Help! Cannot enter Setup (BIOS) ASUS Rampage II Gene

New Rampage II Gene, new 3 x 2GB Crucial Ballistix (BL25664BN1608-16FF 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 1.65V) other parts used (tested/taken from other system) - Intel 940, Noctua heatsink,
misc. Seagate SATA disks, eVGA NVidia 8800GS, LG SATA DVD, and Antec 850W PSU.

There is an issue with the LCD poster showing ‘Locked’ (normal first stage of the power up, but it gets stuck there). Used BIOS reset on the back of the board to clear this. System boots OK, goes thru POST (mem check, cpu check, init VGA, init USB, etc.) - all looks OK. Memory count is shown on POST screen.

Screen shows ‘press F1 to Enter Setup / F2 to set BIOS defaults and continue’…

Press F1, and it says ‘WAIT’ on screen (LCD poster shows EN SETUP - diagnostic code for EN SETUP in the user guide says ‘OK to enter setup’) It just hangs there with WAIT on screen. Tried rebooting and pressing F2 - system seems to boot OK (no disk/OS connected), but when restarting thereafter, it hangs. So I reset the BIOS, restart - F1 hangs on WAIT as before, and F2 gets stuck on reboot.

Used ASUS USB utility to flash the BIOS from 1104 (as supplied) to 1202 (claims to improve CPU support)

Reboot system, same problems as above.

BIOS chip is a plugin -  I’ve tried reseating it. Have used MemOK button, tried single 2GB stick in blu slots.

Able to connect DVD drive, and hard disk, press F2 and start Windows install, but cannot Enter BIOS setp to change settings.

Problem - cannot enter BIOS setup - system hangs, need to reboot.
hornetsnestAsked:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Did you try a different keyboard?  
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hornetsnestAuthor Commented:
Yes, I did try another keyboard - both using PS/2 connectors.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Just for grins, does your PC support USB keyboard ?   It is a long shot, but the keyboard sends out a bunch of pulses, so if your UART is questionable, a USB-attached keyboard can bypass all of it.  But, gut feeling, your time will be better served running motherboard diagnostics, because not much more you can do.  (To confirm, did you remove the battery for 5 mins or so to force a true motherboard bios reset?_
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AIC-AdminCommented:
just for fun have you tried removing the BIOS battery for a couple of minutes?  You will loose time on the system but it may be worth a shot.  
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hornetsnestAuthor Commented:
Yes, I removed the battery - not bothered by time settings at the moment. WRT motherboard diagnostics, what do I need to do?
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hornetsnestAuthor Commented:
Have just tried a USB keyboard, again, it hangs on WAIT when pressing F1.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
Then go through making sure you have qualified / correct memory, unplug external peripherals, try just a single memory board, and eliminate or confirm problem as you move things around.   (Unless you have a commercial motherboard testing kit).
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hornetsnestAuthor Commented:
Strictly speaking the memory is not on the QVL, but its marked as 'compatible' on the Crucial Website. The board also has a MemOK button, which reconfigures memory settings on the fly to get a bootable config. I've tried a single stick. I can get into Windows. Maybe I need to do that, and run some memory testing utilities? Is there any way the CPU Rev/microcode could be causing a problem with compatibility? This seems like a BIOS problem, but it flashed OK, and the board POSTS OK too.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
There are numerous published bugs dealing with certain Intel CPUs, firmware, and chipsets. This is always a possibility.  Current firmware is almost always a good idea too.  Vast majority of the time a firmware update fixes a bug, rather than introduces new functionality.  They have your money, they don't need to add features .. they need to fix bugs.
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nobusCommented:
that ram runs at 1.65 V : http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=BL25664BN1608
is your board set to that?
otherwise, i would return the board, and ask a warranty replacement !
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hornetsnestAuthor Commented:
The MemOK button on the motherboard tunes memory settings to enable boot. I did notice MemOK set to 10666, and not 12800. As for the voltage settings, I don't know what MemOK does, but I cannot get into BIOS (the basic problem) to set the memory voltages. So I don;t know what memory voltages are in use.

That said, last night I ran Memtest from a boot CD - with absolutely no errors. And I can run Linux from a Live CD - again no problems. ASUS said to RMA the board, but I wonder if it is a memory problem, or CPU Rev/microcode problem. I'd like to try another CPU/memory before RMA'ing the board, if I can get hold of any. Incidentlaly, I had memory problems on a Gigabyte board using Corsair Dominator before - so I know i7 systems can be fussy about components.
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nobusCommented:
that seems a good working path to follow.
post results
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DavidPresidentCommented:
if ASUS says to RMA the board, give them the benefit of the doubt that they know more about this than anybody else. I wouldn't spend any more time on this. As I posted early on, run motherboard diagnostics.   ASUS is going to replace the motherboard and it is going to cost them money, so that is your confirmation that the diagnostics failed.  Let them replace the motherboard and you can spend your time not worrying about it for now.  

If Asus thought it was a chip or memory problem, then they wouldn't necessarily be willing to lose the profit they make from 10 motherboard sales to replace yours :)
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hornetsnestAuthor Commented:
Fair comment. I think I'll RMA to make sure I get a good board, then sort out compatibility.
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DavidPresidentCommented:
it is best, If you're like me, you are more interest in the challenge is higher than the degree of frustration. (Which is why some people spend hours/week doing crossword puzzles)  
Besides, I expect ASUS creates some specific messages in their embedded log file that diagnose memory faults, and if you talked to a technician that made you explain exactly the chain of events, and took down part numbers of CPU and such, then rest assured they didn't do the RMA w/o a good reason.  

The guys who answer the support line are typically rated on how much kit comes back with a "no problem found".  Motherboard manufacturers operate with skinny margins, so they need to get problems solved the first time.  Now you can move on, and I am sure you have plenty of other problems to worry about.
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