Sorry if I'm not exactly cheery but I just can't take it anymore! I just can't figure what the .... is wrong with my PC!! I have my suspicions but that's about as far as it gets.
Please, Please read this! I know it's long, but I need your help!
The problem is rather complex and it only manifests in certain conditions.
Here's my configuration :
Asus M2V MX SE motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ CPU
2GB Zeppelin DDR2 800MHz module
1GB Kingston DDR2 667MHz module
HIS Radeon 4670 512MB 128 bit PCIe graphics card
1x Maxtor DiamondMax 8 80GB IDE HDD
1x Seagate Barracuda 7200 500GB SATAII HDD
1x Western Digital 1200JB 120GB SATA HDD
1x LG DVD-RW
and a Fortron PSU with active PFC
Here's the manifestation of the problem. You are all familiar with the 1st beep the motherboard makes when you power-on the system. I'm not talking about the high-pitched beep that you hear when the motherboard POSTs, I'm talking about the low beep that you hear JUST after you push the power-button on your case. Instead of hearing that sound once and going to POST, my system produces the sound several times, at irregular intervals and sometimes it doesn't produce the sound at all and it will not display anything. It' like the motherboard is constantly and randomly resetting itself. After that's over with, the system works just fine until the next system restart when, once again, it does the same thing. Sometimes it goes into a loop and won't come out of it unless i forcibly reset it a couple of times.
Here's the funny bit : if I remove the Radeon from my motherboard, it doesn't make that low-beep sound. It works just fine.
My motherboard has an on-board video adapter so that's how I know. I haven't tried using another graphics card because, as you can see, this is a low-budget build and I don't have the money to buy another card (just bought this one).
That was just a side-note. It's not the card. It works fine in every single game with everything on max : AA AF, shadows etc at 1024x768
Now we get to the hard part :
After installing XP and just doing what people usually do with a computer (YM, browsing, photos, videos etc.) I get my GPU reset a couple of times. The image goes into all kinds of shapes and colors (for about 100-200ms) then it goes black for about 3s then it comes back up and Ati VPU recover announces me that my GPU stopped responding and it was reset by the video driver.
One time I managed to capture this "beautiful" effect in its conception : http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa113/UzY3L/Untitled...
After doing this a couple of times (the maximum was 9 times in one day and the longest period in which this happened was 3 days), it goes away, like nothing happened. It just disappears and it never happens again.
Although, the system still does the low-beep sound on power-up.
This normally wouldn't be much of a hassle, but when the issue that causes the GPU to freeze occurs in vista or Windows7, the whole system just stops. I have display but it's frozen : the mouse and keyboard do not respond, sound plays in 100ms loops and i cannot turn off the system unless I keep the power button pressed for 4s.
Also, if I let this issue present itself in XP and the restart and boot to vista, it also goes away. But as soon as I install another OS (Windows7) the system freezes at random times (the same as above). Sometimes it doesn't freeze for hours at a time, sometimes it freezes after just 10 minutes on the desktop, no applications opened or anything.
Also, these issues never occur when playing games. I was able to provide such detailed information because this has been happening for quite some time.
Also, it's not a RAM issue. I've ran hundreds of RAM stress tests and such and found no problem. I've also tried using just the 2GB Zeppelin module or just the 1GB Kingston module, to no avail. I have also tried manually setting the RAM speed @ 667MHz, disabling the VGA to IRQ call in BIOS and so on.
Voltages and temperatures in BIOS are well within normal limits, my case is well ventilated. I have tried using the system without a case (wooden electrically-isolated board on which the motherboard was placed) but the issue still presents itself.
I have updated the BIOS with the latest from the ASUS site and even reverted to the BIOS that came with the motherboard, but no luck. Currently using the latest BIOS since it provides a bit of a speed boost in POST.
I have a suspicion that it's the motherboard but it's inconclusive : the motherboard works fine without the video card but then again, the video card works fine on another motherboard :|
Please, help me with this issue. I don't know what to do and I don't have the money for a new motherboard. I've sent this motherboard into service, but they found nothing wrong with it and sent it right back to me. The same goes for the video card.
I hope we can solve this issue. I will provide any more information, if necessary.
Please list your power supply specs: wattage and rails. I would also get another module to go with one of yours, so you have a matched pair as soon as possible. There's really no need to remove any more hardware for testing; everytime you touch an electronic component, you risk damage. I would leave it alone for awhile.
Thank you for your answer. My PSU churns out a "whooping" 350W. I don't know about the rails, thought. What are those? translate.google.com isn't working right now.
Also, I never removed any component with the power still on. I removed the cable from the case, waited 30s and removed any jewelry before removing components and I never touched them on the chips or other delicate areas. Always from the side of the PCB with the minimum amount of circuitry on it.
I'm sorry, I forgot to specify : I ran the PC for a couple of weeks with each RAM module. A couple of weeks with just the 2GB 800MHz Zeppelin and a couple of weeks with just the 1GB 667MHz Kingston module so I don't think it's an issue with the DRAM clocks.
Thank you once again for your answer!
Finally, Asus Support said something that I wasn't quite expecting.
Before I bought the motherboard I researched the whole PCIe thing (I was an AGP user until then) and it said that all PCIe versions are forwards and backwards compatible. This, in theory, is true. In real life however, it's not. I have a HIS Radeon 4670 PCIe 2.0 card on a PCIe 1.1 motherboard. As you can see from my above posts, they are not compatible and thus, here I am.
Somebody should update the wikipedia page on PCIe. There are expections.
Oh, right! Here's what Asus Support said : Dear Valued Customer,
Thank you for contacting ASUS Customer Service.
Sorry for the delay reply. May I know if your VGA card is PCIE 2.0, if yes, I am afraid it is the incompatibility caused. Please change a PCIE 1.0 card for a better performance.
Yeah, right! It's cheaper to get a new motherboard than to get another card which would also be a downgrade, if you ask me.
Anyway, thanks for your help guys!