I have had a lot of trouble trying to get Vista 32bit as well as the windows 7 installer to even start on a newly assembled computer. It will often randomly reboot or hang during the initial load of the setup files (before it even asks for what language and keyboard layout). A few times I have made it to this step where it asks for what language and keyboard layout but it took 10-15 minutes to get that far. To proceed past this step, where it says "setup is starting..." it stays at that screen 15-20 minutes, and often will hang. The few times I have made it to where i can select "install windows" it will hang shortly after. I never make it to selecting what hard drive to install windows on whatsoever.
Memtest 86+ (as suggested by Mushkin) informs me that both memory modules are working without any errors, even after letting the test run for some time.
The original bios that this board was shipped with was version F5, which I did flash the bios to F6 (version supplied from the website, recently released) in order to troubleshoot this problem (loaded optimized defaults, failsafe, and even resetting the bios itself). I have tried disabling as much as I could in the bios (serial ports, non necessary sata ports, onboard audio, etc..) but I have not had much luck in the matter.
I have also tried removing the memory modules, and trying each one at a time. I have tried even starting the windows setup from a USB drive instead of the DVD burner but no luck.
Also, just to confirm that it was not the burner or the install process, I moved the burner to another computer, booted from it and ran the installer flawlessly up to the point where it looks for a hard drive (none found there, but that is because of the way that comp is set up, raid drivers needed).
Do I perhaps have a bad motherboard or is there something else that I am missing that I could try?
Here are the components of this computer:
GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
EVGA 01G-P3-1180-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
**Corsair Extreme Series CMFSSD-128D1 2.5" 128GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD)
PLEXTOR 24X DVD/CD Writer Black SATA Model PX-880SA LightScribe Support
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
**this hard drive has confirmed issues, but I do not even get to the point of selecting the hard drive during the install process.
I would suggest downloading: http://home.att.net/~chip.programmer/Memtest86/memtest8...
burning the iso to make a bootable memory tester, and running at least a full pass... Installation troubles pretty much always turn out to be underlying stability problems, and the most likely culprit is the memory subsystem...
Thank you for an updated version of Memtest 86+ that shows the correct processor and ram speeds. It showed no errors though.
This was suggested to me in another forum though and did completely fix the slow down in my case, but it is specific to my memory:
MushkinSean » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:10 pm
You need to set a few things manually in the BIOS, this should work for you
(Use the outer ram slots)
Set Memory Clock: Manual
Memory Clock: x8.00
DDR3 Timing Items: Manual
CAS# Latency: 7
RAS to CAS R/W Delay: 7
Row Precharge Time: 6
Minimum RAS Active Time: 18
1T/2T Command Rate: 1T
DDR3 Voltage Control: +0.25V - +0.30V (1.85V - 1.90V)
If experiencing instability increase CPU NB VID Control: +0.1V - +0.2V
However I was still getting lockups and random reboots during the windows installer but while trying to figure out what is causing it (setting CPU NB VID Control: +0.1V - +0.2V) the video card died on me badly (first sign of it was sitting at +0.15V on CPU NB VID Control)...did that setting cause the card to die?
Just adding my final notes here after solving this issue. The eVGA 285 GTX graphics card dieing on me was the cause of this particular issue. I also have the memory running at the settings listed above except the clock, running at 1333 instead of 1600 as for whatever reason the comp will not post with it at 1600 but it is extremely stable at 1333.
3DMark06 Score: 18,000 =^.^=
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
Mushkin DDR3 1333 2x2GB
Two XFX Radeon 4890 in Crossfire
CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W
Corsair Extreme Series CMFSSD-128D1 2.5" 128GB SSD
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 Case