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Is my ASUS P5N-E SLI (nForce 650i) defective?

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Siree Bob

Siree Bob


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Hey. My computer's been driving me crazy lately and I've come to suspect the motherboard is defective. I'm looking for others' opinions, ideas, and recommended courses of action, please. :whistling:

If there's any extra information that would be helpful or any tools I can use to obtain it please let me know and I'll post it.

First, my computers (outputs produced by PC Wizard 2007 but some info modified or made more specific):

Affected System
Mainboard : Asus P5N-E SLI
Chipset : nVidia 650i SLI SPP
Processor : Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2400 MHz
Physical Memory : 2048 MB (2 x 1024 DDR2-SDRAM )
Video Card : ATI Technologies Inc Radeon X800 XT
Hard Disk : WD1600AAJS (160 GB)
Hard Disk : ST3320620AS (320 GB)
Hard Disk : SAMSUNG HD501LJ (500 GB)
Hard Disk : WD5000KS (500 GB, external)
Network Card : NVIDIA nForce Networking Controller
Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2
DirectX : Version 9.0c
Power Supply : Cooler Master iGreen Power 600W

Voltages and Temperatures
Monitoring Chip : ITE IT8718F
CPU Core : 1.34 V
Aux. : 3.25 V
+5V Voltage : 4.85 V
+12V Voltage : 11.46 V [other applications say 12.22 V]
Chassis Fan : 2311 rpm
Processor Fan : 2008 rpm
Power/Aux Fan : 10 rpm
Processor Temperature : 30 C
Processor Temperature (Core 1) : 37 C
Processor Temperature (Core 2) : 42 C
Mainboard Temperature : 40 C
Power/Aux Temperature : 25 C
Hard Disk Temperature WDC WD1600AAJS-00PSA0 : 29 C
Hard Disk Temperature ST3320620AS : 30 C
Hard Disk Temperature SAMSUNG HD501LJ : 25 C
GPU Temperature : "Idles" around 60 C, with minimal fan activity;
can reach as high as the 80s

Reference System/Older Computer (unaffected)
Mainboard : Asus A7N8X Deluxe
Chipset : nVidia nForce2 SPP
Processor : AMD Athlon XP @ 2166 MHz
Physical Memory : 1536 MB (3 x 512 DDR-SDRAM )
Video Card : Nvidia Corp GeForce 6600 GT
Hard Disk : WDC (250 GB)
DVD-Rom Drive : JLMS XJ-HD166S
DVD-Rom Drive : AOPEN 8X8 DVD Dual AAN
DVD-Rom Drive : WJ9161I QNQ585Z SCSI CdRom Device
Network Card : Nvidia Corp nForce MCP-T Networking Adapter
Network Card : 3COM Corp, Networking Division 3C920B-EMB Integrated Fast Ethernet Controller
Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2
DirectX : Version 9.0c

Voltages and Temperatures
Monitoring Chip : Asus ASB100
CPU Core : 1.68 V
+3.3V Voltage : 3.28 V
+5V Voltage : 4.97 V
+12V Voltage : 12.03 V
Chassis Fan : 4687 rpm
Power/Aux Fan : 2960 rpm
Processor Temperature : 24 C
Mainboard Temperature : 54 C
Monitoring Chip GPU : nVidia Driver + Thermal Diode
GPU Temperature : 37 C
GPU Ambient : 29 C
GPU Diode : 45 C
GPU Fan : 100%
Hard Disk Temperature WDC WD2500JB-00GVA0 : 29 C

The Problems

1. SATA issues.
It seems that when I have a lot of data going through SATA (or eSATA) hard drives, such as when performing benchmarks on the drives (using SiSoftware Sandra for example), I can encounter system stalling and soft-lockups even when the benchmark is not being performed on a drive that's otherwise in use, with event log entries like "The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk3\D" or "An error was detected on device \Device\Harddisk3\D during a paging operation."
For eSATA, I get these, and I have with multiple external enclosures/drives: "The device, \Device\Scsi\JRAID1, did not respond within the timeout period." Sometimes I also get "The device, \Device\Harddisk2\D, is not ready for access yet." The hard disk numbers vary as my drive configuration gets changed around when I remove/add drives to test these problems.
My 160GB WD1600AAJS system drive is affected most often. I've run tests on bootable discs on the drives and there are never any problems. I've also tried the affected drives on my older computer and there are no issues.
Interestingly, if I have an eSATA hard drive hooked up and it's only idle, that will sometimes be enough to cause errors with *other* drives during benchmarks.
In other words, SATA is all-around screwy when it's under "heavy" usage.
Workaround: Uninstalling the nVidia IDE drivers gets around these problems for SATA hard drives. A drive plugged into the eSATA port will still be affected. There's no "standard" generic controller driver I can use for that, so basically the port is unusable. I use the USB 2.0 interface instead and there are no problems.
Status of hard drives: No problems in older computer. Test OK with Data Lifeguard Diagnostics (for the WD drive which is the one that reports problems) in Quick and Extended tests. No errors found. No S.M.A.R.T. problems detected.

2. Sound card issues.
a. For some reason, if I'm playing music in high-quality (e.g. 24-bit/48kHz or above) and I play a game which utilizes 3D sound (or even a MIDI as someone in another forum pointed out) at the same time, in a short amount of time the sound will emit high-pitched squealing if playing a game, or if playing a MIDI the instruments will go wacky and produce all sorts of random sounds, and closing the program playing the high-quality audio stream will cause the computer to either freeze or have a blue screen of death (MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION). Using Debugging Tools for Windows, the exception always resolves to _VAL_UC_EN_PCC_BUSCONNERR_0 ("Bus and Interconnect Error").
b. Videos would skip ahead by about a half a second randomly. (This was isolated to being related to the sound card's performance on my system.)
In other words, my sound card is all-around screwy when it's under "heavy" usage (although it's not necessarily under heavy usage when the video skipping occurs)
a. I could solve the squealing/BSOD issue in a few unrelated ways: setting hardware acceleration for the sound card to Basic, using the kX Project drivers for my sound card, or lowering the LDT Frequency in the BIOS from 5x to 1x.
b. I could solve the skip-ahead problem in a couple of ways: setting hardware acceleration for the sound card to Basic, or using the kX Project drivers.
Status of sound card: No problems in older computer.

The sound card issues have remained through many reinstallations of Windows and reformats. I've even done it for the express purpose of testing the sound card's problems and the only thing I can do is work around them as I described above.

I haven't reinstalled Windows for the express purpose of testing the SATA errors, but throughout my use of the computer and the many times I've reformatted I've always seen those errors in the event log, unless I work around them as I described above.

I've run a Memory tester and the memory is fine. I've tried removing system components one by one and was unable to isolate any of these problems except for the fact that some drives are more susceptible to having SATA errors than others. My new WD1600AAJS works fine in my older computer and without the nVidia IDE drivers installed, but other than that it will have SATA errors in the event log at startup and the rest of the fun problems. As I've said, I've run tests on the drive and everything checks out fine. I can use it without problems provided I don't have nVidia's drivers installed.


All of these strange issues lead me to believe that there's something wrong with the motherboard. If it were just the sound card with issues then I'd be satisfied blaming that on a general chipset incompatibility or poor manufacturing of the card (despite the fact that it works flawlessly on my older computer.) But the SATA issues suggest something deeper at work.

Do you agree? Any suggestions on how I can locate with certainty the source of the problem or any tests I can run, etc.? I'm fairly certain these aren't software problems (unless they're problems with the drivers which seems pretty unlikely since other people haven't reported similar problems that I've seen).

Thanks for the help!
- SireeBob
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Daniel Taylor

Daniel Taylor

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Befor taking drastic measures, uninstall all of the drivers related to the motherboard, then either install the latest drivers from support.asus.com or use the cd that came with the Motherboard. then post your results, remember to use a program like driver sweeper after uninstalling the Motherboard Drivers.
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