first of all, this threat is awesome. thanks DJ for all of your suggestions and your vast knowledge.
so i've almost resigned myself to the fact that my computer is ready for the graveyard. I was in the middle of playing a game, and the screen went to blue screen of death for about half a second, then the computer shut off.
pretty sure it wasn't a power surge frying things - 1) I got a blue screen not straight to black, 2) it's on a heavy-duty surge protector and 3) nothing else in my room shows evidence of getthing hit by a surge.
i waited a couple minutes and tried to restart it, and it turned on for 2 seconds, turned off, then turned on again. when it turns on, the fans run, I can hear some hard drive activity (but the green activity light in the front of the computer never lights up), and the cd player works (lights up, will open and close), but no beep and no signal to the monitor. it's not "booting". it does this any time I turn it on.
since it's getting power, i'm fairly certain it's not a power supply issue. I thought maybe it was my cpu or motherboard. but my first test was that maybe I fried my graphics card. so I yanked it out and tried again with the monitor plugged in to the motherboard. nothing. so not the video card.
after unplugging the power cord from the psu and bleeding power (push the power button to use the last charge) when I turn it back on, it doesn't do the on-off-on thing. it just goes on and stays on. but then if I hold the power button to turn it off and then turn it back on, it does the on-off-stay-on thing again.
but the motherboard never beeps at me. so I thought maybe it was the cpu or the motherboard. I checked and the heat sink under the cpu cooling fan has a lot of dust clogging it up so I thought maybe the cpu was overheating or burned it out. took off the cpu's fan and reseated the cpu a couple times and cleared away dust and got nothing. and it heats up fine (i didn't run it for more than five seconds without a fan, don't worry).
so I thought it was the memory. I have 2 sticks of 2gb memory, and 2 slots to put them in. i've tried every combination possible (using both, switch them around, use one at a time, tried one at a time in each slot)... result - nothing. so I tried taking both memory sticks out to see if that would do anything. when I do that, the computer just does a long constant beep for about 15 seconds, pauses for about 5 seconds, and repeats. from what I read on this message board, that means that the motherboard and cpu are probably ok.
i thought I had struck gold when I read the suggestion about static in the memory, but when I tried to use a pencil eraser ... nothing. same old situation.
- i've tried disconnecting all hard drives
- i've tried switching the power supply from 230v (power supply here) back to 110v and plugging it into a converter to see if it was a voltage issue.
- i've tried pushing in and holding the power button for a minute or more to try to reset things
- i've unplugged the computer, bled power, and taken the battery out of the motherboard to see if that would reset things to default.
nothing has worked - no beeping (besides no memory error) and no display to a monitor.
i don't have anything plugged in except the power cable and the monitor, so it's not a faulty mouse or keyboard.
at this point maybe i've fried both sticks of ram by taking them out and putting them back in so much. or i've fried who-knows-what because i've had to turn the computer on and off so much. but that's after the initial crash, and if it was ram initially, it shouldn't have been both sticks. right? it's also (supposed to be) high quality nvidia ram that I purchased separately and installed a year ago, not poor quality stock ram.
any ideas or suggestions? i've never had a computer go this bad lol. I think it's definately a hardware fault at the lowest level. as far as I can tell, the only things that could affect something at this level are (1) ram (2) mobo (3) cpu or (4) power supply. the mobo doesn't do a thing if I take the cpu out, and based on a constant beep when I start it up with no ram installed I assume that both the cpu and the mobo are likely working as intended. everything seems to be getting plenty of power so i'm pretty sure it's not a power supply issue.
i've read that the turn-on-then-off-then-turn-on-again cycle has to do with the mobo identifying a fault somewhere and trying to restart with default bios settings. but given the evidence that the mobo is fine and this reset not helping, maybe it's identifying a memory fault. so the logical conclusion is that it's a ram issue.
except that i've got two sticks and it's odd that both would fail at the same time. the only thing that I can think that would make them fail together would be the mobo frying them. on the other hand, so maybe it WAS a lingering static charge in the ram that caused the initial issue, but by the time I tried to fix it with a pencil eraser all of the handling (i don't exactly have a clean room here or anti-static mat over here) and on-off cycles have fried both of them.
unfortunately, repeatedly putting the ram in and taking them out might have messed something up in the slots as well. or I didn't do the eraser thing properly and they're still in lockdown due to an internal static charge, but at this point, it's six one way, half a dozen the other: ram's shot.
so what do you think. am I missing anything? i'm almost positive it's bad ram, so I think i'm going to order two new sticks. know of any other fixes? my issue is I don't have any parts to swap out and test the system one component at a time, and that any replacement hardware is going to take at least two weeks to get to me. and I obviously don't want to buy something if I don't need it. so if the new ram doesn't work, i'm probably going to just buy a whole new system (reuse the vid card and hard drives).
know this was really long, but was kind of thinking things through as I typed. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks again DJ for the suggestions listed above.