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Computer starts to boot then stops

by Odyssey42 / July 27, 2008 8:43 AM PDT

I picked up an incomplete computer in a garage sale. It has:

a Gigabyte GA-7N400-Pro2 mobo with an AMD processor (don't know which without disassembling it)

1 GB of Geil DDR400 PC3200 dual channel RAM

mounted in a nice Antec case with a 350W Antec PSU

When it is turned on, the fans begin to turn and I think I hear one beep, but it kind of morphs into a whine which sounds like it is coming from the CPU cooler fan. After 4 or 5 seconds, it shuts down again.

If I remove the RAM, it does the same thing but just takes about twice as long (8 seconds) before it shuts down again.

The longer startup maybe indicates a RAM problem as well as the shutdown issue.

Any ideas?

A second issue is that I was told that the integrated video never worked and a video card would be needed. The AGP slot is an 8X. I have a spare GeForce MX4000 D64M card, but I'm unsure if it is compatible. The green AGP slot has a single divider approx 1/3 of the way from the back of the slot (the end with the clip to hold the end of the card in place, i.e., not the end with the plate holding the connector for the monitor cable), while the card has two 'cuts' for such dividers, one approx 1/3 of the way along and the other apx 2/3 of the way. The card can be inserted into the slot as the first cut fits the divider in the slot, but I am a bit concerned about it having two cuts. Is it OK to use it?


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If The CPU Fan Isn't Cooling Correctly...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 27, 2008 12:20 PM PDT coluld certainly try removing the old fan, removing the entire heatsink, then scrape off the thermal compount from the CPU, replace it with a thin coating of new compound, then replace the heatsink and new fan.

Hope this helps.


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Cleaning the old paste
by Odyssey42 / July 27, 2008 12:26 PM PDT

What do you suggest to use as the scraper so as to avoid damaging the surface?

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I Use A Soft/Lint Free Cloth And Iso Alcohol.. Or..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 27, 2008 12:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Cleaning the old paste

...if you'd like, there are specially made alcohol Thermal Compound Cleaners for the purpose:

I've seen some use a very small amount of WD-40 when the thermal grease was hardened badly, but even then, a little alcohol is usually needed to remove any remaining residue. I prefer to use alcohol if possible, primarily because of its ability to evaporate quickly after use.. Don't use anything hard, like metal to scape the service..

Hope this helps.


Hope this helps.


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by Odyssey42 / July 28, 2008 5:15 AM PDT

that did the trick (just alcohol on soft cotton). Thanks. Now to find some thermal paste.

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by Odyssey42 / July 29, 2008 12:18 PM PDT
In reply to: Cleaning

OK, found some thermal paste and 'repasted' the heatsink. the computer now starts without shutting down and I hear:

one 'regular' beep, (a 'regular' beep being about one second in duration), then in about 4 seconds,
one short beep followed immediately by a regular one , then in about 4 seconds,
single regular beeps about 4 seconds apart for as long as I want to leave it on

I assume that the power supply, which came out of a working computer, remains good. The PSU fan runs OK so apparently no short there.

It is the same whether the keyboard and/or mouse are plugged in or not.

It is the same with the video card or without.

Now I need to look at the video issue. There is nothing coming up on the monitor.

Is there a way to test the video card, other than looking at the monitor?

Does the video card need drivers?


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Since You Were Told A Video Card Would Be Needed...And..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 29, 2008 1:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Update

...the video card isn't working, I'm curious why you haven't put in a new video card? It seems like an important step if you're looking for a video display to show up on your monitor..

Here's a link to the motherboard model you've given us. Note the specifications of the mobo which show an AGP slot for (8x/4x-AGP 3.0 compliant), supports 1.5v display card only. If you don't have one that's supported, then you'll need to get one that is.

Hope this helps.


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Video Card
by Odyssey42 / July 29, 2008 10:48 PM PDT

Well, I guess the best answer is that I don't have one. But before we get into buying new cards, I would like to understand whether I have a faulty card or whether I need to install a driver or what.

Are you saying that if any video card is installed, then there should be some output to the monitor if it is working?

Or are you saying that this is not a 1.5v card? If not, how did you determine this?

Or are you saying definitively that this card is faulty?

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by Odyssey42 / July 30, 2008 3:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Video Card

OK, tried booting with only 1 stick of ram each time.

The first stick gave the beep codes as mentioned earlier. Each of the other sticks gave a single long beep (which may have had a short beep immediately following. Sorry about the maybe but the beep gets muddy there.)

So I installed two sticks (exluding the one that may be ersatz and one other) and now have onscreen video which shows (among other stuff) a RAM test which checks out OK.

A problem is that when it firsts puts up video (during the pre-OS boot up) there are 1/4" wide white vertical bars (about i" apart center to center) on a black background which makes reading the screen very difficult. Then it changes to horizontal white lines composed of low res periods ( " . ") spaced about 1/4" apart also on a black background. A bit easier to read, but not what I expected. (Forgot to mention that this is an old CRT monitor.)

I tried running a virtual Linux install and also an XP install CD, each of which started out OK, but after 30 seconds or a minute the computer gave an irritating noise, very much like a fax greeting tone, for a few seconds and then shut down. One bit of good news is that when the Linux (Ubuntu) CD begins to create video output, it is of good quality.

I wonder if this is also a heat issue which appears when the CPU has to work. The load of an OS install shouldn't tax the CPU very much and so logically it would not seem likely, but given the history and the similarity of the tone to that heard earlier when I first started trying to power up, one has to imagine that it could be a similar issue.

Also, don't know if it is significant, the little light on the mobo which I have always seen as green in colour, is amber.

Any ideas in light of the developments?

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More Progress
by Odyssey42 / July 31, 2008 11:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Progress

OK, have borrowed an AGP card which creates perfect video output and everything seems to run OK until it gives the fax tone and dies.

This mobo has a temp monitor in the BIOS and it boots up at 90 Celcius and rachets up from there until it dies (or I shut it down to keep from frying something).

Mobo temp is low.

Given that I have just repasted the CPU and got the system to working again, I wouldn't have thought it would be a paste issue, but..... Should I go to an artic silver paste?

Or is it probably something else entirely. Like the heatsink cooler fan which seems to be working OK?

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It May Be Either..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 31, 2008 1:12 PM PDT
In reply to: More Progress

Thermal paste should be applied in a very thin coat.. Did you do that? If not, try again..

A new CPU fan is generally inexpensive.. Replace it.

And after all that, before restarting the next time, leave the side cover off the computer tower, point a house fan at the computer inards, then turn it on.. Does the comp now run correctly? If it does, then you need more cooling inside.. If the fans don't fix the issue, then you're motherboard probably is damaged (bad capacitors, etc.) and you'll need a new one.

Hope this helps.


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