Questions

Is it the motherboard?

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Is it the motherboard?

Tink!
I believe it is, but here's what happened:

All of a sudden one day my monitor went black and then popped up "No Video Input"

Restarting the computer brought it back briefly but before I could even get to device manager it went out again.

I tried using new cables and tested another monitor (exact same model) and all the same response.

I inserted a PCI video adapter and booted up. Everything seemed ok until the next day when the exact same thing happened.

Now however, there seems to be no power to the keyboard, and the network port is not lighting up. All of which are integrated into the motherboard.

The fans and hard drive appear to still cycle.

I'm guessing that whole part of the motherboard (containing the audio, video, PS2 ports and network) is now kaput.

Your guess too?
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    jfuller05

    The same thing happened to a computer I was working on. It was one of those client calls, "Don't know what happened," even after asking the client questions he/she still responds with "I don't know what happened."

    This checklist from Tom's Hardware helped me pinpoint my problem to the motherboard.

    I got this checklist from tomshardware.com and it helped me out in the past with mobo problems.

    <i>1. Did you carefully read the motherboard owners manual?


    2. Did you plug in the 4/8-pin CPU power connector, located near the CPU? If the motherboard has 8 pins and your PSU only has 4 pins, you can use the 4-pin connector. The 4-pin connector USUALLY goes on the 4 pins located closest to the CPU. If the motherboard has an 8-pin connector with a cover over 4 pins, you can remove the cover and use an 8-pin plug if your power supply has one. Check your motherboard owners manual for more information about the CPU power connector. This is easily the most common new-builder mistake.


    3. Did you install the standoffs under the motherboard? Did you place them so that they all align with the screw holes in the motherboard, with no extra standoffs touching the board in the wrong place?


    4. Did you verify that the video card is fully seated? (may require more force than a new builder expects.)


    5. Did you attach all the required power connectors to the video card? (some need two, some need none, many need one.)


    6. Have you tried booting with just one stick of RAM installed? (Try each stick of RAM individually in each RAM slot.) If you can get the system to boot with a single stick of RAM, you should manually set the RAM speed, timings, and voltage to the manufacturers specs in the BIOS before attempting to boot with all sticks of RAM installed.


    7. Did you verify that all memory modules are fully inserted? (may require more force than a new builder expects.) It's a good idea to install the RAM on the motherboard before it's in the case.


    8. Did you verify in the owners manual that you're using the correct RAM slots? Many i7 motherboards require RAM to be installed in the slots starting with the one further away from the CPU which is the opposite of many dual channel motherboards.


    9. Did you remove the plastic guard over the CPU socket? (this actually comes up occasionally.)


    10. Did you install the CPU correctly? There will be an arrow on the CPU that needs to line up with an arrow on the motherboard CPU socket. Be sure to pay special attention to that part of the manual!


    11. If using an after market CPU cooler, did you get any thermal paste on the motherboard, CPU socket, or CPU pins? Did you use the smallest amount you could? Here's a couple links that may help:


    Benchmark Reviews


    Arctic Sliver


    12. Is the CPU fan plugged in?


    13. If using a stock cooler, was the thermal material on the base of the cooler free of foreign material, and did you remove any protective covering? If the stock cooler has push-pins, did you ensure that all four pins snapped securely into place? (The easiest way to install the push-pins is outside the case sitting on a non-conductive surface like the motherboard box. Read the instructions! The push-pins should be turned the OPPOSITE direction as the arrows.)


    14. Are any loose screws laying on the motherboard, or jammed against it? Are there any wires run directly under the motherboard? You should not run wires under the motherboard since the soldered wires on the underside of the motherboard can cut into the insulation on the wires and cause a short. Some cases have space to run wires on the back side of the motherboard tray.


    15. Did you ensure you discharged all static electricity before touching any of your components?


    16. Did you install the system speaker (if provided) so you can check beep-codes in the manual? A system speaker is NOT the same as normal speakers that plug into the back of the motherboard. A system speaker plugs into a header on the motherboard that's usually located near the front panel connectors. If you case or motherboard didn't come with a system speaker you can buy one here: http://www.cwc-group.com/casp.html


    17. Did you read the instructions in the manual on how to properly connect the front panel plugs? (Power switch, power led, reset switch, HD activity led) Polarity does not matter with the power and reset switches. If power or drive activity LED's do not come on, reverse the connections. For troubleshooting purposes, disconnect the reset switch. If it is shorted, the machine either will not POST at all, or it will endlessly reboot.


    18. Did you turn on the power supply switch located on the back of the PSU? Is the power plug on a switch? If it is, is the switch turned on? Is there a GFI circuit on the plug-in? If there is, make sure it isn't tripped.


    19. Is your CPU supported by the BIOS revision installed on your motherboard? Most motherboards will post a CPU compatibility list on their website.


    20. Have you tried resetting the CMOS? The motherboard manual will have instructions for your particular board.


    21. If you have integrated video and a video card, try the integrated video port. Resetting the bios, can make it default back to the onboard video.


    I also wanted to add some suggestions that user jsc often posts. This is a direct quote from him:


    "Pull everything except the CPU and HSF. Boot. You should hear a series of long single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence here indicates, in probable order, a bad PSU, motherboard, or CPU - or a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU.


    To eliminate the possiblility of a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU, you will need to pull the motherboard out of the case and reassemble the components on an insulated surface. This is called "breadboarding" - from the 1920's homebrew radio days. I always breadboard a new or recycled build. It lets me test components before I go through the trouble of installing them in a case.


    If you get the long beeps, add a stick of RAM. Boot. The beep pattern should change to one long and two or three short beeps. Silence indicates that the RAM is shorting out the PSU (very rare). Long single beeps indicates that the BIOS does not recognize the presence of the RAM.


    If you get the one long and two or three short beeps, test the rest of the RAM. If good, install the video card and any needed power cables and plug in the monitor. If the video card is good, the system should successfully POST (one short beep, usually) and you will see the boot screen and messages.


    Note - an inadequate PSU will cause a failure here or any step later.
    Note - you do not need drives or a keyboard to successfully POST (generally a single short beep).


    If you successfully POST, start plugging in the rest of the components, one at a time. "


    Here's a link to jsc's breadboarding thread:


    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/foru [...] _13_0.html


    If you make it through the entire checklist without success, Proximon has put together another great thread with a few more ideas here:


    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] g#t1934282 </i>

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    0 Votes
    Tink!

    that's quite a checklist. A good portion of it seems to be more along the lines of if you installed the mobo yourself. I will, however, try the "pull everything and then boot" suggestion and see what happens.

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    jfuller05

    I remember that before the portion I copied, the post read, along the lines, "nearly every possible item to check and test for motherboard problems."

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    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    Or a bad power supply killed the mother board.

    How old is everything?

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    0 Votes
    Tink!

    Purchased in 2007 I believe. We bought 3 of these at the same time so hopefully the problems with this one don't occur with the other 2 as well.

    I thought about the power supply and debated if it was worth the trouble pulling out the power supply from an old machine (that still works) to test it. Do you think I should try that?

    (I was avoiding pulling the power supply out partly because if it didn't work, I was going to attempt to transfer my hard drive to the older machine - see the Sata to eSata question)

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    seanferd

    If you see any of the capacitors obviously burnt, popped, bulging (stamped-in cross on top for reference), or leaking (taking care not to confuse glue with leakage), don't bother with testing a different PSU.

    If you do want to check with a known-good PSU, make sure it has the right connectors for the system you want to test. Some vendors use proprietary rather than standard connectors <i>which may actually fit the connection but are not compatible, <b>Dell</b></i>.

    edit: Sorry, Tink!, it was rude of me to address someone else while writing to you. ;\

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    Tink!

    and see if I find any clues.

    As for connectors, no problems there, I've checked them both and they have the same connectors available, presumably because both machines are HP Pavilions, just different models.

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    0 Votes
    seanferd

    I mention the capacitors in the interest of saving time. If it would be faster just to swap out the PSU for any reason, go for it.

    If it is a PITA to visually inspect the board due to the interior layout, swapping the PSU would probably be faster. It's just that bad caps are a dead giveaway.

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    0 Votes
    Tink!

    After testing with the PSU from the working machine there was still no apparent power to the section of the mobo that controls video, audio, network and PS2.

    Unplugging everything and booting comes up with zero beeps so I'm pretty sure the mobo is shot.

    My next question I'll be asking is how do I figure out which replacement motherboard to purchase, but I will post that officially tomorrow when I have all the numbers.

    Thanks for all your help!

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    0 Votes
    .Martin.

    from what you have said it does sound like a dead mobo.

    and this may be a long shot, but have you tried a live CD? could this be a virus infection?

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    0 Votes
    EugeneJohnson

    check cables first

  • +
    0 Votes
    jfuller05

    The same thing happened to a computer I was working on. It was one of those client calls, "Don't know what happened," even after asking the client questions he/she still responds with "I don't know what happened."

    This checklist from Tom's Hardware helped me pinpoint my problem to the motherboard.

    I got this checklist from tomshardware.com and it helped me out in the past with mobo problems.

    <i>1. Did you carefully read the motherboard owners manual?


    2. Did you plug in the 4/8-pin CPU power connector, located near the CPU? If the motherboard has 8 pins and your PSU only has 4 pins, you can use the 4-pin connector. The 4-pin connector USUALLY goes on the 4 pins located closest to the CPU. If the motherboard has an 8-pin connector with a cover over 4 pins, you can remove the cover and use an 8-pin plug if your power supply has one. Check your motherboard owners manual for more information about the CPU power connector. This is easily the most common new-builder mistake.


    3. Did you install the standoffs under the motherboard? Did you place them so that they all align with the screw holes in the motherboard, with no extra standoffs touching the board in the wrong place?


    4. Did you verify that the video card is fully seated? (may require more force than a new builder expects.)


    5. Did you attach all the required power connectors to the video card? (some need two, some need none, many need one.)


    6. Have you tried booting with just one stick of RAM installed? (Try each stick of RAM individually in each RAM slot.) If you can get the system to boot with a single stick of RAM, you should manually set the RAM speed, timings, and voltage to the manufacturers specs in the BIOS before attempting to boot with all sticks of RAM installed.


    7. Did you verify that all memory modules are fully inserted? (may require more force than a new builder expects.) It's a good idea to install the RAM on the motherboard before it's in the case.


    8. Did you verify in the owners manual that you're using the correct RAM slots? Many i7 motherboards require RAM to be installed in the slots starting with the one further away from the CPU which is the opposite of many dual channel motherboards.


    9. Did you remove the plastic guard over the CPU socket? (this actually comes up occasionally.)


    10. Did you install the CPU correctly? There will be an arrow on the CPU that needs to line up with an arrow on the motherboard CPU socket. Be sure to pay special attention to that part of the manual!


    11. If using an after market CPU cooler, did you get any thermal paste on the motherboard, CPU socket, or CPU pins? Did you use the smallest amount you could? Here's a couple links that may help:


    Benchmark Reviews


    Arctic Sliver


    12. Is the CPU fan plugged in?


    13. If using a stock cooler, was the thermal material on the base of the cooler free of foreign material, and did you remove any protective covering? If the stock cooler has push-pins, did you ensure that all four pins snapped securely into place? (The easiest way to install the push-pins is outside the case sitting on a non-conductive surface like the motherboard box. Read the instructions! The push-pins should be turned the OPPOSITE direction as the arrows.)


    14. Are any loose screws laying on the motherboard, or jammed against it? Are there any wires run directly under the motherboard? You should not run wires under the motherboard since the soldered wires on the underside of the motherboard can cut into the insulation on the wires and cause a short. Some cases have space to run wires on the back side of the motherboard tray.


    15. Did you ensure you discharged all static electricity before touching any of your components?


    16. Did you install the system speaker (if provided) so you can check beep-codes in the manual? A system speaker is NOT the same as normal speakers that plug into the back of the motherboard. A system speaker plugs into a header on the motherboard that's usually located near the front panel connectors. If you case or motherboard didn't come with a system speaker you can buy one here: http://www.cwc-group.com/casp.html


    17. Did you read the instructions in the manual on how to properly connect the front panel plugs? (Power switch, power led, reset switch, HD activity led) Polarity does not matter with the power and reset switches. If power or drive activity LED's do not come on, reverse the connections. For troubleshooting purposes, disconnect the reset switch. If it is shorted, the machine either will not POST at all, or it will endlessly reboot.


    18. Did you turn on the power supply switch located on the back of the PSU? Is the power plug on a switch? If it is, is the switch turned on? Is there a GFI circuit on the plug-in? If there is, make sure it isn't tripped.


    19. Is your CPU supported by the BIOS revision installed on your motherboard? Most motherboards will post a CPU compatibility list on their website.


    20. Have you tried resetting the CMOS? The motherboard manual will have instructions for your particular board.


    21. If you have integrated video and a video card, try the integrated video port. Resetting the bios, can make it default back to the onboard video.


    I also wanted to add some suggestions that user jsc often posts. This is a direct quote from him:


    "Pull everything except the CPU and HSF. Boot. You should hear a series of long single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence here indicates, in probable order, a bad PSU, motherboard, or CPU - or a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU.


    To eliminate the possiblility of a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU, you will need to pull the motherboard out of the case and reassemble the components on an insulated surface. This is called "breadboarding" - from the 1920's homebrew radio days. I always breadboard a new or recycled build. It lets me test components before I go through the trouble of installing them in a case.


    If you get the long beeps, add a stick of RAM. Boot. The beep pattern should change to one long and two or three short beeps. Silence indicates that the RAM is shorting out the PSU (very rare). Long single beeps indicates that the BIOS does not recognize the presence of the RAM.


    If you get the one long and two or three short beeps, test the rest of the RAM. If good, install the video card and any needed power cables and plug in the monitor. If the video card is good, the system should successfully POST (one short beep, usually) and you will see the boot screen and messages.


    Note - an inadequate PSU will cause a failure here or any step later.
    Note - you do not need drives or a keyboard to successfully POST (generally a single short beep).


    If you successfully POST, start plugging in the rest of the components, one at a time. "


    Here's a link to jsc's breadboarding thread:


    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/foru [...] _13_0.html


    If you make it through the entire checklist without success, Proximon has put together another great thread with a few more ideas here:


    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/ [...] g#t1934282 </i>

    +
    0 Votes
    Tink!

    that's quite a checklist. A good portion of it seems to be more along the lines of if you installed the mobo yourself. I will, however, try the "pull everything and then boot" suggestion and see what happens.

    +
    0 Votes
    jfuller05

    I remember that before the portion I copied, the post read, along the lines, "nearly every possible item to check and test for motherboard problems."

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    Or a bad power supply killed the mother board.

    How old is everything?

    +
    0 Votes
    Tink!

    Purchased in 2007 I believe. We bought 3 of these at the same time so hopefully the problems with this one don't occur with the other 2 as well.

    I thought about the power supply and debated if it was worth the trouble pulling out the power supply from an old machine (that still works) to test it. Do you think I should try that?

    (I was avoiding pulling the power supply out partly because if it didn't work, I was going to attempt to transfer my hard drive to the older machine - see the Sata to eSata question)

    +
    0 Votes
    seanferd

    If you see any of the capacitors obviously burnt, popped, bulging (stamped-in cross on top for reference), or leaking (taking care not to confuse glue with leakage), don't bother with testing a different PSU.

    If you do want to check with a known-good PSU, make sure it has the right connectors for the system you want to test. Some vendors use proprietary rather than standard connectors <i>which may actually fit the connection but are not compatible, <b>Dell</b></i>.

    edit: Sorry, Tink!, it was rude of me to address someone else while writing to you. ;\

    +
    0 Votes
    Tink!

    and see if I find any clues.

    As for connectors, no problems there, I've checked them both and they have the same connectors available, presumably because both machines are HP Pavilions, just different models.

    +
    0 Votes
    seanferd

    I mention the capacitors in the interest of saving time. If it would be faster just to swap out the PSU for any reason, go for it.

    If it is a PITA to visually inspect the board due to the interior layout, swapping the PSU would probably be faster. It's just that bad caps are a dead giveaway.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tink!

    After testing with the PSU from the working machine there was still no apparent power to the section of the mobo that controls video, audio, network and PS2.

    Unplugging everything and booting comes up with zero beeps so I'm pretty sure the mobo is shot.

    My next question I'll be asking is how do I figure out which replacement motherboard to purchase, but I will post that officially tomorrow when I have all the numbers.

    Thanks for all your help!

    +
    0 Votes
    .Martin.

    from what you have said it does sound like a dead mobo.

    and this may be a long shot, but have you tried a live CD? could this be a virus infection?

    +
    0 Votes
    EugeneJohnson

    check cables first