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Old 10-10-2004, 07:38 PM   #1
Hosiah
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Can Red Hat 9 fry a motherboard/erase BIOS?


I know this is completely stupid, but I'll forgo the exhaustive listing of versions and specs. Suffice to say that I have a generic IBM-clone system bought in '98, with various components since replaced/added such as hard drive, vid card, etc.

I installed RedHat9, no problem. It detected all of my hardware (my printer and my wheel-mouse had been an issue w/ RedHat 6.1), no problem. It booted, no problem. I'm in the desktop playing with the new toys, wallpapers, screensavers, etc. , and decide to try Tux Racer. I clicked on it.

Screen went black. No sound. I try keyboard reboot, no response. Finally I press power switch on front of PC, no response (!). Reset switch, no response. Finally, hitting the black switch on the back of the power box shut it down.

Since then, I have been unable to get this PC to boot at all. No beep, no picture, BIOS just doesn't seem to be loading. But the lights still come on, and the CPU fan starts when I turn it on, but the power switch on the front continues to have no effect. I just bought a new power box and tried that, and get the same thing.

My questions: Does this mean the motherboard is dead as a doornail, or what? Motherboards are about the only hardware I have no experience with. Was hoping I'd never have to!

Also, is it even possible that Linux could somehow have killed the motherboard or the BIOS RAM/ROM in it? Or is it just a coincidence that this chain of events just happened?

And, since I got a 330volt instead of the 250volt, is it even possible that it's just a case of getting the wrong power box? As I understand it, computers shouldn't be that picky about power, as long as the +5v or +12v gets to the right components.

Thanks for any advice! I'm being vague on the specifics just because I'm trying to find out which tree to bark up first, so to speak.
 
Old 10-10-2004, 08:11 PM   #2
LavaDevil94
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The first thing I'd do is make sure none of the other components are damaged, since they could be (especially the video card if everything is powering up but the video isn't). Come to think of it, try swapping the video card out with another one. If things still aren't ok, try swapping a motherboard if you have one. If you've been using the same motherboard while upgrading everything else, it could be possible that the thing just had too much loaded on it and quit.
 
Old 10-11-2004, 06:01 AM   #3
Hosiah
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Actually, I just had the idea of trying out my original power box on my other PC (the one I'm typing on, now) and it ran just fine, which pretty much narrows it down to the motherboard, anyway.

Especially since I also tried swapping monitors and hard drives. And given the start-up symptoms I listed.[EDIT: the video card is cleared, also, since neither the onboard built-in video nor the S3 64V+ plug-in produce any different result.]

*sniff* *whimper* That old board's been through alot with me over the years...I'll have to have a funeral for it.

My only remaining question is, again, this couldn't have had anything to do with software, right? I've heard that using the wrong settings on a monitor can cause it to burn up, for instance. There's no way that installing any kind of new software on the hard drive could cause "sudden motherboard death syndrome"?

<high drama>Please, tell me the Penguin didn't do it!!!</high drama>

Last edited by Hosiah; 10-11-2004 at 06:05 AM.
 
Old 10-11-2004, 02:14 PM   #4
J.W.
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No, this has nothing to do with Linux, software, or the operating system. To put it plainly, an operating system cannot kill a motherboard.

From the sounds of it, your mobo may have just died a natural death -- running (presumably) non-stop from 98 to 04 would be 7 years inclusive, which is a pretty good run for any machine. It would have been useful to include the list of components you are (or were using, as that would be a good way to gauge whether or not you overtaxed your power supply unit. PSU overloads are IMO a pretty common cause of malfunctions, particularly if the mobo and PSU are old, but a bunch of new equipment has been put into the box. To illustrate, if the original system contained a single hard drive, a CD-ROM, and used on-board video and sound, but then you add in a second hard drive, a CD-RW, a DVD, a high powered video card and a sound card, then you will be drawing a lot more power than the system was originally designed for.

In any event, to reiterate: No, you do not need to be concerned that Linux killed your mobo. (Consider it this way, if Linux were prone to blowing out mobos, nobody would use it.) Instead, it seems reasonable to assume that your mobo either died due to age, or the PSU was overloaded. If it's any consolation, a dead mobo is something that sooner or later happens to most people. I ran into this issue myself about a year ago, when all of a sudden the screen went black, the system shut down, and that's all she wrote. Fortunately the short (or whatever it was) did not affect any other components, so I was able to restore by system just by replacing the PSU and the mobo. Good luck with it -- J.W.
 
Old 10-12-2004, 05:37 AM   #5
Hosiah
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Thank you so much, JW!

Now that I think about it all, it all makes perfect sense! Yes, every component but the board has been upgraded over the years (36x CD-ROM to 40x, 2G hard drive to 6.2Gs, on-board video to video card, and even replaced the CPU fan at one point when it gave out, and etc...). Of course the motherboard would conk out eventually! OK, paranoia's over!

Fortunately, I found a "good" (i.e. NON-CompUSA!*) computer parts/repair center here in town which hooked me up with a new board/CPU/fan on the cheap (less than $100 total), and the store tender gave me a quick crash course in replacing your first mobo. I have books and references handy, so I feel confident that I'll be able to handle this. (*nothing against CompUSA, they're good for movies and software, but their hardware guys seem a little easily stumped, and their stock seems too Windows/Mac centric.)

I'll be running an AMD Duron 850 in an ECS Pro Socket A standard board. Hopefully, I chose wisely. I'm specifically looking for something only good enough to code C++, compose the occasional webpage, doodle in Gimp, and such. The flashy games and websurfing I leave to my other systems!

It's good news for me, because I've learned how to change everything else over the years, so learning how to replace the system board is the next logical step towards mastering hardware in general.

Thanks again!
Hosiah
 
Old 10-12-2004, 07:00 PM   #6
J.W.
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You're welcome. For me, the first time I faced the prospect of installing/replacing the mobo, it seemed really scary, but once I did it, I suddenly realized "Man, that was actually pretty easy." I suspect you'll decide the same. As a side comment, I think it's a good idea to spend the $5 or so on a decent anti-static wrist strap. It's a cheap insurance policy, and it would be a pretty serious buzzkill to have your brand spankin' new rig get blown out on a stray static charge.

Also, if you're looking for an excellent hardware vendor and/or your local shop doesn't happen to carry a particular piece of equipment that you're interested in, I'd suggest taking a look at Newegg They're first rate. Have fun with your new system -- J.W.
 
Old 10-13-2004, 03:35 PM   #7
Hosiah
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I did it!!!
It's alive! MY CREATURE LIVES! Bwah-hah-hah-haaaa!

I bet everybody feels that way after their first system build. I actually went and got a cheap black case so I could build from the bare metal and not have to worry about the case wiring, etc. (The On/Off and reset switches had been acting a little glitchy) I only did one thing wrong...

I used too much heat paste on the processor. We're only talking a used AMD Duron 850 I got for $10, after all, and so it didn't POST the first test. Arrg! And I took it back to the store and they told me about the paste issue (just a dot! You're not frosting a cake!) and I bought another CPU for $12 (a Duron 1000).

I kept the other chip, anyway (for a souvenier?). And now that I've wiped off the paste and left it sit overnight, it looks clean and dry. And I'm eyeing the other bits and pieces of computers in my house, and wondering if the Duron 850 chip might live again another day...anybody think maybe?

This could get addicting...

Hosiah

PS Linux and all it's games are running happily in their new home. I'm sorry I ever suspected the Penguin...
 
  


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