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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Recurring hardware problem

    Hi,
    I built a computer last year that was originally meant to be a server, and was one until a few days ago when I decided I would make it a Linux desktop computer. It doesn't have a CD-ROM drive (I borrowed the drive for another computer) so I put in a floppy. It didn't seem to even recognize that there was a floppy drive. But that's not my question really...

    I take the case off to see that the drive is plugged in. It is. I turn it on and it still doesn't work, so I try once more. This time, there is no video at all! There's no beep from the BIOS as there usually is, right after it loads or anything. The fans are all on and the disk drive makes a little click noise as if it's reading the disk.

    So, it might just be a video problem, or it might be a bad processor or something.

    But the weird part is that right after I built this computer, I had the same problem! I was using a KA7 mobo with an Athlon 650 proc, and it never worked. Same problem--fans, disk drives, etc turned on but nothing came up on screen and there were no beep codes or the normal BIOS beep.

    I replaced the motherboard and the proc (twice) and it finally worked! So I set up Slackware on it and used it for a few things. Which brings us to two weeks ago when I turned it off. It was running very stable (100+ day uptime) so the hardware was pretty good.

    Anyone have any ideas what is causing this, and how to fix it? Could it be that the case's power supply gives too much power, and the processor is sensitive to it? I'm really confused. Maybe it's just bad luck.

    I'll be eternally grateful to anyone who can help me. This problem has been conflicting me for a long time on several different occaisions.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Some more info...

    The videocard's heatsink and processor are both hot after they've been on for a while.

    Everything is plugged in (including the power).

    All of the PCI and the AGP vidcard are firmly seated in their slots.

    The lights on the front of the case and the disk drive are both green. The disk access light is off, but I suspect that I haven't plugged it into the LCD thingy correctly.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard
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    About the question that isn't really your question (the floppy thing): I believe the drive connected to the last connection on the ribbon cable. Make sure it isn't upside down either

    You said you had the computer on for 100+ days straight. If it was getting hot in there, the computer may have been damaged. Parts of the insides of your computer slightly expand and contract with heat - 100 + days of a constant temperature followed by 15 minutes of cooling, followed by some time starting up is a series of cooling and heating, which means contractions and expansions. This rarely causes problems, but it might be the case unfortunately.

    By the way: I am having similar problems as you are with the computer I am building. Expect to see me posting a thread about this in the next day or two. In short: fans spin, HD spins, nothing on the monitor and no beeps or any indication of activity. Tried all sorts of stuff, even bought a new proc.

    Back to your problem, I don't think the power supply is your problem.

    If you want me to copy that post and post it on hardforum.com I'll do it

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    It wasn't really hot in my computer (comparatively). The average temp was about 25-30C. Also, after I turned it off for the first time in 100 days, I didn't do a thing to it for 2 or 3 days. Then I started working on it.

    The problem might be the motherboard, as it was last time. But it leaves me thinking that maybe there's something that the case or I am doing--something that causes the exact same problem. Later tonight I'll put the HD and floppy drive in my other computer to verify that they work.

    Also, the NIC lights up and the corresponding port on the hub lights up for 100mbps. I'm not sure if the NIC does that whenever it gets power or if the CPU has to tell it to do that. I'm just really confused.

    Thanks for your help...maybe we can both find the answer.


  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    Check and see if your monitor cable is damaged, I am assuming that the cable has been moved aobut a bit inbetween the time it was working and the time it wasn't? You could have a broken wire in the cable or a damaged pin on it which could be giving an intermitant connection.
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    SitePoint Wizard
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    Originally posted by Karl
    Check and see if your monitor cable is damaged, I am assuming that the cable has been moved aobut a bit inbetween the time it was working and the time it wasn't? You could have a broken wire in the cable or a damaged pin on it which could be giving an intermitant connection.
    Hi Karl,
    I've tried both of my monitors. None work with the computer in question, but both work fine with my desktop. So I doubt that's the problem.

    I'll try hooking up its serial port to my desktop's to see that, if Linux boots correctly, if I can get a login shell. I doubt it though, because it's not on the network even after an hour (which should give it time to fsck the hard drive and do the rest of the boot process).

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    SitePoint Zealot micmar's Avatar
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    Re: Recurring hardware problem

    Originally posted by qslack
    Could it be that the case's power supply gives too much power, and the processor is sensitive to it? I'm really confused. Maybe it's just bad luck.

    I'll be eternally grateful to anyone who can help me. This problem has been conflicting me for a long time on several different occaisions.
    I can tell you that it would not be the power supply giving to much power, infact if the problem does stem back to the power supply then it would be that the CPU is not getting enough power out of it. Athlon CPU's are very power hungry and AMD suggest you use a 250-300 watt power supply minimum.

    I have read that the KA7 motherboard can be a bit touchy about the RAM that is put in it, so that could be part of your problem. When you get problems such as the one you are having, I usually suspect the RAM. It usually gives you BIOS beeps but I have seen some systems with bad RAM not do anything.

    Another way to try and diagnose your problem would be to remove all the cards from your PC except for your video card and try to boot it. If that works then add one card at a time, booting up after you add each card. This can help pinpoint were the trouble is coming from.
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    One thing to also know, is that the power supply has to be AMD Certified. Could be 250Watt, but not AMD Certified.
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot micmar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Fiber
    One thing to also know, is that the power supply has to be AMD Certified. Could be 250Watt, but not AMD Certified.
    If a PSU does not carry AMD certification it doesnt mean that it wont work. I have used heaps of 250w PSU's on athlon PC's and not had a problem and a lot of them havent been on the list. AMD are quite picky about what products go onto the certification list so if your PSU is not on the list I wouldnt be too concerned. As long as its 250w minimum.
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  10. #10
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    When purchasing this system, I was very concerned that none of the power supplies available around here were on the AMD list, so I checked up on what was required by the AMD specification, and I realised that it was the design of the fan and location of the ventilation slots that seemed the most common reason for a power supply not to be on the AMD list.

    My current 300w power supply is fully capable of providing the correct and reliable power to my athlon-based system, and due to the design of my case and the exhaust fan, heatsink, etc I have installed, I'm confident that I have more than satisfied the AMD requirements without needing to import an AMD-certified PSU.
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