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Last post Author Topic: Help needed with computer problem  (Read 9627 times)

wraith808

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Help needed with computer problem
« on: May 24, 2013, 05:21:43 PM »
My wife's computer died, and it's really stumping me what might be wrong.

It's self-built:
ASUS P5G41-M LE/CSM
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6500 Wolfdale 2.93GHz
4GB OCZ RAM

It has a 600W Corsair CX-600 Power Supply (I know that's not it... it was a 500W Apevia but first thing I replaced), and a Radeon 6770 (I know that's not it... replaced what she previously had with that as my second step).  I've checked all of the connections, and no dice.

So what is it doing?

It will boot to windows (XP SP3), and then hang.  Then after that, no matter if I turn it off, or just reset, it won't come on- the light is green on the motherboard, but it doesn't even POST.  Then if I let it sit for a couple of hours, it will boot again... then hang when it gets to windows (not always at the same place... but it always hangs).  I've removed all of the peripherals and the network while I'm working on it, so it just has a bare logitech keyboard and microsoft mouse.

My next step is the RAM, but this is getting expensive, so I figured I'd see if anyone had any ideas what this could be.  If it POSTed all the time or never POSTed, then I'd not feel so lost.  But this sometimes it does and sometimes it doesnt... and the sitting for hours and it coming back on; it makes it seem like it's overheating or something, but it would have to be really hot to overheat that fast, and its not.  It has really good airflow, and 5 fans in it, so I'm really stumped.

Thoughts?

mouser

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 05:46:12 PM »
I'm always suspicious of RAM with these kinds of symptoms.
Sometimes it's just a matter of removing the ram and re-seating just one stick at a time.

Tinman57

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 06:46:14 PM »

  Like mouser said, re-seat the RAM "AND" all other re-seatable hardware and cables.   Also look at the circuit board with a magnifying glass to see if any of the printed circuits have cracks.  That's more common than people realize, when computers heat and cool the circuit paths can crack over the years (especially with el-cheapo MB's).  If your real good with a soldering iron, you can bridge the crack.

  Another note on hardware, if the contacts are dirty or corroded it won't matter how many times you seat them, they won't make proper contact.  If they look dirty, us a pencil erasor to clean the contacts and then re-seat them.

Shades

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 07:29:21 PM »
My personal computer (self-built, also Asus) has a similar problem when it is turned on and a power failure occurs. No POST, no error beep(s), nothing works except the LED on the mainboard and the CPU fan spins up.

Before I became smart and read the manual of the mainboard I had to disconnect the power supply cable from the mainboard and leave it lying around for two or three weeks (no joke!).

However, when reading the manual after the third or fourth time this happened (you would think I had enough time to do so the first time this happened  :-[ ) I saw that my mainboard still came with a jumper to clear each and every setting in POST/BIOS. I honestly thought they didn't do that anymore.

Anyway, when I placed that jumper in the "clearance" position (I removed the battery on the main board as well) and left it like that for 10 minutes. Then I put the jumper back in its original position and placed the battery back. The system came back if nothing had happened to it.

The solutions from the previous posters I would try first as they will likely solve your problem. But sometimes a really hard reset can work wonders too.


wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2013, 08:51:32 PM »
Well, more information.  I let it sit for a few hours, then started again.  When I did, I went into the BIOS instead of letting it boot to Windows.  Temp looked fine (25C MB/25C Proc) and fan speed looked fine.  after a few minutes, it failed.  So I'm leaning towards RAM, and crossing my fingers.  Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll let you know!

cmpm

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 09:36:47 PM »
Not a sef-built computer, but mine would act up after a power failure at times.
It sounded like it was working hard starting up, fans spinning hard.
I found that if I unplug the power at the computer and pulled the battery, then try to start it to make sure there was no power at all. Then put the battery in and plug it in, it would boot up. Of course I had to go to bios, first thing, to reset the clock.
Then it was fine after that.

jf3000

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2013, 09:54:34 PM »
I the motherboard light comes on and it hangs it sounds like the graphics card is failing, if it was a ram issue that would tell you straight up when trying to boot, remove graphics card and try placing urs in there and turn it on.
.NET programmer, always looking for new programming friends. CNET is where all my software is posted and released.

40hz

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2013, 10:35:20 PM »
I'll +1 with previous posts.

Once you have definitely ruled out a flaky power supply, video card, and the onboard battery,..

Do a hard reset to clear the POST/BIOS settings.

If that doesn't fix it, the first suspect is RAM. Download a copy of Memtest86+ and burn it to a disk. Boot off that and let it run (at least) overnight. If there's any bad RAM in there, Memtest86++ will spot it.

If your PC locks up while running Memtest86+ it's extremely likely that it's not the RAM that's your problem. (Which is bad news since RAM is easy to replace and not too expensive.)

 The second major suspect is likely a crack in the mobo - or a bad capacitor.

Unfortunately, there's no really easy way to diagnose either. You could try gently flexing the mobo while it's running to check for hidden cracks or a bad solder join somewhere on the board. But that's a very dangerous "test" to perform - and is usually only used as a last ditch verification after you plan on replacing the board anyway. I don't recommend it.

Testing a capacitor in circuit isn't doable without some equipment that would cost more than the average PC. And with surface mount and multilayer circuit boards, you probably couldn't replace a component even if you did identify a bad one.

If turns out it's a bad mobo, maybe it's time for a new board? :(

superboyac

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2013, 11:42:37 PM »
this happened once to my previous computer.  it ended being the power supply that went bad.  and once it went bad, the graphics card also went bad and the ram.
I find this kind of issue the most frustrating to figure out and deal with.

mouser

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 06:14:57 AM »
Elaborating on what 40hz said: After you eliminate the other possibilities by swapping the graphics card, ram, reseating all cables, and resetting the bios, the next logical step is probably to just *assume* that the motherboard is the culprit, and replace it.

wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2013, 10:38:06 AM »
So, more information... it's not the RAM.  I put one stick at a time in, sat in the BIOS, and it hung with either.  So I noticed that while in the BIOS, everything would be going fine, then the time would reset to 00:00:03 and the date would reset to some date in 1980 (assuming date.min for the system).

So I did the reset as suggested, and it seemed to work... for about 15 minutes.  So next is to try the hard reset by removing the battery.  Not sure after that how I determine the difference between needs a battery and needs a MB.  But yeah, I'll just assume MB I think after that.  Just hate waiting until Tuesday/Wednesday to get anything in.

Got a stupid CSM thinking that when I needed it, it would be in stock.  And no, two years later, it's not. 

40hz

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2013, 10:49:18 AM »
^From that symptom, it sounds like your battery is mostly shot. Try replacing it if you don't have a battery tester to check it first. Most times it's a just a standard 3V lithium (like a CR2032). These batteries are inexpensive. And you can buy them anywhere - like a drugstore or a Target.
 :Thmbsup:


Stoic Joker

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2013, 11:23:57 AM »
Can check the battery with any voltmeter ... If it reads less than 2V toss it.

Quick idiot test I use (for when it's in dead mode) is to remove the memory completely and start the machine. If it cant get (/boot) far enough to generate a memory error... You're looking at MB or CPU as the issue.

Note: test does assume you have a speaker to beep the memory error with.

wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2013, 11:25:59 AM »
^ I hope you're wrong.  I already tried that test, and just assumed that newer motherboards wouldn't boot without RAM as I hadn't tried that in a while.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2013, 01:54:10 PM »
They won't ... but just like back when they should (Beep!) complain about the missing memory.

wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2013, 09:17:50 AM »
So, hard reset of the bios and replacing the battery didn't work.  So the only thing left is MB/CPU.  My question now is, how likely is it that it is the CPU?  I found a decent MB on Amazon so I can get it Wednesday (yuck) Gigabyte MB.  But for $200 I can get a core-i3 sandybridge with motherboard and 4GB RAM, so I'm wondering if I have to take it all apart anyway, if I shouldn't just go with that.

Thoughts?

x16wda

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2013, 10:03:11 AM »
If you're going to shell out the cash anyway, just go with a hardware refresh and a rebuild.  Both will help.
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mouser

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2013, 10:27:21 AM »
It's certainly possible that it's the CPU, though more likely the motherboard.  I guess my answer would depend chiefly on the age of the CPU.  If you think you might be ready to upgrade the CPU anyway in the next year then yeah, go for it.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2013, 11:26:26 AM »
Capacitor issue on the motherboard?

wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2013, 12:57:06 PM »
Well, I guess it's the money.  $200 is a lot more than $60.  But then if it's the CPU, that CPU is running $70 when I can even find it... bringing the cost up to $130 for two year old tech.  And the fact that the CPU isn't available anywhere for rush shipping at a reasonable price.

Tinman57

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2013, 06:47:49 PM »
Well, I guess it's the money.  $200 is a lot more than $60.  But then if it's the CPU, that CPU is running $70 when I can even find it... bringing the cost up to $130 for two year old tech.  And the fact that the CPU isn't available anywhere for rush shipping at a reasonable price.

  You can upgrade your CPU to an even faster CPU and probably for less than half the price you paid for the original.  I updated my puter from a 1.5 ghz to a 2.8 ghz CPU, and man, does it fly now!  I bought the faster CPU kit from Evergreen Technologies, but it looks like they don't sell hardware anymore.  Probably got bought out from some IT company.  I'm sure you can do a search to find a cheaper and faster CPU from another outfit....

wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2013, 06:49:15 PM »
The CPU is tied to the MB.  So if I get the MB hoping that it will work... I can't really return it after installing.  So then I'm tied to the 775 socket.

cmpm

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2013, 07:58:23 PM »
After a hard reset, did you reset the BIOS to default? If you plan on replacing the MB anyway, you can reset the bios, or use other test settings, like setup defaults or other defaults.

wraith808

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2013, 08:10:16 PM »
Yup... restored the bios to defaults.  Actually tried it both ways... with defaults, and restore... and both had the same results.  The only thing I didn't try was flashing it, but I have doubts that could be it unless someone tells me otherwise.  never seen a bios that needs updating start flaking out like this...

4wd

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Re: Help needed with computer problem
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2013, 09:08:23 PM »
Just as a matter of interest, since it has onboard gfx: with nothing but the CPU, MB, one stick of RAM and a keyboard, (no drives, no gfx card, no mouse, nothing else), will it sit in the BIOS screen without hanging?