Weird PC power up problem


#1

Sometimes when I hit the powerbutton on my PC, nothing happens. No lights flash (as in there is no hint that I even hit the power button).

My PC runs quite stably after it powers up. Does anyone know of what might be causing this and if it is a cause for great concern (as in, I better begin putting together a new PC because I am living on borrowed time) or something minor?
The only things I can think of is either the power supply is dying or the mechanical switch is going bad.

I am not sure what to do about the mechanical switch part. Can you buy those at places like best buy or do I need to order one online? If it was the powersupply instead, would there be other symptoms?


#2

How old is your PC? could it be the small little battery on the mobo dying? Is your clock out of sync?


#3

It is old. I am not sure when I built it, but I am thinking around 2010. The clock isn’t off because of the time sync. I am not sure I have noticed the time, if it is at all displayed during the bios post (which is on screen for like 2 seconds).


#4

I don’t think this is a “build a new PC” situation. Most likely the connection to the motherboard from the case power switch is loose. Follow the cable from the power button on the case to the mother board and make sure it’s plugged in securely. It could be the switch on your case is going bad on you, or needs to be cleaned. You could just get a new case, worst case, and move your components to it.

It IS possible there is something going on with the motherboard, of course, but I find that the least likely scenario. A little more likely might be the PSU starting to die on you, I suppose.

One last thought - building new PC’s is super fun, and 7 years is long enough to use a great PC you built. Maybe it’s time to build a new one all the same, if funds are readily available for such a project?


#5

If you think it’s the switch that’s easy to test. manually jump the connectors on the motherboard.


#6

I have thought about building a new one, however, are the newer ones really that much faster? My current box is a quad core sandy lake I7. I do not have framerate issues with games and whatnot. How much faster are current CPUs over that one?

Also the last time I built a box, I was wanting it to be the last time I built a custom box. Its very depressing to buy all the components, put them together and then hit the power switch and nothing happens, or the PSU comes on, but it doesn’t boot, etc… But then you look at the price of a pre-built one and cringe at the ridiculous markup.

If newer PCs are that much faster, then maybe I should upgrade. I was thinking that in a year or two the thread-ripper should drop in price and mother board revisions should be in for all the weirdness the happened with the first generation of main boards.


#7

My first troubleshooting answer would be what Scott mentioned. Things in place usually stay in place, like jumpers and connectors. Not always, mind you, but most people don’t pick up and carry PC’s around and shake them up. But things do fail over time: batteries, capacitors, circuits, etc.

Be wary of your power supply failing, DeepT. You don’t have to pre-purchase one, but at least know what wattage you need as a replacement and price them out now so that you know what you need if/when it fails.


#8

I think if you are using an i7 from 2010 there may be some performance improvements to be had for CPU intensive games for sure, but maybe not $300-400 (for a newer i7) worth. If your games are running okay now you probably have a decent/modern GPU so I wouldn’t worry too much about it past that. I do highly recommend an SSD if you don’t already have one - probably the biggest upgrade a PC can get. And modern SSD’s are way, way faster than they were 7 years ago.

But if you are content with your current PC, I’m confident the issue as described can be resolved by a little troubleshooting and at worst, replacing a part. Though if the motherboard is shot, that’s potentially going to be a bit of a challenge, finding a motherboard that will support all of your 2010 parts. Hopefully it’s just a loose connection or a failing PSU. 7 years is a good long time for a gaming PC’s PSU to last, so it could be that.


#9

What are the signs of a failing PSU? I figured when I was using a lot of power when gaming, I would get blue screens or the thing would just shut down. Once this rig is booted, it is rock solid.


#10

A brief write-up:

Over the past 24 years of PC gaming on roughly a dozen or so rigs, I’ve only had a PSU actually fail twice.
Both times, there was no warning.
The first time, there was smoke.
The second time was when I attempted to make a gaming rig out of a brand new clearance-priced eMachine. I put in a great video card, a second HD, more memory, fans, and a bunch of other stuff. I neglected to upgrade the stock Bestec 250 watt PSU however. I’m amazed that it ran well for two years before the PSU finally gave up the ghost, taking out the motherboard along with it. No smoke. No noise. Took me a while to diagnose that I needed both a motherboard and a PSU. I replaced both, and the thing still runs today, ten years later. Back then, I actually finished “Crysis” on it.

Edit: A third time, I was getting a very high-pitched squeal from the PSU, so I replaced it before anything bad happened. Could never figure out what the noise actually was, but it didn’t sound good.

And going back to 1993 or so now, I just remembered that my very first gaming rig went through three PSU’s in a few years. I noticed the entire metal case was getting very hot, and finally noticed that the PSU fan had quit spinning. This happened two more times (I’m assuming that like an idiot, I thought I had to replace the part with an identical part like you do with a car, so I kept buying the same faulty PSU over and over. I finally wised up and got a different brand, and while the PC is now in a closet, the last time I fired it up a few years ago, it still worked).


#11

I have a similar problem with one of my GPUs. When I am doing a cold boot, sometimes the video does not appear. Though everything else seems to work okay. Restarting a few/a dozen times and it will eventually work. Hibernation and sleep are not a problem. It’s just the cold boot that this happens to. Other GPUs work fine in the machine.