View Full Version : Asus p4s800d-e, Radeon 9800XT, misery

12-10-2004, 08:14 PM
I built my first computer about 2 months ago, it worked fine for a while and then there started to develop some problems. Its an Asys case not sure on the PSU wattage 300+ for sure maybe 400+ I'll check it if you deem neccessary. Pentium 4, 3.2 ghz I believe, the aforementioned motherboard and graphics card, seagate 160 gb SATA HD; I think that's everything important.

Anyways there are a few problems. It started out as the computer crashing, from the desktop, from in games, from any place really, the crashes were of 2 sorts. First I got the message that windows xp had temporarily lost contact with or was unable to read my harddrive. These were not frequent enough to warrant my doing something about them. Happening more frequently, however, were crashes where the screen would get weird vertical banding and the computer would shut down. Sometimes when I rebooted it, it cited the radeon card as the cause of the troubles, I downloaded the new drivers and it seemed to help for a week and a half and then the problem started again, and increased in frequency to the point of intolerability.

Now to the reason I'm here. I opened up the case and reseated some stuff, made sure the video card was in tight (it had come loose before), reseated the RAM, ensured the connection to the HD was tight, made sure the power cords were tight. But the problems were much worse after that. Now its at the point that, if the computer starts, and thats a big if, it tries to run chkdsk. Now if I run chkdsk, it crashes on the index checking section, usually after 30 to 40% if that holds any significance. If I skip chkdsk, it maybe makes it to the windows login screen and then crashes.

I won't bias you with my opinions on what it might be until such time as they may prove neccessary. Thanks in advance for any help you provide.

Murray P
12-10-2004, 08:26 PM
Hi Mercenary, welcome to PF1.

I'll keep you entertained until the real hardware peeps happen by.

Find out the voltage of the PSU, what peripherals do you have attached to your machine, printer, scanner, USB hub, etc,?

What sort of heat are you producing and what sort of cooling do you have?

Anti-static precautions taken>

BIOS and mother board driver versions?

Were all the parts new or were some 2nd hand/reused (don't forget to consider cables)?

Do you have the Seagate Disk Wizard and Seatools utility to test the drive.

XP version and SP status. Antivirus and firewall status?

Cheers Murray P

Pete O\'Neil
12-10-2004, 08:52 PM
Did you plug in the 9800XT's extra power connector? It would be a good idea to find out what brand of PSU and what its wattage is, a cheap 300-400w PSU probably wont cut the mustard and would cause instability problems.

Is your P4 a Northwood or Prescott? Prescott are notoriously hot, if you havent installed the HSF properly or have insuffcient case cooling it could be overheating and cause instability.

From what i can tell from the limited infomation on the ASUS website your motherboard's SATA support is provided by a third party controller, these are notoriously dodgy, causing more problems than i have socks. Try updating your SATA drivers to the latest version.

I'd be willing to bet that your problems are caused by a crappy PSU and immature SATA drivers.

12-10-2004, 09:19 PM
hi .as pete says try not to use any asus software as its usually full of bugs.go to the ati web site for drivers latest cat is 4.9 i have heard the 9800 xt is a bit power hungry ,you do need a good psu.

13-10-2004, 10:15 AM
Its a Northwood. Not sure on winxp version, service pack 2 I believe. But before we get to any of that the main thing right now is getting the computer started so I can actually download/install the various neccessary drivers. I power it on and it powers off within seconds. What is that about?

Pete O\'Neil
13-10-2004, 10:26 AM
It could possibly be overheating, the P4's turn themselves off if they get too hot. Did you install the CPU yourself or did someone do it for you? Are you using the stock cooler?

The easist thing to do when a PC wont boot is take it all out of the case and put it on the bench. And try to get the system to boot with the bare minimum hardware e.g CPU, Mobo, RAM, PSU, KB, mouse and screen. Then slowly start adding in things like HDD's and CD-ROM's.

Once youve got it out of the case make sure there nothing that could be causing the mobo to short. Alot of cases use small brass standoffs to keep the case from touch the mobo, if one of these is installed in the wrong place it could be causing problems.

13-10-2004, 12:50 PM
Cant believe I almost forgot one of the most serious problems amid all the other myriad difficulties. Sometimes when it crashes it does a voice post "System failed CPU test" I looked it up on the internet but didn't find anything applicable to my situation, any thoughts?

13-10-2004, 01:22 PM
Ok I unplugged the HD and that caused the computer to start correctly and I was able to use the bios for a while. I then checked the voltages to see that they were normal (they are), I also noted my PSU is 450w. Funny thing is, i replugged the HD and I am at this moment using the offending computer.

Is it now safe to conclude its software issues and I should just get drivers. Or is the hardware still suspect? I doubt its a heat issue as I actually suspected that earlier, went and bought thermal paste (cuz i didn't remember applying any in the first place) and found there to be thermal paste, correctly applied, between my chip and the heatsink; the fan is correctly attached and runs etc. Also I have MBM5 and checked using BIOS and the heat lvls for video card as well as mobo and case are all fine. I'm kind of anxious about downloading yet more drivers because I had a friend who downloaded the wrong drivers and was in for seriously bad times. From ATI the catalyst 4.9 is all I need? No additional asus drivers or anything? I'm also terrified to run chkdsk because it crashes so frequently on that before.

Thanks a lot for the help so far.

Pete O\'Neil
13-10-2004, 01:37 PM
It does sounds as if you HDD is slowly dying, but if everythings working then it would be a good idea to upgrade your drivers. Go to the SiS website and get the latest drivers for your chipset (655TX), and get the latest Catalyst from the ATi site. Im not the biggest fan of the 4.9's i prefer the 4.7's or 4.8's, but it doesnt really mattter which ones you get.

What SATA ports are you using for your HDD? Are you using the SATA ports provided by the SIS 964 south bridge? or the ports provided by the SiS 180 SATA controller?

What brand of PSU do you have? I dont care what the wattage is, a good brand 350w is far far better than a crap brand 450w.

13-10-2004, 01:46 PM
Lets see here is what catalyst says I have software wise:

Driver Packaging Version 8.051-040825a-017633C
CATALYST™ Version 04.9
Provider ATI Technologies Inc.
2D Driver Version
2D Driver File Path System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Video\{CF13C320-F64A-4F3E-BB05-3E22BF1CCC72}\0000
Direct3D Version
OpenGL Version
CATALYST™ Control Center Version 1.0.1698.24142

Hopefully that's current, they are the only ones ATI has under graphics drivers for XP section. Not sure if I should also download from them their motherboard/IGP drivers or not.

I have no idea about where the HDD is plugged in, its in a port called SATA 1 (or 2 possibly, i forget now I've moved it around so much), very close to the video card, next to a circular silver object (god I wish I knew more about mobos ><), that has KTS inscribed on it. The PSU is Asys brand and I'm sure it was very cheap.

Pete O\'Neil
13-10-2004, 02:09 PM
Your video card drivers seem up to date, you dont need the motherboard/IGP drivers as they are for motherboards with a different chipset to yours. You want to consider installing the latest version of DX9.0 if you having problems in games. You'll need to update the drivers for your motherboard chipset (655TX) and the drivers for your third party RAID controller.

13-10-2004, 02:26 PM
I downloaded the Asus drivers and got an AMI file, sorry if this is a newbie question but what am I to do with that?

Pete O\'Neil
13-10-2004, 02:35 PM
> I downloaded the Asus drivers and got an AMI file,
> sorry if this is a newbie question but what am I to
> do with that?
I'd probably just delete it and go to this (http://www.asus.com.tw/support/download/item.aspx?ModelName=P4S800D-E%20Deluxe) webpage and download the SoundMAX, LAN, SIS Mini IDE, SIS USB Enhanced Host Controller, SIS RAID, and SIS AGP drivers. Make sure you get the drivers that match your OS.

13-10-2004, 03:27 PM
All those files have now been installed. I tried dling the bios file, d10008, but it is only an AMI. Will I even need that? Anyways the crashes I'm getting are mostly of "System failed CPU test" type. How can those be fixed?

Pete O\'Neil
13-10-2004, 03:53 PM
If you dont know how to flash a BIOS then its probably not a good idea to try, if you do something wrong then its bye bye motherboard. That error message is probably specific to your motherboard, perhaps try reading the motherboard manual to see what it means or contact ASUS by email.

You mentioned in another thread that you have problems installing windows to your SATA harddrive, try using the other SATA connectors provided by the second SATA controller. I wouldnt expect the SATA controller provided by the SIS southbridge to cause any problems.

13-10-2004, 04:02 PM
Hm I don't think so. its a pretty well-documented problem that this particular setup i have has, that it doesnt support cds until you get the raid drivers on there, but the drivers come on CD's , anyways everywhere on the internet I checked suggested the use of floppy disks for the first time boot, and I did so.

Pete O\'Neil
13-10-2004, 04:13 PM
Seeing as you cant tell me what SATA controller your using i'll anything you say in regards to your harddrive with a grain of salt.

14-10-2004, 08:21 AM
Now I've gotten a crash that said "Kernel data error" or something to that effect, on a blue screen, the symptoms of which remind me of my earlier HD temporarily undetected errors.

14-10-2004, 08:38 AM
Now I'm back to where I was the other day. Constantly crashing as soon as its started. I tried unplugging and replugging the harddrive again (as that was what allowed me to use the computer yesterday) but now when I replug it it doesn't even recognize that a HD is attached and yet still crashes anyways (whereas if I boot without the HD it says no HD attached but does not crash). Should I just buy a new HD or what?

14-10-2004, 08:54 AM
If the hard drive is "a couple of months" old, I would take it back to where you purchased it from, and get them to test it, as it will be under warranty.

If that's not an option you could take it to a local PC store and get them to test it?

At least then you could eliminate the hard drive as a cause of the problems you are having :-)

Pete O\'Neil
14-10-2004, 09:06 AM
Take the harddrive back to where you brought it from and get them to test it.

14-10-2004, 10:35 AM
I got it from newegg.com; think they'll agree to my returning this? Also there are no comp stores conveniently located near me, and those that are within driving distance (don't have a car) would probably charge fees well in excess of a new HD's price to do anything for me. So I'm either going to return this to newegg and get another one, or just eat the cost of this one and get another one, but all this is dependent on being sure the HD and not the mobo is the problem. While it seems thats the case, I'm still not sure, seeing as I've had myriad other problems not related to the HD I still suspect the mobo.

Anyways, today I got the comp to run and so left it on the desktop while I went to class. When I got back the HD was making an unnatural series of beeps and clicks and the computer had crashed. Rebooted it and got the same. Unplugged/replugged HD and it worked for a bit but then crashed. Would a reformat help in anyone's opinion, or is this pure hardware?

Pete O\'Neil
14-10-2004, 10:58 AM
Why on earth did you order from Newegg? you are based in NZ arent you?

14-10-2004, 11:58 AM
I live in Los Angeles, is this a NZ only board?

mark c
14-10-2004, 12:13 PM
> ... is this a NZ only board?

No. Everyone's welcome :D

14-10-2004, 12:18 PM
> I live in Los Angeles, is this a NZ only board?

Lmao,Doesnt happen often so we tend to assume that posters are Kiwi's,How is Los Angeles at this time of year?

14-10-2004, 12:58 PM
I found this site by google searching one of my issues and you gave good advice so i decided to ask for more specific help. LA's great Metla.

Anyways, I was trying to reseat my videocard and I noticed it is very difficult to get in, and is probably not correctly seated (the card is too big for the case), how widespread of problems can this cause. Is this the cause of my pc powering off frequently? Seems like a likely culprit for that sort of thing.

Pete O\'Neil
14-10-2004, 01:06 PM
> Anyways, I was trying to reseat my videocard and I
> noticed it is very difficult to get in, and is
> probably not correctly seated (the card is too big
> for the case), how widespread of problems can this
> cause. Is this the cause of my pc powering off
> frequently? Seems like a likely culprit for that sort
> of thing.
Irrelivant of whether its causing the problem it would be a good idea to get it fixed, it wouldnt surprise me if it was causing instability.

We dont get alot of Americans around here, so its just a bit surprising.

15-10-2004, 09:56 AM
I had thought maybe it was the harddrive but I don't think so now. I unplugged it and the computer still failed to start. It sometimes works for 10 hours at a time and then the next day won't even boot without immediately powering off. And I don't just mean the difference between warm and cold boots, I had been using it for 4 hours with no problems and all of a sudden crash and won't boot. I'm at a loss here. Replace the mobo? The PSU?

Pete O\'Neil
15-10-2004, 10:19 AM
Have you tryed reseating the video card? Have you try stripping the whole system down and slowly adding parts back untill you can find whats causing the problem? The best way to problem solve a PC problem is to take the whole PC out of the case and slowly rebuild it on a desk or workstation.

Im posting this during the middle of the day, if your on the otherside of the world does that mean that your posting during the middle of the night?

15-10-2004, 10:35 AM
No, we're just posting on different days ;p. Its 2:33pm Thursday in LA at this moment. Im reseating the cpu at the moment. I'm noticing on the chip there seems to be an excess of thermal paste, ie: it spills out from the sides a bit. This can cause, I've heared, the CPU to not be correctly cooled by the heatsink (too much insulation or something), is it worth the effort to repaste it? I'd like a quick answer so I can know before I put the chip back in. Keep in mind im a novice paster and will probably do a mediocre/sub-par yet acceptable job. Could MBM5 and the bios just be BSing me about the CPU temp being acceptable, even though when I look around the case after use nothing feels inordinately hot?

15-10-2004, 10:42 AM
I'd like furthermore to add that the reasons I don't take it apart and put it all back together again are 1) I have little to no space, repairs must either be made with the tower upright and flush against the wall, case cover about 3 inches ajar for my hand to reach in, or unplugged and on my bed. So it is slightly more difficult than you might imagine to just set it all out on the bench, plugged in, and add part by part. More importantly, though, 2) the computer sometimes works for hours at a time without anything going wrong, and other times won't start at all, I'd have very little way of knowing if a bad part was just behaving temporarily or if I could check that part off as good.

Pete O\'Neil
15-10-2004, 11:01 AM
Remount the CPU, it really pretty easy a lil intimidating the first time but as long as you take your time it shouldnt be a problem. Theres a really good how-to on the articsilver website.

15-10-2004, 11:55 AM
Yeah I've remounted the CPU before, went better those times than this time. most nightmarish situation ever. I get two clips unhooked, but not the 2 neccessary to remove the whole device, but the heatsink and chip come loose! The only way to get the other clips off is to reclip one of the currently unhooked ones (which forces the chip in improperly RAPACIOUSLY bending the prongs every which way), when I take it out it looks just done. I straightened the prongs out completely with a knife, remounted it successfully but now, as before, it wont power up and I get system failed cpu test... Is the chip just irrevocably ruined due to the prongs having been bent?

Pete O\'Neil
15-10-2004, 12:08 PM
I doubt just bending the pins would have done any damage, but the chance that you damaged something else at the same time are quite likely.

I think it would be a good idea for you to get a professional to take a look at your PC mercenary. Its pretty difficult to diagnose a PC halfway across the world without even using the PC, you dont have the space to strip it down and slowly rebuild in an attempt to diagnose the problem. Perhaps find a place that does free quotes so you can atleast get an idea of what the problem is.

15-10-2004, 12:12 PM
What else could I have damaged at that time?

16-10-2004, 09:16 AM
Well the local (read: only) computer shop will charge 80-160 USD to diagnose what problems exist. They will probably do an incomplete job, if my past experience with computer shops is any indicator, and I will then have to buy the parts and install them. All of this from 700$. Any last minute tips on how I can get my computer to boot against "System failed CPU test" voice post? I'm sure the CPU is damaged somehow but might it still run?

12-11-2004, 08:36 AM
The video card has been tested in another machine and it worked. The processor and the motherboard have both been replaced with working counterparts. Yet still sometimes vertical video banding is observed and still the computer powers off when booting up. What is the problem? Power supply? What? I'm running out of things to replace here...

12-11-2004, 09:06 AM
I take it you've connected the ATX 12v 4 pin power plug (from the power supply) to the mobo?? So, the CPU has enough juice running to it.

Also, does this mobo have an LED on it?? Most ASUS mobos do, so you can tell if its OK once u switch the power switch on. Is it ON??

If the LED isn't ON. (if there is one). Then thats another prob. We'll have to find out WHY it isnt on.

Have u tried going into the BIOS and setting the BIOS to its default settings?

And also P4's SHOULDN'T need thermal paste. They have a thermal pad, on the underside of the CPU (well most I've seen do).

12-11-2004, 09:09 AM
Yes the mobo light is on. Yes the 4 pin plug is plugged in. I find it very difficult to get into the bios without the computer powering off, as it usually does that within 45 seconds of startup. I'm getting a message sometimes that the "overclocking failed." I know nothing of overclocking and I certainly didn't attempt to overclock my processor or my videocard, what could be the cause of this?

12-11-2004, 09:21 AM
OK. Umm, it does sound like it is overheating somewhere. The fan on the CPU is spinning isnt it?? And connected to the CPU fan connection on the mobo?

And the CPU is firmly seated on the mobo? I would double check this. And yup thats the reason why its turning itself off. To protect itself from frying.

I would say the reason why it says you're overclocking is coz its overheating. If you could I would either replace the CPU fan (if u can get it off), or get rid of the excess thermal paste (if there's too much of it). It could also be the heatsink, a CPU could overheat, if there's NOT enough
thermal pad left on the bottom of the heatsink. You could try replacing the heatsink (just the heatsink if u can).

If you can get the CPU out of the socket. DON'T force it tho, if it wont come off. Leave it. You'll rip something, and could damage one of the pins of the CPU. Or the socket itself.

12-11-2004, 09:29 AM
what about some faulty ram? are they the same brand/specifications?

12-11-2004, 09:46 AM
I have to repeat someone elses advice here, unless i've missed that part somewhere amongst all that stuff above have you run the seagate hard disk drive testing software ? you can run it from floppy.......

12-11-2004, 05:06 PM
Well about the CPU, yes I'd thought of that. I had intel replace it (&lt;3 intel) and installed it with the utmost care and diligence. The CPU is fine. The motherboard is similarly brand new. Also about the harddrive, I unplug it from the mobo and it boots to bios and still crashes.

12-11-2004, 08:12 PM
Hi Mercenary,

As has just recently been suggested you might like to check your RAM. Do you have one or two sticks? Hopefully if you have two you could remove them and try running the computer with first one and then the other to see if this helps.

I had a recent run of bad RAM. Three sticks to be precise :_| and since replacing my PC has become stable again. I was getting random crashes that became closer and closer together and then my video card stopped working with the beeps telling me that it had died. After replacing each bit in the computer I now have another complete computer :) as the video card was fine!

So it is definitely worthwhile checking (yet another thing!)

Good luck.

14-11-2004, 02:30 PM
I tried using just one stick of ram and then the other. At first, when I just removed one, it worked for a little while and I got into the bios for the first time in weeks, checked some things, temperatures are all fine, voltages seem within acceptable levels, then the computer powered off again and was recalcitrant from then on, not starting no matter which stick of ram was--or whether both were--in. Now maybe both sticks are bad. But I am leaning ever more toward the power supply. The button just feels cheap when I turn it on -.-.

17-11-2004, 04:18 PM
IT WAS THE BLOODY POWER SUPPLY. I got a new case/PSU and its working fine. With what fiery and passionate hatred I now castigate Asys power supplies you cannot imagine. If you're ever tempted to buy an Asys case, don't. Thanks for all the help from this site. And I didn't have to pay the comp shop their outrageous fee either :D

Pete O\'Neil
17-11-2004, 04:27 PM
>a cheap 300-400w PSU probably wont cut the mustard and would cause instability problems.

>What brand of PSU do you have? I dont care what the wattage is, a good brand 350w is far far better than a crap brand 450w.

Hate to say i told you so ;) good to hear you got the problem fixed