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Old 07-28-2006, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default CPU/mobo issue?

I have a ECS PM800-M2 motherboard with a Pentium 4 3.0 Prescott on it. The board is a cheapy model, and the CPU, well, obviously, is not as cheap.

I’ve had this setup together for about a year, and in that year I have not observed any problems.

About a month ago, the computer started to reboot randomly. At first, it was once every few days. Gradually, it became more often, and eventually, every day. At last, the PC would turn on, and then turn off immediately. No frozen screen, no blue screen, just straight up no more power. It got to the point where it would not even complete boot-up without turning off. The fans would turn on for a split second, and then turn back off.

I replaced the PSU, hoping it was that instead of an overheating thing. The new PSU didn’t help.

I then moved on to overheating as an issue, as this PC is used in a room that’s not very cool and I never put any kind of 3rd party thermal paste on the CPU. I am using the stock heatsink/fan.

I could get the PC to start up once in a while, even into Windows where I would try different things to see what would trigger the problem.

The CPU was idling around 50C and at load, got as high as 85C. I (unwisely) kept pushing it, even though I saw there was very little thermal paste connecting the CPU and sink and knew I was subjecting the CPU to damage.

I finally got some Arctic Silver 5, and applied it. The PC will now run for hours and hours, and left undisturbed, stay on throughout the night. Temperatures are down to 40-45 idle and at load, only as high as 60C. I realize this is still hot, but I attribute it to the environment (air conditioning, but only barely).

Now, for the bizarre part. The PC will shut off as before, but only if I hit the case. Now, I don’t mean taking a baseball bat to the thing. I mean, tapping it with my foot will just turn it off. And when I tap it, I hear a noise that sounds a little like static electric sparks (I can’t determine what part of the tower this is coming from). I can’t see anything, or smell anything melting. When the tower is standing up, it is very prone to the “tapping” method of shut down. When I lay it on its side, it takes quite a bit more force to turn it off with the tapping.

So, my best guess at this point is that I damaged either the CPU or mobo by running them both under hot conditions earlier and pushing them even without proper cooling. I’m willing to accept that and move on, but I would first like to see if anything jumps to anyone’s mind: do you think it’s probably the mobo, or the CPU that is screwed up, based on the symptoms described? If it’s definitely the mobo, I would like to just replace that, instead of buying a new mobo and CPU. If I by a new mobo/CPU together, I want to go with AMD, so you can see why just a mobo would save me money. With buying from Newegg, I’d like to avoid a return as much as possible. Thank you very much in advance for any help you can provide.

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Old 07-28-2006, 10:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Prologue, for the sake of anyone else with similar problems.

I disassembled the entire unit, and plugged in the mobo/CPU combo only, on a carboard surface. It ran just fine.

I reassembled, CAREFULLY, to make sure there was no chance of the mobo touching the case and shorting. As of right now, it is running like a dream. My only guess is that there was a short that I inadvertantly fixed by repositioning the components very carefully.

So thanks for the help but I appear to be good to go! Knock on wood.

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Old 07-29-2006, 01:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That was gonna be my suggestions its just a loose cable or power plug. Glad you got it sorted out. Looks like your keyboard is fixed also.
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Old 07-29-2006, 12:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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UMM I am glad you got it working but don't be surprised if it doesn't last. A bad trace on a motherboard will do the exact same thing, And ECS make the biggest pieces of crap out there. Buy yourself a decent board.

Decent board

Decent board 2

Decent board 3
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