New PC worked initially, but now won't power up


K

Kev

I am currently building a new PC with the following components:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
CPU: Intel i7 950
RAM: OCZ DDR3 PC3-10666 Platinum 3x2GB
PSU: Antec TruePower 750W Blue
Case: Antec P183

It powered up successfully on first attempt. I then installed Windows XP
and that went ok. Next I connected up 2 more HDDs and began partitioning
one of them. I left it formatting while I went off to do something else.
When I returned half an hour later, I found the computer turned off. After
that it would not power up at all.

When the PSU switch is on, a "power" led is displayed on the motherboard.
When the case power switch is pressed, another motherboard led comes on.
But nothing further. The led that indicates boot stages does not light up
at all.

I have checked all connections. I have tried 2 RAM sticks instead of 3
(single stick is disallowed).

Any suggestions?

Kev
 
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P

Paul

Kev said:
I am currently building a new PC with the following components:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
CPU: Intel i7 950
RAM: OCZ DDR3 PC3-10666 Platinum 3x2GB
PSU: Antec TruePower 750W Blue
Case: Antec P183

It powered up successfully on first attempt. I then installed Windows XP
and that went ok. Next I connected up 2 more HDDs and began partitioning
one of them. I left it formatting while I went off to do something else.
When I returned half an hour later, I found the computer turned off. After
that it would not power up at all.

When the PSU switch is on, a "power" led is displayed on the motherboard.
When the case power switch is pressed, another motherboard led comes on.
But nothing further. The led that indicates boot stages does not light up
at all.

I have checked all connections. I have tried 2 RAM sticks instead of 3
(single stick is disallowed).

Any suggestions?

Kev

That board has a POST code display!

Look for a two digit display in the upper right hand corner of
this photo. Two seven segment digits, to the left of the screw
hole in the corner.

http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/13-128-413-Z03?$S640W$

POST codes are updated by the BIOS, as it is executed. If the processor
is executing no code at all (POST failure), the LEDS will read 0xFF or
0x00. (That's an initial hardware value - it's not loaded by the CPU.)
If the BIOS is running, the display gets updated when some
subroutine starts to run. The display can update faster than a human
can read it. It's only when the computer gets stuck, that you
see a final value. Then, you look up the two digit code in chapter five
of the user manual. The information you gather from there is mostly
useless (sorry). The main value of the POST code, is to see if
it's stuck at FF or 00. I can't remember the last time, a POST
code value, helped in an actual diagnosis.

It sounds like a powering problem, but be aware there are regulation
devices in two places. Your power supply has 3.3V, 5V, 12V, -12V
as the main rails. On the motherboard itself, there are further
regulators, like Vcore for the processor, Vdimm for the memory.
And a failure in one of those, to deliver voltage, prevents the
board from starting in an intelligent fashion.

If you hear the hard drive spinning, you probably have +5V and +12V.
For the other power supply rails, you'd likely need a multimeter
to check they're present.

The motherboard ones are even harder to check.

As for RAM tests, you can test the computer with zero sticks
installed if you want. The reason for that test case,
is the CPU will beep the computer case speaker (the beeper),
if no RAM is present. But that tells you the CPU is alive.
If you're getting absolutely no beeps at all, when the
RAM is removed, that means the CPU isn't executing BIOS
code. A loss of +12V from the power supply can do that.
(Make sure the ATX12V 2x2 or 2x4, as appropriate, is connected.
Those connectors have only yellow and black wires on them.
Yellow is +12V, black is ground.)

A failure of the multi-phase Vcore around the processor
socket can do it. So it's not possible to isolate to
the nearest defective component, using only the parts
inside the computer.

If you take the CPU and memory out, and test them in
another computer, then that would tell you something.
Same thing with connecting the power supply to another
computer, and seeing if that computer will run.

From a customer review on Newegg:

"Had the board for a month and experience intermittant
power offs. This turned into every few hours and now
ever 3 seconds. Replaced all hardware in my troubleshooting,
had motherboard RMAd..."

"My board worked fine for 1 month. Then monitor started
blinking. Tried reseating video card, no fix. Next
couple days later, power started going off randomly.
Now, computer doesn’t beep and there is no post code
at all on the LED. Spoke with Tech support and am being
told that I will have to pay to return the board at
this point."

You might check through the reviews, for more reports like that.

Paul
 
K

Kev

That board has a POST code display!
Look for a two digit display in the upper right hand corner of
this photo. Two seven segment digits, to the left of the screw
hole in the corner.

POST codes are updated by the BIOS, as it is executed. If the processor
is executing no code at all (POST failure), the LEDS will read 0xFF or
0x00. (That's an initial hardware value - it's not loaded by the CPU.)
If the BIOS is running, the display gets updated when some
subroutine starts to run. The display can update faster than a human
can read it. It's only when the computer gets stuck, that you
see a final value. Then, you look up the two digit code in chapter five
of the user manual. The information you gather from there is mostly
useless (sorry). The main value of the POST code, is to see if
it's stuck at FF or 00. I can't remember the last time, a POST
code value, helped in an actual diagnosis.

This is what I referred to as the "led that indicates boot stages". It is
not displaying anything at all.
As for RAM tests, you can test the computer with zero sticks
installed if you want. The reason for that test case,
is the CPU will beep the computer case speaker (the beeper),
if no RAM is present. But that tells you the CPU is alive.
If you're getting absolutely no beeps at all, when the
RAM is removed, that means the CPU isn't executing BIOS
code. A loss of +12V from the power supply can do that.
(Make sure the ATX12V 2x2 or 2x4, as appropriate, is connected.
Those connectors have only yellow and black wires on them.
Yellow is +12V, black is ground.)

I tried removing the RAM. No change. No beeps.

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I have not yet had time to check out most of
your suggestions. Hopefully tomorrow...

Kev
 
P

Paul

Kev said:
This is what I referred to as the "led that indicates boot stages". It is
not displaying anything at all.


I tried removing the RAM. No change. No beeps.

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I have not yet had time to check out most of
your suggestions. Hopefully tomorrow...

Kev

If the POST LED display is off, that can be for a couple reasons.
The LED display may lack power (perhaps +5V), or it may be blanked.
Sometimes, the driver for a device like that, has a setting to
cause all the segments to go off. At least on classic POST displays
(the kind you buy as a PCI card and plug in), those initialize to
0xFF or 0x00, and the LED should be lit on one of those as long
as power is available. And a real PCI POST card, sometimes has separate
glowing LEDs, that indicate the major power rails are available.

(A POST card, with four LEDs monitoring the main power rails. This one
would read 00 or FF, even if the processor wasn't running. Values other
than 00 and FF mean the processor is reading BIOS code.)

http://i.ebayimg.com/21/!B8n0bMQB2k~$(KGrHqF,!jUEzKMW-kJMBM3moZUO4g~~0_12.JPG

At this point, I suspect a motherboard problem of some sort, but
maybe you'll figure it out after a few more tests.

Paul
 
P

Paul

Kev said:
Tools like this would be a bit too specialist for me, as I am not really
into PC building in a big way. This is only my third build; my last one was
in 2006 and before that 2002. By the way, my first 2 PCs were built around
Epox motherboards which had similar post code LEDs. Epox now appears to
have dropped out of the motherboard market.

Kev

I like to see the POST code display on motherboards, as it provides a little
extra info. But not very many motherboards include it. All I get on my current
motherboard, is beep codes.

Asus used to have Vocal Post at one time. It cost them a buck or two, to put
an extra chip on the board, and it would "speak" an error code. That was probably
a bit better than the POST code thing. But they stopped doing that, and no
other company bothered to pick it up. So most people are stuck with beeps.

Paul
 
K

Kev

If the POST LED display is off, that can be for a couple reasons.
The LED display may lack power (perhaps +5V), or it may be blanked.
Sometimes, the driver for a device like that, has a setting to
cause all the segments to go off. At least on classic POST displays
(the kind you buy as a PCI card and plug in), those initialize to
0xFF or 0x00, and the LED should be lit on one of those as long
as power is available. And a real PCI POST card, sometimes has separate
glowing LEDs, that indicate the major power rails are available.

(A POST card, with four LEDs monitoring the main power rails. This one
would read 00 or FF, even if the processor wasn't running. Values other
than 00 and FF mean the processor is reading BIOS code.)

http://i.ebayimg.com/21/!B8n0bMQB2k~$(KGrHqF,!jUEzKMW-kJMBM3moZUO4g~~0_12.JPG

Tools like this would be a bit too specialist for me, as I am not really
into PC building in a big way. This is only my third build; my last one was
in 2006 and before that 2002. By the way, my first 2 PCs were built around
Epox motherboards which had similar post code LEDs. Epox now appears to
have dropped out of the motherboard market.

Kev
 
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T

TVeblen

I like to see the POST code display on motherboards, as it provides a
little
extra info. But not very many motherboards include it. All I get on my
current
motherboard, is beep codes.

Asus used to have Vocal Post at one time. It cost them a buck or two, to
put
an extra chip on the board, and it would "speak" an error code. That was
probably
a bit better than the POST code thing. But they stopped doing that, and no
other company bothered to pick it up. So most people are stuck with beeps.

Paul

I had (have?) one of those Asus boards. The problem was you could not
hear what the voice was saying! You know that old comedy sketch about
the guy at the fast food place talking into the clown's head? Just like
that.

RRRAAARRR ERRR ERRR! RRRAAARRR ERRR ERRR!

Like the paperclip and the cute puppy, that is one computer innovation
that deserved an unceremonious death!
 
P

Paul

TVeblen said:
I had (have?) one of those Asus boards. The problem was you could not
hear what the voice was saying! You know that old comedy sketch about
the guy at the fast food place talking into the clown's head? Just like
that.

RRRAAARRR ERRR ERRR! RRRAAARRR ERRR ERRR!

Like the paperclip and the cute puppy, that is one computer innovation
that deserved an unceremonious death!

There is no question the quality leaves a lot to be desired.
I'm just glad, on the two of my boards that had it, it
could be turned off in the BIOS.

You can fix that. It's a matter of changing the sampling rate on
the voice samples. Asus had a tool for download, which would
allow reprogramming the serial EEPROM that had the voice samples
in it. (It takes 30 minutes to burn a new set of samples.)
I think the main reason most people would search for
that (Winbond) package, was to delete certain of the
voice messages, rather than to re-record them. If you bump
up the sampling rate, then it depends on how much room is
left in the serial EEPROM, as to whether it will all fit or not.
The reason it takes so long to program, is because the EEPROM
has a serial interface.

The reason I liked it, is because it didn't have the same
emphasis as POST code values. POST codes only attempt to trace
what subroutine you're executing at this instant. The Vocal
POST was closer to actual error messages. For example, if the
BIOS POST RAM test took too long (timed out), the Vocal
Post would tell you that you'd had a RAM failure. So it
was more along the lines of error codes. Most of these
error codes, are done by the processor writing something
to the Winbond chip. But a couple of these, are based
on a timeout feature. I think the "No CPU Installed", might
have been done with a logic signal running from the socket
to the Winbond chip.

No CPU Installed
System failed CPU test
System failed memory test
System failed VGA test
System failed due to CPU overclocking
No keyboard detected
No floppy disk detected
No IDE hard disk detected
CPU temperature too high
CPU fan failed
CPU voltage out of range
System completed Power On Self Test
Computer now booting from operating system <--- annoying!

On the motherboards where you couldn't disable the thing,
re-recording the most annoying messages, was the next
best thing. (You could also unplug the EEPROM, because
at least on some motherboards, it sat in an 8 pin DIP socket.)

EEPROM ---- Winbond_chip --- capacitive_coupling ---> Lineout_audio

I think it was tied into motherboard audio. If you were using a
PCI sound card, then you wouldn't hear it. You'd have to
plug the computer speakers, back into the motherboard Lineout
connector, if you wanted to listen for it.

HTH,
Paul
 
T

TVeblen

There is no question the quality leaves a lot to be desired.
I'm just glad, on the two of my boards that had it, it
could be turned off in the BIOS.

You can fix that. It's a matter of changing the sampling rate on
the voice samples. Asus had a tool for download, which would
allow reprogramming the serial EEPROM that had the voice samples
in it. (It takes 30 minutes to burn a new set of samples.)
I think the main reason most people would search for
that (Winbond) package, was to delete certain of the
voice messages, rather than to re-record them. If you bump
up the sampling rate, then it depends on how much room is
left in the serial EEPROM, as to whether it will all fit or not.
The reason it takes so long to program, is because the EEPROM
has a serial interface.

The reason I liked it, is because it didn't have the same
emphasis as POST code values. POST codes only attempt to trace
what subroutine you're executing at this instant. The Vocal
POST was closer to actual error messages. For example, if the
BIOS POST RAM test took too long (timed out), the Vocal
Post would tell you that you'd had a RAM failure. So it
was more along the lines of error codes. Most of these
error codes, are done by the processor writing something
to the Winbond chip. But a couple of these, are based
on a timeout feature. I think the "No CPU Installed", might
have been done with a logic signal running from the socket
to the Winbond chip.

No CPU Installed
System failed CPU test
System failed memory test
System failed VGA test
System failed due to CPU overclocking
No keyboard detected
No floppy disk detected
No IDE hard disk detected
CPU temperature too high
CPU fan failed
CPU voltage out of range
System completed Power On Self Test
Computer now booting from operating system <--- annoying!

On the motherboards where you couldn't disable the thing,
re-recording the most annoying messages, was the next
best thing. (You could also unplug the EEPROM, because
at least on some motherboards, it sat in an 8 pin DIP socket.)

EEPROM ---- Winbond_chip --- capacitive_coupling ---> Lineout_audio

I think it was tied into motherboard audio. If you were using a
PCI sound card, then you wouldn't hear it. You'd have to
plug the computer speakers, back into the motherboard Lineout
connector, if you wanted to listen for it.

HTH,
Paul

On mine the sound came out of a tiny piezo on the board.
After it scared the crap out of me the first time, I disabled it and got
back to my good ol' familiar beep codes.

The error codes help with the obvious. The more confusing issues require
effort IMHO!
 
K

Kev

I like to see the POST code display on motherboards, as it provides a
little
extra info. But not very many motherboards include it. All I get on my
current
motherboard, is beep codes.

Asus used to have Vocal Post at one time. It cost them a buck or two, to
put
an extra chip on the board, and it would "speak" an error code. That was
probably
a bit better than the POST code thing. But they stopped doing that, and no
other company bothered to pick it up. So most people are stuck with beeps.

I am surprised that LED is not more commonplace. Epox were including it 8
or more years ago. I would have expected it to have become standard by now
for all major manufacturers.

Kev
 
F

Flasherly

I had (have?) one of those Asus boards. The problem was you could not
hear what the voice was saying! You know that old comedy sketch about
the guy at the fast food place talking into the clown's head? Just like
that.

Those little button-faced pizo speakers with two wires for mounting
over the speaker connection...well, through that I can hear my Asus
say "You've Booted Properly". I don't know the clown head, but it
does sound like Bruce Willis in The 5th Element, when the major rigs a
mailed calling-card announcing -- "You've won the Gemni Contest for a
trip to Fosten Paradise" (Willis then breaks a towel hanging fixture
off the wall). They way Asus wants it, though, is through more along a
multimedia setup. Oh well. I'm still waiting for a give-away sale on
Fostex or JBL pro studio 200-watt powered monitors.
 
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