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  • Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

    This plea goes out to any and everyone. This post is a long one so happy reading!

    I had a stick of PC2700 RAM take a dive a few weeks ago. Bought a stick from a TG member (no blame to him on this whole thing) and just got it today. Prior to today everything has been working good, I've just been running on 512MB of RAM.

    So I go stick the new stick in slot 2 (with the PC and power supply off of course) and turn it on. About 10 seconds later I see a small puff of smoke and then a really nasty burning smell. Oh crap! So I turn everything off.

    Pull the new stick and notice one of the contacts is now burned. So, whatever happened it has smoked the stick. So, I turn the machine back on and the system goes through boot-up, checks the existing stick of RAM with no errors, detects the CPU correctly, finds the optical and hard drives.

    I get the 'abormal shutdown' message so I tell it to start normally and before the black windows with the Windows logo appears I notice the monitor has lost signal and the PC has re-booted. So, I tell it to boot in Safe Mode. It gets to AGP440.SYS and that's when it re-boots.

    So, I search and find a Microsoft article about booting with your XP CD and "de-activating" that file. So, I proceed to try that until I never get that far because an error 4 is returned that I look up and it says possible bad RAM.

    So, I pull the one good stick I have and put in my original "bad" stick and verify boot-up doesn't get past the memory test. Put the one good stick back in and it passes the memory test no problem. All of this was done in the same memory slot so I think the slot itself and that stick are good.

    All this time there is no additional smoke although the smell is still lingering.

    In the meantime, I try booting to my Ubuntu CD and it also has problems when it tries to start the GUI, even in safe mode.

    So, I'm thinking video card may have gotten toasted as well. Oh, another FYI, I have no other machines so I can't swap parts. Found a TG member who is selling an AGP card cheap so I've bought it from him and it's on the way tomorrow.

    Having heard all of this, might I get lucky and it's just the video card? Other things I have read this afternoon say it might be the the actual AGP slot (won't know until I get the replacement card in a few days), motherboard or power supply.

    Given that I can boot the machine to a Ghost CD for example and it doesn't re-boot would this rule out MB, CPU, power supply and RAM?

    The crappy thing is because of other financial responsibilities I really can't just build a new system now. If I can just determine what is causing the problem (and hope it's one particular component) and the rest of the system is fine, I can probably swing that, but not if multiple components have been smoked.

    I'm posting this from my work laptop so I'll be able to monitor forums but that's about it. No gaming for me until this gets sorted out. :(

  • #2
    Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

    Sucky.

    If this video card pops too, then what? IMHO, stop throwing parts at it if the vid card gives you troubles and just start saving pennies for a new system. I feel like you'd end up saving money in the long run.
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    • #3
      Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

      You know, the irony with this is my Dad calls a few minutes ago and has me walk him through ordering a new Dell on-line, adding salt to the wound. :)

      I'll cross my fingers that all that is still a problem is the video card.

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      • #4
        Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

        "Yea pops, computers are real expensive these days.. I blame the terrorists!" click click click "Don't worry, I'm sure that the 2 on the invoice is a misprint, I'm sure that you'll only get one!" :o
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        • #5
          Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

          Crap, if it's the motherboard am I going to have to worry about my XP OEM license? It's not like I'm upgrading, I'm replacing. If all other components are OK all I'll do is get a comparable socket 478 MB, although probably not the same brand as that model has been discontinued by Soyo.

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          • #6
            Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

            I got winxp pro from newegg when I did a new build a couple of years ago. I just changed motherboards a few weeks ago and when I went to install XP I had to validate by phone. Just told them I had hardware problems and I had to reinstall...they asked are you installing this on only one machine...technically the answer is yes ( or maybe not but I said yes) and they gave me a validation number by phone. easy
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            • #7
              Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

              Yep, the license can be transferred as long as your motherboard was defective.
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              • #8
                Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

                Guess it decided to go defective. :)

                The more I have talked to people the more I'm wondering if all that got toasted was the MB and the bad stick. Now if I can just find a socket 478 ATX MB for a decent price.

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                • #9
                  Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

                  Originally posted by DigitalAssassin View Post
                  Guess it decided to go defective. :)

                  The more I have talked to people the more I'm wondering if all that got toasted was the MB and the bad stick. Now if I can just find a socket 478 ATX MB for a decent price.
                  Is $39 cheap?
                  New to TG?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

                    You are on the same wave length their Squid as I found that exact board locally for $10 more. The local store will accept a return no questions asked even on motherboards so I'm willing to pay the extra $10 on the off chance I determine the problem is NOT my motherboard. However, I bet it is and hopefully it's just the MB and this new board solves the problem.

                    It's a MicroATX board but I looked up my case (X-Dreamer II) and it supports both ATX and MicroATX so I should be fine.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

                      A quick update and a thanks for everyone who provided advice and feedback.

                      It appears the destruction was limited to the "replacement" RAM stick and the motherboard. I picked up the motherboard above and a 512MB stick and this evening am back up and running with 1GB on the new motherboard.

                      The best thing is I was planning on having to re-install the OS and decided to try an XP repair since I had nothing to lose. Worked like a charm. The only thing I need to do is reload the on-board audio drivers for when the kids game with the speakers.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ugh! Smoke isn't a good thing!

                        Nice!
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