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Abit KT7A-RAID w/ AMD 1GHZ problems

Last response: in Motherboards
February 19, 2001 11:37:57 AM

I've been trying to get an out of the box 1ghz thunderbird to work on an Abit kt7a-RAID for about 3 days now. Here's what I've tried so far:

I've only been trying to boot with an AGP voodoo3 (screwed in and not screwed in), 256megs of generic pc133 SDRAM, a 300W power supply, and the thunderbird/heatsink/fan. I've also tried booting with a HD, Floppy, CD-ROM, and NIC, but no luck.

The first thing that would happen was that I'd get a long, continuous beep on powerup, then the system would shut down. Figured out that I didn't have my CPU fan connected to FAN1. Then only Voodoo3 info would appear on the screen on powerup, i.e. no memory check, no "Award BIOS v. xxx" info. I would turn it off, remove all power, clear the CMOS and try again... sometmes immediately, or after waiting an hour or so. I repeated this enough times to see that whenever I'd leave the system alone to cool down, it would get further than when I didn't. So I thought, "ok, it's just getting too hot". I'm using an aluminum heatsink and a Cooler Master fan. Thing is, these are old parts from an old celeron system. Are they big enough? They seem to fit ok, but they don't *completely* cover the entire surface. Especially the fan. I'd say the fan is about a millimeter smaller than the heatsink on each side. It's also not a very big or powerful fan.. have no idea what kind of RPM it gets. Is the fan fast enough? Is the heatsink clip not doing its job? It seems to be fairly snug, but I may not be getting the contact I need. What about the 4 rubber cushions on each corner of the chip? Could the be too big, preventing the heatsink from making good contact? Aghh, I don't know, and I'm open to suggestions.

I'm pretty convinced it's a heating issue, because when I applied a new coat of thermal paste, and lightly pressed down on the fan on powerup, I actually got into the BIOS (yay!). I just navigated through the menus until my system eventually locked up.

Taking that all into consideration, it may also be a memory problem. The manufacturer I bought it from said it would work only with VIA Apollo chipsets, but I have that. Also, sometimes when the system hangs, it will be during the memory check. However, like I said before, it's erratic--sometimes I get to the BIOS, sometimes I don't.

Any suggestions?
a b V Motherboard
February 19, 2001 11:45:02 AM

Hey Nachoman this definately sounds like a heating problem and one i would definately get sorted out ... You need a better fan and a proper heatsink for you Thundie for the price of what it will cost you should get it sorted out ...

Im not sure but the one long beep i had once when i had a dodgy fan that worked sometimes ... But for a fan sometimes isn`t enough so even if you get it sorted out as being a process of elimination it still a process that is worthwhile ...
a b V Motherboard
February 19, 2001 1:48:06 PM

Huh? What kind of memory 'only works with VIA chipsets'? Sounds fishy to me. I've always felt for stability/reliability one area not to skimp on is the memory.

While heat may be contributing to your probs, I don't think it's heat related. Things just don't heat up instantaneously so a true heat related prob would surface only after a few minutes (and shouldn't prevent you from at least getting thru POST).

Still, it's worth it in the long run to replace a 'kludged' fan with one that is designed for a Socket A proc.

Finally, you might just have a bad mobo. If you just cannot basically get the sys up/running I'd think about exchanging the mobo.
Related resources
February 19, 2001 2:48:04 PM

Now I'm able to get into the bios and look around. I checked the system heat, and it stedily climbs.

I hooked up an old harddrive, and it was detected, but right after I got a checksum error.
February 19, 2001 2:54:19 PM

I would suggest that first thing you do is obtain a heatsink/fan combination specifically made the for Athlon. Unfortunately, using a heatsink not specifically designed for the Athlon can cause damage to the CPU. In the case of a Celeron heatsink, the surface size won't be large enough to cover the CPU and could really cause damage. You should inspect your CPU carefully for any scratches on the surface of the CPU. If there are scratches, it is a possibility that the CPU is damaged and could produce unpredictable results and cause general instability. To my knowledge, unfortunately AMD still does not warranty OEM CPUs against surface damage, or damage from overheating, specifically because they know that most damage occurs from over-clocking and from not using adequate cooling. (Another good reason to obtain a boxed CPU that includes a factory heatsink/fan and a 3-year warranty.) The other problem you will have is relative to the clearance of the CPU clip for a Celeron. You have to keep in mind that a Celeron heatsink is suppose to fit over an Intel Chip sitting in a Socket 370 PGA hole. In this case, you are trying to get the clip on that heatsink to reach over a larger AMD Athlon CPU sitting in a larger Socket 462. Definitely not good idea. As for the cushions, they protect the edges of the CPU by ensuring that the Heatsink doesn't wobble on the surface (which would damage the CPU) while also making sure the correct height/pressure is achieved between the CPU's center (what you are actually trying to cool down the most) and the heatsink. If you can see these with the Heatsink on, you have probably (but not definitely) damaged your CPU. Furthermore, if "pushing down" on the CPU helps (something that you should NEVER do by the way), you've definitely got CPU seating problems and should remove and re-insert your CPU to get a proper seat. The key is to examine the CPU carefully before dropping the ARM to ensure the processor is sitting all the way down in the Socket. GENTLY hold the CPU down as you close the pins by moving the Arm down. Then attach the heatsink/fan assembly, being careful NOT to scratch the CPU surface. This whole procedure can be tricky (more than it sounds anyway) and EXTREME caution should be used. Using a good thermal compound at the center of the heatsink is also a good practice in our experience.

Next, I would advise that you should ONLY use high quality High end BRAND name memory. I would also mention that low end Crucial, Kingston "ValueRAM" and All-Components RAM are not on our compatibility list, so this should give you an indication of the RAM sensitivity of running a high-end system like the KT7A-RAID.

We generally only use and recommend:
Corsair CAS2 PC133 128MB [Single Sided only!] DIMM
Corsair CAS2 PC133 256MB DIMM
Mushkin CAS2 PC133 Rev.3 128MB [Single Sided by design]
Mushkin CAS2 PC133 Rev.2 handpicked 256MB DIMM

Finally, I would suggest that you don't keep clearing your CMOS. If you are overheating, or have incompatible RAM, clearing your CMOS won't really help at all, it will simply make it so that you have to re-enter all of your settings the next time you boot.

Good Luck
Steve Benoit

Stable Technologies
'The way IT should be!'