Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:13 PM
The easiest/fastest way to test devices is to play the "swap for known good device" game.
Power supplies- If you think a power supply is bad, it usually is. You can jumper the green to black wire on the ATX connector to see if it powers on, and check the voltages on a spare molex. Even then, a power supply can check OK for voltages, and still be bad when loaded. If you suspect a power supply, swap in a known good one to be sure (I usually do that first to save time).
Videocard- Same thing. Install it in a motherboard and check it out. If it boots/outputs a video signal, you are 90% of the way home. Check it for bad fans/clogged with dust, busted caps etc.
Video memory defect- small random flashing areas (almost pixel sized). Actual GPU defect- anything from checkerboard patterns to image anomolies/intermittent mismatched areas of display. Missing colors- look for a bad cable (VGA cables are the worst).
Hard drive- First, hook to a USB adapter and see if they are recognized. If it is recognized, and readable, and I still suspect a problem, I install the drive in another system as a non boot drive and run it through the drive manufacturers diagnostics.
CPUs- Install the CPU in a known good board to test it. No shortcut on that one.
Memory- Swap to known good motherboard, or swap it around slots on the current motherboard to pinpoint the problrm. Obviously hard if you only have one stick.
Motherboard- Check for bulged/blown up caps, and scorch marks. Once again, if nothing is obvious, you got to do a CPU/memory/videocard swap to test it. If torn between a motherboard and CPU, suspect the motherboard.
I am blessed by 16 years of spare computer parts so I am covered from 486s to Pentiums,Athlons,P4s, and Core2s.
I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)
3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)