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Possible motherboard issue...

Last response: in Motherboards
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September 22, 2008 12:04:59 AM

Problem first started a week or so ago, when I had just removed a nasty msn virus(At first I thought the issue was related to this but it was not, as later explained)

I got constant BSOD's with each one pointing to a different issue. Not all were similar, and most made me think either it was a bad windows file, somehow corrupted by the removal of the virus, or ram that had somehow gotten fried.

So first thing I did was try to reinstall a fresh OS (Win xp pro) and the BSOD would happen during the 2nd stage of the install process(after it restarts the first time, during the stage where it asks for User name, computer name, network settings, etc) but it would not BSOD at the same times. (Sometimes during 'installing devices' section, sometimes during the 'copying flies' section, sometimes during 'registering components' and even once during the final stage right before windows boots into the actual OS) Not once did it get though and acually load into windows. Later on I tested again with an older version of windows(Win 98SE) to try to install, and it DID finish but the BSOD still happened. Reason being it finished was that the win98 SE install took all of 15 minutes while the XP pro wants to take a good hour or more. The BSOD would happen not long after the computer was up and running.)

I then went and bought new ram(threw away money) and tried that. Same problem, no difference. I tested the ram, the GPX card on another system and it worked fine, I also tried the ram and GPX from THAT system on the problem one, and the problem is identical as before.

I have also tried multiple HDs, and as before the problem persists.

I have no spare CPU to test that, but do not want to buy a new one to check unless I can be pretty sure it is one or the other.(Mobo or cpu)

I am PRETTY sure it is the motherboard since I found another issue which puzzled me while I was in the BIOS. I have never seen this before and have worked with computers for 7 years+ now. While in the bios, and when entering (and watching) the 'hardware monitor' section, the system would hang. It would 'freeze' up for a few seconds while watching the voltage, temps, fan RPM values, then continue on.

Question I have here is I would like, within reasonable limits, decide if it is an mobo or cpu issue.(Am pretty sure it is a mobo issue, but 4 days ago i was 'pretty' sure it was a ram issue, and a few days before that I was 'pretty' sure it was a OS issue... I do not want to keep trying fixes that keep setting me back in $ or time if I do not need to.)

Other than what I have done, can anyone give me any advice on what to check for next (with what I have at hand) To help me decide what it is.

Computer specs:

Asus P4P800-e Deluxe
ATI radion x1650 512 GPX (Alternate test was with Radion x850)
2 gig Kingston DDR 400 ram(2x 1 gig)+ 1gb kingston DDR400(2x 512) and 1 gig corsair DDR400(2x 512) (Tested with each pair, then with each separate stick, same error)
3.0 ghz 800FSB HT intel CPU(not 100% sure if this is correct, the clock is right but not sure on actual model)
2x120 gb WD HD in raid 0 + 2x 350 GB WD HD in raid 0(2 separate raid arrays) tested with each separate array and then tested with old 15 GB IDE drive, same error - do NOT want to unraid these drives as the larger of the 2 has many files I would never be able to replace)
380W trupower(?) psu(I considered the PSU also although it powers and has powered all the system components for more than 4 years without an issue....)

Can anyone give me any ideas that I have overlooked, something I can check for, or can point me to a similar situation where someone has found the problem? I would be greatly appreciative. All the hours since this problem has started has mostly been spent searching for anything that can help me(Google and forums) and while many situations seem similar, most are fixed with something I have already tried.

Thank you for reading.

More about : motherboard issue

a c 233 V Motherboard
September 22, 2008 12:27:01 AM

You wrote "do NOT want to unraid these drives as the larger of the 2 has many files I would never be able to replace". May I suggest that you make a backup of those files if they are that important?

What are the voltages on that TruePower PSU in Hardware Monitor? Any capacitors that have bulged on the motherboard?
September 22, 2008 12:33:05 AM

I cannot make a backup if those files as i do not have access to a system that has 2x sata connecters to use the drive as it is. (IE it's raid 0 so both drives have to be in an array to access the files/partitions.)

The other (the smaller of the two, the 2x 120 gig WD's) I could unraid but prefer not to, but wouldn't matter since that array has been formatted.(This is the drive I want the OS on)

Edit: Forgot to say, yes checked for popped capacitors, burn marks, bulging or cracks, etc. As far as I can tell (removed the mobo completely, cleaned it off, and checked it very carefully) the only issue I have noticed was 1 ram DIMM clip was cracked(But it still holds the ram in place, and had tested with that DIMM and without, reads the ram in post regardless)

The voltages were all within acceptable limits while it wasn't 'hanging' like i described.. can't say what they were during the hangs, since it can choke up for 5-20 seconds while on that part of the bios. (and has anyone heard of bios hangs? where the bios freezes up for a time then continues on? I have never heard or seen this and it interests me and also makes me strongly consider the mobo as the problem part)
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a c 233 V Motherboard
September 22, 2008 12:58:02 AM

Does your motherboard have USB ports? If so, then use an external USB disk to backup your files. What would you do if one disk failed?

In you description, you have 6 memory modules, but that motherboard only has 4 memory slots. What memory modules are installed?

When in Hardware Monitor, do you see voltages fluctuating a bit? On mine I can see them changing slightly almost every second. Can you provide all info available on the Hardware Monitor screen?
September 22, 2008 3:43:43 AM

1: Can't use the system to back anything up... I have no way to get into it to do anything.

2: Do not have a USB external, and up to this point, always thought them to be a waste of money (LOL ironic)

3: No i only have 4 DIMMS, but I tried the corsiar with the kingston 512's(2 gig total) at first, then got another 2x1 gig sticks, put them in alone, then tried them with each of the other 2 sets, then tried each stick individual, and the error happens in/around the same point(During the general XP install process)

4: Yes the voltages to fluctuate(as normal) but the rails stays within -0.2 to 0.2 v. of what they should be, which is normal and fine. Years before when I overclocked this badboy, they would fluctuate a LOT more than that and the system still ran stable.Again, this is When it's not hanging. (Like i said, every now and then while watching this section of the bios, the system hangs, freezes the last image u see for 5-20 seconds, then kicks in again and continues, and when it's NOT hanging, the values are all 'normal') so.. when it's hanging I can't be sure, it's possible (In my thinking anyways) that during the hangs I am getting strange spikes which the BIOS can't handle, and it freezes up until the rails return to normal limits.. is this possible? And if so, this could perhaps cause the BSOD during install, esp if they happen randomly like they have been.(a spike, system hangs, when it returns from hang, computer thinks something evil happened so BSOD to save the system?)
September 22, 2008 4:00:46 AM

Dude seriously. Get a new PSU.

380 watt is fine but its old and degraded.

Wouldn't hurt to start thinking of a whole new system.
September 22, 2008 4:07:45 AM

And I am.

But for THIS system, just to get it working again(since it is perfectly fine) I want to know which is the better plan RIGHT NOW.

From what I sad up there, which is more likely to be the issue, a faulty PSU, or a faulty Mobo?

(And a new system is in the works but is a few paychecks away from being finished... since it will cost me 2ish grand to slap together, not willing to drop that now, want to wait to see what new stuff comes out in the next 6 months)
September 22, 2008 4:16:02 AM

You have the same mobo and possibly the same cpu I used for almost 5 years. Great setup in its day.

If you are intent on using this system, I would consider ordering a psu that you can use in your next build and run it on your setup and see if that fixes it.

Im with roadrunner, I think you cant hurt to get a new psu. If the system still does what you need then keep it going, I would just get a decent psu to rule out that as a problem, in which I have a feeling is the problem.

Use asus probe to check for the latest BIOS version if you havent already. BUT dont even try to install it yet until you test with a good psu and verify the problem seems to have gone away.

If you get a system hang when flashing you will be up the creek without a turd stick to paddle with...
September 22, 2008 4:42:24 AM

Regarding the hanging issue in the BIOS at the hardware monitoring section, my gf's ASUS P5W DH Deluxe does the exact same thing. Besides from that, the system works fine.
September 22, 2008 4:43:27 AM

Alright, I think u made me decide to try for a psu. Now standards have changed much since I built this system here, so what would be a decent PSU to put into it.

Don't need it to later run my future system, since I will be setting up the old one for guests or running torrents while I use the new one for gaming.

Can u suggest a decent PSU for 75 or less? Don't want to drop a lot of cash fixing something that isn't broke. (The hanging in bios issue makes me reconsider my idea that it was the MOBO after all now, but I am still not 100% convinced it isn't the mobo, nor am I strongly convinced it IS the mobo... Have a feeling it can just as likely be the CPU, although it works enough to boot up into the windows setup.)


cfvh600 said:
Regarding the hanging issue in the BIOS at the hardware monitoring section, my gf's ASUS P5W DH Deluxe does the exact same thing. Besides from that, the system works fine.



Oh... **** really? Now I wonder if this is the issue at all. Oh well I think first thing first, I will try to find a PSU that will do the job this one is +(IE better than 380, because since I first put the rig together, I have upgraded to a beefier card twice, put in 2 more SATA drives, and added many more fans. Would 500 W be enough?)
September 22, 2008 6:54:18 AM

1. before trying 4 a new psu, try installing the OS in a minimum system. (CPU, RAM, MOBO, GFX, 1HDD) No expansion cards, no optical drives just 1 HDD. that should clear any doubts whether its the PSU or not.

2. Also try disabling any on-board controllers your mobo may have (USB,FW,AUDIO,LAN.....). it may be one of them that is faulty and causes this whole mess.
In this case U may define which one is faulty, trough trial and error, and just get an expansion card for the job.

good luck
September 22, 2008 8:01:47 AM

The other system which I had borrowed parts from to test(and tested my own ram, gpx card) is using the same install of XP i am trying to install here.(same disk and everything)

And on the problematic system here, I pretty much did that already, aside from the fact that I tried only twice to install onto a old IDE.

When I did it, bios was set to 'disable' pretty much anything which wasn't needed to run the drive and the DVD rom. It was keyboard, GPX, HD and the brand new 1 gig ram.

I appreciate the help, and hopefully when(or if) I get it working, this thread might help someone later on. (because so far it's not helping me... lol)
a c 233 V Motherboard
September 22, 2008 11:10:15 AM

While the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe seems to freeze for a few seconds when entering the Hardware Monitor screen, the P4P800-e Deluxe doesn't.

As suggested by other members, start with a new PSU to see if it resolves the issue. Reinstalling the OS isn't going to help if you have problems even before loading it.
September 23, 2008 3:18:14 PM

Thanks englandr, I appreciate the suggestion. Found one on the other side of the city here and will pick it up sometime this week.

Cross fingers for me, Hope this is the issue, but at least if not I can use the PSU for the next system.
September 25, 2008 9:40:51 PM

wow new problem, and it's a kicker.

Trying to install from a band new xp pro disk(as in I bought it fresh today) and as far as I can tell it is completely identical to the other one...

the band new one for some reason cant detect any harddrives(Never had this issue before) but the old one DOES.

So I tried to start install with the old one, then pop in the new one after it gets to the point where it asks where to install...

Now I am getting constant 'missing' files from the new disk...

I am very confused here, as far as I can tell the two of them, baring the serials, are identical. Even the 'date of release'

Anyone wanna try that one?(I Can jump this hurdle myslef I think just by finding a floppy drive and getting the proper SATA drivers, but 6iish years ago when I put this monster together, It NEVER asked for any drivers, and detected the drives from the getgo.(Intel sata controller) - and in bios it detects all my drives just fine.

(BTW got the 550 W psu, and watched bios hardware monitor for 30 min with no weird hangs, so I suspect I might have found the problem, wont know yet, windows still not installed)
September 26, 2008 1:06:28 AM

Well... Still no go, but at least now I get a IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL, or DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSOD's now.

The possible issue THIS time around can be a very old Floppy (What I had to use to get the RAID drivers, and had to retry multiple times to get the files to write then read from the disk)

Have a feeling that the original drives might be damaged with all the freezes and restarts during this process. Also, since the floppy was pulled from an old pent II, which has to be over 10 years old.

Oh well, at least a new floppy won't set me back too much.

Will try again tomorrow. (Find somewhere that still sells those)
September 26, 2008 9:17:03 PM

Everything checked, everything tried, only thing left for it to possibly be is the motherboard itself.

When and if I get one, I will report back here.

Thanks everyone for the help.
!