If you've worked with PC's for any length of time, chances are you have had to troubleshoot a problem or two along the way. I'm not talking about those annoying driver issues or minor software glitches either, although those can certainly be frustrating enough. I'm talking about the times you hit the power button to turn your PC on and are greeted with just a black screen. Maybe you get some lights and fans that come on, so you know you've got power, but nothing else seems to happen. That can be the kind of problem that has you uncertain where to start. If you don't keep tons of extra parts lying around you could spend a lot of money needlessly buying replacements for different components that may or may not be bad! And even if you do keep spares, you could still spend a lot of time swapping parts until you identify the faulty piece of hardware.
Wouldn't it be great if there was some device you could just connect to your PC that could test all the hardware for you and tell you which part is bad? Well here's something that might just fit the bill. It's a little gadget made by Soyo Group (the same folks that made motherboards) and it's called the TechAID.
It's a small diagnostics card that plugs into a PCI slot on any motherboard and reads and displays BIOS trouble codes during POST. Some board manufacturers offer something similar, whether it be diagnostic LED's or beep codes from an onboard speaker. But many brands do not have these features, or are not clear on their meaning, and for those this little device may come in very handy.
Let's take a closer look at the Soyo TechAID.