The Acer Aspire Horror Story (2010)

Way back in June 2008, I got a new Acer Aspire M5630 desktop. Its specs were:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
  • Acer EG31M Motherboard (made by ECS)
  • 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro Graphics
  • WD Blue 500GB 7200RPM HDD (WD5000AAJS)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Stolen Borrowed from someone’s sale listing – mine hasn’t looked that pristine in a LONG time! Notice the capacity is smaller on this unit than what I had.

It lasted me about a year and a half. It used to work great! I loved the system, I had plenty of enjoyment using it. But something really odd begun to happen at the 1.5-year mark – the beeper speaker would emit rapid beeps, followed by the processor’s cooling fan briefly speeding up.

Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep! vrrRROOOOOOooommmhhh…

What in the world? I had never once heard the system do this before. I had no idea what was happening. It was really loud and beginning to get me scared! (I was really young.) I just went about my business though, continuing to use the computer.

I had recently installed SpeedFan, which does – you guessed it – fan control. But, it wasn’t causing the fan speed to change. I’m pretty sure the temperatures weren’t going out of control.

I didn’t know what to do. I continued to use the computer. The noise would continue, sometimes the fan would spin for longer.

Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep! vrrRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooommmhhh…

If memory serves me right – this was right around January 5th, 2010. The noise continued to happen more frequently and for longer, and it was getting me quite worried. I decided to shut off the computer, and I went to bed.

I woke up, and went to go turn on the computer as usual. I’m met with this VERY loud noise of the fan spinning at maximum speed! (4500 RPM 92mm, quite loud)


There was no display signal. The computer was dead.

I had no idea how this happened. But, now my main desktop was a doorstop.

Moving Onwards

Using my only other working computer, an HP Pavilion dv9000 (spoiler: it didn’t work for much longer), I tried to do some research on the issue. Some people would say the power supply could be bad, others the motherboard. Some even said the processor could be bad. I had no experience in this field, and I really didn’t know what to think.

At this time, the Q6600 was fetching a whopping $130 on eBay! I didn’t know what was bad on my system, though. There really wasn’t any safe option for me.

So, I did the most surefire one – I built a new system entirely from scratch. I knew how to take apart and put together a desktop, but I had never done any part choosing. I really didn’t have much money to work with, either – I only had about $200 saved. One of my desktops used an AMD Sempron 3100+ processor – my good old Compaq Presario SR1010Z. I liked that system, and I felt I wanted to give AMD a try.

I managed to get together a working system, but only after messing up on having ordered an ATX motherboard, when my Acer used a Micro ATX case. I had to get a new case, too! And it was a total piece of junk. I would’ve been better off just running it outside of a case, at this point. But, the deed was done. I got the whole thing working, reusing my old hard drive and (barely, due to cable slack) power supply!

Its specs were:

  • AMD Athlon II X2 215 (~$50)
  • 1 GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • MSI NF750-G55 Motherboard (~$80)
  • A literal piece of aluminum garbage for a case (~$50)

One look at that can tell you that this thing was weaker than my old system! As I mentioned, I didn’t exactly have a lot of money to work with, and I had no idea what parts were good or bad on the Acer system. But, I got a lot of enjoyment out of building myself a new PC, and it worked great!

Over the next couple of years, I would swap a few things out – like getting a way better case, the Cooler Master CM690-II, and also a different motherboard, that being the Gigabyte GA-770T-USB3. Reason being, the MSI had some instability issue that I couldn’t quite figure out. The Gigabyte was pretty stable, definitely left me a better impression.

I ultimately wound up buying a new laptop. The Acer continued to sit aside for years, in unknown condition…

Well – it sat mostly untouched, at least. I seem to recall at some unknown time (later in 2010, I believe), that I tried putting in a Celeron 420 (nice) processor, and that actually did get it to boot up. Though, it ultimately did the same really strange loud beeping & fan behavior. But apart from that, undisturbed.

The Beginning of the Conclusion

In the beginning of 2013, I was wanting to get back into using an actual desktop PC instead of my laptop for everything. I wound up using my sister’s old computer, which she didn’t need anymore after getting a really nice custom build we put together! (WAY better than my system was, and about a year newer.)

The system was an HP Pavilion a6300f, if memory serves me right. A pretty bog-standard machine of the time – Pentium E2180, 2GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB HDD. Still worked good. But I decided I’d try something crazy, and that’d be to put the Q6600 into this system! I had no idea what was going to happen. Would it work? Would it do the same thing as my Acer? Would it catch on fire and explode?

I placed the processor in, and I turned on the system…

…IT WORKED! I saw the HP splash screen, and the BIOS acknowledged the Core 2 Quad installation! WOW! I wasn’t sure at this point whether it would stay working or not, but so far it seemed way more hopeful!

Indeed – as it turns out, the processor was fine all along. I eventually wound up doing a whole bunch of upgrades to the system, and then once again going back to a custom-built system around June 2013 or so. This system would become my best one I’ve ever had, and continued to evolve – all the way to 2014, with an i7-4790K, and 2015, where I got a brand new NZXT H440 case and a GTX 950 2GB graphics card. That system was BEAST!

Yet still, the Acer sat in a corner, with most of its components having been removed. It was basically just a case, and a motherboard. It hadn’t ever been powered on since the incident happened.

The Conclusion

The time is now late 2015-early 2016. I’ve learned about The Capacitor Plague at this point, and also learned how to replace capacitors. I was mighty curious about my Acer at this point, and I knew a lot more than I once did! Could I potentially finally figure out what was going on with it?

Well, I put the Quad back in there, and it did boot! But, of course, it was doing the same issue again.

Looking at the board, I saw a capacitor that looked just ever so slightly off. It wasn’t even bulged, it just looked a little odd and slightly different from the other identical ones. These were TK, or Toshin-Kogyo capacitors. As far as I saw on the Forum, thse weren’t known to be a likely-to-fail brand. So, not C(r)apXon.

I replaced the capacitor, and lo and behold – never again did I experience the strange fan behavior! The system worked like January 2010 never happened. Six whole years later, it seemed the mystery was solved!

How? We’ll never know. It’s the beginning of 2023, and of everying I’ve learned, this still boggles my mind. I guess that capacitor really had to have been failing somehow, and clearly must’ve been a defect, to have failed so quickly.

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