[SOLVED] What's wrong with my computer?

monere

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Hi everyone,

I am having issues with my computer and I can't figure out what's wrong so I can replace that thing. And the worst part is that I can't afford to buy a new computer, which is why I am asking for your help on this forum, where you did help me many times before.

First of all, my computer has run pretty OK up until a few months ago when the PSU has failed... well, it's been failing for the last year or so cause it's always been making tractor-like noises, so I figured I'd replace it, which I did. Purchased a new one (still crappy, though, the cheapest I could find), mounted in, and my computer purred like a happy cat. Everything has been OK with the new PSU, that is, so no issues here.

The issues are multiple, and minor in appearance but I'll need your expert opinion before I decide what to do, so here it goes....

1) the computer makes constant noises, such as when the HDD is constantly working intensively. And these noises come with constant flashing of the power-up LED, as well. It literally looks like it's a HDD issue / failure, which I wouldn't be surprised considering that my HDD has run for over 33k hours since 2014 when I purchased it. I have backed up everything of importance to me, and whenever the HDD fails I will buy a new one, no problem. But is it really the HDD that's causing these issues???

2) half white / half black screen before logging on to Windows. Several months ago I have stopped seeing the POST screen whenever I power up / reboot the computer. The powering-up / rebooting sound can still be heard but after that sound triggers and right before the Windows logo screen shows up I can't see anything else, except for white / black screen (top half is white, bottom half is black... oh, and the screen also flickers / trembles imperceptibly, if this even matters).

With the little knowledge I have about hardware in general I'd assume that it's the video card, but what do I know? I've never been a tech geek, so I need an expert opinion;

3) intense HDD activity, especially when the computer is... idle. Remember the tractor-like noises that I mentioned in step 1? They happen mostly when the computer is idle (not hibernating, not sleeping, just idle). When I go to sleep I usually leave the computer on, I only turn the screen off. Been keeping my computer powered on continuously for the last year, with only 4-7 hours break every several weeks. Well, 5-10 minutes after I go to sleep the HDD seems to work intensely, and don't know what it's working on. I mean, I have been using the same software and things for the last 2-3 years, and never had these issues until recently. Even now as I type this the HDD and the power-up LED work intensely and I can't for the life of me figure out what on cause all I'm doing at the computer is type this message through a Firefox browser. I do have the Immunet antivirus in the tray bar, but that's hardly the issue because I've installed this software a week ago and my computer still made these intense activity noises well over a month prior to installing Immunet. Before Immunet I had a pirated version of MalwareBytes, which I have since uninstalled thinking that that was the issue. But even though I have gotten rid of MB the issue persists;

There might be other issues, as well, but these are enough for now. It's all that's coming to mind anyway, and call it a hunch but I have a feeling that if I solve these 2 important issues (intense HDD activity, and white / black post-POST screen) I may have found the answer to my problems.

Like I said, buying a new computer is out of question for now (I've got no money), but I do have around $50 to spare, and I did find some good HDD / SSD and video card deals that can replace my current hardware if needs be, but I need to know for a fact that it's either the HDD or the GPU that's causing all these issues and not the MoBo, CPU, or the RAM. If any of these 3 components are at fault I'm pretty much screwed cause they're too expensive for me at the moment, but if it's the HDD or video card I could find alternatives. So, can someone tell me with 100% certainty what the faulty piece of hardware is before I blindly replace the wrong piece of hardware and thus lose the little money I have saved?

Here's my computer...

MoBo.... Gigabyte H97M-D3H
CPU.... i3-4360 at 3,7 GHz (4th generation I believe, but I'm not sure)
GPU... Nvidia Geforce GTX 660
Storage... SSHD Seagate 7200 RPM, 1 TB (and yes, this actually IS a hybrid SSD-HDD, one of the few that have been manufactured 6-7 years ago, I'm not sure if others are being manufactured anymore)
RAM... 8 GB DDR 3 Dual Channel (but I don't remember the brand, either Kingston or Kingmax probably)
OS... Windows 7 Ultimate x64

If anything else is needed of me let me know. Just please help me isolate the real issue with my computer before I spend the money on the wrong item. Thanks in advance
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Are you using HDMI or something else on display as its likely that black/white display is your bios flash screen. it shows up right as PC starts, so its either the awol bios flash screen or GPU.

Its obvious bios still works as PC wouldn't otherwise. I asked about cables as sometimes it shows on another connection.

I can't find anything about that white/black screen though.

one way to test if its GPU would be to try to use the onboard hdmi or DVI on the motherboard and use the Intel HD graphics on CPU and see if you still get that screen. It would help remove GPU from possible cause.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator

monere

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opposite of what i normally suggest but then its an old PC

1) if hdd is 6 years old and has been boot drive most of that time, then its due for retirement before it dies.

3) could be HDD, there are only so many moving parts in PC and very few can sound like a tractor

try running this on sshd - https://www.seagate.com/au/en/support/downloads/seatools/seatools-win-master/
1) it's been the ONLY boot drive the ENTIRE time :)

I have installed the software and run the first 3 basic tests and they all passed without problems. I also wanted to run the 4th basic test in the list (Long Generic Read, or something like that), but after completing only 1% in 2 minutes I aborted the test. I might let it run overnight, though.

Also, what can you tell me about the half white / half black screen that I see after powering up the computer? Is that thing a HDD issue, GPU issue, or MoBo issue? I can't see any other culprits than these 3
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
can you show us a photo of this black/white screen. I know there is a loading screen in win 10 that might match that description. But I want to be sure

upload it to an image sharing website and show link here.

Even if sshd tests out fine, I would still consider replacing it as its getting old enough.
 

monere

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I should have probably taken a picture like you instructed, but I wanted to be helpful and now the deed is done. So, here's the link to the 1m clip I recorded of me restarting the computer. You can clearly see the half white / half black screen some 20-30 secs into the clip

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/edsmtvfja73pz8pp96bix/20201211_154614.mp4?dl=0&oref=e&r=ABSWCR4UrhmHtiPij3rGzbxMg5PAK57pQuRMkirgS8lww3bFYOLF0-EVj9yvc59LU9hbwtKfCHU4iOp64Lfcn64W386zu1KKBCzQQerx0vppBHmmRifNH4F0AfoAs-ZQyru4y5AWkUOXll7T-Lt960eKw-cY6a-pBrC5am9aBNH5SVXtBX-RgJo_TfVVhskOMl4&sm=1
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Are you using HDMI or something else on display as its likely that black/white display is your bios flash screen. it shows up right as PC starts, so its either the awol bios flash screen or GPU.

Its obvious bios still works as PC wouldn't otherwise. I asked about cables as sometimes it shows on another connection.

I can't find anything about that white/black screen though.

one way to test if its GPU would be to try to use the onboard hdmi or DVI on the motherboard and use the Intel HD graphics on CPU and see if you still get that screen. It would help remove GPU from possible cause.
 

monere

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Well, damn! You might be right. This screen has been purchased 3 months ago which, coincidentally is when the white / black screen has started manifesting now that I'm thinking about it.

My old screen (purchased in 2006) has finally stopped working and so I purchased this new LG that you're seeing in the videoclip, and this screen has HDMI connection but my MoBo only has DVI so I had to also purchase an HDMI -> DVI adaptor so I can connect this new screen to my computer. Which I did. It's indeed possible that this is the cause of the white / black screen, and that the noises are caused by the soon-to-malfunction HDD. This could freaking be the reason indeed, and there I was thinking that all of these problems are caused by one particular piece of hardware. Damn!

Thanks for the headsup, mate! I would have never thought about this, but then again, I'm not particularly fond of technology (I do like video games, though :p).... Do you have any more tips for me regarding these particular problems, or am I good just changing the HDD and live with that white / black screen for all eternity?
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
i have an lg, I see that message about turning off every day

what connection did you use on the old screen?

the GTX 660 should have HDMI? https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/graphics-cards/geforce-gtx-660/specifications/, why are you using the motherboard?

lol. i was about to ask what shows on the Peripherals tab in bios and then remembered you can't see the bios.
Initial Display Output
Specifies the first initiation of the monitor display from the installed PCI graphics card, PCI Express graphics
card or the onboard graphics.
IGFX Sets the onboard graphics as the first display.
PCIe 1 Slot Sets the graphics card on the PCIEX16 slot as the first display. (Default)
PCIe 2 Slot Sets the graphics card on the PCIEX4 slot as the first display.
PCI Sets the graphics card on the PCI slot as the first display.
page 28 of manual - https://download.gigabyte.com/FileList/Manual/mb_manual_ga-z97m(h97m)-d3h_e.pdf
wonder what yours says in there
 

monere

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I'll be damn! Had this video card for 6 years and never knew that it has HDMI :(

Question.... do I run into any problems at all if I move the screen's cable from the DVI slot to the HDMI slot WHILE the computer is running? Or should I turn it off first?

And after I switch over to HDMI I will hopefully be able to access the UEFI and answer your question, cause right now I can't see <Mod Edit> when I power up the computer :p
 
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Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
it might not, its just one of the standard connections on card. I would assume it does, mine has 2.

I don't think you need a restart to swap cables, I haven't done it recently. Don't need to turn pc off to swap cables, although you have DVI so maybe (its been a long time since I used DVI).

I would turn pc off, it might make it easier. I can't recall if you can swap from dvi to hdmi without turning pc off, I know you can swap from hdmi to dp without a restart though.

not sure about screen. only ever used one connector on this (its only a month old) - LG 32GK650F-B 32.0"
 
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monere

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  1. I switched DVI to HDMI while the computer was running, nothing went wrong. So, that's fine! I also saw your edit too late, so nothing much that can be done about it at this point :)
  2. after switching to HDMI and restarting the computer I was finally able to see the POST screen for the first time in months lol;
  3. as promised, as soon as I were able to access BIOS (UEFI in my case) I would show you what my UEFI shows on that screen you wanted to see. So, here it is...
https://i.postimg.cc/wx2B5fq2/20201211-184652.jpg

4) Thanks for the help! The white/black screen was - surprisingly as it may seem - my biggest issue, because I knew that the noises were generated by the HDD (just ordered a new one by the way), but that dual screen is the 1st time I encounter in my life, and was worried that it might have been the motherboard. Thankfully, it's not, and now I'm relatively safe... until I can buy a new computer sometimes next year.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
What had you been using GPU for before? if you were running off the motherboard the last few months?

it doesn't matter now, you can see bios again :)

maybe it was blank for so long as it was cycling through all the cards at startup until it hit the IGFX which is at top of list but not default. The PCI card is default. It was obviously showing bios on the GPU
 

monere

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I misinformed you, unintentionally though (tech is really not my strong point, so you'll have to excuse me :p)

When I said that I connected the screen to the MoBo I lied, but like I said, because I wasn't aware of all of the technicalities. In reality, my screen IS connected to the GPU, and the GPU is mounted in the PCI Express x16 slot, the only one that my MoBo has.... well, it has 2 PCI Express slots, but I think the other one functions at only x4 speed, or something like that. The one in which my GPU is installed is the one that functions at x16 speed.

Also, I don't know what IGFX is. Should I choose it instead of the other option that is currently chosen?? I have no bloody idea LOL
 

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