Computer-wise dopers: total system meltdown question

So I was merrily surfing the internet last night, on my exciting new home-built system. Abruptly and without warning my computer totally powered down, the same as if someone had flipped a circuit breaker or pulled the plug. All attempts at cursing, fiddling with the power switch, and fiddling with the power switch while cursing failed to revive it.

Having had a power supply or two go bad on me in the past, I assumed this was the same thing, and ran out this morning to get a replacement. But a new power supply didn’t make any difference.

So I systematically pulled all the peripherals, and finally even the memory, hoping that maybe it was a short in one of those or something that was causing the problem. No dice.

It seems obvious now that either my new processor or my new motherboard has died an untimely death. So my question is this: is there any simple way to tell which is the culprit? The motherboard (Abit) has a small orange LED which lights up when connected a power source, and this is still lighting up. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, happens when I press the power switch. No cooling fans sputtering to life, no abortive attempts at booting, nothing. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Have you verified that the outlet, surge protector, and power cord are good? You can swap the cord from your monitor if you don’t have spare around.

A bad CPU probably wouldn’t result in a completely unresponsive system. You’d at least get fans and POST beeps. You can remove it to be absolutely sure.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that the power switch is broken. You can bypass it by unplugging its connector from the motherboard and touching the end of a screwdriver to both of the pins (NOTE: don’t touch the conductive part of the screwdriver when you’re doing this. Don’t attempt it if you’re the least bit uneasy about working with electricity.)

There have been some articles about bad capacitors on Abit boards. You might want to do a quick physical inspection to make sure none are bulged or ruptured.

Bad capacitors (It’s a sordid tale of someone stealing only most of the chemical formulas for the electrolyte) aren’t limited to Abit, and it’s sounding like there’s going to be a LOT of caps failing in all sorts of electronic devices.

As for the non-boot, you’ve already done the first things I’d have suggested. (pull cards, memory, etc and swap the PS)

It’s sounding as if the mobo’s not returning a signal called POWERGOOD to the PS. The orange light seems to indicate that the power supply is putting out at least some amount of power, and is therefore getting electricity. The question is whether it’s a CPU or mobo failure.

You didn’t say who made the CPU, but my understanding is that AMD chips have a lousy tolerance for overheating and will more often than not just cook themselves to death. Intel at least has enough sense of self-preservation to shut themselves down.

Thanks for the replies. The outlet and surge protector are okay, as there’s several other things running off of them that are still fine. I swapped in the monitor power cord, and got the same result, and even tried the screwdriver trick with no luck.

If I press and hold the power switch for several seconds before releasing it, sometimes I can get a slight ‘twitch’ out of the chipset fan on the motherboard, but that’s the only sign of life it’s showing, other than the orange LED. Nothing looks visually suspicious on the motherboard, though, and there wasn’t any ‘electrical’ or ‘hot’ smell when it shut down last night.

He’s got a light on the board that lights, so he’s getting power. A toasted CPU would not be capable of running the POST.

The capacitors may have done you in. Take a look for bulging tops or brown gunk on the small metal cans around the CPU.

Outside of that, its a tough call. If a regulator has died, then putting in a new CPU to test could get you a second dead CPU.

I’d buy a new mother board that’s compatible with your CPU and RAM, but no CPU. Plug the the old CPU and RAM in the new board and see if that works. If it doesn’t, then you need a new CPU. I’m not sure I’d want to try and test the mother board. Unless it is something special, it is much cheaper than the CPU you risk toasting.

Oh, by the way. Make sure to install the heat sink and cooling fan properly, and check the operating temperature when you get it running.

I don’t see the utility of trying another CPU. Removing the present one should be adequate to test the motherboard. Unless Abits are radically different from other brands, the fans should run and it should beep like crazy if powered on with no CPU present. If not, given the other symptoms, the OP should contact the vendor for a warranty replacement.

what kind of computer is this specificially?

did you turn on the power switch in the back of the computer too?

did you connect the power switch wire to the board? Cause some require that to start.