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computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead


OSNN Sexual Deviant
Political User
OK, I've got a bit of a predicament here, and I'm not sure exactly what could be going on, or what the culprit is. Yesterday, I moved, shut down my computer, it was working OK (old and a bit slow by today's standards, but working). Today, not finding where I packed the ATX power cord, I bought another, plugged it in, it won't POST. Swapped that one, with the one on the monitor, and same problem, monitor works fine with it.

What it's doing, is that it begins to power up normally, though it never passes off to video, and a couple seconds into the boot, it just powers itself down automatically. On the back (board is an MSI K8N Neo 4), the D-bracket starts off initially red, tried swapping out the gfx card, then it was 2 amber, 2 red), but only gets to the initial part of the boot sequence (first light goes green), which according to MSI's documentation is early chipset initialization. It gets to here, but then powers itself down during this phase. Only thing between working and now, was 1. the move, and 2 looking at the board closely all fans power up normally except for MSI's own fan over I'm going to hazard a guess and say the south bridge chipset, given it's distance from the CPU and RAM (aka it's the lower back end of the board). Why that in and of itself would prevent POST from even getting to the point where it displays video, no idea.

Now the board was bought in Sept of 2005, along with the CPU.

- MSI K8N Neo 4
- Athlon 64 3500+
- Swiftech CPU cooler (attached with Arctic Silver 3 thermal paste)

For 4+ years, worked fine, no incident, no boot errors, nothing of the sort. As to other components

- Corsair 2x 512 MB Corsair XMS 400 MHz DDR SDRAM with 2.0 CAS

Tried just one stick of memory, other, reseated both, to no avail.

- Radeon 9600 AGP (bought in Dec 2004) worked to present (not sure what's the cause of the boot problem however), and on the gfx tried swapping.

Placed a Visiontek Radeon 3650 1 GB vid memory in the AGP slot, no dice, the problem remains, though instead of 4 red lights then first went to green, I got 2 red, 2 amber, then it went to chipset initialization.

I've tried resetting the CMOS, nope, won't boot.

Umm, anyone having any ideas what's going on here, what could be causing this? I also looked, trying to see if something got disconnected in the few miles move, and all the cables look connected. Tried resetting the power cable to the motherboard, nope, no dice.

Otherwise, the CPU is a OCZ 500 watt modular PSU, though also bought in 2005, so doubt I could easily get a link from their website anymore. All connections were firmly in place, not removed and re-inserted when I got there, with the exception of what I tried. Felt everything by hand, and all seems well seated/tightly in place, etc

- 2x Seagate Cheetah using Ultra160 SCSI bus (yeah, components in here are a bit old), on an Adaptec SCSI card 29160.

I'm actually a little flustered at this point trying to figure out what might have happened, especially as I can't find a thing which appears to be wrong, other then the fan on the motherboard not working that is, and the computer shutting itself down during the early stages of POST, where it should be initalizing the chipset. Would a motherboard fan prevent it from POSTing, and if so why only after the move? If not? I'm stumped.

Dark Atheist

Staff member
Political User
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

have you made sure everything is seated as it should be, the small of bumps is sometimes all it needs to dislodge things, also try clearing the cmos, remove the battery and cross out jumpers (will tell you how in manual)

bush dogg

OSNN Senior Addict
Political User
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

I’ve actually seen something similar happen when the motherboard battery died, because of the age and completely removing the system from power I would replace the battery. “May be of no use but worth a try as cheap as they are” also look closely at every connection again.

American Zombie

Staff member
Political User
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

May be the cpu or chipset temp.
You can check them in the Bios if you can get there before shutdown.

If heatsink shifted then CPU temp would go too high real quick.


OSNN Sexual Deviant
Political User
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

Everything appears to be firmly in place; in fact some connections like the main ATX lead were in there so well, as to not want to dislodge from the motherboard at all (the axilliary 4-pin connection was possible to remove and place back in again, with some small effort). I've hunted and fished about, everything appears to be firmly held in place, though I know what you mean by bumps in the road. It had happened with a system I mailed my father some 9 years ago, where a SCSI cable to the CD-Rom drive came loose.

I also tried shorting the jumper for the CMOS clear, to no joy; replacing the battery is something I hadn't tried. Might be worth a shot. Would the fan be of an issue? Based on it's position, I wouldn't expect it to be the northbridge (it's off from the way of being in close proximity to the CPU, RAM, and AGP portion to the mobo, though and this expectation in placement beign said, the Athlon64 does put the memory controller on the CPU, but still, hmm). I only ask there, because I did have a fan die on an Asus K7M I think it was, once, and the board needed replacing. The south bridge however, I wouldn't think as likely to overheat from a dead fan however, and burn out, as a northbridge however, due to the differences in what sort of load their handeling (aka the PCI bus, USB, etc, at their respective clocks, vs the bridges to the CPU and RAM, at the system's fsb clock...) Either way however, the fan most definitely won't spin, and trying by hand with power disconnected, doesn't move freely anymore, probably bearing problem.

The CMOS battery I hadn't replaced, so hmm, could be. Now the system was pretty much running 24/7 (except the time I moved from NM last year), though the shutdown was about a day here. It could be possible.

It's also impossible to get into the BIOS. It shuts itself down at early chipset initialization, which is the point before it even conducts it's memory or video tests. As such, there's no gfx which come up, and before the point where the system would attempt to load a BIOS. It runs maybe a second or 2, before powering itself down.

Now on the CPU, the HSF looks to be firmly in place, so is this something I would really want to mess with up front? Especially as I don't have my old tube of thermal paste lieing around? When it was attacked, I cleaned off the rather useless thermal pad, doused the surface in isopropyl to make sure it was clear, then applied a bit of arctic silver III (was the latest back then :lol: ). Then snapped the HSF (was, forgot model number but a Swiftech cooler, not the stock) on. That a decent job was done in attaching it, would be evidenced by the fact it was put together in Sept 2005, and we're in Dec 2009 before I'm seeing issue to raise questions on why it isn't booting. This said, does thermal paste also have a life span upon application, beyond which it evaporates enough to compromise the thermal conducting properties? Normally one isn't running a piece of hardware 4+ years before upgrade, for question to come up. And I wouldn't be in the position to wonder if it weren't for financial difficulties of late, which has made upgrading a less then likely propisition of the near past.


(value not set)
Staff member
Political User
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

Maybe you over looked the fact that your computer didn't want to move. Try taking it back to your old place and precede to see if it boots.
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

The mother board prbably shifted when you moved the PC. Now a power run is sorted out keeping it from booting. This is usually not fatal.

Pull the MB out out of the case (keep the CPU and RAM installed). Set the MB on a non metalic surface. Plug the MB power connectors (20/24 pin and any 4 or 6 pin) in. Find the Power On pins on the MB header that go to the case switch and touch the tip of a metal pen, paper clip, etc. between the two pins. The power supply should come on and the CPU fan. If it does then carefully reinstall the MB in the case making sure the screw holes are centered. Tighten the screws down so the MB won't shift again.

If the system stops booting after it is installed in the case then there is not enough clearance near oneof the mounting points. You get to figure out which one it is and put some tape over it before installing the MB.
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

Do you know what capacitors look like? If not, google or look at a wiki about them. Look at the capacitors on your motherboard. They're probably not the higher quality type found on some devices. If they are indeed the cheaper ones, do the tops of any of them look like they're slowly exploding outwards (warped), and/or are leaking some possibly now hardened yellow-gold colored material? You can probably easily find pictures of bad capacitors, too.

It is worth the try with the CMOS battery, although I wouldn't hold my breath to expect that to fix it.

@zeke_mo, FUNNY! LOL!


OSNN Sexual Deviant
Political User
Re: Moved, computer stopped booting, motherboard fan also dead

Yeah, I'd know what capacitors look like. My degree was in computer networking, and prior to having to leave college prematurely (family medical reasons, which became financial), I was going for a second degree in computer engineering. :d Well thanks for all the suggestions, but from everything I can see, things look fine, with the exception of the mobo fan not powering itself up, and the early chipset initialization failure. Beyond the mobo, I'm stumped, and I'd tried removing, reseating stuff, just about everything I could without a second system with parts I could scrounge off of, for testing purposes.

If I was in a computer shop, that's the step I'd now be taking (though a gfx card I had tried swapping out, to no effect, as I had with going with just one stick, then the other of RAM). I guess I might just have to accept that the lifespan on this thing was 4.25 years for that mobo, and write it off as such. It isn't a bad lifespan for a motherboard; but the timing is just completely bad as comming back from unemployment, I was only able to find a measely 6 hours of work per week, given this crappy economy we're currently in.

The short term prospects aren't that great however, as salvaging some other stuff (there are people who have systems that have had some problems, who have come to me in the past), leaves hardware that is a tad bit older, and I definitely do not just browse the web and read emails. Not exactly sure when the money will be sorted, but I'll probably have to look at rebuilding things, and given the CPU, memory, and video card will have to join in with a mobo, this will take a bit of time. Realistically the drives also could use an upgrade (the current SCSI drives are 10k rpm drives yes, but from Dec 2000 and May 1998, on a 9 year old SCSI card). Least they've been holding out to allow the other stuff to get upgraded first. I would rather this had not come to roost when I've got other financial problems hitting me atm.

And yeah, after that, I went to inspect my car (the sticker is good till end of Dec 09), had to fight with things to get temp insurance cards (NJ state law, we can't renew it on a faxed copy, and the insurance came up for renewal this month, I had the move this month, and the mailing to the old address well that's another story. Getting temp cards issued, when one's signed up direct as opposed to through an agent, is well, beuracracy to the extreme, and as to earlier, mailings, calling in with updates, or whatever else, we have also had the holiday rush hitting).

So I got through all that, no idea if it will pass or not, but the current servicing would be $380, which is a lil yikes; again a bit much for the severely under-employed, following 11 months being unemployed. Well I'll have to see what news comes next, though after hours on the phone and driving all over kingdom come, the temp cards were acquired so the stinken thing can be inspected tomarrow, pass or fail.

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