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Thread: Motherboard or CPU Failure?




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    4

    Exclamation Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    Hi all. I am new to the forum but have been an avid lurker for quite some time. I am desperately hoping someone might be able to clue me in on whether I am experiencing CPU or mainboard failure (or something entirely different).

    The system is a Compaq that I (re)built some time ago & now plan on giving to my son (recently aquired an AlienWare monster rig ). I pretty much rebuilt it with Ebay bids and spare parts. It's nothing fancy in terms of CPU speed but it gets the job done as intended (until now). The only limiting factor in this rig is the mainboard's chipset (only supports 100MHz FSB & PC133 SDRAM) which in turn limits my selection of CPU and faster RAM....but I'm happy with it and am sure that he will be...if I can get it up and running again sometime soon.

    The Rig:

    Compaq 5WV232
    Microsoft Windows XP SP2 (fully updated)

    MoBo ............. Compaq UWAVE 1.2 (Compaq's proprietary version of FIC's AZ31)
    Chipset .......... VIA Apollo Pro KT133
    BIOS .............. Award (forgot version - flashed from Compaq's OEM to AZ31 standard)

    CPU ............... AMD 1400MHz 'Thunderbird' Athlon (A1400AMS3B) 100MHz FSB (200MHz FSB w/ DDR)
    CPU Cooling ..... Copper HS & Delta 80mm 40cfm fan w/ Cooler Master 80mm case fan
    RAM ............... Kingston 1.5GB PC133 SDRAM (3x 512MB)
    HDD ............... 2x 250GB Seagate Barracuda Ultra ATA/100 HDDs

    Graphics Card ... Nvidia 6800 Ultra 256MB AGP 4x (OCed)
    Audio .............. SoundBlaster 7.1 channel Audigy 4 Pro
    Optical Drive 1 .. LiteOn DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo Drive
    Optical Drive 2 .. Sony DRX 810UL DVD±RW Drive
    Power Supply .... RaidMax 450W ATX PSU

    The Problem:

    This problem began some time ago (well after the BIOS flash & all of the system upgrades) and involved intermittent boot failures but has now turn into a complete system failure.

    When it began, if I turned the power off for more than 5 minutes or so, I could then attempt to turn the PC back on, it would power up but it would not even so much as POST into BIOS...no BIOS, no errors, no system beeps...nothing but a blank screen. I would then have to power off & then back on (sometimes 2 or 3 times) before it would actually POST and then boot into Windows.

    However, after finally booting into Windows, it would run as well as it ever had. I had run multiple Burn-In stress tests (including Sandra) and the system passed them all with flying colors.

    However, the problem grew worse over a period of a year. 2 or 3 failed boot retries turned into 8 or 9 retries which turned into 20 retries...which then turned into nothing at all. Now the system will not do anything except as listed below...

    When this occurs, the tower's front LED comes on, the network card's LED comes on, all 3 fans spin up and run correctly, floppy & both optical drives spin up & scan for media, both HDDs spin up and are being read but only for about one second or so...hmmm. Also, the monitor's LED remains orange instead of green but does not give a "no video signal detected" as it would if the cable was disconnected from the graphics card.

    What I Have Tried:



    • Opened case and cleaned dust while checking for busted caps...everything looks fine.
    • Disconnected, inspected, and reseated ALL internal & external cables & power wires...nothing.
    • Reseated all PCI & AGP cards including RAM, fan/heat sink, & CPU...nothing.
    • Tested monitor on other PC...works fine.
    • Swapped out the graphics cards with a known good one...nothing.
    • Removed all RAM and replaced them with 1 known good PC133 SDRAM 512MB stick...nothing.
    • Removed & visually inspected the CPU (die, pins, etc.)...looked fine.
    • Removed master HDD put slave HDD in its place...nothing.
    • Placed the master HDD in other PC...other PC boots & runs normally.
    • Placed slave HDD in other PC...other PC reads the drive without problem.
    • Disconnected all hardware except graphics card & master HDD...nothing.
    • Disconnected all hardware (including HDDs) except graphics card...nothing.
    • Swapped the power supply with a known good one...nothing
    • Reset CMOS via mobo jumpers...nothing.
    • Replaced CMOS battery...nothing.
    As you can see, I have effectively eliminated every possible cause for this problem (that I am aware of) except the CPU & mainboard. But between Christmas, New Years, bills, a birthday, an emergency room visit, & an Alien Ware computer, I'm a little strapped for cash and can't afford to buy both a mainboard & CPU...and my son is driving me nuts. I can possibly afford one or the other but not both at the moment. That is why I am here.

    Seeing all of the knowledgable people who frequent this board, I'm hoping someone 'in the know' or someone who has experience with issues such as these can give me a hand here. Motherboard, CPU, or something else I may have overlooked?...that is the question.


    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheerz!
    Last edited by cblee1978; 01-10-2006 at 08:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,525

    Default Re: Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    A very clear and precise post for a change which I personally like (far too many vague ones here of late).
    But the only thing that I can think of, so you can complete your mission, is to drop that T'bird into a known working mainboard (do you have one of those small PC stores near you that may test it or the mainboard for you?).
    Last edited by wayout44; 01-10-2006 at 09:15 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Central Alberta , Canada
    Posts
    1,019

    Default Re: Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    Just a shot in the dark but you say you tested this system with a "known good " power supply unit. Was this PSU at least as powerfull as the original PSU? I'm not certain of the original configuration of your system but I have a 5WV series system here that started out with way lower specs than what you quote and I had to replace the PSU with a higher wattage unit years ago after an upgrade.
    Antec 900 case (4 120mm and 1 200mm lighted fans + UFO flashing light set + 2 12" and 1 6" Mutant Mods meteor lights) - Aerogate ll thermal controller - Asus M2N-e SLI - AMD 64 X2 AM2 6400+ - Corsair TX650 PSU - MSI 450GTS Cyclone OC - 2 X 2GB Patriot Extreme Performance PC2 6400 RAM - SATA 320 GB Seagate HD, SATA 300GB Maxtor HD and IDE 80 GB Samsung HD - Floppy Drive/Card Reader Combo - LG SuperMulti Lightscribe 18x DVD RW - Plextor PX-716A DVD r/rw - Windows 7 Home Premium 64

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    I appreciate the quick reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by wayout44
    A very clear and precise post for a change which I personally like (far too many vague ones here of late).
    Thank you. I am a web site designer on the side so being long-winded and precise as possible is almost a habit by now

    Quote Originally Posted by wayout44
    But the only thing that I can think of, so you can complete your mission, is to drop that T'bird into a known working mainboard (do you have one of those small PC stores near you that may test it or the mainboard for you?).
    I wish that were possible. Computer shops in this area are far and few between so I guess they figure that they can charge rediculous prices for nearly nothing at all. The only two shops in the area want to charge me between $60 & $75 dollars just to tell me what is wrong. This fee is off course refunded if I then have them replace the defective part...but a CPU thru them will cost about $130 & a motherboard is even more than that (because of its age I was told...lol...yeah right).

    If I only had the $60-$75 to spare right now, I could purchase the exact replacements for both mobo & CPU that I have been watching on Ebay for the past two days ...aren't the holidays great!

    In any case, I will keep digging to see what I can find. Thanks again.

    Last edited by cblee1978; 01-10-2006 at 11:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    Thank you for the reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieDawg
    Just a shot in the dark but you say you tested this system with a "known good " power supply unit. Was this PSU at least as powerfull as the original PSU?
    A very good question. Must have slipped my mind to check when I swapped it out for testing.

    The PSU that was swapped out was rated at 450W while the replacement PSU that I used was rated at 400W. Doing the math on my components, if all are at peak use they consume a grand total of 384W...so I believe I am good shape there.

    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieDawg
    I'm not certain of the original configuration of your system but I have a 5WV series system here that started out with way lower specs than what you quote and I had to replace the PSU with a higher wattage unit years ago after an upgrade.
    Same here. I replaced my original 250W Compaq OEM PSU a loooooong time ago. It was fine for the original 700MHz Duron, 64MB of RAM, single 20GB HDD, 8MB TNT2 video card, and single CD-ROM but became an overpriced door-stop after the 256MB 6800 Ultra video card was installed.
    Last edited by cblee1978; 01-10-2006 at 11:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieDawg
    Just a shot in the dark but you say you tested this system with a "known good " power supply unit. Was this PSU at least as powerfull as the original PSU? I'm not certain of the original configuration of your system but I have a 5WV series system here that started out with way lower specs than what you quote and I had to replace the PSU with a higher wattage unit years ago after an upgrade.
    I forgot to mention that, following your hunch, I did removed all of the hardware except for the CPU, RAM, master HDD, and graphics card (which put me at around 280-300W max power consumption) & then retried the 400W PSU...no luck.

    I appreciate the help though.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Motherboard or CPU Failure?

    Have you tried using different IDE cables. Maybe there is something wrong with the cable. Also have you tried switching the Hard Drives to the secondary IDE (I assume you have them on the first). It could be something wrong with the IDE controller.

    Do you have an old PCI graphics card you can use to ensure that there is not something wrong with your AGP slot.

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