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ASUS P4t533C boot-up provides power to fans and drives, but no beep from POST or signal to monitor

Posted on 2005-03-20
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I have an INTEL 3gig 533sysbus CPU on an ASUS P4T533C with a gig of Samsung PC1066 RDRAM and an nVidia Quadro4 900XGL vidieo card in an ANTEC PLUS1080AMG soho server case with 430w PS, seven case fans, one 120gig WD HDD, a SONY DVD and SONY CDRW.
I keep my machine running 24/7 most of the year.  This past week after doing some drawing work withi Autocad, the computer did not recover from it sleep mode the following morning.
I had to cold boot it, but got no beep, I took the cover off and used the compressed air liberally to clean it out.  However, upon boot, still no joy, same resutls, I get no beeps or response from the monitor, but the fans and drives get power.
When I shared my dilemma with a few frieinds they deduced it had to be the processor (one was an AMD maven tho').
Anyhow, without any recourse I went out and purchased a new processor and had a friend who is DELL certifified install it.   Still no joy, same results.  He and I went through a few other typical troubleshooting efforts, "by the book", eventually unplugging everything but the processor and leaving the video card installed, but no success.
I am now left with the possiblity of replacing the video card, but a new comparable video card would be a ~$500 purchase.
NOTES:
I have made no hardware/software upgrades for several months
My home office is carpeted, with some static issues (I will be installing laminated flooring later this year.)
When I pulled the old processor out, the identity marks could still be read (no burns)

 Can someone give me a better resolution?  
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Question by:mdwebneck
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14 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:mdwebneck
ID: 13587411
another NOTE:
I am running Windows XP Professional and aside from a few battles with Microsoft incompetencies, computer has served me well since the Spring of 2003
(SP2 had to be removed when it corrupted my Norton AV and the opsys re-installed last year and I refuse to reinstall that service pack, I now use the free AVG since Norton would not let itself be re-installed),
 
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:smiffy13
ID: 13587630
My guess is the power supply. I've had a similar problem, fans start up etc, but no post.
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Expert Comment

by:DabRain
ID: 13587827
If you must check the video card, borrow an older PCI from anyone and try that, also see if someone can test run your agp card, if your pc boots then it is definitely a video card issue, if you try another agp card and it doesn't boot then there is a likely hood of the agp having been toasted.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:sciwriter
ID: 13588067
<< I keep my machine running 24/7 most of the year >>

That is the problem -- you are fighting disk reliability and endurance.

EVERY windows system, including XP, needs to be shut down about once every 36-48 hours.  Sorry, if you thought it would last UPTIME forever, someone sold you a scam job.  It will NOT, NOT, NOT !!

The registry MUST be saved and refreshed about every 100 app iterations -- typically 24 hours or more.  So do it, and a lot of these problems will disappear.

You are suspecting hardware, and quite honestly, you are putting your faith in the LEAST RELIABLE COMPONENT of the whole equation -- MS software.

So change your approach.  Delete ALL hibernation, stop ALL poeer savings,  kill any illusion that MS OSs can last from one day to the next, and run MS as it should be run -- don't trust it for more than a day, shut it down and restart it every morning -- NO power savings, NO hibernation.  You might fight it, but it is the ONLY way it works!!
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Author Comment

by:mdwebneck
ID: 13588141
I was able to install the video card into another machine to test it and that machine had no problem with the video card, so it looks like the motherboard is the victim and my guess is that a possible ESD is the culprit.
Anyhow, I shall be shopping for a new motherboard.
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Expert Comment

by:spongiejm
ID: 13593817
Before you go out and buy another MB, maybe you should check and make sure the memory is ok. Sometimes when the memory fails, problems similar to the one you describes may result without any post beeps.
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Author Comment

by:mdwebneck
ID: 13597137
there is no way to check the memory without buying another board.
My other two computers are a P2 and a P3, neither of which take RDRAM.
and
Buying another board is much cheaper than buying RDRAM memory to test with
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Expert Comment

by:smiffy13
ID: 13597356
You can do a memory test with a boot disk/diskette: www.memtest.org. But I still reckon you should try another power supply.
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LVL 13

Accepted Solution

by:
Watzman earned 2000 total points
ID: 13598178
I have lots of experience with RDRAM and that particular motherboard.

The motherboard is the most likely culprit, but because of cost and difficulty of removal, I would try another power supply first.  But the fact that fans and drives get power working suggests that the power supply is probably good.  It probably is a motherboard problem, most likely in the switching power supply on the motherboard that supplies the Vcore for the CPU.  One thing that you might look for is signs of physically defective electrolytic capacitors ("blown" or "popped"), although Asus did not have the level of problems with bad capacitors that ABit did.

Having said that, ANYTHING can cause this, even disk drives, so disconnect everything non-essential (inclduing IDE cables) before you conclude it's the motherboard.

Memory is also a possibility, although I think unlikely.  Remember, that system uses RDRAM (Rambus) memory, and if you pull memory, you have to pull it in pairs, and you have to put C-RIMM terminators into the empty slots.  It very much matters which ones you pull.  Still, if you have four modules, you could pull two of them, leaving the system running with 2 modules.  You could then swap which two were in use.  This would effectively eliminate memory as a cause of failure unless you had multiple modules fail at the same time, which is very unlikely.  [In fact, I think that memory as a cause is very unlikely.  Even a system with a gross memory problem will usually emit "beeps"]

That is a very, very good motherboard, and even though it's 3 years old, with the 3.06 GHz CPU (which has Hyperthreading), it will keep up with current systems (the extra bandwidth ot the 1066MHz Rambus memory system makes up for the fact that it doesn't have an 800 MHz FSB).  [That was the motherboard that Alienware used in their "Area 51" systems for about a year.]  However, you probably won't be able to find a new one, it was discontinued in 2003.  The motherboard is probably still under warranty.  Check the serial number lable on top of the parallel port connector.  It will start with a "2" or "3", probably, followed by a number or a letter.  The number is the month (1-9; a,b,c for oct, nov, dec), so "2B...." is a November 2002 production.  The warranty is 3 years, and Asus will take them for RMA and replace it.  The problem, of course, is that you will be motherboardless for at least about 3 weeks.  If you get a new motherboard, you will have to replace the memory also, since there are no RDRAM motherboards still in production.  Although both extremely fast and extremely reliable, RDRAM didn't survive the industry political battles.

Oh, one final thought:  A ***TOTALLY*** dead CMOS battery can cause this board not to start.  Usually, the batteries don't die THAT dead THAT sudddenly, usually the clock and CMOS checksum go out first (while the board will still boot), but you can check that for two bucks, and it's fast and easy.  I think it's a CR2032 Lithium coin cell, if my memory serves me correctly.






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Author Comment

by:mdwebneck
ID: 13600178
I found a P4T533-C on ebay that had been used by a lab computer and expect it to arrive by next Monday.
I didn't pay anymore for it than I did the one I have now which I bought in early 2003 after its price had been cut in half by the supply/demand PC market.
My DELL certifiied friend did apologize for not bringing his PS tester along that day, but since the stock PS in the ANTEC case is the ANTEC true power 430W, I would have to believe that since everything kicked on except the video and the processor and they were proved non culpable in follow on tests, that it has to be the deliverer of the power, not the source.

I did consider the battery, but with the same historical knowledge that if the battery was going that I would have seen the system time get inconsistent as a result of its demise, my friend and I didn't go that route.

for those who would rather kick me than help me:
Working in an IT company, where lesser computers (used as servers) are left on 24/7 to maintain continuity for remote email access, I can say that I have seen more desktop computers (home standalones of my friends) lose their identity because they were left off for too long and made it a struggle to get them started again that leaving mine on 24/7 for a few weeks at a time is not the cause of this problem.
  THough I may start allowing for a weekly computer sabbath, I am NOT going to turn my computer off every night.
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Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13602396

Do get the P4T533-C replaced (repaired) if it's still under warranty, as I think it will be.  I have a lot of P4T533 and P4T533-C motherboards, they are [still] very good boards.  And they still have substantial value -- I sold one on E-Bay Sunday (36 hours ago) and got over $140.00 for it, and this isn't unusual.
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Author Comment

by:mdwebneck
ID: 13602924
The motherboard turned out to be more local than I thought and should arrive before the weekend.
Do you (or anyone) know how or where to get the RMA documentation from ASUS?
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13603253
Call Asus at 510-739-3777.  When you call this number, press “5” it and it will take you directly to the RMA Dept.  (note:  This was 18 months ago; the “5” may have changed to “3” or even something else.  The connection to the RMA department, while it existed and worked, was not explicitly listed in the phone menu).

The girl I spoke to was “Bonnie”, E-Mail address was BONNIEL@ASUS.com, but I’d call, not E-Mail for 1st contact.

Another Asus tech support number that might work is 510-608-4555

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Author Comment

by:mdwebneck
ID: 13643165
Well, the motherboard (under $125 including shipping) arrived last week, received it within a couple days and installed last night.
and ..
I got a BEEP, yeehaw
Will work on seeing if I can get assistance from ASUS today, now that I have proven it was the mobo
thanks for your input
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