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Old 12-28-2008, 03:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Friend's computer not functioning..

Alright so my friend's computer isn't working and I really have no idea what it is. I don't deal with hardware that much. Well I don't fix it much anyway. It isn't the RAM, it isn't the monitor. I tried plugging in a PCI video card and that didn't work. I took out the cmos battery to reset it as well and that didn't work.

Maybe it's something obvious or not but either way I need help. The only symptoms is that the fan runs full speed immediately after being turned on and that the nothing shows on the monitor. Let me know if you need any other bits of information.
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

Make, model? Age?

First blush sounds like the mobo is shot, though. Onboard (I assume) isn't working, and PCI isn't working.

Try to get into the BIOS and see if it says anything funky or doesn't show the hardware in the computer.
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

Ummm I don't really know the whole specs of the computer. It's made by e-machines, 2-3 years old and I ran a couple of diagnostic programs but nothing really came up, which was weird. I mean some info but not the usual details. It's pretty low range but it's new enough to have a PCI-E slot.

I was thinking the motherboard as well. Would that explain the fan? It would be a lot cheaper to buy a new motherboard than to buy a new computer though wouldn't it?

Like I said it's not working with any monitors so I really have no way of seeing anything in Bios. I can't even tell if the Bios is starting. I mean is there anything I could do to make sure it's the motherboard?
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

A motherboard is cheaper than a new computer, that's for sure.

When several things die, it is either the motherboard, the power supply, or both . This is usually one of the three, but computers can surprise you. If you can swap out a PSU with it to rule that out, odds are it is the mobo (in my eyes). With my mother-in-law's old computer, the PSU went out, taking the mobo with it in the process.

If you know what CPU it has, you can price him a mobo off of Newegg. It will be a mATX form factor. Be sure to check the PSU though, in case he needs one of them, too.

Hopefully some others will chime in their two cents worth on this one... in case I am totally off.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

By mATX you mean Micro ATX? Are you sure? I know it'll fit either way if he has an ATX case. I'll have to check.

If the power supply wasn't working at all then wouldn't the fan not be running? At the same time the fan isn't running properly but I just figured that it was lacking any guidance in how to run.

I have a really old computer laying around, do you think the PSU would work in his computer? It's like a Dell pentium 2 or 3 I think. Other than that I don't have a working PSU.

Does anyone else have any ideas, comments? Also how would I go about checking what kind of processor he has if I can't turn it on? Besides the ram and processor is there anything in particular that I need to make sure works with the new motherboard? The video card is integrated I think so I'll have to lend him a spare one or something. Is there any way to tell whether or not the power supply is working properly? As I said it is running the fan (although at full speed) so I wouldn't think it's broken.
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

Yes, micro ATX.

Not necessarily with a bad PSU. My mother-in-law's still "ran" and even tested good on one tester, but it flunked with flying colors when I took it to a friend who had a good tester.

The PSU may work, but probably not. Plus it will be weaker than the one he has now.

If you can get the model number of the computer you can look it up online and see what it has in it.

If nothing else, take the PSU to a computer shop and have them test it.
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

Will they charge to test it?

I'm just trying to keep costs down. If it's working I'd rather not replace it. Would your average place charge to test if a power supply is working? I'd think so although I guess that depends on how much work testing it is.

Yeah I'll just have to get the model number. My mom has a friend that does that kind of thing but he usually charges (even friends) to fix computers so I'd rather not get him involved or he'll probably "take charge" of the situation and then charge them an extra $70 for helping. Maybe.

New, more important question:

I looked at this Motherboard Troubleshooting - Memory and RAM diagnostics, CPU troubleshooting and Heat Sink

Is there a way to make sure the processor works but the motherboard is broken? I mean ideally you'd just have a second similar working computer but unfortunately I don't have one of those.

Hmmm thinking about it I think he has an old computer laying around... I'm going to look into that...

My brother happened to have a multimeter (he didn't know what it was called but he had one) so I was thinking of testing the PSU myself. There are some instructions here that I think I understand...

Overclocking Bible: Post your comments/questions here! - XtremeSystems Forums
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

Alright so everything is pretty much set except for one thing. I need to know if his processor works or not. His motherboard probably doesn't work as it made no sounds indicating otherwise and basically shows all the signs of being very dead. The processor on the other hand could be fine or completely dead but I have no idea how to check. Easiest way is to just put it in a compatible computer but it's an AMD sempron 3400+ processor (Socket 754) and all of my computers are Intel.

I could just suggest they buy a new processor as well but I'm trying to keep costs as low as possible and processors can be expensive. Even cheap ones would significantly raise the cost compared to just a new motherboard.

In the end it seems like either they keep exactly the same computer and just get replacement parts or basically scrap the computer's insides and buy new stuff. This is the same problem I had with my Dell. You can only go so far really. I mean newer motherboard would require new ram and a new processor AND a new video card as his old one was integrated. I was hoping I could just get a new motherboard that supports his processor and DDR2 ram but that's not going to happen with an old processor socket like that.

Anyway my current problem is that I have no way to tell if the processor is broken or if the motherboard is even broken (seems like it). Any advice?
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

There is no real advice on this. The only way to test is by stress testing the CPU. But since it doesnt do anything there is no way to tell if it is good.

You would have to get a mobo that can hold that CPU and test it that way. If it turns out to be bad then you would have to try and RMA that mobo or get a replacement chip.

There isnt many other options.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Friend's computer not functioning..

I know the situation just sucks v_v. Do you think a store would charge a lot to test the processor and motherboard to see if they work?

It's just very annoying to replace the motherboard AND the processor and end up with something way worse for what you would get for the same cost because you want to support the other components. At the same time I might as well suggest they buy a new computer if I tell them to replace every part except the power supply and case.
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