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PC 100% dead, what's wrong?

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September 13, 2006 8:43:30 PM

I managed to throw myself a system together a few years ago with the help of a friend; my first one. It's been holding together pretty well, but recently I've been having some overheating issues, and today they seem to have done it in (at least for now).

Playing some Dystopia my system reached the shutdown temp I had set in the BIOS - froze for a second - then shut down like it's supposed to. That's nothing different. The thing is, after that, I waited a few hours, went to turn it on - and it's dead as a doornail.

I've pulled the case apart and checked all the connections, everything seems to be fine. You just hit the power button and nothing happens. What in the world could it be?

Specs:
Biostar K8NHA Grand mainboard
AMD Athlon 64 3400+ socket 754 (with stock fan, and after examination it needs some more thermal paste and probably a better fan; hence overheating)
Generic 450W max power supply
ATi Radeon 9800 Pro graphics
1GB of Corsair RAM w/heat spreaders
2 case fans

More about : 100 dead wrong

September 13, 2006 9:02:22 PM

If nothing turns on, it should be the PSU.

Google up on how to test a PSU if you have a multimeter or just go to a computer store and ask them to test it for you. Tell them that you will buy a new one from them if is is shot :D  .

If PSU is ok, then sounds like mobo.

Do you have another rig lying around to swap PSU?
September 13, 2006 9:04:17 PM

I will test the PSU a bit later. No other rigs to grab them from. Well, I have an old 450MHz P3 Dell, but I don't think that would cut it.
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September 13, 2006 9:27:13 PM

Is it plugged in?
Check that first.
September 13, 2006 9:31:23 PM

Quote:
Is it plugged in?
Check that first.


Believe it or not, I did! :lol:  Nothing. I'm trying to find a spare power cord to try.
September 13, 2006 9:41:53 PM

i have had something like this happen. take out the battery for 30seconds and put it back in. maybe that will fix it up for you like it did for me
September 13, 2006 9:53:31 PM

Quote:
i have had something like this happen. take out the battery for 30seconds and put it back in. maybe that will fix it up for you like it did for me


No results :( 
September 13, 2006 10:34:47 PM

I don't see why it would overheat. Are you sure the original problem was a heat issue? Did you OC?
September 13, 2006 11:38:57 PM

Quote:
I don't see why it would overheat. Are you sure the original problem was a heat issue? Did you OC?


Never OC'ed, and I'm 100% sure it's a heat issue - it used to just overheat and shut down like it should, usually during a high-resource game. Only started doing that in the recent month or so (never had issues before, for whatever reason). I paid attention to my temp sensors and checked the BIOS, and sure enough, it was just plain running hotter than it should.

No idea why, I'm baffled too. But if I can get the thing to turn on, I'm going to invest in a new CPU fan and some more thermal paste.
September 14, 2006 3:56:35 AM

test the PSU first and tell me what happens.
September 14, 2006 4:08:14 AM

Unfortunately, AMD CPUs don't take well to overheating - they don't have built-in protection circuitry like recent Intel CPUs. I'd consider the possibility that your CPU is fried.
September 14, 2006 4:31:15 AM

Quote:
Is it plugged in?
Check that first.


Believe it or not, I did! :lol:  Nothing. I'm trying to find a spare power cord to try.

haha lol, ok but seriously i've actually had a power cord be the source of my computer not working. But aside from that, I would say that chances are your Power supply is messed up, so if you can swap or check, like someone else said, do that. If not then maybe buy a new one. but if it still doesn't work then check Your MOBO. and lol this will sound silly but it might even be your power button. you never know.
September 14, 2006 4:48:15 AM

Quote:
Unfortunately, AMD CPUs don't take well to overheating - they don't have built-in protection circuitry like recent Intel CPUs. I'd consider the possibility that your CPU is fried.


*rofls*
sorry, this comment made me LOL a lot..
September 14, 2006 5:24:03 AM

So, how's your system now?Any luck?Have u tried testing ur cpu/ram/psu at any computer store/friends' pc?
September 14, 2006 5:37:33 AM

Going on just the title of this thread, what would happen if the pc was only 50% dead??? Sorry guys, I just had to.
September 14, 2006 6:56:46 AM

have you tried holding down the power button? Once i had a problem with a computer where i had a warning beep. I pulled the cord but it would only start up when i Held the power button for like the five seconds. Maybe it'll start up...

Good luck.
September 14, 2006 6:57:56 AM

Quote:
Going on just the title of this thread, what would happen if the pc was only 50% dead??? Sorry guys, I just had to.


I'm guessing we would have to shoot it to put it out of it's misery .. :lol: 
September 14, 2006 7:01:02 AM

Quote:
Going on just the title of this thread, what would happen if the pc was only 50% dead??? Sorry guys, I just had to.


I'm guessing we would have to shoot it to put it out of it's misery .. :lol:  OUCH, CRAMP, TOO MUCH LAUGHTER :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 
September 14, 2006 8:03:13 AM

While the system is down, I'd think a bit more about why it might be overheating. I don't know your skill level, but there are things you can check like using a multimeter to measure actual core voltage, and online investigations of whether the motherboard's reported CPU temp is actually, accurate.

It could be your system never really was overheating at all. Did it ever exhibit instability at certain temp thresholds?

What were these temps you consider overheating? It should run fine 24/7 at 60C, did it go higher? What did you set the bios to use as shutdown temp? IMO, many people set that far too low, there is no need to set a shutdown temp that is lower than the instability-threshold-temp. Something like Prime95's Torture Test may help to find that temp if you actively monitor temp till you see an error (if you ever do).

If it turns out the board is simply misreporting temp, check on a bios update to resolve this (might even if there is no mention of it in bios notes). Of course you'll have to get the system running again first, leading to my next post-
September 14, 2006 8:17:24 AM

When this happens, generally the first thing to try is to unplug the PSU from AC power (Or turn off by switch on back) for at least 5 minutes (some may take less time but erring on the conservative side). Next retry system having changed nothing else yet. Then proceed by re-unplugging it.

Next, clear CMOS. Someone suggested you pull battery for a few minutes which will do this, but pull it (or use the clear CMOS jumper) while AC power is disconnected.

What signs of life does the system exhibit when you try it?
Do the optical drive(s)'s lights blink funny?
Do any/all fans spin? Did you check the one in your generic PSU?

What make and model, and current rating on 12V rail is this PSU? Why did you use a generic PSU to power hundreds of $ in parts? If all else fails, unplug PSU from AC for at least 10 minutes to bleed the capacitors, open it up and inspect it. Often the generics blow out the output filter caps, the semi-big ones next to the wiring harness (not the one or two high voltage on opposite side of the supply).

Try powering on the PSU while disconnected from the system (after putting cover back on), but first measure the 5VSB and PS-On to Gnd voltage with a multimeter. If these are ok, connect to a small load like a worthless hard drive and short the PS-On pin #14, usually a green wire), to ground to see if hard drive spins up, and measure the voltage.

Keep in mind that it could be only coincidence that your system had shut down from your bios temp setting, that if you had finished whatever you were doing and turned off system normally, it might be the same result. Numbers are important, we dont know what temp it was or if the mobo temp is accurate, but in general a CPU will not be damaged running within it's stability threshold, you'd get crashes way before it overheated onto the point of permanent damage, and by crashing, that high load may be gone and temp drops again anyway.

Also examine the motherboard for failed capacitors. Maybe you have already, we can't know all you have done thus far. Also check the other all-too-common problems like cards, memory, cable connections.

Eventually if you have no luck it's time to strip system down to bare essentials- leave CPU, 1 memory module, heatsink/fan and video. Disconnect keyboard, mouse, all drives. The goal is only to get the system to POST, not boot windows or anything. After pulling or unplugging all non-essential stuff, clear CMOS with AC power still disconnected.

Preferribly use a lower powered PCI video card instead if you have or can get one, even some ancient 1-2MB circa '95 thing (actually that is the best choice, most compatible and least power usage). Also examine your 9800 video card, you might be that one unlucky person who had another failure seemingly coincidental, the card might have failed from stress brought on by poor PSU, or a dead fan or ??
September 14, 2006 8:23:33 PM

Okay, I have done nothing since yesterday; some homework had me preoccupied. Right now the battery is out and it's disconnected from AC power; while I wait a few minutes I'll detail further.

There are absolutely no signs of life at all when I try to turn the computer on. Hold the power button; NOTHING. That's why I said 100% dead (as opposed to 50% dead ;) ).

PS is an Okia; see specs at link. I got it because I got a deal on it when I ordered the rest of the components.

I'm still not sure if the system was always overheating or not; it always felt like it was running extremely hot (would heat up the whole room). I don't remember how hot the BIOS had said it was running and what I had the shutdown temp at, but I don't recall it ever being more than 70C.
September 14, 2006 9:22:43 PM

Hmm, well I am not a computer expert as such, but seriously if your whole room is heating up, you have defiently fried something.

Take it down to a PC wholesaler or something, get them to check it out and test all the components to see whats wrong.

Asking here at the moment may not be so good compared to the help you could get from a one on one conversation with a technician.

Good luck my friend :D 
September 14, 2006 9:26:56 PM

Quote:
Hmm, well I am not a computer expert as such

(you would have been better off to have ended your post right there).

Quote:
... but seriously if your whole room is heating up, you have defiently fried something.

Not true at all; it just means you are generating a lot of heat in the system.
September 14, 2006 9:40:04 PM

Well, heating up as in sweating due to the heat?

And I doubt theres many people here who are actualy computer technicians/experts etc on this forum, who would wanna work during their free time?

Anyway, its a forum, its a contribution, and theres not really a need to go trawling through posts just so you can point out the wrongs that people have done.

Anyway, looking back on the room heating up thing, sounds stupid now :p 
September 14, 2006 9:44:36 PM

If the fan in the PSU does not spin and replacing the fuse in the power cord's plug makes no difference then the PSU is dead insert new PSU press button and hope pooter springs back to life if it does'nt then your old PSU played like a nazi and commited system genocide i.e killed everything, time for a new build.
September 14, 2006 10:13:45 PM

Quote:
If the fan in the PSU does not spin and replacing the fuse in the power cord's plug makes no difference then the PSU is dead insert new PSU press button and hope pooter springs back to life if it does'nt then your old PSU played like a nazi and commited system genocide i.e killed everything, time for a new build.


This is probably true, except that if the PSU is connected to damaged equipment, for example something shorting out, it could suggest a PSU problem until the problem part is disconnected. Often in such cases if one watches the PSU fan they would see it at least stutter or begin to spin momentarily but not long enough to later check it.

Based on the further confirmation that 100% means nothing happening, it does suggest PSU, and all that remains is disconnecting PSU from everything but one (known viable) hard drive or other small load then shorting the PS-On Pin 14 to gnd to confirm PSU doesn't turn on. It is most likely dead but if that doesn't turn it on the evidence is more direct.
September 14, 2006 10:19:55 PM

Quote:
Never OC'ed, and I'm 100% sure it's a heat issue - it used to just overheat and shut down like it should, usually during a high-resource game. Only started doing that in the recent month or so (never had issues before, for whatever reason).

No idea why, I'm baffled too. But if I can get the thing to turn on, I'm going to invest in a new CPU fan and some more thermal paste.


Check for dust accumulation on the HSF. There could be a pile of dust around the base of all of the fins, or any other place that would hinder its ability to dissipate heat.
September 14, 2006 10:50:12 PM

Yup, I'm with you 100% 8)
September 15, 2006 3:44:29 AM

Quote:
How could the problem have been overheating if your PC can't even start? 8O


It's not so much that, as it had been developing an overheating problem, and that's semi significant - I'm no pro but figured that could be useful info. I pulled the HSF and cleaned up the fins on the heat sink; didn't help at all, though there was a lot of dust in there.

This weekend is "Get computer diagnosed" weekend - Saturday I'm going to sit down and start checking this stuff.
September 15, 2006 5:36:00 AM

Does your screen get it's power from the PSU? If it does, check if the screen's little light goes on. If it doesn't it's your PSU. Does your mobo have little lights on to indicate that there is power (without switching it on)? If it does and the lights don't go on when the PSU is plugged in, once again that is your PSU. Otherwise, I think it's your mobo.
September 15, 2006 5:39:44 AM

Quote:
...

Anyway, its a forum, its a contribution, and theres not really a need to go trawling through posts just so you can point out the wrongs that people have done...

You're certainly right about that. My "ending the post" comment was snarky -- sorry! OTOH, it doesn't hurt to correct mis-statements that may misdirect others reading the thread.
September 16, 2006 12:13:09 AM

Quote:
OTOH, it doesn't hurt to correct mis-statements that may misdirect others reading the thread.


Exactly.

There's a fine line between political correctness and brusing egos but keeping urban myths to a minimum so they don't get repeated is to everyone's benefit in the long run.
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