ECS 915P-A junk?

By hewybo
Oct 19, 2005
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. day before yesterday, i tried to "flash" upgrade the BIOS on my year-old Compaq. (MSI 6577 mobo, award BIOS). all's well til "press F1 to continue." Black screen. shoulda known better- anyway, purchased ECS915P-A mobo bundled w/ P4 640 HT. after install, windows (XP Pro) refused to boot. reset CMOS, checked BIOS and boot sequence, no load. used MS floppy boot disk series, re-installed OS. after recovering most programs, one required re-start. windows would'nt load. re-set CMOS, changed IDE cables, changed PSU. no boot. am typing this after a second floppy reset, using "repair" mode. have my programs, but will have to fight with MS again about multiple activations. DANG!!! is it the mobo? is it the bios? is there a difference? i need help fast, cuz i've only 3 days to activate OS, and if i have to install another mobo, i wanna do it before then. HELP!! THANKS! HELP!!! :(
  2. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,483

    you need to reinstall windows in the event of a motherboard change. i can say that ECS refers to s*** piled on a PCB, so i wouldn't be expecting it to run well in the first place.

    perhaps the problem lies with the compaq psu and/or ram, which i am assuming you still use because your post didn't say otherwise. you'll need standard (non-oem) psu, case, ram in addition to said mobo/cpu.

    what are the rest of the computer's specs, what parts have you kept from the compaq build, and what are the specs of the RAM and PSU in use?
  3. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    specs

    knew i shoulda put these in - nothing left of the compaq. mobo was last survivor. Ultra Xconnect 500W PSU (on first try, switched to Antec SmartBlue 350W currently, to see if PSU was problem), 250GB WD master HDD, Maxtor 120GB aux, Radeon 9250 128MB graphics, Soundblaster Audigy2ZS, P4 640 HT CPU, Intel 915P northbridge, ICH6 sb, Windows XP Pro, Kingston 1GB DDR 333, Centon 512MB DDR 333. i know, match'em. also, need PC3200, not 2700. could this be part of it? funds are short right now. did'nt anticipate new items. i'd heard bad about ECS, but the bundle price made the mobo $15 less than free. looks like i got what i paid for. appreciate the help. forgot- Ultra Wizard black case, clear blue side. surely it's not that pesky Lexan?


    i'm at half my wit's end
  4. Crimsonite

    Crimsonite Newcomer, in training

    ECS mobo's are all junks. Did you happen to buy the bundle from Fry's/Outpost? I was builting a system for my uncle after he bought an ECS 848P-A7/P4-2.6 Prescott bundle from Fry's. After all the installation/updates I began loading video drivers. Every time I install the drivers the screen goes white with black dots and then sys reboots and won't into windows. After 20 tries and I decided to upgrade to Service Pack2, install new chipset info and then flashed the BIOS according to ECS' main site. Done, rebooted and sys never booted up again, just blank screen with fans turning, HDD reading but no video signal and HDD stops reading after about 5~6 sec.

    When the sys tried to boot up after the initial reboot it beeped 6 times, and according to the beep code list I realised it means a corrupted BIOS chip. So my uncle returned the bundle for a refund and the customer service rep even told us there have been numerous returns on these...
  5. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    I've had bad experiences with ECS as well. I need not say more about it.

    Agreed with zephead, it needs a reload, that is standard and common problem you just experienced changing a motherboard "out from under" Windows.
  6. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    yeah, i did a "fresh" reinstall of XP, but the dang thing repeated the process at the next re-boot! it wouldn't read my lan modem either, but i just downloaded a file from ecs's site, and now it works. i also downloaded a BIOS flash from them which is supposed to "fix up problem of sometimes not boot up." i saved it, i'm scared to death to run it, even though it's from AMI, the BIOS's mfr. a bios flash is what got me here in the first place.


    i'm at half my wit's end
  7. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    Well half a wit is better then no wit. Use is wisely :)

    I re-read your first post, you did mention reloading, woops. Use some paragraphs next time ;)

    Do you remember what was installed that needed to restart and then didn't come up? Was it video driver perhaps? Or hard drive?

    If you do a flash, just be sure you are using a GOOD floppy (run a scandisk on it in windows, with a full format). And triple check that the BIOS file is for your EXACT motherboard and model and everything. Then the process should go fine. IF that is necessary.

    You may try just resetting the BIOS again, as it good be CPU/RAM speeds/timings or some such settings causing issue. If you do reset the BIOS, make sure to set the time, or the activation will get you.
  8. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    new paragraph

    i have been in and out of that BIOS like a man possessed. it will not allow me to alter the CPU settings. both the CPU and speed settings are grayed out.

    i ran an Intel utility which informed me that i was overclocking! everest says i am, too, by 2%. can't change the settings, so---?

    can my slower-than-recommended RAM play any role in this? i won't be able to upgrade for a while.

    the black Windows screen, on both occasions, said only "disk read error. re-start your system." i have to assume it was referring to the hard disk.

    thanks for your attention to this. i am basically computer illiterate.




    i am at half my wit's end :dead:
  9. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    If the CPU and RAM setting are auto, I suppose that's fine, it usually picks the right choice.

    Before I go to bed now, I'll say this is a good time for you to check your RAM and HDD for errors.
    If you boot off your XP CD into Recovery Console, type "CHKDSK /R /P" and let it scan. When done, type "exit" to restart.
    Then try to download and run memtest86. I suppose you'll have to do this from another PC, burn the ISO for a bootable CD, or download the floppy version. And let that run for an hour or so. At least let it go 2 or more passes.
    Let's rule out some hardware issues first. Disk read error doesn't sound friendly.

    I'm going to bed, cause I'm so tired I think I have a quarter wit left. g'night
  10. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,483

    both of the two PSUs you mentioned could be balking, btw.

    in your bios you'll want to set your machine to boot to the cd rom drive. after setup initiates the first restart, go back into the bios and set the boot drive to your harddrive, which contains the windows boot loader and OS.

    and that sounds like somethin i'd see in an ECS board's bios. they (among plenty of other asian makes) have a poor clock spread spectrum, so the FSB isn't quite in-line with the specs.
  11. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    fingers crossed

    appreciate the feedback, and pointers. since the second XP installation, everything's been worhing properly. there have been several re-starts required, due to program reinstalls, security updates, etc. no hint thus far of the previous behavior.

    as i said earlier, i've downloaded a BIOS update+flash from ecs' site, which are atleast written by AMI (if that matters), but i am leery about running them. the instructions show how to install the update from desktop, but the flash seems to me like it should be from a floppy bootable. no instructions on this phase, and though I THINK i could create one, i'm not sure, and i don't need any more mistakes.

    Avise, ideas, instructions would be most welcome. Vigilante- i know you mentioned running checkdsk, but will the flash i downloaded have the "bootable" info on it? i'm unclear on the process.

    thanks again to all.



    i'm at half my wit's end (and beginning to like it)
     
  12. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    I think it is safer to run a BIOS update from DOS as well. Though the process is different.
    Your primary concern is making sure, if you flash from a floppy disk, that the disk will NOT have read errors while writing the new BIOS. Thus I suggest running a simple, Windows based scandisk on the floppy, AFTER doing a FULL format (not quick format).

    Also, the AMI instructions should tell you to have a "clean" boot disk, that is, without any drivers or anything loaded into RAM. Meaning no AUTOEXEC.bat or CONFIG.sys files. Some BIOS manus will say to create a RAM drive from the boot disk, and copy the flash file to RAM drive, and THEN flash it, this way you don't use the floppy.
    Each procedure can be slightly different.

    As for your system, if it continues to work fine, leave it alone. Because as far as a BIOS flash goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Also, find out what BIOS version you have now, and compare versions to the new one, and see what kind of updates they really give you, as they may not help at all.
  13. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    confused

    mobo manual recommends creating bootable system disk from windows online help, then copy the flash utility and BIOS file to this disk? i have bootable disks for windows xp pro, there are six of them- where do i put these utitilities?

    the reason i want to have them on hand is that, though the system is restarting fine, i am having program crashes (notably media player 10 fails to respond, and IE, which i use intermittently, closes infrequently). i am thinking this could be the memory, and have ordered 2G corsair (2x1) DDR2. possible?

    at any rate, i'd like to have that flash on hand, in proper order, just in case. their site says 'to fix sometimes can't boot up", among other things, mostly hardware related, though hardware specifics are not listed.

    I certainly do appreciate your time and trouble- my "education is sorely lacking," but continuing.


    i'm at half my wit's end (no further comment)
  14. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    You would not use your XP Pro disks for this purpose. But create a boot disk afresh.

    Put in a new floppy disk. Go in to My Computer. Right-click the floppy drive and choose format. Select to make a bootable os disk, or whatever it's called. When that is done, you'll have a boot disk about the same as a ME boot disk.

    At this point, you'll just copy the flash file and BIOS to the disk and you're done. Or else if the instructions say so, you'll have to strip some files from this boot disk. The easiest way to make a "clean" boot disk is just delete the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, this will prevent any drivers from loading up. If the instructions don't tell you to make a clean disk, then it should be good to go as-is with your flash and bios files.

    But if your BIOS takes a dump during the procedure, don't come back yelling at me!!
  15. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    yelling

    who in the world SHUOLD I yell at? what fun is all this free advice without negative feedback? I see you're in AZ; I might cruise down and deliver it in person!

    Really- thank you immensely for the assistance. I intend to hold off on any attempt until I receive and install the new mem cards, to see if anything changes.

    One more question: the download page fixes list includes an item to "support TM/TM2 function in CMOS setup." If I don't install the flash/BIOS first, might it hang because I don't have th TM2 function?

    Thanks again. (see how good I am at paragraphs after your admonition?)



    my wit has ended
  16. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    Well if you've fixed anything since coming here, it's grammar. lol

    And also, I don't even know what "TM/TM2 Function" IS. lol again. I've never seen it before.

    Anybody?

    Oh, and most people yell at Bill Gates. You know, if the car breaks down, if it rains, if you get stuck in traffic, that sort of thing.
  17. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    2t-tm2- ?

    I don't know, too, but I was checking out a review of the mem I bought, and found this quote: when using this RAM on an ABIT Fatal1ty A8N-SLI, the timing must be set at 2T Dual Mode, or you may not be able to boot Windows." Now, I know I'm a few clicks away from that Abit, but 2T dual mode sounds suspiciously like like the aforementioned "support TM/TM2 function in CMOS Setup" referred to at the flash download site.

    As you know, I have no idea, but they sounded so similar that I wanted to ask. By the way, cussing Gates is a way of life. None are more deserving. (perhaps ECS)



    witless is bliss-- Plato er, hewybo
  18. deathwarror

    deathwarror Newcomer, in training

    ECS 915p-a trouble Possible Fry

    I have had this motherboard running for a while and i think it just fried because when i pushed in the power button i had an i think an electical zap. My dad is good with computers so i have told him what had happened and he said to try and reset it to see if that will fix it. My motherboar's instruction book is packed up so can anyone tell me where to find the reset. I cant find it with the current predictiment. Any one have the Problem of it turning itself on and turning off without any command from the button. All cable but the main powersfrom the powersupply have been disconnected. we also know that it aint the powersupply because we have tried a different power supply. He also just disconnected the video card. it never made it to the bois. If you guys have any ideas how to fix this then can you email it to deathwarror@gmail.com

    Oh just for the guys that cant update the bios, i just started playing around with the program that installs it and somewhere along the lines i got passed the part that doesnt let you install to the motherboard. start up the progarm and just start playing with stuff.
     
  19. deathwarror

    deathwarror Newcomer, in training

    ECS 915p-a trouble Possible Fry

    I have had this motherboard running for a while and i think it just fried because when i pushed in the power button i had an i think an electical zap. My dad is good with computers so i have told him what had happened and he said to try and reset it to see if that will fix it. My motherboar's instruction book is packed up so can anyone tell me where to find the reset. I cant find it with the current predictiment. Any one have the Problem of it turning itself on and turning off without any command from the button. All cable but the main powersfrom the powersupply have been disconnected. we also know that it aint the powersupply because we have tried a different power supply. He also just disconnected the video card. it never made it to the bois. If you guys have any ideas how to fix this then can you email it to deathwarror@gmail.com

    Oh just for the guys that cant update the bios, i just started playing around with the program that installs it and somewhere along the lines i got passed the part that doesnt let you install to the motherboard. The rev. 1.1 version resets if anything is plugged into the usb. Updating on this version to 1.2 will fix this problem. start up the progarm and just start playing with stuff inside the program.
  20. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    there should be a jumper near the battery on the mobo. turn off, unplug PSU from computer and wall, change jumper to other pin. wait 15-20 secs, then put jumper back and restart. if ya can't find the jumper, or aren't sure, take the battery out for 10 min, or so, then replace and restart. this should re-set the CMOS. as for the on/off unaided, i don't know. there are some smart guys on this forum, they'll help.

    ya shouldn't post your e-mail out in public---good luck
  21. deathwarror

    deathwarror Newcomer, in training

    Didnt work

    i do think it is actually fried because what you said to do didn’t work. is all the fans suppose to turn when you remove the plug. This is new i had to do the reset on a previous board 478 socket because i messed up the cpu config and they didnt spin. the power supply was off with a while of sitting. this is the second thing that has gone wrong inside of it. I have an automated fan control unit and one of the sensors had shifted too close to a high heat source and fried to the extent that it wouldnt shut up. It has been replace though.

    The reason that i got this board was that it had the agp graphics input. I had found a BFG Fx 5700ultra at a best buy or so for around $100.

    Thanks for the help though
  22. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    which plug did you remove that the fans kept turning? If you unplugged the Ac from the wall, and the back of the PSU, that can't happen. If you leave the power cord plugged in, the mobo isn't really completely off. the manual "off" button on the system is really just an interrupt, not a true OFF switch.. there is a status light on the mobo- you must be sure it is off (dark) before you mess around in there. No fan can turn if the AC cord is unhooked. Maybe I am misunderstanding you-
    wish a smart guy would pick up on this thread.
  23. deathwarror

    deathwarror Newcomer, in training

    Plugs

    i turned off the power supply through the back switch and the fans turn when i pulled the jumper off to put it back on the run i cant test it now though because he taking it with him to colorado to test if it is the motherboard because he has the same type of cpu. hes making sure it is the motherboard by testing the cpu. It never does make it to the bios too.
  24. hewybo

    hewybo TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 570

    turning off the power supply at the back switch does NOT turn off all power to the mobo. that is why I said you should UNPLUG it from the wall.I am not enough of an expert to know what can happen when you switch jumpers with the line cord still attached, but I know it is not good practice.. It still could just be that it needs a re-set, but maybe he'll find by checking in his system. I hope everything works out well. Good Luck!
  25. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,483

    are you still talking about the ecs board? accept it as the piece of junk it is and move on
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