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Can't boot up or even see BIOS

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  • Chipsets
  • Hard Drives
  • Motherboards
Last response: in Motherboards
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January 22, 2011 12:27:59 AM

Hi All,

Any advice on what you think the problem is, would be greatly appreciated.

Now:
I have an old system (MB at least a year old, all other components are older, and only one new 2TB HDD is a month old), and I can't even get into the BIOS, or see the memory test (screen is blank). Right now, when powered up, I just see power LED and HDD LED lighted up. CPU and PSU fan are both spinning. No beeps from the MB. Using a DMM, I can confirm I am getting 12V and 5V from one of the PSU's molex while PSU is connected to the entire PC. Light appears on the keyboard when powering up, but after that, even pressing caps lock will not give any light (LED). I have tried removing the CMOS battery, did not work.

Right before this happened:
The PC had a hard time getting into the BIOS menu and even recognizing the HDDs (all 6 of them). It would sometimes recognize the DVDrw drive. The PC even made a very strange noise (sound came from the MB speaker, and from the HDD). The beep/HDD noise is gone now. Beep pattern is something very differrent which I have never heard before (it is not the same beep pattern like when there is a problem with the video card or memory).

A month ago:
I had a similar occurence (PC had a hard time recognizing all HDDs), which lead me to suspect it was the failing 80GB IDE HDD boot drive (which did fail). This may have been just a coincidence (or not). I replaced that 80GB drive with the currently installed 500GB enterprise class Seagate SATA drive as the new boot drive. System has been fine since, but rarely, would freeze up when I run media player classic. I cannot regain control, and would have to do a hard restart.

I would like some opinions based on your previous experience on what you believe the problem is based on the symptoms described.

System Specs:
CPU: E4300 PDC with Coolermaster cooling system.
MB: MSI P45T-C51
RAM: 2x 2GB Kensington
HDD: 6 pcs SATA HDDs (4pcs 500GB Seagate, 1pc 1.5TB Seagate, 1pc 2TB WD - 1month old)
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 500W
OS: Dual boot, XP and Win7

Thanks in advance,
--eric

More about : boot bios

January 22, 2011 12:34:58 AM

Forgot to add:

Video: Palit HD4850 1GB
DVDrw: IDE LG
a c 117 V Motherboard
January 22, 2011 1:22:44 AM

Chances are your mobo has no idea what a 2TB HDD is.
Many 2/3 TB HDD's aren't supported by mobos without driver,bios,and chipset updates.
WD Caviar Greens aren't supported by XP.
I would suggest perusing WD's website for specific info.
Related resources
January 22, 2011 1:45:31 AM

XP couldn't format the 2TB properly, but Win7 could. Before the problem, the PC was able to detect the drive at the BIOS level. Been using the drive on the system for a month now. Right now, I just disconnected all drives (6x SATA HDD and 1x IDE DVDrw). I still can't get into the BIOS menu, nor see anything on the screen.
January 22, 2011 4:46:47 AM

I tried reseating all the PCI cards, memory. Even one chassis fan that wasn't working started to work again. The PSU fan that wasn't spinning started to spin again. Worked for about 30 mins, then when I tried to reboot once more, couldn't boot into XP and Win 7 again.

Anyone with ideas?
January 22, 2011 7:09:17 AM

I can already go into the BIOS menu, boot into Win XP safe mode and see all the drives.

I tried booting an Acronis CD, it booted, but it couldn't execute the program.

Do all this sound like a PSU, CPU, or MB problem??
January 22, 2011 8:16:40 AM

I let the PC cool down for 30 minutes (powered off). It booted into XP and Win7 without any changes.

Is this a PSU related problem?
a b V Motherboard
January 22, 2011 10:16:40 AM

First I would check the motherboard for swollen or leaking capacitors.
Are there any with rounded tops, bulges on top, sides or bottom?
Any brown ooze coming from any of them?
A simple google search for bad caps will give you lots of pictures of bad caps.
January 22, 2011 9:08:35 PM

I checked the MB, they're all solid/metal capacitors, nothing out of the ordinary. I did notice that the Antec PSU fan is a bit weak (airflow) compaired to the enermax PSU fan in the PC beside it. This morning (everything cold) it booted 3 times OK.

I have left the chassis open for now, but I am now inclined to think that when the ambient temperature gets hot (and the PC), then it would fail to boot properly. Is there another software I can use aside from Speedfan and CPUz to monitor voltages and temperature I am getting 10V instead of 12V, although the DMM says 12V?
a b V Motherboard
January 22, 2011 9:36:28 PM

Power supply is going bad or you have a loose connector on the 4/8pin atx cpu connector or the 20/24 pin mains cable.
A lot of Power supplys have different rails one of yours could be failing.
a b V Motherboard
January 23, 2011 12:38:31 PM

As for monitoring software and seemingly bad readings, I've had a PC up and running flawlessly for 2+ years which HWMonitor, SpeedFan, and Everest Ultimate always report the 12V+ as 7V, both under load and at idle. What these programs do is simply read data from a sensor built into the motherboard, but they're not always programmed to read every make and model of these sensors correctly. Through some extensive research, I found out not a single one of these programs supports the specific variant of the ITE IT87-based sensor in that system's motherboard. The only way to get a 100% correct reading (without spending a fortune on professional testing equipment) is from within the BIOS, which is undoubtedly programmed to properly read the sensor chip.

The speed of an Antec EA-500's PSU fan is determined by it's own internal temp sensor. As these PSUs heat up, their fan should speed up accordingly. Comparing it's speed to that of a completely different PSU is basically an apples and oranges comparison.

Since this board has an ICH10 controller, support for 2TB drives shouldn't be an issue. That is, provided the BIOS, chipset, and southbridge ( or IMS - Intel Matrix Storage) drivers have been kept up to date. As a precaution, I suggest the download and installation any and all updates found on the MSI product page here http://www.msi.com/product/mb/P45T-C51.html under the Download tab, specifically within the BIOS and Drivers subsections.

Since you're running error-free with an open case, the possibility this is a heat-related issue is real. Are all those HDD's stacked atop one another, perhaps without a single fan (or only a single intake fan) blowing over them? If so, they're generating a good bit of heat, even when idle. This could be causing some component within the system to reach it's temperature safety point and shutdown. You could try setting the Power Options within the OS to turn them off when they're inactive, but I tend to think you simply need more adequate cooling. I don't know what make/model case you're presently using, but a larger one with more intake fans and exhaust vents might be advisable.
January 23, 2011 7:18:41 PM

It seems the PC is working now. I have left the chassis open and have a 12-inch desk fan blowing air into it. It does seem like a cooling issue now. I noticed the 120mm intake fan blowing air into the stacked HDDs is dead, and the 120mm rear outtake fan barely moving. I'll replace both.

The 80mm PSU fan is also barely moving, doesn't seem as strong as a few months ago even when PC is first started. I'll probably replace this too.

BIOS reports the 12V as 12.3V, though Speedfan reports it at 10V.

Thanks for all the tips.
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2011 1:55:53 AM

You shouldn't change the fan on the PSU. Opening a PSU's case voids it's warranty. In the US, EA-500's carry a 3-year warranty. Your profile says you're in the Philippines, so I checked Antec's Japanese and Chinese sites, which also claim 3-year warranties. If the fan in it is truly dying, you should contact Antec or your Antec distributor and request an RMA for that specific reason.

Are the two 120mm fans plugged into 4-pin Molex power connectors, or into motherboard fan headers? The reason I ask is power distribution could be an issue with a two-rail PSU design.

According to this review at HardwareSecrets, power distribution over the two 12V rails is as follows:

+12V1: Main motherboard cable, ATX12V, EPS12V.
+12V2: All peripheral cables.

If the fans aren't plugged into motherboard headers, then they and all the HDDs and the CD/DVD-ROM(s) are getting their power from the +12V2 rail. This wouldn't normally concern me, as even high-performance hard disks rarely draw more than a single amp each while seeking. However, if the PSU itself has experienced heat-related issues, then there's a possibility it's output capability has been compromised, thus lessening available power to all components and possibly damaging them. And since you've experienced issues with the system recognizing drives in the past and now dead and dying fans, it's possible that heat issues have actually damaged the PSU, which in turn may have damaged other devices.

It's looks like the primary culprit, heat, has been identified. As to whether or not heat-related stress has damaged the PSU or other components, I can't be certain. It would certainly appear that heat-induced stress may have led to the failure of at least one drive and some fans, though.

As a precaution, I would contact Antec support regarding the PSU, specifically mentioning the fan issue, as well as the voltage reports you've seen within SpeedFan. You may wish to compare SpeedFan's readings against those from HWMonitor and/or Everest Ultimate (or AIDA64 as it's now called). For my one board, it didn't matter which one I used - they were all the same and they were all wrong. But, such results could become a factor in an RMA claim with Antec.
January 25, 2011 10:18:08 AM

Oops, too late, I opened the Antec PSU and changed the fan. It is kinda old though, I would say around 3 yrs possibly more. Odd thing, is the new fan didn't work with the PSU. I put the old one back into the PSU, and still didn't work. The fan was easy to remove, it had a 2 pin socket on the board. Both old and new fans would work if I apply power to them from a DC adapter.

If I remember right, the Antec fan should come on as soon as the PC is powered. So as a backup I placed the new fan outside the PSU (but in the chassis), blowing air into the PSU.

I now have two new 120mm fans blowing air into the hard disk stack.
One new 120mm fan blowing air out of the chassis.
One new 80mm fan blowing air into the PSU.
New fans are plugged into a molex and not the MB.
The CPU is still using the old CoolerMaster system which brought my CPU temperature from a high of 70C down to 39C.
Fortunately the chassis is riddled with holes all throughout (like a fish net).

Speedfan reports HDD temperatures are between 31C to 42C. System is booting properly and getting into Windows now.

I am a little worried about the PSU. I'll probably replace it as soon as I am able, and get a better case.
I am inclined to conclude that the cause of the problem was the heat build up due to PSU fan failure (or lack of airflow), and the two failed case fans.
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2011 10:29:25 AM

I agree with your conclusion. Hopefully, things will stay in working order now that there's fresh air flowing again.
January 25, 2011 8:53:00 PM

Thanks for all the tips, comments and advice.

[Problem solved]

Problem: Unable to boot into BIOS or Win 7 or Win XP
Solution part 1: Reseating of PC cards, memory, allowed PC to boot into BIOS and Win XP safe mode only.
Solution part 2: Installed 4 new fans to replace 3 dead casing fans. PC now operating normally and booted into XP and 7.
Solution part 3: Replace possibly defective Antec PSU due to its failure to run a working 80mm exhaust fan.

[Problem solved]
!