Are these symptoms of a Bad Power Supply?

A friend just built a new PC, and is having some trouble...

sometimes windows goes into a boot loop. sometimes windows boots perfectly.  most recently, he flipped the power switch and the LEDs on the fans flashed briefly and then NOTHING.  then after 2 or 3 tries, booted normally into windows.

Does this sound like a bad Power supply? Bad Memory? Motherboard? CPU?
LVL 12
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

first and easiest is to test memory.  If it is CL3, and the chipset is NVidia, or any modern fast chipset, the RAM is too slow for the motherboard.  Needs to be changed.  PS is easy to test, just try another for 2-3 boots, and when you find no change, go to RAM first, if a change, leave PS in and continue running.  It is unlikely these symptoms are bad CPU, could be a fan too slow, but easy to test at BIOS level, just boot to BIOS, monitor PC Health for 20 mins, if temp stable at around 24-28C, CPU fan is fine.  As for bad MB, that is difficult to test, need to make sure RAM is fast enough first, and PS is functional to ful voltage.  In summary, RAM with too slow a CL refresh is most likely culprit.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Could be an inadequate power supply, evaluate here:
The boot loop sounds like RAM. The inability to boot at all sounds like a power supply.

To test the RAM, I recommend something like MemTest86+ ( Let it run all the way through at least once. If you get lots of errors, the bad memory is definitely going to cause major problems. If you get a few errors the memory would probably be causing intermittent problems (especially if they're all in test #5).

Challenges in Government Cyber Security

Has cyber security been a challenge in your government organization? Are you looking to improve your government's network security? Learn more about how to improve your government organization's security by viewing our on-demand webinar!

Memory testing programs only test the Rams ability to write and read data, they do not compare the RAM latency speed against the latency requirements of the motherboard (i.e. they can come up with a result that the RAM "is fine", when it is inadequate for the latency requirements of the motherboard chipset.
If you would like to test some more deep into the comp resources try Ultimate boot cd
you can diagnose by disconnecting devices, or starting with the minimum :
mobo + cpu +1 ram stick, 1 disk, video card, keyb and mouse.
if still the same, try without keyb and mouse.
Most probable is the motherboard .
Bad PSU's are quite rare, if the fan works at the back they're generally OK - its worth checking the output is sufficient though.   Check to see if the P1 connector is fully pushed in to the motherboard, and any auxiliary power connectors are seated properly.  Check to see if the other peripherals and cards have been seated properly, and the relevant screws are in place.
fruhjAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone for your feedback on this!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.