Motherboard(?) issues, PC won't boot any more

By ChrisIVX
Jun 5, 2010
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  1. Dear reader,
    I'm in a pickle now. Any help would really be brilliant because I can't get anywhere with this problem.
    Since I built my PC almost two years ago, I've had a few problems. In summary, right now, it just turns on. All the fans go round and it makes noise (I can hear hard disks whirring) but the monitor remains blank. Caps lock doesn't light anything up on the keyboard.
    It's the same as when I first built it and forgot the second motherboard power input, so I suspect the board. All power cables are plugged well in. I've also seen threads with people complaining about this one (ASUS P5NT-Deluxe), e.g.:
    http://www.motherboardpro.com/Asus-...nVidia-nForce-780i-ATX-Motherboard-p-470.html

    The other problem I have currently, which may be related, is some full screen flash videos (after 5-10 mins) will cause the PC to freeze up. The sign that it's coming is that first the mouse icon becomes warped (colourful, broken, misshapen, hard to see when moving), then the PC becomes completely unresponsive 30 seconds later (sometimes enough time to dive for the off button). This problem makes me think I have a bad video card.

    Finally when running some games (the Wolfenstein demo, and most recently Oblivion when using any official drivers *newer* than a certain version) the monitor goes black and the PC is unresponsive and and is still on (as per first paragraph) so needs a restart. In this case a restart often results in the PC staying on but still not booting, even if switched on and off. I don't know whether this is a motherboard or graphics issue, and it hasn't happened lately. Most games (Napoleon: TW demo, UT3) run with absolutely no problems on the latest drivers.

    relevant PC specs...
    intel e8500; 2x2gb OCZ ram (PC2 8500); Asus p5n-t deluxe; Asus GTX 280; corsair 750 W PSU

    best regards,

    Chris
  2. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I have tried the same video cable in the other DVI slot, and also have used the same monitor with my laptop via the analogue cable.
    I've tried with with one stick of RAM in different slots to no avail.
    I also tried putting the card into the two other slots but this didn't help.
    All wiring is definitely secure, but I don't have a voltmeter to check for power.
    My mobo manual mentions if nothing appears on screen it's likely failed some sort of start-up test. I'd like to try resetting the BIOS or something but don't very well know what to do there.
  3. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    What was the very last thing you did on your comp?

    Also, just take a quick look at the motherboard for anything that might be "off". This may be things like board discoloration, smells?, leaking capacitors, etc.

    Remove everything except CPU, RAM, graphics card. See if anything comes up.
  4. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I was downloading some anime, watching flash vid's and browsing the web - nothing intensive. I don't even use it for games much. The PC shut itself down without problems.

    I looked at the board and couldn't see anything out of order but I'm not sure if I would spot it (lots of tiny components, r/g colour blind). I then tried switching it on with only the CPU and it switched itself off after about 5 seconds.

    Switching on with only cpu, video and RAM (no hard drives, usb cables, disk drives) still gives no post. I forgot to remove the keyboard and mouse but that won't do anything right?

    thanks
  5. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    Then you've got a problem with one of those components. Probably not RAM though.

    Was thinking along the lines of getting struck by lightning/power surge. Maybe static, if you've been poking around inside. If the motherboard is burnt, you'd see discoloration around the area burnt, and its usually quite easily seen. Would be a huge coincidence if they look the same to you (due to your color blindness).

    Of course, one other possible problem is the power supply.

    Is it possible for you to swap components or something with another working computer? Without POST, I can't think of an easier way to check if your other components are working.


    And just one last thing you can try. I had a perpetually restarting computer quite awhile back, and it turned out to be the power/reset switch being stuck. Its a long shot, but you can try unplugging them from the motherboard and manually shorting out the "power" pin to turn on the PC. (They would be the same pins your power button plugs into on the motherboard).

    Like I said, its a long shot, and I thought about it because you mentioned it shut down by itself in 5 secs.


    BTW, no, your keyboard/mouse won't affect anything. Main thing is that you don't have anything else plugged into motherboard, like sound cards, RAID cards, etc.
  6. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Flatmate just came with a multimeter and we think it's not the supply. It's plugged in via a surge protector but the PC is on the carpet. I thought the chassis being shielded should protect it from static.
    He's offered to let me try the card in his PC once his show's finished recording.
    Since last night the PC's been pretty much stripped of non-essential parts and the easiest way to switch it on is via the switch pins, so that's not it unfortunately. I thought the PC shut down earlier because of there being too few components (cpu only). With graphics card in but not the extra power PCI-E plugs, I get the same response - on for a few seconds then the fans stop again and it's off. So, the video card and motherboard *are* communicating in some ways.

    Thanks for the help so far. I hope I can sort this.
  7. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    Well, GL.

    Good news is that your parts are still relatively recent, and any replacement would be easy to source.

    Good luck determining what the problem is. Update us (me :D)
  8. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Flatmate's changed his mind. He doesn't want to risk putting a faulty card in his PC. I won't argue with him on that, though I've no idea if he has reason to be concerned.
    Anyway, I don't suppose there are other ways to figure this out?
  9. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    Can't say if I know of any.

    But if I'd have to hazard a guess, it'd be a motherboard problem, but there is no way for us to confirm one way or another.
  10. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Hi,
    I just noticed the graphics card fan isn't going round. I tried different PCI-E power cables, and two of the three PCI-E slots, and it persists. Is it now definitely the card, or it is possible the fan is powered by the PCI-E slots and all three have lost their power?
    Note, there are some LEDs inside the video card that are definitely lit so it is getting some power. They are barely visible, under the plastic, so maybe they're for fault detection?

    I hope this is the answer. I just don't want to risk owning two perfectly good high(ish) end cards.
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

    Then what about putting his card in your PC?
     
  12. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    His had onboard graphics only.
  13. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I've just seen this thread which sounds frighteningly similar:
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic111577-5.html

    His fan wasn't going around either. The guy replaced his card to no avail and in the end a new motherboard did the trick.
  14. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    Like I said, unless you can put in another card, or plug that card into another system, you won't be able to confirm if its the problem. We can only speculate.

    And your friend isn't the only one that thinks like that. I run multiple computers, and even I feel reluctant to swap hardware around for troubleshooting sometimes. And these are MY comps....
  15. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Like I said, I won't argue with him on it. I mean it's his decision :)

    Ok I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the assistance. I may get back in about a week to say which it was.

    Chris
  16. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Hi, I have some news. Unfortunately it's not good.
    I RMA-ed the card and they say they have tested it as working.
  17. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Will Windows allow me to buy any new motherboard? Look's like I'll have to do some research again...
    And just to check - is there any way it could be the CPU?
  18. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    it has to be the exact same motherboard.

    However, apparently you MIGHT get lucky if you phoned in and told them your motherboard fried, and this is a replacement. No guarantees on this.

    And again, it could be CPU, RAM or motherboard. No way to confirm without additional hardware.
     
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

    Technically, according to the EULA, CMH may be correct but in practice you might be able to. For example, this year I replaced bad motherboards on two PCs with new ones and both times Windows XP Home activated online normally without problems. One board was a different brand (old=MSI, new=Gigabyte) with different Nvidia chipsets. The other board was the same brand, Gigabyte, with a different chipset (old=Intel P35, new=P45). In both cases the rest of the old hardware was reused. If the activations didn't work, I was prepared to reinstall with a brand new copy of Windows that I have on hand but it turned out I didn't need it. Technically I was going to reuse the old CD over again and just use the new product key but the old product key worked just fine.

    I wasn't sure it was going to work but it did. I don't know for certain if yours will too but my point is try it first and see.
  20. ChrisIVX

    ChrisIVX TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Hi there all,
    Just to say this issue has finally been resolved. I got my graphics card back from RMA but they said there was nothing wrong with it. I got the motherboard back, fixed, and am now typing from my main gaming PC.

    thank you all for your help,

    Chris
  21. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

    Thanks for the update.
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