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Strange and annoying freezes EDIT: now computer won't boot!

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April 14, 2007 10:26:14 AM

EDIT: Here you will find my original problem, but after updating the BIOS, my computer won't even boot. Please see my 2nd and subsequent replies for the explanation.

Hello, I've had the same annoying problem on my new build since I built it.

What happens is the system abruptly freezes. I could be watching a film, surfing the internet, listening to music, or playing a game. It doesn't seem to happen when the computer is idle. It rarely happens when I'm playing Oblivion, but can happen regularly when I'm playing F.E.A.R. This leads me to believe that it has something to do with the graphics card (eVGA 8800 GTX) or the sound card (SB X-Fi Platinum). I am running Windows XP, not Vista.

I've OC'd the machine, but as I recall, these problems were happening prior to that. Feel free to check my OC results as well as my other hardware in my signature.

I guess I thought the problem would go away or resolve itself with driver updates, but there haven't been any for the graphics or sound card since I built the computer. There have been a few BIOS updates on the eVGA website for my nForce 680i, but they all require a floppy drive and I have no idea how to use them to update without one.

One last note-worthy piece of information, my build suffers from card retention problems. I had some issues with the 8800 GTX working when I screwed it into the slot. I usually have to leave it unscrewed for it to work. Also, I believe the SB X-Fi suffers from the same issue. When I'm plugging in or unplugging the wire for the speakers, I have to be really careful not to move the card. If I do, the computer will freeze.

Today, I finally got fed up with the problem and decided to post this question. The computer froze and when I tried to restart it, I got an error code of 29, the CPU Speed Detect error. I couldn't restart the machine as it would always display this error until I fully unplugged it and plugged it back in.

Can someone please offer some assistance in this matter? I really don't know what to do next and I'm afraid one day this will happen and the computer won't start at all. :( 
April 14, 2007 2:32:03 PM

Swap out your RAM if you have some available. If not try running the system with one DIMM in slot 1. Try the other DIMM as a single if the system does not run stable.
April 14, 2007 4:28:39 PM

I would try running the MB out of the PC case, just to see if it would still freeze up.

If it doesn't freeze up, it could mean something with the PC case is not fitting properly with the MB, not allowing the cards to align right.
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April 15, 2007 8:54:32 AM

Okay, now I have an emergency after updating the BIOS.

I already had the system update utility installed and I used it to update to the P23 BIOS (I think it was) back when it was released. eVGA just posted the P27 BIOS file with the option of using system update to load it. So I did that. When I rebooted the computer, I got a message saying that I have to do a hard reset. So I did, and now the computer will not boot at all. The LED display on the board shows -- without any error codes or changes! And the LEDs on my memory are behaving strangely. I don't know what to do now and I'm sort of panicking. Am I screwed????
April 15, 2007 9:25:49 AM

Ooooph...

Might need to contact EVGA and tell them your situation.

After reading the message board, seem you might have downloaded a file that may have been corrupt.

Did you check to see how big the file was before flashing it?

This is what I saw:

Quote:
There's something wrong with your FTP server. I downloaded the beta BIOS and it was only 470KB in size. I almost flashed it; so it's a good thing I checked, or I would have had a brick.

The flash util asked me to overwrite the first 41KB of the BIOS with zeros because of the small corrupt file. I suggest you check your FTP site.


Not sure what to tell ya.
April 15, 2007 9:34:59 AM

I guess it doesn't really matter at this point since my computer won't start, but I didn't use your link. I went to the eVGA site and then through the menus until I came upon the page for the P27 BIOS and downloaded the specific file to use with the system update centre. I'm sure that the file was fine, else it wouldn't have properly loaded. They must have some checks for that.

Anyway, I tried to reset the CMOS via the jumper and the battery methods, but that of course didn't help. Unfortunately, I think the BIOS is fried. Please, someone tell me it's not and there's a way out of this!
April 15, 2007 9:45:55 AM

Basically, this is what happened to me. A few other people updating to P27 have experienced the same.

http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...

Any suggestions? In the meantime, I'm going to pull out all the cards, memory, hard drives, perhaps the CPU if I can (someone helped me install that and the cooler I have), as well as the CMOS battery again, and finally set the jumper. If that doesn't work, what then???
April 15, 2007 10:10:31 AM

Well.. now would be a good chance to take the MB out of the PC case and test it perhaps.

Just take it out, take the battery out for about 15-20 mins, put it back together on a cardboard or non-static surface.

If it doesn't power up, then you might have a problem that can't be fix at home. Seems you might have to RMA it, if you can't get it to POST.

Or if they could send you another bios chip that has the latest version.
April 15, 2007 10:42:12 AM

booting with an old pci vga card have saved me from throwing away a few boards. with that and a floppy drive you sometimes could flash a new bios. don`t know if it still applies to new boards.

there are bios-flash sites who flash it for 10-15 bucks and sent the chip back with the latest bios.
April 15, 2007 11:16:42 AM

I've seen the acronym RMA before, but what exactly does it mean?

I bought all the parts for the computer and built it when I was home for xmas in the States. Now that I'm back in Europe where I live and work, any option where I could avoid sending the entire motherboard back for a return would be best. There's some way to do it so that I wouldn't have to pay taxes on it when the new one comes back, but I don't exactly know how that's done.

When you mean I can send the chip away to be flashed, or have a new one shipped to me with the latest BIOS, you mean that little chip that says "PhoenixBiosTM D686 Bios" on it?

I've had the system uplugged from the wall and everything inside disconnected (including the CMOS battery) for about an hour now. I've also reseated the CPU and changed the thermal paste. The only thing I couldn't disconnect were those damn PSU rails. They're really plugged in tight. But I've had the power disconnected anyway so I hope it will act the same. I'm going to try powering it on with basically only the CPU on the mobo. Unfortunately, my other computer is a 3.5 year-old laptop so I have no other parts to use for testing purposes. Please cross your fingers!
April 15, 2007 11:24:33 AM

The blasted computer still will not boot. I am not getting any postcodes at all, only the two hyphens (--). The computer turns on and I hear the hard drives spinning up, but absolutely no error codes on the LED are shown.

An hour should have done it to reset the CMOS so it must be something irreversible. What are my options now??
April 15, 2007 11:29:03 AM

Quote:
I've seen the acronym RMA before, but what exactly does it mean?


RMH = Return Merchandise Authorization

Basically you call them, they give you an RMA number to put on the packaging to send the part back. Then they ship a replacement.

Or in some cases, they send you another MB, and you use the same package to send back your defective MB.

The bios chip should be near the battery. It looks like this:

Bios Chip

Basically it pops out, and you put in the other. There is a specific tool, though I never had to replace the chip.

Edit:

Oooph, sorry to hear your in Europe.
April 15, 2007 12:53:22 PM

Thank you for all your help so far. I'm bummed out now, but perhaps it will all work out in a timely manner?

Yes, that's the chip I'm looking at. Looks like it would need a special tool to remove it, but doesn't look like it would be difficult. You think it's as easy as getting a replacement for it? In that case, I could order one from the States and have it shipped here. If that won't work, I think eVGA has an office in Germany. That's close by and the tax situation could be avoided.

What's my next step? Should I call up eVGA, or have a look for these BIOS chips? Not exactly sure how to proceed from here.
April 15, 2007 3:06:22 PM

www.biosflash.org is what you need. the site is in different languages.
you send them the bios-chip and the right bios version on disk and they flash it for 10 euro and send it back to you. so including sending it will cost you like 15 euro or so.

they also sell new chips (in case you brake it while removing.....)

good luck!
April 15, 2007 3:41:32 PM

Ah, that's perfect. Thank you for your help. The site you gave me doesn't work, but http://www.biosflash.com does. I've been looking around and there are quite a few websites out there. Much better than RMAing my board.

Last question, do I have a PLCC-32 Socket on this 680i mobo?
April 15, 2007 3:43:44 PM

For anyone else who has these problems, I've come across the following links that will help you:

http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...
Many causes of the "--" post code

http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...
About RMAing EVGA boards for those of us living in Europe

http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...
http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...
Two topics from the same poster, but with different and various responses. Same exact problem that I'm having as described above.

http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...
All about EVGA BIOS updates, how to do them properly to minimise issues, FAQs, OCing, etc :D 
April 23, 2007 7:32:00 PM

Received my new bios chips and chip removal tool in the mail today. Replaced the suspect bios chip and it WORKED! Thanks goes out to you two for helping me and saving me from RMAing the board. The shipping was a little slow, I would have never thought it would take a week to arrive from a place so close, but that wasn't the seller's fault.

If anyone else has this problem, I would highly recommend this service:

http://www.biosflash.com/e/index.htm

The owner is very professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and the prices are good.
April 23, 2007 7:39:00 PM

Well cool beans... Glad it worked out for ya.
!