computer died, NEED HELP!!!

Ecs (elitegroup computers) L4vxa2 p4
August 23, 2009 at 16:50:27
Specs: Windows XP
specs
p4 2.80ghz cpu
l4vxa2 via p4x400 478 socket atx motherboard w/ audio
2x 1gb 400ghz ddr ram.
radeon 9550xl video card
windows xp

first i want to say that i built this computer about 4 years ago and have upgraded some parts over the the years but i haven't changed anything recently.

one day my computer started to make a strange sound, after inspecting the case i noticed that the heat sink fan didn't seem to be spinning up to its normal full speed. i cleaned it of all dirt buildup but it didn't seem to change anything. soon after my computer began to randomly shut down. there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for it, whether i was on the internet, playing a game or if it was just sitting idle it would reboot or shutdown. sometimes it would restart without a problem, other times the computer would power up, fans, cd and dvd drives and motherboard beeps, but wouldn't get a video feed to the monitor and the keyboard cap lock, # lock and scroll lock lights would blink repeatedly until i turn the computer off. the next day i went to turn the computer on and it wouldn't boot up at all now. still getting the same blinking lights and slow fans i assumed it was the power supply not producing the correct voltage ( i know a bit about computers but by no means am i a pro) so my roommate and i swapped power supply's to see if that was the issued, mine worked fine in his computer but i got the same slow fans, blinking lights and no boot with his. Ive also switched the cpu, memory, video card, and HD but nothing seems to fix it. Ive also tried to bench test the mobo with only the one stick of memory, monitor, keyboard, and the video card plugged in since i don't have on board video and still no change. ALSO thinking there may be some grounding issues in the case i connected everything to the motherboard outside the case. SAME THING!!!! all this leads my to think it has to be the motherboard, but there isn't a light on it to signify anything and i don't see any burns or melted areas on it that would confirm 100% someone please help, i don't have the money to take it to a repair shop or buy a new mobo if that isn't the problem. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated


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#1
August 23, 2009 at 17:15:12
"....i noticed that the heat sink fan didn't seem to be spinning up to its normal full speed. i cleaned it of all dirt buildup but it didn't seem to change anything."

Some cpu fans can spin slower and only spin faster when more cooling is needed, but I don;t think that's possible unless the fan has 4 wires and connects to a 4 pin cpu fan header.
You probably should have replaced the cpu fan at that point.

Cpu fans or case fans making noise indicates one or both bearings are failing. You're most likely to hear that when the computer has been off for a longer time, such as overnight, then when the computer is first booted.

I was going to suggest your cpu was damaged from it overheating too many times, assuming the cpu fan wasn't spinning fast enough, but I see
"...Ive also switched the cpu, memory,

you've tried another cpu.
.......

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:
http://members.datafast.net.au/~dft...

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
- links on left to economical available premade or custom capacitor kits, and/or you can ship the mboard to him and he will replace the capacitors for a flat fee (including the capacitors) plus shipping (North America only).
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components - power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...
.......

Contrary to popular belief, it is extremely rare for ram that was working fine previously to go BAD, unless you have damaged it by something you did when installing or removing it, or unless it was damaged by some event such as a power failure. Almost always, when you have a ram problem, it's either because the ram has a poor connection, or you have installed ram that is not compatible with your mboard's main chipset, or it's CPU's memory controller if that applies.
...

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
.......

Trying different ram can be a mistake.

Ram that works in another mboard , or any ram you buy or have lying around, may not work properly, or sometimes, not at all - even if it physically fits and is the right overall type (e.g. SDram, DDR, DDR2, etc.; PCxxxx, xxx mhz) for your mboard. In the worst cases of incompatibilty your mboard WILL NOT BOOT all the way with it installed, and the mboard may not even beep - the ram has to be compatible with the mboard's main chipset, or in the case of recent mboards, compatible with the memory controller built into the cpu.

The same applies for testing your ram in another mboard - the ram must be compatible with the other mboard - if it isn't, any results of testing the ram on the other mboard cannot be relied upon to be valid.

If you still have the ram that was installed when the system worked fine, try installing just that ram, if you know which modulesthey were.


See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
Correction to that:
Mushkin www.mushkin.com

Once you know which module ID strings work in your mboard, you can get them from anywhere you like that has ram with those ID strings.

If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.



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#2
August 24, 2009 at 15:59:59
thanks for the suggestions tubesandwires = )

it turns out it is in fact the motherboard, some of the cylinder shaped things towards the top of the board are ever so slightly "popped" out at the top, says the guy at a used computer parts warehouse. so i know for a fact what the problem is, now on to another... the board i have is 7.5 x 12 inches and rather than building or buying a new computer ( which is what i would rather do) i need to get another mobo that will work for a bit until i have the funds to get a new system. the case i have i bought about 5 years ago and i'm not sure what types of mobo's would fit into it. BUT!!!!! i cant find the model or any information about it. i need to find another board that's around the same size and specs, 478 socket, agp slot ddr ram and P4 processor. the case is a raidmax and the serial number is 051419501, if anyone has any knowledge on this and could help me find a compatible motherboard i would love you forever, thanks


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#3
August 24, 2009 at 16:09:05
How many PCI slots are on your present board? How many do you need? What Intel processor do you have?

Below is a link to some 478 socket boards. Some with AGP 4x.

http://3btech.net/motherboards-sock...

I am not an Intel man so I can't say if all 478 chips will run in all 478 socket boards or not.


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Related Solutions

#4
August 24, 2009 at 16:40:55
the current board that i have has 4 pci slots, but i don't use any of them.
and the cpu is a P4 2.80ghz 478 pin.

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#5
August 24, 2009 at 17:31:40
I think the link below is for your current board.

http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Do...

The links below are for what I believe is a compatible board. First link is for the vendor. The second is for the manufacturer. You will need to download drivers, etc from there.

http://3btech.net/asp4so47840p1.html

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.a...

This board only has TWO RAM slots.


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#6
August 25, 2009 at 14:20:35
"...it turns out it is in fact the motherboard, some of the cylinder shaped things towards the top of the board are ever so slightly "popped" out at the top, says the guy at a used computer parts warehouse. "

Aha!
I had a Gigabyte 7ZMMH that happened to - it won't boot anymore now - and I've replaced at least two mboards in other people's computers that had that problem.
At first the mboard just does random weird things, but eventually it won't boot at all.

The size of the mboard isn't critical for most generic computer cases - they can usually accomodate any size of standard ATX or mATX sized board, and have the threaded holes for all the standard places mboard mounting posts are installed - the important thing is you need to get another mboard that has at least the mininum number of PCI slots you need for the cards you already have - you presently have 5 PCI slots.
NOTE that the PCI slot next to the AGP slot should only be used for PCI video cards - other cards often will not work properly in that slot, because that slot's IRQ is shared with the AGP slot, and/or with the onboard video if the mboard has that and you're using that.
If you need more mboard mounting posts, any place that builds custom computers can supply you with those.
In most cases, the metal I/O shield on the case most if not all of the ports project through is removable - new mboards come with their own I/O shield that fits in the standard sized hole in the ATX case.

By the way, I looked at your manual - it does not mention ECS or Elite Computer Systems - it's a generic manual. You say it has no model printed on it - in that case, it's probably actually made by Hsing Tech.
Hsing Tech does not sell their mboards under it's own name, and the mboards it makes usually have no model number - they only have a Version or Revision number on them. They do sell their mboards under their own retail name - PCChips - and they also sell them to ECS and many other mboard brands, who may use a similar model name to what is used for PCChips models, or it can be very different, so Hsing Tech usually does not print the model on the mboard surface.
Your model is probably identical to a PCChips model.
In most cases, the manual and the bios version is generic and identical whatever brand you buy a Hsing Tech mboard from. However, ECS sometimes makes their own version of the manual, and that does have ECS and/or Elite Computer Systems in it.

OtheHill's link in response 5 for that mboard looks suitable, if 4 PCI slots are okay.

You can probably look up it's cpu support on the Asrock web site, and you can easily look up your present ram if it's a brand name module and confirm whether it will work in this mboard.

See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
Correction to that:
Mushkin www.mushkin.com

However, NOTE that it says Refurbished.
How Refurbished is defined for a particular source varies - you can usually be assured it has been tested and works fine - sometimes it's merely a mboard that was in a box that had been opened, or a mboard that was returned but the actual reason it would not work for a customer was caused by something else not being right about the system, but sometimes the mboard was returned because it actually was defective because one or more capacitors were failing just like in your case.
If one or more capacitors were defective, usually it has already been sent back to the manufactuer and the manufacturer replaced the capacitors with better ones known not to be prone to the problem, and in that case refurbished means the capacitors have been replaced and the mboard has been tested and found to be okay.

If a mATX mboard with 3 PCI slots will do (if you have no more than 2 PCI cards other than a PCI video card) this mboard is cheap too, and it has a newer Via chipset than yours does, it probably supports your present cpu and ram, and faster ram:
http://www.epoxstore.com/Product_De...
However, it's support link doesn't work for me:
http://www.epox.com/product.asp?id=...

(If you can't get that link to work either......
- it probably supports your cpu - it probably supports any cpu the same Via chipset supports - VIA P4M800 - on other mboards
- it probably has already been flashed with the last available manufacturer's bios version
- you can easily look up your present ram if it's a brand name module and confirm whether it will work in this mboard
- but if that's not good enough for you, I wouldn't buy this)

Specs - NOTE that this is 4VKMI, not 4VMKI as the title says
http://www.epinions.com/specs/EPOX_...

and it has two ram slots rather than the three you have.

It's Refurbished, which in this case probably indicates the capacitors have been replaced with better ones and the mboard has been tested and found to be okay.It probably has already been flashed with the last available manufacturer's bios version, while they were doing that

It has only a 90 day warranty, but I wouldn't worry about that, because Epox mboards are extremely reliable in my experience. The computer I am typing this on has an Epox mboard made in Aug. 1999, and my Dad is still using one that is a bit older.


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