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Random reboot/reboot loops! Vista 64/ram??/mobo??

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January 20, 2009 2:45:36 PM

Hello, I recently purchased and built my first rig. The build was sucessful though after about 2 months I started to get reboot loops or random crashes which would in turn lead to a reboot loop. I was thinking it may be a ram problem but I am not so sure now. The problem did go away for 2 weeks then it returned 2 days ago when I accidentally nudged my machine which rebooted the computer (loose connection???) any way, after that the problem is still lingering.

The way I can acutaully use my computer is just to mess about with the settings and removing and inserting the ram sticks till it lets me back into windows, even then it may crash any moment or just carry on for hours quite merrily. Sometimes it works with 1 stick sometimes it works with 2, both have problems though.

My setup is as follows....

ASUS Rampage Formula Republic of Gamers Series iX48 Socket 775 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz 1333MHz FSB Socket 775
NVIDIA 9800 GTX+ black edition
Corsair 4GB Kit (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 XMS2
Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB Hard Drive SATAII *32MB Cache* - OEM
Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Soundcard
Samsung SM2693HM 26" TFT Monitor 1920x1200 3000:1 400cd/m2 5ms VGA/DVI/HDMI
Antec Nine Hundred 1200
Akasa cooling heatsink
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit

I have tried the following....
-Taken one of the two sticks out and ran just that stick then swapped then round again and usec a single stick.
-Changed values in bios such as mem volatage, northbridge voltage, mem timings, strap, mhz speed. Seems to make little difference.
-Resetted bios with reset bios button to go to default values.
-Used different ram slots and configurations, single channel, dual channel, slot 2 and 4 etc.

Im beat, I would appreciate any help as this is preventing me from getting my work done and is becoming a real drain. If you require any other info feel free to ask. I know a fair bit about computers but dont be suprised if the jargon gets me :p  :) 

Many thanks
Adam

a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 3:51:01 PM

Well, if it is a hardware problem, you would need spare parts to test the system. RAM, PSU, video card, etc. If it were my system the first thing I would do is bench test it. Unplug everything except the CPU/HSF, 1 DIMM RAM in slot 1 and the video card. Remove the soundcard, unplug the hard drives, optial drives, case fans, everything except CPU, RAM and video card. In BIOS set the RAM voltage, timings, and speed correctly to mfg. specs. PC26400 is 2.0-2.1v. Then install each piece of hardware and check for problems. Install the hard drive with OS and system drivers last. If BIOS is set up correctly and each piece of hardware is working correctly and you plug in the hard drive and the problem occurs, reinstall the OS with latest system/MB drivers.
January 20, 2009 4:18:58 PM

Thats alot of work to do, I would be lying if I said I would like to use that trouble shoot right away, but that is the sensible soloution at the moment and may have to be the case.

Are there any more simple solutions that I could perform first rather than take the long route straight away?
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 4:59:12 PM

I would use one DIMM in slot 1 only. Go into BIOS and set the voltage to 2.1v. I would reinstall the latest drivers for your sound card and video card. I may try the system without the sound card. Also, have you gone to the ASUS product page and loaded up the latest system drivers? If that's too much trouble, try reinstalling the system drivers from the MB CD. Short of that I would reinstall the OS clean, get all the updates and load up the latest drivers from ASUS.
January 20, 2009 5:02:19 PM

Yeh I got 1 stick in the first slot at the moment, tried reseating the gpu and rebooted fine then tried another stick in the dual channel and that didnt work as did single channel, didnt even display anything. NB and SB leds just light up red and flash every now and again and reboot with irregularity.
January 20, 2009 5:03:59 PM

Someone else thought it might be my psu failing, im not so sure. Its not the best as I skimped out lol.

Arctic Power 700W PSU - With PCI-E, 4x SATA, 20+4, ATX12V, 8pin +12V Connectors -
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:09:16 PM

Have you tried booting with mobo out of the case? Maybe something is causing a short...
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:11:22 PM

Yeah, you would need spare parts to troubleshoot your hardware any farther than you have already. Does the PSU feel hot to the touch or make the case hot? Could be failing under stress?
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:14:17 PM

You are using Vista 64. Are you using all the latest Vista 64 drivers for your soundcard and video card, etc?
January 20, 2009 5:15:29 PM

Nope feels ice cold baby :D  Temps are low neway.

It may be a short but it seems to boot more often with 1 stick and get into windows. 2 Sticks though seems to more of a problem, and I dont see how it could be a short if I add a stick. I was considering it tho.

I got latest nvidia drivers, ill check the soundcard drivers now...
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:16:56 PM

You have the system drivers installed from either the MB CD or updated to the latest drivers from the ASUS product page.
January 20, 2009 5:24:34 PM

I have the drivers from the the cd. Im not too comfortable with flashing in case I brick my mobo, unless of course its neccessary.

Heres the bios version if it helps from dxdiag.

System Manufacturer: System manufacturer
System Model: Rampage Formula
BIOS: BIOS Date: 08/15/08 21:00:54 Ver: 08.00.12

Updating the soundcard drivers now.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:34:47 PM

BIOS version is different from system drivers. Like the chipset driver, ethernet driver, SATA driver, etc. All, those latest drivers would be available on the ASUS product webpage for the Vista 64 OS. That's a good start, updating and reinstalling the soundcard drivers.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:36:46 PM

As far as BIOS version, notice if there are any fixes for RAM, new CPU, other hardware problems fixed. Search the ASUS product page forum for similar problems and/or what BIOS version addresses fixes which hardware problem.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 5:49:40 PM

Do you see BIOS version 0410 improves memory compatibility. Could make a difference in your case, maybe not. Anyway, you mentioned messing with the BIOS memory settings. The MB BIOS will default memory voltage to 1.8v. Be sure to set the memory voltage to 2.0-2.1v in BIOS. That could be the reason the system will not boot with two DIMMs. Not enough voltage. If I was having the stability problems like that I would bump up the Northbridge voltage to at least 3.5-3.6v.
January 20, 2009 5:52:50 PM

Yeh unfortunately thats the version im at.
Im at default everything in bios at the mo, I did have the mem voltage at 2, still had problems even for both, ill try 2.1 now tho as i have to restart for sound drivers. Brb
January 20, 2009 8:28:21 PM

Ok I have taken out the whole f'in mobo and its sitting in front of my caseless on a wooden table. Tried to use the same stick and if anything the problem was worse this time, tried the other stick too and that failed. A couple of succesful boots to windows with both but only for literally 5 seconds before a crash to boot.

Now I wish I tried this at the start, I used my brothers ram from his computer. 2 1gb sticks, its some crappy make but it seems to be running stable so far, ill restart, sleep mode, shut down everything I usually do and see if it is stable for sure. If this is the case it could be 2 duff sticks of corsair ram, which I am not happy about as thats 50 quid. Strange as they have worked perfectly for the time i have had them which is about 3 months.

I got them from ebuyer, is it possible to rma them? obviously its over 90 days but they are faulty if this proves true, what is the best procedure if this is the case?
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 9:00:50 PM

Hey great, you found the problem. So, you have ran the Corsair RAM at 2.0-2.1v? because you could use the cheap RAM that works and boot into BOS, raise the voltage, shut down and install the Corsair and see if it will POST.

Corsair has a limited lifetime warranty. You could explain online at their website and see if they could help getting some compatible RAM if that is the problem. That RAM should run in the x48 I would think. The RAM may likely be defective. Corsiar will allow you to RMA. Go online to their website and follow the RMA procedure. Wouldn't hurt trying the store you bought it from. Nice job troubleshooting! 8)
January 20, 2009 9:37:36 PM

Mate, I hate to say it but i think I got my hopes up and you've been so helpful :,(

I restarted and the computer did the same thing as before. So on the plus side that may mean the ram is not the problem after all. :bounce:  :D 

BUT!!! and I reckon this is big one, I noticed that the PSU fans arent moving. Now im fairly sure this is not normal, there are two on my psu one is obviously an intake and one is extraction, yet both are not moving when the computer is on. Can you or someone tell me if this is the norm, or will they come on like an hour later? (dont want to get my hopes up again)

If this is the case then we may have cracked it and it was the psu after all?!
January 20, 2009 10:02:30 PM

I should have carried out your first post Badge lol.

I've got it sitting here with a 300 W psu, apparently enough to run it it seems. It was the PSU all along, never would have thought so. I tried restarting to make sure this time, along with both the ram sticks, and it came on straight away with 2x4gb sticks of corsair. Cannot believe it, do you have any idea why the fans stopped on it? or why it would boot to windows and sometimes not even make it past post?

Suppose I should see if ebuyer will RMA my PSU (pretty sh*tty unit), had it for over 3 months, but its a duff one so hopefully theyll understand.

Thanks for all your help Badge youve been a star mate!
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 10:27:45 PM

Well, you have it sorted out now. So, the MB was not getting the proper voltage to the RAM perhaps. Or maybe the processor through the built in voltage regulators. The optical drives and periphals worked off the PSU's 12v leads? I don't know, I wouldn't plug it back in, might damage something really expensive. You'll need something a with a little more 12v amperage and overall wattage to power up an X48 with the high performance components you have. That is for sure.
January 20, 2009 10:42:49 PM

Yeh for sure, apparently all items are covered by a year warranty unless otehrwise stated. So I can return and get a replacement but Im going to ask If I can trade it for an item of better quality. Doubt it but worth a shot.

The op drives worked yeh, the peripherals worked but sometimes not on boot, ie keyboard.

Ill look into getting a good quality psu now and get my baby up and running again. Learnt something today at least, you cant be tight when purchasing a psu ;) 
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 20, 2009 11:03:51 PM

Yeah, I'm upgrading one tonight if I can get out of here and make it home with any energy left. Got to have a unit I feel comftorable with adding more components, or even more so, more powerful video cards, processors, general upgrading and add ons. Plus I like having a really efficient (80+) certified, quiet unit handing out clean accurate power to my things. Don't skimp on a little attention to detail and quality where the PSU is concerned 8).
!