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SATA controller death, or other?

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December 27, 2012 4:56:32 PM

Hi folks

I've been perusing the tomshardware boards, hopefully this post isn't redundant...

I recently turned my computer on, heard a pop, and then it wouldn't turn on any more after that. This was using an OCZ 850W PSU on a Cyberpower 825AVR UPS strip. (The UPS is by observation, in fine condition)

Although I cannot see any blown capacitors (without opening up the PSU), nor can I smell anything fried, the PSU has no response under any conditions (just slight switching noises when flipping its switch on and off)

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68X UD3H B3 Rev 1.3

I have performed the following troubleshooting steps with a 5yr old Corsair 650W supply:

1) With the replacment 650W PSU, the system will not power on (no LED lights on motherboard or spinning fans) when any SATA drives are plugged in to PSU power. Removing all excess drives and peripherals, keeping only the OS boot drive, or just a DVD drive has the same effect.

2) Removing all SATA connections allows the PSU to power up the motherboard, and the BIOS can be accessed in this mode.

3) Bootable USB flash drives do work (tested memtest, gparted)

4) All hard drives (including the boot OS drive) have been individually tested on another computer system, and are functional with no problems (SMART tests)

5) Plugging in the boot OS drive via SATA connection to the motherboard, but powering it with an external power connector (not through the PSU) allows the system to power on, but the BIOS cannot detect the hard drive. "Disk boot failure, insert system disk and press enter" <-- This result is identical to powering on without anything plugged in

6) There are no major changes after clearing the CMOS (remove battery, 5 sec short) and restoring optimized defaults.

These observations lead me to believe that there is a problem with the SATA controller.

Is this reasonable?
Are there other tests I can run to confirm the problem?
Does it seem confirmed that my original OCZ 850W PSU is busted? (I'm about to send it in for RMA)

Thank you for your time!

More about : sata controller death

a c 554 V Motherboard
December 27, 2012 5:14:02 PM


Hi,
Yes, My guess is that a short in the HDD damaged the power supply. There's a test for power supplies (shorting the green with the black wires and see if an attached fan would spin).
December 27, 2012 5:19:17 PM

I'll look around for that later this evening (although I wonder if that's possible without voiding my warranty?).
But all of my HDD's are perfectly functional in a SATA-USB adapter through my laptop, with successful SMART tests... could I be missing something there?
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a c 554 V Motherboard
December 27, 2012 5:36:01 PM

Then it might be a SATA controller issue. Try clearing the CMOS, although I'm not sure it would help.
December 27, 2012 10:52:17 PM

The weirdest part to me is the fact that the computer POSTs (fans, lights turn on, BIOS accessible) when any given plugged-in SATA device is powered through my external AC adapter... but when that given SATA device is powered through the replacement PSU, nothing turns on at all. No lights, no fans, no POST.
Does this make sense to any of you?
a c 554 V Motherboard
December 27, 2012 11:02:23 PM

The board has also a Marvell controller, right? Have you tried connecting the HDDs to those ports?
December 28, 2012 1:47:37 PM

Just tried this, connecting boot drive to Marvell SATA, and PSU power plug. Pressing the power button gave a split-second lighting of the motherboard LEDs, then all power off again. Pressing the power button again gave no response (like previously observed running this test off of the other (not Marvell) SATA outlets.

Switching the power connector to my eternal power adapter, the same thing happens as before; POST fine, but no recognition of an attached HD; "disk boot failure..."

If this is clearly pointing to a motherboard problem (as well as the original 850W PSU), then that's a good enough answer to me - so that I can RMA the board and hope/trust that the replacement will fix the problem.
a c 554 V Motherboard
December 28, 2012 1:54:21 PM

Well, it looks like a board issue. When taking the board outside the case, check though for an extra standoff that could short the board.
December 28, 2012 3:51:11 PM

Thanks for your help. Once all the parts are replaced (a few weeks?) I'll post an update to confirm whether everything is fixed.
!