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EPoX MotherBoards EPoX Intel and AMD Motherboards.


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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18th August, 2005, 05:24 PM
VoK VoK is offline
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[UPDATE: solution inside.] Epox 9npa+ problems?

UPDATE #2: problem solved. Check my last post to see solution.




Here is my setup:

Athlon 64 3800+
Maxtor maxline III 250 Sata 7200 RPM
ati x800xl
turtle beach santa cruz
epox 9npa+ (nforce 4 ultra chipset)
2 x 1 GB sticks of ddr400 ram

I've built many computers before so this is no different. All the hardware works fine. So I go at it from the software side and things start out well. Windows XP SP2 is installed and so are my latest video drivers. But wait, the system BSOD's me at login. Crap. Oh well, I'll just reformat the thing at save any trouble trying to fix it.

Okay, so now I'm reformatting the beast and I get it to the reformat stages when it tells me that "This disk cannot be formatted" and hangs there. Double crap. So I force a reboot, boot from windows disk again and pray that it still works. Yes, it does. I pray again that it was just a fluke or something and try a third reformat. Okay. It works this time.

So I'm merrily going my way installing my system. And everything is running well. Window's Update just finished reboot. Basic programs such as acronic imaging software and, Catalyst 5.8 in the system, reboot. Now for several other XP ppowertoys and antivirus, and, prime95 torture test for 8 hours, all my programs up to speed and running, reboot and then just flashed the newest bios...

Wait, hold up there. I flash the newest BIOS and reboot. And then I'm at the screen with the "start windows in safe mode, start normally". Even so, the system can't even get into safe mode as it just automatically reboots at that stage.

What is going on here?! Is this a hard disk problem? Is it a video card problem? Is it my motherboard? The hardware acts fine until I do "something" that trips it up. Anyone have any idea what it is?


UPDATE:
http://img366.imageshack.us/img366/6390/12323139gv.jpg


Yeah, I think my hard drive is the culprit, even if it did escape the maxtor powermax tests. I'll be sure to run memtest86 all day tomorrow to make sure, however. Then I'll RMA this bastard and go Western Digital.
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Old 18th August, 2005, 06:40 PM
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Remove any hardware that you don't have to have to get the system up and running. That means the sound card and the hard drive for sure. If you've got a cheezy video card that you know works that you can stick in there, I'd put it in as well.

First thing to do, I think, is to run memtest86 in torture test mode and make certain that you don't have any memory problems. Takes about a day to complete. You can run it from a boot floppy or a CD; we've got both versions in AOAFiles floppy here, CD here.

The next thing I'd do is build a DOS boot floppy and run BurnK7 in DOS mode. It is part of the CPUBurn utilities, which you can get here. Run it for a couple of hours. You'll have to hit Ctrl-C to exit the app; if you have to press reset or otherwise initiate a reboot, your CPU is unstable.

If you pass both of those, the next thing would be a diagnostic app for the drive, which you should be able to get from Maxtor.

If all of those things pass, install Windows, get a stable system, and gradually start installing hardware until you figure out what is tripping you up.
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Old 18th August, 2005, 10:52 PM
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Vok, I replied to your thread at PCPer. Sounds like the HDD.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 12:06 AM
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Hmmm... Sounds like HDD boot sector (main boot record) fault. I'd try to boot from WinXP disk into command prompt and run fixboot or/and fixmbr command.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 12:16 AM
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But would he keep getting a boot sector error after a few formats and reinstalls? I would think not. Has to be a physical problem with the drive.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 12:27 AM
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SPQQKY, it could be perhaps, because it seems to me that HDD formating shouldn't format or clean MBR. Don't remember it properly, but it seems that even there's an undocumented special format /mbr command or something like this...
I agree that it would be a physical error as well.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 03:19 AM
VoK VoK is offline
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Okay, back from the chop shop.

So I did memtest86 for 4 passes and I did the Maxtor PowerMax Hard Drive diagnostic (1 time advanced, twice quick, 1 low level format).

And you know what I found?

NOTHING.


Jesus Christ this is annoying. My heart actually sank when the hard drive test turned up nothing.

So now I'm going to try a different approach. Time to attack the drivers.

What I'm going to do is only install the basic motherboard driver and all of the windows updates. Leaving behind the video card drivers. Then I'm going to only add the video card driver to try to isolate a bad video card.

Beyond that, I need your help guys. I'm running out of ideas.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 04:19 AM
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Update on the situation. I'm 99% sure it is the hard drive after that screen popped up. Thank goodness for Bill Gates and his goons.

Anything else I should look for before I RMA it? Any suggestions for a better hard drive?
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Old 19th August, 2005, 04:50 AM
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Did you run BurnK7, like I suggested? If not, it's worth a try. Also, unless you ran the torture test in Memtest86 (all of the tests, not just the standard set, I think it's called the exhaustive test or something like that) you can't rule out a memory problem. I've had systems in the past that would pass Memtest's standard tests just fine, but would still exhibit random instability like what you are seeing. When I ran the full test, it turned up the problem.

I'm not convinced it is your hard drive, simply because those drives keep internal data on how many read and write failures they've had. That information would have been reported in the diagnostics. In order for the drive to fail to report a data error when it actually had one, the drive controller electronics would have to be so unreliable that it would be unlikely to even take a format, much less let you install Windows and a whole bunch of drivers and patches before crashing.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 05:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo
Did you run BurnK7, like I suggested? If not, it's worth a try. Also, unless you ran the torture test in Memtest86 (all of the tests, not just the standard set, I think it's called the exhaustive test or something like that) you can't rule out a memory problem. I've had systems in the past that would pass Memtest's standard tests just fine, but would still exhibit random instability like what you are seeing. When I ran the full test, it turned up the problem.
Just finished running BurnK7 and nothing really happened at all.


For memtest, I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about. THere is no option for an "exhaustive test" only tests numbered 0-9. The test simply runs as soon as it comes up and goes through "passes" which are basically the 10 tests in a row. Unless you are talking about memtest86+, which I have not yet worked with. Should I be using memtest86+?

Thanks again for the help, though. I really appreciate it.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 07:07 AM
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Press 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, space, I think.
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Old 19th August, 2005, 01:21 PM
VoK VoK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnansley
Press 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, space, I think.

That doesn't do anything for me unfortunately. However, I was playing around with the options.

If I do configuration->memory sizing->BIOS all, I get 10 immediate errors. Is this supposed to happen?
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Old 20th August, 2005, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo
Did you run BurnK7, like I suggested? If not, it's worth a try. Also, unless you ran the torture test in Memtest86 (all of the tests, not just the standard set, I think it's called the exhaustive test or something like that) you can't rule out a memory problem. I've had systems in the past that would pass Memtest's standard tests just fine, but would still exhibit random instability like what you are seeing. When I ran the full test, it turned up the problem.

I'm not convinced it is your hard drive, simply because those drives keep internal data on how many read and write failures they've had. That information would have been reported in the diagnostics. In order for the drive to fail to report a data error when it actually had one, the drive controller electronics would have to be so unreliable that it would be unlikely to even take a format, much less let you install Windows and a whole bunch of drivers and patches before crashing.
That's not true, my HDD displayed the exact same characteristics when it was dying.
Vok, use your drives S.M.A.R.T. capabilities and try another drive. I'm almost 100% sure your troubles will go away. Use memtest86+ and run tests 5 for a while and then test 8. These are the ones that will display most of your errors if there are any memory failure.
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Old 20th August, 2005, 09:01 PM
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Problem solved, for those who care about a solution to this type of problem.

A new Seagate hard drive did the trick. Installed all my drivers, applications, window's updates, and anything else I throw at it. Ran 3dmark2005 without a hitch. Ran Prime95 for 10 hours without 1 error. Ran memtest86 for 24 hours without a problem. Ran SiSoftSandra benchmarks all without a problem and all up to expected speeds.

So to clarify, it was the hard drive that was causing the problem. And a new Seagate one solved it.

And what did I learn from all this? A personal fanboyistic view of hardware: Don't buy Maxtor. Buy Seagate or Western Digital.
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Old 20th August, 2005, 10:43 PM
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I hate it when I am right.
You also learned to listen to SPQQKY. .. . .. . ... . .LOL
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