Monday, December 15, 2008

Aw come on Murphy, I've got a cold!

The family is coming out of having been sick since just before Thanksgiving. Started with my eldest and rippled through the house. Mostly bit the wife and I due to our allowing our guard down when we were stressed out over the holiday and dojo events. What does a sick Dad need while thinking feels like pushing threads through ballistics gel with a needle? A sick computer!

During all this my gaming rig started flaking out. This is my home built NewEgg special that has gone along like a trooper up until, well, it stopped. Close to two years now if the last BIOS update is correct. So much for sitting down and relaxing reading email or gaming. Now I get to finish my work day and see if it boots.

I still get nervous booting it, even though now, it looks like I figured it out. Mostly.

You want to know why there are PC Geeks? Electronics Geeks? etc.? Easy. They have a stubborn streak that even when they are feeling like crud the given technology will not beat them. I spent a few days pulling SATA cables, updating BIOS and chasing configurations. But I did beat it, even with a cold. Looks like the memory may be going, but splitting the chips over the two memory channels fixed things (reseating it could have fixed it) for now.

For my fellow Geeks or the morbidly curious...

I was powering up my system, all indicators looked good, when my fans would all go to max power - as if the system was overheated. Even though it was sitting in a cold (60 degree F) room and hadn't been powered on. Initially, doing a few resets would clear it.

Then it wouldn't. Then pulling random SATA cables cleared it, or the act of powering off the PS and doing work did. Then that didn't.

And finally, when I had both Memory chips out and wanted to check something in the BIOS, I had the eureka moment. The system, without memory, went into the "max fan speed" situation. Oh, so this is how you indicate you think you don't have memory? Cute.

ASUS, if your reading, I dislike that your POST will not run when you feel there is no memory. Spinning my fans up to maximum doesn't say squat to me other than "I'm a confused mother board".

After this I tested each chip independently, both showed 1G, as expected. In case it was getting weirded out having the memory chips on the same memory channel, I moved them so that one is on A and one is on B (the motherboard docs don't say anything helpful here, and the original configuration worked for a few years so...). So far, so good. Next will be replacing the memory should things flake again.

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