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New System Build - random boot problems (GA-MA785GMT-UD2H)

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December 20, 2009 5:15:47 AM

I'm having a lot of trouble diagnosing a problem with a new system build. I've been toying with this system an embarrassing amount of time trying to get it to work. I've done all I know how to do with simple guide help and now I need some expert Tom's help. Before I explain the problem, let me give some back story / component information:

I'm building a HTPC for my dad as a Christmas present. I just got the parts in a couple of days ago and immediately started building the system. Here are the components:

CASE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Storage: WD Caviar Green 2TB
Optical: LiteOn BluRay Player
TV Tuner: (not yet arrived, so not a factor in the build yet)
OS: Windows Vista 64

I'm having a problem that occurs when I boot the machine. The problem only occurs SOME of the time (maybe 80%?) and occurs in chunks. For example, the machine boots perfectly for a while a few tries, then fails a bunch and so on.

The Problem: (1) I press the power button on the case. (2) The system powers on, I can hear the hard drive spinning up / blu-ray drive green LED becomes activated. Motherboard blue LED is also activated. (3) Nothing is displayed to the monitor, system remains in the same powered-on + idle state. System never seems to reach post. If a motherboard speaker is plugged in, it makes a "continuous long beep" (in other words- LONG BEEP, PAUSE, REPEAT). The manual describes this beeping to mean that the video card is not properly seated, but I'm using the on-board video so I cannot make sense of this answer. In addition, I tried stripping the system down to just the PSU/CPU/MOBO w/ out ram and I still get the same beep code. The beep codes with this motherboard unit all appear to be the same and are incredibly misleading if you believe them.

What I've done: I'm pretty sure the problem is with my motherboard or power supply. I've ensured that the main ATX connector is attached as well as the 2x4pin cpu 12v connectors are in. I've checked that my ram is seated. I wore an anti-static wrist strap when working with the mobo / cpu, and always keep one hand on a metal part of the base when working. I'm fairly certain the HD and Optical are not the source of the problem.

Any advice Tom's forum goers have on this issue is very appreciated. I should also note that I read the 'won't boot checklist' already. The one thing I havn't tried is refreshing the CMOS, but that didn't seem necessary to me since it boots correctly some of the time. I've also tried switching out power cords and running the system in different outlets / surge protectors. I have been unable to come up with a consistent solution for why and when it boots correctly.

From the few times I got it to boot, I ran some software from CPU-ID Hardware monitor, I'll paste some data below (more available on request if you know what problem I'm referring to - http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php):


Hardware Monitors
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hardware monitor ITE IT87
Voltage 0 1.14 Volts [0x47] (CPU VCORE)
Voltage 1 1.58 Volts [0x63] (VIN1)
Voltage 2 3.33 Volts [0xD0] (+3.3V)
Voltage 3 4.92 Volts [0xB7] (+5V)
Voltage 4 12.16 Volts [0xBE] (+12V)
Voltage 5 -13.31 Volts [0xD0] (-12V)
Voltage 7 3.36 Volts [0x7D] (+5V VCCH)
Voltage 8 3.02 Volts [0xBD] (VBAT)
Temperature 0 26°C (78°F) [0x1A] (TMPIN0)
Temperature 1 30°C (86°F) [0x1E] (TMPIN1)
Temperature 2 31°C (87°F) [0x1F] (TMPIN2)
Fan 0 1627 RPM [0x19F] (FANIN0)


Hardware monitor AMD Athlon II X2 240
Temperature 0 20°C (67°F) [0x9C] (Core #0)
Temperature 1 20°C (67°F) [0x9C] (Core #1)

Hardware monitor WDC WD20EADS-00S2B0
Temperature 0 24°C (75°F) [0x18] (Assembly)


Any help is appreciated!


Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 20, 2009 5:35:13 PM

Well, I would certainly try to reset cmos. I have experienced random boot problems and a BIOS update was necessary to correct the problem. That is a drastic measure and a dangerous one for someone without a lot of experience.

I would reset cmos. I would then go through the motherboard manual and check that each setting is as it should be. If you have any questions about what a setting means, I would come back here to report it.

If the problem persists, you may have to update the BIOS, but I would consider that a last chance effort because the motherboard is new and so are the other components, meaning that there are probably not too many new updates since the purchase.

Before BIOS flashing, I would go to the gigabyte website forums and look under the heading of your particular motherboard. You may find folks that are experiencing the same problems that you are.

gl
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 20, 2009 5:39:30 PM

In particular, in the BIOS I would make sure that the graphics port is set to onboard. It seems to be looking for a non-existent PCI-e card. This should be found under the heading of PCI resources or somesuch. Set to onboard video, and save and exit BIOS(F10).

Sorry I didn't mention this first, it is the 1st thing you should try before resetting the BIOS.
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
December 20, 2009 5:56:02 PM

buzznut,
Because he cannot complete the POST, he cannot enter the BIOS.

Our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...

Long continuous beeps indicate a problem with the memory.

Can you borrow a video card?

Most modern systems with integrated graphics will autosense the presence of a discrete video card and switch to it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 20, 2009 8:12:17 PM

Actually the op says it only happens ~80% of time. I assume he could get into the BIOS when the fault does not occur.
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January 13, 2010 5:25:08 AM

Thank you for the suggestions. Unfortunately, I was unable to resolve the issue with the suggested methods. Shortly after I did my original post (maybe a day or so) the system stopped working completely. I kept getting the continuous long beeps which according to the motherboard manual means the video card is not properly seated. I looked through several e-commerce sites selling the motherboard part and started to find several other posters with a similar problem. I ended up returning the motherboard to Newegg (RMA) for a replacement. The replacement part arrived this Monday and works perfectly. An interesting note: the times where I was able to boot into Windows on the defective part I was given a video performance index of '1'. The working motherboard has a performance index of '4' for video.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2010 7:25:07 AM

I'm glad it was resolved. A score of one, I've never seen anything like it. Probably because a one couldn't run vista or 7. :) 

I've had to send one mobo back, but since I've owned dozens that's not too bad. Its a bummer you got a bad one, but its good that you got a replacement.
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