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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 1st June, 2005, 10:27 AM
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EPOX EP-8NPAJ - BIOS/DVD ROMs conflict - freezing computer

Hi all.

I just built a new system this past weekend, and the specs are as follows:

EPOX EP-8NPAJ Socket 754 Nforce4 Motherboard
AMD Athalon 64 3400+ 2.4GHz CPU
1GB Courseair DDR 400 memory (VS1GBKIT400)
Sapphire x700 256MB VGA Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Catalina 24-Bit 7.1 Surround Audio Card
Maxtor 80 GB Diamondmax Plus 9 7200 RPM Ultra ATA/133 HDD
Maxtor 120 GB 120GB DiamondMax Plus 9 7200RPM Ultra ATA/133 HDD
Sony DDU1613 16X DVD-ROM EIDE Drive
Lite-On 16X SOHW1633 DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive

System is running on Windows XP Home Edition with SP2 installed

I set the bios to run at 2.4GHz to start with, double check my ram settings and got everything up and running pretty easily. Then, after a few hours, the system started freezing. I checked my system and CPU temps and they were still pretty low. It took quite a while to get back into Windows, but the problem persisted.

Today, I got back in and everything was running perfectly... when I noticed neither my DVD Rom or DVD Burner were registering in Windows. I rebooted and discovered the Bios wasn't detecting them either. I wiggled wires and eventually got the drives to register again... but the system immediately began to freeze up. So, again I rebooted...

I then changed my jumper settings on both DVD drives from Master and Slave to CS, then rebooted... and again they were gone. Windows once again runs fine... but bios isn't detecting the drives. Either I have both drives and a system that just freezes... or a system that runs great... with no drives!

Any ideas what might be causing the conflict or how to go about fixing it? Oh, one other note... running the Magic Bios tool from Windows freezes my system. I still have to update the bios... but I don't have a floppy drive installed, and I can't get the burner running long enough to create a bootable disk for the bios update!

I'm all for suggestions. It's been almost a month since I bought the MB. I'm concerned it might just be a bad board. Both the CPU and ram appear to be operating properly. I know all of my drives are fine, as I just pulled them from my other system and they ran perfectly. Both DVD-Rom and DVD burner, as well as the 120MB Maxtor are only two months old.

That's all the info I can think of off the top of my head as it's very late and my brain gave out about an hour ago! If you need more info... let me know.

Thanks heaps!

Caili
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Old 1st June, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Question

The 1st thing I would do is double check the cable going to the burner and optical drive.

Remember the drive that is attached to the very end of that cable must be a "master", the drive attached to the middle of the cable has to be a "slave".

Did you install a new ribbon cable, are you using a rounded cable?
I suggest using a 80pin rounded cable for both these drives. You will get better writing and reading performance this way.
At least I have found this to be true in cases of systems we build.

What are the ampers ratings to the 3 rails on your powersupply?
You did not post the type of case and powersupply you are using.
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Last edited by bobbyjo; 1st June, 2005 at 02:46 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 1st June, 2005, 06:26 PM
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Hi bobbyjo.

Thanks for your response. The cables are set up correctly, and I had the drives set up as master and slave to start with, but when the computer started freezing I switched them to cable select to see if it would make difference. No such luck. The drives are only recognized about 15% of the time, and that 15% results in major system fraggage.

As for the other info you asked about (and I thought I was being so thorough at 2:30 in the morning :P), I've provided links to each item. The specs for the power supply are detailed out on the linked page. Saves me some time typing!

My case is a xPCgear clear acrylic midtower case.
Rhycom 550W ATX Gold Power Supply w/Dual Fans/SATA Power Supply w/ SATA
The cables are round, 40 pin - 80 wire 24" IDE ATA 133 Round IDE Cables WITH UV Green casing

Oh, I have 12 fans in the system: 1 x CPU, 1 x Mainboard, 1 x blower at rear, 1 x Evercool PC Air Conditioner Fan Cooler System, 2 x power supply, 1 x VGA, and 4 x led case fans, with two stacked at the rear of the case. The system temp generally stays under 98' F, with CPU under full load maxing out at about 127' F (room temp hasn't gotten above 90'F thus far.) I can safely rule out overheating issues, CPU problems or ddr problems as contributing factors at this point, and I know all of the drives are good. I've narrowed it down to three things... a motherboard and/or bios issue or a bad cable/cable connection. I'm going to do a temporary cable swap on the DVD drives to make sure the cable isn't causing the problems. If that doesn't work, I'll know for sure the problem is related to the motherboard and/or bios. But, whether there is a fix... or this is just a bad motherboard... I have no clue about.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 1st June, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Ok... quick update... the problem is NOT caused by the cables. It persists regardless of what cables I use. Ugh.
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Old 1st June, 2005, 07:41 PM
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Might want to reinstall the pata drivers. Or try rolling back to and older, non-nforce driver.
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Old 1st June, 2005, 09:02 PM
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I'll try reinstalling the drivers this afternoon. I love the features of this MB, but if I can't get it to work... well... just ugh!
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Old 1st June, 2005, 09:24 PM
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Motherboard is bad!

Ugh... it appears the drivers aren't going to help. I figured out the problem. My second EIDE port on the Motherboard is no good! I switched motherboard end of the cables for my DVD drives and hard drives so that the DVD drives would be on EIDE0 and the hard drives would be on EIDE1, then booted. Now both DVD roms were there, but neither hard drive was found! Ugh. Well, at least I now know the problem and solution... problem = bad motherboard, solution = replace it. Not what I wanted... but at least I know what to do!

Thanks guys for your suggestions.
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Old 1st June, 2005, 09:29 PM
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still, could be the driver. Might want to at least try. Nforce2 ata drivers used to do some really weird stuff....and I had a few small issues with windows update trying to sneak new ata drivers in that caused problems on my nforce3.
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Old 2nd June, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Question

acailawen::It does appear that your problem is hardware related.

The IDE ports should be recognized in windows, even though the nForce drivers are not installed. If they were not recognized, you would never get any OS installed.

Now is the chance to get a new mobo. Yours should be replaced under warranty.

The IDE ports probably have been defective since the board was produced, just now showing up as non working enough to cause problems.
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Old 11th June, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Hey Bobbyjo. Yep, that's what I did.

I ordered the mobo through NewEgg and when I contacted them about the problem they were happy to issue a RMI # so I could return it for a replacement. I ordered a new board the same day and came a few days ago. I'll be installing it tomorrow, then sending the existing board back Monday. Aside from this problem, this motherboard has been quite stable. I'm looking forward to swapping it out with a good one!
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