Arg!!! Help! My new build just quit!

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Arg!!! Help! My new build just quit!

Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 8:31 pm

For hardware details see this thread:
Here is what I have picked so far....

Motherboard:
DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813136152

DVD:
NEC Black IDE DVD Burner Model ND-3540A - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827152047

Disks:
LEGACY 4.7GB 8X DVD-R 100 Pack Disc - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817131036

HDDs:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822148065

Mem:
crucial 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) System Memory - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820146541

OS:
Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6837102153

Processor:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA4200BVBOX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103547

Video card:
Update BFG Tech BFGR6600GTX Geforce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814143026

Case:
Antec SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811129155

Monitors:
Hyundai.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824179014




So I get EVERYTHING installed and configured, all is working great, and just about to settle in to a nice game of UT (I had tested it earlier and it was running great) and I am waiting for map downloads to occur, and pzzt a strange sound, I'm not sure where from, both monitors go blank and the computer simply shuts off. I was not even running intensive graphics since I was at the download screen when it occured.

I figure perhaps a power cord was a bit loose... So I check everything and it looks OK. I power it back up and I get a long delay, most fans go, and then one long beep and two short beeps! Oh no! The video card?!?!

I pop open the box, but something doesn't make any sense. The fan on the video card is not running at all, but the machine otherwise booted OK (without any graphics) after the beeps. At least it booted the first time and I can only tell by the sound of the hard disks.

I now don't know what went bad, the video card or the main board, or the case power supply? I am guessing that the PCIEx16 (or whatever) supply to the card died on the main board since everything else seems to be running just fine. Now I am screwed. I am supposed to be contracting this weekend and now this happens!

Has anyone else have a PCIEx16 video card die, and did the fan stop too?

With the video card installed there is a longer delay between power-up and the beep code than without.

Please, offer any insights! At least my old box is still in running form.

I have no way of checking another video card unless I buy another, but there may be risk in cooking that one too if something is really hosed up. The motherboard, well, crap. I need an exactly the same one if I don't want to re-install the OS (Damn Microsoft!!!!)

Looks like I have to go on the prowl for a new, identical motherboard and a video card too!!! Man, I could use a lot of beer right now.

:evil: :( :( :( :( :evil:

-LS
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Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 8:48 pm

Reseating the video card was a decent try.

I am naturally suspicious of power supplies in this sort of crib death. Can you try another power supply?
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Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:04 pm

Without spare parts it's gonna be hard to troubleshoot. You can probably rule out the PSU, since everything else is in working order.

I'd call DFI and see if they'll give you an RMA on the mobo. When you get it, it'll either work, or you can then RMA or exchange the video card.

Have you tried resetting the BIOS? Something might have gotten fudged.
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Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:06 pm

FireGryphon wrote:Without spare parts it's gonna be hard to troubleshoot. You can probably rule out the PSU, since everything else is in working order.
That depends. He might have problems with 3.3V, 5V or 12V rails.
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Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:10 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
FireGryphon wrote:Without spare parts it's gonna be hard to troubleshoot. You can probably rule out the PSU, since everything else is in working order.
That depends. He might have problems with 3.3V, 5V or 12V rails.


Were it a generic PSU, I'd agree right off the bat. I'm a bit skeptical it's the PSU because it's an Antec, and those have always been rock solid for me.

I suppose it's worth it to swap another PSU in, since it's the least expensive part that (I think) could be misbehaving, and is faster to test than RMA parts.
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Troubleshooting

Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:00 pm

I am always suspicious of zapping sounds, and then failure to boot. That screams componenet failure, to me.

Try a visual inspection of all capacitors and other shiny parts on the Mobo, and see if anything is visibly amiss.

Pull the Mobo out of the case, and check the back as well. Then, do a visual on your HDD and Vid card.

If nothing obvious is wrong, borrow the power supply from your other computer, and fire it up.

Older 20 pin PSU's will work on Nforce 4 systems. Not something you want to do for the long haul, but for troubleshooting, it should be OK.

After that, you probably need to swap out the Vid Card or MoBo. If you really need the system fast, I'd try buying a cheap 6200 or x300 first. If it was the vid card that failed, you will know right away, and can RMA the defective card. If not, take the Vid card back and purchase an inexpensive 939 Nvidia4 based board. I hate telling people to buy and return as part of troubleshooting, but sometimes, you gotta do something.

Good luck with it! Just be methodical and you wil have the problem fixed.
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Postposted on Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:21 pm

Had a system do this to me once. Have you checked for busted caps on the vid card and/or motherboard?
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 5:22 am

Well, I gave up last night in almost a fit of rage, so it wasn't a good time to work on a computer. The fzzt sound I am betting is the motherboard or PSU since when it occured the entire machine went down, not just the video. Of course I used to have a multimeter, but I cannot find the SOB anywhere for checking the power supply rails.

Trying my other power supply is a good idea though it is puny, it will probably work for posting.

I did the visual inspection (being an EE I an kind of familiar with blown parts) but see nothing, which is tending to point at the PSU. However the system did boot that one time afterwards, meaning the CPU, memory, and HDDs all had the required voltages, just the video card did not. I assume the BIOS with all of it's voltage checks would give further errors if it detects something wrong.

I see on the main board where there is a switching converter near the PCI-x, and just hypothesizing, I would bet that is what croaked.

I could just go to the local shop, pay 10% more, and get a new VID card, MB, and the 2G of RAM I need to replace anyway, but then if it is the PSU (my nice, silent PSU, wah!) then I will have to go back out again!

So first things first: Find my damned multimeter.
If all checks OK, assume PSU works and replace the rest.
Otherwise swap PSUs and RMA the damned thing.

This is one of the problems with ordering online instead of going local, when you have sort of an emergency.

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:10 am

Poo. The old supply is a measly 200W, and the connector is too short. Oh well.

I am getting to suspect the power supply even more as I see the Antec has a special PCIe connector. I would make a wild guess that 1/2 of the +12V that the supply generates is tied to this (which is unused) and the other to the rest of the system, which died.

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:22 am

Jebus that sucks...if it wasnt for your bad luck you wouldnt have any at all :o Im not fond of the Antec supplies at all..too many have bitten the big one for me.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:27 am

God I hope it is that, as it is about the only spare part that will work in this box at work. Otherwise I have to drop the $$$ to swap things until it works.

I wonder if we have any standard spare PCI video cards at work... perhaps that will test out one theory.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:24 am

Sorry to see you having these problems, liquidsquid.

One thing I might suggest, though it's not a quick solution, is to not get that Antec case & PSU again. Send them back if you can, and get something else. Since you've already posted that the fan duct isn't properly placed over the CPU, you might try to find one that fits the motherboard's layout better. I couldn't find anything on DFI's web site about recommendations, but there may be somewhere you can find such information. That will also end the worry about Antec's PSUs being unreliable.

Here's what looks like your DFI LANParty UT NF4 Ultra-D motherboard's page.

Here's their memory recommendations, by the way.

And here's their contact info.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:12 am

I know the popular thing to do these days is bash Antec PSU's but (knock on wood) they have worked great for me. I am using the Sonata II case now as well. I assume you pluged in the 4 prong power connector to the board as well?

My money is on the Mobo. Best way to rule out of the PSU is to try it with your old box. If it powers that box fine then I think you can eliminate the Antec PSU. ;)

Here are the specs of the model that comes with the Sonata II.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:23 am

PerfectCr wrote:I know the popular thing to do these days is bash Antec PSU's but (knock on wood) they have worked great for me. Here are the specs of the model that comes with the Sonata II.


I've never had a problem with any Antec power supplies either. I've been using them for years. But obviously some of them do go bad, like with anything. Have you tested it on your other system yet?
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:13 pm

Well, I thought, I pondered and my wife and I went to comp USA and wound up finding the identical video card, and an ATX power supply tester. It was probably the easiest and most informative way to go. Oh, and bought a UPS (finally).

Went and slid the video card in first-thing, and it powered right up and worked fine. Back in business!!!

So it turned out to be easier than thought, and all is well. Still going to trade in the RAM so I can run 2G at decent timings, but no big rush now. *phew!*

Now the problem:

Is it dishonest to take a video card back to COMP USA that I bought from NewEgg? Even though it is the identical manufacturer and card etc. Just cost more at COMP USA and would like to get $$ back on top of no delivery charge... However something doesn't feel right about it. We did buy some other things while we were there, so they still make money on us.

-LS
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:47 pm

Not only dishonest...unethical as well.
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RMA

Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 4:16 pm

RMA the defective card to the place you bought it.

It is a bit more trouble, but It is the right thing to do.

Hopefully, you can just have them credit the purchase price to your CC. If not, give your Credit Card company a call, and see if you have the right to refuse payment.

If worse comes to worse, advertise the replacement card you get in the For Sale/Trade forum, and take solace in the fact that you are up and running, today, with a minimum of fuss.

If it helps, think about the 4 hours of labor charges you saved by NOT taking it to the local repair place. :)
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 8:52 pm

Yeah, I agree w/ Lickety and the others on the CompUSA switch idea. On the other hand, I'm not sure they would refuse a return from you. Find out how long you have to do so. Some places, like Best Buy, give you up to 30 days I believe (though maybe it's only 2 weeks... dang crappy memory). So you might be able to slide on using it for a while and wait on your RMA/replacement from newegg.

And while I'm glad for you that the PSU seems to be OK, I'd still look for a different case just for the bad duct placement. Especially if this is a machine you want to be highly reliable.

The UPS thing is definitely a requirement for any machine you're making money with. I get power fluctuations indicated by mine all the time, and am thankful I did the smart thing in getting a good one. I think they save a fair amount of money, and untold frustration, over the years.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 9:27 pm

Someone did the card switch when I worked at Best Buy. The Poor Return girl didn't know. They put a 9700 Pro in a 9800 Pro Box. I went to get the returns to check out and Mark as an open Item and then I noticed it was not the right card. :roll:
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:22 pm

Ah yes, but this would be an identical card... However I agree, it seems rather unethical since I would make Comp USA pay for shipping and handling, rather than myself or NewEgg. Gonna RMA it along with the RAM and get some recommended RAM, and eat the "convenience charge".

Just wondered what everyone thought, the temptation was surely there.

-LS

p.s. I really love what nVidia has done with nView, it ranks past Matrox's multihead monster I use at work. It is just a bit more difficult to figure out at first and get used to the new titlebar buttons.
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:36 pm

Ragnar Dan wrote:And while I'm glad for you that the PSU seems to be OK, I'd still look for a different case just for the bad duct placement. Especially if this is a machine you want to be highly reliable.


I have the Sonata II and I just dont use the duct. It is not a requirement. If you don't like it you don't use it but that is hardly a reason to return the case. :roll: The duct makes it unreliable? I have a hard time with your line of thought. Are you just an Antec hater?
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:55 pm

No, I am not a hater of Antec. In fact, I was a defender for some time when others were knocking them in the "has your Antec PSU failed on you" thread. My main machine's case is still an Antec, but the next build I do I won't be using them because I want to go a step up, and am willing to spend for a PC Power and Cooling PSU. And that will let me buy a case which is cheaper than Antec for what you get, even if I get one that's more expensive because it has other features I prefer. Aluminum, for example, is attractive because they're lighter and thus easier to move around to get inside in tight spaces like where my machines usually end up.

Another thing I've seen talk of and have a bit of worry about is Antec case fans. It's another thing I'd rather use a higher end brand for, since they can hurt you if they die, especially on a machine you leave running 24 hours 365 days a year and may not return to for a while.

I also somehow thought I read squid say he might overclock, but looking back on his original thread it's the exact opposite of what he said, so that knocks down my argument some. :oops:
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Postposted on Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:42 pm

Squid, I'm not quite sure how to set it up, but Newegg will allow you to buy a new video card now and then they will refund your returned cards money when they recieve your card. You may want to give them a ring. That should give you time to return your retail store's card.
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:27 am

Get the SLK3000B and there is no PSU to worry about. Lots of SPCR folks just block of the side ducts anyway to cover the noise. With a CnQ A64, you should be able to do the same with your Sonata II.

However, you can also look to sell the 450W PSU after you get a better and even quieter one (Seasonic comes to mind, but those are $$$), or just keep it around as a spare for troubleshooting, (or to power your future diskless folding farm :)).
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:28 pm

Well, the CPU definitly doesn't need the duct, the GPU does need some source of cool air though, these are the idle temps after a few hours:

CPU: 35C
System: 44C
GPU: 57C

Not sure where the system is measured, but it seems that the large Antec fan right next to the CPU is working it's magic. However there is not a lot of airflow over the top of the GPU, so I am going to rig something to get fresh air over the top of that hot puppy. Seems high for idle.

-LS
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:57 pm

LS, I replaced the stock cooling on my 6600GT. See my thread here ;)
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 2:23 pm

Hmm, looks like a plan. Usually the best way to reduce heat is reduce the ambient temp around the heatsink. I will probably just open the slot below with a few 1/3" drill holes, and make a cardboard duct to the edge of the cooler so that cool air is drawn into the sink.

Note!!!!

I discovered the culprit for my problem before: A faulty power cord!! I noticed when I had not applied power yet, the cable was arcing in the socket on the back of the computer. I probably wiggled the power cord and it killed the video card. It was the cord for my old computer, so I just replaced it with the new, and it was a much better connection.

-LS
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:44 pm

Honestly I don't think drilling holes in your case is really a good idea. The Sonata II is such a beautiful case there is really no reason to ruin it with holes. It is naturally going to run a few degrees warmer than your average case because it is a quiet solution. At best you'll lose a few degrees C but really it's not worth the trouble.

My CPU idles at 31 while the sys temp idles at 33. Yeah it's a litter higher than a case with tons of holes, blow holes, ducts, and fans, but who wants all that noise? Either way the temps are WELL under normal operating spec so there is really no need to worry.

The Zalman for the GPU doesn't require ambient cooling, it WILL drop your GPU temp at least 10C immediately from the start. That's the only other mod I would suggest.

Of course, it's your stuff so have it if you choose. ;)
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:47 pm

If you have exciting unscheduled action going on at the back of your powersupply, make sure you have grounded power coming from the wall outlet
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Postposted on Sun Jul 31, 2005 8:51 pm

Not going to drill holes in the case, but the little blocking panels for the card slots. No way am I modding this nice case without windows. ;-) I can just take the one that used to be where the vid card is and drill away, no harm done.

Yeah, grounds are quite important as evidenced by the video card that was killed by the crap cable. $5 cable $210 card. Gah!

BTW this new box is suh-weet for my work. I can still hear the crickets and K-T-Dids outside. Yea!

-LS
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