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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Mobo Video Problem

I recently bought a bunch of parts, two identical sets that I am using to build two identical machines. These are just old systems that are going to run PII's. Today I got enough pieces to put together 1 system. I installed everything. The motherboard is an intel SE440BX. Voodoo 3 3000 AGP video card, 1 stick of PC100 128MB ram just for now, until I can afford some more, a Maxtor 30GB 7200RPM hard drive, P2 400Mhz slot 1 cpu, Sound Blaster AWE64, Dlink Network card, and the other necessities. When I turn the power on, the cd roms power up, it sounds like the hard drive powers up, and the case fan and cpu fan all power up and stay on. All the indicator lights are normal. But I get nothing on the screen, absolutely nada.

So I turned my system off, and the monitor also. Turned the monitor on and waited for it to say "no signal". Then I powered on the system, and the no signal goes away like it detected something but nothing comes up at all. The floppy drive just sits with the light on like its doing something.

To test further I took out everything except the video card and memory, powered on again, and same thing. Then I changed to my other voodoo 3 card to see if maybe it was the problem, and same thing. Then I took out the memory to see if the board would recognize that it was missing. And indeed it did its beep routine. I also switched my cpu to see if that also could have been the problem and still nothing.

So basically my questions are, can anyone help me out with this doosey? And, if a mobo was ruined, would it still recognize the no memory installed and beep? I'm stumped here, Ive even tried dif monitors, and even my other identical board i purchased and still nothing. Anyway, someone help me!

Thanks
 

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No the mobo does not sound ruined to me either.

The AGP port is apparently the oldest version of AGP there is: it's AGP 1.0, circa 1996, and supports only +3.3V, 66MHz/133MHz cards. I cannot tell for sure if Voodoo3- 3000 is compatible with this slot, but based on 1999 reviews it appears to be. So there's no glaring video incompatibility.

Certainly don't bother buying a newer AGP card for this mobo, it won't mate; rather try a PCI video card if you can get your hands on one. There's no integrated video, so PCI would be your only other choice. Back in the late 1990's, it was more common to have PCI than AGP. So perhaps the BIOS needs to be told you've got AGP, and is currently defaulting to PCI. Of course without video, you can't change this BIOS setting.

Make sure the memory is not EDO or registered (buffered). This mobo doesn't support it.

One thought regards the floppy sitting with the light on solid: I've heard this means the floppy cable is backwards.

-clintfan
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not sure if it is buffered or not. I just bought it new the other day so it should be fine but I will call the company and find out tomorrow about that. I did try a couple of PCI video cards. Old s3 virge 4MB ones. And its worse. With those installed the screen just stays at the 'no signal detected' phase, and when I power on it doesnt even detect a signal, whereas when I use the agp cards when I power on it goes blank like it detected something, but just stays blank. BTW, I never get a normal POST. It doesnt POST at all. Nothing, I only get a bad POST if I take the RAM or the battery out. The only other thing, kind of startling, is that my keyboard never starts up. It doesnt want to power on when hooked up to that system. HELP! Does anyone know a for sure way of knowing if a MOBO is screwed up. What if the BIOS or whatever was screwed. I heard there was a way of flashing it or whatever that was called without needing video. It required putting some files on A:\ drive and setting some parameters? Hmmm. Anyway HELP!
 

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Since you bought 2 of everything, try swapping in the other mobo. Usually people don't have that luxury, but you do.

You may find this Intel SE440BX link helpful. It even has a BIOS update with a decent Readme file.

According to the Specification Update, one of the interesting things is that some options were added: an option to choose between AGP and PCI video; and an option to display boot time diagnostic messages (POST). In fact, the list of BIOS bugs fixed in the Errata section is scary!

In the regular Technical Product Specification, section 3.1.15 does talk about BIOS recovery, but it says the necessary file(s) are only available through Intel Sales. Seeing as how your mobo is officially discontinued, I doubt you'll get very far with that. You could try making the disk the Readme file talks about.

On Asus, which uses AMIBIOS, you hold down the INSERT key at bootup, to trigger BIOS auto-recovery. I doubt PHOENIX BIOS works the same way, it's not clear which type your mobo has.

You did say your keyboard doesn't work, so you may need to sort that out first. Maybe a different keyboard, maybe swap the mobo. Could be the PS/2 fuse is blown on this mobo, or the KB is bad-- I've seen bad ones before, we just leave them in the hall for the custodians to toss out.

-clintfan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Clintfan. I was reading in the errata for possible problems and I think I might have found one. What is SPD EEPROM(Serial Presence Detect). I think it is the memory that you install. It says that DIMMS with blank or invalid data in an SPD EEPROM will not allow the system to boot, even if they are otherwise usable. It sounds also like I wouldnt get much video either as it wouldnt get to the memory test screen.

Another thing I read was something about host bus speeds? 66MHz or 100MHz But I don't know what that is. My processor is a 400 and there is a table showing that 100Mhz host bus speed will run a PII 400. Or is that just the speed of the memory? Because the board only supports 66 or 100MHz Memory modules.

The only other thing I can think of now is the keyboard. My keyboard works in other machines, but it states in the errata that some keyboards are not recognized by the BIOS. If you can give any more insight that would be awsome!
 

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there is a table showing that 100Mhz host bus speed will run a PII 400. Or is that just the speed of the memory? Because the board only supports 66 or 100MHz Memory modules.
I don't think you need to worry about this. The "Main Memory" section states the mobo supports "66 or 100MHz SDRAM". There are all sorts of other geometry requirements, but I'm thinking your PC100 should be fine. Similarly, the "Microprocessor" section states the processor supports FSB speeds of 66 or 100MHz. I think you're just looking at a very simple system architecture here, where memory and processor both sit on the FSB, and run at the same speed. Once you can get into the BIOS setup, there's a place to set the CPU speed.


What is SPD EEPROM(Serial Presence Detect). I think it is the memory that you install.
At first I had no idea what SPD was either, so I typed "Serial Presence Detect" into Yahoo. The first hit told me the SPD contains the manufacturer, speed, refresh timing requirements, and so forth: basically everything you need to know about a DIMM. The third hit had useful info, it sounded perfectly logical to me. Basicaly, before SPD they used PPD (Parallel Presence Detect) where certain pins on each DIMM told its capabilities. Since pins were in limited supply, they went to SPD which uses only 2 pins. This greatly expanded what they could store, while also freeing up some pins.
(FYI, I've coded serial EEProm reading routines --not for DIMM's, but for LAN's-- and it's nasty code, but once you get it working, there's no practical limit to how much data they can store in there.)

So it's not "the memory", but it is on the memory. It's a little EEPROM onboard every DIMM which contains identification codes specific to that DIMM; the BIOS reads this to figure out everything about the installed DIMMs, so it can set the memory controller registers properly to run that memory.



It says that DIMMS with blank or invalid data in an SPD EEPROM will not allow the system to boot, even if they are otherwise usable.
Again I don't think you need to worry about this. True, it wouldn't boot, but I think it's pretty highly unlikely you'd ever find a DIMM whose SPD EEPROM has been trashed. Did you also buy several DIMM's? If so, you could eliminate this possibility by simply swapping in a different DIMM.


1 stick of PC100 128MB ram just for now, until I can afford some more
I don't suppose the Voodoo 3 uses part of system memory for its own purposes? If so, your single stick of 128MB RAM might not be enough.


The only other thing I can think of now is the keyboard. My keyboard works in other machines, but it states in the errata that some keyboards are not recognized by the BIOS.
You could have something there. You must be talking about errata #23, I can see that. The fine print suggests it was only a bug in BIOS version #9 (#8 and earlier weren't subject to the bug, and it was fixed in #10). The latest is #12, but we have no idea what version you've actually got.

If you've got 9, that could explain why somebody sold you these mobos: put on 9, it makes your keyboard useless, and it becomes virtually impossible to re-update the BIOS! Just a thought...


OTHER IDEAS:

Have you tried swapping the mobo yet?

Also, take a look at Section 1.16, "Jumpers". There is a jumper setting 2-3 here that you can set to force entry into BIOS Setup. Removing the jumper completely, forces the BIOS to attempt recovery from a diskette. Setting 1-2 is for normal.

I found this computer-building class site which happenes to have a very good description of what your BIOS screens should look like, and all about how to update the BIOS on your mobo (in their example it's PHOENIX BIOS, btw).

It also suggests (and I found this on another site too) that if you create the BIOS update floppy exactly the way they say, the system might automatically update itself! So maybe you don't need anything special from Intel after all. Just make the diskette, put it in, power down, remove the jumper for recovery, power up, let it load the update floppy, power down, put the jumper back to 1-2 or 2-3, power back up & see what happens.

-clintfan
 

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Thanks for all the help! Im gonna try going to the site you talked about and try making the disk right away. BTW I don't have any other memory to test right yet. I had some bought off eBay but it hasn't arrived yet. And I did try swapping MOBOS. I've actually tried all the different combinations. I mean the MOBOS may be screwed but the guy I bought them off was selling lots of these same kind. I bought two of them, and this was an eBay selling company I believe with a good reputation, so I don't understand why both boards would do this. But in any case, I don't think I'll be buying used off eBay anymore, its been too much of a hastle lately with people getting rid of their broken junk, and tight security at the borders.

I'll msg back later after I try a few more things.

Cya
 
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