P5E3 Deluxe Wi-Fi AP@n - Sluggish POST, freezes before boot


I'm fresh to the Forum so please excuse the lengthy description PC problem. My PC is running Win7 (64bit) and has the following configuration:

- Asus P5E3 Deluxe Wi-Fi AP@n
- Intel Quad 9300 (2.5GHz)
- 4GB (2x2) Corsair 10700 (1600)
- NVidia 9600GT (512MB)
- Zalman 650W Power Supply

The PC was running perfectly ok for 3 years, however 2 months ago started presenting the following problem: When running Windows and in various occasions (I still have not managed to connect the problem with something specific) the HDD light comes on (and stays on) for 2-3 minutes and the system becomes almost frozen (but NOT frozen). Something like something is taking absolute priority and working continously on expense of all other activity. Then it comes back to normal, no issues in Event Viewer, no errors, no lost files, absolutely nothing.

The problem was becoming worse (more frequent)day by day. Two weeks ago I decided to disconnect all devices from the PC (printers, external drives, 2nd monitor, etc.) and keep only keyb, mouse and one monitor and reinstall everything (Win 7 64bit and software) and even not to connect to the Internet just to be sure.

The problem just after the installation of the Win was there (so I didn't bother installing the rest of the s/w). And after 5-6 reboots it got worse: now during POST, when it comes to identifying USB devices and HDD it is slow then it starts loading Win for 4-5 minutes, always successfully, no errors, no events, nothing. When running Win of course the problem is also there.

I have tried almost everything, BIOS updates, swap memory chips, Windows memtest, HDD Seagate Utility (extensive tests for 5 hours), burn tests (OCCT), even replaced the CMOS battery. All temperatures are absolutely normal (HWMonitor, etc.), no OC at all. Obviously a HW issue but no clue of what is wrong. Any ideas would be most welcomed!!

A few important notes: during all this period, severla times I had problems with BIOS, USB devices an SATA:

- After disabling WiFi (from the BIOS) the WiFi option dissapeared and I had to reload the BIOS to appear again
- Disabling JMicron would solve the problem for the following boot, to come back again in the second boot
- Disabling Firewire, the same
- Cutting off power completely or reloading BIOS defaults and rebooting sometimes solved the problem (and then back to it)
- Sometimes BIOS could not see USB sticks (after several reboots it was ok)

Thanks again for the patience!!
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More about p5e3 deluxe sluggish post freezes boot
  1. Update:

    Changed everything, including graphics card, used on-board RAID controller (instead of IDE), other HDD, nothing.

  2. It's been sometime now that I've been trying to deal with this problem. Long story short, the only things that I have NOT changed are:

    - CPU (quad 9300)
    - CPU fan (coolermaster sphere)
    - Case (Lian Li)

    MoBo now is a new Gigabyte, new power supply, new disk, XP and Win 7.

    The issue I am facing is:

    - HDD activity light ON for 2-3 minutes, HDD is NOT active however, and system almost freezes (only mouse is responsive)
    - In Resource Monitor of Windows when it freezes it shows 100% Highest Active Time for HDD (even though it is not working); then back to normal

    Can it be the case (cabling leak) or CPU or CPU fan??????

    PLEASE HELP!! :))
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