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Power supply died - how much else?

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October 9, 2003 2:42:57 AM

The power supply in a friend's machine (MSI-6390 mobo, AMD XP1800) died yesterday. Not clear why, as it wasn't raining, and he has a whole house surge protector and a separate one for the PC, but apparently it was charred and there were loose parts inside (or so I am told). Anyway, he replaced the power supply, and the machine was still dead, so he figured the motherboard was fried. He took it to one local computer store (which I do not think highly of) and they told him he had to replace the mobo and processor ($100 for the pair plus $110 for installation), although the price they gave him makes me think they are going to reuse the processor, especially since they refused to budge on upgrading the processor (not a lot of sense in putting another 1800 in if it really has to be replaced). He took it to another place today, and they're telling him that the mobo, processor AND memory need to be replaced. Now, this was to get a written estimate for him to send to American Express because it's covered under their extended warranty, but I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that the memory would be bad as well.

Can someone comment on the likelihood of this sort of failure killing the processor and the memory? I don't really feel like swapping parts into one of my machines, although I guess I could try the memory easily enough.

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October 9, 2003 3:17:19 AM

I'll fix it for my standard $60 full diagnostic fee (includes service if you buy parts). I'll test the parts on another system and determine exactly which are damaged.

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October 9, 2003 7:10:21 AM

If the voltage regulator on the mobo blew, it could easily spike and kill everything connected to it. Usually (not always though) if the psu goes, it's own voltage divider will protect the stuff downstream. I suspect it was a cap on the mobo that blew.
October 14, 2003 3:58:53 AM

Some small shops are less then reputable. I can list a few things they do that give them the deservedly less then stellar reputations.

Other small shops are very reputable and try hard to ensure you get the right solution for your problem at the right cost.

Remember that the first shop may not have tested the ram. Often times they are so busy that they don't have time to throughly diagnose every part.

Surge protectors, IMHO, are worthless. I have a circuit in my home dedicated to the room where my computers are (my roommate is an electrician). I have one outlet and unfortunately it is on the opposite side of the room where my computers are. To overcome this I use a chain of surge protectors.

Nothing is connected to any of the protectors until I get to the first coputer (3 surge protector in the chain). The 4th protector was where the computers were connected. Everything seemed fine till one day I bought a desk lamp. I plugged it in and things were fine for a while. After about 3 weeks I noticed the desk lamp flickering and when I looked at my two computers they both had locked. Hehe, 4 surge protectors and the lamp flickers and the computers both lock at the same time. Not a good thing, not at all.

I decided this was pretty dangerous and asked my roommate to investigate. He confirmed I was on the circuit all alone and that it had enough to power everything many times over.

I then went and bought a battery backup unit with surge protection and all my problems went away.

Even if my solution isn't prefect it definitely highlights the inadequacies of surge protectors.

If your powersupply goes it could go for any number of reasons having nothing to do with surges. When it goes it could pop your mobo, processor, HDD, video, memory, or any combination of components.

I personally think that power supply manufacturers should be more responsible for protecting the components in the computer case. I wouldn't mind paying a high price for a very good power supply that has all sorts of guarantees for protection that actually work.

Don't take a computer to a computer shop if you know what you are doing. Fix it yourself. If you have to go, go in and establish a relationship with the technicians first. The owner may be good to establishe a relationship with and he could save you money but the technician will save you headaches and fix problems that you don't get charged for, hence saving you more money then the owner, etc ever could.
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