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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Am I returning the right part

    I bought a whole load of bits for building a new PC this week. When I put it together yesterday it all worked fine, but I came down this morning to find it had developed a fault. I'm pretty sure it's the motherboard that's faulty, but I need to be certain since I bought components from three different online shops.

    <UL><LI>This is a very simple PC with an ASUS K8N-VM motherboard, a Sempron64 3000+ CPU, a case and CPU cooler, and a selection of storage drives.
    <LI>It all worked fine for about 12 hours
    <LI>When I came down this morning there was a black screen with a boot message saying that C:Windowssystem32 was missing and recommending that I do a repair install of Windows
    <LI>I power cycled the PC and it reported a BIOS checksum error, and said that I needed to restore the BIOS
    <LI>I couldn't even get into the BIOS setup, it kept cycling a message saying trying to recover BIOS from floppy... trying to recover BIOS from CD...
    <LI>I put the ASUS CD into the drive and it read the BIOS from there and flashed the motherboard again
    <LI>I tried to boot again, and it reported that C:Windowssystem32 was missing again
    <LI>I tried to boot from the Windows CD, it loaded all the drivers and then gave a blue screen with DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
    <LI>I reset the BIOS to factory defaults but it still behaves the same[/list]I'm pretty sure that this is a faulty motherboard, and not the CPU or any other component.

    Any comments?

    StuartR

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    I'm no expert but it sounds like the motherboard to me, rather than the processor, in light of the fact that things kept 'leading' you to the BIOS.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Stuart,
    This from PC Guide:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    BIOS ROM Checksum Errors

    Explanation: The read-only memory (ROM) containing the BIOS program is protected by a checksum value as a double-check that the ROM code is correct. This checksum is compared against the values in the ROM each time the PC is booted and if there is a mismatch, this code is generated.

    Note: This error is not the same as a CMOS Checksum Error, which refers to corrupted values of the CMOS settings, the ones you set through the BIOS setup program. This error means the contents of the BIOS code itself are damaged.


    Diagnosis: The BIOS ROM chip on the motherboard is probably faulty. It could also be another component on the motherboard.

    Recommendation: Troubleshoot the motherboard
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Looks like it agrees with your assumption regarding the MB.
    BOB
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  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Thanks to you and Al,

    I have requested a return for the motherboard, but since today and Monday are public holiday's in the UK, I will have a bit of a wait.

    StuartR

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Stuart,

    Out of curiousity, did the exchange of the MB solve your problem?
    BOB
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  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Thanks for asking, it's a bit of a sad tale.

    They sent me a new motherboard, I installed it and the PC booted up and seemed fine. About 5 minutes later I had a blue screen - definitely different symptoms as it had previously been unable even to boot. I tried again and it hung after about 20 minutes. I tried to reinstall windows, in case the system image had been corrupted by the previous motherboard, and it reported errors reading the perfectly good Windows CD at various points, then hung again!

    So now I have either another faulty motherboard, or a faulty CPU, or faulty memory. I tried putting the only memory stick in the other socket, but that didn't help.

    I have ordered another 1G PC3200 memory DIMM, on the grounds that additional memory never does any harm. I will then swap out the memory and if that is faulty I can return the original. That still leaves a CPU and motherboard, and I have no sensible way to distinguish which is now faulty - so keep your fingers crossed for me.

    StuartR

  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Stuart,
    I assume you checked the MB, RAM and CPU for compatibility?
    Keep us posted. Should be interesting.
    BOB
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  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    > I assume you checked the MB, RAM and CPU for compatibility?

    Yes of course, and I stripped everything down and carefully reseated all cables - twice.

    Motherboard: ASUS K8N-VM
    CPU: AMD Sempron64 3000+
    Memory: Generic 184 pin 1GB PC3200 DDR400 RAM DIMM

    I find this very frustrating, because I have been a hardware engineer for serious computers, and I was very careful with anti-static precautions and physical handling.

    So it goes.

    StuartR

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    > Keep us posted. Should be interesting.

    I thought you might be amused by the final outcome. I put the Motherboard / CPU / Memory aside for a couple of weeks till I had a bit more time. I then decided to try swapping the memory as I had a spare stick to test with. Being ultra careful about these things I carefully put all the original components into the same case and tested them to make sure the symptoms were still the same (this was before swapping the memory) - and I couldn't get them to fail.

    StuartR

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Stuart,
    Either you have saved yourself a few pounds or have delayed the inevitable?
    A favorite saying at school was: "Ah, the wonders of electronics". A true SWH event. ( something wonderful happened ) <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16> <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  11. #11
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    One day, I'll come back to this post and say "you were right, that was a false economy". One day, but not today.

    StuartR

  12. #12
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Am I returning the right part

    Absolutely right, Stuart.
    I would do the same thing. <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23>
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

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