computer crash; HDD toast

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Old 12-03-17, 02:08 PM
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computer crash; HDD toast

Just a year and a half old and the hard drive crashes. Or so it seems.

Symptoms: Turn on computer and "no signal" to any of the two monitors. Can't access the boot menu. Originally thought it could be the video card. Just to confirm I removed the hard drive and tried to access it from my laptop. Occasionally it will be recognized (drive does not spin up every time power is applied), but only the recovery partition and I can't open it. I'm using the plug-in video card. The motherboard also has two on board video ports (HDMI and DP) that are labeled "disabled". Since I can't access the BIOS I can't change the boot or graphics ports. So I'm still thinking hard drive failure.

So here's my dilemma.

It's an ACER AT3-715A-UR11 with a 6GB Toshiba HDD. The video card is a RADEON RX-480. Factory will honor the 3 year warranty if I send the whole unit to Temple, Tx. I asked that I would be willing to forgo a replacement HDD, if they would send me a new WIN 10 installation CD. I have several working HDD (two IDE's and one SATA all of which are bigger than the original HDD supplied with the unit). No go. They want the whole unit back at my shipping expense.

However, I do have system recover thumb drive in my possession. How can I use that thumb drive to boot into the computer using one of the other known working hard drives?

Or is my video card shot?

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 12-03-17, 02:22 PM
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As far as I recall with issues I've had, if you can't access the BIOS it's usually a system/peripheral board issue. Your motherboard checks those before it goes looking for a hard drive. If you have 2 working HDs plug one of them in. If all your boards are okay you should get a "No Operating System Found" (sic) message and the computer will sit there. If still nothing on a monitor and the motherboard is bad, you motherboard will more than likely give you a "beep".

When you say the video ports are labeled "disabled" do you mean there is a physical sticker on the port?
 
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Old 12-03-17, 02:35 PM
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Yes, a physical sticker with plastic plugs inserted.
After more investigation I believe you're correct. There is more than just a HDD or Video failure. I'm now considering motherboard failure.
My best bet is to send it back for warranty repair, regardless of what the fault is. Not worth the effort or experimentation.
 
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Old 12-03-17, 03:04 PM
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If no signal will go to the screen(s) and you can't even access the BIOS, I would suspect video card or the MoBo. You should be able to access the BIOS without a HD installed. BIOS is on the MoBo, not the HD.
 
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Old 12-03-17, 03:25 PM
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The only other test I would try is to remove the plastic insert (assuming it can be done without damage and retain the ability to install) and connect an HDMI cable from the motherboard to a monitor. Remove your video card. Power up. There is a chance the motherboard will see the video card gone and revert to it's on board ports and you might be able to see something. If so and you have a display and the system boots, then it confirm the video card is bad.

I would still send the unit in for the warranty work as it places the responsibility back on them. But if you are able to get a monitor working, you might be able to pull info off your HD that you want. Though it is strange you can't connect to your HD when plugged into your laptop. I've searched many a HD as a second drive just to pull info off it.
 
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Old 12-03-17, 03:47 PM
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Fortunately no critical info was stored on the HDD. I di try to use the on-board video ports but nothing.
 
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Old 12-03-17, 04:00 PM
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Did you physically remove the video card from the PCIEX x16 slot? If not try it with the card removed as most prebuilt computers disable the onboard video when a GPU is inserted in the X16 slot
 
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Old 12-03-17, 04:40 PM
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Norm Ė

You are not really getting off the ground. It sounds like POST hasnít even started otherwise you should hear some beep code identifying the problem. Could be a faulty power supply, in which case the motherboard doesnít do a thing Ė certainly no POST.

If the PSU passes its internal checks on power-on it asserts +5 volts out on the POWER-OK (or POWER-GOOD) pin. If the mobo doesnít see +5 volts on the pin then the mobo assumes the PSU is faulty and protects itself and thus doesnít do a thing. You can buy a PSU tester to test the PSU but Iíve already used a meter and a paper clip to check for +5v at POWER-OK pin out of the PSU and detected a faulty PSU. I think itís pin 8 on ATX power supplies

If you found that the problem was the PSU it might be cheaper and more convenient to buy a new PSU rather than pay and ship the PC to Texas. If itís not the PSU then it sounds like it would be a mobo problem and I guess in that case shipment for repair would be warranted.

Also, and you probably have already done this, but make sure your power connecters are tight on the mobo.
 
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Old 12-03-17, 04:50 PM
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First thing I would check is the CMOS Battery. It's the battery on the MB, looks like a watch battery. They won't post if that battery is dead.
 
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Old 12-03-17, 05:15 PM
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Supposedly that was only true on a handful of older machines Ė and even those, supposedly, started POST and gave some beeps. But it certainly canít hurt to check the battery.
 
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Old 12-04-17, 04:13 AM
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Guy's thanks for all the advice. I seek your comments as a way of checking myself and making sure I don't miss anything. Most, in fact all of what you have advised I did consider. I have built computers on several occasions and am aware of what you all suggest. On my first post I did not pay attention to the POST computer start up until after I posted and thought the drive was bad. I think I have several problems, not the least that the drive, graphics card, power supply or MB may be bad or a combination of each.

This unit has a 3 year warranty and it would be stupid of me not to take advantage of it. I'm sending it in.
 
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