The Geekly Guy

This blog contains information regarding all things Linux, although any computer technology subject matter fits within the realm of this blog.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

AMD System Issue

Two years ago, I bought a barebones AMD system:

AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 940 Processor, MMX, 3DNow (4 CPUs), ~3.0GHz

3072MB RAM (recently added a new stick of RAM)

Hard Drive:
1 TB Seagate

Video Card:
NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT (recently upgraded to an ATI Radeon HD 5670)

Westinghouse 19" 1680x1050

Sound Card:
Realtek HD Audio output

Altec Lansing VS4121

Logitech cheap cordless

Logitech MX1000 laser mouse

Mouse Surface:

Operating System:
Windows 7 Professional OEM

FOXCONN DigitaLife A79A-S

Power Supply:
Corsair 750TX

So, maybe a month and a half ago, I came home and the system is off. There may have been a brown-out but I don't remember seeing the other systems being off. I attempt to turn on the system and don't even see the BIOS screen...but the system is on (I see the fans running and lights show on the case and motherboard). In fact, I don't even hear the system POSTing. At first I thought it was the video card burning out, so I went and got an ATI Radeon HD 5670 to replace the Nvidia GeForce 9500GT. When I opened the case, I saw found a TON of dead spiders and webs, so I cleaned out the box...this is why I thought it was a video card issue, as the cooling fan is rather exposed. The CPU and power supply fans appear functional and fine, as well as the two case fans.

I replaced the card and the system immediately powered up fine. When the system needed a reboot (due to Windows patches that needed to be applied), it didn't recover. It showed the same symptoms.

I was then told to check the power supply, so I went out and bought a new one (non-popular brand with similar specs). When I replaced the Corsair with the new PS, again, the system cranked up fine but when it needed another reboot (more patches needed to be applied), it didn't recover. I'd also added another stick of RAM (I found a spare, but this wasn't in the system when the issue first arose). WTH.

At this rate, I'll end up building a new system.

Tonight, I'm going to check all connections and remove all but one stick of RAM. Something must be bad (that I haven't already replaced) or loose. I'd almost suspect a heating issue if it weren't for the fact that the box will sit a whole day powered down and still not boot back up. I may even need to just go and get a new battery for the BIOS (I've been recycling old ones).


1. Get and install new BIOS battery, then try to boot up system.
2. Remove all but one stick of RAM, then try to boot up system.
3. Check CPU fan...might need to be replaced.
4. Check case fans...might need to be replaced.
5. Check all cards to ensure they are seated properly.
6. Ensure all dirt and dust is removed (might need to get another can of compressed air for this).
7. If there are still issues, there may be an issue with the motherboard or CPU.

I doubt this is a CPU issue or motherboard issue. If it is, hell, I'm getting a set. I've some money allocated. I just wanted to allocate it toward my motorcycle! I'm going to have to re-allocate those funds.

[EDIT - 4/11/2011: The issue appears to have been resolved, but I hesitate to officially deem it resolved without waiting and seeing first. It appears to have been an issue with bad RAM. After consulting a friend, I decided to begin testing the RAM. I turned on the system and checked to see the screen status. It was all black. I turned off the system and removed one stick of RAM (there were 4 installed). I turned the system back on and observed the activity. I kept doing this until I got to the last stick. With the last stick in place, the system started! This meant that the last stick I'd removed was bad. My testing wasn't done, though. I wanted extreme verification (on the RAM, at least). I reversed the process, leaving out the bad RAM stick. The system stayed powered up and functional with the other 3 sticks of RAM. This particular stick was the Ultra brand, I believe. No idea on the bandwidth parameters of this particular stick. It is a DDR2 system, though. I've no idea why a stick of RAM would go bad after 2 years of successful use, either. It's not an issue with the RAM slot, as I've another stick in that particular slot and it is working fine. Maybe there was a power surge that affected the RAM? The surge protector is fine, though, so that's not the case.

I'm just glad I didn't have to spend money on another major system component...and I'm glad I can now game...Just in time for the DLC pack for COD:Black Ops!]

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