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Possible motherboard problem - guidance required

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October 3, 2009 10:25:46 PM

Hello,
I have had some quirks with my PC for a while now and have been told its either a motherboard or memory fault. Id like some guidance from people who aren't trying to sell me stuff to see if this is the most likely cause.

Firstly specs -

E6600 Core 2 Duo (2.4 GHz)
Decent heatsink - arctic cooler 7 IIRC?
EVGA motherboard with nForce 650 ultra chipset
4 Gb rem - 4 x identical modules of Geil Ultra 4-4-4-4-12 IIRC
Vista home premium 64bit
Nvidia 8800GT

PC was bought in parts and assembled by myself in 2007, only hardware tweaks in that time are upgrading from a 8600GT and doubling up from 2 gigs of ram. I bought the PC to run games of the time and future - (ie. until about nowish) since it overclocks easily to 3 GHz for the rare occasions when i want to play crysis. All clock speeds are standard now and almost always too.

My problem is this - i need to wirelessly access my router for internet access and i'm using a netgear WPN111 USB type connector. Now, i can generally browse and shop for example fine. However, if i try to access streaming audio, streaming video, large file downloads, online gaming etc then a something strange happens to my connection. It seems to partially uninstall itself. As in, the netgear icon which is red. yellow or green disappears completely. After it chooses to do this nothing apart from full uninstallation and reinstallation of the USB adaptor will allow me to access the internet again. Restarts do nothing, trying to reopen the netgear software causes it to open for a fraction of a second and dissappear again each time its clicked on. These symptoms have been going on for the last year or so and its starting to drive me mad! Im so sick of a ~180Mb driver download being cancelled just before it finishes for no apparent reason, sick of not being able to play online games for more than 15 mins (never finished a game yet!!) and sick of using youtube and the like to cause my internet access to be lost repeatedly!

I also have another netgear wireless USB adaptor from a while back - a WG111v2 - and i can install it and although all appears to be working (the lights on the device indicate it is and the icons on the computer indicate that it is) but no internet access is possible with the same, generic, false and pointless suggestions for lack of connectivity.

However, having been so sick of sporadic internet access for so long i searched google for my symptoms and it appears that im not alone with having problems with netgear wireless adaptors. I went to the IT shop across the road looking for a decent replacement assuming that the USB adaptor was at fault. I bought a D-Link DWA547 PCI card type on the advice on the shop owner and also from searching from reviews on the internet. I installed the card and the installation wouldnt pass 95% and then everything froze. I restarted and it seemed to be installed. As far as the software was concerned it was fully installed and workin. I could detect and link to my routers network but couldn't access the internet - exactly as the WG111v2 did before. Uninstallation and reinstallation of the PCI card adaptor caused many varied, random faults including freezing, unstability, boot failures, BSODs etc so i have uninstalled the card and am back using my sporadic WPN111 again. Although the D-link card is physically removed from the computer the software doesn't seem to fully uninstall?

The guy in the shop informed me that for things to be uninstalling itself it HAS to be a motherboard or memory problem - is this correct?

To aid fault finding -

1 - 3 different wireless adaptors surely cannot all be faulty in similar ways so i am assuming that these are fine.
2 - These symptoms happen even with a completely clean format and installation of vista so it cannot be a software or virus issue
3 - All programs, drivers, windows etc are up to date and patched etc. Windows is genuine too
4 - My system is rock stable with many demanding games with most of the settings turned on. These problems seem confined purely to networking issues although i can connect directly by cable to the router by moving the computer to it although this is no way a workable solution to have my computer on the livingroom floor and also im not trailing a long cable from the livingroom to my PC!
5 - I get these symptoms using 2 different routers in 2 different houses using 2 different ISPs and connection signal is also not the issue here. Connection is flawless when it chooses to work, unworkable when it chooses not to.
6 - Although i have used 3 different wireless adaptors i get these symptoms with only one installed at a time - theres no conflict issue between them.
7- I have 4 identical Geil 1GB DDR2 modules, ive tried using only 2 gigs by swapping every combination of modules in and out as well as using 4 gbs and the symptoms are always the same. Thus, i do not believe my memory is as fault.
8 - However, when installing vista as a clean install i must remove any two memory modules and install with only 2 gigs. If i install vista with 4 GBs i get BSODs almost at the end of installation. Once i use 2 gigs to install and then download a few updates i can use all 4 GB no problems - is this quirk relevent to the whole networking issue??

Part of me wants to buy a new motherboard and stick it in but its nearly £100 for one similar to what i have, but if im spending more than a few quid then i may as well get a decent board with DDR3 compatibility, (which means new memory and processor, both of which are fine!) - and i'd be cheaper just getting a cheap laptop for internet access it thats the case??

Thanks in advance for any help and pointers you can give me guys. I know that this post is mega long-winded but i believe all the info is relevent to getting suggestions/ideas/solutions. If you require any more info then please do not hesitate to ask.

Regards,

Mike
a b V Motherboard
October 3, 2009 10:34:53 PM

Quote:
I get these symptoms using 2 different routers in 2 different houses using 2 different ISPs and connection signal is also not the issue here. Connection is flawless when it chooses to work, unworkable when it chooses not to.


RAM and MB have nothing to do with internet connection using crappy Netgear wireless adapters. Are the adapters PCI or USB? An upgrade to an adapter like this PCI unit with antenna used with Vista 64 should solve any wireless adapter connectivity problem.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 3, 2009 10:44:34 PM

badge said:
Quote:
I get these symptoms using 2 different routers in 2 different houses using 2 different ISPs and connection signal is also not the issue here. Connection is flawless when it chooses to work, unworkable when it chooses not to.


RAM and MB have nothing to do with internet connection using crappy Netgear wireless adapters. Are the adapters PCI or USB? An upgrade to an adapter like this PCI unit with antenna used with Vista 64 should solve any wireless adapter connectivity problem.

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



Hi Badge,
I have tried using a D-link DWA 547 as detailed in the original post. Its a PCI type, the two netgear ones are USB types. Using the PCI type was worse as it makes my whole system unuseable. At least with the netgear types the system is stable apart from networking functions. Thanks for your input though.

Incidentally, i have tried using all 6 usb ports and the issue remains the same so its safe to say all my ports work fine.
Related resources
a b V Motherboard
October 3, 2009 10:50:00 PM

Well, a PCI adapter will not work properly with the router as well as several USB wireless adapters. Do other PCI cards and USB devices work correctly with the MB? If you feel the RAM is a problem, run memtest and check for errors. Also, set the RAM to Mfg. specs in BIOS including voltage, timings and transfer rate. How about the MB's onboard ethernet chip, does that connect to the routers corectly?
a b V Motherboard
October 3, 2009 11:05:29 PM

Well, it seems your PC does have some sort of issue if Vista can't install with 4 sticks of RAM.

Next thing I'd try is simple: Pull two sticks, as if you were doing a fresh Vista install. Boot up and uninstall all network adapter software. Then re-install a network adapter and try again.
October 3, 2009 11:29:29 PM

Twoboxer said:
Well, it seems your PC does have some sort of issue if Vista can't install with 4 sticks of RAM.

Next thing I'd try is simple: Pull two sticks, as if you were doing a fresh Vista install. Boot up and uninstall all network adapter software. Then re-install a network adapter and try again.


Yes, already tried this mate - nothing changes. It doesn't matter which 2 sticks i use either - same effect all round. This is why i think my memory must be fine because if a particular module (or pair for that matter) was faulty then the fault would go away if i removed the bad memory from the system?

And badge, i only have one adaptor installed at any one time but i have cycled round the 3 of them with all combinations of which memory modules to use etc. All memory settings are set back to factory standard settings regards timings and the like. As for the ethernet chip, i have no idea? I directly linked the PC to the router using a direct cable about 6 months ago and it worked fine? This network adaptor problem has been going on for over a year now so i think at least part of the ethernet function must be working? Also, i dont believe the memory to be a problem (for reasons said above) but the guy in the shop said it was memory or motherboard hence im here asking if that is possible?
a b V Motherboard
October 3, 2009 11:37:13 PM

so if it is the mb, the usb or pci is causing the problem. if other usb/pci components work correctly i doubt anything is wrong with mb. onboard ethernet works. the ram, a major component lol, would cause other problems besides connecting to the internet wirelessly.
October 3, 2009 11:48:34 PM

badge said:
so if it is the mb, the usb or pci is causing the problem. if other usb/pci components work correctly i doubt anything is wrong with mb. onboard ethernet works. the ram, a major component lol, would cause other problems besides connecting to the internet wirelessly.


This is exactly my thinking! It doesn't seem to make sense and dont want to plough hundreds into trying to fix something that is a random glitch? But then, it IS a constant problem and is obviously being caused by something??
a b V Motherboard
October 4, 2009 12:03:25 AM

It may seem like a diversion, but we really need to solve the "4 stick" issue. Your PC won't do a fresh install with 4 sticks - we don't know what else it will not do with 4 sticks. At the end of the day, this may or may not have anything to do with your networking issues.

If your mobo works fine with any two sticks of memory, then yes the memory is probably OK, but not 100% certain. But the fact that your mobo fails when using 4 sticks does indicate a mobo, BIOS settings, or psu issue. Or that small chance remaining memory issue.

Download and run a few hours (if necessary) of Prime95 (with "Detect rounding errors" checked) on all cores. Watch temps using RealTemp. The purpose is to make your system fail without doing a clean install. Hopefully, it will fail.

Get the software here: http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/latest-overclocking-pro...

You can then manually set your memory's parameters in BIOS, and you can increase memory voltage to 2.1V if you are not already there. Try that and let us know the voltage its currently using, and what happens when you go to 2.1V. Stress test again.

The only way to test the psu for problems like this is to swap in another psu and see if the problem repeats.

October 4, 2009 2:08:37 AM

just having 4 memory chips can be a problem and you installed 2 later an an upgrade.

try using 1 memory chip installing vista fresh.. and trying a pci style wireless.. with a different router. with no security turned on

I've had routers before that didnt work that great..

even my linksys wrt54g2 on channel 11 doesnt work with my laptop.. have to set to channel 1 or 6

oh and make sure your vista has sp2 on or you might have issues.
October 5, 2009 10:59:26 AM

If this helps at all here is the info saved by windows problem reporting regarding the crash -

Description
A problem caused this program to stop interacting with Windows.

Problem signature
Problem Event Name: AppHangB1
Application Name: WPN111.exe
Application Version: 2.1.0.3
Application Timestamp: 48a54310
Hang Signature: 0f18
Hang Type: 0
OS Version: 6.0.6002.2.2.0.768.3
Locale ID: 2057
Additional Hang Signature 1: f4e24cc7e64d94997efa3b3293e213c3
Additional Hang Signature 2: 0855
Additional Hang Signature 3: 232a830b6452bf696913367dcaf3e6d2
Additional Hang Signature 4: 0f18
Additional Hang Signature 5: f4e24cc7e64d94997efa3b3293e213c3
Additional Hang Signature 6: 0855
Additional Hang Signature 7: 232a830b6452bf696913367dcaf3e6d2

Files that help describe the problem
Version.txt
AppCompat.txt
WPN111.exe.hu.kdmp
WPN111.exe.xml

View a temporary copy of these files
Warning: If a virus or other security threat caused the problem, opening a copy of the files could harm your computer.



Rand - vista has sp2, ive tried using all combinations of 2 memory modules, not singly - i was under the impression that DDR2 was to be used in matched pairs? I have tried with 2 different routers through 2 different ISPs in two different houses all with the same effect - and have also tried disabling security out of desperation.

Twoboxer - i have downloaded the program you suggested but have no time currently to have my computer unuseable for hours at a time trying to find out why it has these quirks. I have considered updating the bios settings but how do i know my current setting arent the most up to date ones anyways? And i have heard horror stories of people killing motherboards with a botched bios update.... its not something i have ever had cause to do so so have no experience of what to do - and more importantly, what NOT to do.

Regards,

Mike
a b V Motherboard
October 6, 2009 12:53:45 AM

MentalMike said:
Twoboxer - i have downloaded the program you suggested but have no time currently to have my computer unuseable for hours at a time trying to find out why it has these quirks. etc.


That's cool. Good luck with your problems.

a b V Motherboard
October 10, 2009 9:18:52 AM

I currently have been using the same netgear wpn111 for a few years and it works pretty well. You don't need to use the netgear software any longer as Vista can support it by itself. This will probobly be more difficult now due to all the installations it appears you may have done. If you still have it installed download the latest drivers from netgear but don't install them, just extract them to a directory of your choice. Go into device manager and click on the wpn111 and using right click do a complete uninstall of the device and the drivers. If your successfull with that a reboot (sometimes a shutdown is better) yes shut down. Reboot, Vista should see the device and after checking its driver base hopefully will ask you for a driver. Direct it to the drivers you downloaded, Vista will see the ***.inf file and the system driver and install the wpn111 for you. Yes periodically the Netgear installation program ?Wizard would go wacky on me as well and the best solution was a powerdown and fresh startup. If you are successful with this, test your internet connection speed to see if it comes close to the bandwidth you pay for. The wpn111 allows both a (b and G connection) 11 mps and 54 mps unless you have a 108mps wireless router which the wpn111 can take advantage of. Also your motherboard Usb port is level 2 which is necessary for 54g. I disabled 11b in my router so as to get rid of interference from neighboring wireless systems. This had a positive effect as the wpn111 didn't try and reset it's speed anymore during poor connections through weak or overloaded ISP's. Yeaah baby!!!
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