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Feel like a newbie again...

drokkon

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#1
What a great forum - full of valuable info, and I hope I can contribute too!

I've several dozen computers over the years, for myself and friends, and usually little problems pop up, but I'm always able to solve them.

This week I put together a brand new system for myself and helped another roommate do the same. Mine's working ok, but his is just crazy - thought I'd ask you all to help me brainstorm solutions.

First, the problems arise when we first install XP Home SP1 on a fresh format. From the beginning, it takes the load screen 15 to 25 or MORE passes of the little green thingy to start up windows - in other words, way too long for a brand new 3200+ Athlon 64 system.

Furthermore, the USB devices work weird from the beginning. Often, an attempt to plug into the front panel USB ports will short something and the system restarts (and the BIOS gets reset to an extent, I think). As far as other USB devices, the mouse, plugged into the back works about 1/2 the time after startup. Installing SP2 pretty much eliminates all USB functionality all together!

In addition to SP2 seeming to cause trouble, installing the ATI Catalyst drivers/programs seem to agitate things as well.

Any insight or help you can give me on these two issues would be greatly appreciated!

Here's some more info:

350W Power Supply
ASRock Dual939-Sata MB
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ CPU
2x 512MB DDR400 RAM (in dual-channel mode)
250GB Samsung 7200 IDE HDD
ATI Radeon 7200 AGP 32 MB RAM

There's also a second ATI PCI video adapter (Sapphire 7000 or something), 80GB HDD, and wireless network card that we have uninstalled in an effort to more effectively troubleshoot.

I've checked and double-checked all the connections to the motherboard and from the power supply. We've updated the BIOS, drivers, and installed all available windows update. We've reinstalled windows three times. I'm just at a loss - please help!

Thanks!
 
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newmodder

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#2
front usb maybe?

i would disconnect the front usb wires from the mobo and anything else that you dont need to boot windows.
 
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#3
Yeah, that and make sure that the mobo hasn't been grounded out on something inside the case, like a dropped screw or standoff left in place that wasn't needed.
 
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#4
take that box apart and make sure everything is connected corectly and what I do is I use those washers that dont conduct electricity between the MB and the case not sure if everyone eles does this but I do cuz it gave me alot of problems like not booting up or being really slow to boot and getting BSOD..
 

drokkon

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#5
Thanks so much for your help, everyone! I've checked for shorts on the MB, and don't see any. Here's an update on other stuff I've tried:

I dropped an Antec TPII 550W power supply in there just to test. I had considered power as a problem earlier, but kind of ruled it out because there's very little in there right now: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Graphics Card, HDD, and a CD Burner. In any case, it didn't change a thing - still a slow boot up, still USB issues.

I unplugged the CD burner that was in there, and it booted up amazingly fast. So there's the source of the problem. THEN I switched out the burner with another burner, then with an old CD-ROM drive - it was slow no matter WHAT was plugged in. So I tried to switch the IDE cable out, but it was still slow. Finally I removed the optical drive completely again and viola - it booted up quick.

So it sounds like... a BIOS setting? or a motherboard problem?

Thanks!

Teddy
 
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#6
Does the IDE plug on the motherboard show any damage? (bent or misaligned pins) When you install a plug that could cause a ground or short. Also look for any cracks to the plug that you wouldn't see until inserting the cable.
 

mex

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#7
OK sounds a bit wierd!

OK diconected all the USB ports from the box to the MOBO

Then try to connect the ROM as a Primary slave. So from the primary IDE port on your Mobo you are using the same cable as the hdd.


If this doesnt fix your prob would say you are looking at the early stages of a Mother board fault and considering using your warranty. Hope its still valid as you flashed the BIOS.
 
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#8
drokkon said:
T

So it sounds like... a BIOS setting? or a motherboard problem?

Thanks!

Teddy
80 pin cable right?
 

drokkon

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#9
Mex, thanks for your input - it actually went a long way to solving the problem.

So here's the deal with different combinations:

1. USB front panel plugged in, HDD primary 1, CD primary 2 - boots very very slowly
2. USB front panel plugged in, HDD primary 1, CD secondary 1 - still boots very slowly
3. USB front panel unplugged, HDD primary 1, CD secondary 1 - BOOTS FAST!
4. USB front panel unplugged, HDD primary 1, CD primary 2 - still boots slowly

So - if only combination 3 works, what does this mean? Does this imply a motherboard problem? I don't particularly want my CD on the same channel as my HDD, and I'd like to have my front panel USB work too.

Thanks again!

Teddy
 

mex

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#10
OK well that’s a good start.

OK well it sounds like the 2nd IDE channel is not very well.

I think you have a few options, either you take it to someone to further test or send it back as faulty.

Or you could just keep setup 3 and add another USB front panel to the computer that runs of a USB PCI card.
That’s a reasonable option as it is quick and cheep.

Or if you wanted to get really creative you could still buy the USB PCI card and change the connecters on your already existing USB ports on the case to fit the USB PCI card. Not even sure that is possible, not really my area but I can’t see why not.

Keep me posted.
 

drokkon

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#11
I thank all of you so much for your help and input! Turns out that the power supply wasn't the issue, nor was grounding, nor a bad MB. Just so you know for your own reference:

Our USB problem was never really a problem, it turns out. The front USB panel worked great, and I feel really stupid for not trying more than two devices. The mouse worked sporadically, but a new mouse fixed the problem. And my roommates Zen Touch just needed drivers. Sorry about that false alarm!

The slow boot problem was narrowed down to an optical drive, and we messed around with primary/secondary master/slave options with little success. After trying 3 CD burners and an older CD-ROM, we put in my 16x DVD writer. It worked. I still have NO idea why this is even an issue, but it is!

Any ideas?

Thanks again. Bye!

Teddy