memevector: (Default)
[personal profile] memevector
Thanks [livejournal.com profile] oilrig, [livejournal.com profile] topbit, [livejournal.com profile] cryx & [livejournal.com profile] lovingboth for the computer suggestions. Here's a more comprehensive review of the whole scenario...

Motherboard: ASrock ALiveNF6G-DVI
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 dual-core 3600+ (Brisbane)
Memory: Kingston ValueRam 533MHz DDR2 240pin Non-ECC CL4 DIMM (Kit of 2)
Case: Antec Solo P150 Tower Case
Power supply: Antec NeoHE 430 Watt Quiet Power Supply (comes with P150)
2 hard drives: Samsung 80GB 2.5" HM080HI SATA
Optical drive: the one I bought is the NEC AD-7170S-0S (SATA), but this failed to be recognised, so right now it's an old Pioneer drive (IDE).
Floppy drive: basic Sony one.

Yes I had looked at the boot sequence and set it to CD/DVD first. (In fact I'd also set it to Floppy first when I was trying the floppy drive instead, even though my understanding is that shouldn't be necessary as it would keep looking if it didn't find a bootable thing at the first location.)

I have tested the Ubuntu Live CD on my old machine (the one I'm writing this on now), and it does get to an Ubuntu screen on that (although reports that Linux won't run, due to something or other on this machine being too old, but that's probably irrelevant as that's not what I'm trying to do :-) ). Haven't tested the Rescue CD on this machine yet, suppose I could do. I should say however that the Windows setup floppy is a pretty old one and that's the only floppy I've tried.

I've tried two different CD drives (not counting the brand-new SATA one which wasn't recognised), the second of which had only just been transplanted out of the Mac and was the very same one used to burn the two Linux Live CDs. This has its jumpers set to "master", and indeed the computer appears to be recognising it as such. I've now (re-)detached the floppy drive and HDs. I then tried three different IDE cables on the CD drive, inc the one it had in the Mac.

In each case it spins up and the computer recognises it and announces it on screen. I was wrong to say that the "working" LED doesn't light; it does, but only for a second or so, then the CD player spins for a short time without lighting the light, then it settles down and the whole thing just sits there from then on. (I suspect that's default power-on behaviour for the CD player.)

When I say the SATA CD drive failed to be recognised, I mean that when only that one was plugged in, the BIOS showed no SATA devices and there was no sign that the computer knew it was there. Using the same SATA lead and the same SATA header on the motherboard, the computer did recognise one of the SATA hard drives. (It will also recognise the other hard drive.) A bit more swopping of leads and headers produces only results consistent with the new SATA CD drive being faulty, so I'm leaving that alone for now and sticking to the older CD drives which have been known to work and are recognised.

When I say the IDE CD drives have been recognised, I mean that the computer knows not only that they're there but what they are. So the IDE connection could be faulty but is not entirely dead.

Here is the screen on startup at the moment, give or take a few spaces:
AMIBIOS(C)2005 American Megatrends, Inc.
ALiveNF6G-DVI BIOS P1.30
CPU : AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 DualCore Processor  3600+
 Speed : 1.90GHz    Count : 2

Press F2 to run Setup
Press F11 for Boot Menu
Dual-Channel Memory Mode
1984MB OK
Auto-Detecting Pri Master..ATAPI CDROM
Pri Master: PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-109  1.40
            Ultra DMA Mode-4

plus, in the bottom right hand corner, what looks like 2 digits of hex, not always the same. Sometimes it's 75 and sometimes it's something else (I think it was A1) - can check if anyone thinks this is important.

When the SATA HDs are plugged in then it announces them in similar terms too, though it didn't announce the floppy at this point when that was plugged in.

Pressing F11 for Boot Menu gets a message saying something like "Popup boot menu selected", but not an actual boot menu. I'm guessing this refers to something you have to set up before it's usable.

Pressing F2 does get you the BIOS screens.

This is the main part of the Boot screen:
Main  Advanced  H/W Monitor  Boot  Security  Exit

Boot Settings

Boot Settings Configuration

1st Boot Device   [CD/DVD:PM-PIONEER ]
2nd Boot Device   [1st FLOPPY DRIVE]
3rd Boot Device   [Hard Drive]
> Removable Drives
> CD/DVD Drives

It also has a right hand column which gives you contextual clues and decodes the shortcut keys. When "1st Boot Device" is highlighted, the right hand column says:
Specifies the boot
sequence from the
available devices.

A device enclosed in
parenthesis has been
disabled in the 
corresponding type
menu.

That second paragraph looks a bit perplexing and suspicious to me, because it talks about devices being disabled. But all the variables throughout the Setup screens are in square brackets - so surely it can't mean that? And what is the "corresponding type menu"? So that is one mysterious possible-clue.

Any of that ring any bells with anyone? Anything else obvious I should try?

Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-13 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] memevector.livejournal.com
Update: just spoke to Brian (not on LJ) who thought that possibly it could be a CPU or memory thing, on the grounds that possibly up till that point, it would be running on BIOS only but then would need to load a default driver to read from the CD-ROM and thus need to invoke main memory. Which sounded plausible, though we weren't sure if that theoretical sequence is actually true :-)

don't know what you all think about that reasoning or if someone can confirm the hypothetical facts behind it... but I think I will try each of the memory sticks by itself next (which I'd been thinking anyway was an un-tried possible move) and swop them around from slot to slot a bit.

bit reluctant to unseat the CPU & heatsink but I suppose that would be next if no-one else has better ideas...

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-13 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] topbit.livejournal.com
If you see anything on screen, then the CPU is alive - you can see how healthy in the BIOS. As far as the memory goes, you might want to go into the BIOS and have it run a full POST but it either way it will report how much memory it can find. If it's pretty much what you put into the machine (it could be a little less, if the motherboard reserves some for the on-board display), then that's OK as well.

The interesting thing is, the only way for the system to know what make of drive it is, is to ask it - and so data-wise it's OK. If the name was a little corrupted, then it would be a guaranteed cable not-plugged-in properly. Since it looks OK though, the drive is fine, and the problem is almost certainly elsewhere.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-13 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] memevector.livejournal.com
If you see anything on screen, then the CPU is alive

Well it is then :-)

you can see how healthy in the BIOS.

not sure what you mean by that.

re memory
If it's pretty much what you put into the machine (it could be a little less, if the motherboard reserves some for the on-board display), then that's OK as well.

yes, realised after my last post that in fact the "1984MB OK" already reported probably indicated the memory wasn't the problem (which is 2 gig less some amount for something or other, think it was indeed the display)

The interesting thing is, the only way for the system to know what make of drive it is, is to ask it - and so data-wise it's OK. If the name was a little corrupted, then it would be a guaranteed cable not-plugged-in properly.

Yeah, that's what I thought. Actually I wasn't sure if it was an all-or-nothing deal, because maybe it could get the name and still not be fully working. But I don't think it can be the cable itself, at any rate, because of the swopping in or out of cables and alternate drives. If it was anything at that end I think it'd have to be the IDE header on the motherboard, but I've got no way of swopping that.

Since it looks OK though, the drive is fine, and the problem is almost certainly elsewhere.

but where... :-(

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-13 03:00 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
That it gets into the BIOS is a good sign, as in it could be worse :)

These are parentheses: (), those brackets [] are normal.

The difference in memory size is how much you've allocated for the built-in graphics: 2048-1984 = 64M (this is changeable in the BIOS).

Tried connecting (with CPU, fan and RAM installed) just:

the CPU fan connector (or it'll go 'eek, I'm getting too hot' quickly)
the 24 pin power connector (or it won't work)
the 4 pin power connector (ditto)
the chassis speaker connector (so you can hear any beeps)
the floppy drive (if you get this one the wrong way around it will appear to be permanently 'on') with that boot floppy
the keyboard
the display

.. and powering on? Get into the BIOS setup and press F9 (restore default settings) and reboot. It should boot from the floppy (or at least attempt to do so!) and if it doesn't, there is something odd.

The other thing to have a look at is the H/W Monitor page of the BIOS setup. If you leave it on there, you should see the voltages vary slightly continuously (unless that is a staggeringly good PSU!) and the temperature of the CPU vary over time.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-13 03:13 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Ah ha - that's interesting.

This says that your CPU is only supported by version P1.60 of the BIOS and it looks like you've currently got P1.30:

"AMIBIOS(C)2005 American Megatrends, Inc.
ALiveNF6G-DVI BIOS P1.30
CPU : AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 DualCore Processor 3600+
Speed : 1.90GHz Count : 2"

.. so even though it's getting the basics (speed and name) right, it may not be setting the various registers correctly for a Brisbane rather than a Windsor core.

So.. return the board with an 'Oi, you knew I wanted it to work with that processor' or find someone with a CPU it will support, and borrow it to update the BIOS.

The joys of getting a new, better, processor variant :/

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-13 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] memevector.livejournal.com
Oooooh. Well done you. I bet that's it.

I got the board from Tekheads - I picked them for their good customer service, and I think there's a good chance they will flash the BIOS for me (for little or no money) even though I didn't actually check with them beforehand (already knew the board supported the CPU, didn't realise BIOS might be an issue) & was getting the CPU elsewhere so they couldn't have known from that. Will ask them, at any rate.

Thank you for this skilful bit of detective work!

Live & learn eh :-)

Profile

memevector: (Default)
memevector

June 2008

S M T W T F S
1234567
8910 11121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930     

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:59 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios