bad ram or motherboard?

By ed20910 ·
I have a Dell 4700. It runs xp with sp3. It has been running fine until yesterday. It locked up and when i tried to restart it, the case fan kicks into high gear (higher than i have ever heard it) and the computer wont boot(no display). The diagnostic lights on the back show that it should be a memory problem.( A & B are yellow) I have 4 sticks of ram (none are matching). Please don't lecture, I now know they should match, but the computer has ran for the last 6+ months with them installed. I have no other pc to test the ram in. I have reset the cmos and tried each stick individually with same results. NO boot. I cant imagine all 4 went out at once. Am i on the right track or is the mobo toast? I don't have a second power supply that matches and no volt meter. thanks in advance.

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All Answers

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That deos sound like a CPU or motherboard or PSU issue

by Deadly Ernest In reply to bad ram or motherboard?

But it can't be cheaply checked unless you can get access to another system with the same style of chip to try the chip and RAM by swapping them into the other system.

It may also be a faulty PSU which can only be checked by a swap out, unless you have the suitable test equipment and know how to use it.

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Additional info

by ed20910 In reply to That deos sound like a CP ...

The front light is a steady amber. I believe blinking would mean a power supply issue. The processor fan runs at a very high speed when the power comes on and the light on the mobo turns green. The cd rom lights flash briefly and the hd fans run. I have tried disconnecting everything except the ram with the same results. Could all 4 sticks go bad at once? I have found the same mobo for a reasonable price, but want to put my money towards the right problem. thanks

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Had the same indications before

by jaymzkerten In reply to Additional info

I had a Dell GX270 at work that had the same thing with the solid amber light. We replaced the PSU (after much case modification) and the computer booted up just fine afterwards.

Also, depending on the computer store you are getting your parts from, they should have a pretty lenient return policy (as far as if you get a replacement mobo and the mobo isn't the problem), and shouldn't have a problem so long as you didn't damage the part.

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Only once have I seen four RAM chips die at once, then it

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Additional info

was a case of the mobo frying them due to a fault developing on it. I recommended a new mobo and RAM. The client ended up going to another shop and replaced the RAM, had the same problem three days later. Replaced mobo and RAM - all fixed.

As to your original problem. I put the probability of cause in the following order

1. PSU

2. CPU

3. Mobo

4. RAM at about 1%

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by brian In reply to Only once have I seen fou ...

I agree with Deadly Earnest with this. It seems as if the PSU bit the dust (though it is turning on). I have seen it happen in a dell 2400 and 3000, both times it was the psu. Startech.com sells power supplys that will fit and are specific for some dell systems, check them out ...it is worth a shot.

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by Mehul Bhai In reply to bad ram or motherboard?

Such types of problem occurs normally in DELL PC's. If your PC is under Warranty then call DELL Support for change of Power Supply, which will solve the problem. In our Organization we changed arround 56 DELL Machines these way.

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RAM unlikely

by alxcsby In reply to bad ram or motherboard?

My first guess would be the MOBO, have you checked for domed or blown capacitors? I know the GX 2XX series of Dells used terrible capacitors that were prone to doming and causing exactly what you're describing. Usually a solid amber is a fried PSU, blinking amber is typically MOBO.
Also, just on a random question, you haven't shaken or moved the PC lately, have you?
I've had this same error caused by dislodged dirt in much older machines.

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by Snuffy09 In reply to bad ram or motherboard?

Its probably your PSU (give it a sniff through the rear fan grill, smell burnt?).

Your Memory has worked until now.

Check the capacitors on your motherboard look and smell for burnt ones. This could be an obvious red flag that your motherboard is damaged.

good luck

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Check MB & PSU

by blood3au In reply to Neither

If you have plugged in another PSU with the same result, try taking out all the RAM and then booting. If you don't get the warning beeping from the PC speaker, then your MB isn't even posting, good chance it's fried or damaged in some way. Also, try using an eraser on the RAM contacts and then try them one at a time, sometimes static builds up on the sticks and using an eraser helps discharge that.

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Up and running again!

by ed20910 In reply to Check MB & PSU

The computer does beep when no ram is inserted. I swapped power supply from replacement I received today and same errors as before. I moved the cpu and all of the RAM to the new tower and everything is fine. I guess it was the mobo. I don't see anything physically wrong with it (I am not sure what I am looking for though). Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

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