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My computer died how to diagnose...

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January 21, 2012 11:29:32 PM

I come back from a store and computer is off. I thought it hibernated, but after pressing power on, it still didn't come on. I thought it's power supply because I was using 500W with GTX470, for the past 3 month or so, but it's not the power supply, I just put that supply in another computer and it works just fine, so it's either mobo or cpu? I didn't test memory, but I think with bad memory "something" would happen, but it's dead as a door knob, not a peep, no leds on, nothing. How can I narrow down what it is, without swapping components, so at least I can RMA bad component? I don't have another 1155 socket mobo or cpu.

More about : computer died diagnose

a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2012 11:35:56 PM

do you have the green light on the board
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
a c 144 ) Power supply
January 21, 2012 11:44:15 PM

Complete system specs?

What kind of system did you test your PSU in? If it was a less powerful system, the PSU could still be the problem.

Work systematically through our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...
I mean work through, not just read over it. We spent a lot of time on this. It should find most of the problems.

If not, continue.
The following is an expansion of my troubleshooting tips in the breadboarding link in the "Cannot boot" thread.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...

I have tested the following beep patterns on Gigabyte, eVGA, and ECS motherboards. Other BIOS' may be different, but they all use a single short beep for a successful POST.

Breadboard - that will help isolate any kind of case problem you might have.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/262730-31-breadboardi...

Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. At this point, if you do not have a system (internal case) speaker, you really need one.


Make sure you plug the CPU power cable in. The system will not boot without it.

I always breadboard a new build. It takes only a few minutes, and you know you are putting good parts in the case once you are finished.

You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU. Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.

If no beeps, LED's, or fan activity:

Check for line power at the PSU input. Extension cords, power strips, and power cords do fail.

If you have power and no beeps, suspect components in likely order are PSU, motherboard, and CPU.

Running fans and drives and motherboard LED's do not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In the absence of a single short beep, they also do not indicate that the system is booting.

At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.

The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.

You can turn on the PSU by completely disconnecting the PSU and using a paperclip or jumper wire to short the green wire to one of the neighboring black wires.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWXgQSokF4&feature=yout...

A way that might be easier is to use the main power plug. Working from the back of the plug where the wires come out, use a bare paperclip to short between the green wire and one of the neighboring black wires. That will do the same thing with an installed PSU. It is also an easy way to bypass a questionable case power switch.

This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.

If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card.

Silence, long single beeps, or series of short beeps indicate a problem with the memory. If you get short beeps verify that the memory is in the appropriate motherboard slots.

Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST.
At this point, if the system doesn't work, it's either the video card or an inadequate PSU. Or rarely - the motherboard's PCIe interface.

Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.
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Related resources
January 21, 2012 11:48:33 PM

scout_03 said:
do you have the green light on the board


nothing, not a peep.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2012 11:50:07 PM

then follow jsc answer
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January 21, 2012 11:59:52 PM

jsc said:
Complete system specs?

What kind of system did you test your PSU in? If it was a less powerful system, the PSU could still be the problem.

Work systematically through our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...
I mean work through, not just read over it. We spent a lot of time on this. It should find most of the problems.

If not, continue.
The following is an expansion of my troubleshooting tips in the breadboarding link in the "Cannot boot" thread.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...

I have tested the following beep patterns on Gigabyte, eVGA, and ECS motherboards. Other BIOS' may be different, but they all use a single short beep for a successful POST.

Breadboard - that will help isolate any kind of case problem you might have.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/262730-31-breadboardi...

Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. At this point, if you do not have a system (internal case) speaker, you really need one.


Make sure you plug the CPU power cable in. The system will not boot without it.

I always breadboard a new build. It takes only a few minutes, and you know you are putting good parts in the case once you are finished.

You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU. Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.

If no beeps, LED's, or fan activity:

Check for line power at the PSU input. Extension cords, power strips, and power cords do fail.

If you have power and no beeps, suspect components in likely order are PSU, motherboard, and CPU.

Running fans and drives and motherboard LED's do not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In the absence of a single short beep, they also do not indicate that the system is booting.

At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.

The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.

You can turn on the PSU by completely disconnecting the PSU and using a paperclip or jumper wire to short the green wire to one of the neighboring black wires.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWXgQSokF4&feature=yout...

A way that might be easier is to use the main power plug. Working from the back of the plug where the wires come out, use a bare paperclip to short between the green wire and one of the neighboring black wires. That will do the same thing with an installed PSU. It is also an easy way to bypass a questionable case power switch.

This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.

If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card.

Silence, long single beeps, or series of short beeps indicate a problem with the memory. If you get short beeps verify that the memory is in the appropriate motherboard slots.

Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST.
At this point, if the system doesn't work, it's either the video card or an inadequate PSU. Or rarely - the motherboard's PCIe interface.

Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.


I'm sorry but your answer is a "bloatware" response, it tries to fix 1000 scenarios in one, instead of a minimalistic approach on case by case basis.
I'd think absolute minium would be to connect power supply + cpu + motherboard + memory, that should give me some kind of response from the system at this point. Especially that I just excluded power hungry video card, out of the loop, no HDDs or optical drive is connected and I already excluded power supply as the culprit , because it still works (actually on the computer I'm typing from.)
I can only conclude that it is either motherboard or cpu, because I'm assuming with bad memory it still would at least power on for a split second, some kind of beep, etc.

System
I5 2500K
MSI mobo
8GB ripjaws
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
a c 144 ) Power supply
January 23, 2012 5:33:45 AM

Cut 'n paste, yes. Bloatware, I don't think so. Do you realize how many of these posts we regulars here answer in a week? We get tired of typing "custom" responses. But, please, what part do you consider bloatware?

Absolute minimum for a useful response is:
Quote:
Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. At this point, if you do not have a system (internal case) speaker, you really need one.


Breadboarding removes the case from the equation. You would be surprised at how often people forget to install standoffs (about once a month).

You would also be surprised at how many people do not include a case speaker, even if it is the most valuable piece of test equipment you can have for a nonbooting computer.

That step makes an attempt to check your core components - motherboard, CPU, and PSU. Silence means that one of those three do not work.


gr0bda said:

I can only conclude that it is either motherboard or cpu, because I'm assuming with bad memory it still would at least power on for a split second, some kind of beep, etc.

Not necessarily. A bad DIMM (shorted chip for instance) could shutdown the PSU. For that matter, you never told me what brand and model your PSU is. And you never told me the system specs of the computer you used to test the PSU. Brand and model of PSU is important because many cannot produce their rated power. And the specs of the second system are important because if components do not draw as much power as the first system, the PSU may work there, but not in the first system.

You have three possibilities with the POST:
1. It doesn't run (silence). This is different from a failed POST.
2. Failed, giving some kind of a beep pattern or LED readout on motherboards so equipped.
3. Pass (generally a single short beep). But that still doesn't mean you can boot. Drives are not checked by the POST.

So your symptoms (dead system) mean I need to start at the beginning.
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January 24, 2012 2:17:42 AM

@jsc
Look, I'm really truely not trying to pick a fight, and I appreciate your time and effort to help.
Having said all that, I also think that I come here looking for a personalized response, that will quickly provide me with quick solution. I really don't have time to read for hours to try to weed out few tidbits that will apply to me (if by then I can even comprehand what I'm reading and not be bored out of my mind). And without trying to insult you, I think your approach is a little bit been there, done that, and anyone who feels the same way I expect nothing less than just step aside and let another interested person to answer... or not. I will take my question somewhere else.

But since you're making effort to answer my question more direct.
I've used 2 differnet PSUs
both 500W, both still work
1st is HEC RAPTOR500
2nd topower silentEZ

the raptor 1 I've been using for at least 3 months witout problems, and then it died all of a sudden, while idling, I went to another room, came back and it was dead
and once again it works just fine, right now in another system..
as to the dimms, I've got another DDR3 4GB lying somewhere from corsair, which I'll try next.

But let me ask you this, if it's not power supply, but lets say cpu, wouldn't the on-board LEDs come on? At the very least, before I even turn the power on, if power cord is plugged in, aren't the on-board LEDs on at all times? I just don't remember at this point, and can't find any info on the internet. And as to beeps there is no sound coming out anymore.

btw mobo is: MSI P67A-G43 (B3) and from what I'm reading on newegg it has higher than typical % of failures.

thx for your time.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
January 24, 2012 2:20:49 AM

then i will suggest that you rma the board
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
a c 144 ) Power supply
January 24, 2012 2:51:43 AM

gr0bda said:

But let me ask you this, if it's not power supply, but lets say cpu, wouldn't the on-board LEDs come on? At the very least, before I even turn the power on, if power cord is plugged in, aren't the on-board LEDs on at all times? I just don't remember at this point, and can't find any info on the internet. And as to beeps there is no sound coming out anymore.

Which onboard LED's? Every motherboard is differnt, but nearly all boards have a "power" LED that should be powered by the "always on" standby power supply inside the PSU. That LED doesn't depend on the CPU.

If you have a case speaker and you get silence when you try to turn on your system with only motherboard and CPU powered, it's either the PSU, motherboard, or CPU. You have tested the PSU. CPU's rarely fail, so like scout suggested, RMA the motherboard. It is the most likely suspect.
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January 25, 2012 1:36:48 AM

Thx for all the responses. I've been pro-active, and have already applied for an RMA, I was just hoping that there is some kind of sure method of diagnosing without the need for swapping parts.
Anyway, thx again
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
a c 144 ) Power supply
January 25, 2012 2:31:31 AM

gr0bda said:
... I was just hoping that there is some kind of sure method of diagnosing without the need for swapping parts.

Unfortunately, once you get down to the core components, the only certain way to determine the bad component is by substituting a known good one.
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February 22, 2012 11:55:37 AM

Quick follow-up. I have got my motherboard back and it's working. Of course no explanation from MSI as to the nature of the problem, so I emailed them about it, and they told me the process is they test the motherboard and if it fails they send a new one, if it works they send the same one back. I've got back the same one and it works, so what does that mean? Why wouldn't it work before? Also it seems as it died in it's sleep (hibernating) because when I started the system it asked me if I want to delete files relating to hibernation because they no longer match hardware changes. I assume if it died all of a sudden otherwise there would be no mention of hibernation files? I guess it went to suspend mode, died and I was never able to turn it back on.
What's your thoughts on that?
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!