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Completely stumped and desperate

Last response: in Systems
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January 8, 2009 4:03:11 AM

Hello all, new to this forum, but I've been floating around various tech forums for almost 5 years now, but the my usual haunts haven't been helpful as of late, so I'm looking for some new opinions.

Inc huge wall of text
(Compiled from 3 posts over 2 days on another forum I go to, so I apologize for any continuity issues)

Part 1 -
I got my new hard drive in the other day, so I figured I may as well do some work on my computer while it was inside anyway. I notice I still had my old 520 modstream laying around, and decided to do some work on it. Previously I had to remove it, as my computer would turn on and POST but nothing would display on the screen (LED codes on the motherboard let me know it booted successfully). Took it to a shop that had parts to diagnose the problem, and they said it was the PSU. I had to mod the 4 pin connector on the PSU previously as it was too short, so I chalked it up to this finally failing, and installed my old 480w Thermaltake.

On a hunch, I unwrapped the tape on the modstream and found out, sure enough, 1 of the connections had come undone, I reconnected and rewrapped all of the cables. Put the motherboard on a piece of cardboard (was also transferring cases), plugged in the video card, RAM, PSU, and started it. Same problem as before. Fiddled with a few connections, thing stopped booting altogether. Oh well, I figured, so I went to reconnect the old PSU. Started it up with the TT, and a loud screaming was coming from the PSU. I noticed I forgot to plug in my video card. Turned it off, plugged it in, and booted it. Uh-oh, same problem with the other PSU. Now that this problem has spread to 2 PSUs, I'm wondering if it isn't the video card failing

I've noticed some odd things the past few days. Twice after coming back to my computer after it being idle long enough for the screensaver to turn off, It refused to come out of sleep. I would mash the keyboard, jiggle the mouse, but it stayed with the fans whirling, but the monitor off and the light just blinking. Also while playing left4dead, mid game the computer just straight up turned off, like I had accidentally hit the power switch.

Part 2 -
Was digging around and found that I had a 7950GT never used in a system sitting in a box, and an old 420w mini aspire PSU. Swapped both of those in, and took out all the ram but 1 stick. Same problem. Tried a different stick of RAM, no change. Is it possible the CPU fried itself? While fiddling around last night I noticed on one of the boots that a cable was laying on the heatsink fan, preventing it from starting. I moved it, it twitched twice, and then started up. Is it possible, or even likely that the internal throttling/shutdown mechanism failed and the CPU fried itself in the few seconds the fan was off?

I also noticed that my motherboard isn't particularly useful at telling me what's wrong. It uses an LCD screen instead of error beeps, and the screen doesn't seem to be functioning. It goes quickly through most of the codes and then stops on FF. FF is labeled as boot, and is supposed to indicate a successful boot.

Part 3 -
Curious as to if this was a monitor problem, I plugged in my TV to my computer. All I got was a no signal message. The TV was set up correctly as I was immediately able to plug it into my laptop and get a signal.

I'm completely lost as to this problem. I've seemingly eliminated all the variables, but this problem keeps coming back. I've had this same thing on 2 machines, and only once has it been diagnosed and repaired (PSU was the issue, now in the same system with the same parts but a different PSU, it's happening again).

Quick rundown of total parts checked.
4 different sticks of ram
2 different video cards
3 different power supplies
2 different monitors
2 different houses to make sure it wasn't a house power issue

I don't have a CPU/Motherboard by themselves, but I do have an older AMD CPU/Motherboard combo that gives me the same problem when installing my parts. This leads me to believe that it is either the CPU or the motherboard that is the origin of the problem (in my current system, and the one it replaced with the same problem). The problem lies in that I'm a poor college student without the funds to pay for extensive diagnostics on several parts at a local computer shop or buy a new cpu/motherboard in tandem on a hunch that it may be one of the two.

I'm stumped. I'm desperate. I'm at my wit's end. I don't know what else to do. My computers tend to be shining examples of Murphy's law, even when assembled perfectly and used with the utmost care (I've gone through probably 4 sets of parts in the past 5 years due to just random failures or bad luck) and the downtime on my computers tend to rival their uptimes. (I had both my laptop and desktop copies of windows corrupt themselves and force a reformat within 2 days of each other a few months ago). I desperately need help, and I would appreciate any that anyone could provide.

January 8, 2009 9:27:43 AM

im wondering whether when the first psu crumpled it took out the motherboard with it.
January 8, 2009 9:29:07 AM

i would also add that you could try taking your components (video card / hd / ram) to a friends house and testing them in a friends machine.

but dont put your psu in your friends machine.
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January 8, 2009 1:49:11 PM

I don't think the first PSU took anything with it. Nothing shorted out or friend, a cable just came loose. The computer has also been running for almost a year since that happened.

I had originally planned to take my video card and stuff to a friend's house, but decided against it after I realized how unlikely it was for all of my parts and all of my known good backup testing parts to spontaneously fail in the same day.
January 8, 2009 7:52:15 PM

I just went to a local hardware shop, told the guy there my story, and he said that it was almost certainly the motherboard. While checking warranty info I noticed that the board I have isn't as old as I thought. I originally bought the board in June of 07, but I already had to do one RMA for it in Feb of 08. This confuses me even more >.<
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