Help - New A8N-SLI Deluxe freezes/lockups

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Charlie, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Guest

    I WAS building a new system - an AMD 64 939 3500+, an ASUS A8N-SLI
    Deluxe MB, and a Sapphire 300SE PCI-e video card. Obviously, I was not
    planning to do SLI until I can afford it ;) I love the features, but
    this Asus board has me pulling my hair out.

    I already had two 74GB raptors from another system, plus four 250GB
    SATA drives, Lian Li 2000 Case, two sticks of Corsair XMS 2-2-2-5 512
    MB each. My power supply, also from another system, is an Enermax
    EG-465P-VE. It is a 20-pin power supply, I plugged it in without using
    an adaptor. Also added a floppy, a Toshiba dvd-rom, and a NEC dvd
    burner.

    The ram went into the blue slots on the board. The optical drives were
    set as master/slave on the secondary PATA connector. The raptors were
    set as RAID 0 on the nvidia bus, the four 250's were eventually hooked
    up to the SiL 3114, and I created a raid0 array there too.

    XP32 SP2 went on the Raptors, then nvidia 6.66 drivers, then all
    windows updates. I did not overclock anything. Ran memtest 3.2 for 12
    hours, no errors. I have the stock retail boxed CPU cooler for the
    3500+, the CPU ran at 37C, with no side panels on the case.

    All was fine until the system started freezing when doing tasks like
    getting articles with Newsleecher, or running Quick Par on dvd images.
    Finally, the system froze when just downloading binaries, running
    windows explorer and IE.

    I always disable system restore and a few other unneeded services on
    all XP installations. I did not install any AV. I checked the system
    with Spybot, then installed Symantec AV 10 to check it - no virii or
    trojans.

    I unplugged the 250's, thinking maybe the Enermax might not be strong
    enough - although it ran ten hard drives before for me in an NF3 DFI
    Lanparty board. But that was not it. Even with only the two Raptors, I
    was still getting freezes/lockups

    I cleared the raptors, installed XP again, this time skipping all the
    Asus utilities that come on the driver cd, thinking that may be a
    problem. I also updated the bios from 1011 to 1013. This motherboard
    came with the new chipset fan that runs at 5000-5200 rpm.

    Anyway, same problem, it still locks up. I need this computer to run
    reliably 24/7, downloading and posting binaries, burning dvd images,
    creating parity archives, etc - but it can't run normally for more
    than a couple hours without locking up. I am beginning to think I
    should have stayed with DFI. I put my DFI Lanparty NF3 3200+, Radeon
    9200, back together, using the same setup - except the four 250 GB
    drives are hooked to a SiL 3114 PCI card in Raid 0. I have never had a
    problem with that board, but felt it was a good time to upgrade to a
    socket 939, so I could get an X2 processor and play with an SLI setup
    when they come down in price more.

    Questions: Are the power specs on the Enermax sufficient for my Asus
    non-SLI setup? It is supposed to be a 431-watt supply.

    On the sticker, they read:

    +3.3V = 38a
    +5 V= 44a
    +12V = 20a
    -5V = 2a
    -12V = 1a
    +5VSb = 2.2a

    Does the NF4/S939/3500+ use any more power than my old NF3/S754/3200+
    board??

    I read that getting a 24-pin adaptor was a waste of money, is that
    accurate? Does that Asus board have a problem with Corsair XMS memory?
    I tried several power settings on the memory - 2.6, 2.7, but it made
    no difference in the stability of the system.

    If not RAM or Power supply, then what? Any ideas? Should I shell out
    $150+ for a new 24-pin Enermax SLI-rated power supply? Or should I
    just order a DFI board? I can't get my money back on the ASUS, all I
    could do is RMA it for another one that is supposedly remanufactured.
    Thanks.

    Charlie
     
    Charlie, Aug 21, 2005
    #1
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  2. Sure, there's a 24-pin connector on the board, trying to force you to
    get a power supply with an extra 12V rail to make sure there's enough
    power to all parts of the system. But hey, you just plug in the old
    20-pin (without so much as an adapter you can buy for 10$ or less),
    and then you complain about the motherboard behaving badly. What did
    you expect?

    Get an adapter. If that doesn't work (it's a crutch really, seeing as
    your PSU only has 1 12V rail), get a PSU with a real 24 pin connector
    and separate 12V rails. You need one ayway, as you say you want to do
    SLI in the future. Just forget about that with your current PSU.

    You already systematically eliminated most of the other causes, so
    what's keeping you?
     
    Friso Gosliga, Aug 21, 2005
    #2
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  3. Charlie

    Nocturnal Guest

    I was having the same type of issue. Do you have a digital multimeter to
    test your PSU to make sure you're getting the proper voltages on each rail?
    That's what I would check. I had an Antec TrueControl 550W PSU and
    basically I never hooked up the control panel that can control the voltage.
    So what happend was my PSU was running at 95% of the rated power. I have
    had it like this for a while now but I guess the low voltages had finally
    caught up to me. Ever since installation that control panel I have not had
    the system lock up and I believe your issue has to do with the power supply.
    If you can get your hands on a DMM and test the voltages under full load and
    idle that would be great. If the voltages are normal and are exact, then I
    would rule that out and look for the next possible culprit.
     
    Nocturnal, Aug 21, 2005
    #3
  4. Charlie

    Natéag Guest

    I would add :

    What does chkdsk find ?
    Test all your drives.
     
    Natéag, Aug 22, 2005
    #4
  5. Charlie

    Paul Guest

    The debugging process:

    1) Collect as much data about the system as possible. Asus Probe for
    voltage measurements. CPUZ from www.cpuid.com , to verify that
    the BIOS has set up the hardware properly. Everest Home Edition
    (lavalys.com) to list hardware or bus devices.

    2) Find as many free programs as you can, to test the system. You've
    already used memtest86+ from memtest.org . You can also use
    Prime95 "torture test" option (from mersenne.org). Using some
    version of 3DMark (I use 3DMark2001SE free download), can push
    some info through the video card. Observe the symptoms when those
    tests run. If the system won't freeze or crash with just those
    tests running, it increases the odds that this is a software
    or driver problem of some sort.

    3) Having tried those steps (looking for a simple fix), the next
    step is to simplify the system to minimum hardware. A CDrom
    drive, a single hard drive, a floppy (as it doesn't draw power
    wnen not used), one stick of RAM in B1, CPU, motheboard, PSU,
    and so on. Preferably an IDE hard drive, so you are not dealing
    with any SATA I/SATA II issues. Install the OS and try again.
    Add stuff back to the system, one piece at a time, and see when
    the problems come back.

    Another kind of test, is to build up the system while the
    motherboard rests on some cardboard. On my last two systems,
    I build them up outside the case first, verified all the
    hardware worked, then installed all the components in the
    case. That can make testing a bit easier, but you have to
    be careful not to jiggle any plugin cards (like the video
    card) while testing that way.

    4) Final step is the act of desperation. Substitution of pieces
    of hardware, one at a time. The idea in the three previous
    steps, is to have a reason to suspect a particular piece of
    hardware. You don't really want to use step (4), because
    randomly swapping pieces of hardware is an expensive way to
    do it. And, it means you've failed as a debugger :-(

    For software/OS/driver issues, you'll need to visit the private
    forums. Or, use a search engine, and try and find the appropriate
    forums that way. Here is an example, found using "a8n-sli freeze"
    on Altavista.

    http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=380940

    "I wanted to follow up on this. It seems for the first time
    in weeks I've gotten my system stable enough to survive a night
    without freezing. The 2 main things I have changed is not using
    the Nvidia Ethernet, and disableing TCQ on my NvRaid'ed Maxtor
    300 gig drives."

    Do you have anyway to verify the chipset temperature ? With that
    nasty fan on there, I bet the Nvidia chip would get pretty hot
    if the cooling wasn't working right.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Aug 22, 2005
    #5
  6. Charlie

    Charlie Guest

    Thanks for the advice. What is keeping me now is lack of money. I will
    let you know if it was the power supply in about three weeks ;)

    Charlie
     
    Charlie, Aug 24, 2005
    #6
  7. Charlie

    Charlie Guest

    The 431w Enermax power supply is running my 3200+ DFI socket 754
    system again - six hard drives, two optical drives, and rock-solid.

    I am getting a new SLI-certified one for the new Asus in a few weeks,
    since I will eventually need one anyway. I just hope that is the
    problem.

    Is Enermax still supposed to be among the better power supplies? Some
    of the reviews on newegg.com are downright scary, but they could just
    be trolls playing around to lower the ratings.

    Charlie
     
    Charlie, Aug 24, 2005
    #7
  8. Charlie

    Charlie Guest

    All the drives test fine, thankfully. I haven't had a bad drive since
    the days of the 80GB IBM Deathstar series. ;)

    Charlie
     
    Charlie, Aug 24, 2005
    #8
  9. Charlie

    Charlie Guest

    Thanks for the advice Paul, it will come in handy in a few weeks when
    I try again.

    I tried both ethernet ports, they both seem to work, the computer
    locked up when using either of them. And the Raptor's don't do TCQ.

    One Asus utility is supposed to measure motherboard temp, I assume
    this temp sensor is near the Northbridge? It was normal temp, 36C, one
    less than the CPU.

    Asus supposedly got the fan fiasco sorted, they have stopped shipping
    the board with the loud 8000+ rpm fan that fails often, and now send
    out the board with a slower, quieter, and I hope, more reliable 5000
    rpm fan.

    Charlie
     
    Charlie, Aug 24, 2005
    #9
  10. I run an Antec Sonata with the included 380W supply. It's spec are...
    +3.3V 28A, +5V 35A, +12V 24A, -5V 0.5A, -12V 1A, +5VSB 2A
    ....so I've got 4A extra on +12V, which seems to be an important
    voltage rail these days.
    I couldn't see the new system using much more, maybe a amp or 2.
    Possibly the 3500+ Venice core uses less than the 3200+ which
    would save a few amps on +12V.
    Yes, unless you have dual core and/or SLI. The extra 4 pins simply
    spreads the load over an extra set of contacts. Older dual CPU
    boards with 20 pin connectors have been known to burn and melt the
    ATX connector. However single core with single graphics card should
    not pose a problem.
    Make sure you are giving the memory enough voltage. I think
    the board defaults to 2.5V for Vdimm, however my 2-2-2-5
    memory is spec'ed to run from 2.7V to 2.9V. Does Corsair
    give a voltage range in the spec sheet?
    Can you borrow/beg/steal a new PSU to test. Otherwise if it locks
    up with only the graphics card and 2 raptors installed, I doubt
    those would be a problem for your current PSU. RMA the board.
     
    John Saunders, Aug 25, 2005
    #10
  11. Charlie

    somachi Guest

    "Charlie" :
    Are you sure you need nvidia 6.66 drivers? I thought those were for 64 bit
    OS... I had lots of problems like you did with the same motherboard, until I
    switched to 6.65 nvidia drivers. Supposedly, the 6.65 are for 32 bit OS,
    which is what XP32 is, after all.

    Just give it a try, it might work :)

    Good luck,

    somachi
     
    somachi, Aug 26, 2005
    #11
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