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Series of problems associated with PSU or Mobo?

By AnandV
Dec 6, 2008
  1. Hi guys,

    I'm hoping you can help me resolve some problems I've been having with my computer.

    I've owned the computer for about a year and a half and it has recently started acting up on me.

    Here are the specs:

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz
    Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i
    Memory: 4x OCZ Gold 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1100
    Videocard: EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB
    Harddisks: 2x Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA on striped RAID
    OS: Win XP Professional Edition

    About 4 days ago I went to use it and noticed that the system had frozen up (neither keyboard commands or mouse movement would register) so I restarted and everything worked fine.

    The next day it froze while displaying a windows error message balloon out of the taskbar saying something along the lines of "Cannot read from drive C" (which is a striped raid array)

    Today the computer shut off on its own. Following attempts to turn it on resulted in it running for 5 minutes before shutting off, then less than 1 minute before shutting off and finally less than a few seconds before shutting off.

    I tried unhooking things until I got to the mobo, CPU and a single stick of RAM. Next, I replaced my off brand 600W PSU, with a brand new Antec 650W to see if that would help. After hooking up just the CPU, mobo and RAM I turned on the power and things seemed to work fine so I progressively added my peripherals turning it off after about 30 seconds each time to hook up something else.

    Finally with everything hooked up I turned on the computer and it lasted about 10 minutes before going into that series of progressively shorter times it would stay on. It definitely doesn't stay on long enough to get into the BIOS and check anything in there.

    That's where I'm at now, and I thought I might look for some advice. A couple of questions I have:

    1. Do these PSUs have some sort of safety mechanism to prevent some sort of short in the mobo or other components from affecting the PSU itself? I wonder this because I'd hope to use this PSU to test out the other components one by one.

    2. If there is a short in say the mobo, am I endangering the other components by hooking them up and powering up?

    3. What would be the most likely culprit for these problems?

    4. Would the best option at this point be to continue tampering with it myself or to hand it off to a computer repair shop?

    Any advice you guys might have would be great.

    Thanks,

    -Anand

    P.S. I do want to mention that while time isn't a huge issue for me in getting this working, I would like to have this computer up and running without putting too much money into getting it fixed.
     
  2. Tedster

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

    any type of short is potentially dangerous to all/any parts hooked up.
    The only type of solution in your case is to start small- and add components one by one, ensuring first that you have a good PSU (tested with tools) and also checking that there is no short.

    Also test your ram with memtest 86+ booted from a floppy or CD
     
  3. AnandV

    AnandV TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So what are the chances then that I'm just propagating the errors in each part I reconnect so then any replacement parts that I hook up end up having some sort of problem where my computer cannot boot up?

    For example, what if originally my old PSU blew and created some sort of problem with the motherboard in the process and what if by hooking up the new PSU, the motherboard created some sort of problem in the new PSU? Now if I go out and buy a new motherboard and the new PSU has some problem what's to stop it from creating some sort of problem in the new motherboard?

    Would a decent name brand power supply these days have some sort of failsafe to keep it from doing anything like that?
     
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Check to be sure your heatsink is properly seated on your processor. Are your temps in the BIOS looking high? During the progressively shorter run times, what if you boot on one you expect to be short and then enter the BIOS and stay there, will it still shut off, if so are the temps going up during this period?
     
  5. seanc

    seanc TS Rookie Posts: 88

    I second the post about checking the heatsink, they're a pain to get seated correctly and one or two pegs may be loose so that the CPU is overheating.

    Also, striped RAID arrays are risky, I assume you know this but make sure you have current backups!
     
  6. AnandV

    AnandV TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I tried to get into the BIOS but it would not stay on long enough to navigate to check the temperatures, but I placed a hand over the heat sink at least and it felt cool to the touch. I guess that may not say much if its not seated correctly. I did try pushing it from a few different angles gently and it didn't budge.

    Anyway, I finally broke down and picked up a new motherboard and things seem to be working fine. Also, I'm kind of freaked out about seeing if it was the motherboard being faulty in the first place or if it was the powersupply going out and taking the motherboard with it. I don't want to test my old powersupply on the new motherboard and risk that.

    And yeah, I know the striped array is risky, but the computer is used only for recreational activities and my laptop is where I keep all my important documents etc.

    Thanks for all the help guys, and I guess next time I'll think twice before buying an off brand bargain power supply.
     
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