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Need Help Identifying Failed Component(s) Plz...

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August 14, 2006 4:22:59 PM

This is a friend's machine that I'm helping out with troubleshooting, and I'm not sure what else to try. These are the specs:

AMD64 3200+
motherboard unsure, but can find out
Radeon 9800PRO
1GB RAM

To avoid confusion, going to use the first person tense versus third person tense.

The system showed no signs of problems until a few days back when I went to the computer, and the monitor showed 'No Signal' (like if the monitor was on, but machine was off), however the machine was turned on. I rebooted the machine, but the monitor still showed 'No signal' so ever since that day, I've not been able to get the system to output to monitor and that's my problem. When I reboot, it sounds like the system is starting up normally (positive POST beep along with the CPU fan and hard drives starting up), but nothing on the monitor. I've tried the following:

*trying different monitor
*replacing power supply
*replacing video card (AGP)

My thoughts:
~Temps could potentially be problem, but what would a reliable way of checking be if I can't get the system to output to monitor?
~Would there be any benefit trying a PCI video card since what I did was swap out the AGP 9800PRO for another AGP video card - could it be the AGP slot?
August 15, 2006 1:31:49 PM

Bump... any help appreciated... this computer is nothing more than a giant a paper weight until I/we can figure out what's going on with it.
August 15, 2006 2:32:01 PM

Sounds like it is very possible that the AGP slot is toast. I'd recommend trying a PCI gfx card or swapping mobo if you can. PCI gfx first though, a lot easier :wink:

Also it could be temperature, have you let it cool down after shutting it off? If not shut it down and leave it off overnight and try it in the morning when things are cool, then watch the temps if you get video.

Good luck!
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August 16, 2006 5:03:58 PM

It almost has to be the AGP slot at this point, but then wouldn't the motherboard have a beep code for not sensing the video card? Puzzling.


If the motherboard has onboard video as well you might want to see if it's outputing to that. Maybe the CMOS lost power somehow and reset to the onboard video.

Also, try the original vid card in a different PC.

Are you sure it's booting? Bad memory will cause it to not boot, but all the fans a such still power up.
August 16, 2006 8:23:53 PM

Along with what everyone else suggested, I would like you to take the side panel off of your computer and take a close look at the capacitors on the board...... I literally had >100 P3 systems at work take a crap on me in the exact same way, and in every case the capacitors on the motherboard were to blame..... if you're not sure what I mean, go to www.badcaps.net and it will show you what I am talking about.
August 17, 2006 5:54:35 PM

I haven't looked into the bad capacitors... thanks for the info... this will help in other areas too because I do have another PC at home that does randomly reboot when you're walking in the room. I had no idea why because I tried everything imaginable like replacing the PSU - I almost figured it had something odd to do with static electricity or something (I know, I know... best I could come up with). I hadn't tried inspecting mobo for bad capacitors... mainly cuz I didn't know how to diagnose - thanks for the info on site.
August 17, 2006 6:38:28 PM

no problem man, hope my suggestion helps!
August 18, 2006 3:52:31 PM

Based on the items you have changed out AND the fact that the mobo posts, I can only find one issue left:
The AGP socket/traces have a problem.
You get post because the mobo can access the video bios. That does not mean that all AGP traces are working.
Since using 2 monitors and 2 videocards reward you with the same problem, I would bet the mobo is toast using the AGP port.
Try to post a PCI videocard. Then you will know that if it works the mobo's AGP circuits are bad.
Oddly enough though, even if it doesn't work the mobo must be bad.
You cannot get a post beep if the cpu and memory are bad, so what's left?
Must be the mobo.
Any issue with heat or bad caps still point to the mobo, although once replaced I would look at cooling issues just to prevent a failure repeat.
August 18, 2006 4:28:44 PM

Quote:
Any issue with heat or bad caps still point to the mobo, although once replaced I would look at cooling issues just to prevent a failure repeat.
WRONG!!!!! Please read the info at www.badcaps.net as the problem (if it IS the caps) stems from a counterfietted electrolyte formula which hit the industry several years ago, unfortunately, many of these faulty capacitors are still out there....... and what happens is, the electrolytic material is missing a key component that keeps it stable, so it destabilizes and produces a gas, causing the capacitors to bulge, leak, and in a worst-case explode. Capacitor issues are usually not caused by overheating.
August 18, 2006 4:42:55 PM

You say you tried a different monitor - did you also use a different monitor cable and check the pins to make sure none are bent or missing on the cable ends? Just want to rule out the obvious.
August 18, 2006 4:48:49 PM

So if the capacitors are bad then the motherboard is OK?
August 18, 2006 4:55:05 PM

have you tried using the 9800pro on another computer?
i think the video card is damaged, not the agp slot
August 18, 2006 5:22:51 PM

There are a number of things that can cause a "no signal" issue with a computer - heat related on the GPU, bad PSU, heat issue with the Northbridge chipset, bad memory, etc.

Since this is something that can be traced to several and varied issues, it might be easier to start with general and work your way towards specific.

With that in mind, look at the PSU (and other subsequent PSUs you may have tried). It might be easier to go in a direction if you would be mroe specific about the PSUs. That is, make and model of the main PSU and others you may have tried in its place. It is not entirely out of the realm of possiblity that the PSU has gone bad. This is why we need more detail though - to see what other PSUs you used - because it is important to know the amperage across the rails, etc.

As for the GPU-
Have you tried it on other machines to test if it still functions? You could also reseat the GPU heatsink with something like Arctic Ceramique or Silver. Also, try a different videocard in the AGP slot and even the PCI slot if possible.

The Northbridge-
The northbridge chipset has several functions that could be related to your issue. It controls memory functions (2ndary cache, ram, etc) and is the central hub for communication between the CPU and the graphic ports (i.e AGP, PCI, PCIe, etc). You could check the heatsink/fan that it on it, perhaps reseating it with Arctic Ceramique.

Memory -
If there is another machine that you could test the memory with I'd run memtest on them to see if it any modules have gone bad.

Ok, so that's my 2 cents worth - very general - and maybe it will give you some insight. Try listing the components in more detail (specific PSUs, motherboard, etc).
August 18, 2006 5:27:52 PM

Quote:
So if the capacitors are bad then the motherboard is OK?
uhhhh.... not really, you sort of misunderstood me..... I meant that MOST capacitor issues are not caused by heat or faulty components...... the motherboard is most likely fine if the capacitors are bad; it just needs a capacitor replacement kit to be soldered in....... there is a huge market for this as it's usually the only thing wrong with the board! Bad capacitors can cause 'dirty' power, weird voltages, and things not to work due to shorting internal to the capacitor.....
August 18, 2006 7:25:20 PM

OK. :) 
August 18, 2006 7:33:30 PM

I'd understand all this better if sh1ft3d didn't say the board will give off a single POST beep.
Because it DOES, then...
The cpu works.
The memory registers.
The video bios signs in.
The PSU is sending voltage.
The mobo bios loads.

But, there is no display. The odds of 2 bad cards, monitors and/or psus are very low.
I know there may be multiple causes for why a component goes bad, but I can only see the mobo as the component that is bad.

Help me to understand what's left?
August 18, 2006 7:42:39 PM

Alright, we'll skip some things so as to approach what you are feeling strongly about. For now, we'll assume that the cards are good. However, just because the memory registers doesn't mean it isn't bad. Also, if it is the motherboard then it could be the northbridge since it is the communications hub between the graphics ports and the cpu. You're not getting any signal for video so you can't really say what of the memory is being accepted at POST.

If you want to clear all necessary suspects (and move on) then you'll need to:

try graphics card in another computer...
try memory in another computer...
try psu in another computer...
try different graphics card in your computer...
try different psu in your computer....
try different memory in your computer...
August 18, 2006 8:09:35 PM

ahhhh..... see what not reading the original post can do to a person.... I totally missed the part about getting a POST beep..... I will have to go along with everyone who says the AGP slot is bad, perhaps the connector is messed up..... if you can get ahold of a PCI card, then by all means, give it a try.... if it works, you'll know you need a new mobo.... unless there is something physically laying in the slot somewhere..... I had a PCIe slot go 'bad' on me after cleaning out dust from my system one time, turns out a piece of HAIR fell into the slot and was appearantly blocking the signal......
August 18, 2006 8:37:45 PM

This may be WAY too simple, but I had the same symptoms awhile back. I tried everything peeps are saying here...what it turned out to be is having a thumbdrive in the USB slot while booting! Took it out and problem solved!

You could only BE so lucky! lol

Good Luck!
!