[techtalk] Help with hardware woes?

ktb x.y.f at home.com
Thu Mar 8 19:28:11 EST 2001

On Thu, Mar 08, 2001 at 10:27:41AM -0700, Wood, Mary wrote:
> Putting out a general distress call to see if anyone
> else out there has run into a similar problem ... and
> was able to do something about it besides convert the
> PC into a cat litter box.
> I'm working on a Dell Optiplex GX200 running Win2k (no, not
> Linux, but I'm reasonably certain this is hardware and not
> OS related).  User left PC on when he went to lunch, came 
> back to find monitor in power save mode (which it should be).  
> But moving mouse/pressing keys on keyboard did not bring up 
> video.  He tried powering off PC, but it wouldn't power off 
> (being a Dell, he probably didn't hold power button in long 
> enough) so he turned off surge strip to cut power to PC.  
> Waited a few seconds, powered PC back on, got a pre-POST 
> message saying "memory parity failure."  We have since been 
> unable to boot machine past this message and address given 
> is different each time we get the message.  More often than 
> not, attempts to boot result in no video, yellow light on 
> monitor as if it's not detecting PC. 
> Called Dell yesterday and they took me through the usual 
> steps; "disconnect this and test, disconnect that and test, 
> disconnect everything but power supply and test.  Dell and
> I concurred a new motherboard was the next logical step and
> they shipped one to me.
> Just put in the new motherboard, testing each time I connected 
> something new.  All ok until I hooked up HD and CD-Rom/floppy 
> (CD and floppy both on IDE 2 ... it's one of those new super 
> floppy jobs).  PC powered up ok, but didn't detect any drives.  
> I powered down, pushed cables in to make sure they were secure, 
> powered up and it's back to the same problem; memory parity 
> error.  Disconnected drives, connect that, disconnect this, same 
> problem ... back to square one.
> I've also tried switching memory chips (PC uses RIMM; 1 memory
> chip and 1 dummy chip).  No effect.
> Any ideas?  Ever run into something like this before?

Sounds like a tough one:)  This is kind of after the fact but the first
thing I would have checked when I found out the computer had "blacked
out" would be the CPU fan.  If the CPU gets too hot everything just goes
black.  Sometimes a partial reboot will work but ultimately it will
black out.  I've had something similar happen when the power supply fan
quit working.  It is possible that the power supply fan quit working and
partially damaged the power supply.  It might be that there just isn't
enough power to the motherboard when you added the extra drives.  Don't
know.  Were there or are there any funny smells about the computer?  If
so could be burned or stressed parts.  Follow your nose:)  

It sounds like you've been swapping memory around.  Have you tried using
a different slot other than #1?  I've had motherboards that one dimm
slot is bad but the others work.  Your absolutely sure the memory is
fine?  I would swap a stick out of a computer that is working and try

It sounds like you've tried to go back, stripping the drives back off.
Have you tried resetting the bios?  Maybe you can't get that far.

Have you tried a different processor in the board?  I would also do that
if you haven't. 

A few thoughts.  Hope they help.
 From seeing and seeing the seeing has become so exhausted
     First line of "The Panther" - R. M. Rilke

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