What has died in my PC - PSU or mobo or CPU

Asus P5k-v motherboard
December 23, 2010 at 14:13:29
Specs: Windows XP, E2160/4 GB Corsair

I have read all my answers I could get my hands on this problem, and some of the other guys problems were identical to mine, bu unfortunately not answered or the guys did not replied when asked for more info.
So I will provide every bit of info I can, and I hope you can help me.
First of all I kind of gave up on it and I know I will have to buy something from the above - something is obviously deffect - what I hope is that is just one component and not all three and I hope it is not the CPU or the mobo.
I have an Asus P5K-V mobo and an E2160 processor.I have overclocked them to "safe" speeds (3 GHz), but I was still aware that even so, one day mu CPU will die - I want to find out if that day has come for it.
This computer functioned for around two years.In two years the CPU failed a few times (blue screen and restart because of too few power feed to it) and throttled once (the fan somehow unattached and the CPU run into throttle for around 3 weeks before I realised the temperatures were a bit too high, 80 degress, instead of 50 as usual).
So I got used to the restarts cause by the CPU.But this time is different - no restart, and this got me worried.
And here is how it happened - one day I was playing a game on my newly bought videocard (I also have an integrated videocard on the mobo), and the image on screen simply "froze" - no keyboard input, no nothing.And I waited - one minute later the game recovered by itself and continued playing.One hour later, the image froze again, but this time did not recover again, so I restarted.Then it started to happen at random in 2-3 days, once or twice per day, never recovering.Then, it started to happen even more frequent, 3-4 times per day, then it also froze the screen when the windows was loading or very shortly after the windows has loaded.
Then it simply froze up the screen right when the BIOS image loaded, so I couldn't even get into BIOS anymore (I was still able to enter BIOS at random, one in three restarts - this time from the power supply as it wasn't responsive anymore to the restart button).
Then it simply hanged on each time I restarted - all the fans are spinning, the green light of the mobo is on and all seems to work as usually, except one thing - the monitor will stay shut (not only there is no image on screen, but the monitor is not receiving signal from any of my two videocards and it remains in stand by).
Then I started to find the problem eliminating the components one by one, as follows :
- I got out the new PCI express videocard and used the integrated videocard - nothing changes
- I got out three of my 4 HDD's and I kept only the IDE HDD on - the PC is making the POST beep as normal, but still nothing on screen - the screen is blank, but the monitor is receiving signal this time and is on altough not displaying anything
note : the monitor is receiving signal only when used on the PCI express card and not on the integrated card
- I checked all my HDD's on another computer and are all ok
- I unmounted the CPU fan and the fan and I bought a new CPU fan and thermal paste - no change
note : now I discovered a fact that also made me suspect my mobo - one of the pins on the connection socket is missing and I am absolutely sure it is not because I unseated the processor, so there are two options to it :
- the pin was missing since I bought the mobo and the PC somehow functioned without it - it is even possible?
- the pin somehow got burned and melted away because of the temperature
Anyway, I know for sure that when I unseated the CPU there was a tiny hole there amongst the pins and I am not the one that produced it (at least not when I unseated the CPU).
- then I left the PC sit for a wole day
- now I have reconnected all the components (videocard, RAM sticks and HDD's) and the PC is restarting as normal (my guess), the monitor goes live, I get a "healthy" POST beep as usual, my keyboard Scroll and NumPad leds are blinking for a momen as usual, the fans are working, the HDD's are working - only I canot know what actually happens, because my monitor is still blank and if I switch to the integrated videocard will also go off (no signal)
an important note : in the last two months, the fan of my power supply stopped working and I noticed it first time when it smell like burnt, and since then at the first restart of the day I always have to start it manually, with my finger, by knocking on the fan a few times.Could it be just the fan (has a lot of dust gathered) or my power supply is diying?
This is pretty much all I can tell you about my PC and this is the current state is in : it looks like working on the outside, but no image on screen an so, no access to BIOS and I also do not know if my HDD's are detected or not.The PC responds normally to the reset button now and it looks like normally resetting, but nothing really changes and the screen is still blank.
What I know for sure is that now it is resetting, the green light of the mobo is on and not intermitent, HDD's seem to work, all fans are working, I get signal to the monitor from the PCI videocard and the power supply is working (with the manual restart of the fan).
So what do you think is broken?What should I buy?Because I do not want to have the nasty surprise to buy a new mobo and CPU and find out that the power source was actually at fault.
Also, I canot test the components on my other PC, since that one is a socket 478 computer - all I can test on it are the SATA and IDE HDD's.
Thank you in advance!

Best regards!

See More: What has died in my PC - PSU or mobo or CPU

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December 23, 2010 at 14:38:03
Judging by your post, you may be looking at multiple hardware problems. I can say with some certainty that you should get a different power supply. If the fan has failed at any point, chances are that some of the internal components have fried themselves and it is no longer safe to use. You mentioned a smell at some point--this is not good! Replace that first, because you should never continue using a computer with a suspected bad power supply.

Next you will need to consider the other core components of your system. In order for a system to pass the POST test, you need a motherboard, RAM, CPU, power supply, video card, and keyboard. If something is happening with your system before Windows starts loading, you must focus on these core components. Since you are not getting a video signal, I would focus on that next. Make sure your monitor is good, then see if you can try a known good video card (borrow from a friend?). This will tell you if the problem is actually with the video subsystem or if it is the motherboard itself. And remember that it is not uncommon for a failing power supply to fry a motherboard in the process!

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December 23, 2010 at 23:48:08
You must replace the powersupply first. Having let some of the factory pre-installed smoke escape from it you risk a total meltdown. The PSU can partially fail while still providing enough power to POST a system. The fact it was gummed up with dust and cannot run it's own fan without a push-start tells you it's time to retire that unit.

Goin' Fishin' (Some day)

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December 24, 2010 at 00:23:30
I decided to try first with a new power supply and a new processor.Let's say the power supply is at fault, and will be ok to replace with a new one.But my new processor will not be in any danger on that motherboard connector that misses one pin?Will it work on a motherboard connector that misses one pin?
I tried to "elevate" what's left of that pin so it could touch the processor, but it got really close another pin, so I was afraid of a short circuit, so I pushed it back inside as it was.And yes, I know 775 does not have any pins, but I do not know how else to call them.
Can a short circuit damage my new processor?
What should I do about that missing pin?Is it safe to try a new processor on it?
If my motherboard is fried, it should not act any way weird?
To me it looks like acting perfectly normal - POST beep present, keyboard recognized and stuff might actually happen inside, only I canot see anything on screen.
And yes, I do have signal to my monitor, only nothing is displayed.But I can get signal only through the PCI videocard and not through the integrated videocard, but this might be due to the fact that I set the PCI videocard as primary.
Also, I have tested my PCI videocard at a friend and is working ok (he wouldn't lend me his, so I did it this way).
What are the safe steps I should take, taking in consideration the info I provided and the fact that the new power supply might not solve the problem.

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December 24, 2010 at 01:20:08
Here is an update (I have tried everything so far, I think, even solutions unrelated to my problem) :
I have removed 3 of my RAM sticks and left just one on and the PC powered up properly and can now enter BIOS! I am so happy!
Anyway, I have tried various BIOS configurations and I have noticed a thing - I canot put BIOS on the default values anymore (all on auto, CPU not overclocked) as the PC will not enter BIOS anymore and I will not have signal to my monitor.In other words, I can use only my overcloking profile.
This is more than a coincidence in my opinion - when I bought the new PCI card I was afraid that the power supply will not be enough, so I set the BIOS on auto and the CPU not overclocked.And that is pretty much the moment my PC started to act weird.In other words, I blame the fact that I put everything on auto (and I am curious if I am right).
Now I have used my almost stable overclocking profile and all seem to work fine with just one HDD and one stick of RAM.At least I know that my mobo is ok and the CPU still working (I was almost to clear my CMOS for nothing, when I thought about the RAM option and I am glad I did).
I will continue to update until I get the PC back on track.

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December 24, 2010 at 03:50:36
Another update :
it started all over again :
- first it won't recognize my IDE HDD unless I get out all the SATA HDD's
- then it won't recognize any HDD
- then it won't recognize my RAM
- then it won't recognize anything
- then I get the black screen and no BIOS
then it starts all over again - works ok for a short period of time, then it gets on again with all the steps above (sometimes I am even able to enter Windows for a few minutes and all seem normal, until the image freezes at random)
it can be started again ok only after I let the PC "cool off" unplugged from power supply for about an hour, then it starts again ok for a few minutes then again goes down

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