Computer problem - Frozen, now blank... I'm out of ideas.

My desktop seems to have crapped out on me.

I was surfing (Firefox) and downloading (Azureus) when it froze, completely. No mouse movement, not accessing anything… Just dead.

I waited a while and it stayed there, so I hard reset it. Now, it just gives me a blank, black screen… It doesn’t even show BIOS, and the monitor doesn’t seem to be getting a signal (yes, I checked the cables… And the monitor tells me when the cable’s not attached)

I immediately thought video card (I’ve had some video card issues in the past) so I dug out my old one (I replaced it a year ago.) pulled out the current one, and stuck the old one in, just to see if it would work…

If it worked, I wouldn’t be here asking for your help. Any ideas what else it could be?

I don’t think it’s the power supply, everything seems to get power - DVD, the light on the ethernet card is blinking, the light on the motherboard is on, all fans are running.

I can’t access it over the network either.

Did my motherboard just go, perhaps?

I haven’t made any changes to it in months. Last change was to put a new fan/heatsink on to the previously mentioned video card, because the old one was clogged and kept overheating. Previous change would be the addition of a wifi card.
I put it together myself, so here’s the specs:

Asus P4P-800-SE motherboard
Sapphire x850gto Video card.
A gig of ram (I don’t remember the brand off hand) Would a bad stick of RAM cause these symptoms? I’d expect it to at least make it to the memory check in the bios, wouldn’t I?
Generic power supply - 450 watts, I think. Might be 350 or 400. I know it’s a decently powerful one, as I like games, and I made sure it was strong enough to handle a decent video card.
2 hard drives. I believe they’re both Maxtor - 100 gig and 250, I think.

Are you hearing it POSTing?

CMC fnord!

If you don’t get anything at BIOS post you could be looking at a dead motherboard. Anything else bad plugged into the board would get you some kind of picture or at least a beep code.

It may just be a bad power supply as well, every once in a while 1 lead will fail preventing the motherboard from firing properly. Power supply testers are fairly cheap and are accurate enough to show a dead lead 90% or so of the time. If you don’t have one, walk into a shop and ask if they will test it, takes about 3 seconds once the case is open.

Are you getting the BIOS messages on screen? If not, and you hook up the case speaker and can’t hear the Power-On Self-Test beeps that crowmanyclouds mentioned, your hardware is not working.

How do I know? My motherboard is fried too. I’m typing this on a loaner machine that I booted off a Knoppix LiveCD.

My machine started to refuse to boot every time; about hald the time it wouldn’t boot but instead showed the BIOS screen and complained that the processor speed was set incorrectly. I re-entered the proper parameters and it booted, but later it would come up wrong again. Then it ceased to boot at all.

My first thought was that the power supply and/or CMOS battery had gone, so I replaced them and it did not help.

Then I went in and reseated the memory and blew the dust out of the case and checked that everything was fastened down. Dust can short components out. It can also block cooling air flow and seize bearings (causing fans to stop running), thus causing components to fail because of heat. I discovered that the memory had been reseated hastily and badly (by me earlier, in a fit of anger), and this had probably doomed the motherboard.

But suddenly seizing up in mid-use? That sounds like an unexpected catastrophic failure.

Do you smell anything burnt? Are there any visibly scorched or exploded or charred components?

Have there been any reports of power glitches in your area? We had one in Toronto that blinked the lights and made the news; I was using my computer at the time and it was completely reset. My problems with Windows behaving flakily started then; I should have rebuilt the system then instead of letting it limp along and get worse and worse.

I am now saving for a new computer. A MacBook Pro, my first laptop.

I’ve tried everything but the power supply testing. I’ll get to that this weekend I guess.

I attached the speaker (I actually never bothered to attach it in the first place.) and I get nothing. No beeps.

No power glitches recently, it was running perfectly right up until the point it stopped.

No magic smoke. No smells. Nothing.

Just dead.
So looks like I’m going to need a new desktop. At least I have this tablet, otherwise I’d be up shit creek… Well, I’m still there, but at least I have a paddle… If not an outboard motor. But dammit, that was my media computer. All my movies, tv shows, and my games. I know I’ll just throw the drives in the new computer. But damn that’s frustrating.

I vote +1 on dead motherboard. All you need is a random zap in one of the chips and it’s paperweight city, baby!

Could be worse, could be raining! (sounds of downpour)… :smack: