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at the end of my rope/IDE cable

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January 5, 2004 2:12:08 AM

hi all!

first-time poster, and really hoping i can get some help from the collective wisdom here. my system is very unstable. it either hard-locks (have to re-set or power right down, including the power switch at the back of the case), or it randomly reboots (the hard lock usually happens either in the middle of an app, or if i go away and let the computer go to "sleep"..i.e. shut the display off...rebooting usually happens during a game...no, no particular game, ANY game). before i go any further, here are my specs:

asus a7s333 mobo
amd xp 1600+ chip
512mb ddr ram
geforce 4 ti4200 vid card
audigy 1 soundcard
maxtor 40 gig hard drive
liteon burnproof cdrw
dlink network card
daytek 95p monitor
smc wireless router (i'm hardwired into it, as is another PC on my homelan, with 2 other PCs using wireless network cards)
400 watt PS
OS-win98se w/all the latest updates incl. directx9.0b (or whatever the latest is)
BIOS-updated to the latest for my mother board...have also updated to the latest SIS AGP drivers for my mother board.

things i have already done (in no particular order...it's late and i feel like i've been banging my head against a brick wall :)  ):
-swapped memory with another system that has same mobo.
-ran memtest 86 on current memory and memory borrowed from other system
-reinstalled OS (win98se)
-fdisked and formatted hard drive (after running every imaginable maxtor utility i could download to verify it WASN'T a hard drive problem)
-moved cards around in my pci slots to eliminate possible conflicts
-checked if it was a heat problem (all monitoring programs say no...to be on the safe side, took out chip and cleaned and re-applied arctic silver)
-tried changing powerbars
-tried plugging into a different electrical outlet
-ran the system w/o cd-rw plugged in (ya never know)
-reinstalled video and soundcard drivers
-uninstalled most recent windows update updates (but left IE and OE 6)
-tried using different plug-ins off my power supply
-tried using different IDE cables..and configurations (master/slaved HD/CDRW; configured both as masters in primary/secondary IDE channels; right now, have the HD as primary master and CDRW as secondary slave)

that's all i can remember having done right now. the only things i can think it would be now are:
1) power supply is bad
2) mobo is bad
3) case is bad
4) processor is bad

none of the things i've already done made a LICK of difference...system crashes many times a day, and at, because murphy rules, the most inopportune times. luckily, it's mostly a games machine, and not one i do much work on...but i do do SOME work on it...and this is driving me nuts!!!! the other machines on my LAN are ROCK-SOLID...so i'm, literally...at the end of my IDE cable. any help would be HUGE!

thanks a million!
steve in canada

More about : end rope ide cable

a b V Motherboard
January 5, 2004 3:30:09 AM

Well, my guess would be power supply, but Asus has been known to make a few junk boards based on SiS chipsets. You see, Asus considers these to be their bottom boards and don't give a crap about quality on the cheap stuff, regardless of how good SiS makes any chipset (P4S533 was good by accident/mistake). But anyway, it's probably the power supply. Try getting Motherboard Monitor 5 (google MBM5 for the latest version) and, if you can set it up, run that with logs turned on, switched to output a text file (.txt), setting it to 5 second recording intervals and 60 entries will log the last 5 minutes of operation before it crashed.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
January 5, 2004 5:51:26 AM

I tend to think it is an IRQ conflict. Try using the onboard sound, and put your lan card in pci slot 3. This should take care of any conflicts. Make sure you uninstall bothe devices from windows, then load them again. Since you are having trouble when your monitor goes into sleep mode, why not disable this function?
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January 5, 2004 12:23:56 PM

in regards to an IRQ conflict, i think i've troubleshot that. the audigy is in pci 3 (not shared)...the network cards is in pci2, which is shared with the onboard audio, but i've jumper-disabled the onboard audio. only other thing in there is the AGP vidcard, hard drive, floppy, and cdrw. the bios settings are identical to the other asus7s33 computer i've got running (albeit with a duron 1.2 chip in it and half the ram)...and it's fine! but thanks for the help...
January 5, 2004 12:28:29 PM

thanks crashman.
gonna try running mbm5...downloading it as we speak. i pulled the 300w ps out of my son's machine...and will swap it once i get home for work... i'll also post whatever mbm5 tells me too. thanks again!
January 5, 2004 1:52:59 PM

so further to my post in reply to crashman, installed mbm5, changed the logging and report settings, walked away from the computer for 15 minutes, and, lo and behold, it had crashed (desktop's there, but nothign responds, mouse frozen, etc.). when i get home tonight, i'll probably be able to get it running long enough to check the logfile created by mbm5. what am i looking for in it? i'm assuming it's stored in the mbm5 directory(?)
January 5, 2004 2:12:35 PM

I can't remember the name of the file, but I think it is stored in the mbm5 dir.

You want to get it to log the voltage of the 12V, 5V, and 3.3V lines. If you see any of them drop by more than ~5% or so immediately prior to the crash, then an inadequate PSU is probably your problem.

Make sure MBM5 is set up to give you reasonable readings first - you can configure which sensors it displays for voltages, temps, etc, or it might just be nonsense.

---
<font color=red>Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do.</font color=red> :wink:
January 5, 2004 3:03:55 PM

so what do you mean by "reasonable readings"...actually "effectively" using a monitoring program is a new thing for me :) 
thanks!
a b V Motherboard
January 5, 2004 9:12:19 PM

"MBM 5 Interval Log" and mine appears magically on my desktop.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
January 6, 2004 1:13:32 AM

so here's what i got out of the motherboard monitor test i ran this morning prior to going to work...notice it ran less than a minute before the computer crashed. i have NO idea what the numbers mean, so any interpretation would be MUCHO appreciated :) 

+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| | | | Case | CPU | Sensor 3 | Core 0 | Core 1 | +3.3 | +5.00 | +12.00 | -12.00 | -5.00 | Fan 1 | Fan 2 | Fan 3 |
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| 1/5/04 | 8:51:26 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5113 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:51:21 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5113 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:51:16 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:51:11 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:51:06 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:51:01 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:50:56 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:50:51 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:50:46 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 1/5/04 | 8:50:41 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
a b V Motherboard
January 6, 2004 2:50:19 AM

Apparently MBM5 is reading your voltages out of order. I can't even get a guess out of that!

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
January 6, 2004 3:12:14 AM

and the drama continues :) 
so, after swapping out my 400w psu for the 300w psu in another system in my homeLAN that is stable I (when i took it out of this other machine, i was amazed at how much stuff i have plugged into that 750mhz duron system [3hds for example], that i should probably have the 400 in it:) , i was still getting reboots (the game i'm using to make it crash right now is diablo 2). what typically happens is right after i start the game (as soon as i load up a character and start running around, within about 30 seconds) the computer reboots. and it happened even after swapping out my PSU. so on the advice of someone in another forum i frequent, i went into the bios after the system had rebooted, and throttled back my cpu from 1400 mhz to 1050 (which knocked by FSB from 133 down to 100). now, usually, when it reboots, and i try to go back in and play diablo2, it'll just keep rebooting until i power every thing down (including switching off the PSU itself), and leave the machine off for awhile. BUT NOT THIS TIME!?! i was able to get back in and play for a good 15 minuters. i'm gonna to leave the computer on overnight, and see if it's still running in the morning. good night... :) 
btw the voltage readings on the 400psu and the 300psu, the way i read them in mbm are exactly the same...for whatever THAT'S worth...hehehehe
January 6, 2004 12:59:57 PM

an update.
so i get up this morning, and, yes, computer had crashed. i turned off power-saving features like monitor and hard-drive shutdown days ago, just on the off-chance that was what was giving me my grief. but i did power off the monitor physically before going to bed last night. when i turned the monitor on this morning, the green light came on briefly..then it went to a solid amber light, with no display. hit the reset button, got a post-code (damn, just realized i should have listened to the post-code..ooops..next time...i THINK it might have been 2 beeps), and the hard drive light came on, but still no display. so i powered it down, swapped the power supplies again (my 10 year old will be VERY happy :) , and powered her back up. went to the bios immediately (whenever i have one of these hard crashes, it ALWAYS does that, telling me PC had hung on boot-up because of an improper CPU setting). i set it back to 1400/133fsb (amd recommended settings btw) from 1050/100fsb (which obviously didn't make the system any more stable). i'm now posting this while the computer's still running. funny thing is, i seem to be able to work in windows mostly fine (altho i have had the odd reboot while running IE6), but the soft reboot crash happens primarily in games. the either complete freeze (where i can see the desktop, but nothing responds, including the mouse and keyboard), or the display refuses to come on, usually only happens after i leave the PC on for several hours (i say several because this is what seems to happen each time i leave it on overnight...i WOULD stay up all night if it wasn't for that damn thing called a job :) 
anyway, all the advice i've recieved so far has been VERY helpful..plz keep advising...i'll listen ;->
thx again!
January 7, 2004 2:39:57 AM

so i left for work this am with the computer in safe mode...got home and it had crashed (frozen desktop). hit reset, back into windows, was checking the forums, couple of newsgroups, when BLAM rebooted again. as it was booting up, i powered the machine down, and swapped my xp1600+ chip for a 1.2 duron in another machine i have with the same mobo that by comparison is rock-solid. gonna leave that in overnight and see if it's crashed again by morning. btw, what does chip damage look like? reason i ask is when i flip over my 1600+, there are these marks that look like carbon-scoring on a star wars spaceship, very tiny, in the "no prongs"-area in the centre. could that be sign of a damaged chip?
thanks again,
steve
January 7, 2004 3:09:10 AM

See if they wipe off with a q-tip. Something got burned to make those marks. Might ge on the mobo, or chip, but we can hope it's dust.
January 7, 2004 1:21:29 PM

so i get up this morning and, lo and behold, for the first time in recent memory, the computer's still running! looks like swapping the chip did the trick. gotta run for work...will leave PC running all day, see if it's still usable when i get home tonight!
January 10, 2004 4:21:13 AM

You did a great job relaying useable information in a concise way. Nice Post :-)

A7n8x dlx 1004 Uber Agressive settings
2500Barton (Bastards locked it) Radeon 9200
WD 60g @7200w 8mg Cache Crucial 2700 2x 256
AMD ME??? Yeah they did me alright.
January 10, 2004 9:59:29 AM

Sounds like a faulty power supply as Crash already said in his post. I have ahd them do the same thing before to.

Barton 3200+ 400MHz
A7N8X Deluxe
Liquid
2x512 KinstonHyperX PC3200
GeForce FX5900
Maxtor DiamondMaxPlus9@80Gig
SONY CD 52x
SONY RW 52x/24x/52x
SONY DVD 16x/40x
January 10, 2004 3:32:39 PM

so changing the chip still didn't keep it from crashing. looks like mobo and or chip. still suspecting the outlet in my computer room (altho i did troubleshoot it fairly thorougly in past), i moved the whole PC down the hall to my son's room (he has NO computer issues, same mobo). unplugged his machine, plugged mine in. my experiment is so far good. after moving the machine, left it running all night just sitting at the desktop (power management disabled in both bios and in windows), with the monitor on. got up this morning and it was still running. now, for about 3 hours, i've had diablo 2 running with 3 windows explorer windows open, no crashes. so i've run some cable down the hall from my old computer room, plugged the PC now in my son's room into the router, and have net access. so i'm going out to run some errands with the wife now, and will leave D2, IE6, OE, and an explorer window open. only thing that's not plugged in now are my speakers :) 
steve
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