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PC Hangs on boot before POST

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December 9, 2011 1:33:22 PM

Hello, although I'm a new user I'm really hoping someone here can help me please.

The story is... My speakers all of a sudden started making a crackling noise. I did a few tests and came to the conclusion it was the port / sound card (on board).

So i put an external sound card in, then got the problem i'm still having now.

the pc wont boot into anything. theres no signal sent to the monitor, theres no beep when its booting.

i've tried taking out each component and testing to no avail. my motherboard doesnt have onboard graphics so i can't test it without my graphics card, but i have tried taking it out and booting just to see if i'd get a beep. i tried moving the RAM over the different slots, and I have of course tried simply taking the sound card out (to exactly how it was before it broke) but nothing has worked.

I've also tried taking our the BIOS battery and resetting. (because I did an overclock a couple of weeks ago, and im pretty sure if it wasn't stable, a BIOS reset would take it back to standard)

and as an extra little test, i took out ALL the ram and tried booting, and didn't get the beeping noise you'd expect when a PC has no ram.

I have a feeling it might be a problem with the motherboard but not sure how i can test that.

So what I'm really asking is, does anyone have any ideas of what else I can try?

My Specs:
Intel Q6600 2.4 (oc'd to 3.0)
ATI 5770
ASROCK N7AD SLi
750w PSU (think its ebuyer own brand)
the RAM is 2x2GB, no idea what make / frequency they run at.

the mobo, cpu and RAM are all now 4+ years old, so if anything has simply 'died', chances are its either of them.

Thanks to anyone and everyone who can help.

More about : hangs boot post

a b V Motherboard
December 9, 2011 2:00:05 PM

Well, I think the vast majority of people asking for help only registered that day so it is definitely fine that you are in the same situation. I gladly help people in that situation and there are enough people like me that you should have plenty of eyes and proverbial mouths applied to your problem.

The simplest thing you can do for starters is to take absolutely everything apart. Touch the case early and often while you disconnect everything from the motherboard except the RAM and CPU and take the motherboard out of the case.

Then, continuing to touch the metal on the case early and often, move the motherboard and PSU onto a wooden table and connect the 2 power cables from the PSU to the motherboard.

Then try to turn it on with nothing else connected. You can do this by putting something metal between the two power button connectors on the motherboard. A flat screwdriver works fine for something like this, just don't push on it so as not to bend the pins. Lightly putting it on there will allow power to flow through the screwdriver from one to the other.

If you do that and there is no response whatsoever, my guess would be that you need a new motherboard. There may be a couple other things to try before that step gets recommended, though.
December 9, 2011 3:53:18 PM

Probably a silly questions, now I've take it all apart... But where are the power connectors?
Related resources
December 9, 2011 4:00:59 PM

would have edited my post but it didnt let me, soz for double post.

heres the manual http://download.asrock.com/manual/N7AD-SLI.pdf

im looking at it now, the only things i can see (on page 11) are both the ATX power sockets, nothing to do with pins. :/ 

please could you help?
December 9, 2011 4:16:21 PM

sorry for triple post, i found it due to trial and error.

I have the motherboard and the PSU lead out on a desk with only the RAM and CPU left in. Powered.

The CPU fan is definitely spinning so there's power being distributed.

I'm now not sure what to try... Please could someone suggest a next step?

Thankyou, and sorry for the triple post.
a b V Motherboard
December 9, 2011 6:42:04 PM

NP. I have been out worrying about RL anyway.

Anyway, where were we?

You laid out things like I said on the table and you found the power button pins that I mentioned and you touched them with a screwdriver or something and then the fans turned on.

That is a good thing. That means both the power connectors on the motherboard are receiving power from the PSU just fine and that the PSU gives out enough juice to run the basis systems just fine.

Sorry that I was unclear about the pins vs the power connectors before. I am generally pretty clear in what I want people to accomplish, but I failed you on that one.

Now then, we are a bit farther away from buying a new motherboard now that we are sure that power is flowing to components.

The next step is to leave everything on the table and to start putting things back in the motherboard one at a time and turning it on after each time to try and see if the responsiveness changes.

First do the video card, then guage responsiveness.

Next add the boot hard drive and guage responsiveness.

Next add other hard drives one at a time if there are more, checking after each one if it still comes on.

Then add the CD/DVD drive and test again.

Let me know how those steps turn out.
December 9, 2011 7:05:52 PM

When i add the video card, it comes out but also seems to "hang"

Usually when I boot (before today), my graphics card fan goes extra fast (and loud) for a couple of seconds, then settles after the pc starts up a bit. However, now it's not settling. It continues going extra fast until i switch it off. Theres no signal recieved by the monitor.

I added one of the 2 HDD's (both can be booted from) and I could hear the hand inside ticking. Had to take out the graphics card for that though as it was too loud to hear the HDD otherwise.

Dont have a CD/DVD drive installed.

Thanks for your help so far.
December 9, 2011 7:07:11 PM

by "it comes out", i mean powers on.
December 9, 2011 7:12:38 PM

Just tested the graphics card in the other PCIE slot aswell... just on the off-chance - and theres no changed from what i described above. Sorry for another triple post, it says that "i'm not allowed to edit" my own posts :S
a b V Motherboard
December 9, 2011 7:34:40 PM

OK so when you have the PSU connected twice to the motherboard, the RAM installed, the processor installed, the video card installed and that is all then you turn it on the motherboard is responsive and all fans turn on.

The video card fan, however, doesn't throttle down as it used to.

When you plug in the hard drive with the video card in the computer still, then there is a ticking noise and you just can't hear it because the fan is so loud.

When you unplug the video card and leave 1 hard drive in then you can hear the ticking you otherwise couldn't.

It doesn't matter what hard drive you put in, they both act the same way.

Do I have all that right?

Also, do you have any other parts laying around or some other computer that can be temporarily borrowed from in order to continue troubleshooting this problem?

Perhaps someone who would be willing to lend you their parts toward this effort?

Ideally, it would be nice if you could get your hands on a different video card and a different PSU for testing purposes.
December 9, 2011 8:55:34 PM

Yes that's all correct.

I've just tried one of my spare PSU's (750w) and it doesn't make a different. Everything just hangs.

Unfortunately I don't have a spare graphics card to try, nor do I have a spare computer to try my current graphics card in.
Annoyingly, everyone I know who owns a computer, has a laptop. So that's not much help xD

Is there anything else I can try?

Thanks
a b V Motherboard
December 10, 2011 1:50:00 AM

Do you have a cool IT staff at work that will agree to examine your home PC?

You can tell them you need to use it to login to the VPN or something...

Don't hate, I had the deputy director of a DOD program office bring in his home computer with WOW installed on it and ask me to do stuff with it. Apparently there are gamers at the highest levels of government office.

In any event, what is your budget like if you don't have any relevant testing equipment?
December 11, 2011 3:36:35 PM

I've managed to get an old friend to let me use his pc. but can only do it on thursday so I will report back here then.

Don't think I'll be able to test my CPU though, think its a different socket.

Will test the graphics card and mobo though

thanks for your help thus far
December 16, 2011 11:20:48 AM

I tried it on my friends system yesterday. Ran all different kinds of tests. In the end His graphics card worked on my system and it booted normally.

Weirdly, my PSU wouldn't work on his system either (and mines more wattage than his). Once I put my PSU on his system it gave his computer the same error as mine. So I'm not sure if the PSU is damaged aswell , but it worked in my system when i was tryign his graphics card.

So I'm now trying to get a new card under warranty.

Thanks for you help Raiddinn
a b V Motherboard
December 17, 2011 8:28:15 AM

TBH it sounds like you have a PSU that lies on the label.

Please tell me as much as you can about the exact maker and model number of it.

Not all 750w PSUs are the same. Some makers write 750 when they really mean 900w and others write 750 when they really mean 350.

- Edit - Also, what is his video card? The one that works in your computer with your PSU.
a b V Motherboard
December 17, 2011 3:47:28 PM

A full system using a 5770 can pull about 284w (23.667a) while a full system using a 9500 can only pull about 154 (12.8a).

Your PSU has two lines that read 16 and 18a if the label can be trusted. That is a theoretical max of 408w which should be enough to run either card.

I can't find a single review where someone has tested this PSU using actual load testing equipment, though, so those 16 and 18 figures could be lies as far as I know.

In any event, the 9500 which needs less power does work so it sounds to me like you need to switch around the cabling setup a couple times to see if you can try to change the load balance and that might work or you might just need a better PSU if those numbers written on there aren't truthful.

I would consider trying to get one of these instead

Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

It has a single rail design with 40a so there are no potential load balancing problems and Antec is a name that is very respected around these boards. It can be trusted to provide the power it says it does.

December 19, 2011 1:18:17 PM

The thing about that is, I've been using the 5770 WITH the cheap PSU i just linked for over a year with no problems until now. If it was a problem with load balancing wouldn't it have happened when I first installed it a year ago? Why would it only come up now? I've made no hardware changes since.
December 19, 2011 3:01:35 PM

Just been up town to get all the packaging so the courier can pick up the graphics card. read on the site they they'll charge you if you send back a WORKING part as FAULTY, so decided to try it all again just to be on the safe side.

plugged it all back in on my desk and it suddenly worked! I've no idea why, it's the same as it was before... but I'm not complaining. the case fan seems more underpowered than last time (slower RPM) but apart from that there's no problems.

Thanks for your help.
February 10, 2012 8:42:49 AM

just happened again and ii cant get anything working.

sorrry to bump, but anyoen got another other ideas?
a b V Motherboard
April 23, 2012 1:49:56 PM

ohhaithere said:
just happened again and ii cant get anything working.

sorrry to bump, but anyoen got another other ideas?


I just wanted to say that I am sorry this thread fell through the cracks.

For what its worth, I think it would have worked with the PSU that I suggested.

As for why it would work for a year and then fail, that is how PSUs work. They develop problems over time.

Based on the usage patterns, how they are mounted in the case, airfow, and stuff like that they can degrade more or less quickly but there is no way to completely escape this degrading.

If a PSU has multiple rails it is easier for this degrading to show.

Say you have rails with 16 and 18a on them. If they both degraded at 2a for the year that would make them have 14 and 16a respectively. If you had a device that needed 15a on the first rail, the 14 would be below the 15 and it wouldn't work. If you moved it to the second one that still had 16a, then it might start working.

If you had a large single rail PSU with 30a, a reduction of the same 4a bringing it down to 26a would not hit a similar trigger point because the device is still only using 15a out of a pool of 26.

Anyway, I just felt bad for leaving this hanging and wanted to answer the questions however late.

!