A8N-SLI Deluxe + nForce4 drivers problem

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Paul_in_NC, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    First, here is a list of the hardware involved with my problem:
    AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (socket 939)
    Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe (BIOS version 1002 - 11/26/2004 NF-CK804-A8N-SLI-00).
    512MB Mushkin PC3200 DDR "Enhanced" RAM (x 2 sticks - one in RAM slot A1 and
    one in RAM slot B2).
    eVGA nVIDIA 6800 Ultra 256MB PCI-E (256-P2-N377-AX).

    I am wondering if anyone else has had a problem like this with an A8N-SLI
    Deluxe (or any nForce4 chipset based motherboard):
    1) First I install WindowsXP Pro SP1. several reboots. No problems there.
    2) Next I install SP2. Reboot. No issues yet.
    3) Then I install the drivers for the video card
    (71.84_win2kxp_english.exe). Reboot. all Ok so far.
    4) Next I install the nForce drivers (nForce_6.39_WinXP2K_WHQL_english.exe).
    Reboot...
    Now, here's where the fun begins (rather, where the problems start). After
    installing the nForce4 drivers, the install routine wants to reboot the PC.
    Ok. So as the PC is rebooting and Windows is around halfway loaded up, the
    PC just spontaneously reboots all by itself, as if something were to have
    pressed the reset button on the case. I eventually get to the screen that
    says "Windows did not shut down properly. Please choose from the following
    options...". When I choose to "Start normally", Windows boots right up to
    the desktop with no issues. This happens EVERY time I turn my PC on.
    The way I see it, it's the nForce drivers causing this to happen, but I'd
    really like a second opinion or two.
    Any ideas anyone? This is a reall annoyance as you can imagine.
    Thanks in advance for any any all thoughts put forth towards this problem.

    By the way, if it would help to have more information than what I have
    supplied, I will attempt to provide it as requested.

    Thank you.
    Paul
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 13, 2005
    #1
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  2. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    UPDATE:
    This last time I rebooted the PC in question, I had to go through the
    "Windows did not shut down properly. Please choose from the following
    options..." business three times before making it to the desktop.
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 13, 2005
    #2
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  3. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    Hi all,
    I just flashed the BIOS to 1006. Still having the same issue with the the PC
    rebooting halfway through loading Windows.
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 13, 2005
    #3
  4. Paul_in_NC

    Paul Guest

    First of all, it helps to follow up your own original posting, with
    your updated info, because it is hard for people to figure out which
    post to respond to.

    Things that could be wrong:

    1) Bad drivers. Play the driver game - find other versions of
    driver and test them. Uninstall the current ones before installing
    any new ones. If your boot drive is a transplant from another
    computer, do a repair install. That will keep your settings and
    installed programs, but reinstall the OS components. Any windowsupdate
    stuff and service packs not on the original windows install CD
    will have to be reinstalled. (I had to do this, to fix the boot
    disk that had traversed through many computers and video cards.
    The driver situation got out of hand.)
    2) Inadequate PSU. It is possible a driver is attempting to unleash
    the full power of your video card, and the power blip is killing
    the PSU and causing a hardware reset.
    3) Basic hardware problem.

    Before you got to the point of installing the video drivers,
    there are two tests you should run, to determine whether your
    basic hardware is solid.

    Memtest86, from memtest.org, is a program that will format a
    test floppy diskette for you. (An ISO CD version is also available.)
    The program needs no OS, and the bootable floppy will test all of
    memory (it even lifts the test program out of the way, and tests
    underneath).

    The second test, is reserved for after the most basic Windows
    install is complete, and you can just manage to get into Windows.
    Get a copy of Prime95 from mersenne.org . The "torture test" option
    from the menu, carries out a computation with a known answer, and
    so the program can determine whether your computer, "really computes".
    Prime95 runs at 100% CPU, and will also test the adequacy of your
    CPU cooling. If your memory or CPU settings are too aggressive,
    Prime95 will die within the first 30 minutes.

    If these two tests run error free, then it is time to work on the
    video subsystem. But, at least at that point, you will have
    eliminated the basic hardware as the cause of the problem. I
    would do these two tests, whether the new computer exhibited
    symptoms or not.

    HTH,
    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 13, 2005
    #4
  5. Paul_in_NC

    Ben Pope Guest

    Boot up in safe mode.

    Change the Video card drivers to standard VGA.

    Reboot.

    Now, in future, install your chipset drivers before your video card drivers.

    Your video card plugs in to your AGP slot, the drivers for the AGP are
    called GART and are packaged with your chipset drivers, hence the need
    to install them first.

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Mar 13, 2005
    #5
  6. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    Ben,
    Thank you very much for responding to my issue.

    FWIW the Asus A8N-SLI (
    http://usa.asus.com/prog/spec.asp?m=A8N-SLI Deluxe&langs=09 ) does not
    utilize AGP, it uses PCI-Express (PCI-E) for the video card. Would that make
    a difference in your advice?

    ....So after a *clean* install of XP Pro SP1, are you suggesting that I
    should install the nForce4 chipset drivers *before* anything else? Before
    SP2, and before the video drivers?
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 13, 2005
    #6
  7. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    As per your advice I d/l and made the Memtest86 bootable ISO. It has been
    running constantly for 24 hours with no memory errors yet.
    I shall get the Prime95 app and let it run after I have let Memtest86 run
    for another 24 hours.
    I was wondering, is it possible that the RAM I have isn't up to spec, as far
    as the motherboard is concerned?
    The RAM I am using is Mushkin PC3200 DDR Dual-Channel (128bits) "Enhanced".
    The timings for this RAM are CAS: 2.5-4-4-8.
    Even if this Mushkin RAM passes Memtest86 with no errors, could it be the
    quality of the RAM itself that is giving me errors?
    Also, I only encounter this reboot halfway through XP loading up after I
    have installed the nForce4 drivers. I am thinking that it could very well be
    an element of the drivers that is maybe in conflict with the RAM?

    Has anyone else out there experienced problems with thier PC rebooting
    halfway through loading Windows?

    TIA

    Paul
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 13, 2005
    #7
  8. Paul_in_NC

    Ben Pope Guest

    D'oh.

    /me Slaps self.
    No. I always install chipset drivers first.

    I'm unsure of how PCIe is presented to the OS, but it doesn't look like
    there is even a driver for PCIe in the nForce4 kit.
    As a best practice, I tend to slipstream SP2 and install it:

    http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sp2_slipstream.asp

    Then install chipset, then video.

    But that probably won't change anything with respect to your problem.

    Try Pauls tests and let us know what happens.

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Mar 13, 2005
    #8
  9. Paul_in_NC

    Evelien Guest

    ----------------------------------------------------------Paul i have the
    same problem whit 2HD sata and one ide HD when i remove the ide disk is the
    problem gone.
    Sorry about my bad eng.

    GrEEtz
    Eefje
     
    Evelien, Mar 13, 2005
    #9
  10. Paul_in_NC

    Paul Guest

    You don't need to run memtest86 for that long. Prime95 is a better
    final quality assurance test, than memtest86. Memtest86 is a test
    you run, before booting a hard drive, because if there is something
    seriously wrong with the memory, you'll find out in a couple of passes.
    If memory is really bad, you can corrupt the registry or worse, when
    you first boot up with an old hard drive. Or, if you are doing
    a clean install on a new hard drive, and the memory is really bad, the
    installed files could be full of corrupted information, as the data
    is temporarily stored in memory during the install. Memtest86 is
    good for a variety of memory problems, but Prime95 catches stuff that
    memtest86 won't find.

    (Memtest86 is a structural test, in a sense. The authors use science
    in their design of test patterns and methods. Prime95 is a functional
    test, and it just thrashes the hell out of the CPU, Northbridge, and
    memory. Both have their place, but since Prime95 causes more stress
    (even to a weak power supply), more problems will show up with Prime95
    than with memtest86. But you run memtest86 first, to reduce the
    risk of messing up the info on your disk.)

    You do want to run Prime95 for a while, because it takes a while to
    run patterns to involve more of the memory.

    If you get tired of memtest86/prime95 style testing, check and see
    if when booting into Safe Mode, there is a "logging' option. My memory
    is foggy now, but some option in Safe mode shows the names of drivers
    as they load, and perhaps you might see whether the video driver is
    the one causing the reboot.

    If the reboot is leaving an error message in the Event Viewer, you might
    have a look at it while either booted without the video driver in place
    (or when booted in Safe Mode?).

    I would expect the Nvidia driver, needs to be combined with the latest
    version of DirectX. You might want to visit the Microsoft site and
    see what is available (9.0c?).
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/default.aspx

    Another tool you might install, is Asus Probe. Find the latest
    release version in this list (22304?):

    http://www.asus.com.tw/support/download/item.aspx?ModelName=Tools&Type=All

    Just before you run Prime95 in Windows, install and run Asus Probe.
    The hardware monitor chip allows +3.3,+5,+12V to be monitored, and
    +12V powers the processor. Most power supplies regulate to +/-5%, so
    if the voltage drops below +11.4V (like maybe if it hits +11.0), you
    may want to look into getting a supply with more amperes to offer on
    the +12V output. (Check the label on the side of the supply, to see
    what is required. There is a very nice page in your manual, showing
    how many amps are required for some different hardware configs. At
    a minimum, I'd want to meet their 17 amps on +12V spec.)

    In terms of powering the board, I would want to connect the 2x2 +12V
    power connector, either a 20 pin or a 24 pin main power connector,
    plus you should connect the EZPlug disk drive connector as well,
    even if not running dual card SLI mode. The disk drive cable you
    plug into EZPlug should not be shared with disk drives, as there
    very well might be too much current draw in the cable. A 20 pin
    cable will fit into the main power connector, if it is offset to
    one end of the 24 pin motherboard connector.

    So, use Asus Probe to keep an eye on the voltage levels while you
    are running Prime95. Set the Asus Probe update rate to maximum
    speed, so you can get reading very frequently. And see if the
    +12V is drooping when Prime95 runs its torture test.

    As for the driver situation, Ben was commenting on there being no
    PCI Express driver. I haven't read any good articles that explain
    the differences, but I understand there is no GART (that is
    a memory address translation table, for allowing textures to be
    scattered through main memory, yet look contiguous to the video
    card). That means there isn't a need for an AGP GART driver, to
    set up and make available the GART. i don't know, in fact, what
    all the options are now, for getting textures into the video card,
    but they have changed from AGP.

    At the very least, there has to be some kind of driver/enumeration
    for the PCI-E bus bridge. There could be one bridge driver for the
    Northbridge and one for the Southbridge, as there is x16 on North
    and at least x4 on South. You might look in device manager and see
    if any bridges are mentioned in the system area. Perhaps there
    are bus bridge drivers of some sort in the Nvidia installer ?

    Your problem could be driver related, or it could be power related.
    There is a setting in Windows, that distinguishes between doing an
    automatic reboot on error, or giving a BSOD. You may want to set
    that to not automatically reboot on error, and then perhaps you'll
    get a nice BSOD screen, with the name of the offending driver.

    http://groups.google.ca/groups?selm=

    A hardware related problem (like power supply related), will simply
    ignore the "automatic recovery" setting, and not BSOD. So, if you
    set the non-automatic recovery option, and it just reboots without
    showing a blue screen, suspect the hardware (PSU).

    Good luck,
    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 14, 2005
    #10
  11. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    Paul, I cannot express how much I appreciate your time and efforts. Thank
    you very much.

    I have a bit more information for you. I was able to get this error code off
    the BSOD that flashes just before the PC reboots:
    STOP: MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION 0x0000009C (0x00000004, 0x8053F0F0,
    0xB2000000, 0x00070F0F).

    I shall investigate the Safe mode logging option to see where the problem
    may lie.

    It is of any help, my PSU is a Coolmax CX-450B. The data sheet for it reads
    as follows: DC O/P Load Max. 450W, +3.3V 30A, +5V 45A, +12V 22A, -5V
    0.5A, -12V 1.0A, +5Vsb 2.5A. There is more data here
    http://www.coolmaxusa.com/productDe...ls=features&subcategory=120mm&category=single
    and here
    http://www.coolmaxusa.com/productDe...etails=spec&subcategory=120mm&category=single .

    Hmmm....as far as the EZ Plug goes, it is in fact having to share with not
    only the HDD (a single Maxtor DiamondMax 10 200GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache
    PATA/133) but also a HDD cooling fan unit that is attached to the underside
    of the HDD
    (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=35-150-005&depa=0
    ). So your suggestion is to give the EZ plug an exclusive line from the
    PSU. I will try that as well.

    FWIW I found a very interesting thread at Anandtech concerning the A8N-SLI
    at
    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1531362&enterthread=y .

    I will keep you informed as to my progress.

    Thanks again.
    Paul
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 14, 2005
    #11
  12. Paul_in_NC

    Paul Guest

    MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION 0x0000009C
    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=329284

    That seems to suggest that something kicked the processor in the nads.
    It still sounds like a powering problem - but it could be something
    innocent.

    You state in your specs, that the supply has 22A. I see 15A in the table
    on the coolmaxusa page, and also on this Newegg page. Does the label on
    the side of the supply say something different ? (The table on the
    coolmaxusa page speaks volumes - some of their lower total power rated
    supplies, actually have superior power ratings per winding, but their
    450W doesn't waste a watt. Almost like the 450W was a relabelling
    exercise.)

    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=17-159-024&depa=0

    At 15 amps, there is still no reason to panic, but to use the supply, you
    will need to do a detailed power calculation, to see if the load can still
    be handled.

    3800+ TDP 89W, (89W/12V)*(1/0.90)=8.24amps (assumes 90% efficient Vcore
    conversion)
    fans [email protected] (sum of all case and hd cooler fans)
    hard drive [email protected] during spinup, [email protected] idling
    CDROM Might draw an amp while spinning media, hard to say, set to zero for now
    6800 ultra [email protected] (xbitlabs measurement of AGP version)
    8.24 + 1 + 0.5 + 0 + 4.32 = 14.06 amps (too damn close)

    Now, the conditions above don't typically occur at the same time, so the
    above is pessimistic. For example, you can max the processor using Prime95
    but that draws less video card current. You can run a version of 3DMark, but
    measurements with my ammeter on my systems here, show the processor cannot
    draw its max current, while it is waiting for the video card to do stuff.
    If you have a bunch of other hardware loading the +12V rail, it wouldn't take
    much to break it.

    Have you been manually modifying the Vcore voltage setting ? It would
    be fun to blame this on something like Cool & Quiet, but the truth of the
    matter is, I haven't seen any signs so far, that AMD poorly characterized
    the required Vcore dynamic voltage and multiplier settings.

    Sorry, but it still reads like a power supply problem. The fact that so
    far, memtest86 is so stable, doesn't suggest to me the processor or RAM
    are bad, so the PSU must be sending the processor into the weeds.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 14, 2005
    #12
  13. Paul_in_NC

    Paul_in_NC Guest

    Looking at the side of the PSU itself, the same data that is in the PSU's
    manual is duplicated on the label that is there (including the +12V 22A). I
    see now that the data on the website is different that what is written in
    the manual and on the PSU's label. Strange. The specific model number for my
    PSU is AP-500X (CX-450B).
    I have not altered the Vcore voltage setting.
    I did however give the EZ Plug it's own dedicated +12V molex plug coming
    directly off the PSU (not being shared with any other periphs).
    I also tried a different approach to the nForce 6.39 drivers installation
    issue. I read where one fellow was talking about having success with
    installing the 6.39 drivers one at a time in Safe Mode. He did warn against
    installing the IDE portion of the drivers (which I have not done). He also
    suggested installing the drivers for the video card in Safe Mode as well.
    Following this tack, I have been able to (so far, mind you) create a Windows
    installion that has not rebooted halfway through loading the OS.
    Now, having said that, there is but one one final step that I have not yet
    done, and that is install SP2. Yes I have attempted slipstreaming SP2 into
    my XPSP1 using Autostreamer, but the sfinal slipstreamed CD kept balking
    about missing files that it couldn't find). I have read some that the DEP
    function of SP2 can cause problems with the nForce4 drivers. When I do
    install SP2, I will do it in safe mode as well, since I have had such a good
    track record with safe mode installs (so far, mind you).

    I will keep you aprised as to my progress

    Again, thank you very much for the efforts and advice you have given to me.
    A big "thumbs up" to you and Ben Pope for your invaluable and timely
    assistance.

    Paul_in_NC
     
    Paul_in_NC, Mar 14, 2005
    #13
  14. There will be one nForce4 PCI-Express Root Port entry that shows up for
    each PCI Express slot. However, there are no non-default drivers
    associated with these, they are just recognized as standard PCI-to-PCI
    bridges.

    The function of the GART that used to be built into the chipset with AGP
    is now effectively part of the video card with PCI Express..

    BTW, there is no separate north/southbridge on the nForce4 (and most
    Athlon 64 chipsets, I believe), there is just one chip which does
    everything.
     
    Robert Hancock, Mar 14, 2005
    #14
  15. If you're getting a machine check exception, then likely either your CPU
    is defective, getting too hot, or not receiving good power.

    The 22 amps on +12V for that PSU sounds low. Keep in mind that the hard
    drives, optical drives, video card and CPU are all drawing from that
    same source. With a 6800 Ultra and Athlon XP 3800+, 264 watts on +12V
    sounds pretty marginal.
     
    Robert Hancock, Mar 14, 2005
    #15
  16. GUYYYSS !!!! YOU ARE WAYYYY OFF TRACK :). I had the exact same
    problem and solved it ! My system setup is as follows:

    ASUS A8N-SLI DELUXE
    AMD 64 3800+
    2 GIGS CORSAIR XMS PC3200
    BENQ 1620 DVD BURNER
    PLEXTOR PREMIUM CD BURNER
    ...really, nothing else is important because the problem is the IDE
    atapi driver included with the nForce$ drivers. When installing the
    nForce4 drivers do not select the IDE option. It is the source of the
    problem. Your system will work just fine without it. I too was going
    nuts trying to figure out what was going on and was beginning to wonder
    if I had defective hardware. By the way, once you install those IDE
    drivers included with the nForce4 drivers you are pretty much hosed !
     
    percival.hall, Mar 26, 2005
    #16
  17. just a follow-up, try the newest chipset drivers from the Nvidia site.
    They are called the standalone and unified drivers.
     
    percival.hall, Mar 27, 2005
    #17
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