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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read this post!
I have an Acer Predator G3100
Computer Specs:
  • 1 TB hard drive
  • 8 GB DDR3 memory
  • AMD Phenom X4 850 quad-core processor
  • DVD-Super Multi drive
  • NVIDIA Geforce GTX 550ti (Recently replaced with an ASUS GTX 660 ti)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • LITEON PS-6451-5 450(?) Watt Power supply
  • ADATA XPG SX900 128GB SSD (Added by myself)
Now, I also have a picture of the motherboard. I'm not sure of the brand.

(The SSD was only not secured because of testing reasons when trying to figure out the problem)

So my problem began with me going away from home and putting the computer on restart before I left (I use splashtop to access my computer when I'm not home). During the following evening and night there was a lightning storm in town. I got home the next day with the computer being off. I tried to turn it on by pressing the power button and there was no reaction, I checked the power and unplugged the computer and plugged it back in again. I tried again and It powered up. Everything was loading fine until it started to load the OS (Windows 7 Home Premium) at that point the screen froze and the longer I waited the faster the CPU and Case Fan ran until it was what I assume at 100%. I turned the computer off, and restarted it into BIOS. CPU was stable at just about 50 Degrees Celsius. I left it to cool off for a bit and restarted it.

It froze again when loading Windows. I made a Windows recovery disc from my Laptop (Windows 7) and tried running it, same thing after it started to load the files from the disc the screen froze again. I tried launching in Safe Mode, drivers were loading and then a freeze at storport.sys. Every time I try safe mode It always freezes at storport.sys. I restarted and ran Memtest86+ to check for faulty RAM, after almost 2 passes(4-6 hours) no errors had showed up so I tried checking for faulty drives with SEAGATE's Tool (DOS). After another 5 hours it checked out with no errors. I'm going to try and run Linux on a live CD now.

I'm suspecting something is wrong with the Motherboard loading drivers... But, I'm not 100% so that's why I'm wondering what you guys might think it could be. And could the problem be solved if that's the case? Or am I just going to have to buy new hardware?

I appreciate any help I can get!

Friendly Regards
// David
 

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I've seen this happen a few times with jumps in current (which may have came from your lightning storm). It's not the SSD/HDD, and in my case, it was the southbridge controller failed, which houses the SATA ports. Specifically, voltage regulators were overheating, and after 15-30 seconds of attempted use on the SATA ports, it would halt it's process.

Possibly the most irritating part of the whole thing was that I could idle a system or RAM process (BIOS/memtest/etc...) with no problem. It was once I tried to use any mass storage controller that I had no luck.

I've heard of ways around this, like rigging a case fan to hang perfectly over the regulators and run at full speed to keep them cooled, but that was ridiculous for me, I just replaced the board.

For fun, have you tried swapping your SSD with a spare drive (if you have one) and loading a clean install of Windows to rule out what I'm referring to? If you can get up and running with a test installation, it will help determine where the issue lies.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've seen this happen a few times with jumps in current (which may have came from your lightning storm). It's not the SSD/HDD, and in my case, it was the southbridge controller failed, which houses the SATA ports. Specifically, voltage regulators were overheating, and after 15-30 seconds of attempted use on the SATA ports, it would halt it's process.

Possibly the most irritating part of the whole thing was that I could idle a system or RAM process (BIOS/memtest/etc...) with no problem. It was once I tried to use any mass storage controller that I had no luck.

I've heard of ways around this, like rigging a case fan to hang perfectly over the regulators and run at full speed to keep them cooled, but that was ridiculous for me, I just replaced the board.

For fun, have you tried swapping your SSD with a spare drive (if you have one) and loading a clean install of Windows to rule out what I'm referring to? If you can get up and running with a test installation, it will help determine where the issue lies.
I tried booting with a Linux Live CD as mentioned earlier and everything was booting fine for a couple of seconds and then the DVD/CD reader started to lag, alternating between reading data and stopping completely (Imagine accelerating on a car and then hitting the brakes in a loop). The DVD/CD reader gives up after a few times and just idles while the screen is showing the black background with the blinking underscore (Don't remember the name for it). It sits like that doing nothing and I'm forced to eventually shut it down.

I did have a spare drive which I tried to install a clean windows on, but because of the issue with the DVD/CD reading installation drives (Works fine with a disc for Memtest86+ or hard drive error checker for example) I couldn't even install a clean Windows on the drive itself. I sadly don't have another computer I could do the install from as I'm currently on a laptop (Don't want to rip it open to get to the SATA cables when it's not mine).

Any ideas?
 

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You can convert a bootable DVD to a bootable USB (can't find link now :rolleyes:) but you can Google for a Win 7 SP1 ISO download and use Windows USB/DVD burner to create a bootable USB as an alternative.
 

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Optical drive, SATA. SSD, SATA. For fun, if you have a tertiary SATA device, I would give it a whirl. But with your live disk performing and showing the same signs I was describing before, it sounds like you may be victim of a southbridge failure, whether it's intermittent or not. memtest is a, what, 4mb ISO? Same with Seatools and WD diag tools usually (ok, maybe like 10 for them). Your typical OS install/Live disk is 500-700mb... so, sounds like your mobo isn't buffering or handling the data properly. It would make sense for a small disk to work fine, and full installation media to fail. Another route would be to take that optical drive/ssd and test it against a different working tower, but you said you have no other alternatives... but I'm convinced your mobo is waving goodbye. :(

Judging by the socket type, it's an AM2-AM3+. There are no mobo identifiers, eh? That's a GREAT implication that it may be ECS, the most notorious company for blown caps and regulators...

Sounds like you might be replacing the mobo sometime soon. :(

On another note, I want to thank you profusely on behalf of all of us, for being so detail oriented in your first post. :)
 

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You can convert a bootable DVD to a bootable USB (can't find link now :rolleyes:) but you can Google for a Win 7 SP1 ISO download and use Windows USB/DVD burner to create a bootable USB as an alternative.
This would actually test the theory perfectly. Use another machine to create a bootable USB version (extract with powerISO or something, the install media into an ISO, use the above link to vreate bootable USB media).

USB is still on the southbridge, so if you can sit on a USB install and load files, run CMD under repair, or even start to install the OS, that would help us on our troubleshooting process.

If it doesn't work though, I think that's our indicator for the motherboard failure.
 

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It could also be an issue with the power supply. I've had power supply issues cause the system to fail under load and also as the power heats up. The heat up issue was tougher as when the system sat for a while, the computer would get a bit farther in to the boot process, but ultimately would lockup or simply power off. Since lightning appears to have started the issue, I'd see about using a known good power supply to see if that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This would actually test the theory perfectly. Use another machine to create a bootable USB version (extract with powerISO or something, the install media into an ISO, use the above link to vreate bootable USB media).

USB is still on the southbridge, so if you can sit on a USB install and load files, run CMD under repair, or even start to install the OS, that would help us on our troubleshooting process.

If it doesn't work though, I think that's our indicator for the motherboard failure.
I created a bootable windows 7 installations (USB) I tried installing... Didn't work, it still froze. So I decided to try a Linux bootable USB to try and get some more raw code to what the problem could be. It turns out that the Linux USB freezes at a command line that looks like this:
Code:
[       0.239849] pci 0000:00:15.0 bridge configuration invalid ([bus 00-00]), re-configuring
It just doesn't want to proceed from there, and again the CPU and case fan started to accelerate up to maximum speed. I'm pretty sure it's the motherboard now with out much doubt. So, guess I'm off looking for some good alternatives! Might just buy a new case, Motherboard, CPU and power supply just to give my computer a boost it's been needing for a while.

Anyways, thanks for all the help! If anyone has any thing to add I'd love to hear it! If anyone knows specifically what the code is stopping at at the top a explanation would be appreciated if you got the time!
 

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I'm pretty certain southbridge is kicking the bucket. :(

That message indicates the media isn't reading the proms that house your storage devices (pci) the on the board properly (if the wording wasn't obvious enough).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm pretty certain southbridge is kicking the bucket. :(

That message indicates the media isn't reading the proms that house your storage devices (pci) the on the board properly (if the wording wasn't obvious enough).
Well... It's seems I'm going shopping for a new motherboard :/ Any suggestions?
 

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Are you replacing the mobo only?

What form factor case are you dealing with? Looks like only 4-pin PSU support as well... if it's a simple mobo swap to hold you over till a full overhaul, for what you've got, I would snag this:

GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-S2 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Newegg.com

I don't know your ram specs or how many dimms you have though...

EDIT: Just to reiterate, that's just my recommendation for a low-cost replacement, there isn't much expansion room to deal with there, just room for your vid card and ram, pretty much.
 

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Are you replacing the mobo only?

What form factor case are you dealing with? Looks like only 4-pin PSU support as well... if it's a simple mobo swap to hold you over till a full overhaul, for what you've got, I would snag this:

GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-S2 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Newegg.com

I don't know your ram specs or how many dimms you have though...

EDIT: Just to reiterate, that's just my recommendation for a low-cost replacement, there isn't much expansion room to deal with there, just room for your vid card and ram, pretty much.
Well, what if I was planning to get a new case, Motherboard, CPU and power supply? That might make it easier to recommend something... For budget I think 800$ would be my roof.
 

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Well, what if I was planning to get a new case, Motherboard, CPU and power supply? That might make it easier to recommend something... For budget I think 800$ would be my roof.
Still would like to know your RAM specs. :)

Also, do you have a flavor preference? (Intel vs AMD)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Still would like to know your RAM specs. :)

Also, do you have a flavor preference? (Intel vs AMD)
I put it in my Orginal post ;) (8GB DDR3)

I prefer Intel as I have a AMD today and It would be nice to try an Intel CPU.

Power supply doesn't have to be amazing, just like to have something above 500 Watt as the system today is on the Limit (With the addition of the new graphics card I was worried it wouldn't be enough).
 

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Hi, well, whilst the information on Southbridge is accurate it would not apply here, Southbridge or Northbridge both went out around 2008, Intel 5 series,introduced Platform Controller Hub, all southbridge features were taken over by the PCH, Nortbridge was integrated into the CPU. You have a totally different architecture. Amd, and they were prone to power issues (even before they were released), yours though is a latter release supporting ddr3 RAM, after a strong power surge many components could be damaged, PSU most likely to be one of them.

I recommend you do as intended and get a new system (I have no preference either way for AMD or Intel) I do however strongly recommend you consider the best PSU you can afford 850+ is recommended, it is one of the least understood components yet vital to your computing experience.

EDIT:- I suffered a lightning strike near my home many years ago I remember my insurance covered everything we lost most electrical items, went straight through the surge protectors.Maybe an insurance Job?
 

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Hi, well, whilst the information on Southbridge is accurate it would not apply here, Southbridge or Northbridge both went out around 2008, Intel 5 series,introduced Platform Controller Hub, all southbridge features were taken over by the PCH, Nortbridge was integrated into the CPU. You have a totally different architecture. Amd, and they were prone to power issues (even before they were released), yours though is a latter release supporting ddr3 RAM, after a strong power surge many components could be damaged, PSU most likely to be one of them.

I recommend you do as intended and get a new system (I have no preference either way for AMD or Intel) I do however strongly recommend you consider the best PSU you can afford 850+ is recommended, it is one of the least understood components yet vital to your computing experience.

EDIT:- I suffered a lightning strike near my home many years ago I remember my insurance covered everything we lost most electrical items, went straight through the surge protectors.Maybe an insurance Job?
Nothing is broken except from my desktop, and I broke the warranty when I myself installed a new graphics card and SSD drive.
 

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jenae is referring to House Contents Insurance that you would claim on for accidental damage etc. and not the computer's warranty.
 
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