PC not booting :(

mubs

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Shutdown my system normally last night. Thing won't boot this morning.

The chipset fan and cpu fan start spinning, then everything stops after a few seconds, the chipset fan stopping first. Maybe the chipset fan is kaput, but if the system won't boot because of that, that's pretty aggressive mnonitoring because the chipset does not even get a chance to get hot. The display LED does not even change color to indicate it got a signal.

Disconnceted power to all drives and tried, same thing.

As an aside, I changed the problematic chinese made multi-outlet power strip this morning to a Belkin one. This was done first thing in the morning, before even attempting a boot. To rule this out as the culprit, I plugged the PC power cable directly into the UPS, then directly into the mains, all with the same results. I doubt this is the reason. The second PC connected to the same Belkin strip booted fine and I am typing this on that PC.

Any quick ideas before I commence a full teardown and rebuild? It's been rock solid reliable till now, no crashes, freezes or booting probs, ever.

HW is a DFI LanParty Nforce4 motherboard, AMD A64 X2 4400 CPU, 2 sticks of 1GB RAM each. I believe I changed the BIOS button battery a few months ago when I was trying to get 4 sticks of RAM to work (it never did). Built this PC myslef in Feb 2006.

Thanks.
 

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Old enough to be a whole lot of things. First guess would be reseating the RAM, second would be to check for caps, third would be swap the PSU.
 

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Can you pull 1 stick of RAM at a time and see if it POSTs that way?

Can you reset the BIOS somehow?

Other than that, it sounds like the motherboard is done for.
 

mubs

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I'l try pulling everything out, cleaning, and reseating. It does not post, no BIOS beep. I can reset BIOS through the jumpers if need be.

Thanks.

If it's dead, it comes at the worst possible time in many ways (financial, job hunt, etc.).
 

jtr1962

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Look for bulging caps around the microprocessor. If so, then that's probably the problem. In not, try reseating the RAM and the processor. If that doesn't work, I would guess either the motherboard or power supply is toast. My first guess would be the power supply. It sounds like the system first tries to boot, but perhaps detects bad voltages when it starts trying to pull more power, and then shuts down to protect itself.
 

jtr1962

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If it's dead, it comes at the worst possible time in many ways (financial, job hunt, etc.).
I know the feeling. :( Even though my ancient A7N8X is working fine again, I've resigned myself to buying a new MB and CPU this month. I figure it's only a matter of time before it acts up again, and with my luck that will occur at the worst possible time.
 

mubs

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I pulled everything out, used more than half a can of compressed air. No dice. Does the same thing, not even post or a beep.

I checked the caps all around; they are in pristine condition, except two south of the CPU:

I uploaded a pic, don't know iof it will show. These two caps are slighlty bugling at the top, and there is a bit of rust on the top as well. Suspect they bulged, then leaked, then rusted. Odd thing is, this was a binary situation; working perfectly day after day, then does not post suddenly one day. I would think with bad caps I would have had some hangs / crashes / freezes, etc.
 

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mubs

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Guys, please help. ALL my info is on the other PC (this oone is even older; circa 1997 A Dell hand me down my daughter uses). Time is critical; I cannot get things here as fast as you guys can from Newegg and Amz.

The last time (a year ago) when I had looked into it, I had selected the i2500K and an Asus Sandy Bridge motherboard.

Please advise me on the best sweet spot for current Intel CPUs and motherboards. A specific recommendation on CPU/MB/RAM will be great; I can try to see if that combo is available here.

Net, I'd like USB3 and would like to use Intel onboard graphics for now, with the option of adding a graphics card later if I wished.

This build lasted 6 years; my previous build (donated to a school), a dual-CPU P3/800 is still going strong. Likewisae I'd like the new build to have longevity. Stability, reliability and longevity are key requirements.

Thanks.
 

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An i3-2120 is basically enough CPU for most needs. It's dual core with hyperthreading and it's fast. There's almost no subjective difference between one of those and an i5-3450 for day-to-day computing tasks.

The standard motherboard I settled on is an Intel DH61BE, which has a PS/2 and parallel port, plus DVI, VGA and USB3 via a Renesas controller. Tannin once joking said that the most disappointing qualities of an Intel motherboard is the fact that they don't have the good sense to die, and that's largely been my experience with Intel's LGA775 boards as well.
 

mubs

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Do you mean the Pentium G2120 listed at the bottom of the table in this Wiki page? They don't list that as the i3, but as a Pentium.
 

Bozo

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I would bet the power supply died. The 3.3v is still there for control and power up, but the 12v side is dead.
If it was memory, you would get beeps.
 

mubs

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PS is a Seasonic bought new in 2006 Feb. I don;t have a spare power supply.

If I am building a new PC, I will use a new PS. Should I just get a new power supply, see what happens? If it doesn't work, I'll use it for the new build.
 

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Do you mean the Pentium G2120 listed at the bottom of the table in this Wiki page? They don't list that as the i3, but as a Pentium.
No. There's an i3-2120. The Pentium G-class CPU is 200MHz slower, doesn't do Hyperthreading and doesn't have the full Sandy Bridge GPU, but it DOES support DDR3-1600 and, for some reason, ECC RAM.

And yeah, that sounds like a PSU issue to me as well.
 

jtr1962

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I pulled everything out, used more than half a can of compressed air. No dice. Does the same thing, not even post or a beep.

I checked the caps all around; they are in pristine condition, except two south of the CPU:

I uploaded a pic, don't know iof it will show. These two caps are slighlty bugling at the top, and there is a bit of rust on the top as well. Suspect they bulged, then leaked, then rusted. Odd thing is, this was a binary situation; working perfectly day after day, then does not post suddenly one day. I would think with bad caps I would have had some hangs / crashes / freezes, etc.
If two of your caps have visible signs of failure, I'll bet good money ALL of the caps around the CPU power supply are out of spec. If you're handy with a soldering iron you can try to recap the board like I did with mine. The biggest issue is that the ground plane sucks heat away as you're trying to melt the solder to get the cap out. This especially made cleaning out the holes with my solder sucker difficult to impossible. A hot air soldering system might have worked better although I didn't have one at the time (bought one after because I do a lot of SMD work). I'm guessing though you probably don't have the desire to recap the board. Maybe a new PSU will get the system up and running despite the bad caps.
 

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In the Ivy Bridge lineup, the i3 3220 is probably the closest to the Sandy Bridge i3 2120 Merc mentioned above. I'd not go with less than a true 4-core CPU myself, but if you don't have the money for it, the i3 3220 is probably the next best thing. You'll probably also want a motherboard with the H77 or Z77 chipset. Those ussually have the 20-pin internal USB 3.0 connector on them, for the front USB 3.0 ports.

Regarding the enclosure, I don't know what's available in your neck of the woods and how much space you have to put it, but a relatively nice and cheap enclosure is the Antec One (not to be confused with the One Hundred, which doesn't have front USB 3.0 ports). There are other nice enclosures too, like Time's favorite Silverstone ML03, the decent NZXT Source 210 Elite, the tiny Fractal Design Node 304 or the awesome Silversstone SG09. The BitFenix Prodigy is also well rated for MiniITX motherboards, just like the Silverstone TJ08-E for µATX motherboards.

DDR3 1600MHz isn't really more expensive than the DDR3 1333Mhz, at least around here, so that's a no brainer.
 

time

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The Pentium G-class CPU is 200MHz slower, doesn't do Hyperthreading and doesn't have the full Sandy Bridge GPU, but it DOES support DDR3-1600 and, for some reason, ECC RAM.
Holy sh*t! Ivy Bridge supports ECC - check out the i3-3220 for instance. I wonder which motherboards support it?

Mubs, a Pentium would do if you're in a hurry or want to save money. As Merc says, it's exactly the same Ivy Bridge core as the i3, but with hyperthreading and a couple of useless GPU features disabled.
 

time

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I would bet the power supply died. The 3.3v is still there for control and power up, but the 12v side is dead.
The 12V is there long enough to spin the fans ...

Mubs, you could check with a multimeter on one of the Molex connectors. Unfortunately, my bet is on the motherboard. Have you tried resetting the CMOS or pulling the battery?
 

mubs

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jtr, While I have used a soldering iron before, I'll wager the last buck in my wallet that I'll ruin the MB trying to replace the caps. It is saner to send the MB to its grave than try to revive it. If I was still in the US, I might have shipped it off to you to do your magic.

Coug, thanks for the info. As far as cases go, I'll probably ditch my current one even though it has served me well since 1999. I've got my eye on the Antec DF-85. Main attraction is that it comes with easily removable, washable air filters. We've talked about this before. Dust is THE problem here. It can also support a lot of drives, another thing I'd like. I'd like 8GB RAM. The difficult part seems to be buying RAM that's compatible with the chosen MB. Over here, that's hit and miss. Almost every vendor will list so many parts, but in reality they will not have it, and it's frustrating that your order does not arrive and the jackasses won;t tell you it won't. E-commerce is still in a primitive state here, and is strongly influenced by lock cultural aspects where anything goes and all is casual.

Time, as I said in an earlier post, I like to keep my builds for as long as I can. That will not be possible if I take the cheapest route now. While there is pain in the immediate term because of a larger outlay, the overall return on my spend is higher if I pick components at the sweet spot so I maximize value for money. This build lasted me 6+ years, so did my previous one.

The plan is to get a basic power supply to test that hypothesis. If that doesn't help, I'll pull the button battery out, reset the CMOS and try again. If it still doesn't work, I'm in for some pain in the coming weeks.

Thanks all.
 

Bozo

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Maybe you want to get a better power supply. You can always use it in your new build.
 

mubs

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Thought of that, but what do I do to power this onewhile building the new one if this one works? Anyway, I tried getting Platinum / Gold certified PSUs, but everybody shows them on the website, nobody has them in stock (2 weeks to get it).

I got sick of trying to buy it online, and am going to a store in the morning. I'll see what they have. If they have a good PSU, I'll buy it.
 

mubs

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I went to the only store nearabouts (the others are at the other end of town) and bought an Antec Earthwatts 500D PSU, 80+, Active PFC (it's the only model PSU they had).

Does the same thing. This time, the chipset fan hardly budges. The CPU fan, connected directly to the PSU, spins for a few seconds longer than it did with the old Seasonic. What's killing power to it? The MB telling the PSU to shutdown?

It is possible that the new PSU is DOA. I have no way of knowing.

I guess this pretty much means my system has given up the ghost. The only thing surprising was the suddenness with which it happened: absolutely fine all along, then won't post one morning.

I'll be asking for opinions and help in configuring the replacement, please bear with me. I will be constrained by what's available here.

Thanks for all your help.
 

mubs

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Processor Questions in no particular order:

While I don't want the i7-EE, I *probably* don't want the lowest range either. A mid-range CPU would probably give me best bang for buck.

That said, there is incredible overlap (to my unfamiliar eye) amongst the range if i3, i5 and i7. Sheesh, you have i7 processors starting at 1.7 GHz! Maybe these are mobile processors, I don't know.

First off, a philosophical question: Sandy or Ivy? All the research I did and the questions below pertain to Ivy. If Sandy is a better route to take, I'll simply go with the CPU/MB/RAM choices I made last year in my aborted build.

HD Graphics 2500 or 4000 on Ivy?

What the heck is "Embedded Option"? Some procs have it, many don't.

Many don't have Turbo Boost Technology. I'd think this to be an extremely useful feature, no?

Many don't have hyper threading. 4 Core CPUs in the i5 range don't, but 2 core ones do. But in the i7 range, every CPU has hyper threading, regardless of # of cores.

In the i5 range, between having more cores with no hypper threading, or less cores with hyper threading, which is the better option? I'd think more cores.

Thanks. Once the processor is decided, I'll look at motherboards.
 

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I'll try answering some...I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong.

Processor Questions in no particular order:

While I don't want the i7-EE, I *probably* don't want the lowest range either. A mid-range CPU would probably give me best bang for buck.

That said, there is incredible overlap (to my unfamiliar eye) amongst the range if i3, i5 and i7. Sheesh, you have i7 processors starting at 1.7 GHz! Maybe these are mobile processors, I don't know.

First off, a philosophical question: Sandy or Ivy? All the research I did and the questions below pertain to Ivy. If Sandy is a better route to take, I'll simply go with the CPU/MB/RAM choices I made last year in my aborted build.
At this point I would personally pick Ivy Bridge if you have no plans t overclock. The improved HD4000 is worth having if you intend on using integrated video over previous generation.


HD Graphics 2500 or 4000 on Ivy?
As I mentioned above, I would pick HD 4000 is that will be your primary graphics. If you plan on using an add-on card, I wouldn't bother being concerned.

What the heck is "Embedded Option"? Some procs have it, many don't.

Many don't have Turbo Boost Technology. I'd think this to be an extremely useful feature, no?
I'm not familiar with Intel's embedded line, so I'll let someone else answer.

Turbo Boost is useful in a few situations for highly single threaded applications that can benefit from an increased core speed. It's a nice feature, but I wouldn't consider a must for a basic desktop or budget-based system.

Many don't have hyper threading. 4 Core CPUs in the i5 range don't, but 2 core ones do. But in the i7 range, every CPU has hyper threading, regardless of # of cores.

In the i5 range, between having more cores with no hypper threading, or less cores with hyper threading, which is the better option? I'd think more cores.

Thanks. Once the processor is decided, I'll look at motherboards.
I'm in agreement with you. I'd rather have more cores without hyperthreading rather than having hyperthreading with less cores. Hyperthreading can come in handy in cases where you plan to virtualize many machines and you want to gain access to more cores than you actually have. What I mean is, lets say you want to run a test of an OS with 8 CPUs, but your desktop is a 4-core with hyperthreading. You can spin up a VM with 8 CPUs and play around with it. Performance benefits are questionable, so I only think of it as useful for strange tests.
 

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From a subjective standpoint, you really do have to be doing insane things to see the difference between an i5 and an i7. I found that my i7 2600ks could keep Handbrake fed at 100% CPU utilization while playing a certain giant robot simulator, losing about 2% on encoding frames per second; the same thing on an i5-3450 cost about 11%. If you have serious content creation needs of some kind, the i7 becomes worthwhile, but I wouldn't bother with one otherwise.

I don't see a big difference between HDx000 graphics setups. They're all more than capable of dealing with current video playback needs and none of them are super for 3D visualization or gaming. Any of them is a big step up from GMAx000, but the only on-die GPU that's anything like impressive is the new AMD Trinity.

From a resource allocation standpoint, I'd absolutely trade an i5 CPU for an i3 (fake cores and all) mated with an SSD. THAT is going to make a much more meaningful impact on system performance.
 

CougTek

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Get an i5-3470. Period.

What, explanations? Come on! Oh, ok... It's an Ivy Bridge with 4 cores and the HD4000 graphics and it's relatively affordable. Around here, it's 10$ more than the 3450 with the slower HD2500 graphics and 30$ less than the 3570 that operates at only 200MHz more. Unless you need the horsepower of the i7's 4-core/8-thread, the i5 3470 is a no-brainer in your case IMO.

Also, you don't want or need embedded since you won't buy a motherboard with the CPU soldered on. And the "S" models operate at lower frequencies in order to fit within their lower thermal envelop. You don't need that either, unless you want your computer to operate at very low power, like from a power bick.

Like I wrote, get an i5 3470.
 

mubs

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Well, the 3470 looks like it'll do it for me. Except, it has HD2500, not HD4000. The i5 with 4 cores and HD4000 seems to be the i5-3570K at a little bit more. Is it worth the additional cost for faster graphics? Strangely, no graphics details are provided for the i5-3350P.

My current video card (in the now dead system) is a Radeon X1600Pro from 6 years ago. How does that compare with the HD2500 and HD4000?

Motherboard recommendations, please? I do have a add-in PCI-E USB3 card.

Thanks!
 

Mercutio

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Absolutely essential bookmark material: TechArp GPU comparison.
The TechArp list isn't 100% of the whole story, since it doesn't describe some video acceleration features that are important, but if you want to know fill rates and bandwidths, it's all kinds of useful.

Motherboards? I normally suggest Intel motherboards unless I know overclocking is on the table or I need some collection of ports that aren't available from an Intel board (not enough SATA ports, normally). The DH77EB is quite nice for a basic desktop, as is the DH61BE.
 

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Motherboard time. I usually read the 1 to 3 egg reviews of a product to get an idea of the kinds of problems to expect. I realize the ratings there are skewed, but because angry users will post there, it's still gives a fair idea of a product's problems.

Of the Intel MBs, it appears the only one rated decently on Newegg is the BOXDZ77RE75K. Not cheap, at $270. One local vendor here shows it here for $400! If indeed, I will not have to worry about failures and support and can expect long life, it may be worth spending this fortune. But so few reviews worry me. Safety in numbers!

The best overall bet seems to be the Asus P8Z77-V; $190 at Newegg, and $300 locally. It seems to suffer from bent CPU socket pins and failed DIMM slots, though.

Has overall mfg quality gone down in the last several years, or is it that these things have gotten so complex they can't keep the quality up?

In reality, it looks like there is no choice of a quality motherboard.
 

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I don't plan to manually overclock, but would like the auto turbo boost thingy to work. Will a H77 chipset board, one of whose features is "No Overlcocking" do the turbo boost thing?
 

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Can I just say one more time here and now that there are whole bunch of fuckwits on Newegg who are just looking for a reason to complain and no real basis for comparison. I look through star ratings and reviews to see if a specific product has some easily-apparently gotcha or misfeature, but online reviews for PC hardware need to be taken with a huge grain of salt. You DO NOT need to buy a $200 motherboard to get a quality product.

Turbo boost is an automatic and transparent feature of an i7 CPU. It's different from having a bunch of options in a BIOS/EFI menu to allow changes to core frequency or CPU multiplier. That stuff is usually only exposed on enthusiast-class motherboards.
 

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The Intel DH77EB motherboard is ~$110.00 and has Turbo Boost. No need to spend a lot of money.
 

mubs

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Merc, thanks.

I agree with you, I read the reviews only to see if there are any obvious flaws that seem to repeat. Like I said, the Asus P8Z77-V seems to suffer from bent pins in the CPU socket and failed DIMM slots. That worries me. Unlike in the US, where you can easily return the item to Egg or AMZ, or RMA to the mfr, it's a nightmare here. That's why I'm paranoid in trying to ensure everything works the first time, and continues to work. If it means I have to pay more up front for a better quality board, that is part of the cost. I'll still come out ahead instead of having a dead board on my hands and no credible repair / return possible. The whole infra here, right from sales to service is in a primitive state. There are only a handful or online stores, and their website content has no relationship to the reality of what they carry / sell. One has to physically beat the streets, walking from store to store in the electronics district to find what one wants. Or so I think. The pc that just died was built and tested in the US just before I relocated here.

I spent the afternoon checking out Intel motherboards. None of the H77 boards have enough SATA ports for me. The Z77 boards look good but are $200+ suggested RP in the US, and I was able to find only the DZ77RE-75K available here at an online local price of $400. I know I'm frustrating you, but I hope you can see where I'm coming from.

Strangely, I am unable to find a price for any 3rd gen i3 CPUs. I seriously thought about going with an i3, lower end board and an SSD like you said. I'll only be able to determine the feasibility when I go the the electronics district at the other end of town on Monday and spend the whole day walking the streets.

If my posts bother you all, I'll stop posting in this thread. My apologies.

Sorry for the long post.
 

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Please continue to post, just understand that Merc and I consider the reviews on Newegg and the like completely without value. It isn't that they are occasionally right, or contain some kernel of truth, they are simply useless. I'm willing to bet that the bad pins referred to were user error during install, and the bad ram slots were in fact incompatible RAM.

Quality control from Intel, Gigabyte, Kingston, Crucial, etc has gotten so good that I never see DOAs anymore. Never. In your case the most likely cause of failure would probably be bad handling during the last mile or a vendor boxing up a returned product as new (also known as pulling a "Frys"). These are why I buy from Amazon directly.
 

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There are only a handful or online stores, and their website content has no relationship to the reality of what they carry / sell. One has to physically beat the streets, walking from store to store in the electronics district to find what one wants. Or so I think. The pc that just died was built and tested in the US just before I relocated here.
What about sending money, having someone from SR buy the parts you need from Newegg or Amazon, testing them, and then shipping them to you? Or would that be prohibitively expensive or just problematic? It really sounds like your options are terribly limited buying locally.
 

jtr1962

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What about sending money, having someone from SR buy the parts you need from Newegg or Amazon, testing them, and then shipping them to you? Or would that be prohibitively expensive or just problematic? It really sounds like your options are terribly limited buying locally.
Ugh, should have typed SF instead of SR. Just noticed it now.
 
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