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System stuck in reboot loop, help!

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April 19, 2012 1:05:26 AM

Hey all -

Short version: My system gets stuck in a reboot loop after I reseated my GPU.

Long(er) version: My GPU's fan was getting a little loud, so I took her out, blew some of the dust out of her fan, then put it back in. Now, upon turning on the system, I get around 2-3 seconds of fans turning on, all six PHASE LEDs of my GIG GA-EP45-UD3R lighting up, and then everything shutting down. Then, everything will happen all over again. This will go on and on.

My system was built in 2009, and I've never had any issues with it:

GA-EP45-UD3R
E8400 @ 4.0GHZ
4GB DDR2-1066
120GB Intel SSD (can't remember the exact model)
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
HIS Radeon HD 5850

The only exception to this 2009 build is my PSU, a CORSAIR|CMPSU-520HX RT, which was purchased in 2007.

What I've done so far to try and fix the problem:
1. I've breadboarded the machine and removed everything but the CPU and HS - no change.
2. I've reseated my CPU, GPU, and HS - no change.
3. I've verified all the cables are properly connected to the mobo - no change.
4. I've reset the CMOS - no change.
5. Tested with another PSU - no change.
6. Tried connecting with just onboard video - no change.

Any ideas on what to try next?

Many thanks!
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 1:13:34 AM

Try blowing the dust out of the inside of your PSU while you are at it.

Also, push down on all the components hard to make sure they are fully seated.

Problems of that nature are often either related to power or to components that aren't seated well.

Also, do you know someone with a video card you can borrow? Perhaps a different PSU as well?
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April 19, 2012 1:46:40 AM

Hmm, took out the PSU and cleaned it up a bit. No dice, still can't post.

It really feels like it's either the PSU or the mobo. The six PHASE LEDs are all lit (green to red), which I thought was a sign that everything was getting enough power.

I'm stumped.

(And nope, I don't know anyone with a spare PSU)
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April 19, 2012 5:00:52 AM

Does it work without the gpu in there?
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April 19, 2012 12:03:30 PM

mouse24 said:
Does it work without the gpu in there?


Sadly, nope. My next step, I think, is to buy another PSU and hope that fixes the issue (not sure, honestly). Without a spare one lying around, I'm not sure how much more I can troubleshoot.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 12:25:54 PM

Hope you have some money to buy new components blind with if you don't have someone you can borrow components from.

The next step does sound like buying a new PSU, and if that doesn't work maybe a new motherboard.

If you work some place that has an IT staff, ask them if you can sign for a stick of RAM, a PSU, and a video card overnight.
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April 19, 2012 12:26:59 PM

Hmmm, are your standoffs correct, have you cleared Cmos, have you discharged the capacitors (holding down the power button with the psu unplugged)
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April 19, 2012 12:43:13 PM

mouse24 said:
Hmmm, are your standoffs correct, have you cleared Cmos, have you discharged the capacitors (holding down the power button with the psu unplugged)


The only thing I haven't done yet is cleared CMOS, simply because I didn't think the boot process had gotten far enough for that to matter. I will try it, though.

Otherwise, I breadboarded the system, so the mobo/cpu/hs have been assembled outside the case to rule out any shorts.
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April 19, 2012 12:44:40 PM

Raiddinn said:
Hope you have some money to buy new components blind with if you don't have someone you can borrow components from.


My thinking is that maybe I can buy a new PSU from Newegg, and if that's not the issue, then maybe I can return it. I'm checking to see if maybe I can borrow a power supply tester from our IT area.

My primary questions is: could removing and reseating the GPU really have damaged the PSU?
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April 19, 2012 12:49:38 PM

Buy one from Best Buy. Their return policy is 30 days, opened or unopened, if it doesn't solve your computer problem. Yeah, it might be a bit pricier but it's the quickest way to do a return if it doesn't work right.
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April 19, 2012 12:51:08 PM

edouble said:
My primary questions is: could removing and reseating the GPU really have damaged the PSU?


PSU? Probably not. Motherboard, CPU or RAM (or all of the above)? Oh yes. If you didn't discharge static properly before touching the PCB then there's always the possibility of electrical damage.
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April 19, 2012 12:54:19 PM

+1 on clearing the CMOS.

Pull the CMOS battery, let it sit for a little while, discharge the system.

My system did this one day after it had been unplugged for a day or two. It would power on, but not POST, no display or anything. I pulled the CMOS battery (PC was unplugged too), let it sit for 15-20 minutes, put it back in, then it booted up normally.
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April 19, 2012 12:56:41 PM

nbelote said:
PSU? Probably not. Motherboard, CPU or RAM (or all of the above)? Oh yes. If you didn't discharge static properly before touching the PCB then there's always the possibility of electrical damage.


Is there a way one can determine if this happened? I didn't go out of my way to discharge static (that I can recall).
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April 19, 2012 1:09:31 PM

edouble said:
Is there a way one can determine if this happened? I didn't go out of my way to discharge static (that I can recall).



Always touch the metal frame of your PC case prior to touching any parts. Always. It discharges static every time. Another best practice is to wear a static wristband that discharges for you. I keep one hand touching the frame of the case at all times unless I am holding a tool, at which time I do not touch anything electronic myself.

The only way to really check is to test each part individually... by swapping out one part at a time with replacements.
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April 19, 2012 1:20:35 PM

nbelote said:
Always touch the metal frame of your PC case prior to touching any parts. Always. It discharges static every time. Another best practice is to wear a static wristband that discharges for you. I keep one hand touching the frame of the case at all times unless I am holding a tool, at which time I do not touch anything electronic myself.

The only way to really check is to test each part individually... by swapping out one part at a time with replacements.


Definitely touched the PC case (had to move it around and lay it down) prior to touching the components.
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April 19, 2012 1:24:24 PM

Then here's hoping you're not royally screwed anyhow ;) 
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 1:34:39 PM

If you had the power cable between the PSU and the wall when you were messing around with the internals then there could be damage to things, yes.

As long as the cable is plugged in, there is power going through the 5v lines. If it is off then there is power in the +5vsb and if it is on then power is in the +5v.

If it were any different, the power button wouldn't work to turn the computer on.

If you disconnected the cable and waited a while before you did anything, then the chances of static damage are low as long as you touched the case a lot during the process.

There are a lot of things I would try to borrow from your IT staff before you try to borrow any kind of PSU tester from them, as I mentioned earlier.
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April 19, 2012 2:14:25 PM

brett1042002 said:
+1 on clearing the CMOS.

Pull the CMOS battery, let it sit for a little while, discharge the system.

My system did this one day after it had been unplugged for a day or two. It would power on, but not POST, no display or anything. I pulled the CMOS battery (PC was unplugged too), let it sit for 15-20 minutes, put it back in, then it booted up normally.


Awesome, thanks for the tip!

Raiddinn said:

There are a lot of things I would try to borrow from your IT staff before you try to borrow any kind of PSU tester from them, as I mentioned earlier.


While I don't have an extra card lying around, I think I'll try the onboard video to see if that makes any difference.

Really wish I had a system speaker so I could hear how it was beeping. Can't remember if it was setting in the BIOS I disabled or whether the EP45-UD3R just doesn't come with one.

Regardless, issue remains now matter if I have 2 sticks, no sticks, or 1 stick of memory in there.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
April 19, 2012 2:54:23 PM

The internal speakers only cost a couple bucks. Probably 5 or less. They are pretty stupid things, they just make a sound when electricity runs through a wire. Not complicated or expensive to make.

It is probably $5 or less I would guess. It is nice to have one around.

If the same thing happens regardless of RAM conditions, it would have to be earlier in the process than the RAM check, which likely means processor or motherboard.

Processors that work on day 1 usually don't develop problems that prevent booting on day 7. Motherboards are much more likely to develop such problems, especially if their BIOSs get updated or the firmware of the things attached to them get updated.

Maybe you can take your computer to work with you and tell your IT staff you want them to let you test your parts in some of their computers laying around. If you have enough pull up there, they might do it.
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April 19, 2012 3:00:07 PM

Unplug PSU, Press Power to discharge the Capacitors, ground yourself, do whatever,

So many people fry their stuff because they don't take ESD precautions.
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April 19, 2012 4:42:47 PM

Well, clearing the CMOS and using a different PSU did not have any effect. Le sigh.

This system (as you can tell) was aging a bit, and if I do indeed need a new mobo, it just may be time to start a new build. :) 

Of course, this time I will be extra careful about discharging static beforehand.
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April 19, 2012 5:57:49 PM

Did the onboard video work with the GPU removed(you mentioned doing a test of it 2 posts up)?

Also, if you haven't tried pull the GPU again, and re-seat it. Sometimes they just seat kind of "wonkey". Also, don't forget to plug in the two 6 pin PCI-E power.
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April 20, 2012 12:23:37 PM

JamesSneed said:
Did the onboard video work with the GPU removed(you mentioned doing a test of it 2 posts up)?

Also, if you haven't tried pull the GPU again, and re-seat it. Sometimes they just seat kind of "wonkey". Also, don't forget to plug in the two 6 pin PCI-E power.


Onboard didn't work, nor did reseating the GPU. I swear I've tried just about everything at this point, which leads me to believe it is in fact probably the motherboard.

Unfortunately, it's probably just old enough where I'm better off just buying a new one. Man, I'm an idiot. This screams user error in some way. :( 
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
April 21, 2012 4:15:31 AM

If my computer was working, then I did something to it, then it quit working I would be pissed off at myself too.

That kinda thing is an ultra rare occurrence, though.

I have done all kinds of stupid things with my computer and it apparently has been resilient enough not to have me blow it up.

I do all the stuff they tell you not to do. I work on carpet, I don't wear the wrist band, sometimes I even plug things in and unplug them with the power cord still connecting the wall and the PC.

I don't know how it is still alive, honestly. At least I do touch the case a lot, that helps.

I would second getting a newer generation core.

It sounds kinda motherboard-ish to me and if you had the money it would be better to get current rather than dragging along the old core longer.
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