My friend recently put together a computer and he's having some issues. I guess I'll begin by outlining the parts in the system:
CPU: Athlon II X4 630
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P
Hard Drives: An old 160GB IDE one (that's all I know) and a 500GB SATA Seagate, 7200.12 (ST3500418AS)
RAM: G. Skill 2x2GB DDR3 1600Mhz CL8 (F3-12800CL8D-4GBTD)
PSU: A generic brand rated at 420W that came packaged with his case (Cooler Master Centurion RC334) and an unknown brand rated at 550W (not simultaneously, of course)
GPU: Radeon HD 4670
He salvaged the 160GB hard drive from his old computer and tried booting Windows 7 from it. When he pressed the power button, all fans/LEDs turned on and the motherboard speaker gave the signal that everything was a-okay. However, he kept getting this error, "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER." no matter what he did. I told him to check everything was plugged in properly and he tells me it's all fine. I figured it might be a problem with the hard drive, so I told him to install Ubuntu 9.04 on his new one and see if that works. His computer booted the Ubuntu live CD just fine and he successfully got Ubuntu installed. When he tried booting it from the hard drive though, he got the same error.
So, I figured it might be a problem with the power supply. He's using a power supply that came with his case (it's a generic 420W one, that's all I know), which seemed likely to cause problems. He salvaged the 550W power supply (again, I don't know anymore about it other than its wattage) from his old PC and plugged everything in. Still, the same problem. I thought maybe he was just plugging something in wrong and so after some badgering he showed me several photos of everything plugged in. Everything looked to be in order, from what I could tell.
It isn't an issue with the boot order, because we've made absolutely sure everything was set up as it should be.
I'm not really sure what the problem could be, but my knowledge of PCs is fairly limited compared to many people here in this community. If it were a problem with the power supply(/supplies) or motherboard, would the computer be able to operate Ubuntu from the live CD? It doesn't seem to be a problem with the SATA ports on the motherboard, since the DVD drive works no matter what it is plugged into.
Would removing the CMOS battery and putting it back in achieve anything? I've heard the motherboard can be fussy at times.
Any suggestions on what to do next would be much appreciated. If he doesn't get it solved within the week (since purchase), he's going to just give up and have the parts replaced.
He's tried every configuration possible with the hard drives (Win7 only, Ubuntu only and both plugged in with boot preference given to either one). He's also tried plugging them into every possible SATA port, which seem to work for the SATA DVD drive. If he were able to boot into Windows, I imagine they would be drives C and D, depending on whether he was using both and whichever order he was using them in.
You must 'start up' your board by doing the "Load Optimized Defaults" function from the BIOS - this is not an optional step! Each time your board starts up, the BIOS begins by running a block of discovery code: it sort of 'twiddles its fingers' to see how many fingers it has, as well as which 'hand' each is on...
The BIOS' "Load" functions (Load optimized/load fail-safe) similarly do 'discovery', but they do a much more thorough job of it, querying every piece of hardware, and then 'setting' the dozens of parameters you will find in your BIOS set to 'auto'; until this is done, your board is pretty much 'brain-dead', and can not be expected to work correctly, if at all. Think of it this way: if you woke up one morning, and not only couldn't remember 'who you were', but also couldn't remember which finger was on which hand - you'd be in a world of hurt!
The difference between the two: the 'Optimized' reads the hardware, and makes, well, optimistic assumptions about the settings - tries to set latencies low, and operation fast; the 'Fail-safe' makes pessimistic assumptions, sets the latencies high, and operation slow - in an attempt to get the board to run "no matter what!"