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ASrock z68 Extreme 3 boot loop A3 code

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January 26, 2012 3:09:36 PM

Hi, I just purchased an ASrock z68 extreme 3 gen 3 mobo, i3 2120 and a set of 2x4 DDR3 Gskill ripjaw RAM. I am using a Corsair GS600 psu and seagate HDD along with a windows 7 boot disk. After setting the system up it has been stuck in a boot loop where it gets to the windows splash screen then restarts. It will not boot into safe mode (gets stuck on CLASSPNP.SYS), will not boot into windows install as it restarts after the windows is loading files screen, it will not even boot in mini XP from Hiren's 15.1. I am breadboarding the system and still no luck. If it helps the board LED is throwing an A3 code. (detect ide)

I have tried the following:
Switched out PSU
Switched RAM
Switched HD
Reseating RAM/CPU/PSU connections
Memtest from Hirens
Clear CMOS
Set defaults in BIOS
Flash BIOS update

I am very close to RMA it to Newegg, but was looking if I could get any help before going through the hassle.
January 26, 2012 3:27:56 PM

Have you sorted the problem yet?
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January 26, 2012 4:46:46 PM

smith697 said:
Have you sorted the problem yet?


No, I am still looking for a solution.
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January 26, 2012 5:56:12 PM

Under Bios try changing the settings for your connected drives to ide, sata, ahci (not sure which settings are available.)
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January 26, 2012 7:02:48 PM

omega21xx said:
Under Bios try changing the settings for your connected drives to ide, sata, ahci (not sure which settings are available.)

I changed it to ahci still no luck. There is IDE, ahci and raid in the settings
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January 26, 2012 7:28:14 PM

hmm... that is what worked for me on my motherboard... Have you had any issues with the HDD previously? I had a drive that was failing before i knew it and it would install windows but get stuck during start up, or if it started up it'd freeze or hang up.
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a b V Motherboard
January 26, 2012 8:50:24 PM

I just wanted to give some input...

The Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 series motherboards have had known problems (BIOS functioning incorrectly, warped/thin motherboards, etc). I try to steer people away from them.

There are some people that can get that exact board and never have problems, where others will have problem, after problem.
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January 26, 2012 10:00:45 PM

Try booting using the onboard graphics with monitor hooked up to the VGA connector rather than DVI/HDMI.
EDIT: Probably won't make any difference since you're getting IDE error.
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January 26, 2012 11:04:37 PM

Thanks for your replies. I have had a problem with one of the hard drives before but the other I have I know works. I am using an onboard VGA connection but still stuck in a boot loop. I am going to RMA next week if I cannot get it to work over the weekend. Perhaps I will go with a different brand to avoid a problem like this in the future.
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January 26, 2012 11:20:08 PM

You speak of a Windows boot disk. Do you mean an installation DVD, or is it an SSD or HDD with Windows already installed... from a different computer?
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January 26, 2012 11:26:00 PM

This usually wouldn't affect anything but do you have the problem HDD plugged into the computer? Doesn't have to be the boot drive, i've seen a bad hard drive keep a computer from booting once before without being the windows or boot drive.
Gigabyte and asus tend to have the best QA and least DOA boards and issues.
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January 26, 2012 11:26:15 PM

spankmon said:
You speak of a Windows boot disk. Do you mean an installation DVD, or is it an SSD or HDD with Windows already installed... from a different computer?


an installation DVD. yes the HDD had windows previously installed but I cannot even get to the repair option during the installation process, it does not get past the windows splash screen after windows is loading files
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January 26, 2012 11:31:22 PM

omega21xx said:
This usually wouldn't affect anything but do you have the problem HDD plugged into the computer? Doesn't have to be the boot drive, i've seen a bad hard drive keep a computer from booting once before without being the windows or boot drive.

It crashes even without the HDD connected, running off of Hiren's Boot CD in mini xp, I was able to use the DOS programs though.
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January 26, 2012 11:33:17 PM

Did you choose to reformat the HDD before trying to install the new Windows? Possibly, the old installation on the HDD was formatted in MBR (msdos table) and the install disk is wanting to newly install to gpt partition table (for uefi).
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January 26, 2012 11:36:07 PM

spankmon said:
Did you choose to reformat the HDD before trying to install the new Windows? Possibly, the old installation on the HDD was formatted in MBR (msdos table) and the install disk is wanting to newly install to gpt partition table (for uefi).

Hmm I was going to format it in the windows setup, but I'll try to format it off of my brothers machine and see if that will lead to anything
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January 26, 2012 11:40:03 PM

If it crashes even when the HDD is disconnected, then there is some other problem. Are you connecting the HDD to the sata2 connectors or the sata3?
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January 26, 2012 11:40:17 PM

spankmon said:
Did you choose to reformat the HDD before trying to install the new Windows? Possibly, the old installation on the HDD was formatted in MBR (msdos table) and the install disk is wanting to newly install to gpt partition table (for uefi).


^+1 to avoid errors like this you should always do a fresh install/format.
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January 26, 2012 11:46:18 PM

Yeah. Don't create any partitions, just wipe the drive and create the gpt partition table. Windows needs to create a small efi partition as the first for it's bootloader and uefi info. I believe it needs to be set to AHCI mode also for uefi install, not certain though.
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January 27, 2012 12:00:03 AM

It doesn't need to be but in most cases AHCI is the best mode for uefi boards. It also has more features than the older standards so it's better to have that set regardless unless you have older drives that don't support ahci.
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January 27, 2012 12:02:33 AM

spankmon said:
If it crashes even when the HDD is disconnected, then there is some other problem. Are you connecting the HDD to the sata2 connectors or the sata3?

Connector 0, and the format could be the problem however it does crash without the hdd connected like you said
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January 27, 2012 12:18:51 AM

luke92 said:
Connector 0, and the format could be the problem however it does crash without the hdd connected like you said


So, if you were to use a linux boot cd/dvd with nothing except the essentials (no hdd's ect) it'd crash? if so that'd definitely be a motherboard or ram problem. What error comes up on the debug led when you have no hdd plugged in and try booting off usb/cd?
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January 27, 2012 12:38:21 AM

Just some suggestions. Connect the optical drive to a sata2 connector, set it's mode to ide. If the HDD is sata2 it can also be connected to the black connectors. Don't know if you can make it AHCI separately from the ide mode used by the dvd drive. Save the sata3 connectors for something important like a ssd. I think connector 0 is shared with the eSata port on the back panel, so using one will disable the other. Again, not certain though.
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