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[Asus] Motherboard failure?

Last response: in Motherboards
June 13, 2011 7:46:49 PM

My computer is currently unable to boot regularly. It will randomly not be able to boot from the hard drive, but the bios sees the hard drive fine. It is a modified Asus Essentia CG5270.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed w/CoA
Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q8300
2.5 GHz CPU Speed
1333 MHz FSB, 4 MB L2 Cache
Intel G43/ICH7 chipset
8 GB DDR2 800 MHz RAM (supports up to 24 GB)
1 Terabyte (TB) SATA hard drive
DVD±RW DL drive
Integrated Intel GMA X4500 graphics (Not used)
Integrated 8-channel high definition audio
Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
Galaxy GeForce GTS 250 1 GB
Corsair GS 700 Watt Power Supply

Brief History -
This computer was bought in Late October of 2009 to replace a laptop that had blown up (Dell seems to be useless when it comes to support) and I needed a replacement computer for Finals. I had bought the Computer and Video card at the same time and used them both with the stock power supply. I had some video freezing issues, but found out that i had forgotten to disable to integrated graphics card off in the bios, so that problem was resolved. I had no issues with the computer till a few weeks ago, when my sound was not being detected by windows. I ended up having to reinstall the sound card every time i started windows. This brings us to now.

My computer is sometimes able to boot off of the hard drive (5% of the time?), but usually is unable to detect it or when it does detect it i am given a fault hardware error. It is able to see the DVD drive fine. The bios is detecting the hard drive in the BIOS settings, but still will not boot from the hard drive.

Basically -

1) The BIOS is able to detect the hard drive, but cannot boot from it.
2) The post works fine most of the time, but sometimes freezes or lags when it gets to the drive detecting part.
3) Able to get into windows some of the time and the computer usually runs fine.
4) When it is able to detect the drive i get a SMART error for that sata port the hard drive is on, but not the one the DVD drive is on.

Things i have done -

1) Thought the MBR was faulty - booted off of recovery CD that windows 7 can make and didn't find the drive. When i was able to i did a memory scan and a hard disk scan. Had no issues with either of those.
2) Restored BIOS to defaults - Did not work or affect the problem in anyway.
3) Updated BIOS - did not work or affect the problem.
4) Tried a different hard drive - BIOS saw the hard drive, but was unable to boot from it or see it using the recovery CD.
5) Tried the hard drive in a different computer - Computer was able to view the hard drive.
6) Replace the hard drive cable - did not work, tried it in another computer with my current hard drive and didn't work.
7) Replace power supply - Did not work or affect the computer at all. Bought a new case with it and everything got reseated.
8) Reformat computer after backing it up - Looked like it worked for a few hours, but when shut it down for the night wouldn't boot up in the morning.
9) Switch Sata ports on the motherboard - Able to find the dvd drive most of the time (95% of the time?), but was able to detect the hard drive more often(Some ports don't detect the hard drive, but the bios will view it under the bios settings) and able to boot off of it (5% of the time?) off of 2 of the 6 ports.

When i moved everything over to the new case everything was reseated and it was a normal installation of a computer. I am unable to think what it could be. The motherboard is posting fine usually and is able to detect the hard drive in the motherboard settings, but cannot boot or access the hard drive most of the time.
June 13, 2011 9:07:54 PM

quick update. was able to get into windows and was having some troubles. rebooted into repair mode and it has found some hard drive errors. Could it have been the hard drive all along?
June 13, 2011 9:28:01 PM

Try using a different, fresh hard drive and installing your OS on it. Have you tried re-seating the CPU/HSF? If your using the stock cooler maybe one of the cheap plastic pegs got loose or something. By reformatting, do you mean the whole drive being reformatted or just the Windows partition. Its hard to say if the drive is really bad or not, but the fresh installing of windows on a different hard drive will prolly tell you if its your hard drive thats bad, or your mobo or something on it.
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June 14, 2011 4:01:12 AM

update - Tried using a hard drive from a different computer in my computer and it wasn't detecting the hard drive at all as in it wasn't able to boot from it or let me install windows to it. the bios saw it.

i put my hard drive in the computer that the new hard drive came from and it boot up fine. i tried each one three or four times and my hard drive is working fine and so is the other one.

i am sure it is the motherboard now, but it is posting and is able to detect the hard drive in the bios settings. The sata interfaces are able to detect the dvd drive, but not my hard drive.

Best solution

June 14, 2011 3:00:02 PM

It might be something on the system. Before I say either go buy another board (I believe you'll need a micro-ATX board for that case) or upgrade CPU/board try removing everything that isn't necessary, such as any slot cards (use onboard video) and usb ports. Did you try another power cable to the hard drive? If all else fails, your boards SATA controllers are broke. If you want you can contact ASUS (its their board correct?) and explain to them that your board isn't able to boot perfectly fine drives and see if it can be fixed, and if it can't or if its not easy, you need a new board. As for the current boards on Newegg, none look too appealing to me, except for 2 of them, which are the ASRock board for $40 or the Gigabyte board for $52 both only support up to 8GB, so if you have a 4x2GB config you'll only be using 4GB.

An alternative is to upgrade all together, as you can get a Sandy Bridge config for less than $300 (Mobo/CPU/Ram).

Hope this helps!

June 14, 2011 3:22:19 PM

Asus was pretty useless when i called them. i had tried the motherboard by itself with none of the expansion slots and using the on board video when i was testing if it was the power supply. i bought a new power supply and case thinking it was that, but it was not. thank you for the advice. It is the sata cables at this point. I want to get a motherboard that supports my processor and ram. Features really do not matter at this point on the motherboard but a pci x 2.0 slot, the 4 ram slots, and a lga 775 slot. I will look at these 2 that you suggested. i was looking at a gigabyte one for 80 that has these things.

Thank you.

Edit - like most pre bought computers they used 4 2 gig ram sticks and not the 2 4 gig you would think they would use. The motherboard i was looking at was a gigabyte one.
June 14, 2011 3:34:26 PM

The P45 Motherboard that you are looking at won't fit in your case. Unless you are switching cases to one that supports a full-sized ATX board, it won't fit. You need a micro-ATX motherboard.

You just said what I said about the RAM. Do you mean that they used 2 Sticks of 4GB RAM? If you need 4 slots, than get this ASUS board and hopefully it wont set you back moneywise.
June 14, 2011 3:42:29 PM

I already bought a new case when i bought the power supply. it is an ATX case. Sorry if it didn't make that clear. I was aware i had to buy a new case when i bought the better power supply. The old one was only rated to run at 300 watts.

I looked at that motherboard before looking at the gigabyte one. The sata interfaces seem to be a little lower and too close to where my video card is. Getting the ATX gigabyte one gives me more room and i can use a second nic in my computer. My graphics card takes up the space of 2 slots and the fan is another 1 slot.
June 14, 2011 3:56:23 PM

If thats the case, then definitely get the P45 one. Thats alright, I was assuming you were still using your old case. :) 
June 14, 2011 4:01:17 PM

Thanks again for all the help. It is hard sometimes to find people out there who know anything about computer at all. I was thinking it was the motherboard the whole time, but i guess i was in the great river of da nile.
June 14, 2011 4:13:31 PM

Your welcome bud anytime.
June 24, 2011 5:18:41 AM

Best answer selected by peltar.
a b V Motherboard
June 24, 2011 11:26:25 AM

peltar said:
Edit - like most pre bought computers they used 4 2 gig ram sticks and not the 2 4 gig you would think they would use. The motherboard i was looking at was a gigabyte one.

When you bought this machine 4GB DIMMs were hard to find, and horribly expensive. It's not at all surprising that they used 2GB DIMMs.

Is it possible that there's an issue with electrolytic capacitors that are drying out? It's not an uncommon failure in older motherboards and power supplies. Sadly, replacing the caps is not a trivial exercise. You have already tried a new power supply. Biting the bullet and replacing the motherboard leads to the consideration you are facing - perhaps it's just simpler to replace the motherboard with something a lot more recent, using a newer CPU.

The bad news is that this means replacing the RAM, too, although 8GB is a lot cheaper now than it was.

The good news is that newer motherboards tend to use solid capacitors instead of electrolytics, for this very reason.