table should tell you if it works.

Kriz
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Post by Kriz » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:06 am

Hi Palindroman,

My main knowledge of computers comes from troubleshooting problems, so I figured I should add my own bit to this thread.

I realise you've likely already done some of the following testing, but usually when I'm presented with this kind of problem my order of troubleshooting goes like this:

Unplug *everything* from the motherboard except: CPU/heatsink/fan, case power switch, ATX 20/24pin power, P4 4pin power. This is mostly to keep things basic, but sometimes weird shorting issues with cables can cause the same problem you've stated.

Next, look at the onboard USB ports at the back and check if any of them look especially different to the others. Make sure the inner connectors aren't touching any metal they shouldn't be, as this can cause a short.

Then it's time to check the other main parts:

PSU - Test with a known working PC.
RAM - Both sticks CAN die at the same time. Again, test in a working PC.
M/B - It may look like it's working, but it's probably got a problem.
CPU - You would have to be extremely unlucky for this to die under normal conditions.

If you've got up to the stage of checking the motherboard, then I agree with what everyone has said as far as the motherboard goes.

It could just be a tiny bit of scrap metal or something shorting, or the bios settings may have to be reset. Once you've checked everything except the CPU, remove the battery for a few mins then reconnect, if the same problem is happening, then it's worth getting everything out of the case and giving it a good cleaning with a can of compressed air, then plugging in the basic cables again and see what happens.

Hopefully you'll have found a solution soon.

Arvo
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Post by Arvo » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:43 am

One more hint - check all motherboard capacitories visually. If any of these are leaking or bulged, then you probabaly have find the culprit.

Palindroman
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Post by Palindroman » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:58 am

Thanks for all the answers!
Strid wrote:Well, the only way to tell what part exactly is bugged, you have to replace/test each part individually. Sounds like motherboard to me, although it's not more than just a hunch. Instead of buying a "new" 939 processor, why don't just take it as an "it's-time-to-upgrade-a-little"??
To tell the truth it was the first thing that ran through my mind. 'Great, now I can build that 4450e/picoPSU/nVidia 8200 setup that consumes only 25 watts at idle!' :D

But you know, I run a website promoting sustainable computing which is all about reduce, reuse and recycle. So I have to go for an upgrade or else lose my credibility! :wink:

I'm kind of hoping it's due to the CPU because I have my eye on a good-looking Athlon 3500+ Winchester-core on ebay which will probably undervolt way further than the V-locked Venice that's in my system now. It'll cost me about € 30 which is also less than the € 200 for that 4450e system.

But what if it isn't the CPU?!

I've just blown all the dust out of the PC and removed the CMOS battery, all to no avail. I can feel the CPU and chipset slowly warm up but I'm not sure if that's a clue or not. The HD spins up for 1 second or so and then goes completely silent. I might replace the PSU later on with a picoPSU I have lying around but I have a feeling it won't change much.

I guess I'll swap the CPU for the Winchester from ebay. If that doesn't help, I'll order a S939 mobo as well and then sell whatever remains again.

I'll leave a message if and when I find out what the problem is. Thanks again for the feedback.

Kriz
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Post by Kriz » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:12 am

Palindroman wrote:I'll leave a message if and when I find out what the problem is. Thanks again for the feedback.
No worries. I've always found your posts to be very useful and informative. I do hope you're still doing the occasional power consumption test.

Palindroman
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Post by Palindroman » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:58 am

Kriz wrote: No worries. I've always found your posts to be very useful and informative. I do hope you're still doing the occasional power consumption test.
Thanks, Kriz. I haven't been doing any power consumption tests lately, but I can't say things are improving as radically as they did two-three years ago. Then again, I'm not reading as much about it as I did the last two years.

This was the last system I built and would build for myself if it weren't better to just replace the faulty component:

Image

Numbers are:

RMClock idle
Cool 'n Quiet
Idle
RMClock load
load

Unfortunately I've never managed to undervolt those new Brisbanes (from BE-xxx upwards) at the limit because they would crash incessantly. If I would build a new system for myself I'd probably take an older Brisbane, like the X2 4000+ or something.

ACook
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Post by ACook » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:36 am

whereabouts are you, I got a s939 3000+ winchester lying idle here, in .nl - postage for such a small thing is the same throughout europe using a bubble-envelope.

it's yours for 5e inc shipping

not as if I'm going to reuse it here anymore. my mom has the machine now with a X2 4200.
[size=75]Antec P182 | Seasonic S12II-380W | Asus EAH3450/HTP/512M
Asus M3A-H/HDMI | AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E @ +5% | Ninja Rev B
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Toshiba Satellite 1900-102.[/size]

Palindroman
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Post by Palindroman » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:15 pm

ACook wrote:whereabouts are you, I got a s939 3000+ winchester lying idle here, in .nl - postage for such a small thing is the same throughout europe using a bubble-envelope.

it's yours for 5e inc shipping

not as if I'm going to reuse it here anymore. my mom has the machine now with a X2 4200.
What bad luck! I just bought one off ebay tonight (for € 25)! :cry:

But thanks for the great offer! That's really kind of you. :)

Ch0z3n
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Post by Ch0z3n » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:43 pm

I don't know about the 45w tdp, but I have my 5400+ on CrystalCPUID:
3ghz @ 1.325v (222*13.5)
2ghz @ .975v (222*9)
I was gonna make 3 settings, but .975v seemed pretty low already and I wasn't sure how much gain I could get going lower.
[size=75]Main Rig: [color=blue]Athlon II X4 620 @ 3ghz, w/ Ninja Mini, MSI R4830-T2D512, GA-MA78GM-S2HP, 4x2GB DDR2 800, WD5000AACS, 120mm S-Flex 1,200rpm & 800rpm, TV Wonder 650, Signature 650, NSK2400[/color]
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ACook
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Post by ACook » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:30 pm

you're welcome. at least with a fellow spcr member it'd be in a decent home.
[size=75]Antec P182 | Seasonic S12II-380W | Asus EAH3450/HTP/512M
Asus M3A-H/HDMI | AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E @ +5% | Ninja Rev B
Sony-NEC AD-7200S & Lite On LH-20A1H | Samsung HD501LJ & 4x F1 1TB.
Toshiba Satellite 1900-102.[/size]

Palindroman
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Post by Palindroman » Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:12 am

I swapped the CPUs but nothing happened (as expected, more or less). It was wishful thinking on my part as I wanted to replace my V-locked Venice with that undervoltable Winchester. :cry:

I swapped the PSU too but no changes.

A weird thing happened though. One time the pc turned on and I got to see the first screen you see where you can press DEL to enter BIOS. The screen was frozen so of course I couldn't enter BIOS, but still I was surprised the pc showed a minimal sign of life after all those times I turned it on and nothing happened.

So I guess it has to be the mainboard (if you think it might be something else please let me know). I'll see if I can a S939 board on ebay, otherwise sell everything, buy new stuff and build that low power system! :lol:

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Re: PC crashed: what could be the cause?

Post by QuietOC » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:46 am

Palindroman wrote:Asus A8N-VM CSM
2 x 512 MB Kingston ValueRAM

My question is: Am I going about it the right way or am I overlooking something? Some input would greatly be appreciated. :)
I have had a lot of issues with Kingston memory in ASUS hardware. I also had a lot of issues with that particular motherboard. If you don't have other memory to try, I would find another motherboard.

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