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PC hardware advice (home PC died *sad*)

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NathanJ79
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PC hardware advice (home PC died *sad*)

Update 1 Dec 09: It's fixed now, long story short the PSU I put in fixed it.

Well, let's see... where to begin? Well, you guys know I'm no big fan of Windows 7. Got the beta, got the RC, both ran like garbage (but, it was the 64-bit version). Guy my wife works with tells me he's got the 32-bit version running on a 1.3GHz P4 with 1GB of RAM and it "runs fine", so I spring for the upgrade. Been running it 2 weeks, it's alright. Not as snappy as I'd like, but I got the new Windows. XP about to go out of support, so it's not the best to keep, for too long.

OK, fast forward to Friday morning. I get off work, I go to get on Firefox... 8:51AM I launch the shortcut, 8:56 it comes up, but everything's just going slow. It wasn't until 9:01AM I was able to get onto Google News (one click from my homepage, google.com). Nothing's running right. So I just turn it off.

I ask my wife, what's wrong with the computer. Nothing, she says. I wake up, it's still off. (She later told me that she turned it on, it ran great for 10 minutes, then started pulling the same **** I experienced.) I turn it on... lights come on... I hear a POP! ...it cuts off, and I smell a faint burning smell.

I unplug it, wait 10 minutes, plug it back in, hit the power button... nothing. I take my power supply out, I'm looking for a fuse, find none. A friend up in New York told me on Facebook (yay for free Xbox Live weekend) I should buy a multimeter and he can walk me through diagnosing it. Well, the guy who told me I should get Win7 tells me to just come by after work and he'll do the test, save me $20.

So I took a day off playing with the Xbox.

Get to his place, he shorts out the two green wires (I think) on the mobo plug, plugs it in, and cuts it on. Nothing. He says my PSU burned out. He's got one laying around, says it says 425W but he stopped using it because it was a "pansy PSU". Says I should run the bare minimum on it. Take out a stick of RAM, only hook up the C drive, pick one fan, and take out my graphics card.

Well, I don't have onboard video, so the GPU stays. I take out half my RAM, I only hook up the C drive, DVD burner, and only my favorite fan (120mm side fan, right above the CPU and GPU), and of course the mobo. Cut it on.

BIOS self-check comes up, checks the RAM quick as ever, but takes almost a full minute to check the IDE channels. 80GB drive, DVD-RW, check. Then it... just... sits there.

Nearly a full minute later, it's checking the other stuff (PCI stuff, the BIOS, all that stuff it lists) and it wants to boot off a CD/DVD. Not finding anything there, it pulls up some nVidia/Intel net boot thing I have never even seen before. That doesn't work, and I get the dreaded BAD DISK, INSERT SYSTEM DISK prompt. Apparently it tried my C drive first, found no boot data, then tried the optical drive, then networking.

OK, so I look for a Linux distro. Can't find my Ubuntu 9.10 (for all the damn waiting, I downloaded and burned it... and it got lost) so I pull out Fedora 11. Just as good, right? I put it in, it boots up. No live distro. Damn. OK, so I go to install Fedora 11. I can always reinstall Windows 7. See, the plan is to get online and buy a better PSU. Wife already said I could spend $100 on one. Her friend recommends an 800W OCZ one. Gonna look that up in a bit. Anyway, Fedora goes to install, and then says it can't unpack because the disk is bad.

My wife tells this to her friend at work, he thinks the PSU may not be good enough to fully power the C drive. Still, I probably hosed it trying to install Fedora, since step one is to format it. I didn't set it up, so it did all that automatically. And I confirmed to write the partition table to the disk, that seemed to take, it didn't fail until after Fedora tried to actually install.

So here's where I am. Can't boot into anything, though presumably I can boot into a live distro if I can get my paws on one. Got a burner at work, but I really shouldn't be downloading Linux here. That would not go over well. Even if I download it to my flash drive and use a portable app to burn it (cdrtfe most likely).

Plan is to get a good PSU in my PC and scrap the loaner, and then see what I can do with that C drive.

I know anything's possible, but I just wanted to get some ideas from y'all, see if there's anything I may be missing.

Question: So my PSU died, but when it died, it died slowly (everything running slow). Could this have damaged my CPU and/or hard drives?

digitxp
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Damage...

Okay, so your PSU happens to be dying... and you wonder how bad the damage would be. You'd get the same answer to that question if you asked yourself, "Okay, so I had a tapeworm in my gut for the past 2 years. I wonder how badly damaged my heart and brain would be, since it likely has laid eggs and those eggs probably ended up in my bloodstream." (It just so happens that we're doing animal phyla in science. :P)
And isn't Fedora 11 a livecd?
(Finally, I'm pretty sure that Fedora 11 is a livecd. Maybe it's too light on resources, perhaps?)

Insert original signature here with Greasemonkey Script.

NathanJ79
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Fedora 11

No, there are no options to boot into a live environment. It's not the CD, though, it's the DVD-ROM. I didn't just get the i386 version off the main page, I went hunting for the DVD version with extra packages. I know they said their ~700MB disc is a live distro, I just figured the DVD was too. Guess I figured wrong.

And a dying power supply that died over the course of a day can't be as bad as a tapeworm for 2 years. I get your point, crude as it is. Speaking of laying eggs, I know you said your inspiration for the analogy is a science class, but have you seen the "Night Gallery" episode "The Caterpillar"? My mother told me about it years ago (not knowing the name or even the show) and it's creeped me out ever since. Finally tracked it down, between Wikipedia and IMDb. And watched it on Hulu. Has to do with a brain-eating earwig that lays eggs. (Not sure why they called it "The Caterpillar" but your post reminded me of it -- maybe you should look it up as a tangent to your class?) FYI, "Night Gallery" was a show Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling did in the '70s that basically tanked. Same kind of thing but not quite as eerie/shocking as TZ.

Anyway... I thought the guy said to get a 700W power supply, so I found 3 on Newegg that look promising and are within budget:\

Raidmax 700W - $60 - $10 Mail-in Rebate
OCZ 700W - $80 - $20 Mail-in Rebate + Free Shipping
OCZ Modular 700W - $98 - $30 Mail-in Rebate + Free Shipping

Texted him those, he said he uses an OCZ 850W -- that's $220, too rich for my blood, but I did find a Rosewill 850W for $80 with Free Shipping. No MIR though.

Some caveats on my choosing... Budget's $100 so they're all good. I need them to power a mobo with 2 sticks of 1GB RAM, an AMD Athlon64 3200+, and a PCI-E 256MB GeForce 6600. The GeForce doesn't have a dedicated power line. Also I have 3 internal hard drives (2 IDE, 1 SATA) and an IDE DVD burner. Current power supply (well, dead one) was 500W and served me well for 4 and a half years. So I should be fine with 700W. Oh, and when I build my new computer next year (wife says that's a go) the SATA and one of the IDE hard drives will leave that computer for greener pastures (the new computer).

OliverK
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a 425 should power a IDE hard

a 425 should power a IDE hard drive.

Anything up at 700 watss is pretty good, if what I think is good is good.

How about you try this:
http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html

And it giving lower power *shouldn't* have hurt the system, as far as I'm concerned, but I its possible. I believe Gizmokid was talking to Siler about how bad that could get.

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

NathanJ79
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It should, shouldn't it?

Yeah, that was a pretty stupid comment. Of course a 425W PSU should be enough for those things. One earlier computer I had had a 300W PSU, and I've almost never had a computer with fewer than two hard drives, and a couple have had two optical drives as well, for what that's worth (most of the time they sit idle).

Anyway, the PSU calc you posted said I only need 427W, but also said I should account for fans and external devices.

Still, the 500W PSU I had definitely went out... if not because we overloaded it, then because it had just been running for four and a half years, and we almost never turn the computer off.

Still, these 700W PSUs are cheap enough, I feel we should at least get that, though seeing the numbers play out, it's hard to justify anything north of 600W. However, the "501-600W" selection is pretty weak over on Newegg. I get to the OCZ offering, because I figure I should have *at least* 600W, and I'm looking at $75 600W PSU with a $25 MIR, and though it's a ModXStream (modular) it's only $5 cheaper out the door than the $80 StealthXStream (non-modular) and the latter's rebate is only $5 less. So pay $5 more now (still $20 under budget) and get $5 less in 6-8 weeks after we've forgotten about it... really they're about the same price.

Oh, if only the PSU had waited 'til March to crap out on us. Then we could low ball it with a 550W Fatal1ty PSU (looks pretty, endorsed by a "pro gamer", good company makes it) when we take out the hard drives, put Linux on it, and make it a "part time" computer... *headache*

Mir
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in my experience with a burnt

in my experience with a burnt out PSU it can send a shock and damage other devices. 1st to go is the mobo then ram/processor then Floppy disk drives then IDE devices THEN fans. fans are really durable to jolts of power.

you data on the HD may be recoverable using a IDE to USB. if it doesnt work strait up feel the drive and listen. if it spins thats good unless it spinns and clicks. if it clicks you are screwed. if the drive is running warm it may be a ball bering or motor issue. if that is the case (the drive overheating) i recomend placing the drive into a freezer bag, make sure you suck most of the air out or you may damage the drive and for god sakes dont breathe in.

The mobo is prolly screwed. it is so difficult to diagnose even with a multimeter. trust me i tried on a Dell XPS and Presicion GX640

425 is good for most things especialy with what you have. though if your friend said it was a "Pansy PSU" then that probibly means it doesnt run AT 425watts but may run at 379. that is still good enough. 300 watts should be fine for what you had.

To reanser your question. YES the PSU dying can kill your mobo and hard drive. i have seen it first hand

NathanJ79
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Damn...

Well, if it's fried the mobo, that's about it for it. It's a Socket 939 board, and they don't even make Socket 939 boards anymore. The used ones go for what they cost new most of the time. Same with the RAM... a problem with anything but the RAM pretty much means I gotta get a new CPU, mobo, and new RAM as well. <_ still="" would="" it="" have="" tried="" to="" boot="" if="" was="" did="" slowly.="" counted="" the="" ram="" as="" fast="" ever="" though.="" i="" ordered="" that="" ocz="" psu="" so="" we="" see="" what="" happens="" when="" get="" in.="" watts="" shouldn="" been="" enough="" calculator="" on="" newegg="" said="" should="" not="" counting="" fans="" and="" usb="" devices.="" probably="" fine.="" until="" died="" is...="" too="" worried="" about="" hard="" drive.="" dead="" dead.="" can="" put="" windows="" my="">

Mir
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i dont think that will help

i dont think that will help your mobo. if the mobo got fried there is is a high possiblity that everything else may be damaged. for example on one of my computers i lost 1k$ worth of ram (Multibit ECC Registered Buffered Dual Channel) so i am in a world of hurt on that computer until i can find new ram and resolve the issue that fried it in the first place.

Get a new mobo. heck computers are cheap these days and you might find one hell of a black friday deal Smile

OliverK
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i can see the fans being

i can see the fans being really durable. HD's motors are probably really strong, but the heads would fry easy.

for god sakes dont breathe in.

Lol. Moisture is in your breath for those that wonder.

Thanks for giving clarification on the subject of burnt out psu frying boards..

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

Mir
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Yes. if you breathe in you

Yes. if you breathe in you will release moisture which WILL damage the hard drive or the board on it. water is bad for electronics, ice is deadly.

NathanJ79
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All good now

I got the OCZ power supply yesterday and got it put in today. Computer runs good as ever.

Only, I screwed up my C drive trying to install Fedora 11 and failing. So it said it couldn't read the system disk. Reinstalled Windows and I'm good to go again.

OliverK
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glad to hear it was only a

glad to hear it was only a power supply. The gods of computing have smiled on you. Fickle beasts they be.

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

Mir
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you are indeed lucky. may

you are indeed lucky. may the computer god's lights shine upon you with a multi-array of brightly colored LED's and blacklight cathorid tubes.

ACHTUNG!
ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

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