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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Motherboard or ?

    Started up my wife's PC and nothing came up on the screen. Power is getting to the PC and I hear the drives spinning and the light flickers when trying to read the CD and DVD. The video card is hard wired on the motherboard. I put a spare video card in an open PCI slot and still nothing comes up on the screen.

    I suspect either a motherboard failure or a bad CPU. Would there be a way of telling which one is causing the problem? If it
    You know it's time to diet when you push away from the table and the table moves.

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Did you disable the on board video card when installing the video card?

    Can you see the initial few screens when the BIOS loads and before WIndows kicks in?

    Can you boot to Safe Mode?
    BOB
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  3. #3
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    The on-board video was disabled. When it boots, if it does, the screen remains black. I even tried using another monitor with the same result so that eliminates a monitor problem.

    Besides the motherboard and possible CPU, is there anything else I may be overlooking? I think I've reached the end.

    Anyone heard of a problem like this with a 1 year old PC?
    You know it's time to diet when you push away from the table and the table moves.

  4. #4
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    That black screen makes me think that the video card you inserted isn't getting recognized on boot. Some video cards require that you go in to Device Manager and delete the previous video card, maybe even if it is onboard. Then you shutdown the computer and insert the replacement card before re-booting. At this point, it doesn't "smell" like a BIOS or motherboard problem to me, rather than a failure of your system to recognize that you have inserted a replacement video card. You May have to boot to Safe Mode and set the video to "standard video" at 640 x 480 so you can run the driver installation of the replacement card. I certainly wouldn't give up on the motherboard or BIOS at this early stage.

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Can you boot to Safe Mode?
    You didn't indicate yes or no on this last post.

    > Anyone heard of a problem like this with a 1 year old PC?

    Component failures can happen at ANY time and more likely to happen at a young age than an older PC that has been "burned in" with time. So, age doesn't really enter in to the picture here.

    When you say "when it boots, IF it does, the screen remains black", how can you determine if indeed it did complete the boot?

    I'm not ruling out the MB or CPU but with the info you have given us so far, I don't think it is a trouble with those items.
    BOB
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Big Al, the black screen using a different video card is consistant with the onboard video card so I thought maybe I have a bad MB or CPU. However, I will attempt to get into safe mode and see what happens then once I get home. If that works I can try and delete the onboard video card. Won't I need the drivers for that one if I need to go back to it? I've got to have those available first for a back up.
    You know it's time to diet when you push away from the table and the table moves.

  7. #7
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    I didn
    You know it's time to diet when you push away from the table and the table moves.

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Are you hearing any beep codes when powering the system on? Have you replaced (or tested) the CMOS battery? Do you have a second power supply that you can try in the system?

    Remove EVERYTHING except for the boot drive and a single stick of memory to eliminate the possibility that you have two or more pieces of hardware fighting it out. What you're describing, though, sounds like a dead motherboard if none of these suggestions help. Yes, it's possible, sometimes you get a lemon. If I had saved all my past lemons I could open a lemonade stand.
    -Mark

  9. #9
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Mark, I don
    You know it's time to diet when you push away from the table and the table moves.

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Usually F8 will get you to Safe Mode or the option screen.
    F12 only on a few.
    DEL will usually get you to BIOS setting screens.

    Just boot and keep hitting F8 until something happens.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  11. #11
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Maybe I'm missing something here. As I understand this, you're getting nothing but a blank screen at startup. Since that's the case, I can't see where safe mode or any other mode would make a hoot and holler of difference. If you can't see the output and interact with it, it's effectively useless.

    Lights coming on and CD drives spinning are all part of the normal power-on sequence. All that really tells you is that the devices are getting enough power to spin up and get into their respective ready states. It does not indicate the health of a power supply, which outputs 12v, 5v, and 3v. If one of the power rails is outside of spec, it could result in the motherboard not being able to operate normally, even if the peripherals are powering on. The reason for this is that the chips operate at a different voltage than the peripherals that are attached.

    You stated that it was "working the day before." When hardware fails, it's generally sudden as you describe. Not so very long ago, I replaced a power supply in a PC that was exhibiting more or less the same symptoms, except in that case there was a beep code that indicated something was amiss.

    Removing parts is not difficult, because most things only fit in one place and in one way. However, if hardware troubleshooting is something you are not comfortable with, don't take chances; take it to a local repair shop and have them test the components for you. If it's under warranty, send it in for service before the warranty expires. I would avoid chain retailers that have repair shops as part of their store, the staff there is not encouraged to solve problems, their focus is usually on getting things in and out as quickly as possible and keeping turnaround times short.

    Sorry I don't have a rosier prognostication for you, but everything you describe sounds like a failed piece of hardware. Keep us posted!
    -Mark

  12. #12
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    My money would be on the motherboard. I had exactly the same symptoms towards the end of last year (older machine so no warranty on the mobo, unfortunately.) I went down the route of stripping the system down to a bare minimum and, as it happened, I had spares of video card, power supply, processor and mobo so tried various combinations of each - it was only when I changed the mobo that the monitor came back to life. No guarantees that your situation is exactly the same but so far your symptoms are.
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  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    Mark,

    >>but everything you describe sounds like a failed piece of hardware


    Yes, I don't think anyone is denying that SOME piece of hardware has failed. But instead of rushing out and buying a new MB or PS ( which MAY be the problem ), why not try to exhaust all other possibilities by making rather simple tests before spending bucks that MAY solve the problem?

    Again, I don't disagree that the MB or the PS could be the problem. Just delay the rush to judgement a bit.

    Edited to add: unless, as Rory says, the unit is still under warrantee, then get your claim in as soon as possible .
    BOB
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    Today it is called golf!

  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    If you re-read my last post carefully, I suggested several zero or low cost ideas to try, including having a local shop test the components. Why spend precious hours and days of your life expending effort that will likely bear no fruit?
    -Mark

  15. #15
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Motherboard or ?

    I suggested a local shop as an option as the OP stated that he was not totally comfortable removing parts from the internals. Previous to that there were other suggestions. No toes stepped on, it's only an Internet bulletin board after all. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Personally, I've gotten to the point where I don't like to spend much time troubleshooting myself, but I do it only because I know how and have past experience in the industry to draw on. I've already made the concious decision to forgo that next time around and just get a pre-built machine from a vendor, because it's not what I want to spend my time on anymore... I want it to be someone else's problem for a change!!
    -Mark

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