• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 193
  • Last Modified:

Unstable new build. Unable to diagnose issue.

Hello everyone, I'm having a very serious issue with a computer I built last Friday.

First of, the specs:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240
Memory:  GSkill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz
HDD: Seagate ST3500418AS 500GB SATA
PS: Corsair 400W

I re-used:

Maxtor 200GB drive PATA
DVD+-RW PATA

The main issue: I cannot install any OS. I get disc read and I/O errors with every media I've tried. Sometimes during different times. I tried installing Ubuntu 9.04 on my laptop and it works just fine. Because of this I thought at first it might be a failing DVD drive, since it was giving problems sometime ago too. I have no original media, but some of this dvd's are working on my laptop so.....

I tried the following already:

Replaced IDE cables and SATA cables.
Check jumpers on old HDD and old DVD drive.
Unplugged IDE HDD.
Replaced DVD drive, got a new SATA DVD drive.
Disabled AHCI, set it to legacy IDE.
Tried downloading linux ISO's multiple times with no luck.*
Played around with BIOS settings.
Tried with each memory module at a time.
Left memtest86+ running overnight.... No errors at all.
Updated the BIOS.

Nothing has worked so far. Nothing, nada :(. I had to install Ubuntu to an external drive, and then hook it up to my PC.  And that's what I'm doing ATM, but I've also noticed some odd behavior:

-At first, the bios stalled for 5 to 10 seconds in the "Detecting AHCI drives" screen. That doesn't happen anymore for some reason
-Sometimes, maybe 1 out of 20 reboots, I don't nothing more than a ñ and a blue box character on the screen.
-It takes a very long while for the monitor to get any signal from the DVI connector on the motherboard.

The weirdest part:

-I tried checking the md5 checksum of some Linux ISO using md5sum under linux. Every single time I did the test I go a different checksum.... yes, I have no idea wtf is this.
-I've tried downloading the same Ubuntu ISO several times now, everytime they are corrupted, every time I get different md5 checksums.
-For some reason I can boot from my external usb drive but I cannot boot from my USB pen drive.

I'm running out of ideas. This must be either the motherboard or the CPU.... but I have no idea and honestly I really don't have that much money to spend, that's why I got such a cheap CPU in the first place.

Any ideas at all?


0
cumanzor
Asked:
cumanzor
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • +1
1 Solution
 
Jon500Commented:
Not good...

Try removing one of your 2GB memory sticks and leave the other one (in bank0) there (in fact, swap them first just so you are forced to "re-seat" the remaining one in its slot). Try the process again. Mem Tests are notoriously flawed (in my opinion). If that too fails, remove the 2GB and swap it with the other. Be careful while removing and discharge yourself of static first by touching ground.

Let me know what happens.

Good luck,
Jon500
0
 
willcompCommented:
Good job troubleshooting so far.

Have you tried another power supply? Always rule out PSU -- they can and do cause some strange symptoms.
0
 
DavidCommented:
boot to a live linux disk and just see if the system runs and is stable overnight.  If so, then you can pretty much eliminate everything except for the disk controller up to and including the disk drives themselves.  

Since it doesn't detect the disk drives, then perhaps you can  test the disk by putting it in an external USB.  This tests disks but bypasses the internal SATA controller, power, and connector.
0
Free Tool: SSL Checker

Scans your site and returns information about your SSL implementation and certificate. Helpful for debugging and validating your SSL configuration.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

 
cumanzorAuthor Commented:
@Jon: I'll be right on that.

@willcomp: The only other PSU I have right now is an old 20 pin one.

While I try this, I'm also downloading Ubuntu 9.10 alternate installer on my laptop, burn it there and see what happens.
0
 
cumanzorAuthor Commented:
@dlethe:

I've been able to use Ubuntu from an external USB drive for days now. The only problem I'm having is what I described about the md5sum being different every time on the same file, and the fact that every ISO download I've tried is corrupted for some reason. Might be unrelated though.

I was also able to install a old testing version of Windows 7 (<7100) on the 500GB sata drive. Although it took a long while, it did work fine except that I couldn't install the chipset drivers, from the disk or from the internet (I concluded it could be related to that release of windows 7).

If the SATA controller is bad, I guess that means a new motherboard, right?

0
 
DavidCommented:
Corrupted ISOs on downloads is not uncommon, that is why they publish md5sums :)

If SATA controller is bad, just keep the motherboard, you can probably pick up a PCI-based SATA card for $25 or so.

0
 
DavidCommented:
As long as you may have to buy a SATA controller, get one that also has an eSATA port, that way you can upgrade to an eSATA external enclosure and then have no USB performance penalty.
0
 
willcompCommented:
A 20 pin PSU will work just fine provided it has aux 12V CPU power and sufficient power.
0
 
cumanzorAuthor Commented:
@dlethe: This MB also has a eSATA port.... I suppose it uses the same controller as the internal sata ports, is this correct?

@willcomp: ok, that's actually good news! I'll check the old PS in a sec.

I have some news. I took on module out, tried installing again with the same media that failed many times already. It wen't trough at once.... hmmm.

I do have the old IDE drive unplugged also and unplugged/plugged every cable/connection.

I want to try swapping this module with the other one, reinstall and see what happens.

Still having this annoying issue with the DVI port... and the ISO I just downloaded in my laptop isn't matching the md5 checksum on the site. I'm going to try another mirror.
0
 
DavidCommented:
The MB uses same chip controller for eSATA, but different physical connectors, so it is worth trying, especially if you have an eSATA enclosure.
0
 
cumanzorAuthor Commented:
Guys, I swapped the RAM module, and the installation failed 3 times in a row. Placed the 1st one back in, and it installed on the first try again.

I'm almost completely sure that the it is failed module. What do you guys think?

Damn it.... I already tossed the box they came in, not very bright I know. What's newegg policy on this?

Thank you guys! REALLY, thanks a lot!
0
 
Jon500Commented:
NewEgg is pretty good about returns. I think they would work with you if you buy a new one of the same brand, etc., and use the new one's box for your RMA return. You should talk to a manager at NewEgg if you are thinking about returning without the box. Then, again, if it is defective and they know you bought from them, I personally don't think they will care whether it has a box or not--they will not try to resell it.

Regards,
Jon500
0

Featured Post

Keep up with what's happening at Experts Exchange!

Sign up to receive Decoded, a new monthly digest with product updates, feature release info, continuing education opportunities, and more.

  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • +1
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now