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Just kick it — Visual Basic Feng Shui

Just kick it

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imageHopefully, this might save someone else from trading in a “dead” machine.

I picked up an AMD based generic box about 6 months ago for my wife. It’s got an ABIT-NF8 mobo, 2 gb ram, and several HD’s, plus a Vista capable graphics card. It worked great for about 3 months till the powersupply went bits up.

So, a trip to Frys, 40$ and all was well, at least for another 3 months.

Then, just a few days ago, it died again. There was definitely power to the motherboard, but the thing wouldn’t power up.

Suspecting the el-cheapo PS I’d picked up, I yanked it and trekked back down to Frys. I’ve got to get one of those PowerSupply tester units (they sell them there but they are perpetually sold out<sigh>).

At any rate, yep, the new PS had gone south too.

Hrmm. So I picked up an decent supply (this time an Antec), come home and wired it all up.

Hit the on button and up she came, for all of about 30 seconds. Grrr…

Lather, rinse, repeat, same thing.

Doesn’t seem like the power supply, but what the heck?

I disconnected everything, all the way down to the fans inside the box, still the same behavior.

But the unit would boot up, it’d just immediately power down. I started suspecting a possible short on the motherboard, but then that’d usually result in an almost instance crowbar.

Without any other ideas, I googled the ABIT NF8 motherboard for any interesting bits.

Lo and behold, I turn up at least three stories of similar behavior.

Basically, with these motherboards, if the CPU fan/heatsink gets jostled just right, it can result in a “bad connection” between the two. The end game is that the MOBO believes the CPU is overheating almost immediately and shuts down to prevent any damage.

Of course the CPU isn’t  overheating but no matter.

I unhitch the heatsink, dab on a little extra thermal grease and reseat it. Power up… Shutdown. Arrrgggghhh!

Ok. Grab the heatsink and shove it down with a good thwack.

image

Power up. Golden. Been running solid for 3 days now.

Sledgehammers aren’t just for railroads anymore.

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