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  hi all from a newbie with a big problem 
 
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Craig Carling May 27, 2008, 05:03am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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i bet even the illustrious set on this forum can't help me here!, it's been puzzling me for two weeks now!

my system is as follows. q6600 quad, asus p5kc, 4 gb ocz vista gold ddr2 cl5, nvidia 8600gt, hauppauge wintv nova hd card, creative x-fi gamer, 540w hiper psu, vista home premium 64 bit

my problem is as follows

my system has been running just peachy since i built it, very fast and ultra stable, until one day it just crashed, for no apparent reason, so i restarted it and it went into a bios update loop with cmos checksum problems and no matter what i try, it will not boot. suspecting the board had developed a glitch, i r.m.a.'d it and received a shiny new one, i installed everything again, only to be faced with the same problem on first boot, so it can't be the board, i don't happen to have another q6600 knocking about, so i can't change that, but i have tried it with different ram and i removed all the other cards apart from the gfx obviously. does anyone have any ideas what could be wrong here, i am at a complete loss frankly, and asus are useless, as are the suppliers. any help would be appreciated

cheers in advance


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FordGT90Concept May 27, 2008, 05:14am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
Craig Carling said:
it went into a bios update loop with cmos checksum problems

So does that mean when it starts, it says there is a checksum error, it restarts, and repeats? Or does it restart every time it is supposed to be loading an OS?

I would unplug everything that is not needed to POST including hard drives, optical drives, add-in PCI/PCIE cards, and any USB/Firewire devices plugged in. If that doesn't POST, pull out all sticks of memory except one. If that doesn't POST, try a different stick in the same slot and then a different one. If that doesn't POST, you got a bad PSU on your hands.

If everything is fine when everything is unplugged (says "Operating system not found"), your hard drive failed or the installation of your OS on the hard drive has been corrupted. In which case, try a fresh install. If there is any sign of trouble throughout the install process, the hard drive died.

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Craig Carling May 27, 2008, 05:22am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
the problem is, when it goes into the BIOS update thing, it is the asus crashfree BIOS, so it searches for disks, and usb sticks. i can successfully update the BIOS from either the CD or a usb, but when it reboots, it starts the process again. every component in the pc is less than 4 months old. the hard drive is fine and the psu is fine.

FordGT90Concept May 27, 2008, 06:26am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: May 27, 2008, 06:26am EDT

 
>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
So you are actually attempting to flash the BIOS (change version) and after you do so, the board gets into a continuous loop?

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Craig Carling May 27, 2008, 07:16am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
the pc is trying to update the bios on every boot, it will not give me an option to do anything else, it is stuck in a bios update loop, it updates from either disc or usb drive, restarts and goes straight to the crashfree bios program again, occasionally throwing a "overclocking failed, please enter setup and reset the settings" but everything is set to default values in the bios. i spoke to someone who recommended i set the ram timings up manually as they do not ship with the correct settings, i have done that too, but it does the same thing, over and over again!, so either at default settings or at manual settings, it's still the same

FordGT90Concept May 27, 2008, 07:26am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
Did you, or did you not, attempt to flash the BIOS?

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Craig Carling May 27, 2008, 07:50am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
not when the problem started, no, as in, it wasn't a bios update that went wrong, but it has been updated since, on numerous occasions, with every bios i can get my hands on, from version 903 up, and back again

john albrich May 27, 2008, 07:50am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Jan 27, 2011, 03:52pm EST

 
>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem

Unless you have actually tested the PSU and HDD and verified the file-system is intact and corruption free, it would be illogical to claim they are "fine".
...every component in the pc is less than 4 months old...
The age of components has no bearing on current functionality. A component can be working fine one morning and (for any one of a number of reasons) be failing by lunch-time.

However, the above advice to try to get through a power-up POST with a minimal configuration is valid. In fact, I would go even further in terms of removing un-necessary hardware for verifying the system can at least get through POST.

I would first disconnect all hardware except PSU, mobo, 1 stick RAM, and display. This means NO keyboard, mouse, etc. If your mobo has integrated video, use it. Otherwise the simplest video card you have on hand should be used to attach your display. If you must use a high-function video card, and if you are running SLI/Crossfire, re-configure to a single video card.

Please pay attention to the caveats at the bottom of this post regarding ESD and disconnecting mains power when installing/removing/disconnecting system components.

Reset the CMOS and power-up the system. If it fails POST then your problem is one of those devices. A failed or mis-seated video card can result in totally unpredictable boot problems up to and including complete system in-activity (no beeps, no fans, etc.)

If it does pass POST, then it's time to do some actual testing of the base components.

Boot the system with self-booting diagnostics media, and run diagnostics using at least a memory test.

I'd recommend UBCD and I'd also recommend starting with the bare minimum of devices needed to run the diagnostics, (e.g. PSU, mobo, display, keyboard, NO mouse, 1 stick of RAM) running each diagnositc sequence and then progressively adding more memory and then more of your devices until the "bad" element is found (if hardware). You may even find it's the CPU in an early test (but let's hope not).

You can get a thorough system test suite in UBCD (Ultimate Bood CD). The self-booting CD tests multiple system components: memory, CPU, hard drives, peripherals, etc. It does a very thorough job and is extremely easy to use.

Although it's reported version ver4.1.2 is available, the latest version I could obtain was 4.1.1
http://ubcd.sourceforge.net/
http://ubcd.sourceforge.net/download.html
You can download a .iso, .exe self-extracting, or .zip file depending on what connection speed you have. (download filesizes range from 87mb to 115mb) The .iso file is easiest as you just download it and then burn the .iso image to a CD using Nero, or CDburnerXP, or burnatonce, etc.

MD5/SHA-1 Hash Verification
I do recommend performing a hash verification to make sure your downloads aren't corrupted. Long downloads tend to be somewhat vulnerable. Use a program like freeware Fingerprint to calculate the MD5 hash and compare to the value provided by the download site.
http://www.majorgeeks.com/FingerPrint_d4388.html
http://www.2brightsparks.com/

DigestIT is another excellent hash tool works from inside Windows Explorer as a mouse right-click on the file you want to hash.
http://download.cnet.com/DigestIT-2004/3000-2248_4-10387706.html

I also recommend you take a look at this post, not only for debugging, but for ESD handling as well.
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/71489/#535975

Remember that the PSU mains power must be turned off or the wall-plug disconnected before you add or remove any device in the computer. Just using the front power switch is NOT enough and can result in permanent damage to the hardware.

Both ESD and/or not disconnecting mains power while handling components in the system also have the potential to corrupt CMOS, which could also corrupt system, CPU, and RAM voltage and timings settings.



edit to add-comment on potential to corrupt CMOS/voltage/timings by improper handling
edit 20110127 to add DigestIT hash program info

FordGT90Concept May 27, 2008, 08:19am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
Craig Carling said:
not when the problem started, no, as in, it wasn't a bios update that went wrong, but it has been updated since, on numerous occasions, with every bios i can get my hands on, from version 903 up, and back again

Ah, so the BIOS update is an effect, not the cause...

To add to what John said, I have had to RMA a motherboard within a week that worked fine except for the fact it didn't charge the CMOS battery. I've had to RMA DVD-ROM drives inside of a few months from purchase as well. Most components fail either in the infant mortality (generally first year of operation but varies by type and manufacturer) or wearout (end of life cycle) phase. The period between the two phases is usually event free.

Because the motherboard was replaced and the problem persists between them, my money is on the CPU; however, more testing is needed to narrow down the cause.

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Dublin_Gunner May 27, 2008, 10:21am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
You said you RMA'd the board, so you received a new one yes?

Did you also try to update the BIOS on the new board before the same problems started??


From what you've stated, I can really see only 2 probable causes

1. Bad BIOS flash / Bad BIOS file

2. PSU

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BoT May 27, 2008, 11:34am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
try a different keyboard, make sure the "F8" key is not stuck

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Gerritt May 27, 2008, 09:57pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
Ummm,
I seem to recall that some of the OCZ Memory is set to run at 2.1V, have you looked at this parameter? If you operate at less than 2.1V you may be seeing a instability due to lack of voltage.

Gerritt

Ad Astra Per Aspera
(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
System Specifications in BIO
john albrich May 27, 2008, 11:23pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: hi all from a newbie with a big problem
Gerritt said:
Ummm,
I seem to recall that some of the OCZ Memory is set to run at 2.1V, have you looked at this parameter? If you operate at less than 2.1V you may be seeing a instability due to lack of voltage.
Gerritt

There are detailed references to tools you can use to look at these parameters in the earlier post that referred to:
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/71489/#535975

In that same post there is also a discussion about a lesser known "spread spectrum" parameter in BIOS settings. As that setting affects virtually all clocking (CPU, RAM, FSB, etc.) on the system board, it can have an impact on system stability as well.


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