I'm working on an older Asus P4PE system for somebody. Below is the e-mail I sent to an IT buddy of mine.
"Here's a pain in the butt computer. Below is what I posted on a message forum. Do you have any ideas?
"Windows splash screen, and post screen corruption
Sometimes I see a corrupted screen when I boot up this computer I'm working on.
The post screen gets "dashes" throughout the screen, and the splash screen gets similar.
But once Windows has loaded, there are no problems with the screen image.
Would reflashing the BIOS perhaps fix this? I would like to blame the graphics card, but I don't see any problems with it once Windows is loaded up. "
"Anyway, I finally got this thing flashed. This computer does strange things. Hardware Monitor in BIOS only showed the chassis fan as running in the red on RPMs. Voltage didn't have anything in the red.
This machine has USB problems as well. It had them before and after the fresh XP install. My external hard drive device just sits there and fails over and over and over. You can copy a few files sometimes, then it fails, and you hear Windows make it's little sound like when it discovers new hardware. Front USBs just fail, and never work.
I still sometimes get a corrupted POST and splash screen sometimes.
Sometimes when you reboot you get taken directly to BIOS setup.
I'm doing a CPU burn in test. The other tests didn't really work. It's still going.
It did have a burning smell when I first fired it up here at the house, but I haven't noticed it that much of a degree since then. I sort of thought it was maybe burning off the dust in the power supply. This thing was dirty, dirty, dirty, inside the case, when I cleaned it with the air compressor.
Also, the BIOS setup is laggy, when you press the keys it takes a few moments to go where you want. I don't remember any BIOS doing this.
What do you guys think? I've burned more time on this than I would like. These people may be better off with another computer perhaps.
It was also a bit of a pain getting Windows to start to install. But, went without problem after it actually started."
So, I have this mixed back of problems. Do all these problems have a common thread? Or, are they all separate issues? I don't ever remember seeing a BIOS that was sluggish like this. Let's say the graphics card was bad, ok, then why are the graphics fine while you are in Windows?
Let's say the power supply was bad, ok, then why are the voltages not in the red in the BIOS hardware monitor? Maybe the voltage is what it says, but perhaps the voltage lacks the amperage it needs?"
I have looked over the caps on the motherboard, but nothing is jumping out as being bad.
Actually things seemed to turn out ok with this computer. There really was a bad CD burner, I disconnected that. The front USB ports indeed did not work. I unplugged them. The graphics card must have been bad, I put a different one in there. And I tried a different keyboard.
The motherboard, power supply, CPU, etc. must be ok for the most part. The external drive that was failing over and over, it's fine now. It started working after I had tried a different keyboard and replaced the video card. It worked without problems.
The BIOS setup is much more responsive.
The whole system must have been "poisoned" by the bad parts.
All these symptoms at one time really threw me off. It seemed like it needed to be a problem like the power supply, that powers everything, or the motherboard or something like that.
I didn't boot up too many times, but I bet the distortion in the splash screen may not come back.
I think the burning smell may have been the graphics card. I stress, this computer was really dirty on the inside. I wonder if the fan on the graphics card had seized up at some time, and messed it up, because of all the dirt and dust. It at least could have hindered the cooling capabilities of the fan. The fan could really make some ugly sounds sometimes on the video card.