We had a power cut on Saturday. We've had them before, but generally they have been momentary blips of less than a minute. This time the power went off, and it didn't seem to want to come back. I called the power company, and was told that yes, there was a fault, and that if it hadn't come back within 4 hours, to call again. As it happened, everything burst back into life within about 50 minutes.
Unfortunately I don't have an Uninterruptible Power Supply. On this occasion, when the power came on my workhorse P3 server came straight back into life and booted fine. My top-of-the-range Athlon 64 (Gigabyte K8VNXP motherboard) machine went bang, and smoke came out of the power supply.
Off I went to Maplin to buy a new PSU. I opted for a 650W unit with plenty of fans. Having fitted it, I thought all would be happier. However, now when I plug the machine in, it spontaneously starts (I don't need to touch the power button). The graphics card information is displayed on the screen, there's a beep, but the BIOS information is never displayed, and the machine starts again. This happens two or three times, then it seems to decide to take a rest, and may pop back into life again a few minutes later for another attempt or two.
I've tried reseating all the cards… I've tried removing the memory and reseating it (plugging it in without memory resulted in multiple panicky beeps, so I guess the motherboard knows that something is going on). I can't figure what is dead. It could be the board itself has suffered damage, or maybe the CPU, or the memory… or even the power switch on the case, I suppose.
I'm looking at going down the route of a new motherboard, but technology has moved on. I've got a range of PCI cards that I'm happy with, so I don't want a PCI-Express board. Socket 754 is no more, so it's a new CPU, and I would like an Athlon 64 X2. I also want something to support Linux. So I'm thinking about an Abit AV8 Third Eye board, which has been discontinued but is still widely available… and I'm counting on my existing RAM being OK. Not sure what else I can do. I'm annoyed, but it is at least partly my fault. I really must get a UPS.
Update: I've cracked it. It's the power switch. Fortunately this means that I don't have to order a new motherboard when the existing one works fine. It does mean that I have to figure out how to wire a new switch into my case, or buy a new one. Suggestions, anyone?