A7N8X Deluxe based system - booting failure

  BAW083 20:01 14 Mar 04
Locked

The machine itself is a Mesh Xp2700 RD97.
Xp2700, ASUSTeK A7N8X Deluxe, 512Mb PC2700, Radeon 9700, Creative Audigy 2, Maxtor 120Gb Diamond 9 ATA-133 HDD.

A few weeks ago whilst quite happily flying along in FS2004 my machine reset itself.

Upon re-booting though it all I got was the LEDs on the front coming on (one green, one red).
There's no signal to the monitor, but it didn't appear to even get as far as POST.

I asked around and although a number of problems were highlighted, I was advised initially to remove the battery and clear the CMOS with the jumper.
I did this to no avail.

A few days later, whilst putting the machine back to how it was when bought (ready to box it up to go RTB to MESH - this involved removing a Creative Audigy 2 and reinstalling a COM port), we decided to give it one last go.

As if by magic the machine started up.

It took about a week to get back to normal (drivers, installing the nForce software etc), and today we thought we'd re-install the Audigy 2.

We did this, jsut as we had done on christmas eve of 2002, and yet the machine has somehow ended up back as it was on the 21st of February.

The LEDs on the front come on, but there is no annuciations from the machine in either voice or in the form of beeps.

Can anyone suggest what this and how we resolved it - or did it resolve itself?

While I'd like to get the machine up and running I'm all for getting some return on this 3 year warranty, and I think an M.O.T. couldn't do it any harm.
Whilst I've nothing to be worried about regarding the content of my HDD, I'm rather sceptical about sending the HDD off when it contains invoices, orders, my credit and debit card details etc.

There's much to be said for leaving well alone. Isn't hind sight great :(

* I understand that there may be issues with the Creative Audigy 2 and the A7N8X (somethign to do with I/O allocations?) but surely that would only be an issue when the card's installed.

  gudgulf 20:09 14 Mar 04

Try installing the audigy card in a different pci slot,this may resolve any resource conflicts that are occurring.

Also try the audigy card in another pc if possible--just to check that it is working correctly or not.

Im assuming that you have added the audigy yourself,if so what were you using for sound before that?

  Gongoozler 20:15 14 Mar 04

The cause of computer failing to POST can really only be resolved by a process of elimination. One thing you can be sure of is that it isn't caused by software because at that stage the hard drive hasn't even been read. The usual method of diagnosis starts with removing everything that is plugged into the motherboard except the power supply, processor with heatsink, memory, graphics card, power switch and case speaker. If it doesn't POST then, you have very few things to eliminate by substitution.

  BAW083 20:19 14 Mar 04

The onboard sound that comes with the A7N8X Deluxe..
Audio Codec 97. Realtek ALC650 6CH with built-in HP amp (according to the mobo manual).

  BAW083 10:25 15 Mar 04

If it had happened once and resolved itself (which it did) I'd of though fair enough.

For it to do it again has me a bit worried.

One thing I did notice, in the time between the two failures, was that with ASUS Probe, 2 of the 3 voltages were a little higher than their definitive figures, i.e. the 12v was reading a little over 12v (12.2-12.4) and the 3 volt reading was regularly at 3.4 to 3.6-7 volts.

Is this normal?
A friend of mine suggested that the problem may lay with the ATX power supply, and that a 360w PSU may be a little underpowered for a A7N8X Deluxe, XP 2700+ and ATi Radeon 9700 setup.

Would an Audigy 2 add to the demand on the PSU, and sufficiently to tip it over the edge?

  Chegs ® 10:56 15 Mar 04

Its often the SoundBlaster card disagreeing with the mobo chipset,or the AC97 onboard sound.I had an Epox mobo that refused to work with my SB card at all(KT266 chipset)and more recently,my SB card kept crashing the pc during boot.This was again the SB as my onboard sound drivers were being installed by XP(even though the onboard audio was disabled in BIOS)I would hunt thru your BIOS and make doubly sure onboard hasn't been re-enabled when you reset CMOS.

  BAW083 12:02 15 Mar 04

Thanks for the replies, and I'd love to check the BIOS/CMOS settings - but I can't.

The machine isn't even getting that far into the boot sequence (I think the single POST clearance beep comes before the POST test results screen and the hit Delete option), and if it is then there's still no signal to the monitor.

It doesn't look good does it.

I've switched it off, taken the battery out, reset the CMOS, put the battery back in and so far it'll have been off about 12-13 hours.
If that's not enough time for it to forget it's self and time for capacitors to discharge then it'll never work, no?

  Gongoozler 12:46 15 Mar 04

Voltages aren't bad. They should be within 10% of nominal. 5V +/- 0.5V, 3.3V +/- 0.3V, so that one is a bit close to the top limit. A 360W good quality supply should be ok, but I would prefer to see a 400W unit. You can easily check whether that is the cause by removing a few components as I recommended above. For a computer to complete POST you need very few parts, then you can put the removed parts back to get a properly working computer.

  BAW083 10:04 16 Mar 04

Thanks.

I've had enough though. I can't have my access to the machine dictated by some tempremental machine.

I'll send it back and hopefully they can sort it once and for all.

  MESH Support 11:31 16 Mar 04

I may have missed something in the above so allow me to recap what i have picked up;

The PC has worked a considerable period of time with the Audigy 2 in place. It stopped working and in preparation to return the system to Mesh, you removed the Audigy 2 card. The problem was no longer present. You fitted the card again and the problem returned.

Whilst it is fair enough to look at various aspects of the system to ascertain the cause of this fault, I feel you have missed an important test that would save you time and possibly money.

As the problem is absent when the sound card is removed, you should take gudgulf's suggestion if possible and have the soundcard tested away from your Mesh PC.

If the soundcard is confirmed fault free then it can be assumed it is the PC at fault. At this point, I'd lean towards a fault with the soundcard though.

If you wish to return the PC, drop me a line at [email protected] remembering to include your serial/order number and your screen name (BAW083) and I will raise the neccesary paperwork for you.

Davey

Mesh Support

  BAW083 14:34 17 Mar 04

Hi.

The machine has been off for around two, two and a half days now.
I gave it one last go before calling Mesh and it's started again - claiming the CPU had been changed???

It's now just a question of how long it'll run for.

We'd contacted Mesh the first time it happened and they sent us a RMA label (I assume they'll just need the tower unit?), but with the machine starting up a week gone Sunday we didn't pursue arranging a date/time for a courier etc.

I'll prepare the machine just incase it happens again.

Would the RMA code/label still be valid or would we have to go through the initial process again?

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