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Jophiel's Ghetto BuildFollow

#1 Jun 04 2013 at 9:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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I have no serious reason for writing this although there's some issues down at the end that are still unsolved. Really, it's a "Zam is my blog" post.

For the last couple years, I've been holding old components back after upgrades intending to build a new computer. The computer in the family room is a Dell from 2006 with a Pentium 4 running XP and using some AGP video card I'm too lazy to look up. Recently I decided to make the final push towards gathering the missing parts and took advantage of some Memorial Day sales. My final component list:

i3-530 2.9GHz Duo Core Processor
Intel DP55SB 'Extreme' Micro-ATX Motherboard
Corsair 500W PSU
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 2GB video card
2x4GB Kingston DDR3 1600 Memory
CoolerMaster Elite 430 Case
1x140mm fan, 3x120mm fans
Stock CPU cooler (actually, I think it's the stock from my i7-860 but whatever)
HGST 500GB 7200RPM HD
Some $15 OEM optical drive I'm too lazy to look up

My goal here wasn't a gaming system or anything but rather an upgraded family use computer that could play some games as well if my son wants. I played a bit of stuff on that processor and with a lower grade card and managed to enjoy Skyrim, etc. The motherboard was bought off eBay since finding a retail 1156 board these days is near impossible. It came new though and despite the plain packaging wasn't standard OEM since it came with the backplate and cables. It wasn't necessarily the board I would have picked but I didn't want to pay $125 for a used Asus board or something.

So, the construction. First thing I noticed was how cramped the board was. I remarked to BeanX off-forum that my next build is going to have a motherboard the size of a refrigerator box. No more of this Micro-ATX crap. This is made worse by the absolute lack of cable management in my case. There is zero room behind the motherboard panel so everything sits in front and I did what I could to route cables along the sides. The case looks nice enough and was cheap but isn't especially well designed. The board could use some more fan plugs and my video card is within millimeters of a territorial dispute with the memory sticks but I finally got it all in.

Flip on the PSU power, hit the button and... nothing. Ah, crap. Green lights are on on the board though so that's promising. Hey, here's a nifty thing -- the DP55SB has a power button right on the board. It also has a nifty LED display to show POST codes. I hit the MB power button and magic happens. Ok, so at least I know the board isn't bad. It whirs into life and begins the process of installing Windows 7.

At "Starting Windows", it hangs. I try it again... same thing. At one point (unrelated) I notice the power wire on the case is blocking the front case fan. As in jamming it and keeping it from moving. I have to disassemble the case front and remove the fan to fix it which was annoying. More Windows install attempts. At one point I discover that the "Orange" power wire attaches to the "Red" board jumpers and the "Red" HD activity light goes to the "Orange" jumpers. Lesson learned: Read your MB manual to see what's actually what instead of relying on standardized color coding. Now my case power button works. But Windows still won't install. Online research suggests various BIOS options; none work.

I decide to try a Ubuntu boot disk. After all, if that loads I at least know the parts are working. Ubuntu loads momentarily, then crashes into Panic Mode with a kernel error. Yay. I decide to go to bed. In bed, I'm reading my tablet and come across a customer review for the board saying it won't work with an i3 processor without a BIOS update and since you can't get things running otherwise, you need to pull a jumper off the board to force a BIOS recovery. I hop out of bed and go try this, fueled with optimism. I was previously trying to update the BIOS but it wasn't cooperating but this jumper business was new to me. It works! New updated BIOS that, in theory, plays nice with my processor. Let's try Windows!

Nope. But the problem is different. Now, instead of hanging at "Starting Windows", it installs the files, goes to "Starting Windows" and reboots. A soft reboot, the whole system doesn't go down, it just goes back to the Intel splash screen and starts over. Try Ubuntu again and it still crashes.

So, we know the board is good, the PSU is good, the HD isn't the issue since Ubuntu is running off a DVD... signs are pointing now to memory. I guess my next step is to remove a memory stick and try to boot it off one. And to switch sticks if that doesn't work. I read of some people saying to increase the voltage but the board and memory are both rated for 1.65v with a warning on Intel's page not to exceed that. The memory in my "real" computer is 1.5v, I don't know if that would make a difference. Or maybe I'll find something to clock up or down in the BIOS. But I've read people saying they went to one stick to install Win 7, then added the second stick and it worked fine. Here's hoping...

This is why I don't give novices crap for not wanting to build a system. Not that off-the-shelf systems are great but if someone wants to pick parts and have Ibuypower or whoever do the assembly, God bless 'em. I at least had some small advantage in that I built my last system so I'm not timid about putting my hands in the case but the learning curve when things go sour can be a *****.

Oh, and if you know what's wrong, feel free to tell me.
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#2 Jun 04 2013 at 10:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
This is why I don't give novices crap for not wanting to build a system. Not that off-the-shelf systems are great but if someone wants to pick parts and have Ibuypower or whoever do the assembly, God bless 'em. I at least had some small advantage in that I built my last system so I'm not timid about putting my hands in the case but the learning curve when things go sour can be a *****.

Oh, and if you know what's wrong, feel free to tell me.
When you rubbed cheetah blood on the case to make it go faster, did you buy the blood from a reputable dealer? A lot of less reputable dealers have a tendency to try to sub in tiger blood instead, and that, contrary to what Charlie Sheen says, does not lead to winning.

I have no idea. Just wanted to wish you luck.
#3 Jun 04 2013 at 10:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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The One and Only Poldaran wrote:
When you rubbed cheetah blood on the case to make it go faster, did you buy the blood from a reputable dealer?
Can't be that reputable. Everyone knows if you're interested in winning you use tiger's blood, not cheetah's. You got tricked. Smiley: frown

Edited, Jun 4th 2013 5:29pm by lolgaxe
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#4 Jun 04 2013 at 3:45 PM Rating: Excellent
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The windows 7 DVD has a built in memory checker. you can run it from the installation media, or via F8 menu.

Other possibility might be that you are running into the dreaded error 0x00007b. That motherboard has a Marvel mass storage controller, and an intel one. If you loaded windows with it plugged into one of the ports, then for whatever reason unplugged and managed to accidentally plug into the other ports, that could also show the same symptoms.

You don't want to try overvolting the ram to get them to work unless you have to. Good way to melt the ram if nothing else.

will it boot to safe mode at all?
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#5 Jun 04 2013 at 3:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
will it boot to safe mode at all?

It won't complete the installation. So no error messages or safe mode or anything.
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#6 Jun 04 2013 at 4:00 PM Rating: Good
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Try taking out one stick of ram, My friends system wont install windows with 2 sticks in, and both his sticks scanned fine, Its weird.

I tried like 7 times to install W7 with his pc double and triple checking ram, the second I put in only 1 stick boom no issues installing. Like I said I ran this ram through the testers and it all checked out.

Also do yourself a favor take a 4 gig USB key and make a W7 bootable drive speeds up installation and dont have to worry about scratches etc.

Edited, Jun 4th 2013 5:02pm by BeanX
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#7 Jun 04 2013 at 5:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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Ok, problem... solved?

Tried switching between sticks and DIMM slots but no dice. Looked at the BIOS and saw it was sending 1.5v to the memory but the memory is rated for 1.65v. Since the board could supposedly take 1.65v, I tried that and BIOS would crash immediately upon booting. Luckily, the second time it gives a "Hey, you f---d up last tie, want to reset and try again?" message.

My memory in my "real" box is 1.5v so I decided to pull out a 2GB stick and try it. Bingo! Windows is installing. Because I want my gravestone to say "Wasn't smart enough to quit while he's ahead" I decided to plug the two new 4GB sticks into this system. It boots and reads me as having 12GB total (2x2, 2x4). So the memory seems to be good, the Intel board just couldn't handle them due to voltage or some other shaman wizardry. So I'll put two of my 2GB 1.5v sticks into the new box and see how it handles and perhaps stick the other two in there as well since I really doubt I need 12GB in this system. Want to make sure this new memory is good for the long term though before I make my final decisions.

Edit: Kingston's site says the memory take 1.5v-1.65v so I don't know for sure if I identified the technical problem accurately. But I got the box working so... whatever. A wizard did it.


Edited, Jun 4th 2013 6:11pm by Jophiel
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#8 Jun 04 2013 at 5:16 PM Rating: Good
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I think your "spare" computer is better then a lot of Zams normal computers. Anyway congrats.
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#9 Jun 04 2013 at 5:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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One thing with Intel manufacture motherboards is they tend to be reallllly finicky and contrary. It could be that it just didn't like the voltage difference and the increase offset couldn't handle the CAS latency at that voltage.

The amount of time you spend trying to fix a crappy motherboard always would have paid for a better one in the long run in my experiance. /shrug
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#10 Jun 04 2013 at 6:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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But the knowledge I gained is worth a fortune!
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#11 Jun 04 2013 at 6:01 PM Rating: Good
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Wait did you really learn anything? Didnt you just say Wizards fixed it in the end?
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#12 Jun 04 2013 at 6:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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I learned how to Google. Just like a real tech support guy.
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Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#13 Jun 04 2013 at 6:35 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I learned how to Google. Just like a real tech support guy.


Screenshot

Welcome to the Intarwebs.


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#14 Jun 04 2013 at 7:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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Picture of the new baby (click to embiggen):

Screenshot

Behold the sh*tstorm of wires!

Edited, Jun 4th 2013 8:02pm by Jophiel
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#15 Jun 04 2013 at 7:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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the middle black ram slot doesn't look like it's locked at the top. Aside from that, looks shiny!
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#16 Jun 04 2013 at 7:44 PM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
the middle black ram slot doesn't look like it's locked at the top. Aside from that, looks shiny!


I actually thought those two slots were just empty...
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#17 Jun 04 2013 at 7:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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They are. Although he's probably right that the clip isn't clipped down.

Edited, Jun 4th 2013 8:49pm by Jophiel
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#18 Jun 04 2013 at 7:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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Hmm, could be, I figured it was two bare sticks. Can't really tell, but there is some white at the edge of the slot which would be covered if there was a a stick in there., Either way, it still isn't latched, so there! <Thbbbbttt!!!!!!!!>
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#19 Jun 04 2013 at 7:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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Were the other sticks of ram you tried in the black slots and not the blue ones first by any chance? if so, I know why your computer was unhappy at that point.
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#20 Jun 04 2013 at 7:54 PM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
Were the other sticks of ram you tried in the black slots and not the blue ones first by any chance? if so, I know why your computer was unhappy at that point.


What color schemes do computer BIOS like the most?
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#21 Jun 04 2013 at 8:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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no, at least one ram stick needs to be in Bank A, SLot 0. Which happens to be the blue one to the right of the processor on that particular motherboard. Asus keeps moving their slots back and forth and changing the color scheme around so its really easy to get a test stick in the wrong slot if you are only working with a pair and not a full bank.
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#22 Jun 04 2013 at 8:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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No, they were in the blue slots (DIMM A,0 & B,0) then took out the B slot. When I was browsing the manual for the board, I saw the warning to fill the blue slots first.

The board's power button I referenced earlier is above the DIMM slots. I probably knocked the one tab upwards when fumbling to press it.
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#23 Jun 04 2013 at 8:10 PM Rating: Good
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I didn't notice any blue/black (other than the blank) and just assumed you were making commenting on the ram heat sink color.
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#24 Jun 04 2013 at 8:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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we keep telling you to upgrade that old grayscale CRT monitor...
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#25 Jun 04 2013 at 8:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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The heat sinks hide the blue. You can see the blue slots in the link in the OP if you care that much. Which, you know, you probably don't.

System's been running the last several hours, updated Win 7, got my drivers done, etc. Seems to be stable so I guess we have a new computer now.
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