touch of death killing my pc(s) need help on new build

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fanerman91
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Yonder

touch of death killing my pc(s) need help on new build

Post by fanerman91 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:38 am

Hi,
Here's the story of my old computer (A64 3200 S754 AGP DDR1): it worked great for 3-4 years without ONE crash. Then one day, it died. I didn't do anything special. I shut it down, went to work, got back from work, turned it on, and after getting past the BIOS but not any further:

"DISK BOOT ERROR, INSERT SYSTEM DISK BLAH BLAH BLAH" (obviously, I'm paraphrasing).

This was 3 months ago.

I googled the phrase and I couldn't find a specific cause; there seemed like several possibilities. Obviously it had to be a hardware issue because I couldn't even get past the BIOS. I didn't want to upgrade because I was content with the speed and noise of my system and I want to be "green" and use my stuff for as long as I can.

To keep a long story slightly not as long, I purchased these items in roughly this order: (keep in mind that all the crap in my computer is no longer even being used, so I had to look for legacy stuff)

-NEW DVD-RW (IDE)
-NEW DVD-RW (SATA)
-USED S754 MOBO
-EBAY S754 CPU (unknown if used or new, probably used)
-NEW IDE CORDS
-NEW DDR1 RAM
-USED POWER SUPPLY (had one lying around that I'm fairly certain still works)
-USED video card (also had lying around)
-I also used 3 different hard drives (2 IDE, 1 SATA) to try to boot into. I have IDE and SATA external drives (also purchased for this fiasco) and I could access the data in each drive just fine--then I formatted the drives.

Obviously I've checked the boot order so the optical drive with my Windows XP SP2 CD goes first.

I switched things out one at a time (same case). By this week, I hooked up a completely different build from the one that gave me the errors. The different mobo paraphrases the original error but it seems to be basically the same message.

If I sound annoyed, it's because I've been out of a desktop for 3 months and now have duplicate legacy stuff and I have no idea what works and what doesn't.

I'm ready to buy a new computer. But I'm concerned that when I plug it in I'll somehow get the same message.

My current hypothesis (# 9,000,000,000,000) is that either the PSU (SeaSonic 460W something, an early active PFC PSU) or case (Antec P180) broke the motherboards so that even though I've tried hooking up a different power supply as well as removing the mobo from the case, I still get the same problems.

Also in the running is that I've had a mold problem in my apartment (recently gotten rid of) and the mold infected my computers and poisoned them with evil mold spores.

Now I wonder if I should buy a new case (I'm certainly buying a new power supply) and hard drive(s) and surge protector. I like the functionality of the case and I have enough hard drive space and I don't have anything against my surge protector, but I'm tempted to buy them (even if I start to dip into emergency funds) because I've absolutely had it.

The monitors and light bulbs I've hooked up into the surge protector seem to work just fine. Tomorrow I'm going to hook up my XBOX 360 to the surge protector and see if the XBOX 360 explodes. If it doesn't, do you think that will be enough to get my surge protector off the hook? What about my case?

Here is what I will probably buy:
-AMD Phenom II 920 + some mobo that supports 16 GB RAM, onboard video (for now), enough PCI slots (probably some newegg deal)
How is the power consumption on the AMD Phenom II 920? I like to support the "little guy" and the Phenom II seems solid. If this is still not that good I can go with Intel. The reason I want quad is because I edit pictures on my computer.
-SeaSonic 500W Power supply (Should I look into anything else?)
-Thermalright heatsink of some kind (though I have an XP-90 lying around so I may just buy an adaptor... I'd need one for an AM2+ mobo right?)
-does RAM speed matter? Is medium latency RAM okay?
-holy water (just to bless the packaging, and obviously not the components. I can steal some from church)
-exorcist (know a good one?)

I strive for near-silence.

Thank you for any help.

lm
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Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:14 am
Location: Finland

Post by lm » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:01 am

Always when troubleshooting hardware problems, do the following:

Put it totally apart, then assemble the essential minimum necessary to boot.

This means exactly these parts: PSU, mobo, cpu, cpu cooler, one stick of ram, GPU in case it is not integrated on the mobo, keyboard and display.

This means NO case, no HDD, etc...

Clean the parts of dust with antistatic compressed air spraycan. Watch out for that mold, use a mask if necessary.

Assemble this bare minimum on a clean table and then go around your bios. If even that fails, then you have just a few components that you can blame. If it failed already at this point, swap components one by one to known good ones to see if you can make it working.

If this bare minimum worked, add one hard drive, still without a case. See if you can boot the OS.

Some example cases:

Problem: My friend could not start his system up at all.
Solution: There was a small piece of copper between the mobo and the case that short circuited it.

Problem: Another friend, same problem.
Solution: Did the procedure I described above, everything worked. There must have been a bad connection somewhere.

Problem: Third friend, same problem.
So we did quite a lot of swapping known good parts to the bare minimun configuration described above. Turns out one component that we thought to be known good was in fact dead: The PSU. Getting a truly known-good one solved it.

EsaT
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Location: 61.6° N, 29.5° E - Finland

Re: touch of death killing my pc(s) need help on new build

Post by EsaT » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:47 am

fanerman91 wrote:"DISK BOOT ERROR, INSERT SYSTEM DISK BLAH BLAH BLAH"
Means BIOS can't find any drive with OS boot loader.
Also in the running is that I've had a mold problem in my apartment (recently gotten rid of) and the mold infected my computers and poisoned them with evil mold spores.
While spores can stay inside PC there shouldn't be any way for mold to grow enough to hinder operation unless you've been watering your PC.
How is the power consumption on the AMD Phenom II 920?
If this is still not that good I can go with Intel. The reason I want quad is because I edit pictures on my computer.
Lot better than old Netburst copy power sink Phenoms.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... html#sect0
In performance they're fairing quite evenly against "old" Core2 architecture Yorkfield in such situations where integrated memory controller and separate system bus helps but in general lagging behind, althought lot less than old power sinks. Photoshopping is one area where Intel is better:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... html#sect0
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
-George Bernard Shaw

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:21 am

lm wrote:Always when troubleshooting hardware problems, do the following:

Put it totally apart, then assemble the essential minimum necessary to boot.

This means exactly these parts: PSU, mobo, cpu, cpu cooler, one stick of ram, GPU in case it is not integrated on the mobo, keyboard and display.

This means NO case, no HDD, etc...

Clean the parts of dust with antistatic compressed air spraycan. Watch out for that mold, use a mask if necessary.

Assemble this bare minimum on a clean table and then go around your bios. If even that fails, then you have just a few components that you can blame. If it failed already at this point, swap components one by one to known good ones to see if you can make it working.

*snip*
I finally have a working game computer again after a year of proper troubleshooting. And I did take out of case, change PSU's etc. Literally every single thing changed but still same problems.

Ending up buying all new modern parts this week (mobo/CPU/ram) and works fine.
R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma

xan_user
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Location: Northern California.

Post by xan_user » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:03 am

it good to have a bootable linux live cd to try and boot too in these situations. eliminate the HDD factor.

Even a simple drained mobo battery can rest the bios causing the boot order to FU. did you check that?

uraflit
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:05 pm

Post by uraflit » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:21 pm

disk boot failure usually means bad hard drive. plug-in another hard drive and see if it works--or even, try a reformat.

sorry if u did this already

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