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Asus A8N-VM, At my wits end

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July 4, 2006 3:46:24 PM

Long story short:

Purchased Asus A8N-VM microATX board. Received, built, ran fine, died after a week. The board will turn on for about 10-50 seconds, and then screen cuts out and seems like computer has shut off, except all fans stay running.

Sent it to asus, took over a month between work, troubleshooting, mailing it, asus 10 day turn around, and shipping back.

I got the same board back (scratch test). I rebuilt the PC and it ran for ~6 hours, And I did a super PI test, I ran fable for about 30 minutes, had it online, and everything ran fine, BUT guess what? This morning it rran for about 30 minutes - an hour and now has same problem. It appears asus did squat to fix it.

So my question is, could there be something I'm over looking? or it Asus just a cheap PITA and won't replace the boards they can't make right the first time around?

I have tried completely different setup on the board. Including different HD, optical, mem, PSU, and 2 other video cards (one PCI and one PCIx16), and I tried a NIC card over the intergrated just for giggles.

I don't believe it s the processor either because I dont' think I could get it run for 5-6 hours and not crash if the processor was defective.

any suggestions? Or should I just call Asus back tomorrow and them they are complete waste of life?

More about : asus a8n wits end

July 4, 2006 4:47:27 PM

Please list all your components including the case and fans. Also, the heat readings as well. With summer here a lot of computers are over heating.
July 4, 2006 5:32:21 PM

Have you tried running with the BIOS set to default values? It could be a heat issue and a setting is causing a shutdown at a certain temp. Default settings are usually high enough that, unless the processor is running very hot, will not cause a shutdown. Otherwise, you may have a heat issue with your CPU. Otherwise, I cannot really see any other culprit other than a problem with the board. But, egads, a bad Asus board, how could this be?
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July 4, 2006 6:14:39 PM

After fighting with it, Its running right now...I had to reactivate windows...So god only knows what is going on inside this PC...


Basics:

Case is a CoolerMaster Centarion. It the Micro version. And it has a 380W CoolerMaster PSU.

The case has 3 Rosewill Fans inside 1 x 120mm upfront and 2 x 80mm in the back.

Drives are:

NEC? floppy
Plextor 16X DVD
Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm

Processor:
Venice 3200, which has run multiple hours at the OEM 2.0, at 2.4 OC', and 2.3 OC'. The original crash did happen under the default 2.0. And crashes have occured all over the place anywhere from 2.0-2.4. I do turn down the memory and retard the timings when I OC' as well. So there is a very slim chance issue is from any OC'.

Video: Running in it now is an XFX 7300GS 256mb on board with 512mb Turbo cache (PCI-E16)

Ram:
2 x 512mb G.Skill Memory - 2.5-4-4-8, which I run 2.5-5-5-9 when OC'.


As for heating. during the first days of running it (when it worked) we had nice 90F degree day here in PA. Readings did not go over 41C on CPU and 36C mobo

The system runs ~ 8C higher then room temperture, for both cpu and mobo. The XFX is a newly added thing and it runs at 42C, but! this was not installed first time around. I was running the onboard.

I use the standard northbridge cooler, I installed a Zalman "blue aluminum" northbridge heatsink on the the southbridge because this board doesn't have one OEM.

The components never get hot Even the aluminium block on the venice was still cool on that 90F degree day. the heat sinks on the southbridge and north bridge that are fanless, but only get warm.



Answer to the bios: yes I run the version 702 that is preloaded on the board. The updated is 902, and is only a Beta so I just stayed away from it. The computer crashes under default values, under custom values, under overclocked values...My best guess is that there maybe a capacitor on the board that is overload/overheating and making the system crap out. It will run for short lenghts of time and then just shut off.

Right now I'm going to leave the default on and see how long its runs because Its made it long enough for me to type this message.

oh and I noticed that there is a USB controller issue when this crashes. Only one port will work on the back. So I use a PS2 mouse when it crashes. The problem resolves itself once windows it loaded for the first time after system failure.
July 4, 2006 7:23:12 PM

It sure does sound like CPU thermal protection is kicking in. There is definite no-warning-clink when the machine just shuts off to protect it self. Check the shut off settings in BIOS, perhaps adjust those higher and test. Swap the PSU for a known good. That could be a cause.

Have you tried just looking at the computer running on the BIOS screen? How long can you just have it running there? All day? Does it shut off on that screen too after a while? Next try booting to a XP disc and just sit at the install XP screens---crash there too? Boot to SAFE mode---how long can you sit there before it shuts off? Remove as much hardware as you can and boot.

You have to get it stable so the best way is start with as few pieces of hardware as you can muster and don't forget to to run Memtestx86 or something like it....that probably isn't your problem but it's always "nice to know" memory is good too.

I see you are familiar with overclocking so you would def. set that to stock settings during a stability test.
July 4, 2006 7:29:32 PM

I will have to check the bios settings for the CPU temps. But it does seem awkward that it would spike and shut off. What would cause that?

And I did try using the PC with a 550w thermatake PSU. It ended with the same result.

BTW its still running from before. But i'm trying to find out why this system is so unstable, and why it happens randomly.

And it has crashed in the bios screen. But I have tried windows in safe mode.


And before It was RMA'd I was trying to run the board with nothing but mobo, cpu, memory, screen, keyboard. It still would just boot for seconds and die. Or not boot at all. The crashes seem completely random. like right now I've been running over an hour without problems. But by this evening I might be pulling it apart again.
July 4, 2006 7:34:47 PM

You poor bast....

Could be a bad cap. Check for one with a bulge at the top, a hole in top, or one that is generally not the same colour as the rest. I have fixed a few like that for clients. Although its usually in the PSU.


Not the PSU as you changed it out or the Video you changed it out. Try only one stick of ram then the other. Then swap channels and try again one stick at a time. Dont laugh this has worked!

Not cooling, you have enough fans and the temps are way within limits.


Try the CPU in a friend's PC - need a good friend for this or get a repair shop to test it for you to see if its stable - sometimes mild OC can kill a CPU that barely made the cut at that speed - gotta be unlucky if this is you.

Check your cables!

Last of all flash the bios - have all versions on disk before you try this so you can erase it and go back to the original.

If it was mine after all that trouble I would take it outside and have fun killing it properly - with a hammer and a few beers then run over it in the car for good measure! :twisted:

Will ask around at work and repost any ideas
July 4, 2006 7:39:41 PM

I've been thinking about the hammer. I was actually considering buying a new mobo (normal atx this time) and a new case. I'm just sick of fighting with the damn thing. Even if it just a system hang up. I don't want to spend 3 freakin hours once a week reseting the god damn system.


I do have a copy of the 702 bios on a diskette.

I'll have to look over the capicitors.

And this morning before It started working again I did do one stick of ram, and then put the other back in.


edit: I did a quick look over the board. I dont see any irregular capacitors. also I just realized that the 3 times its crashed in windows, It was while the cpu was at idle. Would there be some kind of idle control on the board that could effect the PC?
July 4, 2006 8:05:21 PM

Pull the card and try the onboard video only - check bios to use on board video - might be the card. If the board does not have an AGP-PCI-E lock the high OC might have partially fried the card??
July 4, 2006 8:54:58 PM

...

I was originally using the onboard.
July 4, 2006 9:32:50 PM

as another suggestion, the mobo could be shorting out somewhere. I have a pc where the case is old and one of the screw holes is stripped, so sometimes it moves in just the wrong spot and won't power up anymore. However, this usually only happens to me max once every 6 months, you'd have to have a very significant source, or multiple ones, to cause it to short out as often as yours.

if you can get a cpu to test, that would be the best course of action at this point I think. obviously don't try overclocking a friend's borrowed proc. ;) 
July 6, 2006 5:41:34 AM

Wouldn't hurt to rule out that you are nto seeing the Blue Screen of Death..so if you get into Windows...R click My Computer [System Properties] [Advanced Tab] and click "Startup & Recovery, settings" un-check "Automatically Restart"

Thats a good thing to have off any ways---you want to see your BSOD! =)

Also wouldn't hurt to look at voltage in the home...buddy of mine used to have mega trouble with computer until he discovered his home outlets had too much voltage. Do you use a UPS on this rig?
July 6, 2006 9:38:02 AM

It was shipped UPS. :lol:  what the acronymn?

I'm gonna guess your mean outlet strip. If thats what you mean I have a 3600 joule protection outlet strip that the PC connects too.
July 6, 2006 10:32:57 AM

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

Is your heatsink seated correctly?
July 6, 2006 3:08:12 PM

The surge protect will help during a lightening strike but I am thinking more along the lines of over voltage and the only thing that will help there is good clean voltage from the outlet in the 115v-120v A/C range. a UPS can filter under or over voltage. Perhaps you could take your system to a friends house like a earlier post suggested----just to rule out voltage problems?
July 6, 2006 9:52:03 PM

PCs have run in our house for the past 15 years...I really doubt there is a power problem. My last PC ran off the same outlet for
~4 years without a problem as well. I really doubt its the house.

But yes i've heard of that before.
July 6, 2006 10:43:11 PM

My guess would be shorting inside the case, make sure there are no loose screws, or wires that could be contacting and shorting your board out.
July 23, 2006 2:50:13 PM

I've got same problem with my A8N VM. I decided to look around before I got too far. Was about to change out the power supply. Just went from onboard video to external with no change. It will shutdown after being off for days even in the bios setup so it's not a heat issue. hopefully they will fix it in bios. It's a nice board OTHERwise but that's a big issue obviously!
July 23, 2006 4:54:04 PM

Well I bit the bullet and ran the update utility and it found version 1001 ( I was running 702 like you ) and it has stayed up for last 20 minutes. Just before flashing it had crashed again so I was holding my breath during the erase bios, flash bios section. Definately was a little stressful there!
Crossing my fingers. I am running Vista 5472 and it discovered a floppy drive after the bios upgrade. Don't know if that's significant. Also don't remember this issue before I went to dual ram sticks (from their approved list). I was about to go back to single stick when I decided to do the bios next.
It also may be my imagination but I thought it happened when I had the network cable plugged in but don't really have enogh of a sample to say for sure.
Here's hoping....

oh, I have the A8N VM CSM btw so bios may not be there? for a8n vm.
July 23, 2006 5:59:02 PM

Well so much for that. It just crashed after I put everything back together. Guess I'll run it without cover on so more and see if it's related to something touching when I put it back together.
Back to the drawing board!.
:( 
July 23, 2006 7:09:50 PM

OK Asusprobe showed vcore dropping to 1.1 volts with Cooll and Quite settings (which is what it defaulted to) so I turned that off and vcore is around 1.46volts and things are stable........so far.
!