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Redroar 1st February, 2012 06:49 AM

Mystery No-POST
Well, I'll be damned that it's been 2 years since I've been on here. Y'all were like a second family to me for a good long while, and it's odd to come back after having drifted away. Seeing old names and old memories and some old discussions on everything (random nonsense!). Anyway, I suppose reminiscing is well and good but I've got computer issues to tackle!

About a month ago my several year old Athlon 64 3800 system gave up the ghost, not too surprising given that it had been running 24/7 in non-ideal conditions. I have a good laptop that has more power than that machine ever did anyway, so I was in no hurry to replace it. But about a week and a half ago I went online, spent a few hours researching and cobbled together a build that mostly followed whatever was on sale or rebate so I could get a good modern desktop with a decent amount of power.

The death of the old machine was characterized by a fan power up with no video, audio, or POST of any kind. Occasionally the mobo speaker would beep continuously, sometimes not. Seemed to me like the mobo burned out or it was a bad PSU, but when I ran a different PSU it did the same thing.

And so it begins, I ordered the following:
Athlon Phenom II 955 Deneb
2x4gb Patriot Viper Xtreme Series DDR3 1600
XFX Radeon HD 6770 1gb

I put it all together, fire it up, and she purrs like a kitten. Perfectly pleased with myself, I play some games, mess around with it, etc. Then, after maybe a dozen successful boot cycles, it starts up, and flickers black scree, then no video, then black screen infinitely every 3 seconds or so. Occasionally it will beep twice, but based on the AMI BIOS that should mean a RAM error. No POST at all. I run the clear jumper, and next boot it works like a charm. About 5 reboots later, same thing, and this time no amount of clear jumping or battery removal will coax it back to POST. I try removing everything, HDDs, sound card, video card and plug the video into the onboard motherboard video. Same black flicker.

I try a friend's RAM. Same black flicker. I try my RAM in the friend's computer, no problem. I try my processor in my friend's computer, no problem. Since it seems "obvious" that either the mobo or PSU are to blame we don't try his processor in my board for fear of destruction.

So I RMA the mobo, and for peace of mind get a new 700w OCZ ModXStream so that if it WAS the PSU, I don't have to worry about it cooking another board.

I got the mobo back today, and put it all together. And it worked great! Woo!

.....and then it started doing exactly the same thing. No POST. Just a slow flicker. I don't have a standoff misplaced, I don't have any loose dust or metal. I already have disconnected any unnecessary devices, HDDs, opticals, cards, front panel connections. I have not yet made absolutely certain that the front power button is functional but it acts reasonable enough to where I don't think it's the issue though I will probably try jumping it tomorrow. The symptoms don't really seem like it's the power button either, since both machines made it several reboots without issue, then they stopped working long term.

I am at a total loss here, and I reach out to my long lost brethren from another time. It's just blowing my mind that this exact same issue has happened, and I'm almost ready to just say screw this mobo and get a different one except I'm worried there is some bizarro-world thing happening in my computer that is totally unrelated to the motherboard and killing things. Again: I've checked for shorts, loose connections. I've disconnected anything not absolutely necessary for POST.


Why do we only see each other at funerals...

danrok 1st February, 2012 06:23 PM

Can you try it using different memory sticks?

Also, check if there is a newer BIOS available. Chect that memory timings, and voltage are correct, using CPU-Z or something similar.

If you don't have any other memory modules, try it with just one installed, try running the memory/cpu at a slower speed, just to see if that stabilises it.

Daniel ~ 1st February, 2012 07:59 PM

Been away a while myself. Great to see you here Red Roar! ":O}

chrisbard 1st February, 2012 08:15 PM

I blame the gfx card. Ati is well knows for this kind of malfunctions!

Redroar 2nd February, 2012 01:12 AM

UPDATE: I tried the power button after it had sat idle overnight, and lo and behold, it worked. I will run MemTest86 to see if it turns up, but timings and speed are set as per the box. When I tried my buddy's RAM on the first board (which I sent back) it did not fix it.

I will check for a new BIOS, but if it returns to the broken state I have no clue how I would flash the BIOS given that I can't even get the beginnings of a POST screen.

So as of now, it works.

As for graphics card, I tried both onboard and my old 8800GS, and they flickered the same way.

If it passes MemTest86 then I don't know what to suspect...I guess just hope it doesn't die again?

UPDATE 2: Well that was quick! Upon rebooting to run MemTest86, it fell into its old habit of flickering. I'm going to take these sticks of RAM and run MemTest on my friend's box. If they turn up clean then I'm going to cut my losses on this mobo and get something else. Two bad boards is hardly a vote of confidence.

Is there a chance the CPU is bad, do you think? It ran fine in my friend's box for a few minutes, and survived a quick run of instability when my machine WAS running.

cloasters 4th February, 2012 12:29 AM

I don't know for sure what ails your machine. However, ECS is to be avoided at all costs! Think Asus, GigaByte, MSI or even Asrock for a less expensive choice. But NOT ECS!
Nice to see you on the board, sorry that a problem is hassling you!

danrok 4th February, 2012 01:20 AM

I think the CPU should work perfectly, or not at all.

ThunderRd 4th February, 2012 02:17 PM

The CPU's not bad. Like Danrok said, it will either run or not run at all.

I was having this problem several years ago on ASUS boards. All kinds of weird non-post situations that required a sacrifice of a virgin to get the boards to post. I lost my faith in ASUS. Lately though, I haven't seen this too often with their boards, and my faith is renewed.

In my experience, these problems are one of two things, almost exclusively:

a) a bad, cheap, old, faulty, inefficient or underpowered power supply; perhaps one of those multi-rail supplies that everyone was so excited about a few short years ago. Almost everyone I know will tell you that a high powered single-rail supply will blow them away most of the time. Remember, some of the PSs that advertise high wattages combine the peak wattages of several rails; this may mean that one or more of the rails may be unable to handle the loads. It's voodoo advertising. Some 1000W supplies are POS because of it. OCZ should not fall in this category, but I can't swear to that. Your unit is multi-rail, but I don't see anything in the specs that would automatically fault it in my eyes other than that. (I am a firm believer in the single-rail supplies, like Corsair: one single 12V rail at 70A - but that is a personal preference more than anything else.)
Hopefully, you have eliminated the PS by getting the OCZ (which certainly should work at un-overclocked settings.) So...

b) a bad mainboard. (Don't laugh: ASUS at one time was so bad that I RMA'd 4 boards to get one that worked properly. Your situation might be the same. Stick to your guns, You have buyer's rights to get a working product.)

All other causes of intermittent non-post scenarios, although not impossible, are much, much rarer. This includes memory, GPUs, or etc.

At least that's what I have found. YMMV. (I'd look at the board at this point, and hassle ECS.)

Redroar 4th February, 2012 08:13 PM

Yeah, I'm just throwing in the towel on this mobo. Sending it back to newegg and replacing it with this.

Even if I got a working board eventually I just can't put my trust in it...never had an ECS, never will have an ECS. Experiences like this leave a bad taste in one's mouth.

The Asus should be here Monday, and I feel pretty confident that will fix it. Ran my memory through Memtest overnight on my buddy's MSI board with a Phenom 955 and it was fine.

I got the ECS because it had good reviews and it was $40 after a $30 rebate. However, I can't really take advantage of that rebate since I don't trust the board enough to cut the UPC from the box and kill my chances of returning it. In the past I've mainly used MSI boards but saw unkind things about the overclocking capabilities of their current sub-$100 boards, and this Asus looks like a reasonable compromise of cost vs performance.

Thanks for the help! I'll let you guys know how high I can get this thing OC'ed (once it boots up that is), I have high hopes with a Hyper 212 cooler and chilly winter weather.

Daniel ~ 5th February, 2012 09:51 PM

Years ago I WORSHIPPED Soyo motherboards, then I got hit with three bad ones in a row, then they went tits it goes...":O}

cloasters 6th February, 2012 11:27 PM

I liked Soyo's too, until the scorch marks started showing up under the power caps on two boards. I've never had a bad Asus, but others sure have. I dunno, is there a gold standard anything these days, other than gold?

Redroar 7th February, 2012 07:39 AM

Well, at least Asus can make a board. Running fine now. I'll report back in a few days when I've run it through some tests...

Oh, and in regards to Soyo, I only recall one experience. It was before I was building computers, and my older brother was building his 2nd computer (actually for our mother). It was a Pentium 4 of some sort, I don't remember what all the specs were. What I DO remember is that the mobo was a Soyo, and the first one had only one working memory slot. The second one never booted. The third one finally, finally worked...and then after a month the northbridge fan died. Soyo number four was A-OK, for the long term. I think it ran for 4 years, and was retired not because it stopped working but because we upgraded and didn't have a case to put it in. Actually, it may still be at home in a box somewhere.

danrok 7th February, 2012 05:00 PM

All brands produce dud boards now, and then.

booman 9th February, 2012 12:58 AM

So how is that ASUS board doing? any symptoms like the other two?
I didn't read anything about swapping power supplies....
That really sounds like a Power Supply issue to me... specially since two different motherboards have the same symptoms.
I was going to suspect electrostatic-discharge, but I don't think two different motherboards would have the exact same symptoms.
Keep us updated

danrok 9th February, 2012 02:43 AM

It is possible the board, or its BIOS is duff, and designed that way. Some compatibility issue with the components used.

Redroar 9th February, 2012 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by booman
I didn't read anything about swapping power supplies....
That really sounds like a Power Supply issue to me... specially since two different motherboards have the same symptoms.


Originally Posted by Redroar
So I RMA the mobo, and for peace of mind get a new 700w OCZ ModXStream so that if it WAS the PSU, I don't have to worry about it cooking another board.

I agree that it seemed like a PSU issue, and I did replace the PSU. It has been running like a champ on the Asus, and I even started poking at an overclock once it seemed nice and stable. I've got the 955 at 3.8Ghz with a slight undervolt, when I went above 3.8 it started asking for a lot more voltage, and for this machine I'd rather have longevity than an extra couple of percent of performance. 12hr Prime95 stable, never went above 48 C.

If it's compatibility then I wouldn't think it would keep doing it even once I had stripped the components down to bare minimum, and tried two different sets of RAM in various configurations.

That is, unless it was some sort of compatibility issue that permanently bricked the mobo, which is pretty nasty. It was really weird that I got the exact same behavior from both. Could also be a bad batch that came out of the factory perhaps.

cloasters 10th February, 2012 12:35 AM

The days of troubleshooting all the way down to the component.. holy crud, that was a LONG time ago. Before the time of multi-layered boards, when a transistor had three legs to stand on and vacuum tubes could be tiny--and all over the place. Yeah, call me gramps.

robbie 10th February, 2012 07:11 PM

I use to love ECS boards, the ones I had were cheap and ran forever. No prob's at all with them. Hell I still have one or two of them sitting in the garage.

Best of luck. One thing, try a new monitor with a new cord. Just for giggles.
BlackBerry8330m/ Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/104

booman 10th February, 2012 09:38 PM

I have one ECS board and it worked fine for years. It was actually my second motherboard.
I retired it last year for a newer one.
But if I'm going to build a new machine, I always look to ASUS first.

cloasters 10th February, 2012 10:36 PM

Asus(how do you pronounce it, Ah-soos, A-sus?) have always been good to me, they've been my first choice for years but a good friend hates 'em with a passion. The one Asrock(Asus's budget line) that I built for a friend ran great for years. Don't remember when ECS's became bad, but I know they did.

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