TechSpot

Non responsive. Mobo broken?

By gobblet
Apr 1, 2005
  1. Hello,

    I wasn't sure if I should place this in here or in the Windows OS section, but after several reformats I have concluded it's not a software issue, but a hardware one.

    Onto the problem. Everytime i'm in Windows it works fine for awhile until I actually do something on it, like try and update to SP2 or access certian options in the control pannel. I click on an icon and I get the loading cursor, then it changes back to the normal cursor and nothing happens, it doesn't load anything. After it starts doing this it happens to the whole PC, I can't load games or any program, they just don't respond.

    I'm using WindowsXP - Pro and I had no trouble with it until I encountered a CPU failure about 2 weeks ago. I RMA'd the CPU and have recieved a new one. The new CPU itself runs fine, can play Doom3 without problems (once I can get into the game, which is hit and miss) When I recieved the new CPU, I formatted the HDD and reinstalled WinXP on a new partition, now I get the problems described above.

    My specs:

    Abit NF7 V2.0 nForce2 chipset 400MHz FSB (Latest BIOS)
    AMD AthlonXP 3000+ Barton, 400MHz FSB
    512Mb Generic RAM PC3200 CL2.5 (Was 1Gb, one stick of the 512 was faulty)
    Maxtor 80Gb 7200Rpm HDD - Primary IDE Master
    Sony DVD drive - Secondary IDE Master
    Radeon 9600 (This only has a heatsink, so dosen't require power from the PSU)
    380W Antec TruePower PSU

    I am tearing my hair out here :(. I have replaced almost the whole computer and it's really depressing spending money guessing which part is broken. At the moment im putting it down to either my Radeon, Maxtor or my NF7 but i'm not sure how to go about finding out. I know it's not my WinXP installation becuase that has reinstalled no problem several times now (onto the same HDD ofcourse)

    Any suggestions? Thank-you in advance.
     
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19

    Open up your case and check that all components and cables are properly connected.

    Have you tried booting into safe mode and if so are the problems still there?

    Regards Howard :grinthumb
     
  3. gobblet

    gobblet TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I hadn't thought of safe mode, going to try that now. I also found my old 9gb HDD and i'm going to install windows onto that to see if that works.

    Will report back with how things go, could a damaged WinXP disk cause this? It's abit scratched but it installed no problem.
     
  4. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19

    Yes a damaged Windows disk could cause all kinds of problems.

    Maybe doing a Windows repair(if possible) would help?

    Look HERE for instructions on how to do this.

    Regards Howard :grinthumb
     
  5. gobblet

    gobblet TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your help. :) I have downloaded my chipset drivers (lost the damn disk) and i'm going to install them as soon as windows is installed on my old HDD. I've also removed my nic becuase I was only downloading at 0.9kb/s on my machine and i've got broardband so thats way off (I know it's not my connection becuase this machine on the same network can download at 60kb/s).
    Hopefully with both these it should work and I can troubleshoot it from there.

    Incase this don't work I have another question. I have 2 versions of XP, one copy that I got when it first came out with no service pack, and a copy I got recently with a HP laptop. The HP-XP disk has SP2 on it but obviousally it also comes with bundeled pre-installed software. My question is could I install with my old Pro disk and then repair with the new HP disk (and hopefully I *think* that would also bump me up to SP2 aswell?) It's unlikely I guess, but worth a shot...

    EDIT: Well it's not fixed it. I have windows installed on my old HDD but its stuck at "Running processes after install" while installing SP2, the IE page and the progress bar have frozen, I can still access the start menu etc, but cant run any exe's. I'm guessing it's either the Motherboard or XP itself, although it still really could be anything.

    Building your own computer is great, but theres just too much of a guessing game when things go wrong, i'd much rather have the garantee you get with buying a pre-built dell for example. :eek:
     
  6. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 837

    nForce baords are very picky about their RAM. Personally I wouldn't run anything less than Corsair RAM, preferably their TwinX-PC3200 sticks. you can test your memory with the floppy created with Memtest86. Also get your drivers from nVidia rather than ABit. also you might want to check your CPU temperature to be sure you have good contact between your CPU core and the heatsink, with a nice thin layer of a good heatsink compound.
     
  7. gobblet

    gobblet TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thankyou for the replies. I have fixed 50% of the problem ;)

    The Windows problem was down to a virus, which I didn't suspect as it had happened every reinstall, but it appears we had a virus that likes to spread itself around networks, so everytime I reinstalled it was pasted onto my computer.

    Now the RAM/mobo is still an issue. Memtest is telling me some very strange things. Firstly both my ram sticks (I have 2x 512Mb of generic PC3200 RAM) come up with lots of errors (20000+ each pass) in DIMM3, but both are fine in DIMM 1 and 2 if theres only one in at a time (either one or the other), but when I put one in DIMM1, AND one in DIMM2 I get errors. That could be because your not meant to put them in that configuration (Normal is DIMM 3/2 for PC3200 in Dual Channel, or 3/1 for non Dual Channel PC3200) or it could be that my motherboard just don't like my RAM. ;)

    I think i'm going to buy some of that RAM you suggested, and if I still get problems i'll RMA my motherboard. That way at least i'm sure it will get fixed one way or the other.

    About the CPU, it's got a nice thin Artic Silver contact running at 35c under normal conditions, 45c under heavy load, I think those temperatures are ok.

    Thankyou again.
     
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