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Weird boot problem

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Getting a weird boot problem since last week where I turn on my PC and the hard drive light comes on, but nothing happens. Nothing at all on the monitor. Only when I hit the reset button does the PC actually boot up XP. If I restart the PC from XP itself, it reboots find. It's only the very first start-up of the PC do I have to use the reset button.

Other than that, the PC works perfectly.

I ran a disk check on the hard drive and it found nothing wrong.

Any ideas?

Many thanks for all replies.

Asrock 939-Dual SataII motherboard

Athlon 64 3700+

2GB 3200Mhz RAM

200GB hard drive

Gigabyte 7900GS 256MB video card

Windows XP SP2

[ November 01, 2007, 05:32 AM: Message edited by: Wally's World ]

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This sounds like a hardware issue of sorts. Apparently the system is powering up on the cold boot, but everything is either not getting enough power and/or all of the hardware is not 'resetting' properly to allow the computer to boot with the hardware "ready".

Looking at Asrock's website the latest BIOS version is 2.30 (released in October 2006). However it doesn't mention anything specific to your problem.

I looked through the user manual for the motherboard, but couldn't find a BIOS setting for IDE Delay which seems to be the sort of setting that might help with this situation. What may be happening here is that the motherboard is trying to talk to the hard drive, but can't since the drive isn't quite ready to talk. But I'm not sure at what point this occurs during the boot process. More than likely the videocard BIOS should be read first and the video display should come up before the system attempts to talk to the hard drive(s). To test this (assuming that you constantly have a problem cold booting your computer) is to disconnect your hard drive and then powering up to see if the system starts up normally (to the point it can't find a boot device).

One other option is to clear the CMOS via the Clear CMOS Jumper next to the coin cell. Before doing this however you'll want to know your CMOS/BIOS settings so you can reset them.

Another possibility could be the power supply. But replacing it may not solve your problem. Since this problem has started recently and hasn't always been a problem then there is a possibility that the power supply is the culprit (not enough amperage on startup). Another possible way of testing this out would be to disconnect as many devices (from power) as possible to see if you get video on a cold boot (though you may need to leave the power connectors hooked up to the videocard). You can also remove one of your memory DIMMs and see if that helps too. If it does, then either a new, more powerful power supply (which would mean more than just "more watts") or a replacement motherboard.

Some of the power circuitry and or clock circuitry on the motherboard may not be working properly on a cold boot. The only way to fix this would be to replace the motherboard (assuming the issue is annoying enough to do that).

One further culprit may be the videocard. Since it is requiring some additional power, it may be causing some problems (though most of its power requirements come when it is running 3D apps). If you have access to another PCIe or AGP videocard that has much lower power requirements (i.e. - doesn't need a power connector attached to it), you could try that in place of your videocard.

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Thanks for the reply, Schrullenhaft.

The problem was the PSU giving unsteady voltage. My hard drive is also showing signs of failing so I'm replacing both of them. The good news is that the data on the hard drive is 100% fully intact and can be transferred to the new drive with no issues.

Sorry, but I have another question about upgrading the CPU. Since my Asrock 939Dual-SataII motherboard is socket 939, my upgrade paths from my Athlon 64 3700+ is restricted. However I did find an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ socket 939 CPU OEM for $86 CAD. I would have to add a heat sink and fan to it, of course.

Would it be worth the money to go from a 3700+ to an X2 4200+? Would I see much, if any, performance increase for the price over the 3700+? I've read both yes and no answers to this question when others have asked. Or would an X2 4800+ CPU for $249 US be the better choice?

My PC is almost used strictly for gaming purposes. I'm just trying to squeeze some extra life out of my setup before I do a major upgrade and probably go to Vista.

[ November 07, 2007, 12:18 PM: Message edited by: Wally's World ]

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There'll be a small, but probably not great, performance difference between an Athlon 64 3700+ and an Athlon X2 4200+. Going to the 4800+ would require the AM2 adapter and I don't know where to get those (if you don't have one already - they are an "optional" item). According to Asrock's website on CPU compatibility the fastest CPU would be the Opteron 175 (Newegg listing), but I'm not absolutely sure if this listed model works with your motherboard. This AMD Forum thread mentions someone using your motherboard with the Opteron 175, so it seems like it would work. Also the Opteron may be more "picky" when it comes to memory (certain brands, speeds, etc.).

The Socket 939 CPUs are getting hard to find. You may also have to be careful in what you get since your Asrock motherboard mentions an FSB of 'HT1000', while some of the faster 939 CPUs are 'HT2000'. I'm not sure if these are incompatible with your motherboard, but they may be.

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i've got a 3700 san diego and i too have been thinking of an upgrade.as i see things the only benefit from buying a 4200 toledo x2 would be if you multi task.

i've also lookied into opterons,4800+ and the FX but for the price i can get an E2180 bundle which will overclock beyond a 4800 at stock.

its a dilemna made worse by the huge price disparity between the S939 upgrade options.

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If you're still around, I managed to get a hold of an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (Socket 939) that's compatible with the 939Dual-Sata2 board. For a pretty good price too. Since I don't want to wipe out my hard drive with a new motherboard install and don't want to go to Vista yet, this was the best option for me.

[ November 15, 2007, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: Wally's World ]

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