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Old 05-09-2012, 12:45 AM
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Default Machine from hell

Customer complained machine was running 'slowly' under load

Thought it might be hard disk (WD).

SMART - OK
WD short test - OK
WD Long test - OK

Plugged disk back into machine and POST identifies it as:

bzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbz

Swapped out cable. Same result.

Test motherboard.

Eurosoft. Full test. - PASS.

Test RAM. MemtestX86 - 6 runs - PASS

Re-inserted drive, and got several 'flaky' results.

Put in a new WD drive. Recognised by bios accurately (WDxxxxxxxx), installed Win on it and everything OK.

Nuked and paved drive and it mounted (POST) OK. Recognised as WDxxxxxx.

Booted machine, got to windows, everything looks fine. Installed some software, updates, etc, and then ran PRIME95 (bearing in mind issue was 'under load')

Ran for 2 hours on PRIME95. No issues. Machine stable and running fine.

Got a phone call from customer this morning. Same weird hard disk recognition issue. Machine will not boot.

So:

If still problematic with second hard disk them must be motherboard?

Worth flashing BIOS on existing board to see if this makes any difference?

The only component in the machine that wasnt tested was PSU. Has anyone ever seen PSU cause this sort of issue in a HDD?

I hate this machine. Please shed some light!
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:50 AM
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A flaky psu can cause a motherboard to go all kinds of crazy. However, I'm leaning towards the issue being the motherboard. Lest we forget, the problem could also be a power issue at the customer's location.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:55 AM
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PSU is a thought, but I'd really expect other things to act funny if it were. However, it is the only thing you didn't test.

Do you know how the customer connects the computer? Do they have a line conditioner, a decent surge protector? I wonder if something with their electrical might be causing a problem. The fact that it ran in your shop with no issues after the HD replacement, and under stress for hours makes me think it may be something on their end.

I can't see that the BIOS would be an issue since it properly recognized your new drive. Flashing it is probably a waste of time, unless the new BIOS has a fix built in for "weird ****" happening to a customer computer.

I'm sure it is a pain to go grab the machine, but it might be worth running it in your shop again to see how it acts, and while it is there run a quick test on the PSU.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsil View Post
PSU is a thought, but I'd really expect other things to act funny if it were. However, it is the only thing you didn't test.

Do you know how the customer connects the computer? Do they have a line conditioner, a decent surge protector? I wonder if something with their electrical might be causing a problem. The fact that it ran in your shop with no issues after the HD replacement, and under stress for hours makes me think it may be something on their end.

I can't see that the BIOS would be an issue since it properly recognized your new drive. Flashing it is probably a waste of time, unless the new BIOS has a fix built in for "weird ****" happening to a customer computer.

I'm sure it is a pain to go grab the machine, but it might be worth running it in your shop again to see how it acts, and while it is there run a quick test on the PSU.
I've seen a BIOS flash fix some wierd s*** including intermittant drive recognition, and the letter a not being displayed at all prompts before startup.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:09 AM
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Test or replace the CMOS battery. A low battery can cause weirdness like this.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:26 AM
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I am only going to agree with pretty much what has already been said

1. Test PSU. Bad PSUs with intermittent issues can cause problems with the MOBO and other components.

2. If the PSU is good, the flash the BIOS.

3. If all else fails, then there is nothing left but the MOBO.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:59 AM
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sorry to hear that happened Jim. But it is reassuring to have such a great tech run into a problem they need help with. Makes me feel like i am on the right track. Anyways i hope you are able to solve it.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16k_zx81 View Post
Customer complained machine was running 'slowly' under load

Thought it might be hard disk (WD).

SMART - OK
WD short test - OK
WD Long test - OK

Plugged disk back into machine and POST identifies it as:

bzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbz

Swapped out cable. Same result.

Test motherboard.

Eurosoft. Full test. - PASS.

Test RAM. MemtestX86 - 6 runs - PASS

Re-inserted drive, and got several 'flaky' results.

Put in a new WD drive. Recognised by bios accurately (WDxxxxxxxx), installed Win on it and everything OK.

Nuked and paved drive and it mounted (POST) OK. Recognised as WDxxxxxx.

Booted machine, got to windows, everything looks fine. Installed some software, updates, etc, and then ran PRIME95 (bearing in mind issue was 'under load')

Ran for 2 hours on PRIME95. No issues. Machine stable and running fine.

Got a phone call from customer this morning. Same weird hard disk recognition issue. Machine will not boot.

So:

If still problematic with second hard disk them must be motherboard?

Worth flashing BIOS on existing board to see if this makes any difference?

The only component in the machine that wasnt tested was PSU. Has anyone ever seen PSU cause this sort of issue in a HDD?

I hate this machine. Please shed some light!
I blame care-bears.

Flash the BIOS if there isn't anything wrong with their power line. Cheaper than replacing the PSU, and worth a try at the very least.
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2012, 01:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16k_zx81 View Post

Got a phone call from customer this morning. Same weird hard disk recognition issue. Machine will not boot.
sound to me like a defective sata port, try another one.
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