PC Fail. What are my options?

After 3 years of service, my PC went into a coma last week. System powers on (fan, drive lights) but no video, no boot activity, and no beeps. I have googled and tried many standard procedures - swapping video, removing and rotating RAM, checking connections, etc - with no luck. I'd like to take it to a shop to identify the exact problem... are there electrical/diagnostic tests that go beyond basic troubleshooting, and if so, should I expect the local pc repair shop to have the required skills and equipment? Most seem to focus their advertisinig on virus removal and "speed up your pc" type services.

Xeon X5355, Tyan S2696 motherboard, Quadro FX1500 video. System is occasionally used as a video editing workstation. It's a bad time to lose it because $ is tight. It froze while playing Bad Company 2 on low settings (and was doing just fine for hours until the freeze). However, the system has done this same thing in the past (no video, no boot, no beeps) but never for this long. It may sound strange, but in the past, these rare incidents seemed to be related to very low winter room temperatures and fixed themselves when the room warmed up.

Thanks in advance for any advice on what my next steps should be.
6 answers Last reply
More about fail options
  1. You mentioned swapping components and rotating RAM, but did you actually strip the system down to it's bare minimum components (CPU, RAM, video) with nothing else connected? Also, you didn't mention clearing the CMOS... Definitely give that a go. Have you tried RAM from another system, or installing the CPU in the other socket? And is there actually a speaker connected to hear any beep codes?

    As for the issue being temp-related, I'm fairly certain that no "cold bug" should reveal itself until these components reach sustained sub-zero temps.
  2. Shoot it with an M16
  3. Thanks everyone! Bandit, I had avoided clearing CMOS and hadn't disconnected all but CPU, RAM, video. Tried both just now but neither helped. I will probably take it to a local shop for CPU-related steps - part of my question was about identifying a good repair shop for diagnostics. Anonymous, same for PSU - I don't have spare hardware, but they would (I assume) at a local shop. And Bruce, I don't have an M16, but could run it over with my truck if you think it might help.
  4. Also, Bandit - yes, it has a speaker which did work when the pc was first assembled years ago. And about the "cold bug"... the room never got colder than 40 degrees or so. I try not to jump to conclusions but the correlation to room temp did seem consistent. Maybe that issue is a distraction. Bottom line: no vid, no boot, no beep.
  5. My guess is the motherboard, the CPU, or the power supply is dead.

    At most PC shops, all they'll likely do is hook it up to a known working PSU and try swapping the CPU into the other socket to see if it will boot. If it doesn't, they'll recommend a new motherboard. Unless the place regularly performs server repairs, odds are they won't even have a single Socket-771 Xeon board available.

    I'm truly speculating here, but the persistent cold-related issue could be one wherein the case of the system somehow warped ever so slightly when cold, causing the motherboard tray to flex just enough to short a connection. Yes, it's a stretch, but it's possible. And to be honest, it's the only theory I can think of that could cause the problem. 40 degrees isn't cold enough to introduce a cold bug into any PC component I'm aware of.
  6. I normally don’t trust repair shops, but if you have a microcenter near you the normally are a bit more knowledgeable then some other places. Have you tried breaking it down completely as bandit suggested? Sometimes reinstalling everything can solve odd shorting issues.

    As for this “cold bug” I don’t think it is your main problem, but I do know that cpu do not like extreme changes in temperature, hence the leave it on vs turn it off argument.
Ask a new question

Read More

CPUs Video