Last year about this time I built a system with an AMD Athlon 1.2 GHz processor, an ECS K7S5A motherboard, 256M DDR RAM, a Gainward GeForce 2 Pro/Golden Sample video card, a Plextor CD/RW, and Windows XP Home. I've had numerous problems off and on with this mobo, and I'm seriously considering replacing it. Any recommendations for stable mobos under $100.00? Thanks.
I built a system for a customer last year using the K7S5A motherboard, Corsair 256M DDR RAM, AMD 1800+ XP, a Radeon 7500 video card, and Windows 2000.
Prior to building the systems I did a little reseach into the newsgroups and ECS. Apparently, this board is power hungry and performs most stable with the use of high quality DDR (don't use the SDRAM slots). So I used a 400 watt PS I had already in inventory and a Corsair DDR PC2100 module.
To date the system has had no problems (shut downs, reboots, blue screens, lockup's, or freezes). I chose this board because it was the weekly special at Fry's (MOBO & CPU for $100). BUT for the same price there are many other boards (even beter performing) without the same restrictions.
Note: Win 2000 because they wanted to reuse their investment (save $$$).
First, let me thank you all for the mobo recommendations, which I'm sure will be very helpful. I decided to post a little more background from my previous posts of three weeks ago or so, the original entitled "Video Card Problems", which didn't receive many responses (thanks to those who did...). FYI and reply... Thanks again!
I am a very minimalist user, mainly running an old DOS daily planner/financial manager (Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money 9.0, for old-timers) and doing a little bit of web browsing and word processing. I mainly built this system to enable my kids to enjoy some of the current game offerings that would not run on my OLD system (100 MHz Pentium).
Most recent problem: whenever I attempt to web browse, I experience, within ten minutes or so (I use Juno's paid service for an ISP.), the first symptom, which is that a mouse click does nothing. This is followed eventually be slowdown and eventual freezeup which can only be corrected by rebooting. I suspect my video card, since I recently had similar problems with it when the video card processor fan came unseated and elicited similar symptoms. I have checked the fan, and it is securely fastened now. Is it possible the video processor was damaged during the fan's season of detachment? My next step is to substitute the video card out of my old computer and see if it solves my freeze-up problems when browsing. If this is my problem, this card is only about a year old. Any possibilities of warranty solutions? If not, can anyone recommend a cheap but decent card? I'd be looking in the $100 or less price range.
I've also experienced many other symptoms with this system that may indicate power problems, to name a few:
1) System won't POST on power up; must press "reset" to initiate boot up (this was how I ran the system for the first month or so, then it self-corrected)
2) Early on, I was able to use the 133 MHz settings in the BIOS, but lately I've noticed that the machine won't boot at all with these settings.
3) I recently received a "CMOS Battery Low" message on bootup--but only once. However, I have had several instances where the machine wouldn't boot up and I had to reset the CMOS using J4. Even then, I had to repeatedly "reset" and eventually get lucky to reboot.
My power supply is an Enlight rated at 340W max load. The combination of the +3.3, +5, and the +12VDC busses are rated at a max of 315W, which seems more than adequate to me(+5 @ 30A, +3.3 @ 28A, +12 @ 15A). I also measured several voltages at the plug that goes into the mobo under load. The +3.3V measured 3.41 volts; the +5V measured 5.09V. After looking at the power supply specs and voltages, I don't believe that the power supply is at fault. As for temps, my BIOS hardware monitor (I don't know how accurate it is...) sez my CPU temp is 43 degrees C, which seems fine. After reading OCWorkshop's power supply FAQs, I've decided to try putting some Arctic Silver on my chipset, CPU, and video card processor. I've also noticed that the inside of my chassis is pretty dusty. I'll blow it out, clean it up, and try the Arctic Silver. Incidentally, I have a fan sucking air into the front of the chassis, a fan on the rear exhausting air, the power supply fan, the CPU fan, and a fan on the video card processor. I'm admittedly a novice, but there certainly seems to be plenty of air moving around in there to me! If these measures don't help, maybe a new mobo would do the trick. Any recommendations? Thanks
Suggest you test your system RAM. I have the same board with a cheap 300 W PS and no problem with a basic system with a 1.3 Duron. Find MEMTEST86 on the web and download. This is a great freeware that tests your system memory for errors. You may just need a new RAM card or to reseat the old one.
Appreciate the tip. I downloaded and ran this software. After about 4 hours and eleven passes, no memory errors were registered, so I don't think my memory has a problem. The memory I bought for this system was a new Crucial 256M DDR stick. Thanks anyway. By the way, the last several times I've used the internet, the freezeups have not occured...
Back in the day, when the 1.2 AMD came out, a friend of mine picked up the 1.2 and an Asus VIA chipset mobo. He and his girlfriend (who have almost the same system) suffered the same problems while surfing web pages. (and only then). After weeks of troubleshooting and forum participation, the only thing that seemed to fix it was to:
disable animated GIFS in your explorer.
Give it a try, it will prolly help
I went looking in my version of Explorer's menus, and I couldn't find a setting entitled "enable/disable animated GIFs", so I was unable to implement your suggestion. I'm running Windows XP Home with the latest version of Internet Explorer. Thanks.