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Possible Motherboard Failure

Posted on 2010-11-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hello Experts!

Have an circa 2005 Dell D610.  When Win 7 was released, I installed a fresh copy of Win 7 Ultimate for testing and learning.  (yes Win 7 ran OK on this older PC).  After about 7 or 8 months of use, the PC started crashing.  Static or scratching would come from the speakers , the display would go dark, and the PC seemed dead\stuck.  After rebooting, sometimes it would come right back and be fine, and sometimes it would boot me past the log in screen and then give the static\scratchy sounds and die.  If I let it set for a few weeks or a month...sometimes it would come back and be fine, but eventually the issue would return.  All of my hardware testing and SMART info indicated no problems.

I threw a brand new drive in it and loaded XPP 32bit.  Same thing...it would work for awhile...then scratchy sounds...and die.  Seemd to do better in safe mode, but eventually the symptoms would return and it would crash.  Tried booting to a Knoppix Live CD, and it would not load.  A UBCD4Win CD would load but the task bar displayed funny.  If I boot to the BIOS it will stay up all day.

Obviously  this is a hardware issue...possibly bad mobo or RAM.  The UBCD4Win and preboot diagnostics seem to clear it being a RAM issue, but I still need to find some spares stick to see if changing the RAM fixes issue.  Again, I'm thinking it must be the mobo or the integrated graphics chip.  Given the static symptoms, I suppose it could be the on board sound card. The laptop is not a critical PC to me and I'm just geeking out here trying to learn from the issue.  The laptop can't be worth more that $ 75 - $ 100 assuming it works, so I'd hate to put a lot of $$$ into it buying a used mobo only to find out that the issue still exists.

Any thoughts?  THANKS in advance!!
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Question by:snake454
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Grant1842 earned 500 total points
ID: 34165943
Have you checked the fan and make sure its is spinning fast , and blow out the lint and dirt through th exhaust vent making sure it can dissipate the heat ?

Check the thermal paste between the GPU an CPU it may be dried out and not makeing good contact and not dissipating the heat correctly.

It sounds like an overheating issue, BUT the weard sound in the speakers is wieard.

Allso look for bad electrolytic capacitors on the mother board .

Look here to learn about bad caps. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpl8AHUgcUU&feature=related
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by:pinascode
ID: 34166477
i agree with Grant1842
check those things, buy a used mobo of you want to find out if that is the problem. ebay has great deals sometimse, even with the whole case and all.
otherwise the money would not be worth spending, unless it is to educate yourself. I have done my fair share of that.
It could be only one bad ram module, even though testing it passes the ram, i have seen them fail even then.
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Author Comment

by:snake454
ID: 34166502
I'll remove the keyboard and blow it out and also check out the thermal paste...thanks!  But...I'm still leaning towards something built into the mobo...graphic chip or sound card...which puts me back to it being the mobo.  Yeah...the scratching from the speakers mystifies me!

I'll keep you all posted...may be tomorrow as I am out on calls today.

THANKS!
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by:pinascode
ID: 34166962
had a toshiba satellite with a scratching soundcard, but the rest worked fine, found out its was a bad factory design. could do nothing since it was out of warranty.
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by:toroblanco2002
ID: 34167914
I totally I agree with Grant1842 this has the symptoms of an over heating problem since I know some of this dell laptops d610,20 and 30 are known for that. open up the laptop blow off the dust put new thermal paste. that should do it for a while.  I about the scratching soundcard once you open the laptop check for loose cables etc.
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Author Comment

by:snake454
ID: 34168999
The unit has always run hot...I'd say avg 118 - 120 most of the time.

The weird thing about the scratching...it always locks up immediately after making the noise.  It's like...scratchy noise...1\10 th of a second later...crash.
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by:toroblanco2002
ID: 34169075
it could be something inside is shorting out some type short circuit is going on. like I said once you open the laptop look for any loose wires or wires touching parts that may cause short circuits. But definitely the laptop has some type overheating problem too besides the scratching noise.
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by:snake454
ID: 34169094
Any idea why if I boot to the BIOS...it stays up all day long...
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by:toroblanco2002
ID: 34169183
Hmmm this is not looking good by the minute. now the laptop started to hang up at boot up?
Can you hear any clicking noise going on?
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by:toroblanco2002
ID: 34169198
put you hear closed to where the hard drive is and see if there's any clicking noise going on also pay attention to the hard drive light above the keyboard vessel is the light flashing or staying solid green?
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Author Comment

by:snake454
ID: 34169300
The drive is fine...checked it for errors and came up clean.  No click of death noise.  It's a new drive with a fresh install of XPP.  Showed same issues with prior drive loaded with Win7 Ultimate...that's why I'm "stuck" on it being bad mobo or devide embedded on board.  I just think it's wierd that issue does not occure from a "boot to BIOS" startup.
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Author Closing Comment

by:snake454
ID: 34673878
Sorry I've taken so long closing this out.  Lost interest in the issue for a while.  Gonna buy a cheap mobo on ebay and see if that fixes.  Don't make any $$$ "playing" with my stuff...Thanks!
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