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I accidentally knocked off a small block of fools' gold on-top of my computer case, but didn't actually hit anything inside (since the case was open), and now the computer is having serious stability issues.

These issues mainly comprise of it refusing to output to my monitor at all, but sometimes it does boot. However:

  • Sometimes it hangs at POST when checking the RAM
  • Today it booted to the Windows 'starting Windows' animation, then got a BSOD of BAD POOL, with the top inch-or-so of the monitor experiencing a graphics glitch (hundreds of small multicoloured lines across the screen).

I've observed that it usually turns on in a usable state without any crashes for 10-20 minutes after around 3 hours being turned off. Beforehand the computer was in a relatively healthy state, with a small minor issue being the lack of disk space.

I'm certain that the knock caused a short somewhere (perhaps the RAM), but I'm not exactly sure how, as the components are screwed in pretty firmly, and I couldn't make any of the components budge at all when I was pushing in the components and checking that they were in properly.

Perhaps this would be a case for out-of-the-case testing?

Every component except the GPU is under warranty (motherboard, case, RAM, and SSD runs out in December, whereas the GPU ran out a couple of years ago), so I may be able to make a warranty claim for a faulty component. Thing is how do I know which component is faulty? I could send all the components in for RMA, however I do not want to dismantle my watercooling system.

Which component is most likely at fault here? Whilst I realise that my components aren't top-of-the range, the PSU however is a top-of-the-range model, and I don't expect it to be causing the issues here.

CPU: AMD FX4100

RAM: 4GB DDR3 1066MHZ

SSD: 64GB OCZ Agility 3

GPU: Nividia 8800 1GB

PSU: 500W Corsair CX500 Modular PSU

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  • Corsair doesn't make a CM series. If you mean CX500, it's a fairly mediocre unit built by CWT. Certainly better than many other units, but not a top-end model.
    – ntoskrnl
    Oct 26 '14 at 17:33
  • uhm. You broke something and now you want to claim warranty while explaining to that that you dropped a rock on your PC? Or did you want to lie?
    – Hennes
    Nov 5 '14 at 20:52
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It may be worth pulling the system apart and re-seating every component. My computer recently refused to boot after a knock to the top of the case, and everything felt solidly connected to me. After unplugging every component and plugging it all back in again, magically it worked. In your case, since the problem is intermittent, you're unlikely to be able to detect the problem just from a simple physical inspection.

If that doesn't work, you'll need figure out which component is faulty. I'm afraid the only way to discover that is to pull apart your system and swap out components. One way to solve this is to take it to a local computer store and ask them to diagnose the problem. I don't like having to do this because I feel like I should be able to do it myself, but they have spare parts to try and they sometimes have testing equipment.

I'm sorry, but you probably won't be able to leave your cooling in place.

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  • 3
    Pulled everything out bar the actual motherboard and CPU, I unscrewed the watercooling's radiator from the case, and put everything back together. It works now, thanks.
    – AStopher
    Oct 26 '14 at 10:10
  • 6
    xkcd.com/441
    – Sanchises
    Oct 26 '14 at 11:53
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    Further to this I was able to run a memory test and the RAM is faulty- it's being sent back to Amazon for a refund (can't be replaced as they do not stock the RAM now).
    – AStopher
    Oct 26 '14 at 13:02
  • Glad you figured it out. Incidentally, I think this is my first ever accepted answer on StackExchange. Mmm... feels good. Oct 27 '14 at 11:52
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In addition to re-seating the main components, if the computer was on at the time of the impact, a chkdsk of all connected hard drives wouldn't be a bad idea.

Bad-Pool can also indicate driver instabilities of some components, and it wouldn't hurt to also check for updated drivers for all of the main components such as: video card, nic/wifi, and other integrated component drivers.

Running a component not fully seated can also potentially cause some electrical damage to that component, seats, connectors. Run as many tests/benchmarks as you can to verify this before some of your components' warranties expire to make sure no other/new problems.

Glad you got it sorted out.

If it was a loose-ish power or connector cable, and it's not a system that you modify often, a little hot glue on the connectors never hurt anything to help keep things in place (even during moves).

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  • It has no hard drives (as stated in the question), it has an SSD which I can't see being destroyed by a slight knock.
    – AStopher
    Oct 26 '14 at 13:43
  • @cybermonkey Sorry, I just assumed since you only listed a 64GB SSD that there was good probably you might have a data drive in there as well. Correct, though, SSD isn't normally susceptible to impact issues like HDD are with their read/write heads coming into contact with the platter. Data corruption can occur, though, on both HDD and SSD if data or electrical cables are knocked loose and the drive experiences intermittent power or data transfer. For the SSD, it wouldn't hurt to do a SFC /SCANNOW to ensure no windows files were corrupted. Either way, glad you're back up and running.
    – surreal34
    Oct 27 '14 at 5:42

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