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KT7A-Raid problem



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 21st 04, 02:52 PM
Charlie
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Posts: n/a
Default KT7A-Raid problem

I have a KT7A-Raid board, with a 1 GHz Athlon processor and 768 MB
PC-133 RAM, running Win 98SE. I have run this board configured with
Raid-0, but I'm now just using it without the Raid function.... but I
do have 4 WD drives on it. The system has just recently started having
a problem with locking up. It usually occurs when I'm doing something
important, like editing a large Photoshop file, or have several apps
open at the same time. On lockup, which also seems to occur with a
mouse click (using a MS Intellimouse USB), a hard reset is required,
as there is no response to either the keyboard or the mouse.

Does this sound like its processor or Motherboard related? Are there
system setting that I could adjust (perhaps trying to slow down
things) that I could try that might improve stability? Could it be
related to the mouse? (I've swapped out the one I had been using for
another of the same model, with no improvement).

Appreciate any suggestions.... I'd like to keep this system running
for at least a few more months before upgrading to a newer
motherboard.

Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/
  #2  
Old April 21st 04, 04:18 PM
Jim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

There are an awful lot of possibilities, including a bad driver,
overheating, bad memory module, OC'd CPU, etc. When something like this
starts occuring, it's best to return to "ground zero", i.e., make sure the
BIOS is set to BIOS defaults, no OC'ing!, etc. You don't want to complicate
matters by trying to diagnose the problem while the system is over spec (in
fact, that could *be* the problem!), you want as conservative a
configuration as possible.

Once "at spec", do the following.

1) I suggest taking a *very* close look at the motherboard and look for
leaking capacitors ( http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=195 ).
Whenever a perfectly good system suddenly starts acting up, esp. if it's
around 18 months old, I start looking for leaking capacitors. I've had
several people over the past year discover this problem, much to their
surprise. The KT7A seems particularly prone. Not likely, but worth
checking. This is easily missed, even by an expert! You often need to be
*looking* for it to even notice it.

2) Download memtest-86 ( http://www.memtest86.com/ ) and run it through
several passes, overnight even better. Memtest-86 is very good at finding a
failed memory module. Or sometimes if you OC too much, it will fail too.

3) Download Prime95 ( http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm ) and run the
torture test. For my money, any system that can't run 24 hrs. without
errors is NOT stable.

4) Reseat the CPU and HSF. I had a guy install the HSF *backwards* one time
and had nothing but trouble.

If all appears OK, return to normal usage of your PC ("at spec") and see if
the problems continue. If so, then go into the BIOS and *slightly*
underclock the FSB, in 1MHz increments, maybe down as far as 4-5MHz max and
see if stability returns.

If all these measures fail, you probable have some driver issue.

HTH

Jim



"Charlie" wrote in message
...
I have a KT7A-Raid board, with a 1 GHz Athlon processor and 768 MB
PC-133 RAM, running Win 98SE. I have run this board configured with
Raid-0, but I'm now just using it without the Raid function.... but I
do have 4 WD drives on it. The system has just recently started having
a problem with locking up. It usually occurs when I'm doing something
important, like editing a large Photoshop file, or have several apps
open at the same time. On lockup, which also seems to occur with a
mouse click (using a MS Intellimouse USB), a hard reset is required,
as there is no response to either the keyboard or the mouse.

Does this sound like its processor or Motherboard related? Are there
system setting that I could adjust (perhaps trying to slow down
things) that I could try that might improve stability? Could it be
related to the mouse? (I've swapped out the one I had been using for
another of the same model, with no improvement).

Appreciate any suggestions.... I'd like to keep this system running
for at least a few more months before upgrading to a newer
motherboard.

Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/



  #3  
Old April 22nd 04, 04:04 AM
Deadman Struttin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Charlie" wrote in message
...
I have a KT7A-Raid board, with a 1 GHz Athlon processor and 768 MB
PC-133 RAM, running Win 98SE. I have run this board configured with
Raid-0, but I'm now just using it without the Raid function.... but I
do have 4 WD drives on it. The system has just recently started having
a problem with locking up. It usually occurs when I'm doing something
important, like editing a large Photoshop file, or have several apps
open at the same time. On lockup, which also seems to occur with a
mouse click (using a MS Intellimouse USB), a hard reset is required,
as there is no response to either the keyboard or the mouse.


A few questions for you. 1)What size & brand power supply. 2)What mobo
revision number. 3)Did you have four drives setup in it before this
configuration. 4)Do you have a Soundblaster audio card in it?
My personal experiance with this board has been that it's a power hungry
peice of work, with somewhat questionable circuitry actually suppling the
power where needed (especially the AGP port). I have the rev 1.0 though. I
ended up with a Antec 550w to power it adequetly, but only have 1 WD HD and
a CD-RW. Some peolpe had issues with HD's attached to the secondary IDE
channel in conjunction with using a Soundblaster card. Paul Howland's FAQ
over at Sudhian covers this :
http://www.sudhian.com/showfaqs.cfm?fid=2&fcid=15#217 . There were also
reports of problems transfering large data files between IDE channels, some
linked to SB audio, some not. There was a PCI latency patch put out by
George Breese which I've used every since I found it, and havn't encountered
any problems with large file transfers. It's at :
http://www.georgebreese.com/net/software/#PCI . Last thing I can think of
that may help is adjusting the PCI latency values for any other peripherals
with PowerStrip. Link to an article discussing that is here :
http://www.geocities.com/phileosopho...cilatency.html .


  #4  
Old April 22nd 04, 04:12 PM
Charlie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 22 Apr 2004 03:04:01 GMT, "Deadman Struttin" wrote:

Thanks for your post and suggestions. It took a bit of time to find
the answers to your questions, and I'm not sure of all, but here's
what I "think" I know:

snip

A few questions for you. 1)What size & brand power supply.


It's an Antec case with an Antec 400w supply.

2)What mobo revision number.


Not sure of this. I checked the board and there is a barcode sticker
on one edge (at the PCI slots) and it has a long number ending with v
1.1, so I'm guessing that this is the revision number.

3)Did you have four drives setup in it before this
configuration.


Yes, for about a year, but with the addition of a WD 160 GB drive
and the Promise controller packaged with it, it's been a "different" 5
drives. But the board ran fine with the additionl Promise controller
for several months before this flakyness started.

4)Do you have a Soundblaster audio card in it?

Yes I do, its a SoundBlaster 128 PCI card.

My personal experiance with this board has been that it's a power hungry
peice of work, with somewhat questionable circuitry actually suppling the
power where needed (especially the AGP port). I have the rev 1.0 though. I
ended up with a Antec 550w to power it adequetly, but only have 1 WD HD and
a CD-RW.


Now this could be an issue! I recently (within a couple of months)
added a Lite-on CDRW drive. (I also have a Plextor 12/10/32A that I've
had for a long time) and an LG CD-ROM. The problems started happening
at about the time I tried burning CD's in both burners at the same
time. As I recall, the system locked up..... but I haven't tried that
since, and the system is still getting lockups unrelated to burning.
However, could the extra burner be drawing enough power to cause a
problem even when it's idle? I'll try disconnecting it completely, and
see if I can still cause a lockup in Photoshop.

Some peolpe had issues with HD's attached to the secondary IDE
channel in conjunction with using a Soundblaster card. Paul Howland's FAQ
over at Sudhian covers this :
http://www.sudhian.com/showfaqs.cfm?fid=2&fcid=15#217 . There were also
reports of problems transfering large data files between IDE channels, some
linked to SB audio, some not. There was a PCI latency patch put out by
George Breese which I've used every since I found it, and havn't encountered
any problems with large file transfers. It's at :
http://www.georgebreese.com/net/software/#PCI .


As I mentioned earlier, I've had both the SB card and HDs on the sec
IDE before, and not seen the problem.

Last thing I can think of
that may help is adjusting the PCI latency values for any other peripherals
with PowerStrip. Link to an article discussing that is here :
http://www.geocities.com/phileosopho...cilatency.html .


I'll definitely look into this, and post back if I find this has any
effect.

Again, thanks for your suggestions. I tried a few things suggested
yesterday by Jim, such as making sure all the defaults were set in the
BIOS. The only effect that I noted was that the default set my
processor speed back to 750 MHz. It's a 1 GHz processor that I'd been
running at 1 GHz, so that somewhat surprised me. Although I've only
had "one" lockup since then, I don't think the lower processor speed
is the reason, as I've sometimes gone a day without a lockup... it
just seems to depend on what I'm doing. I'll continue testing for a
bit more, then reset the speed back to 1 GHz and test again.



Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/
  #5  
Old April 22nd 04, 04:21 PM
Charlie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Wed, 21 Apr 2004 08:18:37 -0700, "Jim" wrote:

There are an awful lot of possibilities, including a bad driver,
overheating, bad memory module, OC'd CPU, etc. When something like this
starts occuring, it's best to return to "ground zero", i.e., make sure the
BIOS is set to BIOS defaults, no OC'ing!, etc. You don't want to complicate
matters by trying to diagnose the problem while the system is over spec (in
fact, that could *be* the problem!), you want as conservative a
configuration as possible.


The board was not overclocked, but when I reset BIOS to the default
values, it reset my processor speed to 750 MHz. I have seen "fewer"
problems (actually only one lockup) since them, but I'm not ready to
say it's because of the lower speed, because I haven't really tested
it.
Once "at spec", do the following.

1) I suggest taking a *very* close look at the motherboard and look for
leaking capacitors ( http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=195 ).
Whenever a perfectly good system suddenly starts acting up, esp. if it's
around 18 months old, I start looking for leaking capacitors. I've had
several people over the past year discover this problem, much to their
surprise. The KT7A seems particularly prone. Not likely, but worth
checking. This is easily missed, even by an expert! You often need to be
*looking* for it to even notice it.


Well, as you say, it probably will take an expert to see any bad
capacitors. I looked carefully, and there is nothing obvious, like
leaking or a split can. One does look a bit different from the rest,
though.

2) Download memtest-86 ( http://www.memtest86.com/ ) and run it through
several passes, overnight even better. Memtest-86 is very good at finding a
failed memory module. Or sometimes if you OC too much, it will fail too.


This is on my schedule to do, probably overnight tonight.

3) Download Prime95 ( http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm ) and run the
torture test. For my money, any system that can't run 24 hrs. without
errors is NOT stable.

4) Reseat the CPU and HSF. I had a guy install the HSF *backwards* one time
and had nothing but trouble.


By "backwards" I assume you mean that air was blowing down, not
upwards from the cpu heat sink? Mine seems OK but I haven't removed
and reseated. I did blow out all the dust that had accumulated.... but
I did that over a month ago.
If all appears OK, return to normal usage of your PC ("at spec") and see if
the problems continue. If so, then go into the BIOS and *slightly*
underclock the FSB, in 1MHz increments, maybe down as far as 4-5MHz max and
see if stability returns.

If all these measures fail, you probable have some driver issue.

I'm wondering if somehow this is the problem. Although I've been using
the same drivers for a couple of years now, many were recently
re-installed when I reloaded Win98. If I don't find anything else,
I'll completely reinstall Windows and see it that makes any
difference. I can just swap the drives around and compare a new
installation to the existing one fairly easily.

HTH

Jim

Thanks for your suggestions...

Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/
  #6  
Old April 22nd 04, 05:22 PM
Jim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Charlie,

When I said set the BIOS to defaults, I didn't want the CPU underclocked!
Sometimes the BIOS will do this, but that's an error. I merely want the
*other* BIOS options set to defaults, I don't want to see any of the other
kinds of optimizations people routinely make, I want a very conservative,
safe, dependable BIOS configuration. But sometimes, in the process of doing
that, the BIOS incorrectly configures the CPU. You should correct that
manually (or set it back to SPD). So if it was running 1GHz before, I want
it running 1GHz now!

Later on, in my suggestions, I then wanted you to slowly back off the
processor in 1MHz increments (if your BIOS permits it) so that *slowly* we
could see if perhaps by relieving the processor's burden, we might see some
stabilization. I had an Athlon XP 2000+ and Abit KT7A-RAID motherboard a
few months ago that simply wouldn't run at stock speed (1.67GHz, 133 x
12.5). The system would eventually hang under stress. I then backed it off
2MHz (131MHz) and all was fine. There was either something w/ the
processor, or my motherboard, that couldn't handle the higher speed, even
though it was "to spec"!

Further comments below.

Jim


"Charlie" wrote in message
...
On Wed, 21 Apr 2004 08:18:37 -0700, "Jim" wrote:

There are an awful lot of possibilities, including a bad driver,
overheating, bad memory module, OC'd CPU, etc. When something like this
starts occuring, it's best to return to "ground zero", i.e., make sure

the
BIOS is set to BIOS defaults, no OC'ing!, etc. You don't want to

complicate
matters by trying to diagnose the problem while the system is over spec

(in
fact, that could *be* the problem!), you want as conservative a
configuration as possible.


The board was not overclocked, but when I reset BIOS to the default
values, it reset my processor speed to 750 MHz. I have seen "fewer"
problems (actually only one lockup) since them, but I'm not ready to
say it's because of the lower speed, because I haven't really tested
it.
Once "at spec", do the following.

1) I suggest taking a *very* close look at the motherboard and look for
leaking capacitors (

http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=195 ).
Whenever a perfectly good system suddenly starts acting up, esp. if it's
around 18 months old, I start looking for leaking capacitors. I've had
several people over the past year discover this problem, much to their
surprise. The KT7A seems particularly prone. Not likely, but worth
checking. This is easily missed, even by an expert! You often need to be
*looking* for it to even notice it.


Well, as you say, it probably will take an expert to see any bad
capacitors. I looked carefully, and there is nothing obvious, like
leaking or a split can. One does look a bit different from the rest,
though.


I meant that experts will sometimes overlook to *consider* this (the eyes
tend to assume all is normal, despite stairing straight at it), but if bad
enough, it does become rather obvious. At some point, a lot of brown gook
dripping over the motherboard traces won't look normal to anyone! But if
you don't see even slight indications, like bulging cans, then it's probably
not the issue. But it's best to get this possibility off the table
initially, saves a lot of time.

2) Download memtest-86 ( http://www.memtest86.com/ ) and run it through
several passes, overnight even better. Memtest-86 is very good at

finding a
failed memory module. Or sometimes if you OC too much, it will fail too.


This is on my schedule to do, probably overnight tonight.

3) Download Prime95 ( http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm ) and run the
torture test. For my money, any system that can't run 24 hrs. without
errors is NOT stable.

4) Reseat the CPU and HSF. I had a guy install the HSF *backwards* one

time
and had nothing but trouble.


By "backwards" I assume you mean that air was blowing down, not
upwards from the cpu heat sink? Mine seems OK but I haven't removed
and reseated. I did blow out all the dust that had accumulated.... but
I did that over a month ago.


On AMD systems, the HSF usually has an orientation, a "lip" that has to be
oriented correctly to the lip of the ZIF socket, or the heatsink will be
"tipped" slightly when installed, and thus not making full contact w/ the
CPU. The lip is not very large, but large enough that if installed
incorrectly, it will cause problems. Looking straight down from above, you
might not notice this was the case, it *could* look correct when in fact it
was not. It's more obvious when viewed from the side. Granted, not a
likely problem, but I have seen this happen once or twice.

Later...

Jim

If all appears OK, return to normal usage of your PC ("at spec") and see

if
the problems continue. If so, then go into the BIOS and *slightly*
underclock the FSB, in 1MHz increments, maybe down as far as 4-5MHz max

and
see if stability returns.

If all these measures fail, you probable have some driver issue.

I'm wondering if somehow this is the problem. Although I've been using
the same drivers for a couple of years now, many were recently
re-installed when I reloaded Win98. If I don't find anything else,
I'll completely reinstall Windows and see it that makes any
difference. I can just swap the drives around and compare a new
installation to the existing one fairly easily.

HTH

Jim

Thanks for your suggestions...

Charlie Hoffpauir
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/



 




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