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Troubleshooting odd occurence

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December 6, 2011 2:09:25 AM

I recently, mid October 2011, built a new gaming system with the following specs:

ASRock Extreme 4 Gen 3 - mobo
GeForce 570 - GPU
i5 2500k - CPU
Corsair Modular 750W - PSU
Corsair Force GT 120 GB - SSD
16 Gigs Corsair Vengeance PC 1600 - RAM
2 ASUS 23" LCD monitors (important as you'll see)


I am having a rather peculiar issue with booting.

To be fair, I've had some stability issues with the SSD, but I think these had more to do with a crap SATA connection than anything else. I've not had any for a couple weeks.

Today I returned from work and attempted to boot up my system only to find it would load the bios menu, but absolutely nothing else would work.

I recently purchased a 2TB Seagate Barracuda HDD, so I figured I would open it up, install the drive and do some diagnostics.

I installed the drive with a bit of difficulty because the GeForce card extends just over the SATA housing on the mobo - very frustrating and stupid design imo.

After finishing installing everything I did some trial and error to get the system to boot up, which I finally did.

Typically, I use both monitors with the two DVI outputs on the GPU. It appears that when I use the DVI output on the GPU card closest to the mobo, the system gets stuck in bios and will not boot. It starts right into bios and just freezes if I select the 'discard options and quit' or 'save options and quit'. The system boots up perfectly fine, and quickly due to the SSD, if I use the DVI output further away from the mobo.

What's more, after booting up, I can plug my second monitor into the closer port, and it seems to work perfectly fine. As soon as I shut down and attempt to restart, the system gets stuck in bios again...

I have no idea what could be happening....

Any suggestions or ideas would be very welcome.

Thank you for the time spent reading and considering my issue!
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
December 6, 2011 2:55:40 AM

Try flashing the firmware for your SSD. I take it that you're using the Force 3 as your boot drive and your Seagate 2TB as your secondary, correct?

I had a similar issue with my SSD (Intel 320) and it wouldn't go away until I hooked my USB flash drive in and flashed the firmware. That cleared everything up.
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December 7, 2011 1:22:40 AM

Yes, SSD has OS and Seagate 2TB is extra storage.

Thank you very much for the suggestion. It seems to have worked thus far, despite the drive coming with the version of firmware I just flashed on to it.

I also noticed that the SSD does not seem to be able to handle being in SATA IDE mode. Switching from IDE seems, thus far, to have eliminated the random lock-ups and occasional BSOD I'd been getting. I'll see if ACHI mode fixes the issues permanently (fingers crossed).

I find it absolutely bizarre that a HD can make it so your system can't boot with a monitor plugged into a specific I/O on your GPU. I would absolutely love someone to explain that one to me...

Thanks again!
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2011 4:50:09 AM

Quote:
I also noticed that the SSD does not seem to be able to handle being in SATA IDE mode. Switching from IDE seems, thus far, to have eliminated the random lock-ups and occasional BSOD I'd been getting. I'll see if ACHI mode fixes the issues permanently (fingers crossed).


That's generally a quick fix in the BIOS - once you get all that ironed out it will be smooth sailing.

Quote:
I find it absolutely bizarre that a HD can make it so your system can't boot with a monitor plugged into a specific I/O on your GPU. I would absolutely love someone to explain that one to me...


I actually have heard of this happening and have seen it on more than one occasion, but even I don't have an explanation for it. :lol: 
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December 7, 2011 11:05:54 PM

I got back from work about 20 minutes ago. I turned on my pc and got the bios screen - frozen.

Keep in mind, I turned the computer on and off about 6 times last night to see if it would continue to work and it booted up fine each time.

So, I tried unplugging the one monitor, the troublesome one yesterday, and with the 1 I/O used that worked consistently yesterday I got the bios screen, working this time, but no boot. (This is the same result I was getting yesterday when using the closer I/O port).

Lastly, I tried switching to the hdmi I/O in hopes that might boot. Same result: bios screen working, but no boot.

So, I changed the SSD back over to IDE mode and voila, boots like a charm.

Any ideas on how nothing changing, no use whatsoever, can cause this thing to not boot up 18 hours later? Any different ideas on how to get it to boot up reliably?

Thanks for the help in advance!

-Frustrated...
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
December 8, 2011 3:21:55 PM

Did you try pulling the CMOS battery out for a few seconds and clearing the BIOS that way?
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December 8, 2011 3:33:14 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Did you try pulling the CMOS battery out for a few seconds and clearing the BIOS that way?


I'm not sure how to do that. Would the procedure for that be in my mobo manual? Or, do you have a link to relevant information?

Is this a BIOS issue then? Or a SSD issue do you think?
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
December 8, 2011 5:04:53 PM

lynowyn said:
I'm not sure how to do that. Would the procedure for that be in my mobo manual? Or, do you have a link to relevant information?

Is this a BIOS issue then? Or a SSD issue do you think?


Most motherboards have a battery that looks like this:



You can take it out for a few seconds or completely replace it with a new one, boot up and that should clear the BIOS that way.
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December 8, 2011 5:55:01 PM

Would this act any differently than selecting 'Reset UEFI Settings to Default' (when I find the bootable configuration) and then 'save changes and exit' in my mobo's UEFI?

Is there any danger or specific things I should be aware of when removing the CMOS battery?
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
December 8, 2011 8:59:38 PM

Quote:
Would this act any differently than selecting 'Reset UEFI Settings to Default' (when I find the bootable configuration) and then 'save changes and exit' in my mobo's UEFI?


I'm not entirely sure. I'm not too familiar with boards that have UEFI interfaces. Default settings basically means that your motherboard will divert to the settings that it was shipped from the factory with.

Quote:
Is there any danger or specific things I should be aware of when removing the CMOS battery?


Not really - just remove it very carefully and don't damage the connectors and you should be good.

Some motherboards actually have a hard-wired CMOS reset button (most Asus, all EVGA, a few Asrocks, and a few Gigabyte boards have them). If your board has that, all you have to do is push that button and it should reset to factory default settings and clear the CMOS. Consult your motherboard's manual first.
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December 11, 2011 12:49:48 AM

So, I did exactly what you suggested.

It fixed the problem, I was able to boot up in ACHI mode with both monitors plugged in.

However, I used my system for probably 15 minutes, downloading podcasts, and while trying setting up some folders it started to do totally random stuff.

It started acting as if normal keys were random shortcuts. M maximized and minimized this chrome window and it would not type. Some keys worked as normal, but most did random things.

So, I restarted, not knowing why this occurred and now I'm back to it not starting when the closer I/O port is being used.

Do you have any other suggestions other than re-installing windows?

Thanks for your help so far!
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December 27, 2011 12:37:19 PM

I had some additional time to spend messing with my system this last weekend, and I found a couple things.

It seems that when I change slots on my video card, windows will boot up with both I/O ports being used on the GPU, but only in IDE mode. If I use the 'correct' (1st) slot, the one closer to the CPU and suggested for using a stand alone GPU, it boots into the bios and freezes upon leaving when both slots are being used. Also, when I clear the CMOS on the board, in effect it does nothing, not changing the behavior. Previously it allowed windows to load after clearing the CMOS.

Now, when I plug in only 1 monitor and use the card in the 1st slot, I can boot into windows, but the resolution is windows standard - as if it's not seeing the installed GPU driver.

I performed a clean install on Windows 7, using the GPU in the 2nd slot, and installed all drivers using only 1 monitor. Would this effect the resolution change when changing slots with the card?

I also noticed that, using the 2nd slot, the first time I had the second monitor plugged in the load time of windows increased to 12-18 seconds compared to about 4 seconds to start with (using only 1 monitor). There is an audible electronic bump/click sound (that comes out of my speakers) about half-way through the boot. After using both I/O ports once, I tried only one again, but the slow windows load time remained. This is obviously not right since before these issues started occurring I had both monitors plugged into the GPU, set in the first slot, and windows would load in about 4 seconds (after clearing BIOS).

So, my questions are:

1. Is the motherboard junk?
2. Any ideas why windows will not load with the HDs in ACHI mode? (I swear it did originally, but I wasn't paying close attention at the time, and I can't be 100% sure now.)
3. Is there a possibility that my PSU is causing issues? How would I test this?


While the system works, more or less, in certain configurations, I'm still plagued by the SSD (I think that's the culprit) randomly messing up and requiring a restart of windows.

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for your consideration trying to solve my frustrating issue.

Hope you had an enjoyable holiday season.
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