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What is wrong with my PC hardware?

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March 2, 2010 4:00:15 PM

I'll try to keep this basic.

I had an OCZ GameXstream power supply installed in my PC. It began acting strangely. Sometimes it would be noisy. Sometimes the 12v, 5v and 3.3v rails had very strange voltages in the BIOS. (For example, 0.5V on the 12V rail.) The top of my case would get hot where the power supply was located. Sometimes the PC would refuse to boot.

For these reasons I replaced the Power supply. With a Corsair 950TX (950W). During installation of the PSU, the repair man I had working for me mistakenly put 4 pins of a 6/8 pin PCI-E power connector into the motherboard's auxiliary 12V power socket.

Could this have damaged the rest of my hardware? The repair man claimed this is not possible as the voltage would still be 12V or less. Is this true?

After that power supply was CORRECTLY installed, there was a problem. My PC would freeze up entirely or reboot itself whenever I tried to do anything in Windows. Even as much as opening a file would cause it.

I had the PC tested at a repair centre. They claimed that the RAM, Power supply, CPU, Motherboard etc were all fine.

They said the problem was the graphics card. (8800GTX)

Replacing it with an 8800GT did prevent the reboots and crashes in Windows.

But I've since discovered that the pc now crashes whenever I try to play a game. Emulated Playstation 2D games are fine. But anything requiring a lot of graphics and processing power causes a system freeze.

Youtube videos are ok, oddly, but when I tried playing videos in Windows Media Player, that also caused a freeze.

The 8800GT is from a friend and he tells me it always worked perfectly.

I took the PC back to the repair place, but they're telling me that further investigation of the problem will cost me over £120!

That's ridiculous. I may as well dump the old hardware and get a full system upgrade for £370.

I'm seriously considering doing so.

There are three issues remaining, however:

1. I would like to sell my Processor and RAM on ebay. I really should know for sure that these are fine before I do so. Is there anything I can do to check which particular part of the system is the problem?
I suspect it's the motherboard. But how the heck do you test that!? Whatever the problem is, it didn't get detected with the basic diagnostics a repair centre did.

2. What the hell caused the problem in the first place? What would cause motherboard and GPU damage? It's remotely possible that I caused PCI-E slot damage when checking if the 8800GTX was properly seated. Would PCI-E slot damage explain the remaining problem? But even then, what would have damaged the graphics card in the first place?

3. If I get a system upgrade, I would be using the same Power supply. It goes without saying that I do not want to damage a new system with a faulty power supply. Is there anything that can be done to check a power supply is safe? Could individual power connectors (for example, PCI-E power connectors) be dangerous to hardware?

The voltages on the PSU seem fine. It also supposedly passed basic diagnostic tests. But I'm really scared of damaging my new system. What can I do? Should I RMA it? Or would the manufacturer simply run the same basic tests and tell me it's fine?

More about : wrong hardware

a b ) Power supply
March 2, 2010 4:12:18 PM

Your Power supply is probably fine as for connecting the wrong connector on your motherboard he was right it was 12 volt anyway so it would not harm anything. I would lean more to the ram being faulty. It is not uncommon for ram to start getting buggy over time besides the power supply it is the second most common reason for PC failure.

Do some trouble shooting if you have more then one stick of ram remove all but one and put it in the first slot and see if it will boot if not try another stick try them all.

If you have onboard graphics you could also try removing the graphics card and use the onboard and see if you still haveing problems.


If you could please list your system specs for us could help us to know what you are working with.
a c 144 ) Power supply
March 2, 2010 4:32:10 PM

saaiello said:
Your Power supply is probably fine as for connecting the wrong connector on your motherboard he was right it was 12 volt anyway so it would not harm anything.

Yes, they are both 12 volt connectors, but look at the pins. The yellow (12 volt) wires and the black (ground) wires are reversed. When you plugged the PCIe power plug into the CPU connector, you shorted the 12 volt lines to ground. Fortunately, the safety circuits in the PSU worked. They detected the overcurrent condition (that's what a short is - the ultimate overcurrent condition) and electronically shut the PSU down.

Our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...

The thread also talks about breadboarding - building the computer without a case.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/262730-31-breadboardi...

Among other things, it removes the case from the "could this be a problem" consideration.
Related resources
March 2, 2010 5:44:19 PM

Are you sure it shut the PSU down? If I remember correctly, when he tried to start up the PC with that wire in the wrong socket, it failed to start up at all. I'm not sure if fans attempted to start up or not. There was something else he hadn't yet plugged in though, so I'm not sure exactly what the situation was with the PSU. (I can't remember what, unfortunately)

You said the safety circuits worked. Now, I imagine they probably would since it's a new PSU and not obviously faulty.

But if they didn't work, could that wire being plugged into that socket have caused my GPU to be damaged? Or could damage have resulted simply because the PSU didn't shut down fast enough?

Unfortunately, I do not have onboard graphics. All I can think to try regarding graphics cards is plugging the 8800GT into one of my other PCI-E slots. One of the slower speed ones. Would that work or would I damage something? I'm not entirely sure what the other slots are. I'll tell you my hardware so you can let me know.

Motherboard: ASUS SKT-775 P5B 1066FSB
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 1066FSB 2.66Ghz
Ram: 4 X 1GB 800Mhz OCZ ram.

I'm not sure exactly what my drives are, but I doubt that would matter.

My problems can't be Operating system issues as they occur in both XP and Vista. (Dual boot)

I have already tried removing all my ram sticks and trying them out one at a time. It didn't matter what I did, the problem was the same every time.

Mind you, that was while the 8800GTX was installed. I haven't tried it again with the 8800GT because that would have voided the repair place's warranty.

Still, why would my ram and 88000GTX fail at the same time? Would this be due to that PCI-E power plug being plugged into the 12V ATX socket?

I must know if that could have done this. If it could then I need to complain to the repair guy who did the work.

Could someone tell me if the symptoms my system is experiencing could possibly be due to the PCI-E slot itself being damaged? (The one the GPU is in) And whether or not I can test it in another PCI-E slot such as a X4 speed slot without damaging anything.


Also, as I said, my 8800GTX was causing even worse problems than I have with the 8800GT. That suggests to me that maybe the slot AND the card were damaged. Could it be that?

If I was to try "cooking" my 8800GTX to get it to work again, and I put it back into a PC... If the cooking fix didn't work, could the damaged GPU damage the rest of the system at all? Or would it simply not work?
March 2, 2010 9:18:31 PM

Huh. I thought about what you just said about the EPS12V and PCI-E connectors being wired up differently, but I don't think it's actually true.

Take a look.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/images/other/1000w-psu-roundup/...
^ EPS cable

http://techreport.com/r.x/psus-0907/pcie-connectors.jpg
^ PCI-E cable.

When you turn the PCI-E cable over so that its "pins" (the plastic shapes) are facing the same way as the EPS cable, the wires seem to be wired up in the exact same way as it. Black on one row and yellow on the other.

Am I missing something here? Because as far as I can tell, the pc guy was right. The cables should act in exactly the same way. Even the plastic pin shapes are the same.

By the way, my EPS socket is 4 pin. So he used 4 pins of a 6 pin PCI-E connector. Looking at those pictures, that would appear to be the same as using half of an 8 pin EPS cable, which is the correct configuration.

So how could doing this cause a problem? I can't see how a short would result.
March 3, 2010 11:45:58 AM

Hm. Well, despite what the cables look like, I just found two other websites saying that putting in the PCI-E connector into the EPS 12V socket can indeed blow your system up.

I guess they are wired up differently somehow despite the colours seeming to be the right way around on some cables.

Now, this leaves an important question.

Let's assume that this is what happened. I would imagine a surge of power went through the motherboard and presumably went through the PCI-E slot to the graphics card and fried it.

What else could be damaged? The PC does boot up and run so I would think the processor is ok. Vcore is regulated anyway, right? So I would imagine CPU damage would be prevented.

Does that sound right? How about the RAM? I can try simply removing all my RAM st icks, bunging them into a friend's PC and seeing if there's any problem.

I most likely won't be using it again but I'd like to sell it. Same with the processor.
March 3, 2010 11:57:33 AM

Try the card in the PCI-e x4 slot. Do you use a surge protection socket? A bad electricity supply to your house can blow devices. Could have caused the problems with your PSU initially. There is a 4-socket surge protector from Wilkinsons for about £7.
March 3, 2010 12:05:53 PM

dennisresevfan said:
Hm. Well, despite what the cables look like, I just found two other websites saying that putting in the PCI-E connector into the EPS 12V socket can indeed blow your system up.

I guess they are wired up differently somehow despite the colours seeming to be the right way around on some cables.

Now, this leaves an important question.

Let's assume that this is what happened. I would imagine a surge of power went through the motherboard and presumably went through the PCI-E slot to the graphics card and fried it.

What else could be damaged? The PC does boot up and run so I would think the processor is ok. Vcore is regulated anyway, right? So I would imagine CPU damage would be prevented.

Does that sound right? How about the RAM? I can try simply removing all my RAM st icks, bunging them into a friend's PC and seeing if there's any problem.

I most likely won't be using it again but I'd like to sell it. Same with the processor.

hi
this might sound bad but its worth a try. try swapping your psu with your friend's psu. this is because not long ago there was this problem with the corsair tx 950 that whenever u run it with asus x58 chipset motherboard and windows 7 or vista, it will freeze your system. i investigated the issue and found some people owning asus motherboards also had this problem, which was not x58 chipset motherboards of asus. later i got to know that the issue is rectified by both asus and corsair. maybe u got your psu from an old stock. i suggest try to swtich the psu with your friend. hope i helped.
March 3, 2010 12:07:14 PM

Hmm. Interesting. Might be worth a try.

The graphics card definitely damaged though, as it doesn't work on another system either. Could be that I have both that corsair psu problem AND a burned out GPU.
March 3, 2010 12:09:15 PM

dennisresevfan said:
Hmm. Interesting. Might be worth a try.

The graphics card definitely damaged though, as it doesn't work on another system either. Could be that I have both that corsair psu problem AND a burned out GPU.

hi
yeah could be but i think before u sell your system in disgust, u should first try to use another psu and if the problem is gone then send your psu in rma
March 3, 2010 1:58:32 PM

Hm. I'll see what the original repair guy has to say on monday. He said he'd be willing to pay for a replacement GPU, or partly pay for an upgraded GPU (He's trying to find me a cheaper source for a HD5970)

I may just upgrade the system anyway, have him test out another psu on the old system, and see if it makes a difference. If that turns out to have been the problem I can RMA it. And then I might be able to sell the CPU, motherboard, and RAM as a bundle on ebay.

Unfortunately I just checked what my other slots are apart from the one PCI-E x16 slot. It's 3 PCI slots and 3 PCI-E X1 slots.

Can the GPU be tested in a X1 slot? The repair place said it couldn't. Are they lying?

Apparantly the 8800GT graphics card is still working fine in other systems. They did check that. So trying another socket would just find out whether the socket itself is damaged.

Anyway, is it still possible with a X1 slot? I have my doubts...
March 3, 2010 3:46:40 PM

dennisresevfan said:
Hm. I'll see what the original repair guy has to say on monday. He said he'd be willing to pay for a replacement GPU, or partly pay for an upgraded GPU (He's trying to find me a cheaper source for a HD5970)

I may just upgrade the system anyway, have him test out another psu on the old system, and see if it makes a difference. If that turns out to have been the problem I can RMA it. And then I might be able to sell the CPU, motherboard, and RAM as a bundle on ebay.

Unfortunately I just checked what my other slots are apart from the one PCI-E x16 slot. It's 3 PCI slots and 3 PCI-E X1 slots.

Can the GPU be tested in a X1 slot? The repair place said it couldn't. Are they lying?

Apparantly the 8800GT graphics card is still working fine in other systems. They did check that. So trying another socket would just find out whether the socket itself is damaged.

Anyway, is it still possible with a X1 slot? I have my doubts...

hi
no on x1 slots u cant run it because if u notice that there is a cut at the end of each x1 slot which will prevent the vga card to be seated in it. if there was no cut then u can fit the vga card in it. hope i helped.
March 3, 2010 6:30:30 PM

That's what I was afraid of. Thanks for that. Oh well, I'm not too bothered about the motherboard. It was cheap to start with.
March 5, 2010 5:44:36 PM

Hey, does anyone have any further information about this apparant issue with Corsair power supplies and Asus motherboards?

I notice that lordszone said it happens in Win 7 and Vista. I get freezing and system resets even in XP. Surely it can't be that? Can it?

Does that problem cause RESETS? Because I get those as well as freezing.

And when does it occur? It happens for me only when I try to play a game or watch a video in media player. I can watch videos in internet browser windows just fine.
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