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ASUS P4P800-E Deluxe > BIOS Setup Keeps Getting 'Lost'

Posted on 2006-11-19
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi all ... If willing persons are able to bounce ideas around with me to help troubleshoot this issue it would be appreciated.

The issue I've got is that the BIOS information keeps getting lost at startup. Has only just started to happen and occurs about 7 / 10 starts.

Messages are either "Overclocking Failure - F1 setup / F2 load defaults" OR it will just boot to the wrong drive, where upon I inspect the boot order and all previous changes have been reset to default anyway. Sometimes it will get past post screen and just lie in black screen limbo - but this later symptom has only happened a handful of times and I expect it may be secondary to whatever the main problem is.

I have replaced the MB battery and later, reset CMOS and setup again after these problems first started to occur.

Setup = P4P800-E Deluxe / P4 3.0 / 1.5g / 2 x SATA WDD 120, 1 x IDE WDD 350 / 2 burners / 500W PSU.
SATA's - 1 x XP Pro boot (3rd Master), 1 x partitioned storage(4th Master), IDE - partitioned storage(Prim Slave), burners set to secondary M & S.
Other devices are installed (i.e. media readers, capture cards, etc) but I won't bog you down with them unless you think it specific.
The 3rd Master is the only device in the boot order.
I have cleaned and inspected board, no bulging capacitors, etc ....
Hardware diagnostics suggest all is fine.

This box has given me no trouble to date .... so what do you think? Over to you and thanks for your help in advance. Cheers - brinkerz.

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Speedster1978 earned 150 total points
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What brand is your power supply and have you tested it lately?
I had major problems lately with Antec power supplies combined with ASUS motherboards...

You might want to try swapping out with a different power supply, something such as a Cooler Master, Seasonic, or another good quality name brand.

I've had this error many times with ASUS boards and Antec power supplies until I stopped using Antec totally.

Try replacing the power supply and hopefully your problems will go away...
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by:DAQLD
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I'm not sure of the brand as I sit here (can check tonight) but I'd be quite certain it's not an Antec .... if anything it'd be generic 'box and ps combo'.

I will try and chase up pricing on these brand suggestions in the mean time.
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by:DAQLD
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Zalman brand ok?
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by:smiffy13
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I suspect that something has gone wrong with your motherboard that is either draining your BIOS battery or is just not providing enough power to retain the BIOS information.
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by:yessirnosir
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From an Asus forum post
"The overclocking error appears to be due to the inability of the BIOS program to properly read the CPUID.  Sometimes this can be remedied by entering the BIOS, go into 'Jumper Free Configuration' and set the 'AI Overclock Tuner' to 'Manual'...  Then enter the proper CPU (External) Frequency for the processor you are using.  Save and exit.  This relieves the BIOS program from having the read the information and interpret it. "

That doesn't explain why this would suddenly be a problem if it wasn't before, but sounds like an easy thing to try in any event.

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by:yessirnosir
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A thread with similar symptoms:
http://www.motherboardpoint.com/showthread.php?t=86804&highlight=overclocking+failure
no definitive answer in that one, but a lot of fingers seem to point towards failing power supplies.
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by:Speedster1978
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Zalman should be good for a power supply, they make excellent CPU coolers, so would think their power supplies would be good as well...

ASUS motherboards have been very picky as far as RAM and Power Supplies go... this doesn't seem to be a RAM issue as much as a power supply...

Try changing the power supply out with another brand, good name brand, and see how things go... problem should go away...

Strange that your generic gave you problems... I had the same problem with an Antec, but my generic test power supply worked flawlessly... ended up putting a Cooler Master in the box and it has been running great for quite some time now...

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by:DAQLD
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yessirnosir .... thanks for that link. It looks vaguely familiar in my googling the issue, think I may have seen similar problems reported there. Within that link, posts #4 paragraph 1 and #5 are both relative to me also, in as much as I have experienced both of these. The HDD light on all the time I would appear to have resolved by reseating the IDE cable - but the power issue is there i.e. having to press / hold the button in to power down > remove power lead > press hold button to discharge power > plug in > reboot > redo bios > and away we go again.

This procedure is not a constant but it is something that is having to be done.

I also note the mention within the postings on that link of an overheating PSU - we in the course of troubleshooting yesterday and therefore, handling the case I did notice the top / rear of the case warm - not burning but warmer than I'd expect to the touch. But as I don't go touching my case all the time, I had nothing to compare it to. I also have a small paper tray that sits on top of the box and I just assumed it may have been warm because of that.

But perhaps ?????

I had always had the impression that ASUS boards were reliable - is this not the case? Are there other recommendations out there - i.e. not crap but not super top end either? Problem now though is getting a socket 478 board!
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S'1978 ... would you think a 500w sufficient given specs listed and extra's i.e. HD tuner card, media reader, capture card
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by:Speedster1978
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A 500w is more then sufficient... have a 450 myself running 2 raptors in a raid array, with 2 caviars in a raid array, 2 burners, 7800 video card, and a PCI sound card, running great...

ASUS boards are reliable boards, just a lot more picky it seems then something like say Intel. I use Intel and Asus all the time for customer systems, and they have both given me years of great service.

If you don't already have one, a power supply tester, available online for around $20, is a great item to add to your arsenal of testing equipment. It lets you know if all the voltages are outputting properly, as well as if the power on voltages are correct and within specs...

Let me know if you have any other questions!
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by:DAQLD
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I'm assuming here that even if I cannot get my hands on a new PSU tonight - ANY PSU is realistically going to suffice for testing purposes?
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by:Speedster1978
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I would try a better quality brand of sufficient wattage and see if the problem goes away...

It is preferred you test it with a name brand, quality power supply... yet if you can't get a good name brand, at least get a different brand then you are using now...

You also might want to try unplugging the drives, and see if the error message still comes up... the current power supply might be having issues...
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by:DAQLD
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S'1978 ... link to Zalman I referred to earlier for your interest ...

http://www.coolpc.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1371
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Wow, that is a nice power supply, as well as quite pricey...

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=370779 is one I have used many times before, worked great... and is a lot less...
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by:yessirnosir
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like speedster said, a lot of Asus boards seem to be finicky about the quality of the power.  I've had one of my own systems fail that fit Speedster's description:  Asus board with Antec power supply.    Frankly, I've had great success with dirt-cheap ECS boards, although most people cringe when they hear that name.  And I've had a couple of high-end boards die with the leaky capacitor issue, which affected just about every brand.    I just don't think there are any objective measures of motherboard quality out there, so I usually just buy based on price and features and hope for the best!
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I agree, have had great luck with the ECS motherboards, usually purchased with a CPU from Frys as a combo deal... they may be cheap and "throw-away" to most, but have actually worked great for me many times...

Off-brand products are not always poor quality... some are excellent just not the heavily marketed name brands, so others may not have as much faith in them, QC may not be as high, but the majority of time they are still great products...

Power Supplies can be generic and work great for the life of a PC, same way that a brand name can fail right away on a new PC... you never know... but in your case, would just get a good quality power supply with a good warranty, and see how things go, and hopefully that will resolve your BIOS issue, I know that it has resolved mine on many occasions...

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S'1978 - just contacted vendor and I'm told this one will be ample for what I need ....

http://www.coolpc.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=17&products_id=1319

re: pricing - these prices are in AUD.

Yessirnosir - you are right too ... I had and ECS board that was popping capacitors like zits ... someone today suggested Ausrock brand of board to me because "they're bullet proof and made by ASUS AND they still do new 478's" .... go figure.
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That looks like a good power supply, and with the pricing being in AUD instead of dollars, makes a little more sense :)

Try this and it should resolve things... let us know otherwise if not... at least if nothing else, you are getting a better power supply for your system than that generic, which WILL help to prevent other issues, such as random reboots, lockups, and what not, that you can't really pinpoint sometimes, but usually is because of bad power...
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by:nobus
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ok some answers to your questions :
>>  would you think a 500w sufficient      calculate the power you need here : http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp      
>>  I had always had the impression that ASUS boards were reliable   <<  they are among the most reliable i know, together with some other like intel and MSI - imho ECS is far lower quality
>>   I did notice the top / rear of the case warm   <<  if you suspect the cpu heats up too much, look in the bios at the cpu temp; here a guide :  http://www.heatsink-guide.com/content.php?content=maxtemp.shtml
If you want it cooler, use a zalman like these :
http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/code_list.asp?code=009

now, if the bios pops up (from a bad cpuid reading or other) that could be caused also by a too high temp, or by not saving the settings properly. If it keeps repeating, check the bios battery voltage, it should be 3 V. if it drains fast (less than 2 years) you have a problem with the mobo.
I have not heard yet Asus boards having problems with a power supply, but i heard a lot about bad power supplies, and brands.
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by:DAQLD
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Ok, well that was fun ...

Yessirnosir, the suggestion that came from the Asus forum? Easy to do yes - but it's taken me over an hour to get the pc back up and running again.
Would not boot > had to clear the COS to get to bios again > coutless resets > wouldn't find sata drives ... but we got there. So that's a no to that one.

Nobus - thanks for the wattage link calculator; I second your thoughts re ASUS boards; I'm not concerned about the cpu temp and I'm already running a Zalman copper device similar to those in that link. The heat in the top / rear of the case I was describing is immediately above where the PSU sits. Sorry if I wasn't clearer.

I'm not sure what I'm thinking about all this now ... I'm reluctantly going to purchase a new PSU on speculation with the outlook that I can always run it in the 'new box' if I end up going that way.

Anybody had any ASUS warranty dealings (assuming it's the mb)?

Alternatively, I'm open to suggestions of cpu / mb / ram upgrade ...... or is this going to branch out into another thread and in turn break a rule or two?
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p.s. In typing the above, the onboard LAN just decided to drop the connection ..... handy to have a pci lan already installed !
(shaking head in despair ...)
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by:Speedster1978
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Like you, I had the same doubts that it was the power supply... but one thing you mentioned, how the top/rear of the case is warmer where the PSU sits, same thing in my situation where I was getting these errors...

Changed out that power supply long ago, and it hasn't popped up that error message once...

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by:yessirnosir
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ouch!  sorry about the bios problems.

you said you're not worried about CPU temp; have you checked the temps to make sure?  I've got one system here with a perhaps similar silent Zalman copper cooler that over about 2 years gradually experienced an increase in CPU operating temp of about 5 degrees C, partly due to lint collecting on the fins, and part I think to deterioration of heat transfer compound.  Cleaning and replacing the heat transfer compound put things back to original state.

at the risk of sending you into another BIOS problem, one solution I used with a problem system (a super-hot running Athlon XP 2100) was to force UNDERclocking in the BIOS.  In that particular case, it was the only way I could get the system to boot.  It's hardly the kind of root-cause solution I'd like to suggest, but it might buy you some system stability.


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Yeah, if you have the Zalman cooler that I think you have, then it works great, but as yessirnosir said it DOES collect dust over time, and needs to be blown out and good changing of compound always helps...

Also, have you tried one stick of RAM at a time, to see if your RAM has any faulty segments?
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Morning Gents ....

This mornings startup procedure from cold start as follows -
Power on > Boot to black screen > Force power off > Remove power cord > Discharge case power > Reboot > Power to black screen > Force power off (cord left in) > Reboot > Asus splash screen > Overclocking error > F2 load defaults > Boots to OS Drive ok.

Definate sound from PSU - like a hissing sound .... bit like a mozzie in a mozzie zapper :) ... that sort of thing. Confirming also NOT a Antec brand PSU.
(This sound will 'flutter' if say my list of favourites is scrolling .. so as the highlight passes over the favourite entry - you can hear this sound 'fluttering' in time - does that make sense?)

In searching further last night, I came across this link at an Aust site .... http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=630223 .... his mb is all but the same as mine and the link within this forum link to his photo is quite interesting. Perhaps something similar on the way? Who knows ... yet another theory.

Confirming fins on Zalman clean and ok - I have a clean case fettish nearly (well not quite) but it's fine - only done just the other day. Compound I did go to renew but alas, couldn't find it, so I have the intention of renewing anyway.
I think from what I can recall from last night - cpu was at about 54 deg c at 2000 rpm Zalman fan speed - but don't quote me exactly. (What is an ideal fan rpm anyway?) This Zalman model as the external control ... not an LED setup or anything fancy.

Talking of dust - PSU theory number 'sixty five' is that I've been doing some renovation work of late and whilst every effort was made to cover computer - inevitabley sanding dust was going to find it's way into the PSU.

So I think my train of thought at this time is a) new PSU .... b) track down motherboard perhaps or look at using this as a 'forced' opportunity to do a bit of an upgrade and your suggestions there would be appreciated. (I've been in the world of 'new born babies' for around 9 - 12 months now and I really feel out of the loop of all the lastest gear i.e. dual cores bla bla bla ....)

You're probably asleep now - so I'll get ready for work and talk to you later. Thanks v much for your continuing interest.
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Interesting fried motherboard photo...    

That "flutter" description sounds vaguely familiar -- is it possible that it is actually coming out of your speakers?  I get a weird background hissing/crackling sound whenever I move my mouse.  Most of the time my volume is low enough that I don't notice it, but if I crank the volume it is quite noticeable, and clearly associated with any mouse movement, including the scroll wheel.  I've never really gone after it, but have assumed it is some kind of cross-talk between my mouse cable and my speaker wires.   Could that be the same noise you are hearing?

54 C sounds fine.  My heat troubles have always been above 60 C.   The right fan speed is as low as you can get away with!   I keep mine at about 1500 most of the time, and then crank it up to max (which is still only about 2200 I think) when I'm rendering video.

I guess there could be worse outcomes from this saga than a shiny new dual core motherboard!  But most of the boards are PCI-E and DDR2, so a broken motherboard ends up prompting purchase of mobo, cpu, video card and memory too, which so far has been enough of a disincentive to keep me away.  I've seen tempting ads for an ECS P4M800PRO-M http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813135027 that supports Core Duo, but has AGP and DDR support as well, and if my current mobo died tomorrow I'd probably have a closer look.  But then again, why hobble a new system with old parts...  tough decisions!
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by:DAQLD
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I too know the noise that you are referring to but no, this noise is definately coming from the psu for sure.

There is a brand of board that I've always associated with cheap build boxes but from what I've read about them, my impression is that they are actually quite a good board (relative to cost I assume). Good news is that they also still do new 478 boards, so my hardware doesn't become redundant and I can perhaps get another year or two out of my current setup and then revisit the upgrade at a later time with whatever will be the new technology then.
My preech to people that ask me about computers is that "they're only no good when they stop doing what you want them to do for you"  ... current issues aside of course. Basically saying, you don't have to keep up with current trends unnecessarily.
My box still does what I want it to do, so perhaps this is a viable step in the interim should the installation of the new psu prove not to correct the issue.

Tough decisions as you say .... just working it all out ..... either way, the new psu will be transportable, so I'll do that step first and come back in the next day or so and let you know what the outcome was.

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by:Speedster1978
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You don't really need to invest in a dual-core or Core 2 Duo, just to be at the latest and greatest if your current setup is working good... but you DO need a reliable system... with a new power supply making sure that happens...

Let us know how that new power supply works out...
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by:nobus
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first : if your Pc is dusty or sandy : blow it out with a can of air, - don't forget the PSU !
>>Definate sound from PSU - like a hissing sound <<  if still this sound, replace the PSU.
did you check your BIOS battery as i asked?
you can also try a bios flash
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by:DAQLD
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Nobus - thanks for the cleaning tip just the same but I'm well and truely conversant with cleaning the pc.
"did you check your BIOS battery as i asked?" ....... you did suggest to check the battery voltage which I can confirm is fine, however you will have read that I did note the replacement of the battery in my initial post for assistance. "you can also try a bios flash"  ........ other forum posts that I have come across suggest that bios update does not affect this issue and as such, I won't be persuing it at this time. I do not wish to cloud the symptoms further just at the moment.
"if still this sound, replace the PSU" ...... as posted, this is already under way (i.e. goods are on order)

Hope that brings you up to speed, thanks again.
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>>    the battery voltage which I can confirm is fine, however you will have read that I did note the replacement of the battery in my initial post for assistance   <<  True, but a faulty board can drain the battery quick, that is why i asked to confirm.
>>   other forum posts that I have come across suggest that bios update does not affect this issue   <<  a good reaction on your part, you should NORMALLY not flash without need.  However, this a case where it comes from the bios, or the board, and a possible solution is a bios flash. I want you to note i am always reluctant for advising a bios flash, since it CAN render the mobo useless. In this case, it can present the only solution though

thanks for answering my post in such detail; i hope i can be of further assistance.
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It's almost a case of 'what came first - the chicken or the egg' ..... i.e Is a poor PSU hindering the board OR is the board hindering - period!

So, plan of attack is this - PSU as described in http://www.coolpc.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=17&products_id=1319 has been ordered.

I have purchase this socket 478 board http://www.albatron.com.tw/english/it/mb/specification.asp?pro_id=193 just today.

Install PSU > prove / disprove faulty ASUS board ...... If faulty > install new 478 board.

ASUS board goes back under warranty (and on principle) > no pressure or downtime to me whilst away.

If ASUS not faulty > then I have some redundancy in the new board whilst it was still available to be purchased .... and I have a transportable PSU for this setup and for the next upgrade ------- which I have been advised to sit tight for six months (give or take) in light of quad cores coming out v soon and then in time dual cores will drop in $$. Makes sense to me even if I can't fully appreciate the impact of the technology.

At the end of the day, for 300 AUD with some change, I expect to be up and running again with an element of redundancy with the outlook being for another year or two perhaps? Have Ghosted everything tonight, will run the repair install and hopefully all should be honky dory ..... but alas, we won't get ahead of ourselves.

Be in touch ....
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by:nobus
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ok - waiting
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by:Speedster1978
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Good Luck, let us know :)
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by:DAQLD
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Still waiting for PSU to come into stock - bear with me.
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Hi all ... thanks for bearing with me.

Ok - have installed the PSU as described in http://www.coolpc.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=17&products_id=1319.
Whilst in there, I have also replaced the all the drive cables with some round AC Ryan's to a) tidy it up & b) renew the connections from the board ........ cleaned and recompounded the cpu to fan ..... and it's just like a new one now. Plus I have a new 478 board for redundancy should I need it. (Gotta be positive! :) )

So after a couple of days running and restarting, etc - I'm happy to report that at this time - all would see to be working properly and the problems have not returned.

And that's just beaut !

So in closing, thanks to you all for your assistance in bouncing this around with me. I've carved up the points between S'1978 & Yessirnosir as I felt you were both worthy of recognition. Nobus, thanks for you contributions to this effort also ... I could not allocate points to you I'm sorry as I felt this would dilute the efforts of S'1978 and Yessirnosir. Tis difficult to accommodate everyone, perhaps next time. Thanks again.
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thanks for the update and the points... glad to hear things worked out.   It's amazing how many different symptoms ultimately get traced back to a bad power supply.
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We live and we learn as they say ... after nearly seven years of admin / building boxes / etc ... this is dead set the first time I've come across a situation where I've needed to replace the PSU as being at fault. First time for everything I guess ...!
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Sounds like me, I've never had problems with PSUs this bad until recently... guess the new Motherboards are a lot more picky about power then in the past...

One thing you might want to buy is a PSU Tester... they are cheap, around $20 US and work great...

I've actually found a few bad PSUs now from using those... easy way to troubleshoot in the field...

Glad to hear your working great!
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