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I've been having a lot of trouble with my new system. I could use the help or advice of anyone who can offer it.

SYSTEM SPECS

Power Supply: Thermaltake Silent Purepower 480Watts
Motherboard: Asus P4C800-E Deluxe
CPU: P4 3GHz, 800MHz FSB
RAM: Corsair TWINX1024-3200LLPT 1GB DDR400 XMS3200

Video: ATI Radeon 9600
Audio: SoundBlaster Audigy 2
Hard Drives: 4 IDE disk drives
Optical Drives: 1 CD-R/RW, 1 DVD
Fans: 7 case fans

O/S: Windows XP Pro SP1 with all Updates

THE PROBLEM

Essentially, my system will freeze when it is idle and will stop responding to all commands, including Ctrl + Alt + Delete. As long as I am actively using the mouse or keyboard, the system won't lock up. The only option once the system freezes is to perform a hardware reset to reboot the computer.

STEPS I HAVE TAKEN

RAM TESTS
I have contacted Corsair Micro, the manufacturer of my RAM chips and discussed the problem with them. I have followed their instructions to ensure that the settings for the RAM are set correctly. Additionally, I have performed extensive tests of the RAM chips using Memtest86. After tests on separate ocassions of 11+ hours and 8+ hours, the chips passed without any errors.

CPU TESTS
I have also performed a 6+ hour test of the CPU using Hot CPU Tester Pro 3 (Lite Edition) from http://www.7byte.com. The CPU passed all tests without any errors. (I don't have the Pro edition, so I couldn't run all the tests, but the core CPU stuff passed without any problems.)

SOFTWARE
I have tried re-installing the operating system, as well as updating the drivers for my ATI Radeon 9600 video card, and for my SoundBlaster Audigy 2.

BIOS Update
I would like to update the BIOS for the motherboard to see if that fixes the problem. However, I cannot find the 1009 version of the BIOS on the Asus website. My understanding of the BIOS updates is that they should be applied sequentially: 1008, then 1009, then 1010, then 1011. Does anyone have a copy of the 1009 BIOS for the Asus P4C800-E Deluxe motherboard? (Note: I tried updating to the 1008 and then to the 1011, but that didn't help any. After I did that, I was told that the updates weren't cumulative and had to be applied sequentially.)

QUESTIONS: Please Help!

Does anyone have any other suggestions to try? Could it be a defect in the motherboard? An incompatibility between some combination of CPU, motherboard, or RAM? Does anyone know of other good message boards to post this question to? I'm beginning to reach the point of desperation.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Your specs look totally fine. Some have had trouble with Corsair memory, others not. You could try running with only one stick and then the other, to see if that makes a difference about the hangs. 3GHz is bleeding edge, the mobo is only supposed to go to 3.2. Personally I'm using a pair of Kingston #KVR400X72C3A/512 which is ECC memory,and a 2.8 CPU.

As long as I am actively using the mouse or keyboard, the system won't lock up. The only option once the system freezes is to perform a hardware reset to reboot the computer.
Is this a USB keyboard & mouse, or PS2? If it's USB, maybe you have a problem in that area. For PS2, I noticed on my mobo that if I disconnect the mouse, it's frozen after I plug it back in: a minor mobo issue I can live with, but if you happen to be using a KVM switchbox, I'm thinking it might appear to freeze. Maybe with USB if it goes offline after awhile, you could get a similar problem.

Actually this sounds like a power-management problem to me. Like, the system thinks stuff isn't in use, and it's shutting it off.

Now, I only mention this next thing because it sounds like you may be having power-control problems... maybe I'm running OK because, before I installed XP, I set it up as a non-ACPI computer. First I disabled all three ACPI settings in my BIOS, plus some of the APM stuff (like, never turn disk drives or video off). Then, when I installed XP, I installed it as a "Standard PC" instead of an ACPI computer; where you choose this is right near the beginning, when it offers that you can hit F6 to do this or that, instead you hit F5 (easter egg?), then cursor-up until "Standard PC" appears. I had done some web study beforehand to try to understand the pros and cons of ACPI, but after finding enough comments from programmers lamenting about how terrible and complex of a non-spec ACPI is, I easily made my choice: no ACPI for me!

Another thing I disabled was Hyper-Threading, didn't even try it.

And I'm running mostly fine. Everything works. I do get some pauses when loading programs for the first time --not sure what's up with that-- but none of your other stuff. I'm not sure you can switch to non-ACPI after installation, it might require rerunning Windows Setup from the CD, or at worst reinstalling XP (if you can get it to register again).

My understanding of the BIOS updates is that they should be applied sequentially: 1008, then 1009, then 1010, then 1011.
Not necessary. You can go straight from 1007 to 1010, I did and it works fine. Just be sure to write down ALL your BIOS customized settings first, because after you install 1010, or 1011 or whatever, you want to first visit the Exit screen and choose Load BIOS Defaults, then go back and apply your customizations.

Also before you change BIOS, download the AFUDOS tool, put it on a boot floppy, boot from it, and do the command, "afudos /oORIGBIOS.ROM", it will save your current BIOS to the floppy (512K in size) in case you have to go back to it later. You can use any filename, doesn't have to be ORIGBIOS. The same tool is used to install new BIOS using the /iFILENAME option instead, either option takes about 30 seconds.

Oh... and whatever you do.... DON'T do that "clear the CMOS" jumper thing, it's nothing but headache!

-clintfan
 

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I would start with the simple things first. One thing that you mentioned that I haven't had any problems with is the BIOS update. I went directly to 1011 without any problems.
Try the following...

- Remove the audio card and go to the onboard sound.
- I made sure the jumper setting xxx was set to allow keyboard wakeup.
- What is the temp of the system when it locks up?
- What are your power settings; is the box going into sleep mode and can't be woken up?
- Go back to 512mb of ram to see if you still have the same problem.
- Do you have a different video card you can try?

Make sure after you do each change that you put the box through all of it's paces again to isolate the offending component. Good luck! :)
 

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For PS2, I noticed on my mobo that if I disconnect the mouse, it's frozen after I plug it back in: a minor mobo issue I can live with
FWIW, you might not want to do that. I was under the impression that you can grenade your mobo by unplugging and plugging back in a PS/2 mouse (serial/usb mice are a different story). :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Problem Solved!

After several days of testing, I am prepared to pronounce my problem solved (praise God!).

Here's what I did: I opened up my computer to check all the connections to make sure they were secure. They were. Then, I updated the BIOS from 1008 to 1011 in order. After doing that, everything worked fine. Then, I plugged back in my two USB devices which I hadn't yet plugged back in after I took my case apart. After doing that, my problems re-appeared; the computer would freeze when idle. So, I said, "ah ha...so it's the USB" and proceeded to unplug them. Presto! Problem gone again.

Now, I thought that I had tried unplugging the USB devices before and that it didn't solve the problem. So, it may be that I had two problems: BIOS and USB devices.

At any rate, my computer is working just fine without my printer and scanner plugged in. So now, the question is how do I get my non USB 2.0 printer/scanner to work? I'm going to try going into the BIOS and setting the USB 2.0 to run at "FullSpeed", which is apparently the speed of USB 1.1. Perhaps that will solve the problem. If not, I guess I'll have to use parallel for the printer and sacrifice my scanner and get a new one (which stinks).

Thanks to everyone for their help. It was much appreciated!
 

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Glad you're working now! Good job narrowing the problem down! But it sounds to me more like a Device Manager issue, or maybe a miswired USB port.

Have you applied the Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility yet, against ALL of your USB devices in Control Panel- Device Manager? If they still read "Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller" and "Standard Universal PCI to USB Host Controller" then you have not done this, and it could be part of your problem too. In that case, follow the "AFTER" instructions in the link given here.

On your Windows XP, the USB drivers are already in the O/S, but you still need to tell XP which ones it should use for this mobo, and applying the utility is what does that. On Win98, actual drivers are required to drive 2.0.



Were you using the built-in ports or ones you attached via pigtails? And did you try all the back ports?

If you're talking about one of the 4 built-in rear-panelUSB ports, there's no question the wiring is OK, so your approach with the BIOS might indeed be the thing to try. "HiSpeed "is definitely the 2.0 setting, so yes you want the other one which as you said should be "Full", to force 1.1-only speeds. But USB 2.0 ports are supposed to be backward compatible, so you should not need to force this: mine, for instance, are configured as HiSpeed and I have your same mobo, but I can run my steering wheel game device just fine.

But if you are talking about front-panel USB ports, then you might have just plugged them onto the mobo header(s) wrong. Easy to do. Me...? I used a beeper light and compared what I got there, to a USB port diagram I found on a web search. I matched the web diagram signals to the signals on Asus' pinouts in the mobo manual, and my 2 front ports work fine-- I hooked then up to the USB 5/6 header. I didn't use the Asus 4-port header that came with the mobo, since it chews up a PCI slot and I don't need 8 devs total. Tonight I can try to recreate that research for you if you need it.

Hope this helps,

-clintfan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
clintfan,

I have the devices plugged directly into separate USB ports that are built into the back of the motherboard.

I just printed out your guide that you linked to. It's awesome!

Looking at my device manager, under USB Controllers, there are a bunch of things listed, but none called what you described. I think I did apply the Intel INF, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I'm going to wipe my system this weekend anyway even if my hardware problem is solved by changing the mobo settings to FullSpeed ('cause of a stupid problem with a software program). So, I'll definitely follow your guide when doing so.

I'll post on the results later.
 

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Not sure if any others have this issue, but on building an system with p4c800 e deluxe , 3 gig p4 800mhz, kingston hyperx ddr 1 gig, had immediate issues with ATAPI / ASPI when trying to burn disks. then, found no solutions till I ran a performance test on the IDE throughput from the brand new ata100 hard drives. 2 of em. the board, using the primary and secondary IDE, is getting less than 4 meg per sec thoughput. I took the drives and put then in an ata66 machine, and got around 30 meg per sec. put them in my old P2Bs mobo, and they ran at 20 meg per sec. Have an open ticket with ASUS now. waiting on them....

Any similar out there using primary IDE (P-ATA)?
if having ASPI / ATAPI errors, test HD throughput. IF using NERO -
can open the properties page, select the "cache" page and test HD speeds there.

Found several having errros that I wonde3r are truly caused by similar poor EIDE throughput on the southbridge.
 

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Dezman,
make sure you are using an 80-conductor ATA cable for your drive connections. If you use a 40-conductor cable, then the controller will automatically run at ATA33 speeds, which on my PIII/600, yields about the same throughput as what you are seeing: 3.5MByte/s. At least two ATA cables come with the P4C800-E: the smoothest ones are the 80-cond. ones.

In the future you should start your own new thread for new problems. andrew's problem here was stable, so this thread was pretty much closed. So if you still need further help on your issue, please start a new thread.

Hope this helps,

-clintfan
 

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yes, thankx for the pointer ! I work in IT, (makes no dif, I know !) and have hundreds of machines worldwide and am baffled with this one.
I am using only the cables ( ata 133) that were supplied with the board !!
but I can use the same hard drive(s) in my P2Bs MOBO using the old 40 pin cables there and get over 19 meg per sec. take same HDs and put in my old p3v4x ata66 system with 80 pin cables and get correct megs per sec min for that bus.
I am still waiting for a Tech at ASUS on why or how this new board could possibly have such a sluggish data rate in the primary and secondary IDE . this thing was put together, drives formatted, os added, mobo drivers added, and a burner added. all burns failed which led to this ...errors were reports "unknown cdr error ... or ATAPI error... 4 hours later , there is no prob with the burners or ASPI , issue is the HD thoughput and buffer undreruns
I pulled a very trusty plextor burner out of my p2bs system and ,,, put in this one same failure could not even burn an 8x cd ( 1.2 meg per sec). I will post whatever the outcome is, as I am concerned, my trust of ASUS mobo's just plummeted. the first tech at ASUS asked how I came to my conclusion on HD thoughput, and after my reply about hard benchmarking on three different systems, he said he would have to escalate the call,,,,,
I feel he was unprepared for me to have test systems to test all my hardware/software and benchmark the HD perf to this mobo as the issue.
 

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The 80-conductor cables contain, I believe, an internal pullup resistor. This is supposed to be somehow paired with a capacitor at the mobo ATA port, to allow the BIOS to detect whether you have an 80- or 40-cond. cable. Possibly something is wrong with the ATA-133 cables you got with the mobo, or something wrong with the mobo itself.

The easiest next test is to swap the cable. Since you work in I.T. it will be easy to get your hands on a different brand of 80-conductor mobo cable, 18 inches max end-to-end. Try it in your mobo and see if you get any better performance. Also make sure your drives are all correctly strapped, as master/slave (not cable-select or single).

Also, did you apply the ICH5, 875P, P4C800: Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility? Without it your ICH5R devices will all operate in "Standard" mode, and I should think that could easily lead to poor performance.

-clintfan
 
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