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4 Beeps on Post, intermittent problem

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#1
So, a little history first. My mobo broke down a couple of months ago giving me 5 short beeps on post. I took it back to the shop and it was repaired.

On Saturday, I replaced one of the fans on my radiator and when I touched the tubing, the computer crashed. I tried to re-start a constantly got 4 short beeps on start-up. So I unplugged everything and tested the video card and ram: no problems.
I left it a day and tried on Sunday morning but got the same problem so I disassembled it all to take back to the shop.

They hooked up the mobo and cpu and it started with no problems and so can't send it in to be fixed as there appear to be no problems.

This has happened a couple of times before and reseating the video-card sorted the issue, but this time, there was nothing I could do.

I'm wondering what could cause this problem and why it would be intermittent. The warranty ends in December and I'm trying to get this rig to last me until the next-gen i5/7's come out, so I'm trying to avoid replacing the system for the time-being.
 
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#2
So, a little history first. My mobo broke down a couple of months ago giving me 5 short beeps on post. I took it back to the shop and it was repaired.

On Saturday, I replaced one of the fans on my radiator and when I touched the tubing, the computer crashed. I tried to re-start a constantly got 4 short beeps on start-up. So I unplugged everything and tested the video card and ram: no problems.
I left it a day and tried on Sunday morning but got the same problem so I disassembled it all to take back to the shop.

They hooked up the mobo and cpu and it started with no problems and so can't send it in to be fixed as there appear to be no problems.

This has happened a couple of times before and reseating the video-card sorted the issue, but this time, there was nothing I could do.

I'm wondering what could cause this problem and why it would be intermittent. The warranty ends in December and I'm trying to get this rig to last me until the next-gen i5/7's come out, so I'm trying to avoid replacing the system for the time-being.


You could try reseating RAM or using only one stick, but System Timer Failure usually means the board is dead (or dying).
 
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#3
Hello,

Assuming its the Gaming System you're referring to, the ASRock mobo uses an AMI BIOS, therefore those four short beeps indicates a System Timer Failure, which means "The system clock/timer IC has failed or there is a memory error in the first bank of memory". Testing each stick of RAM may help, or testing each RAM slot - it could be a dodgy stick, or a sign that the mobo is having its last days.

Layton
 
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#4
Thanks, I found something similar. The AsRock site isn't very helpful, but it is buried there. AsRock warranties suck, you have to go through the shop you bought it from rather than doing a proper RMA. They've kept it for testing, but unless I or they can replicate the issue, I fear I'm going to be stuck with a dying board.
 

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#5
you have to go through the shop you bought it from rather than doing a proper RMA
That's pretty much commonplace in the UK now, you can't do an RMA or follow up any warranty with the manufacturer, everything is done through the retailer. This is irritating for the end user as it's just another middleman increasing the time for warranties and RMA's, however it greatly reduces the contact the manufacturer has to have with the end user, as they don't like to dedicated resources to that kind of thing, especially when most end users are the kind that are on the phone and say "I has compooter wot wont work".

Sucks for the knowledgable end user, but makes their lives easier I suppose.
 

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#6
That's pretty much commonplace in the UK now, you can't do an RMA or follow up any warranty with the manufacturer, everything is done through the retailer. This is irritating for the end user as it's just another middleman increasing the time for warranties and RMA's, however it greatly reduces the contact the manufacturer has to have with the end user, as they don't like to dedicated resources to that kind of thing, especially when most end users are the kind that are on the phone and say "I has compooter wot wont work".

Sucks for the knowledgable end user, but makes their lives easier I suppose.
It's been this way for a long time here, and it comes down to the shop. I once sent a DOAish HDD on a monday and had a new one by friday. If it's a cheap thing some shops just send you a new one. On the other hand, some shops are terrible, and some are downright atrocious.
 
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#7
Well, they kept it for 2 days for testing. But, I know they won't replace it unless they can replicate the issue. They weren't interested at all in the beep codes, just whether it would turn on. Knowing my luck, it'll keep doing it at home until January when it's out of warranty :(

Is there anything I can do to replicate this through benchmarking or using a testing tool?
 
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#8
I left it a day and tried on Sunday morning but got the same problem so I disassembled it all to take back to the shop. They hooked up the mobo and cpu and it started with no problems and so can't send it in to be fixed as there appear to be no problems.
Just wondering...
Are they just testing the Motherboard with the CPU or everything, with your parts?

Just my opinion, here.
A large percentage of the time this is a memory issue... Funny thing is most will say they tested the memory and it passed.
Of course it did, at that time and moment.
Could be one of the DIMMs not making good contact or loose, board does not like memory(usually needs tweaking), or dirty dim or slot. Even, possibly, aging DIMM, requiring more vitamins.
Try one DIMM at a time and wiggle it. Check the contacts... cleaning may help.

Also, remember that "System Timer Failure" could possibly be any thing that the timer controls. So, that could cover just any device on the board or anything that depends on that timer.

You may want to try booting to a completely stripped down system and connect one device at a time, even something as mundane as the keyboard.

Good luck, on chasing down the problem.

P.S. : It could be the MB; but, just my opinion, I have to say I am highly doubtful.
 
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#9
Just wondering...
Are they just testing the Motherboard with the CPU or everything, with your parts?

Just my opinion, here.
A large percentage of the time this is a memory issue... Funny thing is most will say they tested the memory and it passed.
Of course it did, at that time and moment.
Could be one of the DIMMs not making good contact or loose, board does not like memory(usually needs tweaking), or dirty dim or slot. Even, possibly, aging DIMM, requiring more vitamins.
Try one DIMM at a time and wiggle it. Check the contacts... cleaning may help.

Also, remember that "System Timer Failure" could possibly be any thing that the timer controls. So, that could cover just any device on the board or anything that depends on that timer.

You may want to try booting to a completely stripped down system and connect one device at a time, even something as mundane as the keyboard.

Good luck, on chasing down the problem.

P.S. : It could be the MB; but, just my opinion, I have to say I am highly doubtful.
I tested 2 DIMMs together in different slots and individually in different slots, I will try them again though as its an easy test.

The rig booted up fine at the shop, and actually booted fine for me 1 time during testing, after reseating the video card. However, after putting the water-block back on the chip, it stopped working again and testing with a different video-card, it still wouldn't boot.

The first time the board died, it was crashing at random times, until it finally died with a 5-beep error. But, this time, I don't think I've noticed any random crashes apart from the couple of times it's not been able to power on.

Edit - They are just testing the mobo and CPU, but I will bring my own video card and ram back to the shop when I go to collect it. The only thing I haven't tested is the PSU, but I can't imagine this would give a 4-beep error. If it works in the shop, bring it home and it stops working, that is the next thing that I will test.
 
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#10
did you pull the motherboard and check for shorts either on the board or against the case or a mounting stand off in the wrong place
 
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#11
did you pull the motherboard and check for shorts either on the board or against the case or a mounting stand off in the wrong place
The stand offs have been in the same place for the past 2 1/2 years. I did check them a while ago, but not recently. One thing I am thinking is that it could be the pressure exerted by the waterblock on the CPU. I tighten it down all the way, but I assume that the design takes this into consideration.
 

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#12
The stand offs have been in the same place for the past 2 1/2 years. I did check them a while ago, but not recently. One thing I am thinking is that it could be the pressure exerted by the waterblock on the CPU. I tighten it down all the way, but I assume that the design takes this into consideration.
sounds like a intermittent contact short or possibly a bad psu
 
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#13
One thing I am thinking is that it could be the pressure exerted by the waterblock on the CPU. I tighten it down all the way, but I assume that the design takes this into consideration.
That is a possibility, since it did happen when you touched the tubing and re-doing the water block.

Can you try another cooler on the cpu... you may want to check for any warping or other possible problem items (like are solder pads looking normal in the area).
 

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#14
That is a possibility, since it did happen when you touched the tubing and re-doing the water block.

Can you try another cooler on the cpu... you may want to check for any warping or other possible problem items (like are solder pads looking normal in the area).
id go ahead pull the block and cpu and reseat everything
 
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#15
id go ahead pull the block and cpu and reseat everything
Ditto to that.

You could try reseating RAM or using only one stick, but System Timer Failure usually means the board is dead (or dying).
Or needs a new CMOS battery? Long shot, but what the heck
 
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#16
No warping and the solder pads look fine. I'm going to pick it up from testing today so I'm assuming they found nothing wrong. When I put it back together, I may try to put the waterblock back on more loosely. However, its a PITA getting even pressure with an AIO system as I have to install it when the mobo is in the case
 
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#17
So, I retested my RAM and one of the sticks seems to be causing the problem. Strange, as I had tested both sticks, one at a time, before and still got the problem.

I'm going to take the troublesome stick back to the shop and I'll see if that is the problem.
 
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#18
Just an update, if anyone else encounters a similar problem. It looks like a faulty DIMM module.

After taking it back to the shop, they found that sometimes it would boot with the module, but not always. I should be getting a replacement soon.