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Strange Power Problem


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I can safely say I've had my fair share of troubles getting this machine going. Just to give a little of my background, I've been building my own systems since I had a 486. I've built a lot of my own systems (I'm a gamer so I do fairly frequent upgrades) and I have helped a lot of friends build their systems, so I'm not a hw n00b. I also wouldn't consider myself an expert. More of a tinkerer. :)

 

So here is the DFI system story: After RMAing my 1st mobo and vid card, I managed to get my system up and running off of a 3 drive RAID5 array on the SiI controller. I never was happy with the performance I got from the RAID5 but it was working so I just planned a future rebuild. I run a monthly LAN party in the Portland, OR area and at the November LAN, when I powered up my machine at the LAN, I didn't get any video signal. A few of my friends and I pulled everything apart and tried all kinds of stuff and had no luck getting it going but then I had to leave for a bit. When I came back, I tried firing it up with just the basics (cpu, ram, vid) and it worked. So, I put things back together and spent the afternoon fragging. The next day when I was setting up at home, I had the same strange thing happen. Hook it up, plug it in and it boots, but no video. After trying a variety of things for 5 or 10 minutes, it suddenly worked. This same thing happened when I went to and came home from the December LAN and seeing as how my 3 drives are SATA II compatabile and the SiI controller is only SATA I, I decided it was time to rebuild the system and see if I could fix this issue.

 

Having poked around in the forums here, I realized I was running an older version of the BIOS for the mobo so I flashed up to the latest version. This process appeared to go fine.

 

First I set up my 3 drives as a RAID0 array on the nV SATA controller and installed XP. It actually went through the entire installation process and rebooted (I think I even set up system parameters and entered the CD key) however, when it rebooted to actually start into Windows, as soon as it got to the "hit the hard drive" portion of the boot process, the system would reboot. (right after it checked the CD for a bootable CD)

 

Well, I was frustrated, so I figured WTH, I'll set up 1 of my drives as a normal drive by itself and install on that and see if I can get it to work. Once again, install Windows. This time it actually gets up and running and I manage to do a windows update as well as installing the latest NV4 chipset drivers. I then reboot and BAM!! It locks up after showing the BIOS info at the top of the screen and part of the message on the bottom of the screen.

 

I tried a bunch of different things but nothing worked, so I cleared the CMOS which resulted in me locking up on the Lanparty UT splash screen instead of the BIOS header screen. yay. After doing a multitude of CMOS resetting (thankfully I didn't have to do an 8 hour clear to get it going) I managed to get it to allow me to go into BIOS.

 

At this point I had been nosing around in the forums enough, I decided to follow all of the instructions I could find in order to get some help with this. So, per ed_jacobson's instructions, I set up my machine and followed the BIOS settings posts by RGone & Angry_Gamer. I then hooked my hard drive back up and my Windows install was still there and clean (I had only done the one update and the nV driver update) and I managed to get AVG installed and updated along with finishing up my core systems updates. (I still have my sound card yanked out)

 

Not wanting to mess with it anymore, I shut it down to leave it for today when I planned to continue. Because I'm running an Antec TruePower 2.0 and that's not one of the highly acclaimed power supplies at the top of that thread (it is on the post, just lower) and I saw someone else had similar problems to mine and fixed it with a new PS, I stopped at Fry's today and picked up an Enermax 535W. When I hooked the Enermax up, I get the same stupid power thing I do with my Antec. From a cold boot having been sitting for a period of time, it freaks out and won't boot.

Freak out Definition:

I power on the box. I get 3 of the red LEDs lit with the 4th flashing. It flashes half a dozen times (about 5-10 seconds) and then the lights go off one by one except for the first one on the left and the machine does the long beep followed by 3 short beeps which according to the manual indicates the BIOS cannot initialize the Video screen to display any additional information. This seems pretty accurate with what I'm seeing. Also, the machine IS booting up. When it finally boots with video, I get the Windows "You didn't boot/shutdown successfully the last time, what do you want to do" screen.

 

So, here I sit with a machine that "works" but I don't like the fact that it won't boot up right from a cold boot. I have yet to tweak my BIOS settings other than what you guys suggested as a base. I have my previous tweaked BIOS settings saved and know what I managed to crank everything up to before but I am hesitant to even do that. I want to know wth is going on with my machine and why it won't boot up from a cold boot. :(

 

I am open to suggestions. Thanks for anyone who took the time to read this saga.

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Before you Boot the rig try removing the power completely and press the power button on the rig(this is to drain any residual power).

 

Apply power to the rig then press the power button to Boot.

 

Post back your results.

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Ok, tried that and the same thing happens:

 

I pulled the power and hit the power button and see the fans light up slightly for part of a second and then everything is dead. Plug the power back in and power on, and I get 3 solid lights and the 4th one flashes every couple of seconds for about 18 seconds. The lights go off one by one until one is lit and I get a long beep followed by some fast ones. Then the last light goes off and it kind of sounds like the machine is booting up but I have no video.

 

Next, I hit the reset button and it actually sounds normal (the one quick beep) and I get my keyboard lights to flash but still no video.

 

So, I turned off again for a minute or so and have the same thing as the first time happen. Sits there for 15-20 seconds and then gives me the long beep followed by the short ones.

 

I do another reset and it does the same thing again with 3 lights on and the 4th flashing before giving me a long beep and some short ones.

 

So, I power off and wait another minute or so and power up. Same thing again.

 

Try a reset again and then it boots up like nothing is wrong. Once it is actually running like this, I can do reboots and it works fine until I shut it down completely for more than a few minutes.

 

Other suggestions of things to try?

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  • 10 months later...

Hello to all... Well, as should be obvious from the age of this thread I haven’t been concerned with my motherboard/system for quite some time. At the end of last year and for the first 5 months or so of this year I was insanely busy at work and this was a low priority. I’ve since switched jobs to a much better one where I don’t have to work tons of overtime and have some time to get back into gaming so here I am again.

 

I’m still in about the same place I was when I posted this thread a year ago. I go to my monthly LAN party and any time my machine is powered down (power connected and PS turned on but machine itself turned off) for more than a few minutes I have to go through my reboot cycle more or less as explained in the “Freak out Definition” section of my other post. The same thing happens when I pack up and go home.

 

At this point it doesn’t seem to be giving me the long beep followed by the 3 short ones. What happens now is I boot up and it will do one short beep after a few seconds and at that point either I get or don’t get video. If I don’t get video, I reset the power and try again until I do get video. Sometimes it takes 1 or 2 resets, other times it takes 15 or 20. It does seem to take longer when the machine is actually unplugged for a period of time before trying to boot up. Otherwise, the system runs rock solid. Once it’s booted up, I have no problems. It did this when I was running bare minimum settings for clock speeds and RAM timings etc and it still does it now that I’ve clocked things back up to higher settings. I’m still running all of the same hardware and I’ve outlined my current drive configuration in my new sig.

 

This has become more of an annoyance than anything else, but I would really like to see this resolved. I’m looking to get 2G of Crucial RAM ( http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?...N82E16820146035 ) and in the hopes of resolving this issue, I’m considering trying one of the OCZ GameXStream 700W power supplies in case it’s a power issue ( http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?...N82E16817341002 )

 

I just want to get the system working like a normal computer. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If you look around, there are other threads where I’ve contributed to this issue. I went and read the old gamer guy’s threads about the cold boot issue, which is why I’m looking at the 700W power supply. I’m going to build a new system next year and plan on retiring this box to the duty of being a server box for our LAN when that happens. I figure if the 700W power supply doesn’t fix the problem I can at least use it in my new machine. Anyway, I look forward to any help you guys can provide. Thanks!

 

One thing I forgot to mention is I have tried my vid card in both PCIe slots and the same thing happens in both slots. I have borrowed a PCIe vid card from a friend that I plan on doing some testing with this weekend.

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lorax, you are making a wise decision purchasing the 700W OCZ GameXStream. It is one heck of a performer. As I've perused through this thread I hadn't found anywhere a mention that your current BIOS, voltage and memory settings were confirmed Memtest and Prime stable. Since you are pretty experienced I'm taking for granted that you've ran a full battery of benchmark and stress testing to confirm system stability. If for some reason you skipped that step, it would be good time to go back and re-run the tests and report back the results.

 

Fortunately since your last post literally thousands of pieces of information have been deposited here at the Street. You can visit the Stock Speed Database as well as the Socket939 OCDB for possible BIOS, voltage and memory timings that might be a good starting place for you. Just search those two threads for forum members with same cpu and memory as yours and use their information as a starting point.

 

And at any rate, you won't go wrong with the new PSU, whether you keep it for your server or you keep it for your main rig.

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Thanks for the support :) Yeah, I have run a battery of tests on my machine for stability testing. Possibly not as much as I should have ( I didn't let it run for days on end running Prime95 or memtest) but I did use both of those and let them run for hours and had 0 problems. Stability isn't really the problem for me. In testing, I know how fast I can run my proc and what settings my RAM will handle. The machine runs rock solid once it's up. I can keep it on for days and it never locks up while I'm gaming. The only real issue I have is the whole boot up process after it's been shut down for more than a few minutes. Thanks for the info about the stock speed datbase and the 939 OCDB. I'll check those out this weekend when I'm playing around with things.

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I gotta tell ya RGone, I was really hoping you had the magic bullet. :) Sadly, it doesn't appear to make any difference. I changed that setting, shut down and unplugged my PS for 15 minutes or so. I plugged the power back in and turned it on and it still did the cold boot thing. :( I'm going to do a test over night tonight. I also have another PCIe card to experiment with in the morning.

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Yeah, his thread is the one that got me thinking about buying one. I tested with the other video card again this morning after having my ps unplugged all night. I plugged in the power and turned the machine on and surprise... it powered right up video and all. Then I shut down and put in my 6800GT and not surprisingly, it made me reset the power 2 or 3 times before I got video signal. The card I'm using for testing is a X300 based card with no extra PCIe power on the card. So, I'm thinking either my PS isn't cutting it or my video card has issues. I put in my order for the GamerXStream this morning. I guess if that doesn't cut it, I'll be RMAing my video card or just getting a different one. I'm not sure it's worth the hassle to RMA a 6800GT

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Well, I have a sweet looking black OCZ GamerXStream 700W power supply with cool blue LEDs on the fan but I still have a cold boot problem. :/ I was wrong I said I wasn't getting the long beep with the 3 short beeps after it anymore. That happens the first time or two when I power up after having it off for a long period of time. Once I reset a time or two, that stops and then I have my normal reset, fans spin up, drives seek and then I get a beep that may or may not provide me with video signal. So, at this point I'm pretty sure it's narrowed down to either video card or motherboard. I already RMAed the video card after I got it for some reason or another I don't recall off the top of my head. In any case I am about at my wit's end here. I just want a machine that will boot up when I hit the power switch the first time, not the 30th time. Would it make sense to RMA the mobo? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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lorax,

 

when you talk about powering down, are you powering down via windows. or are you shutting down and then actually switching the psu or power strip off?

 

if you are just powering down through windows, but leaving your psu energized (and therefore your motherboard is also receiving power - just not switched on) and you are still getting cold boot issues, i guess you are out of all other options except exchanging the motherboard. you've got a brand spanking new GameXStream 700W (about 100% trouble free), you've stability checked your RAM, voltage and cpu settings, exchanged your video card, not quite sure what else could be causing the cold boot issue other than the m/b.

 

have you tried your new video card in both the upper and lower PCI-e slots? same symptoms occur in both?

 

do you get a cold boot issue when the whole system is built outside of the case with minimal hardware connected?

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