Did my CPU die?


I hope that someone might be able to help or offer some advice for me here. I apologize for the length, but figure the more info someone has, the more insight you will have.

I have built our last several systems that we've used and in Feb we decided to build a new one since our was 5yr old. We've always had Pentium systems but money was tight due to my being unemployed, so we went with an AMD Phenom CPU this time around to save a few bucks. I wish I'd have went with pentium... I've never ever had the problems I've experienced with this system. :(

From the start, we had various problems that I still don't understand...LOL! I can't say I've ever really been happy with the Amd setup but it was becoming "tolerable" I guess...

In the beginning it just seemed very slow and wouldn't play a game my wife has. The specs on this were more than enough and other games with more intensity played. I figured the slowness was from the drive I was using because I read somewhere that it was better used as a storage drive, so I put the OS on another drive out of my other system and it did seem to speed up a bit. Her game still didn't run very well and I still haven't figured that out, but that's another day...LOL

So things were ok and the biggest problem we kept experiencing was random reboots. Sometimes without any notice, sometimes it would freeze up with a strange noise coming from the speakers, but would require a reboot to get out. Everytime, I thought i had it figured out or fixed (never had it figured out), it'd reboot again. Now this wasn't an endless loop or anything and it seemed to happen to my wife on her log in than it did mine, but I never could connect it to anything specific. She could be reading mail, playing a small web game or editing photos...

Sometimes, I'd get up in the morning to find that it had rebooted during the night. I think that perhaps our Antivirus had maybe scanned and rebooted, but I've never had it do that before...

Anyway, I added my old Audigy 2 card about a month ago and that seemed to help the freeze up problem with the sound, but the reboots were still happening at random, then yesterday, it rebooted and the log in screen came back up. I clicked to log in and it rebooted again, but this time, it never came back on.

The case comes on, all the fans power up, video card fan is running, but the Hard drive activity light is dead. It doesn't post up at all and the monitor says to check connection.

I have to assume that the cpu died...maybe mobo too?

I have both hard drives in this PC now and both are fine. I have no way to check the Video card or ram since I'm on a 5yr old P4 system now, but I did take it out and try with the onboard graphics with no luck. I can't get no video to show up at all, no bios screen and no hdd light.

Heat was never an issue, I had even added an aftermarket cooler at the suggestion from the AMD forum.

Nothing significant was happening at time of crash (if you want to call it that) it wasn't clocked. The previous day, I had played BF1942 for a few hours without any problems, reboots or anything. Actually was thinking that it finally was working for us...LMAO

Anyway...is there anyway I can test CPU or MOBO? If it's determined that they are dead...what's my next step here? If it did die, any ideas why? Possible lemon? Wife keeps saying that... I have never had one die before, so I'm at a loss here. SIGH!

What would be a recommended Pentium\Intel equivalent and Mobo?

The last several Mobos I've used have been Gigabyte and have had no problems with any of them, but I NEED the cheapest deal here.

Win XP

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor

Rocketfish™ - CPU Cooler with 2 fans


XFX HD-487A-ZWFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Rosewill RP550V2-D-SL 550W ATX12V v2.01 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3300631AS-RK 300GB 7200 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Added old Audigy2 card recently.

Thanks for any input\advice\help!

Keith Bolin
5 answers Last reply
More about tomshardware
  1. I'M pretty sure the problem is with memory. I would first remove the battery and unplug the PSU from the wall. Leave it this way a few minute as this will reset the BIOS.
    When powering on, enter the BIOS, and find the place where you can adjust RAM voltage.

    Gigabyte board often need the CTRL-F1 (iirc) keys to be pressed to bring on the advanced menu. Just give 1 or 2 notch more voltage and try again.
  2. Wow!

    Thanks for the quick response. I will try that and see what happens. I know when I assembled it, I had found out from reading reviews on the ram I purchased that I had to manually set the voltage as it was set lower than needed. I think it might have been the mobo that forced that, but still...lol

    I will try what you have suggested and post back some results...crossing fingers! :)

  3. Ok...wow, so far you're a genius! ;)

    I followed your suggestion and was able to get into the bios. Now I have to remove these hard drives and put them back into that system and see what happens.

    I have a greater hope now though!

  4. Well....

    I put the drives back in, booted up and all was well. Got to the log in screen, so I shut it down to finish putting everything back in order. When I booted it back up again, NOTHING!

    I double checked my connections, thinking I'd knocked something loose, but they were fine. I tried the steps above again to reset the bios, but didn't have the success I had earlier. I moved the ram to the other 2 slots, pulled the battery and unplugged the PS (not in that order.lol) NOTHING....

    It's getting late, I'm extremely frustrated, so I'm going to wait and attempt again tomorrow.

    so... a recap..

    Resetting the bios worked at first. Booted up to win log in screen, but any attempt after that has failed.

    Any new suggestions? Ram go bad? Battery? Can't say I've ever had a battery crap out before, but at this point...I'd believe anything.

    I REALLY appreciate the suggestions\help\advice and my wife also said to tell you thanks! She has some things that she has to get done for work that is getting really behind.

    I will check for any new suggestions in the morning and post any updated info I might find out.

    Thanks again!
  5. I would first remove the motherboard from the case, put it on a non conductive surface and try to boot it. This will eliminate assembly error or other weird problem caused by a cheap case that won't fit the motherboard well enough and cause some grounding problem. It happened to me once with a cheap Asrock Core2 Duo motherboard and a cheap case. Don't know which one was to blame, but the back panel hole would'nt fit woth the motherboard's and caused some weird problem.

    I've seen a PSU that would fail to power the system if HDD was connected du to something wrong inside the PSU causing it to short when any drive connector were plugged. A new PSU fixed the problem. I've seen cheap 450W PSU not starting an AMD64 3200+ with a Radeon 9600XT (yeah, old stuff) while a quality one with 350W would happily run the same setup. Don't underestimate PSU importance.

    RAM is the other next problematic thing in a computer. Gigabyte motherboard seem to undervolt memory. I would check what is the normal voltage and up it .1 or .2 volt (I think that those can take safely 2.0V). Start with one module installed and try to stabilize the whole setup before adding the other one. Try each separately to make sure that you don't have a defective stick.

    Leave the video card alone and try the onboard video. Your video card will demand more power. If all is good with integrated, then your PSU is not able to keep up with the video card.

    I have yet to see a defective CPU. Trust me, both AMD and Intel have robust CPU and non of them should died from normal use. These are maybe the most reliable component in your computer. Motherboard sometime died. I havent got a lot to died on me or customer, maybe 1 or 2 (well 5 if you count each MSI 845 motherboard that died 3 or 4 time in the same computer, running only a simple Celeron 1.7 GHz...and 512 meg of RAM..). Warranty is good for that. Gigabyte usually has good motherboard. But bad luck happen. It is quite possible that your motherboard died at some point. I've seen a brand new Asus P4P800 popping a capacitor after a few hours of work. The new one lasted forever..

    Good luck. I've never ran in such problem with any of the computer I assembled. I've seen a lot of problem and about 60% of them were related to PSU. Unstability most of the time caused by RAM. And the rest by user errors...
Ask a new question

Read More