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Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

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Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by Blackhawk » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:08 pm

Yesterday my youngest tried to start his computer and it didn't work. It spun up the fans, but that was it. We did a hard reboot and it started fine. Today I tried to start it up, and got the same result as yesterday - fans spun up, the USB ports got power (keyboard lit up), but that's all. No number of reboots would start it.

~I opened it up and checked connections, reseating everything.
~I looked for damaged caps, but they're all encased so I can't tell. Everything else seemed intact.
~I removed all of the RAM except for one stick. In the first slot I get the same result. In any other slot the computer doesn't respond at all.
~I removed all peripherals except for the monitor.
~I swapped in a different video card.
~I switched to a different power supply.

The only difference that any of it made was that with the original power supply the CPU fan would spin up very fast for a split second then slow to normal. With the swapped in power supply it would just start at normal speed. Neither power supply resulted in a boot.

The motherboard is a nine or ten year old MSI Big Bang x58, and I'm the second owner. The original owner said that he occasionally had issues getting it to boot, and that was five years ago.

Is it dead, or is there anything else I can try? If it's dead, I don't have an option to replace it.
Last edited by Blackhawk on Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:30 pm

Have you examined the motherboard closely for failed capacitors? Given the age of the system, that'd be my first instinct.

Bear in mind, if the problem's caused by failed capacitors, you can repair them yourself if you own the right tools and are comfortable working with a soldering iron. Failing that, badcaps.net can repair motherboards with damaged capacitors for $105 + $20 for return shipping.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:30 am

Yeah, I did. They're the polymer type, which are harder to check, but I didn't see any obvious problems. I can't solder, and the whole thing probably isn't worth $120. Not a decade old board with a 2.6ish GHz processor. Besides, I don't have that kind of money. If I can't fix it, he will have to stop gaming for the foreseeable future.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Zitterbacke » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:26 am

Sometime clearing the BIOS, by taking out the battery for a night, might help, if you are out of other ideas.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:35 pm

I'm trying this now.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by dfs » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:30 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:08 pm
,,, fans spun up, the USB ports got power (keyboard lit up)...

...I removed all of the RAM except for one stick. In the first slot I get the same result. In any other slot the computer doesn't respond at all...

Is it dead, or is there anything else I can try? If it's dead, I don't have an option to replace it.
Both those lines are interesting.They imply a lot is going right.

Is it an ssd or a regular disk? If it's a regular disk do you hear the disk spin?
I assume you are not getting an audible message from the board at post?
I assume you cannot access the bios.
When you have a monitor plugged in, does it complain that it is not getting a signal?

You say you have swapped video cards....not to be stupid, but have you tried a different monitor?

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by gameoverman » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:12 pm

I'd test the videocards and the power supplies in another computer, just to verify they work, if you haven't already done so. Don't assume things work just because they did before.

One thing worries me though, that is that when you got it, this motherboard already had issues. The problem is an X-58 can still be a pricey motherboard on the used market, and even if you bought another one there's no guarantee that a cap won't fail on it since it will be aging out just like the one you have.

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:04 am

Removing the CMOS battery did nothing. I did test the video card in another system. I didn't try the power supply in another system, but I did try a different power supply (that I know works) in the problem system with no improvement.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:15 am

Sounds like you can narrow it down to the mobo. PSU doesn't look like an issue.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:43 am

Yeah, that's the consensus everywhere else I've asked, too. Bugger.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:47 am

Newegg - $97.99
Silver - 1k

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:23 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:47 am
Newegg - $97.99
Oh, that's a good idea. I'd have to think about it and talk it over with him. It would be a downgrade (less RAM, slower PCIE slot), and he could barely run the games he plays as it is. I don't have the money. If I spent it anyway, I'd hate for it to get here and have him unable to actually play any of his games.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:38 pm

It's dead. I made arrangements to get a new mobo/processor/RAM. Now I just have to hope to hell that I can get Windows 10 to activate. I can't associate the activation with an MS account or even check what kind of license it has without booting it up - and it doesn't boot up.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:24 pm

Sequence of events: I was just given an Asus P9X79 Pro motherboard with RAM and processor, already in a case with an 800W power supply. I put in my SSD and video card (a 780 GTX), and booted it. It gave a beep code (which I wasn't listening for, so didn't note), then POSTed normally. It seemed to work just fine, except it was limited to 800x600 or 1024x768 resolution. Twice while working with it I had the screen go black and had to reboot.


I swapped to a different video card with the same result - limited resolutions. I put the 780 back in, switched to a different monitor, reset the BIOS to the defaults. It worked fine, and I was able to change the resolution. I switched back to the original monitor. It booted, and after a couple of minutes went black again. When I powered it back up, it gave a beep code (long, short, short, short.) For Asus, that's apparently 'No VGA Detected' (which is incredibly unhelpful.) I tried it a few more times, but all I get is the error code.


Since then I've tried the following:

~Cleared the CMOS

~Ensured that the BIOS were up to date

~Double checked that all of the power cables were properly seated

~Swapped out different combinations of RAM sticks/slots

~Tried four different video cards in multiple PCI-E slots each (going clear back to a GTX460 and an 8800GT, even)

~Tried each of those video cards with different displays

~Removed every component/peripheral except for the video card

~Removed the video card, too


The result was the same for each of them: 'No VGA Detected' beep code.

I've tried every troubleshooting trick my half-informed, never-trained mind can think of. I'm at a loss for what to try next.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Anonymous Bosch » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:03 pm

Try (gently) cleaning the PCIe slot and pins on the video card with isopropyl alcohol, and also double-check the power connectors are fully seated correctly. Other than that, the only other thing I can think of to try would be re-flashing the BIOS.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Daehawk » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:23 pm

Didn't mention clearing video drivers and installing new ones.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:31 pm

I did that when I could boot...
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Kraken » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:27 pm

The only constant in all of that seems to be the original monitor. Could it or its cable be faulty? You said it worked fine with another monitor.

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:53 pm

Actually, it gave the same error with the original monitor, my own monitor, and the TV which we use as a monitor.

I've actually managed to get it to start. I've found that I have to power it up (gives the error), then hit the reset key, which starts it properly.

I still can't get it to set my monitor to anything but 800x600 or 1024x768.

Oh, and it's only detecting 2/3 of the RAM.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by hitbyambulance » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:33 pm

try the old power supply in the original computer. that should eliminate that 'press reset to boot' problem'.

and i still think you have a video driver issue. uninstall the drivers completely, reboot, then install latest

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:52 am

I did that. The boot doesn't hang anymore. Thanks!

As to the other troubles, I've been talking to Nvidia techs all night. I've been jumping through all sorts of driver hoops with them. Also, apparently, the 16GB of RAM consists of three different types with different sizes, speeds, and specifications, which they jumped all over as a likely cause of headaches. I'll have to remove most of it.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND TWO!)

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:39 pm

Well, I thought I had it figured out. I had narrowed the resolution down to either the DVI slot or the monitor (as plugging my own monitor in worked just fine.) I was working on a solution for that - the last real issue.

I ran a benchmark to make sure everything was working ok.

PC turned off.

Smoke.

Well, shit. Back to square one.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:24 pm

Pretty sure that the smoke was the smell of his video card (a 780GTX) dying.

The machine powered down completely. Wouldn't come back on. I pulled the video card, which had a ton of heat, and swapped it for the super slow one I use for the TV. TV wouldn't power up with his old card, his started fine. With the TV card in there, I ran the benchmark and monitored the temperatures. They were all fine. I swapped his old card back into his system, and it again wouldn't power up.

God, this is exhausting. I finally had this thing working and *poof*. I'm back where I started.

Take my advice: gaming is a bad hobby when you don't have money.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by hitbyambulance » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:41 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:24 pm
Pretty sure that the smoke was the smell of his video card (a 780GTX) dying.

The machine powered down completely. Wouldn't come back on. I pulled the video card, which had a ton of heat, and swapped it for the super slow one I use for the TV. TV wouldn't power up with his old card, his started fine. With the TV card in there, I ran the benchmark and monitored the temperatures. They were all fine. I swapped his old card back into his system, and it again wouldn't power up.

God, this is exhausting. I finally had this thing working and *poof*. I'm back where I started.

Take my advice: gaming is a bad hobby when you don't have money.
just checking - was the video card plugged in fully when it blew up? too bad about that. wonder if the heat sink came loose?

re: running three different kinds of RAM - i don't even mix two different kinds anymore... too much potential for weird issues. suggestion, when you have everything running, see if selling the 'odd man out' RAM on eBay might net you a few dollars.

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by Blackhawk » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:02 am

I'm sure it was, but hindsight and all. As to the heatsink - who knows, but I do know that the problem I'd been having such huge headaches with were all related to video.

In any case, I think I've got the video card problem worked out, too.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by Jaymon » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:18 pm

egads, that sounds super frustrating.

So, is it working now? What was the solution?
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by Z-Corn » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:10 pm

Do you have the PC plugged into a decent power strip of its own? You might have dirty electricity this time of year, bouncing up and down.

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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by Blackhawk » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:39 pm

Z-Corn wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:10 pm
Do you have the PC plugged into a decent power strip of its own? You might have dirty electricity this time of year, bouncing up and down.
This house is 130 years old, and the wiring probably isn't much newer. There are three outlets in the living room to handle every TV, console, computer, speaker, lamp, router, modem, and everything else. I have power strips plugged into power strips, and absolutely no options to do otherwise.

And the solution was that a relative offered to buy a replacement video card.
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Re: Need help troubleshooting my son's computer (ROUND THREE!)

Post by MonkeyFinger » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:48 am

I know you're strapped for cash but that sounds like a situation where a home line power conditioner might help.
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