NForce3 issues + common questions

By Breambutt
Dec 30, 2004
  1. I will make it short this time since I'm getting tired of posting my problems all around the web only to be ignored.

    System: EPoX 8KDA3J (nForce3) / A64 3000+ / PNY GF 6600GT (AGP) / something. Actually thats the core of my new system which started bitchin the moment I gave her cable and put on the power, hence it's only common sense to think that the troubles lie somewhere over there.

    Problem #1 made short: Performance = can't handle even a Windows installation.
    Conclusion through minimal observation and analyzing: There's something very wrong with the HDDs.

    Having googled around I'm aware of the IDE issues these mainboards have, but nobody really seems to have it pushed this "far". (Sucks to be me, life sucks, etc.) You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize what's going on if you just heard the sound the hard drive was making when the system started to stutter, and this is something rather frequent - like every 3 to 10 seconds an instant drop in the data rates, which is best noticed when playing something. Oh yeah, and when playing, despite the fancy FPS the 6600GT is producing, for a moment it's rather Seconds Per Frame when this stuff occurs - of course alongside with some infernal shrieking from the HDD.

    Now, I've tried switching between different pieces of hardware which pretty much narrows it down to the mainboard and hard drives. It took me like THREE HOURS to install Windows 2000 which has always been a 30-minute job max. It eased a lot after having the DISPLAY drivers installed, but there's still something sinister out there. (After that I tried to be clever and tried a new clean install of W2k with different display adapters, a Matrox G400TV (AGP) and my friend's old GF2 (PCI) but the issue remained.)

    Hardware checked, cables checked, drivers checked, user frustrated. I bloody bought the very first gaming gear of my bloody life - and a relatively expensive one for a poor student, mind you - and am beginning to realize that it was more fun to play with a bloody 1100MHz system with no real 3D acceleration and minimal graphics settings.

    Enough of the blabbering, during the writing process I always forget most of the important stuff. Maybe that's why nobody ever answers. ;G

    Oh, almost forgot: What's the role of a power supply? How will it affect the system if it's a crappy/insufficient one, how to check if it's o!K and how much steam does the system eat nowadays? I'm more of an old skool geek with ancient hardware and been bankrupt since the Pentium (one) days -> didn't bother following the computer scene knowing that it would just piss me off when I can't afford the toys anyways.

    For the last thing, I found on Kingston's (the memory boys) website that the memory I'm using isn't on the "recommended" list of my mainboard. Also, I've found some random statements that some of the EPoX boards might be a little picky concerning the memory capsules. At least it seems to be running fine... or maybe not, what's the deal?

    Anyone make anything out of this? Suggestions and donations are welcome, I'd probably better run some benchmark tests.
  2. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,377

    Have you run any tests on the hard drive? All the manufacturers have free utilities you can download for testing. I had a 4 hour install once for Win 2000 and a half hour boot up. It turned out to be a faulty hard drive. The hard drive shouldnt make ANY noise except for some faint clicking. What brand of hard drive is it? Did you install the chipset drivers?
    With the components you have you need a quality power supply that puts out at least 350w. Cheap PS's put out inconsistant voltage. That will kill a motherboard. I only use PS's from Enermax and Antec.
  3. Breambutt

    Breambutt TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Now that was a long new year. Nice to see at least one reply here. :eek:

    Umm, that was the next thing I _intended_ to do but forgot for some reason. So, I finally downloaded the first utility Google offered me (PassMark) and, well, as megabytes per second:

    Sequential read: 27.0
    Sequential write: 31.4
    Random seek: 3.4

    Actually in comparison the CPU was the only part that didn't do so well at times, but I think it's because the others were Intels and blabla, still kicked the living crap out of them in some tests.

    The thing is that I did a clean install with 3 different drives and they all work perfectly on another system. Actually the noise I was complaining about is more like really intense reading or something, nothing out of this world but definitely not normal. Right now I'm running on a Maxtor DiamondMax9 160Gb and the other 2 were IBM DeathStars (not a word - they've served me well!), chipset drivers and all installed.

    The funny thing is that on Maxtor's website it says "PowerMax v 4.09 will not detect ATA or SATA hard disks connected to embedded or add in RAID controllers, NVIDIA Force 3, Force 4, VIA KT 600 and KT800 chipsets. If the hard disk is connected to an unsupported controller, it will have to be moved to an alternate system, or controller for diagnosis.." Might this suggest that it's a simple no-no even though the aforementioned utility is only a diagnostics tool, "sucks to be you" and so?

    Uh huh, the current supply is a 350W one and not a darn clue if it's utter crap. Probably so, the old one blew up (and deafened me for a couple of hours) so I rushed to the nearest store because I needed a new one right away and this was the only one in their selection. I also meant to include in the original post that my vcore is at 1.6V even though I think it should be 1.5V and the other stats aren't too good either.

    Actually, new power supply was already in the shopping list but maybe now I'll summon more money for a better one. May the gods of incompatibility smile upon me.

    Any new thoughts? Might be a good idea to e-mail the mainboard manufactorer.
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