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Machine has entered a downward spiral ever since taking an airplane ride...

By Vehementi
Dec 31, 2003
  1. Hello all,

    Recently I flew with my computer down here to sunny San Diego for a week-long vacation.
    Now the first thing it did when I hooked it all up and everything was connected was turn on, the fans and IDE drives spun up, but there wasn't a signal to the monitor. So, I turned it off and switched off the PSU switch for a few (like 10) seconds, then tried again. It worked fine. Then I tried to restart from within Windows some time later, and it did it again - no signal to the monitor.
    Again, switching the power off then back on again seemed to fix it.
    Then, another time I booted it up, it did it again, only a power on/off didn't help at all. So, I started getting scared, and checked to see that everything was alright inside my computer. It sure looked like it, so I plugged everything back in and tried to boot up again. It didn't work the first time, so I powered on then off, like I did the earlier times, and it worked fine again.
    And so, for the past week, it's been doing this intermittently, not every time I booted up, but pretty close.
    Then finally, this morning, it will not work at all. No matter what I do, I can never get a signal to the monitor. I reseated everything, except the CPU. Tried a barebones boot, nothing. Tried barebone booting even without the memory, same exact problem, so I don't think it's the memory. So, it could be the CPU, system board, or the video card. I don't think it's the video card (which was my primary suspect all along), because I tried another video card in it (actually the first video card I ever owned - Matrox G400 - I gave it to my dad who I'm staying with and he still has it). I have long warranties on the CPU and the system board, and they're both new anyway. It sounds like it's my system board, which wouldn't be a problem since I could just RMA it, the biggest hassle would be to take off my heatsink (Thermalright SP94 :dead: ), the same for my CPU. If it was my video card, I'll just buy a new one, no big deal, probably an FX5600XT for $120.
    The system board is an ASUS P4P800 Deluxe, the CPU a Pentium 4 2.6C (800MHz FSB, HT), and the video card is a (aging) Gigabyte Maya AP64D (Radeon 8500LE). Also, the PSU is a 350W Enermax.
    This didn't start happening until I flew on the airplane. I'm sure there was some undue stress on it at times, could have been enough to mess up something. I was mainly wondering if anyone's had this problem before, and of course how to fix it.

    Thanks in advance and also for reading this far :)
     
  2. SubKamran

    SubKamran TS Rookie Posts: 166

    I had a problem with signal to the monitor when I overclocked my CPU. It had to do with my new video. I reset it to default and all worked fine...
     
  3. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Manufacturers recommend removing large heavy heatsinks, such as the 570g Thermalright SP94, prior to transporting your PC. Sharp movements during transportation can caused damage to your mainboard (e.g. hairline fractures in the copper pcb traces, etc.). That type of issue would certainly cause intermittent behaviour, such as you mentioned. I don't think your warranty will cover you, but you could try your hand and see how it goes.
     
  4. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Ouch, that seems like a possibility. You would think the IHS (Intel Heat Spreader) would protect against something like this, but the rest of the CPU (not the core) was definitely at risk.

    You said damage to my mainboard, is that possible? The SP94 has a cool little mounting system, there's a plate under it that screws into the heatsink from the 4 mounting holes. The plate has a little foam pad on it to keep it from doing anything bad.

    Do you think it damaged my system board or my CPU? The system board would be an awful lot easier to RMA as I'm sure they fail more often.
     
  5. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,977   +15

    Im with Nic, it probably did your motherboard. You might want to check copper pcb traces and caps. My uncle (who isnt some comp.n00b) who paid $700ASD for a 9800 PRO, barely hairlined a copper trace while putting a Zalman heatsink on there. Totally broke the card.
     
  6. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    At the moment the motherboard seems to be the culprit behind the problem to me, could have been the CPU if it is some 32bit Athlon Proc due to the absence of a IHS equivalent. 570g is damn heavy for a heatsink, it is possible that the heavy heatsink had rip of bits of the motherboard due to the extra strain on the area if the motherboard where the HSF is attached to.

    It is even advisable by manufacturers to remove a heavy HSF prior to even short distance travel, like to LAN centres.
     
  7. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    I'm going to break away from the pack and suggest you check the power supply. I worked on a unit that was intermittent (the plane trip may NOT have been the culprit) and found fluctuating voltage. Just a thought.

    Of course you know the REAL reason you're having probs is because you didn't take us with you, right? ;-)
     
  8. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,704

    Thanks for the help guys, I'll RMA my system board with newegg. They are the best I've dealt with at this stuff.

    I don't think it's the PSU, not only because I've had PSU problems before (Goddamn Raidmax 400W) and I know what they look like, but I had been using this PSU for months before with my Athlon XP and have never had a problem with it. Enermax makes excellent PSUs anyway :)
     
  9. JimShady23

    JimShady23 TS Maniac Posts: 373

    Well

    I know this may be a really far fetched idea, but i know that airplains carry a lot of static....Flying through the air at 400 mph tends to lead to a dry cold enviorment. Is it possible that there could have been some type to stactic dicharge either through the packaging or somthing else that could of effected your system ? I know the plexi that is on the side of you case will hold a ton of stactic, lay it on the carpet one time and rub it around a little next time you take your side panal off...garuntee you will get a zap if its dry enough out...Now I have no clue how this could happen....it is just a thought so guys dont argue with me cause I am just throughing this out there
     
  10. sabenfox

    sabenfox TS Rookie Posts: 20

    another mystery unsolved....
     
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