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I tried to insert a PCI card when my VIA EPIA C3 server was powered on. The result is that my PC seems to have died. If I power it on, the processor gets "hot".

I think some components are "broken" but not the motherboard at all.

What sort of control can I do to fix it? Change the RAM? Something else?

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+1 for admitting to hot plugging a pci card – Moab Jun 20 '11 at 15:41
I would never try to hotplug ANY card.. Not even a PCIE card, even though they're supposed to hotpluggable. +1 for admitting that from me, too! – sinni800 Jun 20 '11 at 17:03
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The first devices in the line of fire would have been the expansion bus buffer chips - things that interface to the control, timing, data and address lines in the rest of the system. Unfortunately, these are not discrete devices but part of the board chipset and so can't be individually tested. Under these circumstances I'd be reaching for a replacement motherboard. Most of the other bits (RAM and CPU etc.) are possibly OK, but only testing will tell.

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Warming CPU means your CPU is probably getting clock frequency so it may try to start up but fails to tell you what is wrong. Some computers try to communicate through speaker but some just hang.

When I have had similar issues I used diagnostic card (POST Tester). That device can tell where the system hangs (POST code). Some cards also have voltage level indicators. That device offers extra human readable output what is happening inside your computer.

Please note that POST tester is good for problem solving at the boot early stage but it is useless after bios finish its job and OS take command. But usually you should have picture on your screen when that happens.

Those cards don't cost much. From ebay you can find those at the price between 1$ and 10$.

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