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Asus Maximus Formula Instability after 2nd RMA Help!

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January 24, 2009 7:59:44 AM

Thanks in advance, everyone. = ) My system specs are at the bottom for reference.

I have been using the MF mobo for almost a year. Out of the clear blue sky one day, it hard locks. It is if the screen just freezes, no event log errors, nothing. Then I notice the DRAM light is red as opposed to green. I don't overclock, so I have not set any voltage settings to "Crazy".

Almost every 10 minutes the PC would hard lock. So I contacted Asus. After swapping out and trying ram from a roomate (who owns the same mobo), still no fix. My ram works just fine in his PC, and his light is green. We tried a different power supply, no go. Removed all components except the bare essentials, no go. We also tried setting all the RAM settings (voltage/clock etc...) manually, no go. Tried re-flashing several bios's, no go.

So, Asus sent me an RMA'd MF. Guess what? The new motherboard is behaving the same way. I performed the hardware swap as stated above again, no fix.

I am hoping that the new board they send will actually fix the problem. I have searched online, and this happens to be a common problem with this mobo.

If anyone can help, it would be deeply appreciated. Thanks again!

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 2X3.0GHZ Wolfdale
Maximus Formula Motherboard Intel X38
G.Skill 2X1GB DDR2-800
BFG Tech GeForce 8800 GTS
Audigy 2 ZS
PC Power & Cooling 512 watt SLI Power Supply
WD Raptor 74GB
WD 250 GB SATA2
Vista 64-bit
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 2:49:27 PM

If you swapped the original MB and installed a second MB and the same problem occurs, it's not the MB causing it. Could be your HD. A 74 GB Raptor is too small to install Vista 64 on in my systems. Once a HD is half full it slows down. I just built a Vista 64 system last week and fully loaded with software it is currently 76GB. Setting up the RAM in BIOS is a good thing. I have to increase the NB voltage to at least 1.45v and my G. Skill to at least 2.1v or the system locks up. If it's a hardware problem you need spare parts to troubleshoot with and you need to bench test the system adding each piece of hardware until you find the problem. If it were my machine, I would reinstall the OS on a larger HD. Mine has beening running with a nice OC for about a year, no problem with the proper adjustments.
January 24, 2009 4:17:20 PM

badge:

I really appreciate your insight and help. However, I urge you to re-read my post.

The motherboard is not the issue. As I stated, I have removed all parts, no go, replaced known good parts, no go. Put all my parts in another machine with the same mobo and my parts are fine. I also swapped power supplies, no go. As you can see in my original post, I did everything you suggested.

The DRAM voltage light being red (which is on my motherboard and activated during post, before the o/s loads) is apart of the issue. And due to me unplugging my hard drive and all other parts to see if the light goes away during post, my hdd is not the issue.

I also want to stress that this is a known issue with this model motherboard. You can google and find a lot of people with the same problem I'm having with this mobo. Some have found ways of working around it, I am hoping I find a work around, or someone speaks up that has had the same issue with this board.

Again, I urge you to re-read my original post, and provide any insight you may have. Again, thanks! = )
Related resources
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 4:28:15 PM

Quote:
So, Asus sent me an RMA'd MF. Guess what? The new motherboard is behaving the same way. I performed the hardware swap as stated above again, no fix.


Ok, I reread you original post. Like I said, if you RMA'd you original MB and had a second MB do the EXACT same thing...well it's not the MB. Like I said, I have no such issues with the boatd I have been using for the past year. I would use the latest BIOS as well as set up BIOS corectly.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 4:31:14 PM

In addition, having run the board for the past year I read the product page Forum every day. I don't see any known issue like you are describing on the product page forum.
January 24, 2009 7:41:43 PM

badge,

I too had your luck with this board for about a year. = ( It is sad it had to go. But the RMA'd one acting up? Unexcusable! LOL...

I really do appreciate your help, so please don't take offense, but it is the mobo. All parts (everything cpu/power supply, everything) I recently transferred into my friend's pc who has the same mobo, and the dramm light was fine, and no lockups. That includes all internal components. Yeah, I have done way more troubleshooting than I should. = ( And again, I have flashed the bios per my previous post, as well as set it up correctly.

Concerning this being a known issue, go to google.com and type "dram light red maximus formula". You will find reference even on Asus's site from users. Every instance, the issue is identical to mine. So, if my board were the issue, why do all my parts work on my friend's PC, which again has the same motherboard?

As one user from a forum put it, the boards are mixed bags. They either work for you, or don't. Another friend of mine bought the same board, when we bought ours, he had this issue. Flashing his bios worked for him. But flashing has not worked for me. I think I'm doomed!
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 7:49:08 PM

So, you RMA'd the original board and ASUS sent you a new board and that board does the exact same thing? I don't think so. They tested it and sent the origional board back to you.
January 24, 2009 8:09:09 PM

badge said:
So, you RMA'd the original board and ASUS sent you a new board and that board does the exact same thing? I don't think so. They tested it and sent the origional board back to you.


badge,

No, I did an advance RMA. They sent me a new mobo first, I have to ship the original back, which i have yet to do. Again, badge, I am looking for people who have found ways around this issue with this particular board. I'm glad yours works for you, but the board is clearly at fault.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:11:51 PM

What issue? Can you explain what you are talking about in a little detail? You system experiences random crashes and a light is on on the MB, something to do with RAM? I have seen no 'known' issue and have read the entire product page Forum.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:13:12 PM

Can I ask you this. Have you or your friend ever adjusted the NB voltage? How about the RAM voltage? Have you ever flashed the BIOS? What BIOS are you using?
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:14:19 PM

The only 'known' issue the MF X38 SE has is the NB runs very hot. There is no known issue of a MB light sticking on causing the MB to crash randomly. And you keep asking for someone who knows a work around for this 'issue' of a light staying on on the MB causing random crashing. Ask at the product page forumn. Maybe someone there knows what yoiu are talking about.
January 24, 2009 8:24:32 PM

badge said:
What issue? Can you explain what you are talking about in a little detail? You system experiences random crashes and a light is on on the MB, something to do with RAM? I have seen no 'known' isue and have read the entire product page Forum.


Specifically, the machine "hard locked" on me. As in the screen just paused. No event log errors, other than "the system was not shut down properly" due to me having to recycle power. The same time this happened, the ram led went red. Usually, the lights are green, denoting stock voltage. Ever since this occured the PC hard locks frequently, and the DRAM light is constant red.

Look in the Asus forums under motherboards, you will find mention of this, as well as a plethora of other sites.
January 24, 2009 8:27:37 PM

badge said:
Can I ask you this. Have you or your friend ever adjusted the NB voltage? How about the RAM voltage? Have you ever flashed the BIOS? What BIOS are you using?


We have never adjusted the NB voltage. We have adjusted the ram voltage to its proper timings, voltage, specs, etc... That did not fix the issue. We even tried different voltages, from 1.8-2.0. I have tried multiple bios's, the latest I'm using now is 1302 which is the latest as of now.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:34:06 PM

Crimson King sorry, but have even read the manual? Those lights are a voltmeter. There is one for the CPU, NB, RAM, SB. In BIOS, set the NB voltage to at least 1.45. Go to 1.5v if your system keeps crashng. My system will not even run unless I set the NB voltage to 1.45. I run my mine 24/7 at 3GHz. I have to overvolt the NB and the RAM at all times.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/socket775/Maximus_F...
January 24, 2009 8:34:18 PM

badge said:
The only 'known' issue the MF X38 SE has is the NB runs very hot. There is no known issue of a MB light sticking on causing the MB to crash randomly. And you keep asking for someone who knows a work around for this 'issue' of a light staying on on the MB causing random crashing. Ask at the product page forumn. Maybe someone there knows what yoiu are talking about.


badge, look, I appreciate you trying to help me, but unless you actually can help, give it up. You are doing what the admins of any forum object to, which is: trying to push me away from this forum for help. Just because you can't help, does not mean someone else can.

I have posted this issue in Asus's forums as well. I believe I have three forums, including this one where I have posted this issue. The more info the better, hence me posting here, as many others do.

And yes, if you do the research, the internet is full of forums with people having this exact same issue. Even with refereces from system builders posting the issues as well. Asus's PR department won't admit it, but it does exist.

Again, if you can help, respond. If not, please use your time to help others. Forums are not a place to argue.

In the end, sadly, I will probably just buy another mobo (thanks asus!).
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:36:31 PM

You are not going to run that board without upping the NB voltage to at least 1.45v. Not gonna happen. 1.5v will assure you have enough voltage to avoid system crashs like you are describing. But you will run very hot without watercooling. So, I manage 8 gigs and a 3GHz OC at 1.45+v. on the NB. That light on the MB is a voltage check. I don't even pay attention to it.
January 24, 2009 8:37:50 PM

badge said:
Crimson King sorry, but have even read the manual? Those lights are a voltmeter. There is one for the CPU, NB, RAM, SB. In BIOS, set the NB voltage to at least 1.45. Go to 1.5v if your system keeps crashng. My system will not even run unless I set the NB voltage to 1.45. I run my mine 24/7 at 3GHz. I have to overvolt the NB and the RAM at all times.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/socket775/Maximus_F...


badge,

Thank you for giving me something to try! I will try setting the NB voltage as you recommended, and report back, thank you for that.

Yes, I have read the manual, and yes I do know it indicates voltage. However, PC Probe, sysoft sandra, etc... report my DRAM is at 1.9. Which, is a "light" setting, which would denote a green led.

I will try your solution and report back. Again, thanks.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:39:31 PM

Quote:
badge, look, I appreciate you trying to help me, but unless you actually can help, give it up.


Here you go Crimsonking. Knock yourself out. What a crapload.

http://www.answermejesus.com/

a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:40:04 PM

I own the board. I pretty much have it mastered. Want links ask.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:44:41 PM

badge wrote in his initial post:

Quote:
Setting up the RAM in BIOS is a good thing. I have to increase the NB voltage to at least 1.45v and my G. Skill to at least 2.1v or the system locks up.


January 24, 2009 8:52:55 PM

badge said:
badge wrote in his initial post:

Quote:
Setting up the RAM in BIOS is a good thing. I have to increase the NB voltage to at least 1.45v and my G. Skill to at least 2.1v or the system locks up.


badge,

I just manually set the NB voltage to 1.45 volts. I will see if it locks up on me again.

However, the voltimeters I should pay attention to. Beause per the manual, if the DRAM light is red, that means the voltage is running at 2.62V or above. My DRAM is not running at that voltage. Given the light occured with the lock ups, they are related.

The asus technician, level one, and level two deduced it as a "memory controller issue". And that is not normal.

As far as posting links and being sarcastic, life is too short. Again, thanks for the help. I will keep you updated, hopefully this will fix the issue. But, my red light for DRAM is still on. = ( My DRAM is not running at 2.62V or above, it is running at 1.9V.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:53:04 PM

Quote:
DRAM is at 1.9.


Your kidding right. Your system is randomly crashing, and probably when you are running apps like 'games'. aAd you are applying 1.9v to the RAM. Bump that to 2.1-2.2v. Set the NB to 1.45v, go to 1.5v if the crashing persists. The number one thing any knowledgable RAM tech guy will tell you to get your RAM straightened out and performing right and to stop the system from crashing is to throw some voltage at the NB. :lol: 
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:54:13 PM

Maybe the light is malfunctiong and the NB needs a charge. 2.62v. won't hurt it.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 8:58:37 PM

Crimsonking I remember talking to you when you asked abot Vista 64. I apologize for appearing to be so shallow. But it is hard for me to believe two MBs do the same thing and have the same instability issue. My board was unstale too. Setting the NB and RAM voltages was the key to getting it squared away. NB 1.45v-1.5v if the latter is not enough. RAM at 2.1v, slightly more if the stability issue continues. If that doesn't solve it, then I agree there is something wrong with the voltage to the RAM or the structure of the MB integrity itself. I have one I have worked at for hours trying to make it work. Electrical problem.
January 24, 2009 8:58:46 PM

badge said:
Maybe the light is malfunctiong and the NB needs a charge. 2.62v. won't hurt it.


badge,

I will set my DRAM to 2.1-2.2 and see if that helps as well. But again, I don't know if I can trust your recommendation of setting the NB to 2.62V due to your sarcastic nature. Are you being serious? I have no time for sarcasm, I come here for help.

My system crashses anytime. I do not play games anymore. It will crash anytime, during inactivity, a screensaver, me opening outlook, etc...
January 24, 2009 9:02:19 PM

badge said:
Crimsonking I remember talking to you when you asked abot Vista 64. I apologize for appearing to be so shallow. But it is hard for me to believe two MBs do the same thing and have the same instability issue. My board was unstale too. Setting the NB and RAM voltages was the key to getting it squared away. NB 1.45v-1.5v if the latter is not enough. RAM at 2.1v, slightly more if the stability issue continues. If that doesn't solve it, then I agree there is something wrong with the voltage to the RAM or the structure of the MB integrity itself. I have one I have worked at for hours trying to make it work. Electrical problem.


No worries, again, I appreciate your help. I too am flabbergasted that two motherboards are having the same issue. Trust me, I wanted it to be a component, or what not, just not the motherboard. Hence the extensive testing I have done with my friend's parts in troubleshooting. It is just my luck. LOL...

Again, I will apply the new DRAM voltage and keep you updated. Thanks.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 9:03:09 PM

I'm not being sarcastic. Your system stability problem is likely the voltage to the NB. Mine was. Set the NB manually to 1.45v. Try the system, run some softwar. Go up in small increments to 1.5v if necessary. It will not hurt the MB. 1.62v would not hurt the MB, just make it hot. Oh did you say 2.62v? No I meant 1.62v. Try 1.45v. Test.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 9:04:49 PM

You knwo, it is possible the MB has, well a structural flaw for lack of a better word. I have a MB that fails to provide the proper voltage to the RAM. I have worked with it for hours sitting on a box. Maybe it's a bad voltage regulator?
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 9:07:58 PM

IF I default the BIOS on my system I would have a serious crashing problem. I have to manually set the voltages to the hardware. Specifically the NB, RAM and CPU. Although my q9450 is an exceptionally smooth runni8ng chip. Apparently the chip or MB do a great job supplying excellent current to my q9450. It overclocks with ease.

You can always buy the Maximus X48 and make fun of me.
January 24, 2009 9:10:01 PM

badge said:
You knwo, it is possible the MB has, well a structural flaw for lack of a better word. I have a MB that fails to provide the proper voltage to the RA< I have worked with it for hours sitting on a box. Maybe it's a bad voltage regulator?


badge,

Again, thanks for the help. I currently have the mobo running at NB-1.45 and DRAM-2.2. As you recommened, I will up the NB voltage and make it hot.

I just noticed, in the bios, when you select a voltage setting for the NB, the light instantly changes, no reboot neccessary. It changes in real time. My Dram light does not change no matter what setting I use. It still stays red. = (

Do you even think it is worth going through the RMA for this mobo?

I will keep you updated. Should be back home in a few hours.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 24, 2009 9:21:53 PM

I always choose a value for NB in BIOS, hit enter then save and exit to save that new value. I'm headed home after a long day at work too. Taking craniofacial x-rays on people who do not speak English tests all I have learned in life. 8)
January 25, 2009 2:38:35 AM

badge said:
I always choose a value for NB in BIOS, hit enter then save and exit to save that new value. I'm headed home after a long day at work too. Taking craniofacial x-rays on people who do not speak English tests all I have learned in life. 8)


Good advice indeed. I just got back, Ill be on the PC for quite awhile. I will keep you updated. I still can't see how two motherboards have the same issue. = ( Just my luck. = (
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2009 5:00:01 AM

Well, you could have gotten a board that someone else RMA'd and they thought they fixed. It could be that they sent you a refurbished board that had the same problem as yours and was either improperly repaired or just passed off as fine after a two minute inspection. It could also be your CPU is failing so you may want to try a different CPU if you can.

Last time I had a problem like that with a board was when I owned an EPox 8kha+. I was using a GeForce 3 Ti 200 on that board, but the Radeon 8500 was on sale so I got greedy and returned my GeForce 3, after sending in for me rebate at best buy no less ^_^, and paid the $10 diff. What I didn't know was that boards based on the kt266 chipset, especially the epox since they they thought GPUs wouldn't need more power than what the GF3 would draw and omitted certain components related to the AGP slot, could be damaged by the 8500 so when I pluged it in I got all sorts of crazy problems. I returned the 8500 and just got another GF3 ti 200.

Anyway the board wasn't the same. Even though I had formated it and what not it was preforming way slow and every now and then would have crazy errors. I thought it was the GPU so I returned it again, but no the same thing happened. When I tried that GPU in a friends system it worked fine so I RMA'd the board, to which they sent me a board that had the exact same problem so I assumed it was RMA'd for the same reason and just impoperly repaired or glanced over. After getting credit for it on new egg I just got an MSI-KT3 Ultra2 R instead and that board is still chugging along in a third system.

Yeah just a long way of saying that even though they sent you an new board it may just also have been defective.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2009 5:21:03 AM

If you have ASUS Probe installed, check your voltages from the desktop. These are my current voltages for the X38 system in 'My Configuration'. These values are not precise, but they are close to where I had to set the voltages to get my system stable. I have actually 'lowered' the voltages to these over time. My system has been stable for months with these settings. The NB and RAM voltage are higher than specification calls for. The NB is about 50c. That would be much higher without the excellent cooling I have. That NB could take 1.5v if I need it for stability.

http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/56/currentsettingsqo...

a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2009 5:24:23 AM

Megamanx00 wrote:

Quote:
Well, you could have gotten a board that someone else RMA'd and they thought they fixed. It could be that they sent you a refurbished board that had the same problem as yours and was either improperly repaired or just passed off as fine after a two minute inspection. It could also be your CPU is failing so you may want to try a different CPU if you can.


This is an excellent observation. This is so true and I had not thought of the CPU. Great information and insight.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2009 5:32:04 AM

If you look at the NB voltage setting on this MF X38 screen shot, it is set to 1.568v. (The last picture on the page.) Haha, I just noticed the RAM is at 2.4v.

http://anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3208&p=3
January 25, 2009 6:32:38 AM

Everyone!

Guess what? I was so desperate, my mind teetering on the verge of insanity-thinking "Why is this happening?" "This makes no sense!" As I stated earlier, my friend and I purchased our PC's at the same time, and our machines (except for the case) are identical.

So, my brain said: "You tried his power supply in your PC, and it did not work. But, you didin't try your old antec 380 watt yet).

Despite my friend's PC being fine, exhibiting no signs like mine, and I already swapped power supplies, I was so desperate, I pulled out my old antec 380 watt and hooked it up. Guess what? The DRAM light is now at green. Whoo hoo! Problem solved! I will let it run a day or two, just to make sure. And I'll buy a newer power supply, about 550 watts. BFG has a cool power supply I will try out for a decent price.

Again, I am left with more questions than answers. Is it the fact that a different manufacturer's power supply works? Because my regular power supply I tried in my friend's PC and it worked fine. All I know is, with another power supply (by a different manufacturer) my board is stable, and it is not mis-reporting the DRAM voltage on the mobo led.

Any insight? Advice? Again, I swapped my power supply before, and that did not work. Why does it work with this one?

Again, thanks everyone for your help. Wow, this really makes no sense at all. LOL...

P.S. I plugged my old mobo in (the one I'm returning to Asus for RMA) swapped my cpu, all components, etc... and used the antec power supply, just to see if my RMA was all in vein. Guess what? It did not work. = ( So I guess the old board was toast after all. = (

So, I apologize Asus for running my mouth about you. Your original product failed, but you did send me a good RMA mobo. I have my fingers crossed. I will keep everyone updated.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2009 6:45:07 AM

Well, that is good news. Maybe the PCP & C damaged your original MB. The second MB now works, so maybe be sure to not plug that PSU in again. Glad to see you have it sorted out. Keep in touch on the Forumz crimsonking. 8)
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b V Motherboard
January 25, 2009 5:40:01 PM

The BFG 550w is all right with what you have, but it is not SLI/Xfire certified and has only two 12v rails at 15/18amp. So if you start adding on dual video cards or multiple HDs it is a little weak. I'm sure it would be ok with what you have, but there are 550w units that have better stats.

I just installed this two days ago in a micro of mine. It's modular, has three 18a 12v rails, up to 85% efficiency, Xfire certified and has active PFC. I paid $59 with FS. It is super quiet too.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/361
January 25, 2009 11:10:59 PM

Update! More confusion!

I went out to buy the new power supply today. I picked up the BFG tech modular 550 watt. When I come home, the DRAM light is red again! And my system was hard locked. = ( Again, more questions than answers.

I installed the new power supply, and everything is ok, again. = ) I hope the stability keeps up, and that this does not repeat itself. Again, thanks everyone, I will keep you updated. = )
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2009 1:03:50 PM

How is your system now? i think i have the same problem...
December 1, 2009 1:52:35 PM

Cat,

After purchasing the BFG power supply, the PC has been running without issues. I have no idea what was going on. As you can see above, Badge and I speculated quite a bit.

One thing I must bring up: When speaking with one of Asus's techs early on, he did admit to the Maximus Formula's memory controller issue. Also it's picky-ness when it comes to power supplies.

I don't know what your issue may be, Cat, but I would really troubleshoot the heck out of it as Badge suggested above. It could be an easy fix, or a not so easy fix.

Post back with your results. = )
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2009 8:54:04 PM

Tested my girlfriends PSU now and the light is gone, the computer starts withuot problems and the system is stable... Finally!

But why is the light red, have my motherboard randomly chosen to give my ram a lot of more power or what? :??: 
December 1, 2009 9:22:11 PM

Cat,

Good question. I would say, only due to my experience with the same issue, it is the power supply at fault. You said the new power supply works fine, does the ram light turn green now? Or is it still red?

Before I stand behind that 100%, I would ask what happened to the PC before this happened?

Could you post which components you have/had? Which power supply were you using before you tried your G/F's?

Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2009 10:55:08 PM

Yeah the light is now green...

This problem just randomly appeared i think :S No hardware change and no special software change/ run that i know of...

December 2, 2009 1:47:40 AM

Cat,

Very glad to hear the issue is resolved. Having a stable, happy computer is a good thing. ; )

The asus tech also mention the actual sensors can go bad for the lights. I don't think that would effect stability though.

A good test would be to plug the old power supply into a different PC to test it.

Keep us updated. Again, glad to hear it seems the issue is resolved. ; )
!