Computer Instantly Restarting When Trying To Power On

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chiXu

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Jan 16, 2015
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System Specs

Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3

CPU: Intel i5-2500k

CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X60

PSU: Corsair AX760i

Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB 1333MHz (2x4GB sticks)

GPU: Asus GTX 980 Strix

Sound Card: Xonar Phoebus Solo

Case: NZXT Phantom 530

Primrary Drive: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB

Secondary: 500GB Western Digital HDD

And now onto the problem.

I've had the majority of the above components for a few years now and had no issues. The system is self-built and I always take care when putting a rig together. My problem is this; A few months back, I turned the computer off one night before bed and the next day when I sat down to start using it, the computer started powering off/restarting the moment I turned it on. Strange as it all was, I opened up the case, made sure no cables had wiggled free and managed to get the computer up and running again. A few weeks later the same thing happened, this time however, the problem persisted in a more troubling manner. After opening up the computer and having a quick check of cables again, I tried powering up but got caught in that same cycle. What happens is, as soon as I power on, fans start to spin up and you get the usual clicks of components being powered up and it all goes on for barely a half-second or so before the computer powers off and automatically tries to restart again. This cycle will keep on going and going.

The steps I've taken to try and troubleshoot this are most of what I know and now I'm at a loss as to what to do.

I've tried removing every component and reseating them, including removing everything from the case, using compressed air to blow off the contacts and motherboard, reseating and taking extra care with cable management to ensure no loose/poorly connected cables.

I've tried going through the usual process of elimination, remove the sound-card, tried a different GPU, tried switching memory stick configurations (Using only 1, tested with both, different slots etc.).

I've tested the power supply with the self-test that comes on the corsair PSU, it worked without problem.

I've tried switching cables for connecting various PCIe devices and such.

I've reset the bios so that everything is running at stock to eliminate issues potentially caused by OC'ing.

I've tested to make sure it's not a fault with the case power switch, even using the reset switch as a temp on-switch.

I've tried running without any of the case fans or fan controller connected, to rule out a short there.

I'm stumped. As far as I'm aware I've pretty much exhausted every option that I'm capable of doing myself.

Here's the kicker, though; this doesn't always happen.

The computer was up and running without issue for a few weeks then it started again. Sometimes I can get the computer started again by simply opening it up and switch the USB header connection from the Kraken X60 to another USB header on the motherboard and it'll start up, but usually shuts itself down after 5/10/30 or whatever minutes and next time I try that it makes no difference.

Other times I've had the computer start up by opening up the side-panel covering the cable management space and giving every cable a good, solid press to make sure they haven't come loose but at other times it makes no difference, leading me to believe that it's simply an intermittent problem that I have very little way of influencing.

The latest incident had me opening up the computer and removing every single component, every cable, basically building the rig from scratch and when I put it together the computer was working without issue for about a week. Then it's started up again and I'm now having to hijack my partners computer to write up this post. I'm getting pretty desperate now, I've never had a problem with a computer that I haven't been able to solve but this really does have me grabbing at any explanation that I can.

Right now, I'm leaning towards a motherboard fault. The only indication of the motherboard being faulty is that the USB3.0 connectors have never really worked properly. They power devices that are connected fine but when using them with a data device, such as a USB key or USB hard-drive, they've always lost connection within windows after a minute or so. The power still runs through them however. I never really considered that issue a game-breaker for me, however, due to me seldom needing the increased speed of USB3.0 transfers. Hindsight is telling me now, though, that perhaps it was simply a sign of a fault that decided to wait a few years before really messing with me.

Beyond that.. I really can't say.

It feels like a short-circuit. The fact that the computer is restarting within a half-second, unable to even reach POST or any of the motherboards self-test LED stages, what else could it be? What I don't understand is how taking the computer apart and piecing it back together again gets it up and running for a week before it starts over again.

Right now I'm looking at the only solution being a replacement motherboard/CPU/RAM combination. Amongst other things I'm studying full-time to become a network technician and I need to have access to a computer, that goes without question. I had been considering a mobo/CPU/RAM upgrade but I don't like my hand being forced into it, especially not right after Christmas when money is tight and the luxury of being able to wait a couple of months extra would really be helpful but what are my options?

Please help me, If there's anything important that I've missed out in the wall-of-text-post then reply asking me and I'll write it up as soon as possible but I think I've covered everything (As a note, the computer was running OC'd from pretty much day 1 and I never had 1 single issue or problem with stability, being happy with reaching barely 50 degrees C with the CPU maxed out @4.4).

I'm hoping there's someone out there that recognises this or has better knowledge than me and can recognise what I need to do to get around this problem.

Thanks for your time.

 

SuperMassiveScum

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Jan 17, 2014
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Hi

It does sound like a short on your mobo, but since you've mentioned that you've probably checked already, I had this problem with a gigabyte motherboard a few months back and like you I first assumed it was a short but never managed to find the fault on the board.

Do you have access to a spare mobo?
 

chiXu

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Jan 16, 2015
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No, unfortunately not, at least not an spare Intel mobo.

Right now I'm sitting on two potential issues, the motherboard or the PSU. I really doubt the PSU but you never know, the motherboard seems a bit more likely. My issue is, which do I end up putting money into replacing. I'd hate to buy a replacement PSU only to find out it's the motherboard and vice-versa.
 

SuperMassiveScum

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Jan 17, 2014
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Yeah, I see your issue. You could take the PSU out and give it a test, I'm reading it as if you have another different motherboard (just one not compatible with your current hardware) so you could try it on that? (Apologies if I'm reading what you said wrong and you don't have a different motherboard)

At least this would let you know whether it is or isn't the PSU. Obviously if you have a PSU tester that would be a lot better than just whacking it into another mobo.
 

SuperMassiveScum

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If you don't want to stick it into a new motherboard you can test your PSU without a motherboard by connecting the green wire and a black wire together, check this picture out as an example:
http://www.psychedelicporcupine.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011-09-25-20.35.43.jpg

Make sure your PSU is off and has sat unplugged for a while before you connect the two cables.

Doing this will boot up your PSU without a motherboard and you should be able to see if it works, try plugging some fans into it or using some molex devices, if they whirr up they its probably not your PSU.
 
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