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Old 10-07-2006, 09:39 AM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: europe
Distribution: FC 3
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suspected motherboard problem

hi all,

I'm having the following problem with my computer: when I turn it on, the screen remains blank. No memory check, no BIOS, no boot loader, nothing. The system seems to go into a loop of some kind because about every three seconds, the LEDs on my optical drives light up and they make a zooming sound, as if they were being probed or something (there are no media inserted in the drives). This loop persists indefinitely, as far as I can tell (I got bored after waiting for 20 minutes ). I have encountered this before, a few weeks ago. My "solution" then was to leave the box alone for four days, after wich I turned it on and it worked as normal for about a week. Alas, this strategy hasn't worked a second time
After googling around a bit, I came to the conclusion that the motherboard's battery could well be the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, replacing it with a brand new one hasn't changed a thing. (I don't have access to a multimeter so I couldn't check whether the old battery was, in fact, bad)
The problem persists when I unhook everything except screen and graphics card so I doubt that any of the peripherals is causing the problem.
Upon close inspection, I discovered that one of the four plastic clips holding the CPU heatsink onto the motherboard had broken off, perhaps causing a less than optimal cooling of the CPU...
It might seem obvious that this is the problem, but if it is, why did it briefly resume working normally? and also, why does it send the system into a loop instead of simply shutting it down? Also, even if the CPU is not functioning properly or maybe even missing entirely, shouldn't at least the BIOS show up on screen at power on? (same question for the RAM, which I still can't rule out as cause of the problem)
I can't seem to be able to get rid of the gut feeling that the problem lies with the motherboard (or at least part of the problem) Perhaps my BIOS is screwed up? (I have tried clearing CMOS by moving the jumper, but that hasn't changed anything)
I'll try and fix the CPU cooler clip later today, but I would still greatly appreciate any input, or answers to my questions.
Thanks in advance

My system:

Intel Celeron 1700 MHz
Generic socket 478 motherboard (I'll post more exact manufacturer data later)
Nvidia GeForce 4 graphics card

Dual booting Fedora core 5 with FreeBSD 6.1, but i don't think that's relevant here
Old 10-07-2006, 10:36 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Aberdeen Scotland
Distribution: elive,sidux,xp,pclinuxos super gamer, mandriva 2007
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Not a definitive solution but one of my pcs acted much the same, monitor wont start, no bios screen, h/drive led lit up, no post beeps although sometimes it would boot up with the bios back to default entries. Swapped out everything without result, last thing I tried was the cpu which I reseated with fresh thermal paste and bingo, up and running again.
Old 10-07-2006, 10:45 AM   #3
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Registered: Aug 2003
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that's interesting, because when I removed my CPU cooler, I found that the paste had almost solidified and was sticking mainly to the heatsink instead of the CPU... I think I'll try re-pasting and see where that gets me..
thanks for the reply!


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