TechSpot

Hardware poltergeist

By silverwingz
Jan 21, 2008
  1. The 2 year history of problems surrounding my ghostly machine. No one has been able to solve its issues yet.

    I bought this computer new 2 years ago. I built it at CyberPower inc. it cost me about $1100. It came with an MSI K8N Neo4-F mobo, an Nvidia 7800GT, a WD Raptor 10k RPM Hard drive, and AMD Athlon 64+ 939pin cpu, and a standard 450w power supply. Well from the git go, I was having little bitty graphics fluxes where the colors on the screen would twist and turn and it would freeze, usually I would hard restart the computer but if I let it go, about 4 hours later the computer would restart itself and give me a start up error saying that there was a problem with the graphics card drivers. well this acually came in seasons, only on hot summer days would the driver problem happen, I never had it happen on a cold day (in fact I had a "Wind Tunnel" house fan that I stuck on the side of the computer that fixed the problem for a while) anyways after a while it started happening more and more frequently and so I contacted 3 different tech supports and between the 3 we came to the conclusion that it was hardware malfuntion with the video card itself. so then I sent the video card back in but they didnt give me back the 7800GT, they upgraded me to a 7900GS, for a week or so this worked out great, but then it happened again and so I knew it couldnt be the graphics card, but whatever I shrugged it off and kept "just dealing with it". One morning maybe a month after the new video card, it wouldnt turn on, I checked all the connections and everything, no luck. So I figured it might be the PSU so I plugged that into another computer and sure enough it didnt work. So then I along with a tech support came to the conclusion.. the psu was blown. So there I am back at newegg ordering the psu im using now, the "Apevia 680w Beast power". As soon as I put it in, everything lit up blue and it looked great. Everything worked fine, for a few weeks. Then I starting having this problem where I would start up the computer and it would give me a normal beep signal, but when it got to the windows loading screen it would just sit there (the green bar going left to right) once I even let this run for 8 hours before restarting it. Anyways it would do this probably 1 out of every 3 starts, it got more and more frequent untill it would get stuck 9 out of 10 times. then out of the blue I started to get a different beep signal, 1 long and 2 short, when I looked this up on the online manual it says "A video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot intialize the video screen to display any additional information " another website I looked at said that it was a problem with the PCI-E slot itself. so I now was looking at replacing my mobo, so I bought a new mobo and installed it. When I installed it, I got no beep signal, no video display, nothing. so I called tech support and they help me to the realization that it was DOA (or so I thought) (yeh I know, it seems this is never going to end) anyways I sent it back in and got a refund. After a month of looking for a new mobo, I came to the realization that the socket 939s are going out of style and that to replace I would need to upgrade to an AM2, so after a month or so break from all the insanity, I figured one night (acually last night) why not plug everything back in and see if it just didnt need time or something. maybe I could think differently about it now. well when I plugged it all back in, I got no beep signal and no video, but everything else started up and ran fine. so I went through all the steps, you know, unplug the ram one at a time, break it down to the bare essentials, but still nothing, no signal.

    So I dont know, im sooo close to getting on the highway goin about 90mph, rolling down the passenger side window, and chuckin it, seeing it smash to pieces in my rear view mirror. god that would be awesome. other that the fact that im broke with no cash to replace it.

    anyways if you have any ideas or possible fixes or anything I haven't thought of yet it would be awesome if you could post it or something. Im this close to shaking chicken bones at this thing, I dont know what could possibly fix this.
     
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Drivers and video cards problems are the usual causes with those components.
     
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    If it doesn't give any beeps without the RAM sticks in, it's dead. Also, check for places where the mobo might be touching the case and shorting out.
     
  4. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    the only place I can think of would be where its screwed into the metal plate holding it in. I never really thought of that as a problem but it could be. would that have been the cause of everything? oh and I read on a website that to test that, you can put it on a table and turn it on, I have a card table I guess I could try that on. there isnt any metal on the table, but would it still short out?
     
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    No, without metal it won't short out.
     
  6. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    ok cool, taking it apart now
     
  7. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    well ****, its still not working. I put it all spread out on the table and still nothing. do you think it could be because of something with the cpu? or does that even matter to the beep signal?
     
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    As I said before, no beep when no RAM is installed means it's dead, if it's stated as such in the motherboard manual. Alternatively, try reseating the CPU and it's heatsink, as well as clearing the CMOS by removing the onboard battery for about a minute or two and putting it back in.
     
  9. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    when I took my cpu off to get my mobo out, it came off with the heatsink. I dont have any thermal gel or w/e is used to attach it to the heat sink so I just left it attached. I read in a guide that you have to place the cpu on the socket, then lock it in place, and then put the heat sink on. insted ive been just setting it back into the socket w/the heatsink attached. do you think this could be causing the problem? like I mean does it need to be locked in place?
     
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    you need to TEST ram with a tester program. Just because it boots or runs for a while doesn't mean the ram isn't faulty. Run memtest 86+ for at least 7 passes. Boot off a floppy or CD.

    also check your PSU with a tester and multimeter. Just because the system boots doesn't mean you don't have a faulty rail.

    And of course check your drivers.
     
  11. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    lol the system isnt booting. I mean it isnt even passing the post. so I couldnt run anything if I tried
     
  12. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    Ok good news! fixed one problem. I wasnt seating the cpu correctly, when I lifted up on the heat sink the cpu came with it, so when reinstalling I didnt even think to lock it back into place but to just set it back in heatsink/cpu and all. well when i pryed the cpu off of it I locked it back in, put everything back together and then I heard the magical "Beep!" it was music to my ears, and on my screen it displayed "Platinum" which is the brand or edition of my bios.

    well after staring at the "Platnum" logo for about 10min I realized that it still isnt posting. Its just sitting there and I cant get it to go past =(

    so umm does anyone have a remedy for moving it on?
     
  13. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    ok so I think I have located the problem, this is both good and bad. I unplugged the hard drives and it let me go into the bios set up which I think indicates an issue with the hard drives. So im gonna look for another hard drive around the house or something maybe it will work.
     
  14. Flyeroz

    Flyeroz TS Rookie

    When you were in BIOS did you reset it to factory defaults?
    Check the date, make sure it's correct & run auto detect for your drives.
    Does anything come up?
    If not double check connections to your HDD & try again.
     
  15. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    I got my first hard drive to work, I thought there was an issue with it but apparently not. it loads up ok and everything now. still having a few issues. one being vista and its annoying file transfer issues. something I was curious of though.. neither of my hard drives will light up or open, and I know they worked before. I know I have them plugged and everything. on my old old computer I had an issue where they werent recognized by my system but they still would open and everything. any suggestions?
     
  16. Flyeroz

    Flyeroz TS Rookie


    You mean your optical drives will not work?
    By "not recognized by my system" do you mean BIOS or Windows?
    Can you see them in BIOS?
    If the problem is with Windows try reinstalling your motherboard drivers.
    Can you see them in "Device Manager"?
    If so delete all entries & reboot.
    Windows should find them after restart.
    Try one drive at the time, try different cable if you have one.
     
  17. silverwingz

    silverwingz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    well I guess there was dust in power plugs or something but I cleaned them out and they work fine now. only thing left is to figure out a way to get the data off my dead hard drive. when I plug it in, my comp wont make it past the bios screen. so I think that hard drive is fried =( o well. Thanx for everything guys
     
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