Apparently they were having issues with the computer freezing and randomly rebooting w/associated BSoD. They didn't know what the error code was and I wasn't able to recreate the BSoD.
When I first received the machine I was able to boot once or twice, but then I started getting nothing. Now when I boot, the fans and hard drive spin up, but the monitor still does not receive a signal. Another thing to note is that if I let the machine run for a few minutes past the point of when the bios should have loaded, I can press the power button and it will shut off immediately. This leads me to believe that it's not even booting into or past bios. I suspect the mobo was on its way out and has since died. I want to make sure this is the case before I let them know. Here's what I have tried:
1) Connect via DVI and VGA to two different monitors
2) Installed a PCIe video card and connected via DVI and VGA.
3) Replaced the CMOS battery.
4) Reset the bios via shifting the jump pins for 10 seconds.
5) Reseated the CPU.
I am still getting no signal on the monitor. Any thoughts or ideas to help me make sure the mobo is fried before I tell them? Would the fans and hdd spin up if it was fried? I know this specific mobo has known issues. Furthermore, could anyone recommend a replacement mobo that I could install for them? I know AMD2+ boards w/DDR2 compatibility are fairly hard to find now. Any suggestions are appreciated!
They already have a valid copy of Windows 7 they want to install instead of Vista. No need to budget for a new OS. I think they're looking to fix everything up for <$100 to make it practical for them. I'm not charging them anything, so this means that the mobo + any RAM can total $100 or less. Ideally, I'd like to be able to replace just the mobo.
This asrock board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... will permit you to run your old am2 cpus with ddr2 or am3 cpus with ddr3. Each pair of ram slots supports 4gb/slot for up to 8 gb of ram. Ideal for your situation, with a broad list of supported am2 and am3 cpus depending on which ram you use.
That does look ideal. The only thing I saw that might be an issue is the size of the replacement (9.6"x8.2"). The original mobo is larger (9.6"x9.6"). Will this present a problem? I know they're both MicroATX, so I assume everything should line up properly.
It will line up fine in any micro-atx case. Correction: this board can use a 2 x 4 gb kit of ddr2 or ddr3. Those 8 gb ddr3 kits are around $40, and with ddr3, you can upgrade to a 95 watt phenom II or Thuban six core.
Ok great...I'll follow up with the owner and determine what steps they are willing to take.
I still haven't tested the power supply though. Is there an easy way to test this other than buying a power supply tester or multimeter. I do not have access to either right now. I may be able to get a hold of a multimeter in a couple of days though. I could also salvage power supplies from old servers that I have access to... What specs should I be concerned with when salvaging? I know the current supply is 300W. Thank you for all your help!
Alright...I managed to get a hold of a multimeter and test the power supply. Here are the results:
24-Pin Mobo Connector
3 - G
4 - 5.07 V
5 - G
6 - 5.07 V
7 - G
8 - 4.66 V
9 - 5 V
10 - 11.86 V
11 - 11.86 V
12 - 3.384 V
13 - 3.38 V
14 - (-11.93) V
15 - G
16 - PSU On
17 - G
18 - G
19 - G
20 - N/A
21 - 5.07 V
22 - 5.07 V
23 - 5.07 V
24 - G
4-Pin Power Connector (near CPU)
1 - G
2 - G
3 - 11.86 V
4 - 11.86 V
4-Pin Peripheral Power Connector
I don't actually have this one hooked up, but the electrodes on my multimeter were too large to test the SATA pins. This connector is just up the line from the SATA connector, so I figured it would be somewhat representative. Additionally, I don't think lack of power to the hard drive would keep the bios from coming up.
1 - 11.86 V
2 - G
3 - G
4 - 5.07 V
With all this said, it looks like all my values fall within acceptable ranges. Can I effectively rule out the PSU as the problem now? Is it a safe bet that the mobo is fried?
Most likely, but I still try a spare ps anyway to be sure. But if you don't want to purchase one yet, go ahead and get the board I recommended before they sell out. Some older boards are starting to disappear from newegg and other venders.
It's not the PS, my mobo (also a pegatron M2N78-LA) died also with about the same symptoms you've described...all caps etc., tested ok but no sata detection so no HDD detection blah blah blah. I had a friend who works in pc testing and repair facility check it out, sata ports and few other things on the board fried. According to other reports, this is a great board until it craps out around 12-24mths which is about how long mine lasted, HP advised they have discont'd use of pegatron...well duh! not worth $200+
So I am also looking for a micro atx mobo. I found a few but so far haven't found one that I don't have to "add" 3-4 extra internal usb ports or sacrifice some other NEEDED feature. The ASUS M5A88 comes pretty freakin close and so I may just go with it and add the expandable usb's needed.
It was the motherboard. I installed the ASRock board o1die recommended. The only casualties were 4gb of ram. The original system had 8gb (4 x 2gb) of DDR2 and this mobo could only support 2 sticks of DDR2. No big deal though. The machine is for casual use by a family, so I think they'll be fine. Thanks for everyone's help!