What could kill both an AGP videocard AND a PS/2 mouse?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by atomicd10, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    Hello,

    My friend's computer died the other day, and so I offered to fix it. After swapping a few parts around, I found that the videocard (Winfast GeForce 2 Pro) and the mouse (MS Intellimouse Explorer optical) had both died. The machine seems to run fine now that I replaced them with some stuff out of my closet... I tried to use the 'dead' devices on my machine, and the same failures occured.

    Why would devices suddenly fail like that?

    My friend's computer has the following stats:

    AMD 1.4 GHz Thunderbird
    Gigabyte 7VTX, with BIOS F8
    512 MB Corsair PC2100
    75 GB IBM Deskstar HDD
    Winfast GeForce2 Pro (now running some old 16mb riva tnt2 agp card)
    I can't remember what the PSU is, but it's AMD approved

    I'm not sure if this is relevent or not, but a few months ago I replaced the heatsink / fan with a Zalman CNPS3100-Plus, and I noticed that there was a small chip on the side of the processor itself. The computer worked fine without any instability whatsoever until the other day. Another thing is that there have been periodic blackouts in that area as well.

    Could it have been a power surge, or do you suppose it could be something else?
     
  2. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    A power spike through the system bus definately could have fried those devices; does your friend have a good surge protector? I like Triplite, or APC if he wants a UPS instead. The thing that really bothers me about this whole thing though is the chip in the CPU... is it in the core, or another place on the CPU? You might want to examine the damage with a good magnifying glass & see if you can spot any exposed copper. If so, your friend should consider a CPU replacement (they're pretty inexpenive these days).
     
  3. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    Depends on how much of the core is chipped off. I've got a Tbird 1400 that's got some chips on the core, but still works. As long as it's not getting to the copper parts (which would be getting into the actual workings of the cpu itself), chips in the core aren't as bad as they've been made out to be.
     
  4. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks for the info guys!

    She currently uses some generic surge protector, although I know she has been meaning to get a better one.

    I'm not sure if any copper is exposed on the CPU or not, but I couldn't see any upon a brief inspection without a magnifying glass. If copper was exposed on the CPU, could that cause the video card to fail ? (not so much the mouse, now that I know they have been known to be so defective.)
     
  5. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    Be sure it's NOT the CPU, then blame the video

    A CPU problem would most likely not manifest itself in the form of video card failure. You can prove to yourself that the CPU is kosher by running a burn-in test on it overnight; use a program like SiSoft Sandra, etc. The failure could in fact have resulted from a poor quality video card coupled with the irregular voltage she’s been experiencing. I've personally noticed that higher grade video cards tend to be more resilient to voltage damage than low grade cards, possibly due to higher end components or better QA. In contrast, generic/low-end cards seem pickier about voltage and wattage; a good example is the $10 generic TNT2-based cards that are flooding the market right now. I’ve seen several fry out inexplicably in the last few months.

    On a side note, I noticed your friend has an IBM DeskStar HDD; these things are basically 3.5” furnaces. If there isn't already, there should probably be a fan directly on that HDD if it’s to last very long. Ironically DeskStars run very hot, and are easily heat-damaged. As a matter of fact, there was a recent class-action lawsuit against IBM partially due to this issue. If the chassis doesn’t accommodate for HDD fans, you can get a fan mount that will attach directly to the underside of the HDD itself. I recommend www.newegg.com. Just make sure the fan's ball bearing, 'cause the heat off those HDDs tends to eat sleeve bearing fans for lunch. :) Hope all goes smoothly!
     
  6. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    Deskstars...they've also been called Deathstars, particularly of the 75GXP and 60GXP drives. I won't touch them again...but anyway. I've used some Vantec HDD coolers that work pretty well and are fairly silent. Newegg likely will have them, and also is a place I too recommend.
     
  7. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks again!

    I installed a fan in her system for the HDD a while back, and the HDD runs considerably cooler than it did.

    The card that fried was an AGP WinFast GeForce 2 Pro w/ 32 mb of DDR, which I thought was a fairly decent card when it came out?

    I hope that this was just a fluke, and that more components won't be toasted down the road.
     
  8. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    I also hope you don't have any more parts toasted! :D As far as Leadtek cards go, I've seen their GF2MX's simply stop functioning in workstations. They had to be RMA'd and replaced. I can't speak for the GF2 Pros though. Concerning her replacement card, I have seen a lot of poor quality TNT2s around lately, but they're the newly made ones, not the older ones. Still, the quality Nvidia has been putting their names on of late is making me an ATI fan... :p
     
  9. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    haha, I see :D


    I've been using a PCI Inno3d GeForce 2 MX400 w/ 32mb in my machine for quite a while (I like having seperate vid cards for dual monitors), and so far it has run like a champ. It hasn't yet conflicted with any AGP video cards I've installed, which is always nice. Sounds like it's a good thing I didn't get the Leadtek version of the MX400 ;)
     
  10. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    back to square one

    Hey Guys, guess what? The same exact problem is starting to occur along with the newly replaced hardware in her system. What happened the first time was that the mouse started acting a little funny, being all choppy and occasionally not working. Then the computer started rebooting itself and eventually led to no posting at all. As you know, I replaced her videocard and mouse with some crusty hardware from out of a closet and her system was running good - until now. Now the same thing is starting to happen, choppy mouse (she's using an old serial mouse now) and random computer reboots. I told her to stop using her computer until the faulty hardware is replaced, so that no other hardware gets fried.

    Maybe it's from a bad PSU, or motherboard?
     
  11. harrack52

    harrack52 Supreme Geek

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    I'd try swapping the psu and testing the ram with known working ones.

    To test the ram, use only one stick at the time, and in every slot. If it still doesn't work, use a known working stick.
     
  12. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    I think harrack52 is right; I've seen the choppy mouse thing before, and it ended up being the RAM. However, I wouldn't count out the mobo either.
     
  13. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks for the info guys :)

    I have a new 350 watt Sparkle PSU on the way and I'll first try swapping that, and then I'll swap the RAM around if the new PSU doesn't do the trick. I'm really hoping it's not the mobo, or even the RAM for that matter (for reasons like these it's not fun being a poor college kid). If the system is stable enough, I'll also run memtest86 and do a CPU burn in test.

    A few years ago I had a slightly similar problem where if I jerked the mouse around really quickly the machine would lock up or reboot; also every few months 2 specific hard drives out of 3 would fail for no apparent reason, while the other HDD's data would become more and more corrupt over time. I replaced the Sparkle 300 watt PSU, and that fixed everything.

    I'll let you guys know what happens ;)

    Thanks again!
     
  14. atomicd10

    atomicd10 Geek Trainee

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    Hey Guys, it has been a few months, but here's what fixed her system

    Turns out it wasn't the memory, CPU, or motherboard; it was the PSU. After swapping it, the system runs great once more.

    Thanks again for all of the advice :D
     

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