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GA P43-DS3R famous clicking/won't boot issue

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July 9, 2011 3:00:36 AM


Hi there,

I've got a 3-year-old system with the aforementioned board that's come down with the affliction. This is the second occurrence, first was about six months ago.

Before getting into system specs, here's what I've done so far:

Unplugged all my hard drives and DVD drive, reseated the video card and CPU/HSF, pulled off the front panel to verify the click is coming from the front panel speaker and nothing else. Unplugging the PC speaker stops the clicking but it still won't boot.

The standoffs are all in place and as mentioned, have been for three years. I've verified all the capacitors by sight and touch to make sure none are swelling or burst. Attempting to boot with all the drives disconnected, just RAM and video connected, yields the same result.

Earlier this year when I went through this, I went through the RAM sticks one by one, no change. Haven't done it yet this time because after physically removing all my drives, the front panel and various other things, I didn't want to have to pull out and replace yet another component.

System specs:

GA P43-DS3R
Core 2 Quad Q9450
4x1 GB Mushkin Enhanced Silverline
Lots of hard drives, irrelevant because it's still going on without them, likewise the optical drive
Antec Earthwatts 380W, about 2 years old, replacing the original SmartPower 450 that came with the case
Some GT240 video card, 512MB RAM, can't recall the mfr. right now, the box is around here somewhere

The way it seemed to solve itself last time was by leaving it unplugged for 12+ hours, then attempting a completely cold boot. After this started last night, I left it unplugged overnight (about 10 hours) and it didn't solve the issue (obviously), then left it unplugged while I was at work (about 11 hours), still no go.

Signs point to a bad board, but once it's warm I can restart it anytime with no issues, it just seems to happen when I leave it powered off for longer periods. This last time it was off for about 45 minutes. To be clear, it doesn't happen every time I power it off long enough to get cold, just intermittently enough to be annoying.

Last, this is exactly what happens when I power it up: the fans all spin up, the LEDs on the board light up, I can hear my main HDD grinding on something (not clicking, just regular accessing), the PC speaker clicks 4 times, once every 4 seconds or so, then powers down and comes back up 2-3 seconds later and repeats the whole process. No POST beeps, no video.

I know this topic has been done to death and I've referred to a few old threads already to no avail, but if your combined efforts could save me 4 more hours of trial and error and playing with my computer on a Friday night, I could get back to...playing with my computer on a Friday night.
a b V Motherboard
July 9, 2011 4:20:33 PM

Hello,

You should have connected to the MB, the CPU, RAM, Video Card, and PSU. No HDD or other device
Might just connect a separate small 'beep code speaker' to the front I/O connector to make sure the speaker is OK.

Then boot up. If you don't get any beep codes, don't get to the splash screen, and have a reboot, it's a hardware issue. Here since no beep codes regarding RAM, CPU, Video Card, it's got to be either the MB, or the PSU. Neither give you beep codes.

I would guess it's the PSU, since you hear a clicking like it gets a 'Pwr Good' signal, then loses it. Why 4 clicks ???

There are the little PSU checking devices you plug into the PSU, and it gives you LED readings or LCD recording of the voltages etc. Could also check an unused Molex plug's 5 and 12 Volt signal with a DVM when trying to boot with clicks.

Or try a separate known good PSU if you have one on hand, or replace the PSU with say a 500 Watt new one. Lots of components on a MB to fail, but PSU's are a common item to go bad.
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July 9, 2011 6:35:46 PM

Hi John,

Thanks for the reply.

I did attempt booting with exactly what you said above, CPU, PSU, MB, video and RAM only, mostly to rule out the clicking issue coming from something mechanical, but also to test the power load to see if it started up with fewer devices attached.

I don't have a beep code speaker, or if the MB came with one, it's in a box in storage someplace. I'll see if a local shop has one for me.

Or maybe I'll just go buy a new PSU and see if that solves things. This is not that old--maybe only a year, in fact--so I'd be a little surprised if that was the case. The strange thing is the odd recurrence, only when I 1) power it down for more than 15-20 minutes (which is rare) and 2) when I re-seat things. I left it off and unplugged for about 12 hours last night, but not before just leaving it to cycle for about a half hour to see if "warming it up" may make a difference.

One thing that did change was the repeat cycle, whereas last night it was power-up, click (four seconds) click (four seconds) click (four seconds) click power-off, this morning it only clicked twice before cycling. I only let it cycle twice before giving up today, guess it's New Power Supply Day at my house.
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a b V Motherboard
July 9, 2011 7:26:10 PM

Well, it can be only a couple things. When you are down at the shop, see if they do have what I call a beep code speaker (~$5) When attached, if there is a problem with the video card, or RAM, or specific components of the MB, you will get a series of specific beeps, occurring before the video card is initialized.

They make very small ones you can find on Ebay which you can leave on the front I/O port, but with 'older ears' I like the larger size (~ 1 1/2"dia), which is attached just for building or testing.



Here's a picture of two of my favorites.

Hope that's helpful!

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July 9, 2011 7:34:05 PM

I'm headed out now, I'll see if they have one. Thanks again, and I'll update once the new PSU is in.
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July 9, 2011 10:24:11 PM

They didn't have a PC speaker, but even with the new power supply in (got a 600W Corsair) it's behaving exactly the same way. Can we safely assume it's the MB?

Problem is, DDR2 Socket 775 ATX boards don't exactly grow on trees these days, and even DDR3 boards are uncommon.

Among DDR2 boards, only these two on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... remotely fit the bill.
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a b V Motherboard
July 10, 2011 2:20:05 AM

invisiblemonkey said:
They didn't have a PC speaker, but even with the new power supply in (got a 600W Corsair) it's behaving exactly the same way. Can we safely assume it's the MB?

Problem is, DDR2 Socket 775 ATX boards don't exactly grow on trees these days, and even DDR3 boards are uncommon.

Among DDR2 boards, only these two on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... remotely fit the bill.


Hi again,

That's too bad the PSU didn't correct the problem. Corsair makes great PSU's so you have a very good product.
What I'd consider is possibly taking the MB (MB, RAM, CPU, Video Card) all in one down to the shop and for a minimal fee they can confirm the culprit.
Other choice is ot obtain a beep code speaker for troubleshooting to see if it 'beeps' you toward a specific bad component.

Here is a link on Amazon for a very good speaker for < $5 if that's a consideration.
http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Case-Internal-Speaker-oh...

Make sure the CPU fan is spinning and all other fans, so there's no possibility of a heat problem.
When you have computer problem occurring before the splash screen, it's a hardware issue, and there are only the MB, PSU, CPU, RAM and Video card possibilities.

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July 10, 2011 9:20:17 PM

I have an update (and possible solution for fellow sufferers). After giving up on every other option I could think of, I decided to return the new power supply, and take out the motherboard for good measure to verify the standoffs were in place, the capacitors were good, and generally reseat and wiggle everything around, RAM, Video, everything.

In pulling off the motherboard, I heard a rattle in the case. After getting it out, I found an extra standoff had somehow gotten in there and was bouncing around. It didn't match in color or size to the existing standoffs, so how it got there is anyone's guess. I reseated the board and all associated bits, plugged it in and crossed my fingers. It booted up perfectly fine, and subsequent reboots (Windows seemed to want to run a Repair before it would finish booting) have all gone off without a hitch. What I imagine happened was that this extra standoff was getting hung up on something conductive and shorting the board periodically, thus the issue.

So, for you cursed clickers out there, after you've verified it's NOT a hard drive dying on you, get in there and make sure the board is not hung up on something that's making it short out.

Thanks for all the help, John. Here's hoping Best Buy doesn't fight me when I return this power supply.
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a b V Motherboard
July 10, 2011 10:05:03 PM

invisiblemonkey said:
I have an update (and possible solution for fellow sufferers). After giving up on every other option I could think of, I decided to return the new power supply, and take out the motherboard for good measure to verify the standoffs were in place, the capacitors were good, and generally reseat and wiggle everything around, RAM, Video, everything.

In pulling off the motherboard, I heard a rattle in the case. After getting it out, I found an extra standoff had somehow gotten in there and was bouncing around. It didn't match in color or size to the existing standoffs, so how it got there is anyone's guess. I reseated the board and all associated bits, plugged it in and crossed my fingers. It booted up perfectly fine, and subsequent reboots (Windows seemed to want to run a Repair before it would finish booting) have all gone off without a hitch. What I imagine happened was that this extra standoff was getting hung up on something conductive and shorting the board periodically, thus the issue.

So, for you cursed clickers out there, after you've verified it's NOT a hard drive dying on you, get in there and make sure the board is not hung up on something that's making it short out.

Thanks for all the help, John. Here's hoping Best Buy doesn't fight me when I return this power supply.


Well, That's a real surprise!!! It was an extra standoff shorting out some component on the MB! And the 9 regular standoff were still snuggly in place?
Glad you found it. It is a good feeling when you can track it down and fix it yourself, and one troubleshooting episode you won't forget.
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