*sigh* My computer died on me. Again. (I think I'm a magnet for computer crashes.) But anyway, yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, so I'm guessing something "melted". It froze up during normal operation, and then wouldn't reboot. The computer starts up, but nothing on the monitor - it complains of no signal. No POST beep. The mobo seems to work, at least partly, because the keyboard leds flash like they usually do, and intermittently, I get a POST voice error message "System failed due to CPU overclocking". I haven't done any overclocking (ever), and I changed no BIOS settings before the crash. I've tried resetting the BIOS, to no avail.
So, while I know it's impossible to get a definite answer, would anyone venture a guess? What should I try first? New mobo? New CPU? Memory? I tried pulling the graphics card and sticking in an old one (since I get no image), but no change.
Asus K8V-SE Deluxe mobo.
Antec SONATA case with 380W PSU
AMD 64 3200+
2x512 MB memory
ATI Radeon 9800Pro 128MB with heatpipe cooler
A few disks
To start with, take out the 2nd stick of memory and see if that changes anything. If not, swap it in for the 1st stick. If still no change, then your RAM is probably OK (it's unlikely that both died).
Next, check the capacitors (the little metal "cans"); there are a lot near the CPU, but some elsewhere. Do any have signs of liquid leakage (usually at bottom) or bulges in the aluminum (usually at top)? These are definitely susceptible to heat and heavy use. If any look bad, you'll need a new motherboard.
You might also research the voice POST message, at the ASUS site or elsewhere, to find out exactly at what POST stage the system stops.
My general guess would be MB instead of CPU, but it's hard to tell at this point.
PS - when you get a working system again, it's useful to run it hard for 15 or 20 minutes (gaming, whatever) and check the CPU and MB temps before and after to have as a reference. If abnormally high temps show up, you can take action to fix the cooling before really high heat causes damage to the system.
Well, I tried the memory trick (should have thought of that myself), and it still doesn't boot. And the capacitors look ok (hard to say though). However, now the voice message is "System failed CPU test" instead. My first thought was also that it's probably the CPU, but getting different messages might mean it's the mobo after all.
I wonder if I can find someone with an Athlon64 to spare. I don't want to rebuild the entire computer if the processor is burned out, but I don't really want to buy a new "old" processor which I can't return, and have no use for if it's the mobo.