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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What a great forum - full of valuable info, and I hope I can contribute too!

I've several dozen computers over the years, for myself and friends, and usually little problems pop up, but I'm always able to solve them.

This week I put together a brand new system for myself and helped another roommate do the same. Mine's working ok, but his is just crazy - thought I'd ask you all to help me brainstorm solutions.

First, the problems arise when we first install XP Home SP1 on a fresh format. From the beginning, it takes the load screen 15 to 25 or MORE passes of the little green thingy to start up windows - in other words, way too long for a brand new 3200+ Athlon 64 system.

Furthermore, the USB devices work weird from the beginning. Often, an attempt to plug into the front panel USB ports will short something and the system restarts (and the BIOS gets reset to an extent, I think). As far as other USB devices, the mouse, plugged into the back works about 1/2 the time after startup. Installing SP2 pretty much eliminates all USB functionality all together!

In addition to SP2 seeming to cause trouble, installing the ATI Catalyst drivers/programs seem to agitate things as well.

Any insight or help you can give me on these two issues would be greatly appreciated!

Here's some more info:

350W Power Supply
ASRock Dual939-Sata MB
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ CPU
2x 512MB DDR400 RAM (in dual-channel mode)
250GB Samsung 7200 IDE HDD
ATI Radeon 7200 AGP 32 MB RAM

There's also a second ATI PCI video adapter (Sapphire 7000 or something), 80GB HDD, and wireless network card that we have uninstalled in an effort to more effectively troubleshoot.

I've checked and double-checked all the connections to the motherboard and from the power supply. We've updated the BIOS, drivers, and installed all available windows update. We've reinstalled windows three times. I'm just at a loss - please help!

Thanks!


Teddy
 

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PS!!!
450w or better.
Get at lease 24a on the 12+v rail for a good one!!!
Try swapping in your PS to test.
Multiple quirks point to the PS and it's lowe watt rating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I HAD considered that - I'll give it a shot and get back to you. THANK YOU!

UPDATE: So I dropped an Antec TPII 550W power supply in there just to test. I had considered power as a problem earlier, but kind of ruled it out because there's very little in there right now: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Graphics Card, HDD, and a CD Burner. In any case, it didn't change a thing - still a slow boot up, still USB issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
HEY! I'm excited because I'm narrowing it down, but kind of worried because of... well, here it is:

I unplugged the CD burner that was in there, and it booted up amazingly fast. So there's the source of the problem. THEN I switched out the burner with another burner, then with an old CD-ROM drive - it was slow no matter WHAT was plugged in. So I tried to switch the IDE cable out, but it was still slow. Finally I removed the optical drive completely again and viola - it booted up quick.

So it sounds like... a BIOS setting? or a motherboard PROBLEM?

Thanks again,

Teddy
 

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Umm...dood....that just tells me you rare eating up power....optical drives are the most poer hungry components in your computer.....plus.....the only thing AsRock Mobos are good for are door stops.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
But the 550W power supply didn't fix the problem either - only removing the optical drive entirely did. So are you saying the ASRock is bad? I did plenty of research on the ASRock before I chose one for myself, and it runs amazing for me. "It's a doorstop" isn't really constructive - do you think I should RMA it or choose another MB completely? Thanks for you input!!

Teddy
 

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Sry bout the ASRock comment, just had WAY TOO MANY problems with them in the past....all iterations of Athlon sockets went bad on me.....

I would return the board and get an ECS if you don't plan on overclcokign to the max....it is decent overclocking, don't get me wrong, and it has SLI capability....it's a ecent board and it wont break th bank.....

but do some research...there are alot of ASRock fanboys...and i don;t understand why....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well no worries - thanks for the MB advice. I'll definitely look into that if I give up on this one.

So I guess where I'm at now is: assuming I'm having issues with an optical drive slowing my boot up waaay down, and assuming I've tried several optical drives with the same result, assuming I've even tried changing the IDE cable and power supply - what does that leave?

(as far as the USB trouble goes, it's still an issue, but given the volume of info about that on support.microsoft.com, it sounds like SP2 caused USB trouble for a LOT of people)

Thanks...
Teddy
 

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Have you updated the MB drivers?
Darn... I would of bet the PS for sure, guess I'm not always right


OH, BTW, formating the 250G HD into 2 parts will improve performance. 50-60G for the OS and progs and the rest for storage! That will place the OS and progs on the outer edge/fastest part of the platers, thus improving performance a bit!
 

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I've had that issue before on my current system. Whenever I had a second optical drive installed it booted up really slowly but with no problems. I later got a new mobo and a Plextor DVD-R, it booted up perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I guess what you guys are saying is that the optical drive problem is an ASRock problem. Any chance it's a MB short like a screw underneath or an unused brass mount? That's what some other techies have told me - and to put little paper washers in there. I dunno - it was a brand new build and I really don't want to rip the MB out to check - although it sounds like I'll be doing that anyway to RMA it...
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by drokkon

So I guess what you guys are saying is that the optical drive problem is an ASRock problem. Any chance it's a MB short like a screw underneath or an unused brass mount? That's what some other techies have told me - and to put little paper washers in there. I dunno - it was a brand new build and I really don't want to rip the MB out to check - although it sounds like I'll be doing that anyway to RMA it...

Probably is an optical drive problem, since you ran a new PSU and it didnt do anything. Uh, I wouldn't blame it on grounding, the little paper mouts are to protect your motherboard from scratching, they don't have anything to do with grounding. Sounds like your the next in line for an RMA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Someone else suggested I try different optical drive/HDD combinations on the two channels, and try unplugging my front panel USB.

So here's the deal with different combinations:

1. USB front panel plugged in, HDD primary 1, CD primary 2 - boots very very slowly
2. USB front panel plugged in, HDD primary 1, CD secondary 1 - still boots very slowly
3. USB front panel unplugged, HDD primary 1, CD secondary 1 - BOOTS FAST!
4. USB front panel unplugged, HDD primary 1, CD primary 2 - still boots slowly

So - if only combination 3 works, what does this mean? Does this imply a motherboard problem? I don't particularly want my CD on the same channel as my HDD, and I'd like to have my front panel USB work too.

Thanks again!

Teddy
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I thank all of you so much for your help and input! Turns out that the power supply wasn't the issue, nor was grounding, nor a bad MB. Just so you know for your own reference:

Our USB problem was never really a problem, it turns out. The front USB panel worked great, and I feel really stupid for not trying more than two devices. The mouse worked sporadically, but a new mouse fixed the problem. And my roommates Zen Touch just needed drivers. Sorry about that false alarm!

The slow boot problem was narrowed down to an optical drive, and we messed around with primary/secondary master/slave options with little success. After trying 3 CD burners and an older CD-ROM, we put in my 16x DVD writer. It worked. I still have NO idea why this is even an issue, but it is!

Any ideas?

Thanks again. Bye!

Teddy
 

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oooo....ooo....speculation......

Are your jumper settings on the dives correctly? I have trouble wth cable select. Furthermore, it is my belief that you should never put a HD and optical on the same channel as each other.....it causes problems at times becaus there are seperate IRQ lines on the same bus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Blue Fire and HardWaterHacker,

I actually started with two hard drives on the primary IDE channel and two optical drives on the secondary.

When the problem became apparent, we stripped down to one HDD and one CD-ROM.

Removing the CD-ROM altogether eliminated the problem, so we tried two other CD devices. Each device was tried as the secondary master and with no jumper, a jumper at cable select, and a jumper at master.

When all 3 optical devices still caused slowdown, and only then, did we try mixing up the IDE channels. The HDD was always the primary master, but when we slaved the CD drive to it, everything surprisingly worked.

Strangely, using a brand new DVD writer as the secondary master did NOT cause slowdown as the 3 CD devices did. So we ordered a new DVD writer for the computer - so the problem was not a jumper problem, was not an IDE channel problem, so I was just wondering what else it could be.

I'm not as up to speed on interrupts as I used to be, but it sounds plausible.

Thanks


Teddy
 
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