Can a bad component kill others?

Is it possible for one bad component to kill others?

I have had numerous problems with a custom system. I was having trouble with a build I put together, which I concluded after a year's worth of frustration to be memory problems and a bad motherboard. I sent for RMA on the motherboard, and the same set of problems occured with the replacement. After consideration and research, I decided to go with a new Asus board for the 3rd attempt, a M5A97R2.0. I put the new system together with the following components:

Asus M5A97R2.0 (brand new)
Corsair Vengeance (2x4GB) (brand new)
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black
Antec EA650 Green PSU
Asus EAH5670 1GB Graphics card
Antec Kuhler H2O 620
SIIG 3-port IEEE1394 PCI card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
WD Raptor WD360 36GB
Lite-On iHAS422 DVDRW

All of these are from my previous build, except the MoBo, RAM, and IEEE1394 card (which I had laying around, never used).

So I fired it up, and booted into BIOS fine. After a period of 2 minutes or less, the system froze. Initially I thought maybe the IEEE1394 card was questionable, so I removed it. Then I was able to get into BIOS to adjust the basics. No more than getting date & time and boot sequence set, the system froze again. I rebooted again, thinking "what the hell happened?", and went back to BIOS and restored factory defaults. Immediately I rebooted again, and no POST, no beeps, nothing. I stripped everything off except the CPU, cooler, and graphics card. Still nothing. Took the graphics card out too, so all that was left was the MoBo, CPU, and cooler. Nothing.

I tested the PSU (with a tester), and it checks out fine. Now I am pretty much at a loss. Could my graphics card or CPU or other device be faulty and keep killing my motherboards? Any input and/or suggestions are appreciated greatly.

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  1. this may be a way off theory here but it seems like there is an irregularity somewhere in the constant flow of something.
    perhaps voltage is being surged the the system shuts down?
    by any chance could the heat sensors at core be shorted and shutting the system down due to either false heat warnings or actual heat problems? just taking a shot in the dark here
  2. Well I think the PSU would be the only thing capable of damaging other things. Maybe the motherboard too if it is really bad.
  3. Azn Cracker said:
    Well I think the PSU would be the only thing capable of damaging other things. Maybe the motherboard too if it is really bad.

    Yeah, a bad PSU is the most obvious answer if three separate motherboards fail in the same way over a short period of time.

    It is just barely possible that the OP got bad parts all three times, or that all three parts experienced different problems (the OP didn't really describe in detail what went wrong with the first mobo; he just said he put up with a year's worth of frustration) -- but FWIW, if I have a motherboard fail in the manner the OP describes, the first thing I worry about is the PSU, not so much the board itself. If the PSU is still within warranty, I send that back along with the motherboard.

    Not worth the risk to put a brand-new mobo in a box with what could be a failing PSU.
  4. yeah plus reading some reviews on the earthwatts psu specifically the 650 there seems to have been a bad batch in there based on Newegg reviews
  5. In response to Fulgurant's reply, ALL THREE of these boards worked from the get-go. It is highly unlikely that all of them failed in the same manner out-of-box. The first board I had to RMA was determined to be bad after spending a long time on the phone with tech support. The second board I never called on, but the end result was the same: no POST, no beep, no video. All the drives and fans would spin up and stay up, but nothing past that. After seeing reviews and other forums about that board, it was brought to my attention that particular board was more or less a failure. So I went with something different.

    This new board suffered a similar fate. As I mentioned in previous post, this board did work from the start, but froze on its first boot after 2 minutes time. Now I am right back where I was with both previous boards: no POST, no beep. Removed EVERYTHING from the system, including all drives, expansion cards, and even chassis connectors such as audio and USB headers. Still nothing past fans and lights.

    Heat has never been an issue here. I started out using the stock cooler that came with the CPU (AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black) and it did get a bit warm, but never anywhere near its maximum threshold. I saw temps upwards of 140F, so I purchased the mentioned Antec Kuhler H20 and has never seen 100F since. Both the CPU temps and board temps were at a comfortable level.

    This particular power supply I've had for nearly 2 years. I tested it initially before it was installed, and seemed to be fine. I tested the PSU again (with a PSU tester), and it checked out OK. However, it is only checking for accurate voltage under NO load, correct? I do have a multimeter I can use to get a more specific reading on the voltage; but again under no load. Is there a way to test it under load? Or should I simply try another one?

  6. I tried a different PSU today, and no better results. Still no POST or anything. I started to wonder if perhaps I am overlooking something simple.

    Some of my ponderisms included:
    - Maybe the CPU was not seated completely the first time and fried something?
    - Could there be a resistance issue somewhere?
    - Since the graphics card I am using (Asus EAH5670) draws power through the PCI-e slot, is there a power issue or other conflict there?
    - I noticed that both of these boards have had a -5vdc pin on the board's 24-pin header, but no -5vdc wire on the PSU. It is my understanding that it is only used in rare occasions of amplified audio and such, and most power supplies do not even have such connection. But I wondered, "why is it there if it is not used for anything?"

    Any thoughts?

  7. have you tried to get a signal without having a gpu inserted?
    and with back reference to the heat idea, i was thinking that it may be a malfunction of the heat sensors rather than actual heat buildup, perhaps like a short etc. Although its entirely possible i find it difficult to think you got 3 bad mobo's in a row
  8. My final thoughts on the matter:

    Is there any chance that my case is not properly grounded? I mean, if the something is bent a tad and making contact where it shouldn't be or not where it should, that can cause problems too, I assume. I peeked between the back of the board and the case and seemed to be clear. But if the plate from the back of the board (that holds the bracket for the heat sink) is touching the case anywhere, I figure that can potentially short something as well. And what about the standoffs? if one or more are not making good contact, is that a problem? Since my case is powder-coated, I thought maybe...

    Now I'm down to three variables if none this applies: Power supply (which tests out fine, both with a PSU tester and the old-fashioned way with a multimeter), CPU, and graphics card.

    I'm just trying to come to an absolute conclusion here. At this point, I'm really not sure what to think. Short of scrapping the whole works and starting over, I'm pretty much at a loss. Seems like everyone else is too. I seem to run into issues that no one can resolve.

    Thanks for everyone's input.
  9. yeah that could definitely be a possibility, my brother installed a mobo in his case (cm elite) and not so much a case problem but one of the mobo standoffs scratched the bottom of the pcb and shorted the board out completely. anyways lets us know if you find the solution, sorry we couldnt be much of an assistance
  10. @Few Oranges:
    Yes, I have tried stripping the system down to nothing but the CPU & HSF. I even removed the board from the case and tried powering it up that way. With 2 different power supplies. No beeps or anything. The power indicator lights and remains lit, CPU and chassis fans spin and stay spinning. Although *once* I did see the DRAM_LED light when I powered the board...
  11. Hate to bump my own thread, but still trying to reach a conclusion on this. I've tried a different PSU with no different results, and tried mine in a different PC, which worked fine. I have eliminated the case itself as a candidate. The only factors left are the CPU and graphics card.

    I know that CPU's rarely fail, but does happen. After putting more thought into it, seems like the most likely culprit.

    So I fired it up, and booted into BIOS fine. After a period of 2 minutes or less, the system froze.

    After a successful POST and entering BIOS for the first time and immediately freezing (simply locked, no crash or blank screen or restart), leads me to believe a faulty processor. Theoretically, if the graphics card was to blame, then a "freeze" would be less likely (correct me if I'm wrong).

    I was able to briefly peek at the temps, and the highest temp I saw was 84F on the CPU (The Antec Kuhler rocks!) and 79F on the board.

    I'd love to hear any additional input, and thanks to everyone thus far.

  12. IMO When you get a new board, do not risk it, buy a new PSU.
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