TechSpot

problems with new home-built machine

By andy2006
Sep 17, 2006
  1. Okay, I am trying to build a new machine and I am having massive problems...

    Abit SG-80DC motherboard w/Intel Pentium D 840
    2 DVD burners
    1 hitachi 160MB SATA hard drive
    ULTRA 400W power supply
    ULTRA DDR400 PC3200 RAM (1 stick, 1 GB)

    when I first set it up, I couldn't install windows XP from the CD. It would load all of the drivers, ask if I want to perform a new install or repair. I would choose install and it would reboot... but not always. Sometimes, it would get as far as the license agreement and asking me which hard drive partition I wanted to use before rebooting. So...inconsistent.

    I have tried:
    using 2 512MB DDR sticks from my old machine. Same result.

    unhooking all unnecessary devices. Same result.

    unhooking the new sata drive and hooking up my 2 old Parallel drives, which work fine in my old system. This time, I get a screen telling me that my configuration has changed and asking me how I want to boot... If I boot windows normally, I get the blue screen of death. Restart...same thing. If I boot in safe mode, I still get the blue screen of death. If I leave it on, it will repeatedly try to reboot and repeatedly give me the blue screen.

    So, it seems like it is a hardware issue of some sort. Bad motherboard? Bad processor? bad power supply? I don't know. Do I need to try flashing the BIOS?

    HELP!!!!

    Thanks,
    Andy.
     
  2. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Are you booting from the SATA drives?

    My first suspicion is that you are. Often, different SATA ports use different controllers. This is especially true if you have them set up in a RAID.

    PATA drives: same thing. It may just be a drive-config issue. Check out your user manual to see if this may be the source of your problem.
     
  3. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    IS there any easy way to test/change the configuration? I have tried it with just the PATA drives and it gives me the blue screen of death. Do I need to check a BIOS setting, add a driver... ? The motherboard came with a disc, but it is not a bootable disc.

    I'm just really frustrated that the computer won't boot at all.

    Thanks,
    Andy.
     
  4. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    BTW, all the drives appear in the BIOS when I attempt to boot, which is why I assumed they were ok.

    -Andy
     
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,657   +323

    I just got over having problems with a system I built, so I understand your frustration.

    Sounds like ram to me, which I know you eliminated by using known good ram. Its unlikely your motherboard was incompatable with the both rams.

    My guess is your motherboard is faulty, which sucks. You may try another psu even if you have to pull it out of a working system, just so you can eliminate that before RMAing the motherboard.

    There also is a chance its your processor, but I'd say that your motherboard being faulty is more likely..
     
  6. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Booting from SATA?

    The FIRST thing I'd do is strip EVERYTHING out of the board except cpu & ram just to see if the board POSTs (you never said). If it's not POSTing, you've got yourself a dead MoBo.

    Next step, plug your vid-card back in and connect an IDE drive as your C: boot drive. Any old drive will do as long as it's in working condition. If you can get that to boot, then you've got a drive issue on your hands.

    SATA and PATA drives have their own controllers that need to be configured through BIOS and then with special drivers durring XP installation if you intend to boot from them. A real pain in the ****, but you only have to do it once, and the performance gain is usually worth it.

    Try an IDE drive first and let us know what happens.
     
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,657   +323

    Um, Mugsy he said he can get to Windows install. That means it POSTs.
     
  8. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Look above

    A few messages above my last post, he said:

    "the computer won't boot at all"

    He needs to define "boot" then.
     
  9. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    sorry for the sloppy terminology, but I'm a web designer, so my I.T. terminology is probably not accurate. The computer boots, but constantly reboots when trying to install windows.

    After doing some more research about configuring the drives, it looks like I need to load the SATA drivers for the motherboard by pressing F6 while windows loads up. I tried to set that up last night, but my old disk drive seems to be fried because it doesn't do anything when I hook it up to the machine... no light, no spinning motor, nothing. I'm going by the goodwill store today to pick up a couple of disk drives and I hope to try that tonite. I'll let you know how it goes...

    Still seems weird that the old PATA drives wouldn't work without drivers though...

    What a pain,
    -Andy.
     
  10. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Driver issue

    Ah, okay.

    A reboot is typically the result of one of two things (one of which isn't your issue): power loss or bad driver.

    Unless you have a cracked trace or power cord with a short in it, this isn't what's happening (your PC would spontaneously coldboot, not give a BSOD).

    Almost certainly, your SATA driver is not installing properly, or not compatible with your hardware. I'd recommend buying a cheap 40gb IDE drive for about $20 and making that your C: drive till you can figure out how to configure your SATA drives, download the proper drivers for you MoBo, etc.
     
  11. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I ALMOST have it figured out...

    My motherboard has a CD with SATA drivers on it and the txtsetup files to make them work. Now, the question is, which driver do I need? They are labeled as RAID drivers with different numbers: 180, 180OB, 964_180, etc...

    I have no idea which driver I should be using. Any clues? I know that which ever one I used last night installed fine, but did not prevent my machine from rebooting dring the windows install (AGAIN).

    -Andy
     
     
  12. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    SIS chipset?

    Hmm,

    "180" refers to the RAID drivers for the old SIS chipset (you said your board is about three years old? SIS is pretty much defunct now, making drivers harder to find).

    Of course, you can only use RAID drivers if you run two identical SATA drives in parallel (not PATA). Otherwise, a "RAID" driver isn't going to do you any good.

    I can't tell you what driver would work here from experience, I can only suggest researching each one online till you match the chipset SATA driver to your drive(s).

    If you have only one SATA drive, then you need something else. Not sure what, but it can't be a RAID driver.

    PS: There is a possibility your boards' SATA only support use as RAID and can not run one SATA drive individually.
     
  13. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay, here's my latest effort (forgive my ignorance, but I only upgrade my whole machine like this about every 5 years)...

    My board has the sis 964 chipset, so... Went into bios settings and enabled the SATA hard drive as RAID instead of IDE (because all of the drivers I have are RAID). After post, but before booting from CD, I pressed control-S to enter RAID setup mode. typed R to choose the drive and got "not enough drive for RAID" message. This seems to confirm that I need 2 drives for RAID. Unfortunately, I don't have any non-RAID drivers and a quick online search turned up nothing.

    Dang.

    I'm going to try to use an old Samsung HD I have in my parts box... I *think* it is IDE. I'm starting to think I own a 160 GB doorstop.

    -Andy
     
  14. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Yes, you need more than one drive to use "RAID", which is an acronym for "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks". There are several variations ("RAID-0", "RAID-1", "RAID-5", "RAID-10" and "RAID 1+0"), the most popular is Raid-0.

    What "raid-0" does is put every other byte of the same program/file on a different drive. Your computer reads from two drives at once, doubling your read/write speed.

    "Raid-1" and above are for security, "mirroring" every byte on two (or more) drives so each drive has exactly the same info on them. If one drive dies or looses data, the computer can recover it off another drive. But since both drives contain the same data, you essentially loose one entire drives worth of space. Downside of "raid-0" is if one drive dies, you loose everything on both.

    But Raid ALWAYS refers to multiple drives. If you have a new SATA drive you want to use, you'll need either an IDE-to-SATA adaptor (waste of money) or just buy an identical matching SATA drive so you can RAID it.
     
  15. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey Mugsy,

    Thanks for the help. I actually may want to set up the new system as RAID-1since this is going to be my main work computer and I like the idea of having a backup of everything without having to remember to manually back up my files everyday. I'm definitely going to do some more research on it.
     
  16. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

  17. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hey mugsy,

    I got the 2nd hard drive, properly changed the bios settings for RAID, booted windows from the CD, pressed F6 and installed the raid drivers before the windows install...

    Windows asks if I want to do a new install or repair on old one... I choose new.

    License agreement... I say accept.

    Windows says it is setting up, screen flashes black briefly, then again, then it goes black permanently , the computer beeps and I hear it rebooting. Back to the beginning.

    This is the same damn thing it's been doing. It accepts the drivers just fine. So is this a power supply failure?

    Andy.
     
  18. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,582

    <---This is the main problem
    .
    <----this is not same issue as above
    forget the older drives with OS on them ,or on it

    look at the manual for the board it should say what chipset you are using (I/O controller for sata)
    you may need to use raid may not
    I would say ,not, set bios back to defaults
    make sure the OS disc is clean
    I have not had issue with a sata driver on cd load but I only did one
    it has been said you need to copy drivers to floppy for xp to load them
    did you do F6 for sata drivers did it ask for A: or??
    your getting ahead of yourself setting up the raid bios controller
    the manual should say how to load this stuff on new install
     
  19. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Not a power issue

    This suddenly got a bit more complicated. :(

    I'm about 99% sure this is *not* a power issue because of the predictability in when it happens.

    I've had the WinXP setup do the same thing to me, but for a different reason. In my case, it ocurred every time I went into the "Recovery Console" to try to repair my boot sector.

    Based upon your troubles, I'm suspecting that WinXP setup is very "fault intollerant" *by design*, to avoid installing on anything less than perfectly configured hardware (but in my case, the cause was "over heating").

    This is almost certainly a driver issue. Have you tried all the different SATA drivers? You said there were three. It's possible you just installed the wrong one.

    More than likely, the answer to this problem will either be in your user manual (for the MoBo) or the manufacturers' website. Though I wonder if maybe your board & bios are just too old to support the new hardware. Dunno. :(

    Give me a detailed account of how you installed the new hardware. Often, especially on older boards, not all of your SATA ports may be driven by the same controller chip, so the ports you connect your drives to may be critical. (I have an old Soyo MoBo with four SATA ports on it, but I can only boot from *one* pair using a different controller. The first pair are driven by the chipset's own controller, which does not support booting.)

    This may be your issue. Check your manual to see if there is any difference between your ports.
     
  20. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I've actually tried two of the RAID drivers with the same result. Tonite, I may make a floppy for each of the different drivers and try them each to see if I get diferent results.

    Also, my board has BIOS version 1.6 on it. There is an update on the manufqacturer website that is listed as follows:

    Version: 1.7
    Released Date: 2006-08-16
    File Size: 349 KB
    Download Time (56K): 51.1 sec
    Description:
    The SATA devices are now displayed correctly on the POST screen.
    BIOS compiled date: 08/16/2006

    I am wondering if I should flash the BIOS. I will try the other drivers first and see what happens...

    Andy
     
  21. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Check for port differences

    More than just changing drivers, make sure you check to make sure there is no difference between your SATA ports and that the ones you are using support booting.

    Since the BIOS update refers specifically to "SATA", I'd definitely do the upgrade. The update may affect more than you know.

    Be sure to save/download your existing BIOS before Flashing in case there is a problem and you need to put the old one back.

    But most of all, verify that the ports you are using support booting.
     
  22. andy2006

    andy2006 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ahhh... TigerDirect F**ks me again...

    So, after trying every driver in the world and flashing the BIOS... I finally find the user forums for the mobo and, guess what? Dozens of other people are having the same problem as I am!

    http://forum.abit-usa.com/showthread.php?t=111436

    Apparently, the mobo is not very compatible with the Intel Pentium D 840. The real kick in the *** is that TigerDirect sold them to me as A BUNDLE! Aaaarrrghh! I saved about $20 and wasted 10 hours of my life. F**k TigerDirect.

    Anyway, thanks for the help. I'm returning the mobo and getting one that will actually work (not from TD).

    Later,
    Andy.
     
  23. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    Damn, that's a bugger. I've heard others complain about TD before as well.

    Personally, I've learned my lesson long ago to not buy critical hardware like Motherboards and CPU's through the mail. MoBo failure rates are exceedingly high, and it's worth the extra $10-$20 to buy it from a place you can return it locally. CPU's aren't as prone to failure, but WAY too many mail order places try to rip you off by selling "knockoff", "remarked" or used processors as new (my first 3200+ XP turned out to be a counterfeit 2500+. After six months of hair pulling and trauma, I finally discovered the truth on boards like this one and was able to return it).

    I bought a new 1GB stick of RAM off eBay last month. I thought I was getting a great deal at just $45. But it was "high density" ram (aka, only 512M that relies on hardware compression with select MoBo's to squeeze 1GB into it) and didn't work in my system. It had cost me $45 plus $10 shipping, $5 to have it tested, $10 more to ship it back for an exchange, the exchange was $50 more, plus another $10 to ship the new one. In all, a 1GB stick of memory I could have bought locally for under $90 ended up costing me $166. Live and learn.

    Fortunately, I now live just a few blocks away from one of the best discount mail-order suppliers in the country. :)
     
  24. Mugsy

    Mugsy TS Maniac Posts: 432

    (Geez, the board crashed again when I clicked send. Let's try again.)

    Remove dupe. The first post took and never told me.
     
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