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Component Problems


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#1 Daybreak

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 06:44 PM

I have an old computer that's giving me big problems.

Specs:

Windows XP Pro
MOBO: Asus P4P8X SE (seven years old) - http://www.motherboard.cz/mb/asus/P4P8XSE.htm
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.20GHz with Hyper Threading (seven years old)
RAM: Kingston 4GB (seven years old)
PSU: Rosewill 550W ATX12V (six months old)
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 APG8X (seven years old) - http://www.nvidia.com/page/geforce4ti.html
HD: WD 80GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 (one week old)

MOBO Temp: 58C - Idle
CPU Temp: 48C - Idle

Here are the issues:

Until two weeks ago I had a seven year old SATA drive in this rig. Windows started crashing randomly, and I heard a deep grinding/crunching accessing sound so I figured the drive was on it's way out. I bought a new SATA 3.0 drive and Windows installed fine.

Windows locked up (froze) a few times during the ethernet cards drivers and network connection installations. It crashed twice during the graphics card installer rebooting to this dos message:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe - it's not a keyboard issue because I tried three different keyboards and get the same message after trying to install the graphics drivers each time.

I don't want to keep replacing componants until I find the bad one.

Does anyone have an idea of what it might be, or a way to test pinpoint the problem source?

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:50 PM

Sure...let's start with what medium was used to install XP.

Microsoft XP CD?

Recovery/restore CD?

Error messages from these crashes?

How To Disable Automatic Restarts When Windows Crashes - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/74644/how-to-disable-automatic-restarts-when-windows-crashes/

Errors noted in Event Viewer that might pertain to the problem?

How To Use Event Viewer - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/40108/how-to-use-event-viewer/

Could the noise have been caused by fan bearings on the downward side of life? Did you open the case to try to pinpoint the origin of the noise?

67.7 Celsius is the max operating temp for that processor, http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SL7KL#. I would check the temperature via the BIOS after some activity.

Louis

#3 Daybreak

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:03 PM

Microsoft XP CD
Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe - was the only error message I've recieved so far.
I pinpointed the noise to the old drive and it's no longer there with the new drive.

I also had trouble getting the monitor to wake up on start a few times. I had to hit the reset button.

If all my fans are working fine, what else would cause the CPU to spike in temperature if that indeed was the culprit?

Edited by Daybreak, 17 September 2009 - 08:22 PM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:51 PM

Well...a hard drive is the one computer component with more than a 1-year warranty, generally speaking. The longest warranty I've seen for any component I've had is 3 years (hard drive).

Seems that you are way past those marks...I would not be surprised if components have passed their optimal performance period.

I would not ever say that a CPU reaches a temperature spike. Like anything else that is electronic, the more that it is used...the harder that it has to work...the warmer it should become. That's why fans, thermal paste, and heatsinks are important.

In any case, the following is what Microsoft has to say about that particular error message: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314477

Louis

#5 Daybreak

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 09:50 PM

So realistically it could be either the CPU or the GPU?

#6 Sneakycyber

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:15 PM

IF your having trouble installing windows I would start with a memory test first. A bad memory sector will give you faults in during the install. A dirty or scratched CD/DVD will also.
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#7 Daybreak

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:17 PM

Windows installed fine. Not a single glitch.

It's when I start trying to install certain drivers for peripherals is when I have problems.

#8 Sneakycyber

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:20 PM

Still could be a memory problem, when windows loads it uses memory and when you load drivers etc.. it uses memory the problem could be in the upper end of the memory bank. Run memtest and see what happens.
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#9 hamluis

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:37 AM

Following links cover basic testing methodology:

Icrontic Diagnose with Memtest86+ - http://icrontic.com/articles/diagnose_with_memtest86

MemTest Manual - http://hcidesign.com/memtest/manual.html

Download: Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool - http://www.memtest.org/#downiso

How to successfully burn or write an ISO-image to cd or dvd - http://iso.snoekonline.com/iso.htm

Louis

#10 Daybreak

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:44 AM

memtest passed.

I just discovered something though.

The grinding/crunching sound is back, but it stopped after unplugging a side fan.

Could a side fan cause all these problems?

I'm running Prime95 right now to test the cpu and mobo.


Edit: It locked up during the Prime95 test, with the noisy fan off.

Edited by Daybreak, 18 September 2009 - 09:34 AM.


#11 Sneakycyber

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 11:00 AM

If while running prime 95 it locked up as you have described, it sounds like a overheating problem.
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#12 Daybreak

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 07:16 PM

I ran Prime95's 'Torture Test' while running Everest's temperature monitor. It never crashed and never got above 54.

Since I just installed Windows on this new drive last night I decided to try again from scratch after all the tests.

I got as far as the rebooting to my newly installed windows when it gave me a bsod.

I think the bios is borked because I now can't even get into it.

Might be a bad mobo.

#13 Daybreak

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 11:05 AM

I decided to start swapping out components until I found the bad one, but before I even got that far, I found the problem.

It's the ATX power connector. There must be a short somewhere on the board because the top 3 - 3.3VDC connections are burnt:

Posted Image

The psu connections are also burnt. Should I replace both?

#14 Sneakycyber

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:32 AM

:thumbsup: Wow That would defiantly cause some problems. Yes I would replace both the power supply and the motherboard. Make sure when installing the new board that the stand offs are in the correct spots and the board is not shorting out on the case. If the PSU doesn't seem to damaged you can test it with a Multimeter and compare its output to This. The purpose of this procedure is to bypass the motherboard to test a ATX PSU. Some manufacturers Like Dell have used some non ATX PSUs which have a different pinout for the 20/4 pin connector, please confirm that your PSU is a ATX type before using this procedure.

Caution:
This procedure will involve working with live 12VDC electrical potentials which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock. Proper precautions should also be taken to prevent electrostatic discharges (ESDs) within the case of the computer. For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.

First, shutdown your computer. Then unplug the power cable going into your computer.

Once you have opened the case, touch the metal of the case to discharge any static electricity.

The connector of the PSU which connects to the motherboard is readily recognizable by the number of wires in the bundle. To disconnect it you will need to press on the plastic clip to disengage it and then pull the connector up and away from the motherboard. Please take notice of the location of the locking tab and the notch on the socket of the motherboard, this will only connect one way as it is keyed. This wire bundle will have a memory of the way it has been installed and will want to bend back that direction, you may have to play around with it to find a position that the connector will stay in the same position while you run the test.

Posted Image

From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.


Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14. If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner. This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom. The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper. For a jumper you will need a piece of solid wire about the size of a paper clip (20-22 awg), preferably a wire with insulation. It will need to be large enough to fit firmly into the socket so that it will not need to be held in place while testing. You are at risk of electrical shock if you are holding the jumper when you power up the PSU. Insert one end of the jumper into the socket of the Green wire, and insert the other end into the socket of any Black wire.

Once the jumper is in place plug the cord back in. If the PSU is working properly the case fans, optical drives, hdds, and LEDs should power up and remain on. I would suggest that you not leave this connected any longer than is necessary for safety purposes.

To reconnect the 20/4 pin connector unplug the power cord, remove the jumper, and reconnect the connector. Take a moment at this time to make sure that nothing has been dislodged inside the case.
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#15 Daybreak

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 10:52 AM

I just replaced my old psu six months ago and didn't even see a blemish in the atx connector before installing the new one. Maybe it is the psu.

I wanted to multimeter test the psu but didn't know what connectors to jump, so thanks for that information.


Edit: After testing all the connectors, everything's in the right range. The three burnt connectors are giving me 3.37VDC.

So it must have been the board itself. I'm replacing it with the exact same model, so I guess I'll know for sure eventually.

Edited by Daybreak, 20 September 2009 - 04:50 PM.





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