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Newbie question about beep codes

Last response: in Systems
June 12, 2007 10:54:29 PM

I just completed my first build this weekend. When I start up, I get a strange beep pattern. I first hear 3 very quiet almost chirping like noises, followed by 2 beeps. There is no error message on the screen, and everything boots up just fine. So there doesn't appear to be a problem, but my understanding is that a normal start-up should just have a single beep. It's an MSI P6N SLI Platinum board with AMI BIOS. I can't find documentation about this kind of beep pattern anywhere. I am using G SKILL RAM (2 x 1 GB), which is not listed as supported by MSI... could that be the cause? The system seems to be responding just fine to the RAM, and I know of others who have used this RAM with this MB with no problem. Also, I've used the LED bracket that came with the MB for diagnostic purposes, and it proceeds through all of the LED signals normally.

Am I just being paranoid, or does this signify a problem?

Oh, and on an unrelated note, the front panel headphone & mic jacks are not working. I've doublechecked the connection, and it appears to be fine. Any ideas for a fix? Rear panel jacks are working fine.

June 12, 2007 11:20:44 PM

Generally the mobo manual tells you the meaning of the beep codes. If you haven't done so, make sure you're running the most recent BIOS and drivers. MSI has a set up on their web site that will exam yout machine and install the updated BIOS and driver. Recently used it on a different board and worked well. If you have the most recent BIOS, I'd clear the CMOS, see the manual. Also, make sure all your audio wiring is correct and check the audio settings in the software to make sure it's set to use the front audio.
June 13, 2007 10:55:43 AM

The two beeps indicate a memory error from the descriptions on this site:

The 'chirping' sounds you are hearing I believe are not part of the error code but more a sort of seek noise or electronic disturbance (is that EMS?), though i'm not sure about this. I have heard something similar when I had changed memory settings on my previous computer and it would not boot untill i reset CMOS. But that's just my very picky geriatric build :D  Anyways.. check out the link and see if that fixes it.

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June 13, 2007 1:34:39 PM

I guess I'm not entirely convinced that these even ARE beep codes I'm hearing. If I disable the "quick boot" feature in BIOS, I get these high/low pitched tones / chirps, followed by a single (normal sounding) beep. If I enable quick boot, then I get the high/low tones with no beep. I'm wondering if they are just startup tones that are normal for my MB. Could that be possible?

If it were a memory error, would it be the case that Windows Vista would boot normally and seem to recognize the memory? Everything in the system seems to be working just fine, and Vista boots just fine.
June 13, 2007 2:00:50 PM

If by chirping you mean a soft cricket like noise, that is what is was referring to. But if by chirping you mean a quizlike error sound like a buzzer going low/high/low , that would probably be a floppy drive at boot time. If you disable quick boot and disable boot-up floppy drive seek or disable floppy all together,you will not here that particular sound ever again :p  . It's hard judging sounds by desription though, so I could be verry wrong here 8O

June 13, 2007 5:46:13 PM

Thanks, but I've already looked at the AMI beep codes, and what I'm hearing doesn't match any of them. From my understanding, AMI beep codes are a single tone, and what I'm hearing is 2 different pitches (but not in a siren.... just a sequence of highs and lows). So I think it's not an AMI beep code, but something specific to my MB. Following that 2-toned sequence, I hear a single BEEP that sounds like the normal boot-up beep. So what I'm trying to figure out is if the single beep at the end means everything is normal, or whether that 2-toned sequence that precedes it means anything.
June 13, 2007 6:01:03 PM

Have you tried disconnecting the power to your drives and unplugging your speakers to make sure it's not coming from something other than your mobo? If you do this, start it up with the side off the case to see if you can better pinpoint the sounds.
June 13, 2007 6:11:04 PM

Good idea. I actually had the thought last night that it might be coming from something other than the MB. I will try your suggestion. Could it be coming from the power supply? It seems like the sound is emitting from toward the back of the case.
June 14, 2007 4:06:39 AM

Mystery solved... Apparently, AMI BIOS beeps once for each USB device detected. So the different pitched beeps I was hearing had to do with my USB devices. I tested it out by removing and adding USB devices, and sure enough, the number of beeps changes depending on how many devices I have plugged in.
June 14, 2007 11:45:56 AM

Good to know, glad you figured it out
June 14, 2007 12:55:20 PM

Why the hell does it need to beep to tell you how many usb drives you have.
June 14, 2007 12:58:42 PM

I wondered that too! But that's what it does. Apparently a lot of new MBs have this feature. Very strange.