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Dead PC...worth it to bring it back?


PoisonJam
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Hey, all. Well, it looks like "new PC fever" is contagious, judging from Brian's "Time to build a PC" thread, only money is tight for me at the moment so I won't be catching it. Problem is, I'm really digging what I am reading about WAR, but my old rig likely won't run it (single core 2.6ghz P4, 1.5 GB RAM, ATI 9800 128MB video). It (barely) meets the minimum specs, but from reading other threads, it sounds like the best I can hope for is 10-15 FPS during large scale battles, and that just won't cut it for PvP.

 

One option I have is to try to rebuild a newer PC that a friend gave to me, and I'm trying to get a feel from you smart guys whether or not you think it's worth the effort. The symptom is, it's DOA. He had some kind of power spike, and it must have fried something because it's a brick right now. Plug it in, turn it on, and nada. No lights, no fans, no beeps, nothing.

 

So, my first step would probably be to pick up a new power supply and go from there. Maybe that's all that's wrong with the rig, and I can get a reasonably up-to-date machine for the $100 or so the power unit would cost me. But, if a spike fried the power unit, what are the chances that it also killed the motherboard, or video card, or hard drive, or the RAM, or...

 

I can't throw money down the rabbit hole replacing one component after another until I find the piece (or more likely, pieces) that were fried. Any thoughts? Is it worth picking up a new power supply and at least seeing if that was the problem? Or is it likely that that would only be the tip of the iceberg with a bricked machine?

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You can actually Frankenstein yourself some power without removing it from your current PC to see if the problem is indeed a dead PSU.

 

Unplug the main power supply cable from your PC.

 

Shove both PCs very close together.

 

Plug the main power into the dead PC.

 

Hit the power button on your PC and see if his powers up.

 

It's a good way to check without dismantling your working PC.

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Hi, guys. Good suggestions about "borrowing" the power supply from my current machine, but I have two reservations: first, my working machine is a Dell, and I'm pretty sure they have a proprietary connector from their power supplies to their motherboards. The second is, there is a 300W difference between my existing power supply (250W) and the dead PC (550W). I'm concerned that even if I am wrong about the proprietary connector, I might fry my existing power supply by hooking it up to a motherboard that clearly expects much more power. I would only be powering the mobo and the hard disk, but still, that's a pretty big difference in power ratings.

 

However, I do think your suggestions are the way to go. Maybe there is an old workstation at work somewhere that I could borrow the power supply from temporarily, just to see if that might be the problem.

 

Didn't think of the battery on the mobo, either. That should be relatively easy to replace. Thanks, all!!

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Throw a volt meter on it. You can get a crap little volt meter from a hardware store fairly easy. It doesn't need to be terribly fancy. Just enough to see if the power supply is outputting any DC voltage. Generally you should be getting DC voltage rating ranging from 3.3v to 12v depending on what you're checking. It's the easiest and most effective method of checking to see if the PSU is indeed dead.

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The only reason you'd need a 550w PSU would be for video cards and all the extra hardware. I'm running my Shuttle K45 C2D system on my 100w K45 PSU. The board + CPU shouldn't take anything more than 100-150w at the absolute maximum.

 

You should be fine powering up the other system on a lower-wattage PSU. But you have a good point, a lot of the Dells of a certain era had a proprietary PSU...better safe than sorry there (I saw stories about people having systems catch fire to systems thanks to this boneheaded Dell decision)

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Ok, thanks Green. I was hoping that I could temporarily sub in a lower-powered PSU and just connect the mobo and hard drive, but I didn't know what kind of power requirements those two components had. I'm going to try to track down a non-Dell PSU and see if I can get this thing fired up.

 

My brother also has not only a volt meter, but also the knowledge of how to use it. :) Hopefully I can rope him into this little project as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Funny story relating to this: yesterday I bought a new hard drive for this machine (after buying a new power supply last week and then hosing the HDD from my wife's Dell and having to rebuild it), so last night I try ghosting the drive with a WinXP base image from work. I can't boot to DOS, though, and before I could troubleshoot it, I had to give the kids a bath. So, I leave the machine running so I can work on it after their bedtime, and go off to do my Daddy duty.

 

As I am drawing the bath, I start to smell smoke. I sprinted downstairs as fast as I could, and flew to the computer, convinced I would see smoke pouring out of it. Remember, this PC was given to me as DOA after a power spike, so I expected that it was going to be merrily cooking the brand new PSU I had connected. I start sniffing around inside the case, but while I can smell a little smoke, I can't really see where it's coming from. Perplexed, I turn to my wife, who is just watching me, and ask, "Do you smell smoke???" "Yes," she replies, with a small smile on her face. Panicked, I blurt out, "I can't figure out where it's coming from!!!" She doesn't say anything, but just keeps smiling at me. Finally, I look past her to find a goddamn vanilla candle burning on the kitchen table. :bh

 

Some women are big into candles, I know, but my wife is not one of them. Why she chose last night of all nights to set something on fire, I'll never know...

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