New PC on 4th motherboard in 2 months, any ideas?

By whirrligig
Jun 13, 2006
  1. At the end of March I got a new PC - an Evesham Axis Blaze A-List with the following spec :

    Processor : AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
    Motherboard : ATI Radeon XPRESS 200 Crossfire. (MSI RD480 Neo2)
    RAM : 1 GB (2 x 512 MB) dual channel DDR RAM (PC3200) 400 MHz
    HDD : 320 GB SATA 7200 rpm with 8MB Buffer (Western Digital)
    Graphics card : Radeon X1900XT
    Soundcard : Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Music
    Two optical drives - DVD-RW and DVD-ROM / CD-RW
    Power supply : Seasonic SS600HT Active PFC F3
    OS : Windows XP Pro

    Since then, the motherboard has needed replacement no less than four times.
    The problem manifests like this :

    The PC will seem fine for a few days (anything from 2 days to a week), then I will start to get problems - BSODs during windows loading - always Stop 0x0000007E with no specified driver or application, and / or the sound abruptly cuts out and can only be recovered by restarting. The crashes and sound failures happen anything from constantly to occasionally for a couple of days and then the motherboard fails - turn the power on and the fans and drive lights come on, but the PC doesn't even begin to boot - no POST, nothing on the monitor at all.

    A couple of times I have actullay been listening to something when the sound cuts out and there was a lound (and painful - I was using headphones) blip. So far, the motherboard has been replaced 3 times and the power supply once. The second time it happened, I formatted the hard disk and did a complete clean reinstall of windows. I have updated drivers and run anti-virus software. My guess would be that something is charging over time, but other than that I have no clue and it's *incredibly* frustrating.

    So far, Evesham seems happy to keep replacing motherboards - the last time they took the PC away, but just replaced the motherboard and said it tested OK, but only kept it for a day or two - notlong enough for the problem to manifest.

    Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong?
  2. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    are you using the latest available bios for your board? The most likely culprit is your X-FI card which has known, and so far unresolved issues with AMD chipsets. I would suggest removing the X-FI card to see if that solves the problem.
  3. whirrligig

    whirrligig TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I downloaded and installed the latest AMD processor driver, but hadn't got up the courage to update the bios before the latest failure. At the moment the machine is dead - Evesham are picking it up tommorrow for testing, to see if they're willing to give me a replacement system. Though if it is an issue with the X-Fi card, I guess that won't help much. I'll go and investigate the SoundBlaster and AMD sites - thanks.
  4. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Could be the RAM thats causing the problem. Not very sure though, but if you've changed your m/b so many times, it should be time to consider some other problem.
  5. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    I hope that they are not charging you for any of the work they are doing on it.

    It is fairly obvious at this point that the motherboards were not faulty, and your problem lies eleswhere. it seems like they are just replacing parts and giving the machine back to you without even testing it. it looks like you will have to take matters into your own hands, read this and hopefully you will find your problem.

    good luck :)
  6. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Given your specs I'm a little spectacle of that PSU. It does have a combined 29A on the 12Volt output but this is from a 12V1@14Amp and a 12V2@15Amp.

    Make sure you have the CPU on one rail and the video card on the other and even then I'm concerned. That 4400+ is going to be drawing 10Amps alone under full load, so either way you have 4 or 5 amps left on that rail. :eek:

    So try and connect the 2XDVD and HDD with the video card off the 2nd 12V rail. You can leave case fans on the CPU rail, but that's about it.

    This is after you've checked out the soundcard issue too.
  7. whirrligig

    whirrligig TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the suggestions,

    KingCody - that's one thing to be thankful for - it's all under warranty so they're definitely not charging me. At the moment it's gone back to Evesham for a second time, and I've emphasised that just replacing the motherboard doesn't work, and that the fault only shows up after a few days. Basically I'm at the stage of saying - find what's wrong, give me a replacement system, or give me a refund. So we'll see if they come up with anything...

    kirock - I had wondered a bit about the PSU, but had no idea on how to know which 12V rail is connected to what (I even asked the engineer who came out to replace the motherboard the second time, but he didn't seem to know either!). I guess there are two separate 12V leads from the PSU, each for a separate rail?
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