Last weekend one of our computer’s died. This was my 32-bit AMD Athlon-2800 w/2GB RAM (Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard) w/ PCI nVidia GeForce 8400GS graphics [age ~7 years] running 32-bit openSUSE-11.3 KDE-4.4.4 (and also a version of SLED-11.1 SP1 that I boot to occasionally). This is my PC for vdpau testing. I also had just installed in another partition openSUSE-11.4 RC1 on this PC.
I was very sick last weekend, so I simply left the dead PC, until I was well enough to look at it. Today (one week later) I feel better (albeit I still have a wicked cough).
The symptom of ‘death’ for the PC was to push the power switch, and no noticeable response. No lights, and no detectable noise. I suspected Power Supply or Motherboard.
So I removed the PC from our hardware KVM switch and opened it up. There were no noticeable power scorch marks. A small amount of dust (of course) but nothing deadly there.
I plugged in the power cable again, switched the master power switch on the back of the PC to ON, and pressed the power ON. Nothing. BUT when I switched the master power switch on the back to OFF, I heard the distinct (but very brief) sound of a hard drive click. I repeated this (ON/OFF) and heard the same. Clearly some sort of power reached one of the hard drives.
With the PC electric cable plugged in but the PC OFF (with the master power switch on the back ON) I noted that if I plugged a wired Ethernet cable into one of the mother board’s Ethernet jacks the motherboard light by that jack would light up (as expected in a healthy motherboard) BUT if I plugged the same wired Ethernet cable into the mother board’s other Ethernet jack, the light by that 2nd jack did NOT light up.
My suspicion now is the power supply works, but the motherboard is dead. I can’t prove this (yet).
This PC is old. I think I’ll just throw it out, cannibalizing the parts best I can.
keep Graphic card
It has a nVidia 8400GS PCI card which is a slow card (using the PCI bus) that has superb High Definition Video playback capabilities using Pure Video (in winXP) or VDPAU (in Linux). I’ll keep that card although I don’t have a PC to use it in (yet). The power supply in my old athlon-1100 is not strong enough to power this card.
**keep the RAM **
The expired athlon-2800 has 2GB of RAM in 3 DDRs: Two 512MB DDR-400’s and one 1GB DDR-400. I ‘might’ be able to use those. My even older athlon-1100 PC (w/MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard) can accept DDR200, DDR266 and DDR333 and it has only 1GB of RAM (with 2x256MB and 1x512MB DDR333s). I might remove all those DDR333 and try all the DDR400s in that old athlon-1100 MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard. My research suggests there is a possibility a DDR400 DIMM will work in a DDR333 slot, albeit only at DDR333 speeds. Still that would be ok, as 2GB of RAM is superior to 1GB of RAM.
**other equipment **
The dead PC has 2 hard drives: an 80GB and a 300GB. Both worth keeping. It has 1xdouble-layer DVD read/writer (worth keeping) and 1 x DVD reader (worth keeping). There is also an old internal 2.5" floppy drive that I might keep or throw out. No one uses floppies any more. And of course the nominal assortment of cables and screws and mounting brackets that I can salvage.
There is a dusty old CPU fan. I don’t know if I will clean up and keep that. For the few cents its worth its possibly not worth the effort to clean up.
**salvage/test the power supply ? **
Finally there is the power supply. A Chieftec HPC-360-302. Its old. Its dusty. BUT if it still works, it is a superior power supply over the make of power supply in my old athlon-1100. It has me thinking I could try that power supply in my athlon-1100 (although moving all the cables around could be a major time waster and source of irritation). Putting this power supply in my athlon-1100 PC ‘might’ prove for certain if the problem with the ‘athlon-2800’ was the mother board or power supply. The risk is dependent on the athlon-2800 PC failure, if it was the power supply then putting a failed part in the athlon-1100 could destroy the motherboard on the athlon-1100. I’m not sure I want to go down that investigative road. BUT if it works, then I could possibly put the nVidia 8400GS in the athlon-1100’s MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard give this old athlon-1100 high definition video playback capability - although there is a downside to that - that 8400GS PCI card is SLOW for all else, and the current graphic card in this athlon-1100 (w/MSI KT3 Ultra) is an AGP FX5200 nVidia card which is actually faster in all other respects than the 8400GS PCI card (due to the superiority of the AGP bus). Note I am referring to a PCI and NOT a PCI-e bus.
… I’m not sure what I’ll do wrt the power supply.