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Old 04-15-2006, 09:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Computer Malfunction- Please help me troubleshoot!

Hello there for all of you guys reading this-- I have quite the problem on my hands. I've been building computers for a few years now and I've never had a problem like this before.
----------------------------------
Computer Specs:
PS: Alliance 450W Power Supply
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (Socket 939)
MB: ASUS A8V Deluxe (AGP8x) (Socket 939)
RAM: Corsair TWIN-X 2x512MB PC3200
GFX: GeForce 6200 256MB
HD1: Maxtor 7200RPM 120GB IDE (8mbit Cache)
HD2: Seagate 7200RPM 160GB IDE (8mbit Cache)
CD1: Lite-On 16x DVD/CD-rom
CD2: Plextor 42x/24/48 CD-R/RW
OS: Windows XP Professional
-----------------------------------
So as you can tell from the above specs, that even though I can't afford top of the line equipment, I have a pretty good gaming setup (aside from the video card ). Before I get to the problem, I must tell a story on how I began to build this computer, please bare with me, for it does sort of relate to the current assessment that can be done.

About 6 months ago my friend purchased the motherboard that I was using, and he also was using around the same specs that I have. After about 6 months he wanted to upgrade his video card and noticed that the best cards out there are no longer AGP8x and instead PCI-e, so he was forced to buy a new motherboard. He had absolutely no troubles with this motherboard, and I was the one who both built his computer and took it apart and swapped the motherboards. After he got his new one, he told me that I could have this motherboard for he had no more use of it, and he would only eBay it.

My computer at the time was on an ABIT NF7-S nForce2 mobo with AMD XP2500+ Barton. I had 2x256 Twin-X PC3200 in it. So I really thought this was a great opportunity upgrade my computer since I was low on money yet had enough for new memory and CPU.

About a week ago I ordered my new parts and received the motherboard (ASUS A8V Deluxe) from my friend. After stripping my old computer of it's parts I proceeded by putting in the motherboard, cpu, and RAM in DIMM-1 and DIMM-3.

--Now I will begin to explain my troubleshooting, and will need your help to narrow down the problem at hand--

I plugged my newly assembled computer in and powered it up. No beeps from the motherboard but there was no display on the monitor, the light stayed orange. My first thought was that I had a bad video card or maybe it wasn't completely inserted into the mobo. So after double checking it's connection and trying another video card (GeForce FX5900), the problem wasn't solved yet. After some trial and error (including taking my computer all apart and rechecking to make sure everything was plugged in correctly) I started to try booting with just 1 stick of RAM. Placed it into DIMM-1--failed. DIMM-2--failed. DIMM-3--success. DIMM-4--success. So it turned out that both DIMM-1 and DIMM-2 weren't working with my RAM. I proceeded by plugging both sticks in both DIMM-3 and DIMM-4. The computer showed display and booted up Windows with no problem (after installing the drivers). Though not confirmed, I do believe that running the RAM in DIMM-3 and DIMM-4 (according to the manual, DIMM-1 and DIMM-3 for dual channel [if you look at a picture of the motherboard, it shows it's color coordinated, B=Blue Blk=Black, [B][Blk][B][Blk]) was resulting in no dual channel.

After playing a few games on this setup that I had, and no problems, I proceeded by turning my computer off. I had a very long shutdown and was actually forced to do a soft-power off by holding down the Power button. The next day I tried to boot up my computer, and after Bios POST, the computer would stall on a black screen before Windows XP splash. Unsure of what this meant, I restarted my computer and tried to boot into Safe Mode. Selecting Safe Mode from the menu, it loaded about 5-6 dlls (while still in dos prompt) and then stalled. I didn't know what was causing this problem. I first started by using compressed air on everything in the computer to make sure there was no problem with dust. Then I started to troubleshoot my problems and hopefully come to a conclusion.

1) I started off the troubleshooting by first clearing the CMOS. Boot- failed.
2) I swapped between both harddrives to see if it was harddrive problem. Boot- failed.
3) I switched to 1x512MB RAM in DIMM-3. Boot-failed.

After these all failed, I had no idea what the problem was. I was beginning to think maybe the files to load Windows somehow became corrupted. So I went ahead and threw in my Windows XP CD and booted off it. It started loading the setup files, and then when it got to the part where it said "Setup is now starting Windows" it stalled. I was flabbergasted! I wasn't sure if this was CD related or computer related! I went ahead and switched CD-Roms, even unplugged the unneccessary, stalled every time I tried, sometimes it stalled before even getting to the "Setup is now starting Windows" at the bottom.

I was lost for words, I didn't know where to go next, but I was determined to get to the solution.

On a last ditch effort, I thought to myself 'Even if the computer was running fine last night, maybe there is a chance that the memory is bad'. I swapped the memory I had in there and put in 1x256MB Corsair TWINXPC3200 into DIMM-3. It booted. I thought 'Wow this is very strange, why did it boot??'. I went ahead and booted into Safe Mode (this was the first mode I tried) and switched the drivers to the ones that I was positive to have worked, to make sure that the stalling and failure of loading was not a driver conflict (especially video can sometimes cause this problem). Then I continued to boot into Windows normally. It loaded (laggy, but no problems). I began to think, was the reason that DIMM-1 and DIMM-2 didn't work was all the cause of just bad RAM? To troubleshoot this I went ahead and put the 1x256MB into DIMM-1. Boot-- failure. DIMM-2-- failed. Then I tried to run DIMM-1 and DIMM-3 with 2x256MB, boot failed.

I then wanted to see if this was a driver problem, I went ahead and put my new RAM back in, first 1x512 and then 2x512. Both boots- failed. I put the 1x256 back in and computer rebooted itself after getting past Windows Splash Screen. (in DIMM-1 and DIMM-2 the computer did not display BIOS on the monitor, monitor light remained orange, and when in DIMM-3 and DIMM-4 the computer freezes before loading Windows).

At no point did the motherboard beep to me to tell me what was causing this problem. I have double-checked all connections and wires to make sure it was no simple mistakes.

This ends my troubleshooting. After turning my computer on and off maybe over 50 times, I felt that it was getting nowhere, wasn't healthy for my new computer parts, and should turn this problem over to the forums. I sure hope you guys can help me.

I have a hunch that the problem is somewhere down the line the motherboard went bad. I'm not sure how this could have happened since it was taken well care of, but the DIMM-1 and DIMM-2 not working with either RAM could be a good indication.

If you have any feedback at all, please leave me your post, I will be checking the forums hourly as I find time to answer any questions you may have.

Your help is appreciated and thank you for reading this.

(I apologize for my post in the wrong thread before, mods please delete post at this location.)
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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are you saying that you tried the 2x512mb+256mb all 3 together at once? , how much did you pay for that psu? and what its amper rating of the +3.3v/+5v/+12v? (check sticker) , also in the bios get into power-->hardware monitor and also into main-->system information and report back with the voltages/temperature/bios version (so ill know if you got the latest)

might find this useful


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Old 04-16-2006, 12:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well the diagram seems to explain the problems you had with positioning the ram. it does sound as if it could be a driver conflict, but also a possible motherboard or memory problem. run memtest86+ to test the memory and we'll go from there
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for replying to my post! I will try to find out the answer to these questions you ask me.

Quote:
are you saying that you tried the 2x512mb+256mb all 3 together at once?
No, I have not tried 2x512MB + 256 all at once. I was trying to see if the new memory I bought was bad. I tried 1x512MB in all slots, 1x256MB in all slots. And then I tried 2x512MB using all the different combinations of DIMM_A1,DIMM_A2,DIMM_B1,DIMM_B2. 2x256MB I did the same as the 2x512MB. The only times I got my computer to boot were like I said, 2x512MB in DIMM_B1, DIMM_B2, and 1x256MB in DIMM_B1.

Quote:
how much did you pay for that psu? and what its amper rating of the +3.3v/+5v/+12v?
I paid about $60.00 for this power supply about a year ago, but I think it's price has come down to around $42.00 on Newegg.com.
----------------
PSU Specs:

Input Voltage: 115/230 V
Input Frequency Range: 50/60Hz
Input Current: 10A @ 115V, 5A @ 230V
Output: +3.3V@28A,+5V@50A,-5V@0.8A,+12V@18A,-12V@1A,+5VSB@2.5A
----------------

Quote:
also in the bios get into power-->hardware monitor and also into main-->system information and report back with the voltages/temperature/bios version (so ill know if you got the latest)
v.02.54 American Megatrends
AMIBIOS: v08.00.09 [Build Date: 11/14/05]

VCORE Voltage [1.408V]
3.3V [3.344V]
5V [5.187V]
12V [12.160V]

CPU Temperature: 29ºC/84ºF
MB Temperature: 18ºC/64ºF
-------------------------------

Quote:
run memtest86+ to test the memory and we'll go from there
Let me see if I can find a floppy drive lying around somewhere... I don't think the one in my computer is working... I'll get back to you on this one.
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Old 04-16-2006, 03:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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you welcome

just connect the ram as shown ^ , the temperature looks good and the psu voltages are very stable but it have only 18A on the +12V im not sure if thats good enough for your system , it might not handle it under load , thats not exactly the bios info i was hoping for it doesnt show the version, look on post it might display it there (should be 4 digits)

as for memtest , just burn to cd
http://www.memtest.org/download/1.65...+-1.65.iso.zip
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Old 04-16-2006, 03:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
just connect the ram as shown ^
I've already attempted doing it as shown in the diagram. If I plug any memory into DIMM_A1 and DIMM_A2, the computer will not even boot up. This means DIMM_A1 and DIMM_B1 doesn't work, or any combination of DIMM_A1 or DIMM_A2.

Quote:
thats not exactly the bios info i was hoping for it doesnt show the version, look on post it might display it there (should be 4 digits)
Sorry that this was the incorrect information. I believe looking at the asus support website for model version, that the 11/14/05 build was labeled as 1017.


Quote:
psu voltages are very stable but it have only 18A on the +12V im not sure if thats good enough for your system , it might not handle it under load
In BIOS it displays the +12V as "12.160V" but when I boot the computer using 1x256MB RAM and use ASUS Probe, I get the current Voltage results.

Notice that it is a little underpar, but Asus claims that if it's less than 10% it should still function normally. To be honest, I never really paid attention to PSU voltage ratings, and that's probably why the one I have is barely enough to handle my system.

Even having said this, do you think even with what I have, that all of these problems are cause of my PSU? When I managed to get my system booted up using 1x256MB in DIMM_B1, I was unable to use it's Gigabit LAN connection, there was an issue where even though it was detected, it said 'Limited or no connectivity'. When I put in a spare NIC card I had, there was no problems using it to connect to the internet. I'm really confused at what this problem could be, I am really convinced that the mobo has somehow gone bad, but I have no solid proof that if I go out and spend $100 on another mobo that this will solve my problem
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Old 04-16-2006, 05:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure it's your motherboard. This is exactly why I don't reccomend ASUS with AMD. See if you can get your money back and go with a new board. If you want to go with PCI-e get an MSI K8N Neo4-F ( a lot more future proof than a board with AGP and since you want a new video might as well). If you still want AGP get a ABIT UL8.
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Old 04-16-2006, 05:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
I'm pretty sure it's your motherboard. This is exactly why I don't reccomend ASUS with AMD. See if you can get your money back and go with a new board. If you want to go with PCI-e get an MSI K8N Neo4-F ( a lot more future proof than a board with AGP and since you want a new video might as well). If you still want AGP get a ABIT UL8.
Well right now I am not looking to upgrade to PCI-e, for I don't have money to purchase a new video card. Thanks for the info though, I'll definately consider it later when I make some money.
----------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE: After updating the BIOS to 1017, changing the voltage on my memory from 2.6 to 2.75V, and unplugging all unneeded devices from my system, I was able to boot up with 2x256MB RAM in DIMM_A1 and DIMM_B1. I'm not sure quite yet what the problem was before, but this is great news. I will be attempting my reinstall of Windows and also testing to see if the computer will boot properly on my 2x512MB.

Jeremy: I received word that my +12V rail had too low of amperage, and that I should consider settling for @25A. What do you consider for my computer running the specs that I explained?


UPDATE #2: Okay, I went ahead and plugged in my other harddrive but kept my 2ndary CDROM inoperative. The computer appears to be working fine. I booted off my Windows XP CD and got through the areas I was stalling at. I should be able to install the new Windows perfectly.

Conclusion: My outdated BIOS version and my PSU caused my computer to not operate correctly. In the future I hope to purchase a new PSU, one that can handle all of computer devices.

Tip to remember: High wattage on a PSU is not everything! Total Amperage is also very important!

Thank you everyone who has helped me. It was very informative and saved me a headache like none other!
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Old 04-16-2006, 06:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Epicus

In BIOS it displays the +12V as "12.160V" but when I boot the computer using 1x256MB RAM and use ASUS Probe, I get the current Voltage results.
Notice that it is a little underpar, but Asus claims that if it's less than 10% it should still function normally.
a little? alot , and thats untrue just 3-5% is enough to make it unstable , anyway i'd trust the bios over the program

Quote:
Originally posted by Epicus
Jeremy: I received word that my +12V rail had too low of amperage
thats possible as i alredy mentioned but not a sure thing , i suggest youll get a digital multimeter to know for sure (will cost 15-20$) first measure em in idle and then under load (for that use prime95,do the torture test the 2nd one "in-place large ffts", if you still wont be able to install windows or it wont load after installing then use ultimate boot cd it have mprime , the linux version of prime95) , see these guides on measuring psu voltages with a multimeter
http://www.driverheaven.net/guides/testingPSU/
http://www.ochardware.com/articles/psuvolt/psuvolt.html

Quote:
Originally posted by Epicus

Conclusion: My outdated BIOS version and my PSU caused my computer to not operate correctly. In the future I hope to purchase a new PSU, one that can handle all of computer devices.

Tip to remember: High wattage on a PSU is not everything! Total Amperage is also very important!
your probably right about the bios not sure about the psu i guess ill know for sure after youll report back with the voltages ^^ , yep thats true psus with same wattage have diffrent amper rating some more powerful then others , anyway if it will turn out the psu really cant handle it then get this one
http://www.thenerds.net/index.php?pa...age&pn=TPII430
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Old 04-16-2006, 06:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
anyway if it will turn out the psu really cant handle it then get this one
I'm not sure if this is really the case, my PSU actually has more Watt and a higher Amperage on the +12V rail than the one you recommended. Maybe my PSU is ok afterall and the overall problems were simply the BIOS. After the fix, I am able to install Windows perfectly. So temporarily my computer is up and running beautifully ^^
Thanks for all your help.
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