So my computer locked up last night which was odd. It has never actually locked up. Usually it may reboot itself or give me a BSOD, but never a full blown lock up.
I turned it off and didn’t think much of it. Crap happens, I figured maybe some stray neutron caused a really weird SEU. I have high density RAM in here with no ECC (at the time I built the computer I didn’t really think about it) so SEUs happen but normally result in a self reboot, not a total lock up.
So I get home from work today and push the power button… nothing happens. Power turns on, screens stay off, no post beep, nothing other than the fans and power light. I start pulling it out and I realize I haven’t cleaned it for 4 months. Out to the garage I go and use the compressor to clear it out. It was pretty nasty but all the fans worked as expected. Inside the case while dusty wasn’t actually the worst I’ve seen. Outside the case though was pretty bad but again, fans were free and not gummed.
Bring the case back inside, try again. No go, same exact behavior. Well, time for a full troubleshooting regime. First up, yank the second video card and clear the CMOS. Yeah it’s changing two things but I have to yank the card to clear the CMOS. Hit the switch, still no joy. Pull the primary video card and swap it with the first. Hit the power button.
*Beep* Press F2 for setup.
Turn it back off, awesome it turned on, now to try the other video card again just to make sure. Insert the card, press the button and… nothing. Pull the card, press the button, and, *Beep*.
So I’ve at least found the problem. Got my box back up and running, but am now down a video card and monitor. Initially when I built this box I planned on doing SLI, then I found out it doesn’t like doing multi-head support. I do development more than I game so for the most part I had a way over the top second video card. Though it did make system configuration much easier having the same card.
It also appears that the sound card is also dying. It is not driving the audio output correctly. My USB headset still at least is functional.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.