PC suddenly died, motherboard or cpu problem?

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My pc suddenly died while I was using it. At the time I was doing nothing more than surfing the net with one browser open. I heard a pop (like a balloon popping) and the pc slowly died like the current was being drained. There was no power outage at the time, plus it was connected to a surge protector. All other things connected to the power bar are still working fine. There was no smoke or burnt smell. When I opened the case I could hear something loose in the power supply so I figured that was the prob & replaced it with a brand new one. The pc is still dead. Nothing happens when I try to turn it on. I have tried removing all of the components one by one & still no luck. The only sign of life is the little green light next to the PCI slots on the mobo. I have not tried to remove the processor as of yet... Is the problem the motherboard or the processor? How can I tell? (I don't have another pc to test with.) Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks.


TechSpot Chancellor
When your PSU fried it may have taken the motherboard and anything attached to it with it. If you don't have a new core two duo or a new socket AM2 processor now is the perfect time to consider an upgrade if you have the money. Rebuilding old technology is often wasted money; it just depends how old you're talking about.

Replace your motherboard and attach just the devices you'll need to boot your computer. You'll need your PSU :p, processor, video card, hard drive, memory and CD ROM. You'll probably have to reinstall Windows too.


TS Enthusiast
Check the jumpers on the motherboard

the motherboard has his own self defense mechanism , check and see if your missing a jumper. also replace the battery of your motherboard , before you start buyng parts .

remember that sometimes Simple solutions , can solve the
most complex Problems.


TS Enthusiast
i dont know what your talking about , i am refering to jumpers.

jumpers: this little pastic things spread all around the motherboard.
that interrupts the circuits to aboid damage.
As far as I can tell the jumpers are ok. I've tried cleaning the whole pc with air, & the psu is brand new. Should I be looking at the cpu instead of the mobo since the LED lights up when I plug it in? (That is the only sign of like that I get from it.) Should I reseat the cpu?

Here are my specs, I had forgotten to post them:

Asus A7N8X-X
AMD Athlon XP 1600+ (not 100% sure on the speed)
Kingston RAM PC3200, 2 X 512Gig & 1 X 256Gig
HD Maxtor 40 Gig
HD Maxtor 250 Gig
ATI Radeon 9200 SE
Sound Blaster Live! (yes I know this card is ancient!)

There are also three case fans (two of which I added myself)


TechSpot Chancellor
Cinders is giving you the best advice in post 2. The popping noise was almost certainly the PSU giving up.
Disconnect everything from the m/board including all the front panel connections, take out the RAM and all cards.
Connect only the power cables from the new PSU
Start by shorting out the two pins where the power btn on the front panel connects. You should get a string of beeps. This is good! No beeps means either the new PSU is bad or the domino effect killed the board. Check also the fuse in the mains supply cable to the PSU (on the monitor is usually easiest) - sometimes these go with the PSU.
If beeps - stop, refit RAM and restart - get beeps? Stop and fit VGA card. Restart and you should get one beep only. One beep is good. Stop. Reconnect hard drive and resart - it should boot. Keep adding bits until you find what stopped it.
Last week we had a similar problem caused by a failed power button. This process will find faulty components by simple elimination - dunno how many times I have done it but it always gets a result and no expensive diagnostic kit.


TechSpot Chancellor
I was a bit premature when I suggested that you purchase a new motherboard without first trying a new PSU. Beg, borrow or steal (no not literally) a PSU and test the old setup. If you end up buying a new PSU then please make sure it has at least five-hundred watts so it can power a new computer too. If it's a no go and you have the money, I'd definently up grade to something newer. Your old Athlon did a good job but needs to be retired (or dedicated to folding@home or seti@home) if you can afford to do so.


TS Evangelist
The popping noise could be anything, and power supplies usually fail soundlessly.
Popping noise could easily have been a capacitor. Look at the little barrel-like units sticking up from the motherboard in the vicinity of the cpu. Look for bulging or rounded tops, bulging sides, splits in the metal, and evidence of a grey-black, or rust-brown powder around the base of any of them.
Also, look at the second largest chip on the board to see if the pins have pulled out on any of the four corners. Do a smell test for a strange or oily burned odor.
You can buy a power supply tester for $9 to $12 at CompUSA, most all-service computer stores, and some Radio Shacks that will test the power supply. Or try the power supply in another computer, or any other power supply in that one.
Also check the cpu fan... basically check over the entire board carefully.
Hard drives of certain brands will also pop when a glass platter breaks... and has been widely reported.
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