Hardware Bleg…

Well, it looks like I need some help. I’ve forgotten almost all the hardware stuff I thought I knew, and now I’ve got a broken computer.

There’s no beeper installed, so I don’t have an error code to work with, but the system simply does not work. I am sure it’s not the monitor, but I don’t have a spare video card to determine if that’s the issue. I get a black screen, without any POST test at all. I shifted the video card to the other PCI-E slot, no change. I unplugged drive after drive,thinking it might be the boot drive (I had a second bootable I thought might come up), no luck. The motherboard works to the point of sensing the temperature of the CPU and kicking the fan on after a few minutes. But that’s all I get.

I can hunt up a beeper and install it if needed, but based on the above, can anyone give me some clues to go on?

Update: Ok, I reinstalled the beeper. Most of the time I get a series of continuous short beeps, really clicks. According to the manual, this is a power problem. Plausible; I have 3 HD’s, a DVD R/W, and a GT 9600 video card, plus 2 extra fans, and it’s only a 500w power supply. Disconnecting various combinations of the above twice generated a single beep that didn’t stop, and a POST that ended with “no boot drive” or “file missing” message depending on which drive was still hooked up. One of the drives was formerly a boot drive and still has the MBR, so I’m not surprised at the latter, but at no time did I ever get the system to completely boot. I tried the video in both PCI-E slots, only in one of them did I get that far. According to the manual, one long beep is a video problem, though it says nothing about it not stopping. Unfortunately, I have no other PCI-E cards to try, and the motherboard does not have built-in video.

Update 2: And 8 GB of RAM.

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5 Responses to Hardware Bleg…

  1. Dr.Heinous says:

    Hm, I would definitely try the power supply first. Especially if it semi tries to boot.

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    You may be right. I went to the Antec power calculator and based on the fact that my system is about 3 years old, it would appear to be marginal at best. At 100% load & 30% aging loss, I’m pulling (the equivalent of) 485W on a 500W rated power supply. That’s not entirely certain, as I used standard SATA drives in the calculator; one may be high-speed, and the video card recommends no less than a 425W power supply.

    So can someone tell me if all those pictures (on Newegg) of “top fan” power supplies are really built with the fans on the top, or have they flipped the power supply to show it in the picture, and the fan really goes on the bottom? That could make a little difference in my case, you know…

    Edit: Never mind. Finally ran across a picture that made it obvious that yes, the fan is on the BOTTOM.

  3. Wonderduck says:

    According to Nvidia’s website, the 9600GT alone needs a 400w power supply. Throw in everything else… well, you’re probably really marginal.

  4. Dr.Heinous says:

    Usually when it starts going the machine will flame out when you’re running something intensive (high frame rate game or some such), when the video card is really sucking power. That’s been my experience.

    But when that’s happened I’ve always had a spare machine, or two or three old power supplies around to swap out and try.

  5. Ubu Roi says:

    Entirely possible that’s what was behind the momentary freezes I complained about previously. I hadn’t seen that much lately, but I might not have had as much else going on in the background (drive scans, etc.)

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