PC Booting Problem / Dead PC!! - Please help!!!

  Northern_Dragon 18:13 02 Jan 2007

I'm a little reluctant to post here begging for help, given that I've not contributed anything as yet, but sadly desperation forces me (and it is afterall why I've joined!...

The problem basically, is that my home built Media PC has had a fit and stopped booting up. It's difficult to say exactly what the problem is, since one of the symptoms is that the display cuts out after between 5 and 15 seconds - worryingly this has nothing to do with the stage that has been reached in booting up since it still happens even if I open the bios :(

If I let it try to boot it starts normally then the display vanishes (no signal being output) and then it usually just sits there seemingly doing nothing (can't hear the hard drives going), or sometimes it will reboot itself -occasionally serveral times. I've once managed to get it far enough to boot into safe mode but the display cut out before windows (MCE) loaded so I can't really say how far it got, except that I got no startup music.

Other info:
The machine has been running fine for just over a year.
I was running Vista beta 1 (dual boot) immediately prior to the problem started; I'd selected restart to boot into MCE but the above problem started so it never got that far. I generally don't use vista but the interface is pretty and the way it manages music is a little nicer, and it's never caused any problems before.

Relevant Spec:
MOBO - Asus A8N-SLi Premium
CPU - AMD 64 3500+
RAM - Corsair TWINX2048-3500LLPRO
Graphics - Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH PCI-E PX7800GT myVIVO
HD - 2 x Samsung Spinpoint P120S SP2504C

If anyone can help at all or can point me in the direction of someone that can I'd be very very grateful - we're definitely talking beers here!

  skidzy 18:22 02 Jan 2007

Just a guess at this stage,maybe changing the psu will help !

  Northern_Dragon 18:30 02 Jan 2007

Thanks for the response skidzy, though I'd be suprised if the psu is at fault... what makes you think it might be?

The psu is Seasonic S12-600 btw, so more than up to the job (in theory of course).

My first thought was to try a different graphics card, though as I said it works fine when it first boots... Unfortunately however I don't have any spare parts to swap in (other computers are a. too old, or b. laptops) so will have to buy, beg, borrow or steal to diagnose by swapping parts :(

  skidzy 18:38 02 Jan 2007

As i say,its a guess..but sounds like something is shorting out.
You mentioned no harddrive activity,cutting out,starts to boot then cuts out....this leads me to think its a power issue.If not the psu,possibly the mobo.

Have you tried disconnecting one of the hdd's or even removing the graphics card and revert to onboard graphics. (if you have onboard graphics) sorry havnt researched your mobo.

  Northern_Dragon 18:53 02 Jan 2007

I know you're guessing and I appreciate it, some sort of power problem does make sense, though I'll be very p'd off if it's either the PSU given the extra expense of getting such a well rated one (not that it being the motherboard is any better of course!).

Sadly there's no onboard graphics on the mobo so that's a non-starter. Haven't opened the case as yet as I was hoping, against all odds, to get a probable diagnosis first.

I'm gonna try to boot into the bios and check the psu values as quickly as possible. Then depending on how far that gets me try stripping down and checking the cpu heatsink/fan is clear of dust and the video card fan is operating.

If that doesn't get me anywhere I'll try unplugging the harddrives (one at a time obviously).

  skidzy 19:01 02 Jan 2007

You obviously know your stuff N-D,good luck.

If you find the fault,please come back and let us know.

  Legolas 19:08 02 Jan 2007

unfortunately most hardware problems concerning computers are a case of trial and error.

I would try opening the case and if you have two sticks of ram try removing one and rebooting, I have found faulty ram to often cause instability in comp systems.

Remember to discharge the static from your body by touching something metal.

Also check the graphics card is properly seated in the slot and that the CPU fan is running freely as overheating can also cause the system to cut out.

  Legolas 19:12 02 Jan 2007

Sorry Northern_Dragon didn't read your last post carefully enough as skidzy says sounds like you are cognisant with comps still worth checking your memory

  woodchip 22:17 02 Jan 2007

I will go with dead or dying PSU

  Strawballs 22:50 02 Jan 2007

Overheating CPU would be my first choice, dust packed in heatsink fan not working then I would go with skidzy and woodchip and investigate PSU

  Northern_Dragon 23:28 02 Jan 2007

Think it's sorted, I opened the case and everything seemed to be fine, if a little dusty...

Took the whole thing apart and cleaned out all the dust and crap, put it all back together again and it seems fine (so far). So I guess either it was dust related and/or something wasn't sitting right or connected properly, though it's hard to say what - Kudos to Legolas and Strawballs at any rate, and thank you all.

(To think, I actually freaked out so much when it started playing up I considered taking it to a "professional" to get it fixed!!)

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