First off, I want to say that I'm not a noob. I've built 3 computers so far and they've all run smoothly.
1) As I shut down my computer last night, some error message popped up. It was too fast and I wasn’t able to read it before my machine shut down.
2) There was a lightning storm in the area. But I had turned off my surge protector.
3) I’ve been keeping my machine in a tight enclosed cabinet. But I’ve been pointing my fan at the cabinet to exhaust the hot air.
4) My video card has been artifacting like crazy in 3d games but works fine in 2d.
So I try to turn on the machine today. Nothing. Nada. The motherboard won’t post. The DVD light flashes, floppy light flashes, HD light flashes, then nothing. The HD clearly isn’t being accessed and the sequence of flashes is not the usual floppy, DVD, HD, sequence. There’s no signal to the monitor at all. Also, this being a crap Dell, the motherboard doesn't even have leds to tell me what's wrong.
The first thing I tried to do was replace the PSU. The new PSU didn’t change matters. Then I took out the CPU, cleaned the heatsink and applied AS5. Nothing. Checked all the wiring inside the machine. Everything’s plugged in like normal. I don't want to replace the mobo on a 4 year old machine. I might as well buy a new computer.
I mean, I didn’t do anything in between last night (when it worked perfectly fine) and today. I don’t understand how computers can be this fickle.
Time to take a long hard look at your mobo. First look to see if the gfx card's fan can spin freely. Now look at the capacitors around the socket. If any of them are leaking, or if the top is not flat, that's your problem - dead mobo.
Next look at the square plastic things by the caps. If any of them look burned or cracked, mobo dead.
Last, look next to where the power cable plugs in. If there are a bunch of solder points (twenty or so), in two rows, with nothing attached, that's because your mob uses a proprietary psu. You could also compare wire color between your old psu and the new one.
To everyone, having a clean mobo helps to diagnose problems, and makes your system run cooler, so keep it clean (well a little pron is ok.)
Thanks guys. Do you know if I can replace the mobo without re-installing windows?
The first problem I can see is the chipset drivers being incompatible. The second is that windows activation may invalidate my windows copy because of hardware changes. If you have the cd-key, can you re-activate?