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Thread: AMD X2 (Dual Core) Problems (with nForce4?)

  1. #1
    Bronze Member Island_Boy_77's Avatar
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    Angry AMD X2 (Dual Core) Problems (with nForce4?)

    Hi All
    I have been bashing my head against a very stupid and annoying problem for one of my clients. I built them an AMD 3800 X2 system just before Christmas. Every now and again, it would crash, leaving the system unusable (it always required me to take the drive out of the case, stick it in one of mine, and do a chkdsk /f on it to get it going again: sometimes I would have to do a repair install of XP). The full system specs are:
    - AMD 3800 X2 Dual Core (socket 939)
    - Asus A8N5X motherboard with nForce4 chipset
    - 2 x 512MB DDR400 cl 2.5 RAM (runs as dual channel)
    - 1 x 120GB Western Digital SATA II HDD with 8MB cache
    - 6600GT PCI-E video card
    - Thermaltake 480W PSU
    - Pioneer DVD-RAM (i.e. DVD-R) IDE
    - Windows XP Pro SP2
    I've tried replacing the motherboard and HDD, plus using the latest version of the nVidia drivers ONLY (i.e. not the specific drivers that came on the install CD, which included different drivers for sound, LAN, video and general motherboard). I am on my 6th re-install, and am ready to throw this sodding computer out the window. Surely the dual core platform can't be this unstable? During one of the crashes, Windows actually managed to generate an error report that it duly sent off. When I followed the link, the report (which was very generic) said that it was a driver issue. I am presuming (from other comments that I have read in the past), that the culprit could well be our friends at nVidia.
    At first, the crashes were always when surfing - random, but only while surfing. To that end, I've tried 3 firewalls: Windows, Filseclab and the nVidia nForce firewall.

    There has got to be an answer to this. I've been working on it for so long now that I am sure I am not seeing the wood for the trees. Anyone else had vaguely similar problems? Anyone got a resolution / suggestions?

    Thanks

    P.S. Motherboard has latest BIOS

  2. #2
    Head Honcho Administrator Reverend's Avatar
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    What version of the nForce drivers are you using?

    Latest ones are 6.70

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_..._amd_6.70.html

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    Bronze Member Island_Boy_77's Avatar
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    I've downloaded the latest video and chipset drivers from nVidia. At first, that seemed to do the trick. Then it all went pear-shaped again. I've changed the RAM to ProMOS brand (CL3 - anyone know if that's better than Legend Hynix brand?), but I've had it suggested to me that there could be a problem with the Asus motherboard (as in it not being a particularly good board). - your comments?

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    Head Honcho Administrator Reverend's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Near Life Experienced TZ Veteran zipp51's Avatar
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    Have you tried flashing your bios to the latest update?You should have the 0902, 2006/03/24 update.Worth a try.
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member Island_Boy_77's Avatar
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    Yes, all up to date. I will try the slightly older drivers recommended above, but I am going to give up on this stupid board. I've heard rumours that others are having problems with this same board. I'm going to go Foxconn and see if that helps. After a clean install this morning, I loaded the default drivers with nForce firewall and Avast AV, and the system locked up once, blue-screened next boot. Give me a break...

  7. #7
    Hardware guy Super Moderator FastGame's Avatar
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    The nForce Firewall has always been hit or miss and causes problems. I've had BSOD's with Filseclab & nForce FW.

    Over Clocking ?

    Put the drive on another SATA port, if using SATA port 1 or 2, try port 3 or 4.

    Did you test the Ram ?

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    Bronze Member Island_Boy_77's Avatar
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    Pardon the "newbie" question, but what does "BSOD's" mean? I presume it means something bad...

    No, not overclocking.

    Will try a different SATA port and see what happens. Initially, what "seemed" to fix the problem was using a different brand of HDD (Seagate instead of Samsung). However, when the Seagate was initally installed, the problems were still there. After a few glitches, the system seemed to "smooth out", and all was well for a month. So, since the Seagte was only a "loan" drive, I swapped the Samsung back in, and now it's worse than it ever was. Considering that the Samsung works fine in my test machine, seems all very odd. Only possibilities I can see are 1) Asus mobo hates Samsung 2) Samsung is SATA not SATA II - board is rated to SATA II, and Seagate loan drive is SATA II. Still seems all very improbable, and why ONLY when surfing? Why not when playing games, downloading music, e-mailing, printing etc etc. Anyway, even with brand new Western Dig SATA II drive in there now, probs still there.

    Replaced the RAM with CL3 stuff that is supposed to work in Dells (so, supposedly, is better quality than most as the Dells can be so picky). Again, since the prob is only with surfing, makes no sense why RAM should be faulty.

    Since initial post, I have installed a BRAND NEW Asus board (exact same model), and now the machine is VERY unstable - how can that be? So, have decided to use Asus in a non X2 CPU machine to see how it goes, and have purchased Foxconn board for the X2. Will let all know what happens next...

  9. #9
    Hardware guy Super Moderator FastGame's Avatar
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    "BSOD's"= Blue Screen Of Death, crash.

    Check ram with Memtest 86

  10. #10
    Head Honcho Administrator Reverend's Avatar
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    Go into the BIOS and change the access mode for your HDD from the default "Auto" to "Large".

    BIOS.

    On the Main tab scroll down to your HDD and hit enter.

    On the next page scroll down to Access Mode and change it from Auto to Large (not CHS or LBA) using the page up/down buttons.

    Save and exit.

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  11. #11
    Bronze Member Island_Boy_77's Avatar
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    Hi
    Could not find the access mode. Is it possible that some of the newer boards simply don't allow for this anymore? I recall seeing that feature on board 1-2 years ago, but nothing recently.

    Update:
    So far, I have changed the following on the machine:
    - Brand new motherboard: now Foxconn
    - Brand new HDD / SATA cable: now Western Digital SATA II 120GB 8MB cache
    - Fresh install of XP Pro SP2, incl all updates
    - Firewall changed to ZoneAlarm (tried Filseclab, but it kept crashing the web scanner part of Avast AV)
    - Tried WHQL versions 84.21 & 81.98 of nVidia Forceware drivers for video card.

    Everything seemed fine, until my friend (whose computer it is) tried to surf: wham, splat - machine just locked up solid with HDD light on. They left it sitting for an hour, then gave up and powered it off. Now they say it is a mess (what a surprise) - I won't know how bad until I check it tomorrow.

    So, from all the evidence, including the fact that with initial vid card drivers off the CD I couldn't access MS windows update (every time I clicked on Custom or Express, machine would just hang), have I narrowed the problem down to the vid card? I am going to purchase an ATi-flavoured PCI-E card for my friend (as that gets me away from nVidia vid drivers completely) and try that. Question: Why would a vid card driver problem show itself ONLY when a person tries to surf? Could it be that the "problem" on the card somehow links thru to the nVidia LAN driver and craps the system out? Oh that there was some sort of software that one could run that monitors everything happening on a system and that could give a report (in plain english...) after an "event". I find it interesting that all the problems have only rarely manifested in a BSOD - mostly just in a complete system hang. Note: I did get the machine to do a hang after installing the 84.21 drivers: I let it sit for an hour or so, and it just "righted" itself as if nothing had ever happened - weird. I think if my friend had left the machine a bit longer before hitting the power off button, it would've sorted itself (not that that is ideal - who wants to wait an hour-plus for a computer to get itself sorted?).

    Last question: how could I verify (beyond wasting even more money) that the problem is not in fact with the CPU? I've only done 2 dual-core installs, and was not thrilled by the results of either. Admittedly, my personal 4200 X2 has not exhibited any of the probs that this 3800 X2 system has, but it has still been less-than-expected (one thing of which was the fact that I can no longer play various games on it: Civ III, Crimson Skies, Civ Call to Power and Rogue Squadron all either won't start at all, or won't go any further than initial start screen - Civ II, Commanche IV and Wolfenstein 3D all work fine: how weird is that?).

    Further thoughts and suggestions? I just wish it would all go away...

  12. #12
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    First off, don't use Nvidia's NAM (Network Access Management). That always causes problems.

    It sounds to me like your problem is a typical Nvidia IDE driver caused problem where data on your hard drive gets corrupted from using them, so don't - they provide no benefit anyway. There are certain versions that work with certain boards and there is no real way to tell which versions will work for you other than trial and error, but since they don't gain you anything, there's no reason to use them.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Senninkai's Avatar
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    I dont use Asus any more. I havent used Asus or any offbrand boards since my K6 machine i built i gave them a try and it was really tempermental about how i had my hd/cd-dvd burner setup sometimes to the point of not booting. I use DFI and MSI, boards havent had a problem with them so far. My newest comp that i built was a 939 (3800 series, i love my dual core AMD) on a msi board with 2 wd 250's, a 60gb wd , 80gb wd and a 16x dvd dl lightscribe lite-on. Also I have not had any problem with the Nforce4 drivers.
    Last edited by Senninkai; April 27th, 2006 at 03:49 AM.
    The unobserved state is a fog of probabilities, a window of and for error. The watcher observes, the fog collapses, an event resolves. A theory becomes a fact... What is the truth? Tell me, if you know. And I will not believe you. Things are never what they seem. Clean gloves hide dirty hands - and mine are dirtier than most... Without truth, there can be no justice. Justice will be done!

  14. #14
    Succeded in braking Windo TZ Veteran Dehcbad25's Avatar
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    Question, since there is a thread already, I want to use the people with knowledge on Athlon 64 X2
    Here is my question.
    I just recomended a system to build to a friend and he bought it, but I am concerned the CPU might not be supported by the motherboard. I tried to look info but it is kind of fuzzy. Hardware updates have surpassed my time to read (I miss the times when I knew CPU architectures with detail )
    Well, we got this barebone kit
    ASUS Vintage-AH1 AMD Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 FX/Athlon 64/Sempron ATI Radeon Xpress 200 Barebone - Retail
    and this CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA3800BVBOX - Retail
    The motherboard says the FSG is 1000MHz HyperTransport, but the CPU says 2000 MHZ HT
    I thought maybe the 2000HT is because of the double core.
    Adivse?

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