Computer upgrade, can't install xp faulty hdd? mobo? psu? cd/dvd?

By djdbri2 ·
Hi, I was running a
Dell Dimension 2400
P4 2.4 Ghz
1 40Gb hard drive for OS
1 160gb hard drive for storage
2GB Ram
Geforce FX 5500
1 Sony DVD-RW/CD-RW dual layer etc. etc. (was an upgrade)
1 CD-RW drive (came with computer)

I've been trying to upgrade this computer over the years (hence the FX5500, 160gb hard drive [that didn't have a drive bay by the way] and DVD-RW drive) and finally hit a stopping point when I realized that I couldn't upgrade to a P4 HT cpu because my motherboard didn't support HT Technology and highest FSB of 400Mhz (BOO!). So I set forth to build a computer half with new parts and half with old parts (ps: in the future I will never attempt this again... just all new parts)

Also, I have installed and reinstalled Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Pro, and SuSE Linux 10.1 and openSuSE 10.2 over and over again on that 40gb hard drive (I'm surprised it even works)
The new system consisted of this
Asus P4P800-SE Motherboard
P4 3.0Ghz HT 800Mhz FSB 512 L2 Cache
same 2GB DDR Ram
the same hard drives 40gb for OS & 160gb for storage
same DVD-RW and CD-RW drives
same Geforce FX5500 graphics card

I've been having so many problems since I first put it all together I don't even remember when it all went sour.

When I first got everything, the new 500W power supply I got with the case had a 24 pin connector and my motherboard had a 20 pin. So while I was waiting to get my converter I used the old 200W from my Dell. It seemed to be running alright except that every once and a while it would either freeze up or randomly restart. I don't think it was until I put in the new 500W power supply that things started getting real bad.

All of a sudden everytime I started my computer it is in an extremely low resolution with 4-bit colors. I tried everything I could to fix it and finally figured maybe its a virus. So I attempted to reinstall Windows XP Pro SP2. Everytime I tried it wouldn't finish the format of the drive.
I replaced the 40gb hard drive with a new 160gb and tried again, still same problems but I eventually got past the partitioning stage and to the install stage. It kept having errors copying files from the cd to the hard drive but eventually kind of worked when I restarted and tried installing XP using the CD-RW drive instead of the DVD-RW and resulted in a very unstable (more than Windows usually is ) XP install.
Hardly any programs would install or work after being installed. The computer was either randomly restarting or freezing all the time and sometimes the resolution would switch back and forth. I tried to repair windows but it happens over and over again.
I changed the voltage on the power supply thinking that was the problem and I think I killed my Geforce FX5500 because the screen would stay off when I powered up my system (don't worry, it was plugged in, i'm not a complete moron) I checked the card while the computer was running and the fan was barely spinning.
I figured I killed it so I bought a new VisionTek Radeon X1550 256MB (i'm on a budget). And went back to the Dell 200W power supply and the monitor worked again.
I also upgraded my BIOS thinking that was the culprit. Didn't fix the problem.
Today, I took the power supply out again and took back the hard drive I bought since it wasn't working. When I got home I put the 200W power supply back in to try once again to reinstall windows on one of my hard drives and the monitor didn't work again. I checked the new graphics card and the fan was spinning and everything seemed fine.... I hope I didn't break this one too.
Now I'm just waiting for my new power supply to get here. I ordered a Coolmaster 450W that had very good reviews. Also ordered a new 300Gb Seagate hard drive (Since I've tried Maxtor and Western Digital in the past few years and they've both failed me)
Sorry for the novel I've written, I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

After reading all of this do you think the problem resides within the hard drives, the dvd or cd roms, the motherboard, the power supply, the ram? do you think its a hardware issue or a virus? should i take the whole thing outside and shoot it? lol please help

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All Answers

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by cmiller5400 In reply to Computer upgrade, can't i ...

It sounds like a hardware configuration/incompatibility issue with the motherboard. Make sure that the BIOS is configured correctly, and the multiplier if it is not automatic is set correctly (No overclocking right now! :) ) Also make sure that the memory is configured for the correct speed and is compatible with the motherboard. (If I am not mistaken, with an 800MHz FSB you should be running 400MHz DDR memory.) You also have dual channel memory availability. Make sure that is set up correctly (DIMMS must be in the correct slot to work) or disabled.

By switching the PS to another voltage (probably 230 volts) you could have damaged the components. Wait for the new PS to come in and remove all components, and reseat them. It may help to reset the CMOS to reset the board back to factory defaults and start from the beginning. Good Luck!

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how do i reset the cmos

by djdbri2 In reply to YIKES!!!

At the moment i can't even boot into the bios, the monitor won't turn on (i pray i didn't burn out the graphics card) but when my new PSU comes i will definitely take your advice.

I know the DIMMS are installed correctly (i read the manual ). And I'm pretty sure I was careful to make sure everything was set up right (as far as what cable goes where and so forth) as far as the BIOS settings and overclocking... >_< Hopefully its fixable (I've already spent a good $400 on this "upgrade") It's my first attempt at building a pc though so hopefully in the future I'll do alot better.

Can i reset the CMOS without being able to log into the BIOS setup?
And also, is there a way to check the motherboard and other components to see if they've been damaged by the voltage switch?
Thanks for your help! :)

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nvm its in the manual >_<

by djdbri2 In reply to how do i reset the cmos

Sometimes I just have to read a little

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Dell is known to use proprietary power supply connections.

by Absolutely In reply to Computer upgrade, can't i ...

The 500W power supply you're using doesn't work properly because Dell has configured their proprietary motherboards to be incompatible with the industry standard for voltage on each pin of the primary motherboard connector to the power supply.

PC Power & Cooling is the only supplier I know, other than Dell, of Dell-compatible replacement power supplies. They are also the best source I know for power supplies in general.

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i'm not using the dell motherboard anymore

by djdbri2 In reply to Dell is known to use prop ...

i used the dell power supply on my new P4P800SE motherboard. so the motherboard shouldn't only work for one kind of power supply or the other right?

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Sorry, I didn't read the whole novel!

by Absolutely In reply to i'm not using the dell mo ...

I'll go back and read your whole story.

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OK, after reading the whole story, carefully, here is my recommendation

by Absolutely In reply to Computer upgrade, can't i ...

Get an ATX power supply with 20 pin connector, not an ATX 2.0 power supply with 24 pin connector. The "adapter" does not adapt. The older, 20 pin power supplies are a little more difficult to find, but not impossible.

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did just that

by djdbri2 In reply to OK, after reading the who ...
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Good output (450W), excellent price, decent brand.

by Absolutely In reply to did just that

Because the power supply is the one component that can destroy any & all of the other components with a momentary surge, it's the one component that I recommend buying "only the best". That, from what I know, is PC Power & Cooling. You'll pay dearly for the higher quality, but you'll get higher quality for it.

If you have a battery/UPS rated >= 500VA, and only power your computer and an LCD monitor with it, you should be quite safe with that power supply. Depending where you live, this might be the time of year for thunder storms, and you'll be exceptionally annoyed if, after all this diagnosis & shopping, your computer is destroyed by a bolt of lightning.

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XP Disk?

by MyLittleMansAnIdiot In reply to Computer upgrade, can't i ...

What XP disc are you using? A copy you purchased, or the proprietary copy supplied with your Dell machine? If it's the latter, I'd suggest either getting your hands on a retail copy of XP (if you can find one), or going to a Linux OS. only other option is Vista.

The copy of Windows that came supplied with your Dell machine is more than likely a Dell proprietary copy, compiled to work with your Dell machine. It will make installing drivers for new hardware difficult, and cause the system to run in a very unstable fashion.

It's the only thing I can think of. As you've changed pretty much every other piece of hardware in your machine it's unlikely it's hardware related.

As for the power supply, in most cases the 24 pin connecters have a small block of 4 connectors on 1 end that detach to give you a 20 pin connector, and they work perfectly well for boards with 20 pin power sockets. You shouldn't need a "converter", as there's nothing to convert. The extra 4 pins are +12V, +5V, +3.3V adn Ground. Some boards probably usilise these as seperate power for the various bridge processors, or perhaps AGP/PCIE or USB power.

If the PSU doesn't come with a splittable 20/4 pin connector, buy a different brand, like Antec or High Power.

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