After getting the system assembled, power it on, go past the splash screen, it gives a "Good POST" beep and I hit the key to enter the bios. Then it locks up. I reboot, and it locks up at the splash screen. I reboot, system locks up at the screen before accessing the bios. After 20 or so restarts, I've discovered a few things:
System will randomly lockup during POST.
System will randomly lockup at the screen to choose F1 to continue, F9 for boot options, etc.
If I manage to get to the point where the system lets me hit "F1 - continue" it makes a little progress (sometimes) then locks up.
After a lock up, the screen will flicker and flash with artifacts, some what like what happened (though to a greater degree even) when my old Radeon 9700 pro started overheating. But I've never seen artifacting at a terminal screen!
In a very rare occassion (only happened once) the BIOSTAR post screen suddenly became corrupted, turning into vertical bars, and remained as such.
I've reset the CMOS, to no avail. I'm thinking I need to RMA something, but could it be the motherboard, processor, or PSU? or all? What do you guys think?
I expect it's not the PSU. The motherboard should be at least smart enough to report "bad PSU". I'm only suspicous because my only other use of this particualr PSU was to test a buddy's old system to see if the motherboard was blown or not. The system wouldn't even power on, so I assumed bad motherboard was bad. However... two systems coming up bad on the same PSU (especially such a cheap one) makes me worried. (damnit... if I threw that other motherboard away for no reason i'm going to be pissed)
Attempted to remove heatsink/fan assembly.
Went to hit the release lever, and I guess the thing was under more tention than I expected, came back, hit me in the thumb and now I'm bleeding.
I did manage to tug on the heatsink some, and it's pasted down pretty well (stock paste, though I do have some arctic silver). Plus, during one of my boot attempts, I got to a screen that was reporting on the voltages and it listed the CPU temp as a healthy 29 degrees celsius. It also concerned me because I remember the 12 volt rail voltage being a little on the weak side, but I can't remember the number. 11.something.
Sempron 3000+ Socket AM2
Biostar motherboard, with a VIA chipset.
80 gig Hitachi Deskstar
DVD drive (salvaged, but reported working)
2x 256mb Kingston Value RAM
350W Rosewill Case/PSU combo
I'm starting to believe it's the motherboard. If it was the Sempron itself, it probably would be a more cut-and-dry set of symptoms. It gives a good POST beep on occassion, making me think that nothing's wrong with either the processor, RAM, or PSU.
The video corruption occuring after lockup, leads me to believe it has to be the motherboard. I'm going to RMA it and hope for the best. But if anyone has any other thoughts, please share.