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My computer suddenly died (with a very small pop that may just have been the speakers) while using an HTC Vive (although I don't think it was the Vive's fault). I attempted to restart it, and nothing happened, except a solid red warning(?) light (that I don't remember seeing before) appeared next to the CPU (more details on that later). I proceeded to debug every single component, including trying every singe ram stick individually, using different ram ports. I also ran an old GPU I had (GTX 670) in the computer, which didn't fix the issue. I also tried replacing the power supply, as well as removing all the hard drives, including the boot drive. The only component I couldn't check against was the CPU, since I don't have any other that are compatible. I did however, verify that there are no bent pins or visible defects on the CPU.

Before this incident, my computer has been happily working largely without concern for about 2 months. I did notice the CPU ran a little hotter than I would have liked, but within limit. I also will note that I have not been straining it to intensely. I ran a couple of stress tests when I first bought it (using prime95), and rendered some things (using full CPU power for about an hour)

Here is the location of the light on the motherboard:

Note the light appears when the CPU is properly fitted. Removing the CPU doesn't change the behavior

I'm trying to figure out which component is bust. Is it the CPU the Motherboard, or did I miss something else? Even if its not related, I'd also like to know what that light means.

The details of my system are:

  • Look for the Q-Code LEDs - The Q-Code LED design provides you with a 2-digit error code that displays the system status. See user manual, p31 – DavidPostill Sep 7 '16 at 19:32
  • See page 30 for the onboard LEDs explanation. – DavidPostill Sep 7 '16 at 19:37
  • @DavidPostill Those do not light up. I checked. – GiantCowFilms Sep 7 '16 at 19:57
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Since you swapped the power supply, you heard a pop, you don't get anything in terms of boot, look for a blown capacitor near the power supply connector on the motherboard.

  • I don't see anything, what does this look like? Also, if a Capacitor is blown, would I expect to see anything on the motherboard working (including the LEDs). – GiantCowFilms Sep 7 '16 at 20:26
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    A cap is a cylinder type object. Google "blown electrolytic capacitor" to see what they look like. When they blow, the top cracks open. Typically on the MB, there is some power regulation occurring. If the cap blows, not all the power lines are connected, but some may be resulting in some LED's being on. – Blackbeagle Sep 7 '16 at 21:28
  • I've checked all the capacitors. I don't see any that look ab-normal. As I said, the pop may have been the speakers. – GiantCowFilms Sep 7 '16 at 21:40
  • The pop may, now that I know there was a screw in the PSU, have been a capacitor in the PSU getting blown, or maybe a short. – GiantCowFilms Oct 12 '16 at 15:29
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For the sake of completeness, I wanted to share how this story ends.

Short Version

I believe a broken PSU bricked my motherboard, after replacing the MB and the PSU, everything is working great!

Long Version

I ended up sending the mother-board back, as despite changing nearly every other component, it still wouldn't work. I checked with a volt-meter, it didn't even send a signal for the PSU to power on when the power button was switched. It was clearly dead.

In about another month (yes, it took that long). I got a replacement board. This one would at least display Q-Codes, although it would only boot occasionally, and would become stuck on the Q-code b2. I swapped out my GPU (GTX 1080) with an older one (GTX 670), which didn't work. I eventually swapped out my PSU, to test. While removing the old PSU, I heard a "clink" that sounded like a loose metal part. It turned out to be a screw. I have no idea how it got there, but after removing the power supply everything started working as expected.

I'm guessing the power supply also probably caused the motherboard to be damaged in the first place.

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