Computer won't start

Dell Optiplex gx280 desktop
August 6, 2010 at 08:31:47
Specs: Windows XP
My Dell Optiplex GX280 won't POST. Worked one day, not the next. When I turn it on, it goes to the Intel BIOS screen and stops, I can't get it to go any further. F-keys don't do anything. I've pulled it apart, reseated all the memory, power supply, HD, reset the CMOS... nothing. Is my system board done? What's my next step?

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August 6, 2010 at 11:25:30
Did you check for bulging or leaking capacitors? If the motherboard fails to POST , it could mean the caps are bad.

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August 6, 2010 at 11:56:47

Choose Users Guide

Pick the case type that's the same as yours

Choose Troubleshooting Tools and Utilities

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made. (Dell didn't make the mboard.)

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

Have you installed a video card in a mboard slot that the system did not originally have ?

If so, the original PS in brand name systems often does NOT have enough capacity.

Your power supply must have at least the minimum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD ! )
If that info is not in the ad for the video card, you can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements. Some power supplies have two or more +12v ratings - in that case, add those ratings to determine the total +12v current capacity.

If you're a gamer...
In most if not all cases, the max capacity rating of the PS is an intermittent rating. It's recommended that you do not load your PS to any more that 80% of that rating if you are going to be using something that puts a constant load on it, such as playing a recent game for hours on end. In that case, you multiply the min capacity stated for the system with the particular video chipset on the card by 1.25 to find the min. capacity of the PS you should get.

If you need to get a PS with more capacity, you can usually replace it with any decent standard sized standard ATX PS.

Standard (PS/2) power supply size - 86mm high, 150mm wide, 140mm deep, or 3 3/8" h x 5 7/8" w x 5 1/2" d , or very close to that, though the depth can be more or less for some PSs.

Don't buy an el-cheapo PS.
See response 3 in this:

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August 7, 2010 at 10:10:33
Capacitors appear to be normal - at least by eyeballing them.

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