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Bad motherboard or CPU?

2353 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  dai
About ten months ago I built a computer using mostly new parts. Anyway, recently it started hanging up during the power-on and check sequence. First, it would hang right before the memory test and now it finishes it and gets ready to boot but right before it is about to boot it hangs and prints out about ten characters of ASCII gibberish. If you press a button on the keyboard, it once again prints out the same gibberish (you can fill the screen up with it).

At first I thought it may be the memory, but several tests confirmed that it was neither the memory nor the hard drives. I have concluded that the problem is almost certainly either the processor or the motherboard. It has a pretty high end ASUS motherboard and an AMD socket 939 64 X2 4200+. Both supposedly have a three year warranty.

My biggest problem is figuring out whether it is the motherboard or the CPU. If I had access to another 939 CPU I could just swap the two, but I do not, so it is not a realistic option. At first I thought that the processor may be overheating, but I have a very large, well cooled case and the motherboard reports that the CPU temperature is only are 33 C. My suspicion is that one of the chipsets on the motherboard is bad.

Is there any way to discern whether it is a bad motherboard or a bad CPU, because I will have to decide which manufacturer to call, and hopefully I can get it replaced without too much of a hassle (again, I built the computer myself, so no manufacturer's warranty).

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. I do not have any more time to deal with this tonight. I will check back tomorrow when I am sober. Have a happy new year.

Here is a screen shot of where it hangs. The ASCII gibberish is on the bottom.
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i would suspect the power supply or the video card if it was either of the 2 you mentioned you would not get anything up at all
did you upgrade the power supply with your new build
also from your upload your dvd looks like it is being used with a 40 wire ide cable instead of an 80wire cable
check your power reqirements here
based on a quality psu and add 30% to the end result
have a read here
Thank you for the advice. I will eventually upgrade the power supply to 1000W or 1500W, but for now, my 600W power supply should be at least 200W more than my computer is drawing.

I cannot eliminate the problem being with the graphics card. It is a mid level Nvidia PCI express card, which I am eventually going to get rid of, and when I turn my PC on after it has been powered off for some time, the graphics are really fuzzy for about 2-10 seconds. I do not know if it is normal, or an indication of a problem.

The problem seems to be intermittent. I reset my bios and now it boots up (I hard reset it a few weeks ago and it did not work). I think my next step is going to be to go back into my bios and change settings back to the way I had them, one by one, and see if one of the changes recreates the boot problem.

I ran memtest, which found no errors, so for now, I suspect either the graphics card or some chipset on the motherboard.

BTW, I am hooking my DVD-R drive up using the ATA cables that came with the mother board. Since it is a newer motherboard, I assume that it has a newer 80 pin ATA cable. The DVD is on Cable Select and it is hooked up to the master position on the end of the ATA cable. Do I have it hooked up wrong?

Thank you for your advice. Happy New Year.
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Okay, this is strange. The problem that seems to cause the boot process to stop (and it spits out the strange characters) is the floppy disk. Boot up floppy seek is disabled by default. When I change floppy disk type to "NONE" instead of 1.44MB, it causes the error.

Since I neither have a floppy drive, nor do I have an intention of getting one, I want it disabled so it does not show up in windows, but if I select "none" it will not boot up. I suspect that one of the mother board chip sets, possibly the floppy controller is damaged. Since the mother board should still have about 26 months left on the warranty, should I ask ASUS for a replacement?

BTW, the DVD RW still stays ATA 33 even when it is set to master.

Thank you for your assistance.
leave the floppy enabled in the bios and disable it in the device manager and see if that makes a difference
check that dma is enabled on the drive and it has not gone back to pio mode
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