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Problems with my Abit KT7A-RAID locking up.

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July 5, 2001 7:46:35 PM

Hi all. My first post! I recently bought and built my first AMD Thunderbird system. I got the Abit KT7A-RAID board because I want to use RAID for my video capture HDs. I picked up two 40GB IDE 7200RPM drives (WD) for the RAID and a 30GB main drive (for programs, MP3's and ready to burn VideoCD images). I also may play some games and do my development work on this machine. I bought the 1.2Ghz 266Mhz cpu, and 2 "oem" 256MB PC133 chips, as well as a PC133 128MB oem chip. I added my GeForce 32MB video card, SB Live soundcard, Pinnacle DV-500Plus Capture board, Adaptec AHA-2940UW for the Plextor CD-ROM and Plextor CD-RW drives.

The problem is this. The first time I fired it up, within the install of Win2K Server, it froze. No blue screen..nothing..just the install stopped. I rebooted, and it did it again. I then took out all devices except the network card (oh yeah..3Com 10/100), and video card. I got through it this time. My original installs I did NOT install the mother/board drives (Via 4-in-1, USB, etc). It would crash within 10 to 15 minutes even with no hardware other than video/network. I asked our Sys-Admin guy at work, and he said maybe the AGP video driver was the problem because he experienced something like that recently. So I got the latest drivers off the web-site (Abit) and reinstalled (now for the 5th time) and got the drivers going. All was working great..no hangs. I then added the SCSI card, no problems. The capture board, no problems, etc. When I installed the SB Live driver, it froze again during install. So I rebooted, and tried again. This time it worked, but now, several times in a row after about 10 or 15 minutes, the machine would freeze again! So, I took out the SB Live (no sound now. :(  ). All seemed fine at this point! I was running for many hours, including capturing some video, editing it, downloading mp3s, etc. Then, while I thought I was in the clear, it froze! I was right in the middle of doing a transition in my video and it just froze!

So, I ask you oh greath THG gurus..what in the heck is going on? I thought that I might have a bad mobo or cpu, but if it was, why would it run stable in DOS for hours (infact..I left it on overnight while it was copying Win2K files..no problems the next morning). Oh..lastly, I have a new case with 2 Panaflo fans, and a (shoot..forget the name of it) BIG loud cpu fan. I can touch the heatsink on the cpu hours later and its still cool, but darn if this fan is loud! So, I don't think its a heating problem. Nor do I think there is anything wrong with the board. It seems to occur only while in the Win2K OS (although I haven't tried Win98 or ME or anything).

My best guess is that somehow the drivers for the mobo are causing a problem? I mean..why else would it still freeze and more so when the SB Live is installed! I don't think there is even a problem with the SB Live being installed at this point.

So if anyone can help me out I would sure appreciate the help on getting my "dream machine" running!

Thank you very much.

Sorry for the long winded post!
July 5, 2001 9:14:38 PM

Well, first, I would like to direct your attention to the icrontic forums. They are a message board about just the KT133/A chipset, which you are using. go to http://www.icronticforums.com and post away. You'll get more focused advice there.

Second, here's the order I've always installed things. First, the OS. the second you get the OS in, install your 4-in-1 drivers. I'm using 4.31 with no probs, FYI. Make sure you're using the latest drivers, not the ones that came on the CD w/ the mobo.

Then, install your vid card drivers (latest, again, off the web). Also, take a look at what BIOS you're using, and look at how you have it set up.

Secondly, you have sort of an odd set up (although i am no expert here). I've never heard of someone running a RAID array AND a second single HDD. Also, running 2 different types of RAM sticks may cause problems as well. Again, others can answer better what can and can't be done with this particular configuration.

A few BIOS setting to look at: disable AGP 4x. fixed my freezing problems. Look at PCI delay transaction, set to 0. Look at PCI read and write settings (i'm not sure that's the name of the setting, but it's in advanced chipset towards the bottom). Both need to be set to enabled. Also, try setting Dflt_Clck to optimal in advanced chipset features (again, not sure this is the exact name of the setting.)

hope this helps! again, i highly recommend icrontic to you.


allgoodpeople



"It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear."
July 6, 2001 3:22:32 AM

I see you eventually installed 4-in-1 drivers. Make sure they are 4.31 or 4.32 with the Via 686B bug fix.

Another known bug is the AMD AGP data error bug in Win2K. Here is a link for fix.

<A HREF="http://www.amd.com/products/cpg/athlon-duron/amd_win2k_..." target="_new">http://www.amd.com/products/cpg/athlon-duron/amd_win2k_...;/A>

I'm not a Win2K user so I can't offer any advice in that area but I would suggest you adjust all your BIOS options to conservative settings while you troubleshoot your problems.

You have a lot of equipment in that system. Make sure you have an adequate power supply. At the very least 350 watts with no less than 185 watts combined power, 5 volt power plus 3.3 volt power. (Watch out for some cheap 300-watt units which are very weak in this area.).

Here is link to some good reading on power supplies, (though it doesn't exactly include recommendations for your situation). (The article is a little old).

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1128" target="_new">http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1128&lt;/A>

<A HREF="http://www.viahardware.com/faq/kt7/kt7faq.htm" target="_new">Paul's Unofficial Abit KT7 FAQ</A> is the best resource I have seen for the KT7 family motherboards. The site includes good troubleshooting tips and a very good PCI installation guide for this family of boards. (Helpful for avoiding conflicts).
July 6, 2001 12:01:45 PM

Buckman, I've got a KT7-RAID, and experienced almost the EXACT same symptoms as you. I narrowed it down to the fact that the box would freeze if I had more than 3 expansion cards (AGP Vid plus 2 PCI). Didn't matter which cards I used, the minute I added a 3rd PCI card it would go back to freezing mode.

I found a number of people over on another hardware forum (can't remember which one) who had the same type of symptoms.

To make a long story short, the fix I had to implement was this: I had to put both my RAID drives on the same IDE Bus (IDE3) as Master/Slave. Then I could stuff as many expansion cards in as I pleased and it was rock stable. If I split them on IDE3 and IDE4 Master/Master it would freeze.

I know this sacrifices performance. No doubt. I'm hoping that someday there may be some kind of BIOS update for the highpoint controller to fix this issue, although I'm still waiting. But at least I've got a working machine.

I'd suggest giving it a try just to see if your freezes disappear. Nothing to lose.

<i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
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