clicking noise before Athlon 7850 powers up

JohnDobson46 used Ask the Experts™
I've just fitted a new Athlon 7850 Black Edition processor to my Gigabyte M57sli-s4 motherboard. It all works fine except that when I switch on the pc there is a pause of about 12 seconds before the processor kicks in, and during that period there is a sustained clicking (short bleeps). Once it gets going there are no problems.

My Gigabyte manual suggests this is a power error (which I suppose is obvious), but I can't work out why. I have removed all hard drives to see if the power unit was overloading, but the problem still occurs.  As a test, I replaced my previous processor (Athlon 4600 dual core) and the problem went away.  

Any suggestions what's going on.  Does the 7850 Black Edition have any particular peculiarities I should know about?  Do I need to update the BIOS (though there seems to be no problem once I've got BIOS running).

My PSU is a Nesteq 520w, and the motherboard feeds 4 SATA Drives, a GeForce 8600gt graphics card, a Soundblaster XFI sound card and a TV Card - as well as printers, DVD etc via usb.

As my system otherwise appears to be working fine I'm worried that there may be trouble brewing if I don't sort this out.
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You might be having a problem with the 12v rail of the power supply, or it might be the VRMs/caps on the motherboard.
While both are 1.2--1.25 volts, there is a big difference in wattage.

the 4600 is listed as 65 watts

the 7850 is listed as 95 watts

Can you try to pinpoint the clicking with a papertowel tube (or something similar)?

This is what AMD has for recommended motherboards:

It looks like your mobo is using a 570 chipset, and the recommended has 780-790 chipsets
You might want to read the warnings about using an AM2+ cpu on your mobo: 

That's interesting... the 7850 isn't listed on the Gigabytes cpu chart, but several Phenom II 125 watt X4s, and other 95 watt Phenom IIs, are..
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Thanks for this.  

Two immediate problems: (a) Gigabyte seem to have chosen this weekend to rebuild their website so although I had a quick glimpse at your links this morning they have now vanished altogether  and Gigabyte have gone into temporary hiding!  (b) my technical understanding is fairly limited.  

However, I get the general point that there is a slight incompatibility between my new cpu and my mobo.  As the mobo is new (replacing a faulty, identical one), the thought of immediately having to replace it again is tedious.  The bottom line is how serious is this conflict?  Is there a real risk of damage to the new cpu if I continue to run with it for a while (say a month or two - it performs great once it boots up)?   Or do you reckon it's essential I look at a mobo upgrade as a matter of urgency?

Without hearing the noise, it's hard to say, but it's probably more likely to take out the mobo than the cpu.

I did some more poking around, and it might be the power supply. Yours looks like it has two 12volt rails, one @ 18a and the other @ 22a.
I couldn't find the spec for the suggested amp rating on the 7850, and 18a might be borderline. That's why I was interested in where to noise was coming from, to see if it gave me a clue.

One review I read used a PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500W power supply. This has a single 12v rail @ 35 amps.


Thanks again for the advice, which I have been mulling over.

Things came to a head this morning when my system refused to move further than the Motherboard logo - so I gave up and replaced my old processor (which I'm replacing because it was giving me a whole lot of other trouble). This at least gives me time to limp along while I look around for a full solution to the 7850 issue.

Just to recap on your notes (and to help me understand some of the technical stuff) -  Gigabytes warning about using an AM2+ cpu on the M57sli says that "the system bus speed will downgrade" but the "AM2+ frequency will not be impacted". Does that explain why it was hard to boot up, but once the system was going everything was fine?   In which case upgrading the mobo would sort out that aspect of the probem.

But then there is the PSU. From what you say I need to look for a unit that provides at least 35amps on its 12v rail.  Not all the specs I've looked at go into that sort of detail, but I'll keep looking.  

As to pinpointing where the clicks come from, I find it very difficult to isolate (without getting my ears burnt!!) but it seems to come from the same source as the bleep I get when the the chip is ready and starts to boot up.
>> ...using an AM2+ cpu on the M57sli says ...

Yeah, that one has me scratching my head also. The best I can figure, the cpu will run at it rated speed, but the "Hypertransport bandwidth" will not be as high as it could be.
This shouldn't affect the bootup though.

>> ...look for a unit that provides at least 35amps on its 12v rail...

Not really.
But if you get a chance, you can try a mutli-rail PSU with 20a or better on the primary 12v (the one that goes to the 20/24 and Aux connecters. Usually listed first), or a PSU with a single 12v rail with a hefty amp rating (at least 35amps).

What this would do is tell you if it is your PSU not giving the 7850 enough juice, or the mobo and cpu not playing nice together.

>> .. pinpointing where the clicks come from...

Any kind of tube will help with that. The cardboard tube from a empty roll of papertowels is great for this. So is part of a vacuum cleaner wand, a piece of 1"-1.5" PVC about a foot long, a cut down wrapping paper tube, etc.

If it IS coming from the buzzer, then "Gigabyte manual suggests this is a power error" from you first post is good, and it's not a Cap or VRM that's making it.


I've swapped back to my previous mobo and cpu for the time being (which seem to be working fine) but you've given me enough guidance to think about a proper upgrade sometime soon, using the 7850. Thanks.

Thank you much.    : )

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