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Multiple hardware problems: CPU, HD conflicts

Posted on 2004-09-20
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a P4 2.8 on an ABIT IS7 board. I'm running Win XP pro. Power Supply is stock 350W. The bios has not been updated since I bought it about 2 years ago.

about a month ago I bought a new CPU fan and tried to overclock my CPU .. disaster followed, the master file table on the C drive was destroyed and had to used data recovery software to get my data back, complete reinstall of Windows was needed, of course.
I require massive storage space due to my work in motion graphics media and have 3 HD's all no less than 200 gigs. I had huge probs with a raid array and this is how my setup is right now:

Primary IDE Master: C drive - OS and storage
Primary IDE Slave: E drive - storage
Secondary IDE Master: DVD drive
Secondary IDE Slave: F Drive - Storage

Everything appeared to be working fine until i formatted the third drive and added it as the slave under the DVD drive. All the jumpers are correct and all drives were recognized at first.

After some period of time, Windows would freeze on the "Welcome" screen and required a manual restart. After these restarts, all the windows "Appearace" settings and some program settings were reset to default.
The computer will freeze about once every day at random times, Idle and under load.
Just today, I booted up and it took extrememly long to find the IDE drives, the slave on the Primary IDE channel was not recognized (E:) and it gave the message that the "CPU is unworkable or has been changed" and "Drives have been changed, enter BIOS"
Randomly I can hear the HD's stop spinning and start up again sometimes.

Everything leads me to believe that the Power supply may be failing under the heavy load .. however i'm worried that the overclock attempt may have damaged the CPU or other hardward.

Please help me out!
-Paul
you@senord.com or respond to this post

THANKS!
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Question by:senord
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XSINUX earned 275 total points
ID: 12100594
You may want to check this Link Out. I have searched and found that this happens when you overclock the CPU and when it gets extremely Hot. Lets hope what you have done may not have Damaged the CPU.

This link will give you more info

http://www.neqx.com/supportw/faq0076.htm

Also Take the CMOS Battery out and Keep Pressing and Releasing the Power Button of your System ( Chassis ) holding the power button down for 5 second and releasing it and repeating the process for about 1 - 2 min. This Process has to be done with the CMOS battery out or else there is no use. What we are trying to do is Releasing the Flea Power ( Static Charge in your Motherboard ) and thereby resetting the CMOS N-RAM. This may default the settings and redetect all the components and the CPU settings. If you are lucky this should help.

Else :( Replace the CPU.

Good Luck

Sinu Thomas.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12100617
I just noticed that the CPU is also running at 1.4 as opposed to the default 2.8 in computer properties.
I dont feel comfortable with bumping it back to 2.8 because I really don't want any more data loss.

Even if i were to replace my CPU tomorrow, with these symptoms, should I expect some data loss on the HDs due to the damage to the CPU?

.. Man i hope its not the CPU but it seems to be looking more and more like it.

THANKS!
-Paul
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12100690
I took the battery out and reset as instructed .. all the windows settings seemed to come back and everything booted up fine, no problem .. however in the computer properties, the CPU is still running at 1.4

should the reset have detected the stock 2.8 speed?, should I manually go into BIOS and change it to 2.8?, the last thing I want is data loss of the precious information on the C drive.

Thanks!
-Paul
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12100732
Good Gracious ... Are you sure no one swapped the Processor ? If you are sure the Processor is a 2.8 GHz please have the setting to 2.8Ghz, But before that I would advice you to take a Look at the Processor by taking it off the Socket. Its hard to believe its a 2.8G Processor as you bough the system 2 years ago.

NOTE : The Processor maybe a 1.4 Ghz. Confirm that.

Please do let me know the outcome.

Cheers
Sinu
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12100795
OK, if the system is Working alright now, leave it at 1.4G . The processor would not corrupt your Hard Drive ( 99% of the time it won't ). But its a Wise Idea to begin  the Data Backup now.

Cheers
Sinu Thomas.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12100839
maybe year and a half ago, or slightly less, would be more accurate .. its a 2.8 for sure.

It actually automatically was set back to 2.8 upon resetting. eveything seems to be fine right now, no freeze ups .. all thats left is to connect the two other drives i have in my case (I disconnected them during this episode).

I actually tried to flash the BIOS right after the main computer crash a few months ago when i attempted to overclock the CPU. I'm sure that that was the problem as now my computer SEEMS to be running fine .. knock on wood.

I'm assuming that if it runs fine now on the C drive and DVD drive only, then it shouldnt have a CPU problem running all 3 HDs and DVD drive.

I'll probably go get a new 450 PS tomorrow just to eliminate that possible problem.

Thanks for your help Sinu!, let me give it a few days and connect everything up .. if its all good, then i'll accept your suggestion.

Thanks again!, i'll keep updating in here if anything else comes up.

-Paul
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12100854
No Worries Mate ! I am glad I was ofhelp you ... :)

Cheers
Sinu
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by:senord
ID: 12101154
I tried hooking up the other HDs.

I'm still running into problems when hooking up that third HD as slave under the master DVD drive on the Secondary IDE channel. When that third drive is plugged in, the slave drive on the Primary IDE channel is not recognized in pre-windows boot up or in windows. Very strange.

Anyone know of any limits as to how many drives one can have? or total storage space limits? Could it be the power supply is insufficient??

I'm guessing that the fact that the third drive is the slave under a non-HD drive is what is causing the problem, you think simply making the third drive the master on the second IDE channel and switching the DVD drive to slave would help? .. I would have to buy a new cable to do this and would like some feed back before i drop 10 bucks on it. I would troubleshoot this issue more, but my setup is somewhat cumbersome and not very versitile.

Let me know!, Thanks!

-Paul
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 25 total points
ID: 12101422
It is very unlikely you damaged your cpu - I have a P4 2.8c like you, and I run it at 3.15.  I have tried higher speeds, but I get instability, but these Intel cpus can take being overclocked.  What happened is your FSB got set to a default value of 100, which is half of the normal 200 speed.  This results in half the normal cpu value.

I suspect your hard drive problem is either insufficient power for startup on the 12v rail (check the spec on your power supply for the +12v, it should be 18a or more, depending on what else you have in your system), or the hard disk being a slave on the same cable as a DVD master.  For an experiment, just disconnect the DVD cable and see if that changes anything.
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by:Lenney97
Lenney97 earned 25 total points
ID: 12104339
Your PSU *power supply* should be ok.  I'm running a dvd-rom, cd-burner, 10GB HD, 20GB HD, and 160GB HD on my system.  350W should be enough juice.  So you saying that everything is working untill you plug in the 3rd HD.  Does the Bios pick all four of the devices correctly?  I notice you didn't say anything about "cable select" for your drives.  I'll try setting the DVD rom and 3rd HD on cable select.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12106454
Putting both the DVD drive and 3rd HD on cable select didnt help anything ..

I think my next step is gettin that extra long IDE cable and making the HD Master and DVD Slave.

I'll update on what happens.
Thanks!
-Paul
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12107164
Getting an extra Long IDE cable would'nt help solving the problem. Why don't we try changing all the Drives to Cable Select Jumper configuration ( "CS" ). This way the Drive gets assigned to a configuration in the way the Cables are connected. If you plug the drive to the last Drop, then it becomes a master in that Channel. If you are connecting it to the middle drop, then it becomes a Slave in that channel.

Since your Motherboard is almost 2 years old, It may find difficulties Finding all the High Capacity Drives. My advice is to have your Bios Updated and definitely the problem would be resolved.

Hope this Helps.

Cheers

Sinu Thomas.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12108866
So this is what happened.
I got a longer IDE cable and hooked up everything like this:

Primary IDE channel Master: HD with OS and storage
Primary IDE channel Slave: HD storage
Secondary IDE channel Master: HD storage
Secondary IDE channel Slave: DVD drive

basically swapped the two drives on the secondary channel so the HD was the master.

Everything is detected now! and evetything seemed to be running fine for about 5 min. until the computer locked up and required a manual reboot. so I reset and everything was detected as before, booted up fine, CPU was running at stock 2.8 speed and, again, within a few minutes, while opening an application, it froze and required a restart. Seems that it may be locking up when opening programs or accesing the Primary IDE channel Master HD (C:) .. because thats the only drive with apps on it.
Every single time it has froze, the HD activity light is still on and never goes off until I reset even though there doesnt seem to be activity sound from the HD

I've had two suggestions from friends but there may be other solutions you could offer me:
-- Install "Intel Applicaton Accelerator" (however it seems my chipset version is not compatable with that program in the brief moments i looked through the readme)
-- Update the BIOS as XSINUX suggested above (i ran into problems doing this before because i was unsure exactly how to flash the BIOS, update BIOS etc etc etc.)

Please let me know if you have any insight into these problems .. This is my main system and i need it functional at all times, this annoyance is very frustrating.
I've increased the point value and will distribute/split points to anyone who can help me resolve this.

THANKS!
-Paul
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12109214
I flashed the BIOS to the latest version (Drives are the same setup as above). upon rebooting, the system ran SUPER SLOW and didn't recognize the slave on the primary IDE channel, but recognized everything else .. the whole time, one of the drives was constantly turning on and off (i could tell by those distinct spinning sounds) and the HD light was blinking on and off in, what seemed to be, a set rhythm .. eventually, the system locked up after 2 minutes of trying to open "My Computer".

I unplugged the DVD drive completely (Slave on secondary IDE channel) .. rebooted .. and now i'm typing here. The machine runs like a dream without the DVD drive on the same channel as the HD, or rather, without the DVD drive plugged in at all; everything seems fine.

Now how do I get that damn DVD drive in here too? .. I dont know much about RAID arrays but could I put the DVD drive on a PCI IDE controller card?

PLEASE LET ME KNOW! THANKS!
-Paul
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12109245
Now whats the DVD Spec ? I will send your the DVD Drive Firmware ! Try that too !

We got a Long way from no post , no boot , no Slow System and now god knows what !

:))

Cheers
SInu
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12109274
If there is no Problems with the IDE DVD Drive , The Drive can be connected to a PCI IDE Controller Card. But this look like a problem with the Drive Itself. Probably you can update the firware of the DVD and see.

Note : You cannont Connect a DVD Drive on a RAID Controller Card.

Cheers
SInu
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12109387
Its funny you should mention the PCI IDE Controller .. I just got done setting everything up like this:

Primary IDE channel master: HD with OS and storage
Primary IDE channel slave: HD storage
Secondary IDE channel master: HD storage
Secondary IDE channel slave: EMPTY

PCI IDE controller:
Primary IDE channel master: DVD drive

I figured that if everything worked fine without the DVD drive, and I know its not the drive because i had to use it earlier today (worked fine) .. then it must be because its on the same cable as an HD. I read somewhere that there could be massive slow-downs and other conflicts with that setup. only option at that point was the PCI IDE controller.

As of right now, there are no conflicts and problems whatsoever (its only been like 10 min though). Everything was detected and all other hardware is working correctly.
I just hope it doesnt start freezing up again.

Thanks for all your help everyone!! .. I'm going to monitor this setup for a few days and then distribute the points.

THANKS AGAIN!!!
-Paul
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12109481
Oh well I said You cannot Attach the DVD Drive to the RAID Controller Card.

I also Mentioned that you can connect the DVD Drive to the PCI IDE controller. Now that all is working fine... You are a Great Champ with lots of luck

Cheers
Sinu.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12109674
BAH! .. I spoke too soon.
System locks up regularly now, however i'm not as concerned as I was before because i have some interesting causes to the freezing.

I was down there while the computer was on, just checking to make sure everything was tip top before i put the cover back on, and i touched a grouping of the power cables near the lowest portion of the case, as soon as i touched them i could hear the HD stop spinning, and then i noticed that all the fans in the lower portion of the case stopped spinning also. I looked at the screen and the system had locked up, red HD activity LED was stuck on also, exactly as when it froze before.
I could not pinpoint which connections between these power connectors was the culprit .. it seemed that by jiggling any one of the connectors could make the HD loose power, even jiggling the back of the HD's power connector itself. It seems that if i dont touch anything down there or make any sudden movements .. the system runs fine for a while and eventually freezes.

This is obviously an issue with the power though and due to the isolation to the bottom of the case, i'm thinking theres only two possibilities??

-- Power supply is failing and cannot supply power to the furthest portions of the case where there are numerous fans and HDs
-- a loose power connector/connectors are breaking the circuit in the bottom portion of the case

So i'm pretty sure now that lock-ups are caused by the HD's actually loosing power. I'm going to monitor with a hardware monitoring program to watch for voltage differences; would that be the way to isolate if it was the PS itself failing or a loose connection? How could i determine that?

Thanks!
-Paul
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by:XSINUX
ID: 12109711
:))))))))))))))))))))))))
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by:nobus
nobus earned 150 total points
ID: 12109842
Open the case, unplug all cables and check them, reseat them afterwards. Check the 4-lead connectors, and reseat them in a different device if possible; pull slightly on the leads, as a connector pin can come loose.
You can also have a failing fan, so you can disconnect them one by one and replace them with a new one.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12111013
So basiclly I just want to know two more things:

-- How would I know if it was the PS itself that was failing as opposed to a fan or power connector?

-- Could I have suffered data loss from the constant on/off power to the HDs?

THANKS!
-Paul
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by:nobus
nobus earned 150 total points
ID: 12111095
If you replace the faulty power supply or the fan, the problem is gone - that is how you know.
You can have lost data, but what and how much depends on what it is doing at the time of power loss.
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by:Panther713
Panther713 earned 25 total points
ID: 12135430
It sounds like the PSU for sure. It would depend on the PSU, make, model, brand, etc. Some 350W PSUs can power all kinds of stuff while others will choke. I have one system that was having a problem with a 450W PSU and I needed it running ASAP. I couldn't wait for the new PSU to come in, so in the meantime, I put back in the original 350W PSU that I had replaced with the 450W because there are lots of things in this machine... Turns out, after doing some checking, the brand of PSU that was the 450W PSU was basically junk, but the 350W was a nice Antec... The 350W PSU handles things just fine. I bought a 430W Antec to put in this machine (I have a 430W Antec in my mirrored machine), but haven't even bothered because things are running fine and I don't have too much extra time. Anyway, sorry for the ramble... Replace your PSU with a top-brand that has some extra power to it.

Good Luck.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 12168562
Thanks everyone for your help! .. My computer has been running with absolutely no problems since trying your suggestions.

Thanks again for the time and effort you put into helping me fix those mutiple/complex problems!
-Paul

Points have been distributed.
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by:nobus
ID: 12168633
Glad to help you out !
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by:Panther713
ID: 12169238
Glad to hear your system is up and running... That's the important thing.
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by:senord
ID: 14282868
Ok,

So its been a while and i've let my computer run on multiple HD's .. taking the time to try and troubleshoot the problem.

I'm quite confident that its not the actual HDs that are causing the problem .. the only other option is the CPU or Motherboard thats shutting off the HD (onlyt the OS/C: drive is shutting on and off), but if the CPU was failing, would that cause only the C: drive to shut on and off?, i would think this is a motherboard/IDE controller problem from common sense, i wouldnt think that the CPU would have no control over the power to the HD.

I suppose it could be the RAM as well ..

Are there any methods for testing the CPU, motherboard, and IDE controllers? Please let me know!!! Thanks!

-Paul
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by:nobus
ID: 14282897
Hot cpu tester :              http://www.7byte.com/
cpu stability test :           http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,7146,00.asp
AMD cpu test :               http://www.wintotal.de/softw/index.php?rb=1038&id=470

motherboard and all :     http://www.passmark.com/download/index.htm      
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 14843391
yeah .. i tried Hot cpu tester - clean
cpu stability test - clean

new motherboard has been installed and problem persists ..

all HDs have been run through every software diagnostic i can find - all clean

every hardware diagnostic i've run - clean

i put the suspect HD into a different computer running the same OS (Windows XP) and it runs fine, no problems .. no switching/clicking on/off.

it seems that whatever HD i use as the primary drive (master) in my broken computer ends up failing/switching on and off. it seems that its not the HDs themselves, its not the motherboard.
whats left .. memory and cpu? must i replace every piece of hardware in my entire case to find out what the hell is wrong? .. i cant afford to purchase any more un-needed components.

i cannot begin to tell you how frustrating this problem has been for me .. we are approching (2 weeks) the 1 year anniversary of this question.

any advice would be very much appriciated.
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by:nobus
ID: 14843432
in this case, if you have still warranty, have a mobo replacement.
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Author Comment

by:senord
ID: 14843476
theres more to the story .. what a mess .. my latest comment was meant for another active question i had going .. my active question was deleted. and am currently asking what the hell happened in the feedback section.

thanks though nobus,

-Paul
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by:Panther713
ID: 14844013
If the PSU is strong enough (you never said whether it was replaced or not... and a power drop would cause plenty of problems as you describe), and you say the HD runs fine in another system...

Have you checked how hot the HD is getting? Heat is the bane of existence for electronic equipment. Most folks will watch case temps and cpu temps, but don't realize that a major source of heat is the HD. They can get HOT. When they do, some of them will thermally switch off. Is the HD mounted where a fan is blowing air right over it or tucked back into one of those areas beside a FD? If it's a SMART HD, then some monitoring SW will keep tabs of the temp, otherwise it might take putting a probe next to the HD. I've seen HDs get upto CPU temps and folks generally don't think about putting fans on HDs. WIthout the fan, they can get over 50C easily. Higher temps aren't uncommon. Sometimes the HD will be fine like that and other times...

Just an idea.
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