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Mobo upgrade advice please


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#1
Eden1

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Hi ,
Next up on my attempt to convert my cruddy old Emachine into a reasonable backup
system by installing some better hardware is a mobo upgrade .
Presently the system has this -

"Intel Desktop Board D 102GGC2 ) Pentium 4(524)
3.06 Ghz /533 Mhz FSB 2 Gb Ram DDR2 533
Xp Media Centre ed .

The mobo needs replacing - whether i upgrade the CPU now or reuse the P4 in a compatible board i'm not sure but i'd like to be able to upgrade to something like a Core2 Duo at some point though .
Basically i need help with a model suggestion for a mobo that will be an upgrade on the above ...nothing major required just a step up on the present one is all i need .
If i could still use the Ddr2 533 Ram i recently installed it would be useful?
Any suggestions please - what make should i go for or stick with Intel ?
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#2
makai

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Truthfully, a machine with these specs is not worth upgrading. What are you trying to achieve?

The reason I say this is because the upgrade will take more than you think....
1) Core2Duo will most likely require a better power supply than what you currently have
2) The power supply in your machine probably doesn't have the correct output terminals to support a C2D motherboard (I'm guessing since I don't know if you ever replaced your PS.)
3) You cannot use the same ram you have in the C2D motherboard, nor the same video card.
4) Many newer motherboards support SATA Hard drives, and will most likely only have one IDE connector (if any). So if your computer has an IDE HD, and IDE DVD/CDROMS, you're going to out of luck on something.

These are just the basic considerations you need to digest.
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#3
Eden1

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Truthfully, a machine with these specs is not worth upgrading. What are you trying to achieve?

The reason I say this is because the upgrade will take more than you think....
1) Core2Duo will most likely require a better power supply than what you currently have
2) The power supply in your machine probably doesn't have the correct output terminals to support a C2D motherboard (I'm guessing since I don't know if you ever replaced your PS.)
3) You cannot use the same ram you have in the C2D motherboard, nor the same video card.
4) Many newer motherboards support SATA Hard drives, and will most likely only have one IDE connector (if any). So if your computer has an IDE HD, and IDE DVD/CDROMS, you're going to out of luck on something.

These are just the basic considerations you need to digest.


Hi Makai ,

well basically the machine was my old system which developed a fault but not bad enough to completely bin it . I have just replaced the original useless Bestec with a reasonably priced and more powerful PSU - Corsair 400w .
In truth it may be that this has solved the fault though i still think the mobo will need replacing as well .
I had hoped the system could be back up & running good enough to use as a backup system .
I think where i am ( UK) it's dificult to find a new direct replacement for this Intel mobo - even if it was worth it , but was hoping for slight upgrade to improve the system - especially if it allowed my to expand on the processor later .
This system has a Seagate Barracuda HDD ST 3120213A - IDE as you say .
Basically the fans all go round - the HDD & DVD drive work - everything ok except the problem almost certainly in the mobo/psu area .

Even if i allow for buying new RAM -not a big deal - is there no upgrade for a compatible mobo ?I know there's no point going for a latest model but something better than what's in it ?
Any help ?
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#4
makai

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You posted that the processor is P4 533mhz. This really limits the choices in motherboards and the only place to get one is probably on ebay. Right now there are 2 brand new motherboards (based on the model you posted) on ebay, but the location of the item is stated as in the USA. I don't know if this is a viable choice for you, but you could contact the seller to ask what shipping/possible tariffs may be.

I helped someone about a year ago with an Intel motherboard upgrade (similiar specs to yours) and it was difficult then. He ended up just doing upgrades to eveything else possible because there were just nothing available in terms of motherboard replacement. It has to be worse now.

Beyond that, what's the problem you're experiencing that leads you to think the motherboard is bad? Perhaps we can solve it.
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#5
Eden1

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Beyond that, what's the problem you're experiencing that leads you to think the motherboard is bad? Perhaps we can solve it.
[/quote]

Hi Makai ,
Thanks for your reply & further info .
Well basically the symptoms were these -

the system began ( on startup) to not complete the process to desktop , sometimes taking 2-3 attempts before getting to Windows & then running normally .
Then i noticed that on startup i would get the following sequence -
"E logo " on black screen with Bios Setting (F2)
Boot Menu (F10)
Black screen with "F11 to start recovery " in top left corner ...
Then another black screen ( no other writing or post)
then finally Windows Desktop (if it makes it that far before restarting) .

Basically the the system does not appear to be posting during startup - what could be causing this ?

As i say the PSU has been replaced -though i have only literally onlyjust got it so not fitted yet . The mobo or PSU has been suggested to me as the likely cause but if you have any thoughts based on this description i'd really appreciate it ?

As i said all fans/lights appear as normal - i have done a DiskChk and also reinstalled windows ok ( using the installation disk) which has taken the system back to original settings but i still get the same symptoms .
Basically the computer then would crash at any time - sometimes it can stay on for a short while but mostly crashes soon after or during startup .
Strangely it is even unstable in safe mode which is why i am leaning towards hardware problem ?

Any thoughts ?
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#6
makai

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ok... let me try to understand this better...

Your machine had a startup problem, so you wiped it and reinstalled Windows. So now the machine is totally clean with only Windows on it?

I'm not sure about the start sequence you posted. The "F" numbers are confusing me. Were the "F" numbers also showing up on the screen?

1) Were you given any messages or prompts to enter the bios setup?

2) If you enter bios, is the date and time correct?

A lot of times on older machines, the bios battery (motherboard battery) will die. When this happens, the bios will lose it's "user" settings... e.g. time and date. If the time/date is reset, then a bios warning will be posted on bootup.

3) Do you get any beeps when you boot up.

Normally, if the bios is good, and the board posts, the user will hear a single beep indicating the bios has passed all it's checks. This single beep will happen just before Windows begins to load. Of course, it requires that you have a speaker in the computer, which I don't know you have.
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#7
Eden1

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yes , that's right i reinstalled XP using the repair disc that came with the system . I am now completely wiped and back to square one - fortunately i had managed to get all files saved beforehand so i was not worried about that - but it does not solve the problem .
Among the things tried i did take out the cmos battery for a short while before putting back in the hope it would restore.

The startup sequence is exactly as i describe - on the first screen is the Emachine logo on a black background . In the bottom right corner of this page is the writing -
" Bios Setting F2
Boot menu F10 "

Then that is quickly replaced with another black screen with just
" F11 to start recovery " in top left corner .
Then another black screen followed by Windows logo & desktop if it makes it that far before crashing to restart .
As i see it no post as it used to do - i now get no writing on screen at startup except that described .

I have tried pressing both these "F" numbers when prompted and F2 entered Bios but to be honest not able to tell if anything is abnormal there , though i did note that the date/time is incorrect as you suggested .

Does that mean anything to you - should i reset the date/time and would that restore the post at startup ?
Now it's been a a couple of weeks since i started the pc but i don't think there is a beep on startup - though i know there should normally be .

On the beep situation - one other thing i did try was taking out both RAM sticks and switching on and did get long beep from the mobo . I then tried one stick of RAM at a time but the symptoms are the same .
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#8
makai

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Does that mean anything to you - should i reset the date/time and would that restore the post at startup?

Yes, set the date and time. As stated, the date/time, is a "user" setting, therefore the bios is flagging you since it has changed. After you set the date/time, hit the F10 to save and exit the bios. The computer will restart and should not give you anymore flags and should boot to Windows. Of course, since the battery appears to be dead, everytime you restart the computer, (after being powered off), you will get prompted again. I recommend you replace the bios battery. If you have a meter, you can also remove it and measure it, but be aware that this is an "unloaded" measurement, and while the voltage (~3v) may read correctly, the battery may not be able to source the required current when installed in the motherboard. If the only problem with your computer is the battery, and windows is fine, you should be able to run.
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#9
Eden1

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Hi Makai ,

Thanks very much for that , i will give it a try and see how it goes .
Just to confirm - besides resetting the date/time you advise i get a new cmos battery ? If so are these a standard type or do i need to be looking for anything in particular with a battery ?

Also -If this does solve the no post & crashing can you tell me please what might have caused this ...just the cmos battery dying ?

One last thing in relation to your previous reply - i just tried the system again to recheck and besides the exact same startup sequence (and restart) there is no beep at all in the startup process -that's not normal right ?
What does that signify ?

I really appreciate your help ,
Thanks .
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#10
makai

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Just to confirm - besides resetting the date/time you advise i get a new cmos battery ? If so are these a standard type or do i need to be looking for anything in particular with a battery ?

Yes, you should replace the battery. It shouldn't run more than ~$4. To find out what kind of battery to buy, just pull it out and read the part number on it. It should be readily available at any computer type store.

Also -If this does solve the no post & crashing can you tell me please what might have caused this ...just the cmos battery dying ?

It all depends. Because I'm not there to see the machine myself, I can only go by what you tell me. What you describe as "no post & crashing" could be anything related to the computer and your description may only be what "you" think it really is and not necessarily what "I" might think it is. This is what makes forum troubleshooting difficult.

One last thing in relation to your previous reply - i just tried the system again to recheck and besides the exact same startup sequence (and restart) there is no beep at all in the startup process -that's not normal right ?
What does that signify ?

The bios having the wrong date may preclude completing the post, so you may not get the "single" beep that comes normally as when the bios actually completes normally.

As for the restart, I'm beginning to think other things. Having a dead bios battery shouldn't cause Windows to crash and restart. When you use the words "restart and crash", are you referring to Windows restarting and crashing? If so, then buying a new battery may not completely solve your problems. For troubleshooting the restart/crash, I would minimize components to the following...

Use only one ram stick (if you have more than one) (then swap out the ram on a second attempt if the first attempt at booting fails)
Video card
PS2 mouse (no usb/wireless)
PS2 keyboard (no usb/wireless)
Monitor
Pull all other cards out of the computer... modem, sound, etc, and disconnect cables from any floppy drive, cdroms, and any other hard drives (if you have a slave installed too). If there is any dust on any part, you need to clean it out with compressed air to eliminate heat related problems. If you use air, go slow and don't blast the air... go slow and gentle so you don't generate huge amounts of static electricity.

Restart the computer, set the date/time, and see if you can boot to the Safe mode menu. However, don't let the computer actually boot to Windows. If the computer will stay on without crashing for an extended amount of time while in the Safe mode menu, then it's possibly a ram problem as this is the first thing Windows will try to use... besides the harddrive and vid card, of course.
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#11
Eden1

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Quote
"When you use the words "restart and crash", are you referring to Windows restarting and crashing? If so, then buying a new battery may not completely solve your problems. For troubleshooting the restart/crash, I would minimize components to the following..."


Well - i mean the computer mostly takes 2-3 attempts before it can actually make it to the Desktop screen . If it does manage to stay on and appear as "normal" for a while ( say 1/2 hour if lucky ) it "crashes" ( switches off and begins to restart through the same startup procedure . I mean by this i could be on it working at something and then a black screen and then the thing tries to restart ?

Regarding your other hardware suggestions - i will try to disconnect everything - do you also include the DVD drive & HDD as well ?
It's not hooked up to any devices (printer/scanner etc ) only the mouse , speakers & keyboard - should i also disconnect these yes ?
Basically that's all that's in this PC - no floppy and no other CD/DVD drives and also i think the graphics are integral on the board as far as i know so only the modem card to actually disconnect and in fact i already did that as well as the RAM stcks as i described . I took both out and started , the mobo beeped so then i put replaced each Ram stick in and tried in turn but the symptoms are the same .
As i see it the computer is crashing/restarting on startup before Windows has even loaded ..yes ?
I will try the disconnects of hardware etc but this is what was leading me to the mobo theory ...even though that sends out a beep when stated without RAM ?

Lastly - i haven't fitted the new PSU yet ...to be honest i'm a little wary as if there is another problem with the mobo etc i wouldn't want that to damage the new psu . Is this a risk or just me being over cautious - i mean i know i got it to use but just being a little wary .
What are your thoughts - from my description could a faulty PSU be causing these symptoms ?
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#12
makai

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Regarding your other hardware suggestions - i will try to disconnect everything - do you also include the DVD drive & HDD as well ?

You need the following to be present...
Keyboad
Mouse
monitor
Ram
HDD... this is the drive that has windows on it. Without it, you'll never get it to boot.
PSU

Disconnect everything else. We are trying to minimize devices that may be contributing to the problem.

What are your thoughts - from my description could a faulty PSU be causing these symptoms ?

Yes, the power supply could well be bad and if you install a new one, it could get damaged. However, that's sometimes the price of troubleshooting unknowns and a risk we all take.

Before you do anything though, get into bios and look for a place that monitors Power forms...+12 volts, +5 volts, etc. I don't have the bios screens to guide you, so you may need to hunt around. Different bios manufactures use differenct names for their power monitoring... look for something named Power Management, PC Health, etc. Once you find the screen, look at the voltage readings. The voltages should be relatively stable and not jumping around too much. If theres a voltage that is obviously low... e.g. +12 is reading +10 volts, then the PSU is bad. If theres a voltage that's changing all around the place... e.g. +12 volts is sometimes +12.5, then the next moment it's +11.2, and the next moment it's +12.8, etc. This is an unstable condition, and yes it can cause Windows to crash. This is one of the reasons I asked you to start into the Safe Mode menu and stay there. If a voltage was unstable, the machine would still crash while in the Safe Mode menu. Post the voltage readings and their variances here after you look at them.
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#13
Eden1

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[ Post the voltage readings and their variances here after you look at them.
[/quote]

Hi Makai ,
In answer to your requested bios readings - i got into bios and as you suggested things are laid out a little differently .
Basically this is the main screen i have -
Main / Advanced / Security / Power / Boot / Exit

I looked in "Power" but this is all that's listed-

After Power Failure ( Stay Off)
Wake up Lan S5 (enable)
ACPI Suspend State (S3 state)
Wake System from S5 ( disable)
So i returned to main screen and clicked on "Advanced" which gives this list -

Boot Config/Peripheral Config/Drive Config/Event Config/Event log Config/Hardwar Config/Chipset Config/USB Config .

I clicked on " Hardware Monitoring" and found the following which i think is what you requested ?
Processor Fan Speed 1740
Front Fan speed 0 ( there is no front fan)
Rear Fan speed 1680

Processor Temp 61c
Internal Temp 49/50c ( fluctuates between the two)
Remote Temp 48/49c (" " " )

V 12.0 11.844V
V 5.0 5.018V
V 3.3 3.349V
Vccp 1.356V

These are the readings you wanted yes ? I didn't note any fluctuations from those Volt's.Am i right to think the temp's seem high -could it be due to the side being off the case (i've read this might happen ) or a sign there's a problem -all fans are working .
However on trying to set the clock & date as you requested i am having difficulty . In Bios on the "Main " screen i found the time/date etc set out as -

Month / Day / Year
Hours / minutes /seconds

Stupidly i can only find a way to set the "month" setting and "Hours" setting , using the up/down direction arrows on the keyboard . (the left /right arrow keys move you back/forward to another page)
I can change the month & Hours figures by pressing the + /- buttons (as described) but nothing else seems to help me move the cursor to change the Day/Year and then Minutes /seconds .
I hope i am describing this ok for you to follow - basically that is what i found in Bios , does it mean anything to you ?
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#14
makai

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Let me address the date/time first... many bios' use different keys. You might try the enter key or the tab key to change fields.

The voltages... Yes those are the voltages I was wondering about. They seem normal.

Now the heat... 61C is pretty darn hot for being in bios. I would say that you need to remove the fan/heatsink and reapply thermal grease. The CPU fan speed seems low to me too, but I can't remember what it should be. I'm thinking about 2400 rpm, but I could be wrong. Could be contributing to the higher CPU temp though. The rest of the temps appear normal, unless your room is air conditioned. What's the room temp?

Right now, my room temp is about 88F, both my cores on my C2D are running at about 38C. This is the normal temp for my CPU day or night. Over my years of operating desktops, I've found that CPU temps will run about the same with or without the case covers on. However, the motherboard, more specifically the PWM (motherboard power conditioning circuits) get hotter with the covers on. This is why I always run open case. YMMV, so I can't recommend anything... you'll have to experiment with your own desktop.
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#15
Eden1

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Hi Makai ,

Many thanks for your help so far - regarding the clock reset , i managed to get onto desktop for long enough to reset the system date/time there and when i rebooted into bios again i noticed the date/time was now reading correctly so i guess that's that ? However no change as far as the nopost& general problem etc .

Anyway i was interested to read your thoughts with the high temps -esp with the CPU .I will look into that but i do note that the Heat sink behind this fan is still looking a wee bit dusty despite a gentle effort to clean the fan .
I suspect i would need to get the heatsink off with the fan in order to clean thoroughly .
I just wondered - if high temps have done some damage perhaps to the CPU would the symptoms i have described fit with this -is there some way i can test the CPU ( P4) to make sure this is ok ?
Just a thought - in the meantime i will look into the thermal paste as you advise .
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