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  PC locks up, forces hard reset 
 
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Reason Oct 14, 2013, 10:38pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 14, 2013, 11:40pm EDT

Replies: 19 - Views: 4524
Symptoms started in June, I thought my video card died and I posted here:
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/78658/

It came back to life a few days later.

Since then I had the same symptoms once, after it locked up playing a game: wouldn't POST, no beep, orange LED on the monitors (blue = active, orange = no signal).

I removed every single non-essential component, reset CMOS, removed coin cel battery, and tried it with three other confirmed working video cards. Dusted it. Replaced the thermal compound on the 6870. Some combination of the above finally worked, and I slowly reinstalled all my RAM and my 6870.

I have since updated BIOS and installed a Xeon 3370; previously I was using an E6850.

It's been working fine, and temps do not seem to be an issue. However, it's freezing up seemingly at random: today it wouldn't even finish it's boot to desktop; hard reset and then it was fine until I was applying settings in Crysis. I was able to play Crysis at Very High settings 1920x1080 with no issues, after restarting, and Afterburner showed a high of 70C. Fine since then.

I've given it overnight in Memtest, no issues. Reinstalled some generic RAM that I'd replaced a while back, same. Prime95 shows no errors. It is intermittent and infrequent enough that I can't tell if it's the RAM.

No visibly bulging caps on the mobo; however, when it locked up tonight, I DID get a high pitched whine/buzz that only stopped when I shut it off. Couldn't confirm where it came from.

So I'm leaning toward the mobo is worn out (mfrd 2006 or 2007), but I don't know.

Any ideas? I'd rather wait for DDR4 to upgrade as it's supposed to be out in 2014.

Edit: current specs:
CPU: Intel Xeon X3370 @3 Ghz (stock)
Motherboard: Asus P5B
Video: MSI 6870 Twin Frozr II 1 GB
RAM: 2 x 2 GB Kingston KVR PC2-6400, 2 x 2GB MB Patriot PC2-6400, 8 GB total
Primary hard drive: 500 GB SATAII Samsung
Multimedia hard drive: 3TB SATAII Seagate
PSU: PC Power & Cooling 750W Silencer
Soundcard: X-Fi XtremeMusic


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john albrich Oct 15, 2013, 05:25am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Reason said:
...No visibly bulging caps on the mobo; however, when it locked up tonight, I DID get a high pitched whine/buzz that only stopped when I shut it off. Couldn't confirm where it came from....


In some instances, a high-pitched whine/buzz comes from an overloaded inductor in a power regulator subsystem. This could be in the PSU itself, the motherboard's power regulators for CPU and other components, a video card's power regulators, etc.

An overload could be caused by a failing component in the power regulator or an external overload caused by a device that requires too much power for a power rail(1), or a combination of devices that require too much power for a PSU rail combination(2), or a failed/failing device that is pulling more power than it should.

(1)ONE example of this might be someone trying to use a CPU that requires more power than the motherboard supports
(2)Sometimes it's a case of someone not realizing that combinations of power rails on some PSU's may have significantly lower limits than expected. (For example, an arbitrary 750W PSU with separate power 3.3V@24A and 5V@24 ratings of 79W and 120W respectively. One might think that they have 199W available...when they don't, In this case the combined maximum wattage is limited to only 120W. This kind of limitation surprises some people and they may not take it into account when configuring their system.)

Reason Oct 15, 2013, 08:22pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
thanks for the response, John.

Regarding your suggestions:
I wasn't able to find the revision of PSU I have to confirm, but PCP&C has such a good reputation that I tend to think it would either A: provide more wattage than listed or B: provide as much as listed but be pretty stable.

I guess for under $20, though, this PSU tester is a good investment:
http://www.amazon.com/Coolmax-Power-Supply-Tester-PS-228/dp/B0...wer+tester
If you can recommend a better one, please do.

In googling the main lockup issue, someone else suggested that the voltage to the CPU could be too low, which fits with your suggestion about the mobo not supplying enough. I do not think that this is an issue inherent to the motherboard, as it powered my E6750 for 3 or 4 years, and the E6850 for another year and a half. The X3370 is too new to me to confirm, but the Q9650 is on the supported CPU list with this BIOS, and the chips are supposed to be identical.

When it was running last night, I did run CoreTemp and it showed the VID fluctuating between 1.25 (mostly) and 1.10 (occasionally). CPU-z reported fluctuation between 1.064 (lowest) and 1.125 or thereabouts, I forget exactly.

To be clear, I'm not trying to argue with your suggested directions, merely providing reasons for which I am not certain these are the best paths to pursue. I am certainly open to reciprocation, as I want my PC to run.

Just now when I got home it froze up right after entering my password, and now it won't boot. Interestingly, after I removed the sound card (just because), holding the power button failed to turn off the machine. I then removed the video card as well, and was able to shut it off by holding the power button. I did not get the beep code indicating no graphics. When I reinstalled the video card, again, I could not turn it off by holding the power button. Have not reinstalled the sound card as I have a lot to do tonight. no buzz on tonight's freeze.

So my conclusion is that it is a power issue, but I am not certain if it lies in the PSU itself or in the ability of the mobo, or possibly another component, to regulate the power. With any luck the PSU tester will confirm that the PSU works or does not with a minimum of fuss. Please feel free to respond as you wish.

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Meats_Of_Evil Oct 15, 2013, 11:24pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
I wouldn't trust that PSU tester too much if I were you man, I have that exact one and while its cool and all showing the voltages it failed to help me diagnose a previous OCZ PSU I had which under stress would crap out and after diagnosing every piece of hardware I came to the conclusion it was the PSU, so I bought another one and all worked great.

Also, from my experience if the video card is dying the problems it would usually give are video related as in, loss of video signal, artifacts in games or in desktop, fails to display anything when you power on the PC, PC crashes and BSOD.

I would try another PSU if possible of course, as one can rule out the mem already if you did an overnight memtest. If you think the cpu voltage is a bit low try upping it a tad bit in the BIOS, might be just what it needs. I had a EVGA 680i Mobo years ago and it had a problem with the voltages whereas the CPU voltage would drop dramatically and I had to do that pencil mod trick for the v-droop.

Also I wanted to share with you dinaosaurs who still refuse to let this ghost of a website die already a weird pulling my hair out for months experience. My PC had been giving me weird audio signals in where my 5.1 setup would most of the time switch to a weird 4.1 and even 3.1 randomly and I had to reselect the 5.1 option for it to be fixed, this became the norm. I figured it must be my sound card since its a freaking X-Fi Xtreme Music from waay back when they released. Next it started doing weirds**t like video only displaying after Windows loaded and not in the bios screen and sometimes I would get a slight discharge after touching the PC chassis while barefoot as I always am in my home ever since I can remember. Keep in mind these symptoms would happen months apart so it became pretty hard to diagnose anything and I just didn't give a crap anymore haha, I was thinking I was due for an upgrade anyways lol. What made me want to solve this mystery was the little shocks I was getting while touching the PC while barefoot were getting stronger and mroe uncomfortable so one day I hooked up my Windows Phone 7 (R.I.P.) to a USB port to sync some crap and I got shocked through my freaking phone! So I went bitching to my dad telling him to do something (note this was like the 5th time I told him) as I was afraid of my PC (which is preposterous) and after a lot of testing with him he found I had an open ground on my room! After researching abit and bugging him some more he fixed it pretty easily and all my PC troubles were gone!

I don't get anymore audio troubles or shocks from my PC. So yeah, you can get weird anomalies if you have an open ground.

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Dr. Peaceful Oct 16, 2013, 01:31am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Meats_Of_Evil said:
...
Also I wanted to share with you dinaosaurs who still refuse to let this ghost of a website die already a weird pulling my hair out for months experience. My PC had been giving me weird audio signals in where my 5.1 setup would most of the time switch to a weird 4.1 and even 3.1 randomly and I had to reselect the 5.1 option for it to be fixed, this became the norm. I figured it must be my sound card since its a freaking X-Fi Xtreme Music from waay back when they released. Next it started doing weirds**t like video only displaying after Windows loaded and not in the bios screen and sometimes I would get a slight discharge after touching the PC chassis while barefoot as I always am in my home ever since I can remember. Keep in mind these symptoms would happen months apart so it became pretty hard to diagnose anything and I just didn't give a crap anymore haha, I was thinking I was due for an upgrade anyways lol. What made me want to solve this mystery was the little shocks I was getting while touching the PC while barefoot were getting stronger and mroe uncomfortable so one day I hooked up my Windows Phone 7 (R.I.P.) to a USB port to sync some crap and I got shocked through my freaking phone! So I went bitching to my dad telling him to do something (note this was like the 5th time I told him) as I was afraid of my PC (which is preposterous) and after a lot of testing with him he found I had an open ground on my room! After researching abit and bugging him some more he fixed it pretty easily and all my PC troubles were gone!

I don't get anymore audio troubles or shocks from my PC. So yeah, you can get weird anomalies if you have an open ground.

Great story, Meats, who would have thought that an ungrounded outlet caused all those weird behaviors in your PC. And I am glad you weren't hurt by the electricity. The old saying, what doesn't kill you, make you stronger. In this case, it energized you! ;)

And Old Dinosaurs... ha ha ha, here's another one. XD

I don't post as often as before, but from time to time still checks the site for unknown reasons. This site is basically a freaking ghost town. Sometimes, I just wish Vitaly would just pull the plug on the HWA server! ;)

john albrich Oct 16, 2013, 01:35am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Reason said:
thanks for the response, John...To be clear, I'm not trying to argue with your suggested directions, merely providing reasons for which I am not certain these are the best paths to pursue. I am certainly open to reciprocation, as I want my PC to run....

You raised some good points, and I didn't take what you were saying as argument.

All I was indicating was the potential source of the whining/buzzing sound you heard. There are certainly many more reasons for voltage fluctuations...including perfectly normal algorithms and protocols to control temperature or provide enhanced power-management built-in to the software or firmware for both CPUs and GPUs.

(For example, on the system I'm using now, my GPU voltage is allowed to fluctuate from 0.95V to 1.25V, the GPU clock from about 150MHz to 950MHz and the GPU memory clock from 300MHz to 1200MHz depending on the dynamic requirements of the software and video content, whereas all CPU voltage and frequency management protocols are disabled so those parameters stay at constant values.)


Re the cheap and simple go/no-go PSU testers, they are good for identifying gross errors (and I use them all the time) but they will NOT identify a number of PSU malfunctions or power-quality issues which can also cause system instability. In general simple PSU testers do not detect high-speed transients, stability under load, ripple, and several other factors which can cause a system to lock-up and even damage a system instantaneously or over time. These PSU testers are a good "first-line" diagnostic but they are by no means definitive.

On these simple testers that also display voltage(s), it is also generally unrealistic to expect them to display a voltage that is accurate to even 0.1 Volt. Even when something displays 3 or 4 digits of information it often doesn't guarantee the last 2 or 3 numbers respectively are at all meaningful. But, because they're displayed "Digitally" (gasp!), people actually believe these numbers are always that accurate.

Meats_Of_Evil Oct 16, 2013, 03:26am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
said:

Great story, Meats, who would have thought that an ungrounded outlet caused all those weird behaviors in your PC. And I am glad you weren't hurt by the electricity. The old saying, what doesn't kill you, make you stronger. In this case, it energized you! ;)

And Old Dinosaurs... ha ha ha, here's another one. XD

I don't post as often as before, but from time to time still checks the site for unknown reasons. This site is basically a freaking ghost town. Sometimes, I just wish Vitaly would just pull the plug on the HWA server! ;)


Haha well yeah I wasn't hurt but its annoying as hell, especially when I'm not used to it. I wish they would pull the plug already, here I am same as you, I think there's like 4 of us left. We are cursed man, I still have a live bookmark of this place and check once in a while. We need to kill this monster, HWA is evil, it has latched deeply unto our minds and is feeding form us!

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~Vel Oct 16, 2013, 10:58am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 16, 2013, 11:18am EDT

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
I agree that it sounds like a power issue. A couple of weeks ago I was at my friends house & he swapped a 7850 out for a 650 TI Boost and it wouldn't boot with the 650. A day later it wouldn't boot with the 7850 and we trouble shooted by swapping most things out and determined it was the PSU.

If you're looking for a good & relatively inexpensive PSU check out http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapcsales because there's consistently PSUs popping up for about ~$40-60, 600+ watt this, modular that, 80+. There's not much there right now but wait a couple days & something will pop up. I've kinda moved over to there & /r/buildapc with HWA's inactivity lol.

Reason Oct 16, 2013, 11:52pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
OK, good to know about the PSU tester. Sounds like a skip if it doesn't do much more than "yep, she turns on alright."

I did pick up a bunch of used parts on Craigslist today one of them was a PC with an Asus P5-series mobo, so it might be similar enough to run my (closed) hard drive on, to rule out the PSU.

I'm leaning towards it being the motherboard. I'm just hoping at this point it hasn't fried the components on board. I literally got that quad a week ago.

On the plus side, an I3 3220 and motherboard is about $180 at newegg, and I have some DDR3 I can use, and everything else can (hopefully) be reused, so if I do need to start from scratch it shouldn't be too much.

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Dr. Peaceful Oct 17, 2013, 09:15pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Oct 17, 2013, 09:38pm EDT

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Reason, 3 guys above were leaning toward a PSU problem. Same here, so you have 4 guys leaning on that. Let's see if we're right. ;)

Also like what Meats said, the quickest and most straight forward way to rule out PSU, is to test with another known good PSU, while retaining the same hardware setup. That way if it runs well and stable, you can immediately tell it's the old PSU. But if it does not, then the problem lies elsewhere. It is easier and lesser variables to consider, than testing by swapping the mobo with another one, which you're doing.

From my experience, PSU problem sometimes can be very hard to diagnose. You could have a partial / occasional PSU failure, instead of a complete failure. Although, most cases I've seen for PSU problems, involve system not able to power up, rather than freezing while it's running.

Most PSUs do a self check while power up, then send a PWR_OK signal (via Pin# 8 in a 20 or 24 pins mobo power connector) to tell the mobo is ok to power up. But after that point once the system's running, the mobo just assumes the PSU's ok. May be the PSU only craps out when it's on high load, which could be what you're experiencing. May be the problem is your PSU's finally worn out after years of use, same time it's the first time you're running a Quad Core CPU in the system, which demands more power than the PSU can stably provide.

However, freezing midway while using the OS, then the power continues and even fails to power off, we can't rule out the mobo for a problem like that either. What you described earlier and quoted below, reminded me of the old days running WinXP. There's this famous bug with WinXP for failing to power off a PC after shutdown. The root cause for that is a system component, most cases a USB or IEEE1394 device, continue to draw power from the mobo and the mobo failed to stop the power from sending to the device. That is until you unplug the device. Another work around is to adjust the device settings in Windows, to make sure power don't send to the USB or IEEE1394 controller after shutdown. In you case, it's the video card that continued to draw power, and the mobo failed to cut it off.

Reason said:
...
Just now when I got home it froze up right after entering my password, and now it won't boot. Interestingly, after I removed the sound card (just because), holding the power button failed to turn off the machine. I then remove.d the video card as well, and was able to shut it off by holding the power button. I did not get the beep code indicating no graphics. When I reinstalled the video card, again, I could not turn it off by holding the power button. Have not reinstalled the sound card as I have a lot to do tonight. no buzz on tonight's freeze.

So my conclusion is that it is a power issue, but I am not certain if it lies in the PSU itself or in the ability of the mobo, or possibly another component, to regulate the power. With any luck the PSU tester will confirm that the PSU works or does not with a minimum of fuss. Please feel free to respond as you wish.


Reason Oct 18, 2013, 11:29am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Good point, doc. PCP&C is actually in my neighborhood, well, an hour away, so I might even drop it off to see if they can test it and/or replace it, if it's under warranty.

Seasonic and Corsair are also good brands, yes? Is the anti-modular argument that PCP&C still valid? They offer modular now, but that might be due to market forces or their buyout, not actual technical advances.

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Reason Nov 09, 2013, 06:30pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Nov 09, 2013, 06:30pm EST

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Well, good news. After going through OCZ tech support, I called PCP&C directly and they authorized an RMA. I specified that i was only asking for testing, so I could rule out problem components. They diagnosed and replaced a bad resistor, and I had it back on Friday, after mailing it Monday. They fixed it, no charge, I just had to get it to them.

Big shoutout to PCP&C for great customer service there. That's awesome.

The OCZ tech didn't think the freezes were PSU related, but felt the non-booting was. He wasn't able to give me the RMA though as I don't have the receipt, which is perfectly understandable. But that's why I called PCP&C directly. I would have driven there but their hours are a subset of my working hours, no weekends, so I'd have had to take time off work to drive it up there. Better to just mail it.

Reinstalled the PSU last night and have been testing it today. Had to do a repair of windows but that went smoothly and was not much of a surprise given all that the components went through.

Still getting a bit of weirdness: after installing the second pair of DIMMs, I got the no-post nonboot again. I took out one stick and it booted fine. I moved the remaining stick from that pair to the other available slot, and this time the BIOS freaked out and gave me the Overclock Failed warning, but going into Setup and saving and exiting, with no changes made, and it booted up into Windows again.

Put the other stick back in again, and it booted into Memtest 4.2 which is running now. I'll leave it for a day or two.

So, results are still inconclusive. Definitely had a bad PSU, but now that that's been repaired, I'm still wary that everything is going to run smoothly. I'll follow up again after Memtest has run for a while to relay if Windows is freezing or not.

Thanks for everyone's help.

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Reason Nov 09, 2013, 07:39pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Nov 09, 2013, 08:20pm EST

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
And, we have some sort of confirmed hardware issue. Memtest froze up at "WallTime" 37:20.

I seem to recall reading something about low vcore, or something like that, causing issues like this. Something to do with the CPU being slightly undervolted. That makes sense to me, since it appears to be happening more frequently with the quad than with the dual.

Edit: bumped Vcore up from 1.200 to 1.2125, or something like that, it was one increment. Memtest froze again, on one stick, at 12 minutes.

Read somewhere else that freezing can be a heat issue. BIOS shows idle at 44-46C, which should be fine, but I'll try another heatsink I got lying around. Worst it can do is not work.

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Reason Nov 10, 2013, 06:29pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Nov 10, 2013, 06:31pm EST

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Well, I installed this larger Zalman that I had. (Also reverted the vcore to Auto.) Ran Memtest overnight for just under 16 hours with one stick, no freezes. Shut it down, installed the other 3 sticks, froze at about 2.5 hours.

I think something is wrong with the motherboard. That's the only component that has consistently been present, I guess except the optical drives.

So, I need to make a choice: full upgrade now: motherboard, RAM, CPU, or, get a replacement 775 motherboard and limp along until the end of next year when DDR4 comes out. And if I get a replacement 775, I need to decide if I should try to find a match for my existing P5B, to ease Win7 reinstallation hassles, or if I should just get a higher end mobo and reinstall anyway.

What would youse guys do?

1. Full upgrade now
2. Replace the motherboard with a matching ASUS P5B (vanilla)
3. Replace the motherboard with a different 775 mobo

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Reason Nov 11, 2013, 09:30pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Nov 11, 2013, 09:30pm EST

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Well, GFD. I had bought an older Intel DG965 a while back, thinking I'd use an extra E6300 I had to make a light duty HTPC, Never made use of it, so I thought it might be wise to try it out before I do anything.

Swapped out all the relevant components tonight and lo and behold... nuthin. Same. Frackin. Symptoms. Fans on, hard drives make the right noises, but no POST, no beep, no signal to the monitor.

Took out everything but one stick of RAM, used different RAM, onboard video, video card, disconnected the IDE cable (which I had connected to run Memtest again), I even disconnected all the front panel connectors except the power switch, just in case.

So, same symptoms, different components, except two: the PSU and the case. I didn't install the mobo in the case, but rather laid it on top as it's a lot easier to make all the connections, and also a lot less annoying when this exact thing happens. So I don't think it's the case. Which brings me back to the PSU,

The intel board was an eBay purchase though, which I never bothered to verify worked, so it's conceivable that it's also broken. But I think I will try a PSU next.

Still interested in replies/thoughts/suggestions if anyone has any.

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opper defe Dec 03, 2013, 04:57am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Hi,I recently bought a new battery for my HP ProBook 5330m. It was detected by my laptop however it won't charge at all.


I had taken the laptop overseas, and had problems with the AC adapter.


The power there is 220, compared to North America where it's 110.Whenever I plugged it in, the light on the AC adapter sometimes wouldn't come on.




I would have to repeatedly plug it in and out until the light came on.Some help please? Is this a AC adapter problem or a battery problem?Thanks.by the way, i bought the battery from : http://www.baterias-cargador.es/hp-probook-5330m.html

Reason Dec 10, 2013, 08:22pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Well, I picked up a replacement P5B offa eBay and it just arrived. It came with a P4 and a gig of ram, and due to various circumstances, ended up not costing me anything out of pocket.

I tested the old one again and it still wouldn't boot; connected this one with everything else exactly the same and it booted right up, so it's looking like it was the mobo all along.

Currently got Memtest running with it exactly as is. I figure I'll give it maybe 24 hours like this and then I'll update the BIOS and give it another 24; reinstall the RAM I was using previously and give it another 24, and if I don't run into any issues at that point I'll put the whole thing back together and start using it again.

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john albrich Dec 10, 2013, 10:05pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Dec 10, 2013, 10:11pm EST

 
>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Reason said:
...I figure I'll give it maybe 24 hours like this and then I'll update the BIOS...and start using it again.


If you can, you may wish to see if you can either backup the existing BIOS (I don't know what your mobo can do in this regards) or make sure you can download a copy of the currently working BIOS from the manufacturer...just in case the new BIOS doesn't work and you have to reflash again (assuming you can)...I know, negative thinking...it's 'the universe is out to get us all' part of me that tries to be as prepared as possible for alternatives.

Glad you found an essentially no-cost solution to the problem. Good going! Always nice when that happens.

Dr. Peaceful Dec 11, 2013, 01:31pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
john albrich said:
...I know, negative thinking...it's 'the universe is out to get us all' part...

LOL John. We (read Earth) will be fine, as long as we don't get too close to the Sun!

Reason, glad to hear you got the problem figured out. I guess we were partly wrong about the PSU, but hey it's the 'you don't test, you don't know' sort of thing.

Reason Dec 11, 2013, 09:22pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: PC locks up, forces hard reset
Thanks guys.

John, good idea about the BIOS. I've been very skittish of BIOS updates ever since the VERY. FIRST. ONE. I ever did bricked the motherboard I had just bought at relatively great cost to myself. Asus' method makes it REALLY easy, though, they call it EZ flash. All you do is put the BIOS on a USB (or CD, I guess), go into the BIOS, and run the tool. It gives you the option to back up, and in fact I had my last backup from when I had upgraded the (now dead) mobo in September.

Updated it tonight and have been running memtest for an hour so far, will give it overnight as planned.

Doc, no worries about the PSU suggestion. It did make some sense to me, since if the PSU was not proving "clean" stable voltage, then I could see the CPU or mobo freaking out. And, I did get a bad resistor diagnosed and repaired, which could have caused issues down the road if left undetected, for $15. So I call it good. Like you said, won't know until you test.

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