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Windows 7: PSU died, new PSU, bios wont recognize SATA devices, now wont turn on

18 Oct 2012   #1

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
PSU died, new PSU, bios wont recognize SATA devices, now wont turn on

Synopsis: PSU died, replaced PSU with different model, system boots to bios successfully but does not recognize any devices in SATA ports, nor do those devices appear to be getting power. Now can't even get to BIOS, entire PC flicks on and off repeatedly as soon as I turn the PSU on regardless of whether I hit the power button on the front of the computer.

System Specifications

Original PSU that died: SeaSonic M12II 750 SS-750AM 750w PSU
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz
GPUs: ASUS 670 non-top version, SLI (2x)
MOBO: ASRock Z77 extreme 6
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) SDRAM DDR3 2133
Optical drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive
SSD: SanDisk Extreme 240GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch (OS is installed here)
Storage drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III (This was not connected when power supply died)

Detailed explanation:About a week ago my PSU (Seasonic 750w) died randomly while the computer was left running in sleep . I RMA'd the dead seasonic. In the mean time I happened to come accross an extremely good deal on a new PSU, so I bought it (Thermaltake smart m850w PSU) to have a backup and to get my machine working again.

I hooked up the new PSU to GPUs, CPU, fans, ATX power connector, and to all of the SATA devices, (the SSD, the HDD, and the Optical drive). I made sure to connect the data cables to the SATA devices in the same configuration they were in when working properly. The computer boots successfully to the ASROCK BIOS, all fans spinning. However, I get the error code "A6" on "dr debug" (the led display on the mobo). The manual says this means "SCSI detect". I have no idea what that means.

I was able to load the UEFI, and bios recognized all components except for any of the SATA devices--(SSD, the HDD, and optical drive not recognized). The RAM, GPUs, processor, and fans were detected. At this point I was stuck in BIOS because I couldn't boot off anything.

I did not have the HDD connected when the PSU failed, but now the BIOS won't read that either. I don't think any of the SATA devices are actually receiving power. Again, the UEFI showed that there were no SATA devices connected to any port, when in reality they clearly were connected both by power and data cable.

Then things get really strange. I unhooked all of the SATA devices except the HDD (the one that wasn't hooked up when the original PSU died). I plug the AC into the PSU, then turn on PSU (not the power switch for the computer, the switch on the PSU). The computer starts flicking on and off in this weird rhythmic pulsating pattern "" with about a 1/2 second between each click. Each time the power flicks on, the LEDs come on and the fans spin briefly. The strangest part is that I don't need to hit the power button on the front of the case for this to happen, it just starts as soon as the PSU is turned on. In fact, I can't get the computer to turn on at all--the switch on the front of the computer appears to be dead.

Measures I have taken in an attempt to fix the problem:

1. Unplug the power cables from everything and re-seated them.
2. Reseated the data cables to the optical drive and the SSD on the drive end, not on the MOBO side as they are covered by my GPUs and I would have to take them out in order to do that.
3. Tried hooking up a SATA power cable from my old modular PSU and using that in the new PSU in an attempt to power the optical drive (didn't work, I know, bad idea--I learned you aren't supposed to do this shortly after I tried it)
4. Setting all preferences to default in the UEFI.
5. Disconnecting the power cables from one or both of the GPUs.

I think that this is either a problem with (1) the motherboard, (2) the new PSU, (3) all 3 SATA devices (unlikely). The fact that I can't even get into Bios anymore tells me that this may be a MOBO or PSU issue.

My main question is how to procede from here? I suppose I can wait for my Seasonic to come back from RMA--perhaps that will clear up the issue. I just can't shake the feeling that this is a MOBO issue though. I am worried that if I keep screwing around with it I may end up frying my CPU and GPUs. I can eat the cost of a MOBO or PSU if necessary, but I can't afford to buy a new processor and two new 670s.

Thanks for the help, and if you need more info or detail I will hapily provide it!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2012   #2

Win7 Pro 32bit

I had a similar problem when I had an Antec PSU die on me. After I replaced it, my Biostar mobo's BIOS would no longer retain settings, and both my Pioneer DVD burners were completely dead. Not recognized in the BIOS, they would not acknowledge any discs inserted, nothing worked. I also started getting BSODs pointing to a corrupt BIOS. Replacing the burners didn't help. Putting the Pioneer burners in a new machine didn't work.

It turned out that the dying Antec PSU had wrecked the Biostar's BIOS chip and both Pioneer DVD burners. Replacing the BIOS chip was more expensive than buying a new motherboard, and reflashing the chip wasn't possible because the flash utility told me I already had the latest BIOS version. I ended up trashing the board and buying an ASRock board and Samsung burners.

If you get a new motherboard (or try another known-good working PC), and you connect your present SATA devices and they don't work, then the dying Seasonic may have burnt them out, too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #3

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit

Well, I am strangely able to get into BIOS again. I tried unplugging all SATA devices and connected a HDD that I had as a spare. BIOS was able to read the spare HDD! Perhaps that means that the MOBO is not in fact faulty, rather the dying PSU killed the optical drive and the PSU -- all the SATA devices that were connected at the time of the original fail.

I'm going to test the SSD at a friends house tomorrow. If it is in fact dead I will try to RMA it--it's still under warranty. I just hope dandisk doesn't reject it--that was a $200 drive.

My concern is that the system will continue to eat hardware. I simply cannot afford to keep throwing money at the machine only to have it kill the hardware. The GPUs and CPU in particular are very expensive and I would not be able to replace them for quite a while.

What should I do from here?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Oct 2012   #4

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

I would try all of your hard drives in a friend's machine. If you find them to be dead, I would contact Seasonic technical support and insist that they replace the bad hard drives. Now, it probably won't happen, but it has happened before. It does not cost anything to try.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #5

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

Another AsRock mobo surviving a PSU meltdown without damage? Seems to look like that, and wouldn't be the first time. Most of their stuff that eventually got in my hands survived lots of abuse.

Check the capacitors on the mobo, if you see some that are swollen, leak or look damaged (some mobos have capacitors with glue or weird resins over them to stabilize them in place, so even if they look messy it could be normal if it's glue/resin), then something bad has happened and the mobo is unreliable (i.e. change it).

If no capacitor is damaged and you get to see the BIOS, it is safe to assume the mobo, CPU, and RAM work fine. If GPU are damaged you'll see it when trying to load an OS.

See if you can boot a linux live CD like say ubuntu, placing it on a USB stick if your DVD burner is dead, or for the sake of having something handy while also testing the hardware, make a Win 7 installation pendrive, which will be handy in case you have to reinstall everything.
If that works, then the mobo/CPU/RAM/GPU are fine.

As others said, check the other devices on another computer, although I'd bet that they are dead.

My concern is that the system will continue to eat hardware.
This is usually caused by a crappy PSU overloading things, Thermaltake is a good brand afaik, i never heard of SeaSonic.

I had very very very few processors and no RAM/GPU that died when the mobo died. Usually the mobo death happens before the other components sustain damage and if the mobo is fine the components are fine as well. ASrock is a good brand and never failed on me without very good reasons.

The computer starts flicking on and off in this weird rhythmic pulsating pattern "" with about a 1/2 second between each click.
If this sound comes from HDDs... well it's called click of death for a reason.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit

Thanks for the reply bobafetthotmail,

Seasonic is one of the most highly regarded and quality PSU makers on the market, so it was certianly not a crappy PSU--maybe it was just a lemon. I didn't skimp on any componants, everything in the system was nice. Maybe 750w wasn't enough to power 2 670s, a i5-3570, peripherals, and 2 SATA devices?

Also, the "clicking" sound was the sound of little jolts of power going to all the case fans and mobo -- as soon as I would turn the PSU on, the system would get little "clicks" of power, the fans would spin like a quarter rotation each time, hence the "" sound. The HDD wasn't hooked up when the clicking happened, so that wasn't it. In fact, the HDD is the only undamaged sata device I have, and not supprisingly the only one that wasn't hooked up when the PSU blew. The only SATA devices that were hooked up when the clicking happened were the damaged SSD and optical drive.

I HOPE that the SSD and optical drive are the only things damaged by the PSU failure. I really, really, really hope that the 670s are not damaged...I couldn't stand to lose my babies. They are also to costly for me to replace right now.

I will test the SSD and optical drive today. You would recomend making a windows 7 pendrive and trying to boot from that? I think the USB ports are just fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #7

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

Frankly, I cannot tell offhand, but 750w for a dual GPU setup doesn't sound that well.
There are calculators that help you figure out your build's power requirements. This one is what I use myself and most here recommend to use before purchasing a PSU. You fill your specs there and it tells the wattage you need to run it (even taking into account PSU aging). If you pay a little cash it gives much more electrical-oriented data but it's usually unnecessary.

Still, if you were overloading the PSU it would refuse to boot or do GPU-related issues (as the GPUs are in your case by far the most hungry component, thus the first to get shafted if there isn't enough power), not go kamikaze on your hardware. Definetly a lemon.

as soon as I would turn the PSU on, the system would get little "clicks" of power, the fans would spin like a quarter rotation each time, hence the "" sound.
This usually happens when the PSU isn't enough to run everything (also when it's malfunctioning and it's producing less power than what it should). 850w is quite a bit but I don't know your power consumption, see the calculator above.

But you say you managed to run the rig afterwards, so... I'm a bit puzzled. If it was the behavior with the old PSU then it's ok as it was faulty. But if it happened with the new one, that would raise some eyebrows if the calculator says 850w are enough for your rig. Maybe something on the mobo said "screw that, I'm gonna leave a GPU offline", some mobos are smart enough to shut down non-critical stuff when power isn't enough.

You would recomend making a windows 7 pendrive and trying to boot from that? I think the USB ports are just fine.
Yes, but I had bigger schemes.
I was thinking to use that pendrive to install Win 7 on the spare HDD you have just to test everything, and a USB pendrive is by far the fastest way to do so (as even average USB speed is ridiculously higher than anything read from a DVD). If you manage to run a OS (any os, either windows 7 or the ubuntu I linked above, YUMI helps you placing it on a USB stick if you want to boot from that) on that machine without issues, then you can assume all the hardware the OS recognizes and can work with is fine. (NVIDIA does have good linux support so ubuntu should have/find the right drivers off the net easily, in case you don't want to use the spare HDD)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

It's possible that that new psu doesn't work properly with the Asus board.
Over the years I have experienced 2 situations where a perfectly fine psu would not work with a motherboard.
One was an Antec and an intel board and just the other day with a 600watt Thermaltake and an Asus board with a 3570k
Computer would power up for less than a second and then turn off.
It's rare since I have built over 100 machines in the past 16 years and this problem only happened on 2 machines.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #9

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit

@ Zypher-- the mobo is ASROCK, not ASUS. The fact that I can get into bios now makes me think that compatibility with PSU and mobo isnt the issue, but who knows!

@ Bobafet -- the PSU calculator thingie says I need only 517w. I had a feeling 750W was enough because those 670s actually draw much less power than previous generations of NVIDIA cards. I also had several people who I trust tell me that Seasonic 750w would be more than enough.

Also, there is the fact that the "pulsing" thing would start as soon as I turned on the PSU, not when I tried to pwr on the computer itself from the power switch at the front of the machine. In fact, when the clicking was goign on, I couldn't actually get the machine to turn on--it was stuck in a perpetual clicking loop. Wouldn't the pusling start when I tried to turn on the computer if it was a low pwoer issue instead of when the PSU was connected and switched on?

Anyway, I THINK that the reason the clicking stopped and I was able to get back into BIOS was that I disconnected both the "dead" sata devices--the SSD and the DVD/RW--and reconnected the spare, functional HDD. Could the fact that the two dead devices were connected to the PSU and mobo cause the clicking/power issue? Of course, I also reseated some cables and moved cords around in there, so it could have been something else.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2012   #10

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

Yes, dead hard drives can stop the whole machine, just like it is shorted out. I know from experience.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 PSU died, new PSU, bios wont recognize SATA devices, now wont turn on

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