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Need Help troubleshooting MB or CPU failure?

Hello Experts:

I was working on my PC when the video went out. I wasn't using any graphic intense programs, I was in Visual Stuido.NET. I gave the system the one-finger-salute to power it down. After I tried to reboot the PC, the fans were on full-blast, but no video, and no beeps. The fans never change speed as they usually do once the power has been on for 5 seconds or so.

I have since removed all components and reseated memory and CPU. I even replaced the PSU with new without any success. My latest troubleshooting session had me retracing my steps and I found the only time I was able to get the system to beep was when I removed all the RAM. I received 3 long beeps then, which went away once I replaced the RAM.

All I can think of is a MB or CPU failure. This is a fairly new system and Sony wants about $300 to look at it. Brief description below:

Intel p4 3.2 GHz
512 Mb RAM PC3200
800MHz FSB

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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MadRiverLizard
Asked:
MadRiverLizard
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6 Solutions
 
thur6165Commented:
Yes, Mobo or CPU failure.  Are you using onboard video or a separate card?  Does the heat sink on the CPU still get hot, if not then you CPU went out.  
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Rich_19Commented:
I'll put money on a motherboard failure, probably one of you caps blown, maybe. Have you tried to reset the BIOS, just through process of elimination?

Unless you had a poor quality PSU previous to your new one, which is possibility as it can fry components on the motherboard, you can rule out any problem with the processor. Even so the motherboard has MOSfets which protect and regulate current to the processor if you did have a poor quality PSU.

I have seen it many times when a motherboard boot and only the fans turn on. Have a look at the motherboard and make sure the motherboard is not grounding out (check the stand offs). You could also check to make sure the CPU is seated correctly as this can cause none beep POST’s, but if you haven’t touched it then I doubt that would be a problem, could try checking though.

Also as stated before try touching the heatsink, to check whether it is warming up at all, this is an obvious indication whether the processor is operating.

All in all, no beeps during post, mean problem with processor or motherboard (or PSU but you have already changed this). So I would suggest a problem with the motherboard, as a faulty processor is quite rare.

Good luck!
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
Yes, I have a seperate video card. I will have to check the heat of the HS.
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garycaseCommented:
Okay, you've tried a new power supply (that would have been my first guess).    It's not likely the CPU, as otherwise you wouldn't get the 3 long beeps (those are generated by the BIOS POST code -- which the CPU executes -- and are telling you the memory test has failed).   Doesn't totally eliminate the CPU (there are other failure modes where it could work for the initial basic tests, but not for more complex ones); but it definitely sounds like the motherboard's shot.   Are there any visible signs of bad capacitors on the motherboard (swelling or leaking).   If so, you can have it repaired for a very modest fee and not have to replace anything else or reload any software (www.badcaps.net).

... there are, however, other possibilites => it would be useful to know more details of your system.  Model #, amount of memory, # and size of hard drives, what video card, etc.
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phototropicCommented:
Beep codes here. Look up your BIOS:

http://www.amptron.com/html/bios.beepcodes.html

http://bioscentral.com/

Try re-seating/replacing the RAM with known- good.
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
I did reset the cmos and the bios without success. I did check the HS for heat and it is heating up. I found a replacement MB for around $80. I will try that and check back in.

Will keep this open until I have ruled out the MB or CPU.

Thanks for the quick replies.
MRL
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garycaseCommented:
... It's obvious, but do be sure your new motherboard uses the same CPU socket, the same memory, and has the same video card slot as your current one :-)
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nobusCommented:
did you try another video card or Ram?
did you test your devices on a known working PC
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mluther223Commented:
Basic troubleshooting.... remove all components (modem/video card/and card in the pci/isa slots) except for CPU and memory.  Try to fire the system up,  listen for BIOS beeps.  If no sound is heard,  you have eliminated everything but the CPU/ BIOS  and motherboard (and a remote possiblilty of a faulty power supply).  However,  if you receive any other Beep code, please send along that information for additional assistance (MB manufacturer, and beep code).  I once had a LPT card, cause the same problem (card went bad), and until I eliminated all other variables,  it was a tough troubleshooting session.  Once I removed the card, everything functioned as it was supposed to. Start with the bare essentials, and add one component back in until your system fails.  Good Luck  
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scrathcyboyCommented:
You are missing the MOST OBVIOUS thing up front.  Sure your MB might be bad, but test the RAM first.

So many people think that PC3200 means something.  IT MEANS NOTHING !!!  The only thing your MB cares about is the REFRESH speed of the RAM. This is CL, and if the RAM is CL3, it is almost certainly TOO SLOW for the MB.  ANY fast chipset MB requires CL2.5 or faster, and if your ram is CL3 (regardless of the PC3200 rating), it will cause your MB to freeze and act up.  PC3200 means NOTHING.  The chipset on the MB requires a certain refresh rate to work, and it is almost certainly CL2.5 -- and your RAM dhips are almost certainly too slow.  Educate yourself about refresh rate, and forget the market hype of PC50000 specs, it is all marketing hype.  If the MB needs CL 2.5 and the RAM cant deliver, you are dead as dead can be.
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
Would Sony ship a system with incompatible RAM as you describe? Would I get a visual from the Video Card, which I don't, or any POST beeps, which I don't?
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mluther223Commented:
Follow my instructions I mentioned before,  but also remove the ram.  If you get a beep code it will tell you that your MB/BIOS/ and CPU are ok,  if no beep code, then you can assume one of those 3 are you culprit.  It is possible the replacement ram is also bad... although rare I have had happen to me.  
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
mluther23,
I did as you mentioned above.

Test with NO ram, cards, drives:( just PSU, CPU)
I get 3 long beeps and the fans continue on HIGH.

Same test with RAM added: (just PSU, CPU, RAM)
If I replace the RAM I get NO beeps at all, and the fans continue to run on high.

Test with NO ram. Video card added: (just PSU, CPU, Video)
3 long beeps, no video.

Test with RAM, and Video card added:(just PSU, CPU, RAM, Video)
No beeps, no video

Does it still sound like it is RAM and NOT MoBo?
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
>>>>I forgot to mention above that fans run on HIGH on all tests. Sorry about that. MRL
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nobusCommented:
didd you try what i asked ?
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did you try another video card or Ram?
did you test your devices on a known working PC
---------
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
No extra components/PCs available.
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nobusCommented:
troubleshooting PC's without parts is another art with which i cannot help much
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Rich_19Commented:
Any update?
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mluther223Commented:
To me, it sounds like your memory is shot, and not a motherboard problem.  My suggestion would be to replace the memory,  making sure to install the proper (preferably a name brand) brand.  Also before inserting the new module,  check the slot for any foreign debris (dust dirt...ect).  Since you do get a bios beep code, I have to believe your processor and MB are ok.  
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MadRiverLizardAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the help. I was able to replace everything but the CPU. Nothing worked so by process of elimination I will assume it was the CPU. I won't be replacing the CPU as I received a new workstation through a client at no cost to me. I did learn a lot about troubleshooting hardware thanks to all your comments.

Will split points.
Thanks,
MRL
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