Computer won't boot with new PCI USB cards when hardware is plugged into USB ports.

Dell Precision 340; Windows 2000 Pro

I've purchased and installed two different brands of PCI USB 2.0 cards. The case is the same for both cards. If nothing is plugged into the new USB 2.0 ports, the computer boots fine. Once booted, anything can be plugged-in and it works fine. With something plugged into a new USB 2.0 port, the computer won't boot. It gets hung in the middle of the Windows start-up screen.

The computer boots fine when something's plugged into the old USB 1.0 ports. I've moved the new card from one slot to another with no differnce.
tool_manAsked:
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Get a powered HUB, they don't cost much.
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rindiCommented:
There could be a problem with the PSU being too low powered. Does the same happen if you connect a powered USB Hub between the PC and the connected devices?
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
Don't have a powered USB hub to try. Is there any other test I can do?
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PUNKYCommented:
Check Dell website see if your system has new bios version to update? and your system has all service packs for windows 2000 pro in machine?
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nobusCommented:
check in the bios if it is set to boot from usb, and disable it
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
nobus- No option in BIOS to boot from USB.

nobus- I've installed the latest BIOS and chip set driver available from Dell and I've installed every Windows update from Microsoft. The various driver scanners report that my "Intel 82801BA PCI Bridge-244E" has a newer driver. I'm reluctant to change drivers that don't come from Dell for this computer unless we have a consensus that this is the problem.

rindi- Does the power thing make sense knowing that the problem doesn't occur when the same devices are plugged into the old USB 1.0 ports? Can the power requirements be more just because the device is plugged into a different port, the new USB 2.0 ports?
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nobusCommented:
what boot otions do you have? turn off every one, except from HDD
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rindiCommented:
The PCI card alone will use more power, and devices that are attached to it will also draw power. As it is an extra device it is possible that you are now exceeding what your PSU has been made for (or it can also have gotten old). During boot up power draw is more than in most other modes, so if your PSU is at it's limits it'll most likely crash then.

You could also try changing the PSU, but some Dell's use special versions.
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
I tried making the hard drive the only option for boot in the BIOS. No difference.

If I unplugged power to the secondary hard drive and it still wouldn't boot, would that prove the problem was not the PSU? The hard drive would have to consume at least as much power as the device that's plugged into the new USB board.

I'm still not clear how the sum of power consumed could be less for the system because the device was moved from the new PCI USB card to old USB ports.
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rindiCommented:
Not necessarily. The Hardrives don't get their power from the same outputs as the mainboard does.
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nobusCommented:
you can also contact Dell with your problem in a live chat :

http://support.euro.dell.com/support/topics/topic.aspx/emea/shared/support/chat/nl/hardware_chat?c=be&l=nl&s=gen


and check if a bios update fixes the problem
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
I installed the latest BIOS from the Dell website before posing this problem to the group. The BIOS is version A01 and it's dated 12/6/01.

Dell chat wanted me to change a setting in the BIOS that's not there or move the board next to the video card which I did but it didn't make a difference. They did tell me that "natively it does does not have  drivers for USB 2.0..." They suggested there was a MS update to take care of that but there's nothing I haven't installed.

So, before I go buy a powered USB hub, is there any new insight into what's going on?
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
I've eleminated essentially every issue and side issue leading up to the last option, spending money to eleminate a likely PSU overload. Before buying the AC powered USB hub I want to consider if the money would be better spent on a new PSU. As I learned, there are problems doing that with some Dell computers, probably including this one.

The Dell PSU model is NPS-250GB A REV: 01 and is a 250W item. The PSU calculator on the Antec webpage tells me I need between 300 and 350W but the largest direct replacement I find is 300W. I also found an adapter cable for a standard ATX PSU at http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/sku=dellconverter.

In addition to any general comments I'd like to know the following:
1. Is my PSU one that cannot be replaced by a standard PSU (without the adapter)?
2. Is this adapter appropriate for use with my motherboard and a standard ATX PSU?
3. Will there be any modifications required?
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PUNKYCommented:
Check space / room insise the case or find outside place that you place second PSU for system. Dell Pre (depend on tower model) you might have room for 2nd PSU.

Also check the motheboard see if there is second 20 pins power connector on board? If so, there you go.
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nobusCommented:
your system has a specific Dell PS :  http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ws340/smen/pwrsply.htm#1080045
what devices do you have on this PC? (that require so much power)
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
Nvidia Quadro2 Pro video card, sound card, network card, USB card, 2-HD's, CPU fan, PSU fan, USB scanner, 1.7 GHz Willamette processor, 2x256 rambus rdram.

My only indication as to actual power requirement is what the Antec PSU calculator gave me......
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nobusCommented:
that indicator should be fine.  i fear you should look for a better PS.  - or upgrade to a new PC
The fact that Dell uses proprietary devices, refrains  me from using Dell parts.
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
I'm proposing NOT using a Dell PSU. Hence, my questions 10/21/07.
New PC not an option.
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
I measured the AC current during boot. At no point did it ever reach 1.5A. That's about 180 watts. It seems likey the old 250 watt PSU would still be able to provide that. So, I'm not replacing the PSU.

I ordered USB hub with an AC power adapter.
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nobusCommented:
you can calculate the power you need here :  http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp      
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tool_manAuthor Commented:
With the AC powered USB hub in-place the boot problem goes away and the scanner works correctly in every way.

It still doesn't make sense, though. I know that the actual power draw at boot time is less than 70% of the PSU rating when the scanner is plugged into the new PCI USB 2.0 card. I know that there's no problem when the scanner is plugged into the old USB 1.0 port at boot time. I know that the scanner works fine if I wait to plug it into the new PCI USB 2.0 card until after the computer boots.

Those facts taken together seem to mean that the MB for some reason limits the amount of power available to the PCI slot to something more than it takes to fire-up the new PCI USB 2.0 card but less than the total required to power the scanner and fire-up the new PCI USB 2.0 card at the same time. It does this without respect to the total amount of power available.

Maybe rindi will enlighten me...
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nobusCommented:
>>   I know that the actual power draw at boot time is less than 70% of the PSU    <<  that is for a new one; how old is it, or how bad ?
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rindiCommented:
It's just that all devices use power and that adds up. Whatever is onboard will get the power before add-on boards, and as nobus says, a new PSU will rate better than an old one, they "age".
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