rant and advice request on 2 pcs dying in a week

By iphigenie
Nov 3, 2007
  1. NOTE: this is a long story but hang in there, I tried to make it a little entertaining too. And I could use some advice on the puzzling thing that happened to PC#4 as I thought I had seen it all and that one is new to me.

    I am telling it as a story because I am stumped and I dont know what is relevant anymore.


    The story starts quite innocently...

    We're a 2 person household here, spread between 2 houses which are quite far away. Which means that shuffling PCs and screens around got old real quick.

    So the solution was to buy enough bits to do a new computer, so we would have 4, 2 in each location.

    While I was at it I bought new cases for all of them, cause the old cases all had started having broken doors or usb ports and all. Besides the Antec Solo is a great case with nice soundproofing at a great price and once one of the PCs had it all the others had to have it too.

    Sounds harmless so far, right? PC1 and 2 are alive and singing.

    -- sounds of birds singing and all --

    Of course it got worse when we did the others, which were for the most part just moving the old stuff to a new case

    -- ominous music --
  2. iphigenie

    iphigenie TS Rookie Topic Starter


    PC3 was my old main PC, now my secondary machine back at home.
    I changed *nothing* on that PC, all we did was move components to the new case.

    PC3, the specs

    - antec true power 380W PSU
    - abit nf7 v2.0
    - athlon xp 3200
    - 1.5 gb of nondescript ddr ram
    - sapphire 9800 Pro (the silent version, cant remember what they call it)
    - big massive hedgehog style heatsink with silenx fan
    - 2 120Gb Seagate IDE drive, the most silent model they made in IDE
    - the usual set of silent fans, quiet DVD drive, rubber grommets, vibration dampeners

    The story

    All of these had been stable for ever in my old case

    So anyway we move all of this to the new case, plug it all in, turn power on. PSU blows

    We grab another PSU off ebay, wait 2 days, plug new PSU in.

    PSU doesnt blow (that's progress) but nothing appears on screen.

    Weird smell - wire on the case-sound-connectors is smoking

    Panic, pull power cable off

    Unplug sound connector cable, try again.

    Nothing fries, but nothing starts either. No HD activity beyond power up. I think Mobo wont post

    In Summary (updated)

    Some of mobo / ram / cpu must be considered dead
    Will power up, all fans except northbridge fan power up, light on mobo light up
    I think it doesn't post - I dont even have a pc speaker to be sure, trying to get my hands on one
    ram seems fine in other pc
  3. iphigenie

    iphigenie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Small Interlude, my other PC goes on strike

    PC4 - In Summary

    Was moved to new case recently but has been working
    Stopped working when changing some external connections - VGA and sound!!!
    AGP card confirmed working in another pc. Cant do the same for DDR or CPU at the moment unless I try on dead pc3
    I think it won't post - I dont even have a pc speaker to be sure, trying to get my hands on one

    Remove and put back all components
    Reset CMOS

    It works again

    I Still dont understand how this could have upset the machine! And I really didnt need that when the other PC is already playing dead!!
  4. iphigenie

    iphigenie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So back to PC3

    * Nothing looks wrong on the mobo
    * won't POST
    * RAM works when put in other PC. Havent done a full test yet but it seems ok
    * Next step is to try the CPU


    So what happened?

    1. There is the possibility that we plugged to sound connectors wrong, but we did check the docs so I find it hard to believe. Although the antec case connectors are 1 block so it is just possible it didnt fit the layout and we misread the manual. Still, how that (this is the connection to the headphone/mic connectors on the front of the case so nothing really sensitive I'd have thought) would make the PSU fry and kill a motherboard is beyond me. But it's just plausible enough that it might have caused some sort of short I guess....

    2. The PSU blew 'just because' and that caused some damage to the motherboard. That damage in turn caused current to melt the sound connectors. It could all have been waiting to happen but moving things to another case shuffled some dust etc. and made it happen

    3. Something else went wrong and that made the PSU blow and the wire melt
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