Help - unstable A64 system

Got a shopping cart of parts that you want opinions on? Get advice from members on your planned or existing system (or upgrade).

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

andyb
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 3307
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
Location: Essex, England

Post by andyb » Tue Apr 19, 2005 3:51 pm

Java.

Get an MSI mobo, check their website, they have tested RAM per board, you cant go wrong.

Decent PSU, and no other flaky components and you dont have to worry abou the "Dark-Side"..... re-think, the "Light-Side"......

Q: What wastes more electrisity than a light bulb
A: A Prescott.

Q: How is most of a light bulbs energy wasted.
A: Heat.

Intel is the Light-Side, hehehe.


Andy

el_
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 4:36 pm
Location: US Capital

Post by el_ » Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:25 pm

MikeC post your problem over at dfi-street.com forums they should be able to at least tell you which bios has the best chance for success and several beta bios if you really want to play. Did you order a venice chip or fx57 from the amd rep?

http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showthr ... ght=sticks

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:02 pm

I've never dealt with this much ram before, and never with 1G sticks either. From what everyone has told me, whether Intel or AMD, 4 sticks, esp GB sticks, are always hard to run stable.

The windows install, done with a cleanly wiped drive, went bad. Even with the very first reboot...

The amazing thing is that I have another DFI board of the same model and another A64-3500 Winchester that just takes anything I throw at 'em and runs -- at default BIOS settings. No tweaking, no adjustments, nothing. My final step is to move everything over to that board & use it for this build.

Java
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:39 pm

Post by Java » Tue Apr 19, 2005 6:11 pm

Get an MSI mobo, check their website, they have tested RAM per board, you cant go wrong.

Decent PSU, and no other flaky components and you dont have to worry abou the "Dark-Side"..... re-think, the "Light-Side"......
Thanks, Andy.

Any MSI board/chipset you recommend? I have an AGP vid card (ATI 9800) I want to keep, so it limits my options. Further, I want to use Silverstone's passive cooler (NT01) with the case's (TJ106) windtunnel. Ideally, I'd like the K8N Neo2 Platinum, but the layout (memory blocks air flow) isn't the best for the cooling config (also has northbridge fan). K8T Neo2-F is closer ideal and has passive northvbridge cooling. I'd prefer to try Nvidia's chip set vs Via given the probs I've had with Via.
Intel is the Light-Side, hehehe.
"Luke, come to the Light-side", just doesn't sound right. :wink:

Anyway, it looks like I may need to stick with A64 if I want to keep my vid card. Unless I've misunderstood the chipsets, The 640 (LGA775) only supports PCI-E. If my vid card was older I may be ok buying a new PCI-E card, but it would take some $ to replace with a 9800 equiv.

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:38 am

The problems I've been having with the DFI board and 4G of Corsair ram have finally been solved. It turned out to be the most unlikely thing.

As anyone who has built more than a few PCs can vouch, troubleshooting a mysterious problem can be the biggest headache, sometimes requiring unbelievable patience and the willingness to systematically go through every aspect of hardware and software, including cables, all peripherals, even physical installation detals (like is there a tiny intermittent short somewhere?)

Anyway, after the botched Windows install mentioned above, I decided to tear the whole physical box down (for a 3rd time!) and rebuild it on the open test bench piece by piece, adding just one item at a time and testing before moving on. I used the working HDD with the working Windows XP from my other DFI board/system to make sure the OS would not be an issue.

Everything worked perfectly with a minimal setup, only the HDD, vidcard & 1 stick of 1GHz ram. Boot into windows on first go at just about any DRAM setting in the BIOS. :shock:

OK.

Added another 1GHz stick. No problems.
Added 2 more sticks, now we have 4GB. No problems.
:shock: :shock: :shock: What the????

OK, add the BenQ DW1620(.0C1) DVD writer.
Crash booting into windows.
Unplug the BenQ. No problem boot.

:twisted: :shock: :roll: :!: :idea: :?:

Take BenQ and plug it into the known good DFI system.
Crash booting into windows.

OMG!!!!

Take BenQ and plug it into a couple other systems in the lab. No problems. In fact, I have another one of these running fine on another system. This sample was actually works OK even on the DFI boards when booted into windows, and it was actually used to install Windows at least 2-3 times.

Tried to see if a firmware upgrade might solve the problem, but the file at BenQ's site was older than this one.

I recall a while ago that optical drives could sometimes be problematic, but it has been many years since I've seen anything quite like this. Brought to my knees by an optical drive... :oops: :roll:

Much thanks to the good folks at Corsair, AMD and DFI who were patient and generous with their support. DFI is seeking one of these optical drives right now to see if they can duplicate the problem; it could still be a sample-specific problem.

sthayashi
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 3214
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:06 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Post by sthayashi » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:49 am

MikeC, I can appreciate the problem you had. Though it sounds like yours was more severe.

andyb
Patron of SPCR
Posts: 3307
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:00 pm
Location: Essex, England

Post by andyb » Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:54 am

Mike, it's nice to see that you have a working system again.

Damned annoying that is, I have had a duff optical drives make systems hang before, but never during boot up.

Java, I have the K8N Neo 2, a very nice board indeed, The RAM, CPU Socket, and AGP Socket proximity is a problem with big heatsinks. I currently have an AC Silencer 64 Ultra TC, it's HUGE, 92 x 92 mm, on one side, it blows hot air at the RAM, on the other it blows hot air at my 9800 with VGA Silencer 3.

It runs at a decent temperature, and at a low speed/noise. However I am going to get an AC Freezer 64, and duct it to my 120mm case fan in my Sonata, therefore removing every problem with the board layout.

However there is no way the NT1 will fit on any board where the CPU is NOT near the top of the board, it will hit the 9800 one way round, and obstruct the Mobo power cable + IDE cables the other way around.

The NB fan is not so much of an issue, I took the Low Profile Passive NB heatsink from my NEO1, no problems, a larger heatsink it seems is not necessary, and will obstruct your graphics card.

It's not a perfect board, but it's easily the best board I have ever used.
Fast, Overclockable, Good BIOS, Super-Fast chipset (chip), I have only had 2 lots of RAM in it so I can't comment on it's compatability, DUAL Gigabit LAN, 4 x SATA Ports, 1 GHz HT Bus, 5 PCI Slots, decent Audio (I'm told, I have mine disabled and use my SB Live instead) and has Optical and Copper Digital Out, Firewire, and the nVidia Firewall.

If you can hold off for a while until I get my Freezer 64, and tell you what it's like cooling my OC'ed 3500+ running at 2420MHz.

Also Dual Core 939 pin CPU's should be on the shelves in 1-2 months, BIOS upgrade needed.

BTW I have shipped 40+ MSI Mobo's, had 3 problems, 2 x P4 boards DOA (everyone gets some), 1 x NEO1 killed by PSU within a week, new PSU new board, 6 months later still working perfectly.

Andy

Java
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:39 pm

Post by Java » Sun Apr 24, 2005 4:43 pm

Java, I have the K8N Neo 2, a very nice board indeed, The RAM, CPU Socket, and AGP Socket proximity is a problem with big heatsinks. I currently have an AC Silencer 64 Ultra TC, it's HUGE, 92 x 92 mm, on one side, it blows hot air at the RAM, on the other it blows hot air at my 9800 with VGA Silencer 3.

It runs at a decent temperature, and at a low speed/noise. However I am going to get an AC Freezer 64, and duct it to my 120mm case fan in my Sonata, therefore removing every problem with the board layout.

However there is no way the NT1 will fit on any board where the CPU is NOT near the top of the board, it will hit the 9800 one way round, and obstruct the Mobo power cable + IDE cables the other way around.

The NB fan is not so much of an issue, I took the Low Profile Passive NB heatsink from my NEO1, no problems, a larger heatsink it seems is not necessary, and will obstruct your graphics card.

It's not a perfect board, but it's easily the best board I have ever used.
Fast, Overclockable, Good BIOS, Super-Fast chipset (chip), I have only had 2 lots of RAM in it so I can't comment on it's compatability, DUAL Gigabit LAN, 4 x SATA Ports, 1 GHz HT Bus, 5 PCI Slots, decent Audio (I'm told, I have mine disabled and use my SB Live instead) and has Optical and Copper Digital Out, Firewire, and the nVidia Firewall.

If you can hold off for a while until I get my Freezer 64, and tell you what it's like cooling my OC'ed 3500+ running at 2420MHz.

Also Dual Core 939 pin CPU's should be on the shelves in 1-2 months, BIOS upgrade needed.

BTW I have shipped 40+ MSI Mobo's, had 3 problems, 2 x P4 boards DOA (everyone gets some), 1 x NEO1 killed by PSU within a week, new PSU new board, 6 months later still working perfectly.

Andy,

Thanks much for the input. I think I'm going to give AMD on more shot. If not, I'll need to upgrade to PCI-E (have a good 9800 AGP), etc. I think I'll wait until venice cores come in later this week and get a 3500+ (3200+ won't be for another week or so at Monarch).

I'm going to take a twist on your advice. I'd like to try a nForce3 Ultra mobo, but the MSI won't work with the NT1. I looked around for other board with the chipset and only found gigabyte and epox. Both have layouts that work with the NT1. I've seen pretty good review on the gigabyte GA-K8NS Ultra-939 (some putting it about the MSI). My first question is if you have any experience with this board or gigagbyte. Second, my concern again is the northbridge fan. I have a northbridge heatsink, but am concerned that the weird angle of the NB fan/chip may get in way of my vid card. I plan on passively cooling my 9800 (non pro) with a zalman ZM80D-HP. Thoughts? The other option is to go with the GA-K8NS Ultra-939 (non ultra) board which has a passively cooled NB. But I loose dual bios, etc.

Thanks, again for the help!

Straker
Posts: 657
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:10 pm
Location: AB, Canada
Contact:

Post by Straker » Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:41 pm

MikeC wrote:The problems I've been having with the DFI board and 4G of Corsair ram have finally been solved. It turned out to be the most unlikely thing.
That's er... interesting. I helped someone troubleshoot a similar problem a couple months ago, one of their PCs started freezing on boot, every boot (though nothing had been changed for a long time). It worked fine when they took out their PCI IDE controller and everything but the boot drive, we figured it was the controller itself but eventually narrowed it down to one of the two CD drives, go figure.

Post Reply