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Sudden computer error; can't detect memory, no monitor signal

StollsStolls Brave Corporate LogoChicago, ILRegistered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Got an odd problem. Attempted to start up my computer today but was greeted with a 'no signal' message on the monitor, along with a lot of noise from the video card and a beep code from the machine itself. All indicators, including a number code that flashed on the front of the box, indicated that it couldn't read the RAM for some reason. Reseating the RAM, even trying compatible chips from another machine, did not work.

Looking for some other suggestions as to what might be the problem. My specs are as follows:

Dell XPS 410
Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13 GHz) processor (factory installed)
NVidia GeForce 8800gt
4 gigs DDR2 SDRAM (Kingston Technologies; 4 1-gig chips)

The odd part is that it was working fine this morning. I set it to standby, went to the movies and came back three hours later, and the problem began when I tried to start it back up. As I said, I tried repeatedly to reseat the RAM, as everything seems to indicate that this is the problem, but it hasn't worked. It snaps in, but to no effect. Worried it might be something more serious; tech support guy said it sounded like something might actually be damaged, though he was at a loss how it could suddenly happen in standby. There doesn't appear to be anything obviously wrong with the parts, but I'm no expert myself.

Any options or suggestions before I bite the bullet and send it out for repairs?

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Posts

  • wabbitehwabbiteh Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Have you tried a different video card?

    wabbiteh on
  • Alternate_TheoryAlternate_Theory Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Replacing the current RAM with other RAM chips that are known to work suggests that RAM isn't the problem. Like wabbiteh says, try replacing the video card. If it's not that, then I'd guess it's probably a problem with your motherboard, but you still might want to try swapping out the CPU for another CPU that's known to work, just to eliminate that possibility.

    Alternate_Theory on
  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Is the power supply connected via a surge protector?

    Zilla360 on
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  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    wabbiteh - Not yet, but I do have another I can test it on from an older machine. I'll give it a shot after work tomorrow.

    Alternate - Likewise. I'll try that out too if the CPU is compatible; I'm less than knowledgeable about parts beyond the card and the RAM.

    Zilla - Connected via power strip to the wall. I thought about there being a power surge or something while I was away, but everything else in the house seems in order and it wasn't the only computer still on at the time.

    Stolls on
    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, I got the older parts in, but it didn't fix the problem. As far as I can tell all the (easily) removable components are intact, which doesn't leave much. Warranty's expired, so my options are either arrange for out-of-warranty repair - which I've heard unending horror stories about - or just take it somewhere locally for a proper diagnosis/repair/possibly a new mobo. Option two looks infinitely more attractive.

    Can't get it anywhere until Wednesday anyway, so if anybody's got any further ideas, I'd appreciate them. But in any case, thanks for the suggestions, they did narrow down the problem.

    Stolls on
    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • ANTVGM64ANTVGM64 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Your hard drive could have fucked it's bootable partition. It happened to my Media Center PC, I go to boot it up, get beep code, monitor won't pop up. I connect the hard-drive to another PC, find the entire Partition has destroyed itself.

    Have you tried another Hard Drive?

    ANTVGM64 on
  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Stolls wrote: »
    All indicators, including a number code that flashed on the front of the box, indicated that it couldn't read the RAM for some reason. Reseating the RAM, even trying compatible chips from another machine, did not work.
    Just to confirm that it's the RAM, or the part of the motherboard that interfaces with the RAM, disconnect everything that isn't vital to the system. Take out all expansion cards, even the video card, disconnect any and all drives, disconnect all USB devices. The only things plugged into the system should be the CPU, power cables, and one stick of known good memory. If you still get a "can't read RAM" beep code and number code, I'd say you have a motherboard with a bad northbridge. If removing the video card leaves you getting a "no video" beep code, put the vid card back in and try again. My guess is you'll still get the "can't read RAM" error.

    From what you've described, I'd guess that the chipset on the motherboard fried itself somehow, or a capacitor is blown. Could have been bad voltage, overheating, or bad/cheap capacitors. Dell uses Foxconn for a lot of their motherboards, and they are not what I would call a high quality manufacturer. It could be the CPU, maybe, but I'd put money on the motherboard being the culprit.

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  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Tried the hard drive first, but plugging in the one from this computer didn't seem to work. The RAM was next. Admittedly, the sticks I tried earlier were from a third box that's slowly being gutted for parts; it's not like they've been sitting on a shelf collecting dust, but they hadn't been used in a while. So to be sure, I opened this one as well and tested its RAM on my machine. Nothing seemed to change. Then I tried disconnecting everything else apart from a good stick and the CPU, as suggested; nothing happened there either.

    Tomorrow's my off day, so I'm going to see about getting it looked at. Anything in particular I should keep in mind or bring up? Am I better off finding an actual repair shop, or should I just throw it at Frys or something and hope for the best? Sadly, the mobo's the one thing I know next to nothing about, and still less about hardware repair.

    In any case, thanks for the advice.

    Stolls on
    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
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