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A7N8X-E Deluxe XP boot problem

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May 23, 2005 9:15:26 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During the
process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I see
the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause and the
whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the first XP
screen and still start the boot over.

After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a turn
off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the problem.

A7N8X-E Deluxe
AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
512 MB Crucial
WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
ATI 9600XT 128 MB
CD/RW & floppy drives

I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
updates. Problem started before SP2.
Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
Latest ATI Radeon driver.
Memory seems OK.
BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then CD.

What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
Any help appreciated.

Larry



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May 23, 2005 11:43:37 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

In article <42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
<nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:

> Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
> screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During the
> process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I see
> the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause and the
> whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the first XP
> screen and still start the boot over.
>
> After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a turn
> off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the problem.
>
> A7N8X-E Deluxe
> AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
> 512 MB Crucial
> WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
> ATI 9600XT 128 MB
> CD/RW & floppy drives
>
> I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
> updates. Problem started before SP2.
> Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
> then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
> BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
> Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
> Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
> Latest ATI Radeon driver.
> Memory seems OK.
> BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then CD.
>
> What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
> Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
> Any help appreciated.
>
> Larry
>

Have you done even the most basic testing ?

Nforce2 is known to be picky about RAM, expecially at FSB400/DDR400.
Depending on your RAM configuration, you could be throwing memory
errors. I recommend two test programs - memtest86+ from memtest.org
(program will test a special boot floppy for you) and Prime95
from mersenne.org (a Windows level test - select "torture test"
option, to do a test). No errors are acceptable when using
these test programs - if you see errors, you need to fix
or upgrade some hardware.

I expect you will find memory errors at the very least.
It took me a week of testing to verify what works and
what doesn't work. I ended up buying two sticks of
PC3200 CAS2 memory, as the fastest solution to getting
a working system.

The other item that needs attention, is your power supply.
The output printed on the label of the supply, should be
about +5V at 25 amps. That board draws virtually all of
its power from +5V, so a healthy +5V rating is important.

Before you buy any new hardware, to verify it is a hardware
issue, just drop the FSB of the processor down from FSB400
to a lot less. I'm willing to bet it'll boot like a charm.
And, that will indicate you need to do more testing, for
the above mentioned potential culprits. Both power demands
and memory error rate, will drop if you drop the FSB speed.

Paul
May 24, 2005 1:59:41 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

Thanks for the replies.
I do have one 512 stick of Crucial PC-3200 in there, and the power supply is
the Antec True Blue 430 watt.

The PC tech did knock down the speed but it made no difference.

I did run the boot logger but don't know where the results are.

I will get the mem checker and try that.

Larry



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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
May 24, 2005 2:37:03 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

Tried boot logging?

"Larry" <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote in message
news:42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net...
> Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
> screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During
the
> process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I see
> the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause and
the
> whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the first XP
> screen and still start the boot over.
>
> After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a
turn
> off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the problem.
>
> A7N8X-E Deluxe
> AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
> 512 MB Crucial
> WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
> ATI 9600XT 128 MB
> CD/RW & floppy drives
>
> I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
> updates. Problem started before SP2.
> Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
> then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
> BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
> Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
> Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
> Latest ATI Radeon driver.
> Memory seems OK.
> BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then
CD.
>
> What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
> Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
> Any help appreciated.
>
> Larry
>
>
>
> ----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet
News==----
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Newsgroups
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=----
May 24, 2005 8:25:19 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

In article <42928b1d$1_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
<nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:

> Thanks for the replies.
> I do have one 512 stick of Crucial PC-3200 in there, and the power supply is
> the Antec True Blue 430 watt.
>
> The PC tech did knock down the speed but it made no difference.
>
> I did run the boot logger but don't know where the results are.
>
> I will get the mem checker and try that.
>
> Larry
>

I believe the purpose of boot logging, is to see if you are
getting stuck when a particular driver loads. Ntbtlog.txt is
mentioned here.

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/Window...

Another tool I like, although it is a pretty big download, is
to make a Knoppix CDROM boot disk. (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/)
The reason I like this tool, is this distro is a read-only
boot disk. You don't need a hard drive to use it, so no chance
of the hard drive being corrupted. And, if you have enough system
memory (1.5GB is good), you can even load the contents of the
entire CD into system memory, so the system runs completely without
rotating media. As a bonus, memtest86+ is offered as a boot time
option, so the CD also functions as your copy of memtest86+. It was
a 700MB download, for the release I used, so is not a candidate
for dial up modems. (There may be smaller distros that can do this,
but I haven't been shopping for one lately.)

As Linux boots, you can watch as the various drivers load for
the subsystems on the motherboard. Finally the desktop will appear,
and a short message will come through the speakers (proving the
sound driver works).

Now, the cool part, is when you try to overclock. With a little
too much overclock, the drivers will load OK, but the desktop
applications will start disappearing one by one, as they crash.
With more extreme overclocking, the driver loading sequence will
become unreliable.

Since the booting process offers more feedback, you get a bit
more info than you might get from Windows.

In any case, many may consider this to be pretty pointless, but
if you want a different test environment, this is one way to get
it. I've even run a Linux version of Prime95 while using Knoppix.
You can even run multiple copies of Prime95 (I've run four
at the same time - works as long as each has its own lauhcn
directory).

As the CD cannot be corrupted, you don't have to worry about
registries being bad and the like.

Paul
May 24, 2005 7:16:46 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

"Paul" <nospam@needed.com> wrote in message
news:nospam-2305051943370001@192.168.1.178...
> In article <42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
> <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:
>

I recommend two test programs - memtest86+ from memtest.org
> (program will test a special boot floppy for you) and Prime95
> from mersenne.org (a Windows level test - select "torture test"
> option, to do a test). No errors are acceptable when using
> these test programs - if you see errors, you need to fix
> or upgrade some hardware.
>
> I expect you will find memory errors at the very least.
> It took me a week of testing to verify what works and
> what doesn't work. I ended up buying two sticks of
> PC3200 CAS2 memory, as the fastest solution to getting
> a working system.
>
> Paul

Paul, I made a boot floppy with MemTest86+ and ran 10 passes last night with
zero errors.

Larry



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----= East and West-Coast Server Farms - Total Privacy via Encryption =----
May 24, 2005 7:23:56 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

"Larry" <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote in message
news:42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net...
> Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
> screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During
> the process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I
> see the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause
> and the whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the
> first XP screen and still start the boot over.
>
> After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a
> turn off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the
> problem.
>
> A7N8X-E Deluxe
> AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
> 512 MB Crucial
> WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
> ATI 9600XT 128 MB
> CD/RW & floppy drives
>
> I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
> updates. Problem started before SP2.
> Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
> then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
> BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
> Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
> Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
> Latest ATI Radeon driver.
> Memory seems OK.
> BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then
> CD.
>
> What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
> Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
> Any help appreciated.
>

Was the sata drive replaced under warranty with a new drive or a factory
reconditioned drive ? Have you got the bios set for optimal preformance and
not agressive ?

--
Judder
May 24, 2005 7:23:57 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

"Jinxed" <jinxed@noluck.com> wrote in message
news:gGHke.38680$G8.21563@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...
>> first XP screen and still start the boot over.
>>
> Was the sata drive replaced under warranty with a new drive or a factory
> reconditioned drive ? Have you got the bios set for optimal preformance
> and not agressive ?
>
> --
> Judder
Yes, WD replaced with a new drive, manufactured in Malaysia less than a
month before I received it.

If I set for voice response on boot, sometimes the voice will say "failure
due to overclocking," but I am not overclocked. Nothing agressive in BIOS.



----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet News==----
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----= East and West-Coast Server Farms - Total Privacy via Encryption =----
May 25, 2005 8:47:25 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

In article <42937e24$1_2@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
<nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:

> "Paul" <nospam@needed.com> wrote in message
> news:nospam-2305051943370001@192.168.1.178...
> > In article <42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
> > <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:
> >
>
> I recommend two test programs - memtest86+ from memtest.org
> > (program will test a special boot floppy for you) and Prime95
> > from mersenne.org (a Windows level test - select "torture test"
> > option, to do a test). No errors are acceptable when using
> > these test programs - if you see errors, you need to fix
> > or upgrade some hardware.
> >
> > I expect you will find memory errors at the very least.
> > It took me a week of testing to verify what works and
> > what doesn't work. I ended up buying two sticks of
> > PC3200 CAS2 memory, as the fastest solution to getting
> > a working system.
> >
> > Paul
>
> Paul, I made a boot floppy with MemTest86+ and ran 10 passes last night with
> zero errors.
>
> Larry
>

If you can boot into Windows, run a copy of Prime95. Use
the Torture Test option - this is where I really started
to see problems with my A7N8X-E. It may take a minimum
of 30 minutes before you see your first error. While this
doesn't have anything to do with your disk problem, it is
part of proving the machine is ready to use.

I assumed your problem was memory, because so many people
experience problems with that. I really don't have a good
handle on what to expect from booting WinXP, when the disk
is acting up, so any symptoms you might name, wouldn't
really suggest a solution to me.

There were problems initially with the first A7N8X boards
and the SIL3112. The situation a while back is posted here:

http://groups.google.ca/group/alt.comp.periphs.mainboar...

Looking on the "new" support.asus.com page, it looks like the
1013e bios (with 4.2.47 SIL BIOS) is still the latest. There
is a hacked BIOS with 4.2.50 SIL BIOS here (I haven't tried
this, because I don't own any SATA drives). I doubt that any
of this has anything to do with getting a single drive to
work. Perhaps save this BIOS upgrade for when you are really
sick of the board and don't give a damn any more.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/A7N8X-Delux...

Do you have some way to test the Raptor ? A spare drive would
really come in handy at a time like this, so you can do some
read/write testing of the disk. And, even if Windows is silent
about how much trouble it is having reading your disk, if you
use a disk benchmarking program, that tests STR versus head
position on the disk, if you see a lot of variation in measured
read bandwidth, that is an indication that the drive is suffering
errors that are causing it to go back and retry read operations.

This looks pretty bad, whatever the root cause:
http://www.waptang.com/images/hdtach.jpg

Something smells here - this could be a bad cable:
http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD800JB_...

This drive looks pretty good:
http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD8000JB...

There are various Data Lifeguard tools here. Problem is, the WD
FAQs talk a lot about "EIDE" and not SATA, making me wonder if
these tools really work with chips like the SIL3112.
http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?cxml=n&pid=99...

Data Lifeguard error codes are here, for whatever that is worth.
http://support.wdc.com/techinfo/general/errorcodes.asp

Favorite errors on SATA are:

Bad cables. Try another cable (usually a mechanical problem,
like cable won't stay in place). Perhaps if a cable is bent
or pinched, this will cause a reflection in the cable, as
bending or pinching the cables changes the impedance. The
signals are really high speed, and don't appreciate stuff like
that. If you've accidently "folded" the cable, replace it.

Bad port on SATA chip. Try the other port.

Cable soft error rate. I think there is an integrity check
across the cable, but I don't know of any way to find out whether
Windows is having problems because of something like that.

Maybe now you understand why I don't have any SATA drives. I'm
still uncertain as to whether there are really enough tools
around to deal with them. With IDE drives, my experience is
they either work, or they are completely dead, with maybe a couple
of days transition time between those two states (if I'm lucky,
I get to do a final backup). With SATA, the interface just adds
another variable to the mix ("damn, my cable fell off").

Paul
May 25, 2005 1:42:40 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

Thanks for the info, Paul.

I used this dang setup for a year with BIOS 1006 without problems. Then I
started getting "INSERT SYSTEM DISK" errors, but only when the drive started
from cold (turned off for at least an hour). WD had me download their test
program which boots from a floppy so it could test the drive before it
reached operating temp. The quick test tested bad, and the long test timed
out. Repeating the tests (drive warm by now) showed drive good. The replaced
the drive and so far haven't contacted me that the one I sent back was
actually good. Well, that stopped the INSERT SYSTEM DISK errors.

This latest problem also acts heat related in that a turn off for a period
of time will not boot without repeated attempts. I need to check more by
booting from turn off without waiting for components to cool. I may just be
that things that happen during cold boot do not all run if just restarting.
At least that's what the service tech said.

I need to build a new machine for my daughter, so may try that board with
this system first. I'm not sure it will be a late revision of the same board
or something different. Still planning to use AMD Athlon 3200.

Will run the WD test on this drive and try your suggestions. I have switched
SATA ports as well as cables.

Looking at Maximum PC and the boards coming out now, you can see that SATA
is taking over. The local tech won't use SATA. Also says the 10,000 RPM
drives are prone to failure.

BTW, this machine works perfectly once booted. I can always boot in less
than five minutes. But it should be more like 38 seconds. Haven't loaded
Zone Alarm Pro yet so as not to confuse the issue.

Thanks again. I'll work with it some more.

Larry

> If you can boot into Windows, run a copy of Prime95. Use
> the Torture Test option - this is where I really started
> to see problems with my A7N8X-E. It may take a minimum
> of 30 minutes before you see your first error. While this
> doesn't have anything to do with your disk problem, it is
> part of proving the machine is ready to use.
>
> I assumed your problem was memory, because so many people
> experience problems with that. I really don't have a good
> handle on what to expect from booting WinXP, when the disk
> is acting up, so any symptoms you might name, wouldn't
> really suggest a solution to me.
>
> There were problems initially with the first A7N8X boards
> and the SIL3112. The situation a while back is posted here:
>
> http://groups.google.ca/group/alt.comp.periphs.mainboar...
>
> Looking on the "new" support.asus.com page, it looks like the
> 1013e bios (with 4.2.47 SIL BIOS) is still the latest. There
> is a hacked BIOS with 4.2.50 SIL BIOS here (I haven't tried
> this, because I don't own any SATA drives). I doubt that any
> of this has anything to do with getting a single drive to
> work. Perhaps save this BIOS upgrade for when you are really
> sick of the board and don't give a damn any more.
>
> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/
> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/A7N8X-Delux...
>
> Do you have some way to test the Raptor ? A spare drive would
> really come in handy at a time like this, so you can do some
> read/write testing of the disk. And, even if Windows is silent
> about how much trouble it is having reading your disk, if you
> use a disk benchmarking program, that tests STR versus head
> position on the disk, if you see a lot of variation in measured
> read bandwidth, that is an indication that the drive is suffering
> errors that are causing it to go back and retry read operations.
>
> This looks pretty bad, whatever the root cause:
> http://www.waptang.com/images/hdtach.jpg
>
> Something smells here - this could be a bad cable:
> http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD800JB_...
>
> This drive looks pretty good:
> http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD8000JB...
>
> There are various Data Lifeguard tools here. Problem is, the WD
> FAQs talk a lot about "EIDE" and not SATA, making me wonder if
> these tools really work with chips like the SIL3112.
> http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?cxml=n&pid=99...
>
> Data Lifeguard error codes are here, for whatever that is worth.
> http://support.wdc.com/techinfo/general/errorcodes.asp
>
> Favorite errors on SATA are:
>
> Bad cables. Try another cable (usually a mechanical problem,
> like cable won't stay in place). Perhaps if a cable is bent
> or pinched, this will cause a reflection in the cable, as
> bending or pinching the cables changes the impedance. The
> signals are really high speed, and don't appreciate stuff like
> that. If you've accidently "folded" the cable, replace it.
>
> Bad port on SATA chip. Try the other port.
>
> Cable soft error rate. I think there is an integrity check
> across the cable, but I don't know of any way to find out whether
> Windows is having problems because of something like that.
>
> Maybe now you understand why I don't have any SATA drives. I'm
> still uncertain as to whether there are really enough tools
> around to deal with them. With IDE drives, my experience is
> they either work, or they are completely dead, with maybe a couple
> of days transition time between those two states (if I'm lucky,
> I get to do a final backup). With SATA, the interface just adds
> another variable to the mix ("damn, my cable fell off").
>
> Paul



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May 27, 2005 1:31:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

A call to Asus technical service has identified my boot problem to the
motherboard. I discovered that dropping my FSB from 200 to 100 in BIOS
corrects the problem. MemTest86+ reports zero errors after 10 passes.

I have more Crucial RAM and another A7NX8-E Deluxe on order to upgrade my
memory and build a system for my daughter. I will swap the memory stick
first and then the board before returning the board to Asus.

Many thanks to all who responded with suggestions.

Larry



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