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can't boot new system; strange i/o symptoms

Last response: in Motherboards
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August 3, 2003 10:22:54 PM

this picks-up from a previous thread: "FSB/CPU Speed Question". Here's the background:

I have built two identical systems with the following specs:

MSI|K7N2 Delta-ILSR Motherboard
AMD Athlon 2800+ CPU
ATI|XPERT2000 PRO 32MB 4X AGP Video Card
(1GB) 512MB Corsair 400MHz DDR RAM
3Ware Escalade 8500 RAID Controller setup using RAID 5
(3) ST3160023AS 160GB Seagate SATA Hard Drives
CD ROM, Floppy

The machines will be web servers for a personal project i want to get running quickly.

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I built one system and had quite a few problems with it. I put that aside for a while and built the second system and it worked beautifully without much trouble (with some help from PIII_Man...thanx).

Moving back to the first machine, I tried all the troubleshooting steps I could imagine by swapping the spares from the working server. Some of the symptoms have disappeared, some have not. Here is a breakdown of the symptoms:

Intermittent:
*Corrupt Recognition of the CD ROM: It does not always show the correct "OPTORITECD-RW CW5205 180E", but will show "OP OP OP OP 52CW52CW52CW52CW..."
*Error detecting floppy drive: The floppy drive is shown as not connected "Error 40)". This was resolved by disconnecting the floppy and disabling it in the BIOS. This only worked on a new motherboard that I purchased, I never got this fixed on the original motherboard.
*Problems building the RAID 5 Array in the Escalade Utility: The build process stalled at 17% several times. I had to reboot, delete the array, rebuild at RAID ), then repeat to rebuild at RAID 5. Again, this solution only worked completely with the new motherboard.

Continuing Issue:

The RAID5 array is now built, there is no floppy error, and the CD-ROM does not appear corrupted on boot. However, the machine will not boot from the CD-ROM (even with a different CD-ROM drive). It shows the red/write light on boot, and does not detect the media as bootable...although it returns no error code.

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Conclusion: These all seem like In/Out errors to me, but I am obviously no expert. Since the motherboard has been replaced and the problems persist, what other hardware item would it be? CPU? Power Supply?

I'm past frustration and kinda just have a dull headache at this point :|
August 3, 2003 11:49:24 PM

Going to take a WAG (Wild A.. Guess).

Sorry to say this but if you have not found the trouble (with the other machine is not in use and if they are identical) then you cannot have been as methodical as you could have been.

Use your good machine as the testbed for the non-working machine/parts. <b>You may have more than one faulty component!!!</b>

1) swap the PSU
2) swap the mobo
3) swap the cables
4) swap the memory - one by one
5) swap the peripherals one by one.
6) swap the processor.
7) etc. (anything else I didn't think of)

BTW. Your welcome for the info in the other post. I'd be very suspicious of that memory module.


The loving are the daring!
August 4, 2003 1:49:20 AM

3 things it sounds like to me

heat
psu
and/or memory

3 386DX-25's...12 volts...glue some ln2 and a wicked amount of overclocking and you get a willamantee minus 36 pins, 33.75 million transistors and a couple hundred mhz... :cool:
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August 4, 2003 9:43:07 AM

The one thing I did notice is the PSU fan and case fan don't seem to put out the same pressure in the suspect machine as in the good one. The PSU came with my case (IStar 300 Watt) for the rackmount case. I'll try with another PSU I have about.

I'm gonna give it a thorough retry on swapping individual parts.

The hint on multiple parts being bad was helpful. Seriously, when you're in the middle of the process its hard to step back and believe two parts are bad. I'll update once through with troubleshooting.
August 4, 2003 12:14:07 PM

Hiya,
It sounds to me like a faulty mobo. Once thing not mentioned above is try different IDE/SATA cables.I had a drive that was being recognised incorrectly due to a 'brand new' ide cable.

Dave
August 4, 2003 5:26:25 PM

Quote:
(IStar 300 Watt)

300W is borderline for the power requirements of your system, so chances are you've got one good PSU in the working PC, and one not so good one in the other. you can use MBM5 to test it, or you can simply swap the PSUs between the two systems, and I bet you find the other one becomes unstable.

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$hit Happens. I just wish it would happen to someone else for a change.
August 4, 2003 5:55:34 PM

The PSU issue sounds pretty reasonable. However, I have a 3U case, and the PSU is a strange shape: 3.25"W, 4.5"H, 7"D. Anandtech's new PSU review - http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1841 - is very thorough, but it looks like these are all desktop-sized items. Any suggestions for places to buy non-standard sized PSU's?
!