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senor_taco

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Joined: 02/02/2005 12:58:20
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I haven't been on the server in a few months, in part because of some family stuff, but also because of some comp issues.

I am wondering if anyone here might have the knowledge to help me determine what the cause of the error message I'm receiving is.

Every so often when I boot up my comp, it won't even get to bios, it'll tell me that the secondary power cord for my video is not connected (it is) I've switched this a couple times and the same thing happens.

I also have another issue that happens when the above does not. After getting through bios I see the cursor that appears before windows loads. The cursor disappears and I get a message "invalid boot volume."

After I stop head butting the nearest wall or chicken coop (50 points if you get the movie reference), I try to reboot and the same thing happens.

I have cleared CMOS and flashed the bios at least 4 times, I have run a hard drive check through the ultimate boot disk and found nothing wrong with the drive ( boot sectors included), I have swapped power cords to the HDD and checked the IDE cables.

I also formatted my hard drive, reinstalled winders and all my drivers and the same crap is still happening.

I am close to my wits end here. I don't know if the issue is with the video card or the motherboard or what. Does anyone have any idea of what I can do to figure this bloody mess out?

I wish the best to you all,

-Taco MIA

"Kimi no shi ni bashou wa koko da!"
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Okinesu

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Joined: 12/19/2004 20:45:34
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Sounds like the HDD itself is the culprit if you already tried formatting the disk. Are there any weird or odd sounds coming from the HDD at any time? How old it is?

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BotFodder

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Could your power supply be under-powered or dying?

I would point fingers at your motherboard at this point, if you think your power supply is good (actually, I might look at the mobo first).

But try the simple stuff: reseat all of the supposedly errant cables and cards, etc. You could have multiple problems; but I think if the video card is actually having a problem, I'd try pulling it out and putting it back in. You could just have dirty contacts. Also the power supply's cables to the board as well as HD and video ... heck, disconnect and reseat them all.

That should at least get you started. Without being there, I can only talk out of my butt (which I figure I do all of the time, but I tend to be right about the computer stuff 95% of the time).

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emetakleze

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Have you tried stripping it down to the bare essentials? (mobo, hdd, cd/dvd drive, only one stick of memory (or a different stick you know works in another comp.), video card. even a different card for now, like a tnt or something, just to see if it will boot?) Then add stuff slowly untill you get the error. this might help you narow it down.

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senor_taco

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I have reseated the video card, cleaned contacts, I have not tried a hardware regression, that sounds like a good idea eme. I contacted ATI about the issue and they suggested a bios update. once I can get the machine into windows I'll update the bios via their website and see what happens.

The HDD I boot from is an IBM I've had since '02. every now and then it seems to make some funky noises and windows hangs or freezes when that happens. I did run a check on the disk using "the ultimate boot disk" seriously thats what its called. that didnt find any bad sectors or anything.

I'll try the hardware regression and keep you guys posted. thanks for all the help and suggestions.

-Taco MIA

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cplmac

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Boh Ree Toh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whats up man! I would recommend you remove your video card, and use the onboard video from your motherboard. See if that works, and if you have a multi-meter check the voltage coming out of your secondary video card power connectors. They might be taking a dive on you, or it could be your video card, but either way your machine should work off the motherboard's onboard video. As for the HDD, maybe you can swap in a different HDD and load windows on that and see if your machine fires up then. My power supply took a dump on me very recently and was causing UT to crash on game launch. The new power supply is a monster and I have no more issues.

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Spacey

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senor_taco wrote:
I have reseated the video card, cleaned contacts, I have not tried a hardware regression, that sounds like a good idea eme. I contacted ATI about the issue and they suggested a bios update. once I can get the machine into windows I'll update the bios via their website and see what happens.
 


That actually tends to be a fairly common recommendation, but is in many cases just a way of fobbing off the problem. If the system has been running fine for some time, then the BIOS is almost never the issue, unless you have somehow had something corrupt it (something I have not seen outside of the window of a BIOS upgrade itself, nor has anyone I know of ever seen it). In cases like this, many mobo manufacturers have started putting two versions of the BIOS on the system. The first is for normal operation, and the second is for cases where the first was clobbered, typically during an upgrade.

BTW...details on the motherboard would definitely help. And I will have something else for you to look for in a moment...

senor_taco wrote:

The HDD I boot from is an IBM I've had since '02. every now and then it seems to make some funky noises and windows hangs or freezes when that happens. I did run a check on the disk using "the ultimate boot disk" seriously thats what its called. that didnt find any bad sectors or anything.
 


OK...you have a IBM hard drive...as much details as you can provide will definitely help here. There are some models from IBM which have a reputation for failures. Indeed, the DeskStar family earned the nickname of "DeathStar" because such a high percentage of the drives were failing within 3 years (it was partially due to the fact that this was one of the first drives to use glass instead of metal for the disk platters). However, please note that those problems would not cause you problems booting the system and going through the POST. Also, the failure mode for these drives would not show up in any disk test you can do.

senor_taco wrote:

I'll try the hardware regression and keep you guys posted. thanks for all the help and suggestions.

-Taco MIA 


Here are some other things, to check (read the entire thing before doing anything!).

1) Take a look at the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_Plague, and then inspect your motherboard very closely. Indeed, I would strongly recommend that everyone who reads this either do this themselves or have someone who deals with electronics do it. The tops of the cans for the electrolytic capacitors should be flat, and there should not be any bulging or "gunk" coming out of the caps. If there is, then REPLACE THE MOTHERBOARD ASAP!!. The reason I say this is that these caps are almost always used to filter the power rails, including those which are regulated on the motherboard which go to the CPU. If they go (especially if the CPU VR caps go), you can end up blowing every last item in your computer through an almost instantenous cascade failure. Your video card, hard drives, CD/DVD, etc. all will have the smoke let out of their chips, and they no work any more!

One last thing on this. In very extremely rare instances, a manufacturer may decide to put a whole bunch of wax around some of the parts which would include these caps for mechanical stabilization. I have not seen this in any PC mobo (they are, after all, out to save every penny they can), but I have seen this on very high end server boards. If in doubt, post a pic.

2) If you have the case open, you should be prepared with a can of compressed air and your vacuum, like you can buy at most computer stores or office supplies. Even after a month or two, you can end up with significant blockage of fans and heat sinks. This is especially true if you have any furry pets what so ever in your house, or had them. Use the compressed air on the electronics, and the vacuum to clean up what you blow off (but don't use it on the electronics...they may not like it). Don't forget to take off the front cover of your case and get at the openings behind it as well.

3) When testing a power supply, it must always be under load. ATX power supplies do very odd, and typically bad things when powered on with no load.
However, to prevent that, the on/off control of the power supply is controlled through the the pins on that 2x10 connector to the mobo. Besides, you cannot really get a good reading of a PS unless it is under load.

Oh, and as for the display you can find in your BIOS, it is a good quick reference, but do not trust it entirely. I have found a number of different mobos where at least one rail constantly misread due to some idiot engineer screwing up the monitor design. Instead, go to someplace like CompUSA and get yourself a ATX power supply tester, or use a DVM. As for what the voltages should be, take a look at http://www.ka8zrt.com/Wiki/ATXPowerSupplyLimits I even managed to finally update the formatting on the table so that it is readable.

One last item...even if it looks good with a tester or DVM, it may not be. Sometimes, the only way to know is to have a more sophisicated piece of test equipment such as an oscilloscope, and to watch the transients which occur when things power up, spin up, etc.

4) Speaking of power supplies...what size do you have. Anytime I change the hardware by adding/changing a disk, video card, etc, I consider the possibility of a need for a new PS. For most PCs today, I would recommend no less than a 400-450W PS, and for AMD64 or P4 systems, that is not really enough at times. I almost always use a high quality 450W on a small/medium system, and a 500-550W on larger systems.

5) Check your fans and make sure they are turning at sufficent speed. If not, replace them. Also check your temps while you are looking at the speeds in the BIOS. I always make sure I know what the fan speed is on day 1, so that I know if it is running slow, but still fast enough that I cannot tell. And as for temp, there is no golden number (it depends on the chip, etc., but some can be 50 degC or so), but realize that for every 10 degC the temp goes up, you cut the lifetime in half.

6) Gently make sure your heat sinks are still firmly attached. And if you ever took them off, consider whether you put them back on correctly. Any time you do take them off, you must carefully clean off the old thermal transfer material (sometimes it looks like thick plastic putty tape, sometimes it is a gel you spread), and replace it with new. I strongly recommend a compound called Arctic Silver, which comes in a little syrenge. There is cheap stuff which looks like it, but I stick with the real thing. Put sufficent on to cover the die itself with a thin layer, but remember, too much and it will ooze out and may short out those little things on the top of your CPU or other chip.

Good luck!!!


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Chameleon

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I would try and do a process of elimination. I would disconnect everything that you can, but will still be able to run your computer. It almost sounds like there is something wrong with the power supply or the hard-drive itself. If you have another hard-drive laying around, you could try that, too.
I had a problem with my video card, too. I have an ATi and found it was a wiring problem. My video card has an onboard fan with its own power supply. Well, I had another fan connected to the same power cord going to my video card. I disconnected that second fan and now my video card works fine. I think they are sensitive to power supplies or something.

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senor_taco

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Joined: 02/02/2005 12:58:20
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The hardware configuration that I had originally with the mobo hasn't changed. I am running an:

AMD Athlon 64 3000+
Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB AGP
512MB Corsair XMS Registered ECC (ECC disabled in BIOS)
ASUS K8VSE Deluxe rev1.13 (I wish I could forget)
60GB IBM IDE HDD (Master)
160 WD IDE HDD (Slave)
HP DVD/CD r/rw
DLink Wireless adapter (PCI)

recently upgraded PS from 350W to 500W.

I am writing this post from the aforementioned machine.

I blew dust out of the system last night (canned air courtesy of wally werld) and attempted a hardware regression. Upon disconnecting my primary HDD the system failed to see the slave.

I reconnected the master HDD and the system did not see it anymore either.

tonight after work I thought it might be a bad IDE cable so I tried switching the cable connected to the optical drive and the cable connected to my IDE drives.

The system seems to be running stable for now.

With regard to capacitors,I actually checked that when I cracked the case a few days ago. My old rig had run into bad caps so it was early on my hit list. the capacitors on my mobo are fine.

I have looked at the ASUS website for info regarding the issues I have been having and their response has yet to appear. I downloaded the latest version of the bios, but I lack the ASUS update software to install the new BIOS, and they do not offer it on their website. I have the Mobo installer and driver disk in SLC, so this weekend I am going to grab it.

Thanks again for all of your input, you guys have been more help than ATI and ASUS put together. If the system continues to run properly, look for me in game.

-Taco not quite as MIA but still not certain

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You might have a couple issues going on. The invalid boot volume points to the HD. I got a freebie Emachines that gave the exact same error and it was, in fact, the HD. The bios would detect it just fine, but at various times during boot it would it would lock. The problem got progressively worse. Might be the cable, but cables don't fail too often.

As for the no POSTing issue, I would start with the suggestion everyone else is - try mobo video or a cheapie video card. If the cheapie works, that isolates it to the card or secondary cable as most likely. Possibly a power availablility issue, but less likely. Cables almost never fail, but they're cheap to test.
solver7


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I would think the main board is the issue.
the hard drive may be fine, the ide cable may have been the problem... there is also the possibility of drive controller failing - which points to the mainboard.
The vid card issue sounds more like the card itself is the problem.
May be time to start scouting Ebay for a replacement.
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Chameleon

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You have the same video card as I do. I've had a few problems with it myself. The first thing to happen to it was a memory problem. The onboard RAM went bad and I would get strange streaks across my screen. Then, it started telling me that the power cord wasn't connected to it when it was. I think I fixed everything and I haven't had any problems since. Anyway, this doesn't help you with your problem. I have an Asus motherboard as well. I haven't had any problems with it as of yet. I'm surprised it didn't come with the software to update the bios. I don't think the one I have would work for yours, though. I have a P4C800E motherboard which is for an intel CPU, so they have different bios. I would try what someone else said and swap out your video card with another, if you can, and see if it works. Or, try and put your OS on your other hard-drive and boot from that one and see if it works. I'm not totally sure, though.

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senor_taco

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I am back in the game. After nearly beating my head into pulp I have my machine back in action.

Turns out the bad juju was the IBM HD. I have my other HD with a nice new fresh install of winders and there have been no crashes. now I just need to ask Dru to give me back my lvls.

-Taco back in action like action jackson

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