Computer wont boot after Northbridge cooler change

By mturbo23
Oct 4, 2006
  1. After purchasing a Zalman passive cooler i installed it into my computer only to find that now the system will not boot.

    The computer has been running fine for about a year now but now it wont boot.
    It has power and all the fans turn on + the hdd makes all the right noises but i dont get any signal to the monitor.
    Also the power LED on the case flashes when it is first started up and then stays on.
    I have taken out all the unecessary parts checked cables and replaced the original cooler but still not luck.

    On the D-Bracket at the back of the Motherboard i have orange and red leds on (2 leds at top 2 at bottom, orange then red at top then red then orange at the bottom) however orange is not in the manual! so cannot troubleshoot it.

    The specs are:
    MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Motherboard
    2x512mb CL2 DDR
    X800GT PCI express graphics card
    AMD 64 3000 Socket 939
    250GB Maxtor SATA HDD
  2. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    The only possible thing i could of done apart from damaging the motherboard is accidently pushing one of the capacitors (i think thats what they are) but it didnt show any noticable damage.
    Unfortunatly i dont have any spares to test it so will prob hav 2 buy them and hope.
  3. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Posts: 100

    What new parts are you going to buy? I wouldnt recommend just buying a new gear without getting the old stuff tested.
  4. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    Hi I am thinking of trying a new motherboard or graphics card, as i think these are the most likely causes.

    I will try the RAM in another machine later but that is the only thing i can test.

    Do you know if i could put my pci express graphics card in another machines normal PCI slot (but that has an AGP graphics card slot not a PCI express?)
  5. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    I have an msi manual and it says that the fault is either vga bios or base and extended memory test fail. Try removing ram first, use a pencil eraser on the edge connectors then carefully blow the dust away then refit and try, if that doesn't work then try the same thing with your graphics card.

    A pci express graphics card is called a pci express graphics card because it goes into a pci express slot, trying to fit it into any other slot is a really really bad idea as it will damage the graphics card or the mobo or both.
  6. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    lol ok wont try fitting it in another machine then!

    Will try your suggestions when i get back from work, i can also swap RAM with another machine.

  7. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Have you properly cleaned the northbridge & re-applied some thermal paste on the northbridge & heatsink surface ? You can also try a clear cmos if you haven't already.
  8. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    Yea have cleaned the northbridge and re-applied the thermal paste.

    Have not tried to clear the CMOS yet, how do i do that?

  9. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    I have tried the RAM in another machine and it is fine as is the power supply.

    I have no other means of trying the rest of hardware.

    Might just take a gamble and go for a new motherboard.

    update: have just had a closer look at the motherboard and have noticed that is has a scratch on it on the underside of the circuitboard. Prob when taking it out of the case!
  10. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Your mobo book will tell you how to clear the cmos!!!!!
  11. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30


    here is a pic of the damage.

    what do you think?
  12. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    You never said there was any damage before!!!! Its hard to tell from that pic. You need to try to take another one without using the flash and having a lot of light on it instead.
  13. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Is that a glare or a big cold mark on it? It's sortof hard to tell if it's damaged or not, try what Rik said about the lighting
  14. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    this is the best i can do sorry
  15. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    I had a little play around with paintshop pro and as far as i can tell none of the scratches look bad enough to cause a problem!!

    A picture taken in natural light may be easier to work with tho!!!
  16. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    They dont look too bad but the circuitboard is silver where the scratches are and not brown
  17. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    The brown stuff is called solder resist and ive seen much more badly scratched pcb's than that that worked fine.

    I spent 15 years in the electronics trade and the last 6 of it as a quality control inspector. If i had your mobo infront of me i recon i could get it working.
  18. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30


    just found this on the edge of the circuitboard
  19. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    So do you think that it could be the graphics card not the motherboard?

    Do you think i could of damaged the Northbridge by trying to put the cooler on? possible static electric? i did make sure the case was plugged in but switched off.

    Thanks for all the help
  20. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    That doesnt look bad either!!! The one thing that may help is to very carefully run a very sharp blade inbetween the tracks just to make sure they are not shorting out to one another. If you decide to try this, be very very very careful!!!!!!!!

    [Edit] This may sound strange, but, have you tried removing and refitting the processor? I used to have an MSI 745 Ultra mobo that i sold to a friend that would stop working every time it was moved. I remove and refit the processor and the pc works fine. It is now on its 5th owner, who is another friend, and doing the processor thing works every time.
  21. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    i just dont understand it one minute it was working fine the next it is dead.

    what do you recon the best thing to do is?

  22. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    I have taken the memory out and then i get a beep code to tell me that it has no RAM.

    So the speaker is working correctly but i still get no beep code when i remove the graphics card and have it in.

    It all seems to work as if the system is booting correctly but i just dont get a signal, the monitor does not say no signal but just goes into standby. When the cable is disconnected from the computer it shows no signal.
  23. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Could be that the graphics card has died, you could try an old pci graphics card to confirm this if you have one.
  24. mturbo23

    mturbo23 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 30

    Unfortunatly i dont have a PCI express or know anyone who does. Ive only got AGP.
    So will prob have to risk either graphics or motherboard

    I did notice that the Northbridge was getting warm when i left it on for a while so power must be getting to it.
  25. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    I said an old pci, not an old pci-express!!!!
    The fact you get bleeps without the ram and nothing without the graphics card leaves me to believe its the graphics card is at fault here. An old pci card would confirm that one way or the other.
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