Can't install W2K SP4 - can install W98! Faulty A7N8X mobo???

This is my first attempt at building my own PC - why didn't I simply buy a Dell?

The problem:

When I try to install W2K SP4 the process just stops near the beginning.
On booting off the W2K CD, it shows a DOS-like screen with a bar at the bottom saying it's copying files (SCSI drivers etc). At the end of this, it says "Starting Windows 2000", and the machine freezes. It won't respond to CTRL+ALT+DEL, and I have to hit the reset button. I have tried waiting 2 hours, but still nothing happens.

However, it will install and run W98 with absolutely no problems, just using the W98 CD and no extra mobo drivers.

Other problems:

If I set the BIOS to Fast POST disabled, it runs up through all the memory, then it runs up through all the memory again ad infinitum. It never gets any further.
If I set the BIOS to Fast POST enabled, there's no problem.

The BIOS shows this information:

Mobo temp = 22C
CPU temp = 124C  4F - this is rubbish; the heatsink near the CPU feels barely warm
Heatsink fan speed = 0 rpm - this is rubbish, as the fan is spinning, and it has a 3-wire connector plugged into the correct mobo header.

The hardware:

- Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe nForce2 mobo. (new)
- GEIL 2 X 512 mb dual channel value PC3200 RAM. (new)
- WD 80gb Caviar drive. I know this is OK because I have used it in another machine.
- Athlon XP 2600+ (Barton) 333 FSB. Not overclocked. (new)
- ThermalRight SI-97  heatsink attached with Arctic Silver 5.
- Asus V9520-X/TD GeForce FX5200 128MB DDR TV-Out/DVI graphics card. I know this is OK because it works in another machine.
- Antec SLK1650B Black Quiet Mini Tower Case - 350W SmartPower PSU. (new)

I also have a new WD Raptor 36gb drive that I intend to use for the OS, but I have stopped trying with this for the time being, until I get the OS install problem solved on the Caviar drive.

I have flashed the BIOS to bring it up to the latest rev 1013. W98 OK, but still can't install W2K.

I know the W2K CD is good because I have recently used it for another install. The W2K CD is an original MS disk and includes SP4.

I have tried starting the W2K install from within W98, but the same thing happens.

I have tried setting the mobo jumper to disable SATA.

Nothing seems to work.

If W2K installation requires mobo drivers to be loaded at the start (F6), why does W98 install OK without these drivers?

This looks like a mobo problem to me, but what? Is there any software I can use to test it?
johniathomeAsked:
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stockhesCommented:
Hi Johniathome


>>
CPU temp = 124C  4F - this is rubbish; the heatsink near the CPU feels barely warm
>>
Heatsink should become warm otherwise its not doing its job, please check and realign

>>
Heatsink fan speed = 0 rpm - this is rubbish, as the fan is spinning, and it has a 3-wire connector plugged into the correct mobo header.
>>
doublecheck if its correct header, and also check if fan is supposed to to emit RPM's

>>
Other problems:

If I set the BIOS to Fast POST disabled, it runs up through all the memory, then it runs up through all the memory again ad infinitum. It never gets any further.
If I set the BIOS to Fast POST enabled, there's no problem.

>>

this indicates a problem !


I suggest testing your RAM

http://www.memtest.org

this will run off a bootable Floppy
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eatmeimadanishCommented:
I have seen this before with windows 2000.  It is usually due to memory latency settings being set too low.  You should pull back some of your settings (like CAS and other timing) and this should help.  98 will install because it runs in legacy mode for the most part.  2000 wants to access the machine in a real mode state and this is why you are seeing it crash.  I agree with the above, you seem to have a problem with your ram.  Pull one stick and see what happens...
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eccs19Commented:
If you have Win98 running, you can run this application.  It may confirm your CPU temp.  With AMD CPU's it's possible to get the heat sink on backwards, and therefore the heat's not getting away from your CPU. (overheat CPU = Big trouble)  If the heat sink is installed properly, and your still reading these temperatures, then it's possible your MB is no good. (if it's not reading the temperature right, then something else could be wrong.

I also agree with what was stated above, ram setting problems, or just bad ram.

http://www.lavalys.com/products/download.php?pid=1&lang=en&pageid=3
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johniathomeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the suggestions. Memtest and everest are both lovely little programs.

RAM PROBLEMS?

I am now 99% certain the RAM is OK, and the problem is elsewhere.

I have tried the following:

- Raised the RAM voltage from 2.6 to 2.7, as suggested on the Geil site.
- Tried each stick of RAM by itself in each of the 3 slots.
- Tried running one stick at the most relaxed timings the mobo will allow. It was running at 2-3-3-5 (mobo default), and I set it to 3-7-7-15.
- Ran memtest on one stick at 3-5-5-8 all night with zero errors reported. (I am now repeating memtest at 2-3-3-5 settings; the RAM is rated CAS 2.5, so I might get some errors, but it's still a worthwhile test.)

I also plan to try some high quality Corsair RAM over the weekend, provided I can get my hands on it.

OTHER PROBLEMS

CPU temperature:
Everest does not report this, although it does show the mobo temp being the same as reported by the BIOS. I assume the CPU temperature sensor is so far out that Everest is ignoring it.

If the CPU was actually running at 124C all night, as reported by the BIOS,  it would surely have fried by now? It feels warmish, but I am fairly certain the heatsink is seated properly.

I will try to get a program that will stress test the CPU - would pifast do it?

Fan speeds:
Everest reports sensible values for the CPU fan (1900 rpm) and the case fan (900 rpm), whereas the BIOS reports zero. Slowing the fans by hand is reflected in the fan speed reported by Everest, so this looks like a real mobo problem.

I will try to find a mobo stress test program and run it over the weekend.
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stockhesCommented:
Hi Johniathome

I think its return/RMA time for that motherboard. One place that should report correct temps is BIOS.
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eccs19Commented:
Besed on all the information you provided, I think my assumption of a bad MB is a good call.  Too many strange issues with it.  Even if that's not what's causing the issues with your W2K install, it still has problems.
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johniathomeAuthor Commented:
I have just tried another mobo of the same type and it works fine with my original RAM. So it has turned out to be a duff mobo after all.

Many thanks for the suggestions and links.

Both stockhes and eccs19 gave me useful links, and both confirmed my original suspicion, so I propose splitting the points equally between you both - OK?
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stockhesCommented:
Hi johniathome

Seems like a reasonable decision
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eccs19Commented:
No objection from me.
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johniathomeAuthor Commented:
PS...

It turns out the original mobo WAS doing a proper full POST - this mobo runs through all the memory 3 times in succession - I just wasn't  patient enough to wait  while it worked its way 3 times through all of 1gb .

However, the original mobo is sufficiently wrong for me to return it.

Now its RMA time, and we'll see how overclockers.co.uk respond!
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eccs19Commented:
Thanks for the points, and good luck with your RMA.
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