Hardware: mass failure (please help!)

obiwan

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Feb 16, 2001
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I faced a serious problem - my hardware suddenly started to fail. First my video card began to show artifacts (people said that there was a problem with power), then motherboard refused to start up (mechanical damage reported, but I'm not sure), then my HDD broke (bad areas). I began to blame the power supplpy, though it's quality was far from poor (Component Pro ATX300-GTF), and replaced it with Seasonic SS-300FT but finally - again! - another video card is down - now it refuses to work with refresh rates higher than 60Hz (frequency out of range) and the picture is distorted. And it all happend within a couple of months! This PC is a part of a small network of 8 PC's, most of them are made of lower quality components but are working fine (well, most of the time). Most of the problems happened after we upgraded our power line and installed new sockets. Could it be a problem with power or does it have anything to do with the motherboard or other components? Anybody experienced anything like that?
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7VT600
+ Maxtor 40GB HDD, 2 Gigabyte video card (both are broken now)

Obi-Wan

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Crashman

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Former Staff
Could be spikes. Spikes are the opposite of surges and far more dangerous to your components.

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sobelizard

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Concure with Crash. See this article <A HREF="http://www.networkclue.com/hardware/power/index.php" target="_new">Power Protection</A>

Honestly, you would be amazed at how much of a difference a double line conversion conditioner will make.

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obiwan

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First of all I'd like to thank everybody for your hints and advice.

To help localize the problem I've conducted a small test using SpeedFan utility (http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php). I simultaneously ran SiSoft Sandra burn-in test and made SpeedFan monitor temperatures and voltages for 4 different PCs with different power supplies. You can download relevant screenshots that were made afterwards here: http://www.ts-vip.com/psu/sf_graphs.zip. All computers have MS Windows 2000 SP4 installed and are located in the same network neighborhood side by side.

Interesting results. You can see that motherboard influences the diagram very much, not the PSU. Seems like mobo is the one to blame - voltage surges are present with both PSU's (-3,3V and -5V). Any comments?

Obi-Wan

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obiwan

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I removed the sound card, the network card and the CD writer. The spikes are still there. I got no one else to blame but the motherboard.

Obi-Wan

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Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
A spike from the wall can cause a spike through the power supply.

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mozzartusm

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A good UPS will prevent this from reaching the computer wont it? For some reason the power cycles on and off where I live all the time. Its not just my hosue its the whole neighborhood. I put a UPS between the power outlet and my computer and have had no problems.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Yes, a UPS is a great idea.

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