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Thread: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

  1. #1
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    Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    Hi all. Having a problem with a neighbours PC which I built for them around 18 months ago.

    Around a month ago the PSU died and I replaced it with a budget PSU from eBuyer. Machine had been OK since the new PSU installed until the other day.

    Hardware
    Asus A8N-E Motherboard
    250GB WD Sata 2 HD
    1GB Value Ram configured in duel channel
    ATI 800XL Video
    NEC DVD/CDRW

    OS
    Windows XP Home 32bit

    Symptoms
    Initially Windows would start to load but after a period of time the bar would stop and the machine would hang.

    I managed to get 1 start into safe mode but after this the machine would hang.

    Diagnostics done so far

    I decided to go straight into a re-install of the OS but the machine would not boot from the CD.
    The drive was identified in the BIOS but the naming ie NEC 103 DVD etc was corrupt. Suspecting a failing DVD drive I replaced with one I had kicking around, a Pioneer. This did the same in the BIOS.
    Next logical step was to replace the eide cable. This again did not fix the problem.

    One the next boot the machine appeared to identify the drive OK and the Windows XP install started although it seemed to be slower than usual.

    Some time into the install the machine hung. This repeated a number of times with the machine hanging at different intervals.
    I reset the CMOS. No change.

    SO..... At the moment I can get Windows to start the install but it fails.

    I’ve taken the HD out of the machine and put it an external cady. It’s currently running WD’s diagnostic software which will take a few hours. A quick test on the drive did not show any faults.
    After this I’ll test the memory together and independantly.
    Both processor and MB temps are well within bounds. Neither are much over 32’ so overheating does not appear to be a factor.
    Has anyone else had similar symptoms ? I'm hoping it's not the MB. It's always awkward when you build a machine for friends and something goes wrong !

    I have to say also that when I replaced the PSU I gave the machine a clean out. I had never seen as much dust in a mcahine before. This probably contributed to the oriogional PSU failing.

  2. #2
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    you've tried all the blatantly obvious things that I can think of.

    But I would try the following:

    1)Check all SATA/IDE Cables to make sure there installed properly
    2) Check memory is seated properly

    Other than that I have no idea.

    I'm not saying you should jump to this conclusion but it could just be the motherboard has been damaged.

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      • Storage:
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      • Case:
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    UPDATE :

    Disk checks out OK .... Now for the memory.

  4. #4
    boop, got your nose stevie lee's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    If the PSU died before, no reason to suspect it isn't doing again.. try a spare PSU you might have kicking around and a different power cable..

    and as many hexites say on this site say - "Don't buy cheap PSU's for self builds"..



    only other thing i would try (you've done the rest already) is completely take the system apart, thoroughly clean every piece - if it is as dusty as you said, then i suspect dust has got into one of the connector slots on the motherboard (where you plug in usb headers/ide/sata or the floppy) and causing a 'static electric short'.. then do a rebuild - try just 1 stick ram, cpu, gpu.. see if it boots..

    if it does then gradually add the other pieces one at a time.. whichever one causes it to not work, then that one will be the faulty bit...


    have you tried that NEC dvd in a different PC to see if it was faulty?

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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    After doing the memory test I'd recommend using DBAN to clear the HDD. Its an extremely good way to remove data from a hard drive. I found that doing this sorted the same problem I had a while back, must of been some sort of virus but all I know for sure is that DBAN sorted the problem

    If the problem persists after doing that then like freedom says its most probably the motherboard.

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    No-one's Fanboi Thorsson's Avatar
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    Motherboard, CPU, PSU. Could be any really. Trying a different PSU would be my next step, because that's the easiest.

  7. #7
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    • nick_h's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 2500K "Unlocked"
      • Memory:
      • 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 PC3-12800
      • Storage:
      • 60GB Corsair Force F60 + 6TB HD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 1280MB EVGA GTX 570 SC
      • PSU:
      • Corsair 850W HX Modular
      • Case:
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      • Operating System:
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    Stevie : Yeah I know what you mean about the PSU. Unfortunatley the pc was built within cash constraints so I was pretty much ham strung their ..

  8. #8
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    • nick_h's system
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      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 2500K "Unlocked"
      • Memory:
      • 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 PC3-12800
      • Storage:
      • 60GB Corsair Force F60 + 6TB HD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 1280MB EVGA GTX 570 SC
      • PSU:
      • Corsair 850W HX Modular
      • Case:
      • Coolermaster Cosmos S
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
      • Monitor(s):
      • Asus VG236H 23" + Benq 19" LCD
      • Internet:
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    OK guys I think ( fingers crossed ) it's sorted.

    I was a bit suspicious when I opened the case because the graphics card, although working, was just about hanging out of the slot.

    After about 10 hrs trying everything it looks like it was the chipset heatsink and fan. One of the clips had actually come out of the back of the MB so their was hardly any contact between the heatsink and the chipset.

    In my defense it was very hard to see !! I whipped the MB out, cleaned up the heatsink and stuck some thermal paste on.

    So far so good. XP has very nearly finished installing.

  9. #9
    boop, got your nose stevie lee's Avatar
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      • PSU:
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    Re: Hardware problem help with diagnosis LONG

    oh right then... Well done..

    you have to ask - because it was covered it dust and the graphics half hanging out.. how are your neighbours treating this PC? by the sounds of it not very well..

    I would give them a course on 'how to keep and maintain a healthy PC' if you have the time..


    On my previous PC, my NB chipset melted because the heatsink got dislodged, it took out pretty much everything that was plugged in, even the keyboard and mouse.. so i would test what you can on another PC before handing it back.. you don't want them coming back in a week saying 'this bit doesn't work' .

    After about 10 hrs trying everything....
    It sounds as though you've already done this though..

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