My 3 year old 4600 started acting up on Sunday afternoon. I had a brief flicker of power at my house and several of my appliances ‘rebooted’ themselves. My CPU was on a surge protector, but it still rebooted. When I walked into the room it had the F1 to continue or F2 to enter system set-up message. Great, my HDD has failed I think to myself. Diagnostic lights are YGGY. I had two ultra-ATA drives and two optical drives on the IDE channels. I tried each HDD on each channel individually and it would not get past the Dell Splash Screen/YGGY. When the Optical drives were plugged in to either IDE channel, I would get the expected no Drive 0 found (with GGGY if I remember correctly...) I tried various combinations of cables and even bought a new HDD and am still having the same problem. I was finally able to get a CPU from work and my both my original drives are fine. I tried taking the SATA HDD from the work computer and installing it in the 4600 but received the same message- confession time, I worked at Dell Tech Support when this system was first introduced. I cannot remember if the SATA controllers are ‘hot’ on this motherboard or not. I think for the 8300 you had to buy a separate controller card for SATA/RAID functionality. So hooking the SATA drive up might have been a useless test.
Any educated guesses as to the cause of the problem that I might be overlooking and I am going to have to start replacing parts- MB, PS, etc…
Given the fact that the PSU's on the 4600 are shaky at best (a well documented problem), I'd slap another one in. I've replaced several on 4600's and your "flicker" problem may have been enough to finish it off...
Well, I tried a new power supply and that did not solve the problem. I got a new MB from an Ebay supplier, asendtek, and everything is up and running hardware wise. I was a bit shocked the MB had both an AGP slot and on-board video. I had to modify my case to accept the on-board video out since my previous board had only an AGP slot. During the rebuild with the new MB, I decided to run the Dell Diagnostics from the utility partition. I was a bit surprised when it came back with an error message that they could only be run on Dell HW, and no compatible HW was found. I get the Dell Splash Screen and BIOS, is there something else embedded in the MB by Dell that might not be the same in 'surplus' parts?
Specifically, I am wondering if I ever have to reinstall XP from the Dell XP disc, am I going to get a similar error that 'this product can only be used/installed on Dell product, etc...' Anyone have any personal experience with this?