Well, finally broke down and took apart my rig today. First I reseated the memory modules, IDE cables, and made sure all expansion cards were plugged in firmly, and cleared out as much dust as I could. I then put the machine back together and turned it on. No effect.
My system has two sticks of RAM: a 128MB and a 256 MB, 384 total. I tried booting the system with only the 256MB module installed. No effect. I then tried booting it with only the 128MB module installed. Again, no effect.
After replacing both modules, I tried booting the system with the case off, to see if that would somehow make a difference. None.
That’s when I noticed that the fan on the GPU (model AP4512MX-G90) wasn’t spinning. JACKPOT, I thought. Seems it’s so full of dust, the blades don’t spin. I can barely even turn the blades with my fingers. Naturally, I didn’t have a replacement – but I do have an ancient Pentium 133 system in the basement. I eagerly tore the rig apart and removed the Sunon CPU cooler, Socket 7 (model KD1245PFB3-8). Almost the exact same size, twice as tall, probably gives better cooling, same voltage and everything. Plugged it into my possessed system, spins fine. I dug up some spare screws and kind of custom-fitted the cooler over the videocard’s heatsink. It’s not an exact fit, but it’s close. Plugged the entire contraption back into the computer and fired her up (talk about a Frankenstein installation; it looks like crap, but it does spin).
No difference. It took almost exactly twenty minutes of spontaneous reboots just to get my first glimpse of the Windows XP login screen.
This report you are now reading is, as of this moment, over TWO HOURS in the making, typing at around 60wpm. I again had to type this in Word, and save it every other keystroke for when the system reboots. The system is getting worse and worse. If I ever turn it off again, I’m not sure if it’ll ever come back on.
I guess my next step is to grab some Artic Silver off eBay and reseat the CPU and maybe the GPU heatsink. If that doesn’t do anything, I’ll stop at PC Power and Cooling and grab me a new PSU.
If none of that works, then I’ll need those parts anyways to start building a new rig.
Anyone else have any thoughts, suggestions, voodoo rituals, anything that might help? I appreciate any and all feedback, if even remotely insightful. Thanks!