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Serious Computer Help (not simple fix)

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Neero, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Neero

    Neero Sleep-deprived

    Jul 29, 2004
    Hi GNG!

    Two weeks ago my home computer died. Here is what happened:

    The computer was idling as it normally was when I'm going to sleep (I rarely turn it off.) As I'm dozing I hear a pop sound that I believe was a pop up message or warning of some kind (I never got to see what exactly it was.) The sound happened three times and I ignored it. Shortly after the third pop my computer turned off - no powering down sounds that I remember. At first I assumed it was automatically updating and rebooting. But, the system never powered back up and when I consider it actually powered off and didn't shut down normally, I believe the power just flat cut out. As it stands now, the computer does not turn on at all. No power whatsoever, no fans, no beeps, no lights.

    So far I have replaced the power supply to no avail. Exact same symptom with a new PSU - no power at all.

    This weekend I plan to strip out all my components to test for a short, but my fear is that it is the motherboard. (Could possibly be the case wiring, I guess... we'll see.) The system is a custom one I built ~4 years ago now. My main issue is the following:

    My primary hard drive is a RAID0 array composed of two 74GB drives. If I'm forced to replace the motherboard, I'll have no existing hardware RAID array and will have to set up a new one through the new Mboard. In the past when I've had to do this, I've lost all my data. So, is there a way to install a new RAID0 array on a new motherboard but not wipe the data on the existing drives?

    Thanks much for any help anyone can offer,
  2. ppcrusa


    Dec 13, 2002
    Check your motherboard capacitors for bulging or rupture. disconnect power from all devices like the cd/dvd drive, floppy, hard drives, and internal cards.
    The power supply could have went out on you, taking the mb with it.
    Also, on some power supplies that do not have separate rails, one device can also cause others to fry when it goes.
    Did you happen to smell any burning smells? If so, might have been something like the vid card or CPU.
    Best of luck.

  3. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

    Dec 28, 2000
    Buy the same make/model motherboard you now have and plug it in?

    You now know why backing up is such an important thing, right? After all, you've already lost all your data once... :tongueout:
  4. AR-Jim


    Apr 25, 2007
    Describe the 'pop' you heard.

    If you heard a pop and the computer died - and a new PSU isn't helping, I'd almost bet money it's a capacitor on the MB.
  5. Neero

    Neero Sleep-deprived

    Jul 29, 2004
    Didn't smell anything burning. I'll take a closer look at the capacitors.

    Unfortunately, I searched extensively today for the same make/model of MB. The manufacturer still supports it, but none are for sale at any online site or on Ebay. Best I'll be able to do is get one with the same specs so I won't have to trash my processor, vid card, and RAM when rebuilding my system.

    And I'm certainly going to take a new approach to backing up data :) I got kind of lazy over the past year. Most of my stuff is stored on a standard harddrive though. I'm mainly just going to lose programs and settings that I had exactly how I liked. More a pain than any real material loss.

    Forget RAID0 in the future though. Was great when I used my system for gaming, but it's become a glorified stereo and word processor lately. Don't really think I need the .5% faster performance anymore, heh.

    Thinking about it, I *may* be able to boot into Windows on one of my backup drives and work to recover the RAID array from there. This is going to be an interesting Christmas project.
  6. Neero

    Neero Sleep-deprived

    Jul 29, 2004
    I *think* it was a pop up sound through the speakers, but I was half asleep when I noticed this happening so I can't be sure. I'll be checking the capacitors tonight.
  7. As much as I hate saying it I found many old motherboards on eBay to repair an old PCs to the exact configuration they were in before failures.
  8. zodiacbw


    Apr 3, 2008
    Buford, GA
    If you want to be daring you could jump the 4th and 7th pin on your ATX power connector. This forces the power supply to turn on. That's 4 and 7 looking into the connector when disconnected from motherboard, both on the same side the clip is on.
  9. DoubleWide


    Sep 3, 2008
    That will only prove his old psu is good. He's already purchased a new one and the system doesn't work.

    No lights and a good psu. vote for blown capacitor. You could always try to solder a new one if you're electrically inclined.

    What mobo you looking for?
  10. Big Al 24

    Big Al 24

    Apr 23, 2008
    The only downfall in the motherboard replacement plan (I think it's the motherboard too) is if it took other components with it when it died. If something shorted on the motherboard, there is a good chance it fried your stripe. RAID 0 is very sensitive to hard shut downs especially when the RAID card is part of the motherboard.
  11. Neero

    Neero Sleep-deprived

    Jul 29, 2004
    An exact replacement would be a Gigabyte GA-K8NS Pro. Unfortunately even replacing with the exact same board will cost me my BIOS and RAID settings, so anything that supports a 20pin PSU connection, 184 DIMM RAM, 2x SATA, 8x AGP, and a socket 754 AMD processor will suffice. There's quite a few Asus and MSI boards on Ebay in the $40-60 range so I'll be okay in the end, I guess. Just poor timing for outright computer death for me :)

    I'll definitely try replacing the capacitor if I can find one obviously fried. Hopefully nothing else in the system died.
  12. justinsn95

    justinsn95 Im in jail...

    Well as much as i hate to say it, when something like this goes wrong you may end up spending as much troubleshooting the old computer as you would have if you just bought a new $300 tower from tiger direct. I recommend them a lot, as you can get a certified refurbished PC there (tower only, i assume your monitor is still good) with a 1 year warranty for about half the price of the very same computer, off the shelf at best buy. It's really a good deal, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
  13. CaliMoon2005- L

    CaliMoon2005- L

    Mar 18, 2007
    This sound like a prank....... One clue you say you was was going to sleep and heard 3 "pop" and the first thing that "pop" in your mind was that you thought the system was updating and was rebooting. I think what you did was while you was falling asleep, you trip over a glass of water and short circuit the motherboard, that's what cause the popping sound.

    I have never seen a cap fail before unless it was short circuit....
  14. Detectorist


    Jul 16, 2008
    "I have never seen a cap fail before unless it was short circuit...."

    You haven't been around very long, have you. It's relatively common for caps to fail in computers. I've seen it many times.
  15. From your crammer I detect and non-native English speaker, no?

    Asus had an several entire production runs fail prematurely due to capacitor failure and it involved thousands of motherboards, I owned 5 of them. Where do you get your experience? Mine was as an electronics tech for 35 years finalizing as a maintenance coordinator for COMPAQ computers?

    :upeyes: :dunno: :whistling:
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  16. CaliMoon2005- L

    CaliMoon2005- L

    Mar 18, 2007
    Gee thanks for your attention to my NON-Native English...

    Foremost, I would like to say, that you still look young for serving 35yrs in a electronic tech field and now a Compaq Maintenance Coordinator. If you are aware Asus is and was never a great computer to start of with!!!! I will not mention how many years I have in nor what kind of field nor line of work I do, just say I know my stuff.... Cap rarely fail, unless it was poorly produce.

    My final notes, Compaq is never was a great company to buy a computer from.... they are cheap and poorly made.... The only company I rely on when I am in the market for a computer is Dell, IBM. You know the saying... "You get what You pay for" :) :)
  17. corpseal


    Sep 18, 2005
    Capacitor failure in not only computers, but also other electronics, is not uncommon. I just replaced the capacitors on my ATI agp video card- they were bulging and overflowing, and the card would no longer provide a signal. Capacitor failure on their Socket A (462) motherboards was the primary reason for the demise of Soltek (at one point, they were sending out capacitors to owners who wanted to replace theirs), and caused much grief for several other mb manufacturers. That is not to say that some other components did not also contribute to the capacitor failures. Many of the current mbs contain solid-state capacitors, which are deemed to be more robust and less prone to failure.
  18. There was story circulating on one web site that repaired a lot of the bad ASUS boards. Someone stole the design of a new capacitor technology, a prototype.

    It was not ready for release and all the capacitors came out of Communist China and flooded the OEM market. All the brnads of boards made with these caps had nearly 100% failure and a half a dozen manufacturers were involved in some sort of product recall and repairs.