I recently upgraded a home-built PC to an ASUS M4A87TD-EVO motherboard, a Thermaltake 750 watt top-of-the-line power supply and an AMD Athlon64 Quad Core Processor and 16 GB DDR3 RAM.
Two weeks ago, I was hospitalized for a problem with Coumadin (blood thinners) only to come home to a PC stuck on the RAID setup screen. I did all of the troubleshooting with ASUS and they determined it was a defective motherboard. They sent me a replacement and I installed it.
This morning, I heard a steady BEEEEEEP upstairs and found my computer stuck at the BIOS splash screen. I had to perform a BIOS reset (switched jumper pins and remove system battery). Strangely enough, the core unlocker said that only 3 cores were activated. When I went into the BIOS screen and unlocked the 4th core and restarted the PC, it froze in the BIOS screen again.
I find it hard to believe that TWO motherboards could be defective especially since ASUS says that warranty replacements are thoroughly tested so they don't arrive DOA. Now, the memory sticks are very close to the processor. I bought a dual fan set that sits above the memory to cool them (even though I don't overclock).
Strangely enough, when I take those cooling fans away, the system starts normally and all 4 cores are active. I don't know if the magnetic field caused by the fan motors being so close to the processor had anything to do with it, but to be safe, I've left them out of the picture.
The whole system runs at a nicely cool 30-35 degrees C. The only thing that I noticed when running ASUS' tool that monitors temps and voltages, that the 12 and 5 volt settings are 1/10th UNDER the minimum.
Before I bought the power supply, I used Thermaltake's calculator which said that I needed 600 watts. I figured 750 watts would be more than enough should I add or change configs. If this PC fails again, I don't know if the CPU or the Power Supply is the culprit.
Here's the config of the system:
ASUS M4A87TD-EVO socket AMD3 MOBO
16GB DDR3 RAM
2 WD 300GB Hard drives RAID 1 (applications & OS Windows 7 Pro)
2 WD 500GB Hard drives RAID 1 (data, music, videos, etc)
1 WD 500GB HD (no RAID) storing movies
1 IDE DVRW w/Lightscribe
NVidia EVGA 01G-P3-1526-KR GeForce GT 520 Video Card - 1GB, DDR3, PCI-Express 2.0
If anyone has any ideas, I would really appreciate it. The core problem leads me to believe that the processor is possibly defective, but all searches that I've found with system instability point to a defective power supply.
Thanks in advance,
PROBLEM SOLVED BUT NEW QUESTION AT END OF POST:
This is an update to my own question. I went back to the computer and just as a last resort, I had done some Google searches and everything pointed to the fact that when a MOBO or processor starts acting erratically, the first thing to check is the power supply.
I removed the hard drives (in front of the Power Supply) and found the fan wasn't running at all. In addition when I tried to power up the system, only the fans and lights operated - none of the drives were powering up.
The Thermaltake 750Watt Bronze power supply is under warrany, but I couldn't wait ANOTHER week for a warrranty replacement (already took 1 1/2 weeks for a replacement ASUS motherboard), so I bought the same power supply at Tigerdirect.
As soon as I installed it and powered up, everything was working perfectly - no odd behavior and it has been running steadily for 10 hours now.
Using ASUS' PC probe, the CPU and MOBO are running at a cool 30 degrees C.
Though this issue is closed, I do have one more question:
PC probe shows that the 12V system is running at 12.25 volts which is in acceptable range. However, the 5V system is running at 4.91 consistently. Is this OK? I don't want to go into the BIOS and start fiddling around with the voltage settings unless this is going to cause instability annd/or damage to the components. NB: I am NOT overclocking the system as this is my main PC with all of my medical, financial, and other critical information and can't afford to lose anything or have any down time.
Is the voltage on the 5V OK? I assume that it's oK because it is so close to the acceptable range.
Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.