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Asus A7V8X Nightmare


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#1 MrBruce1959

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 02:44 AM

Hello all, being that I am a electronics repair tech and have repaired many electronics devices during my 38 year career, I have finally come across quite a dilemma.

I own an Asus A7V8X motherboard, this particular model motherboard did not have SATA or IEEE1394, some models had it some didn't.

The motherboard can be viewed at this Asus link: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_Socket_A/A7V8X

Now the motherboard has a socket A 462 Athlon XP 2400+ processor, 3 sticks of PNY 1GB PC3200 DDR memory in each of the 3 slots totaling 3 GB.

The Power supply is an PowerLink Model CWT-500ATX.
Ratings are as follows:
500 WATT Max.
+3.3===30 Amps
+5.0===38 Amps
+12.0==22 Amps
-12.0==0.5 Amps
-5.0===0.5 Amps
+5SB==2.0 Amps

Now I am one of those people who attaches a digital VOM meter up to the various PSU outputs with the system running and checks the DC voltage outputs of each rail.

Outputs were as follows:

3.3==steady 3.20
12.0==steady 12.14
5.0===steady 4.86

AGP video cards use 12.0 rail and 1.5 volts.

The original video card I had was an PNY Nvidia GeForce 6200 256MB DRR video card.

System consisted of:

Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 32 Bit.

3 hard drives (Primary C: Windows 7, Secondary E: Back up hard drive for C: and F: Windows 8 Dev preview.)

5 Case cooling fans
1 Processor cooling fan
2 cooling fans inside the PSU
1 cooling fan on video card heat sink.
1 NetGear Gigabit GA311 PCI Network adapter
On board Network adapter disabled.
PS2 mouse
PS2 keyboard
1 DVD Burner drive as a Slave on secondary IDE.

I ran into issues with the Nvidia video drivers timing out and windows stating the drivers stopped working and were recovered.
This is an error often found with both ATI and Nvidia video cards with both Windows Vista and windows 7.

During a bug check on driver nvlddmkm.sys, my system went into an infinite reboot, crashing each time the system tried to load windows.

More can be read here from Nvidia's web site regarding issues with ATI and Nvidia's drivers, however you'll notice this information was written back on April 19th 2008: http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=65161

My eventual out come was the video card had failed.
Now just as a point to mention, the Asus motherboards came with a built in voice synthesizer chip that speaks out the results of the system boot procedure.

A normal boot up would be the built in voice synthesizer stating the following: "system now performing power on self test" then if all goes well it will output "system now booting from operating system."
Instead of me getting this, the system is reporting "system failed VGA test" it then boots with no graphics on the screen.

I decided to try an old ATI Radeon 7000 64MB PCI card I had laying around in the PCI slot and the system booted successfully, with 800x600 resolution of course because this card is not supported by Windows 7 drivers.

Thinking a bricked Nvidia 6200 256MB AGP video card is the cause, I decided to purchase a brand new AGP video card from newegg.

I chose to purchase the EVGA brand Nvidia GeForce 6200 8X AGP however this time around, I chose the 512MB card over my previous 256MB card. Link to video card I bought: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130654

The card came in and after installing the new card into my motherboard and boot the system up, I get "System Failed VGA Test" and again no video!

I decided the slot its self must be bad. Now let me tell you, trying to get a AGP slot off of the motherboard along with all 124 pins still intacted is a complete nightmare! I worked for about 3 hours trying to get all 124 pins free of the board using a soldering iron with a built in suction bulb, and do a final bake of the motherboard in a special oven to soften the remaining solder. Keep in mind, motherboards are double sided and parts are soldered to the motherboard on both sides.

My attempt to remove the AGP slot with all 124 pins was a failure, all but 30 pins came off the circuit board along with the slot!
Getting those pins back into the slot correctly is impossible, it can't be done without the pin tops missing their mark in the tiny holes at the top of the slot as they are being pushed back in where they were.

The only solution is replacing it with a new AGP slot.

As I was checking my favorite parts web site DigiKey for a new 124 pin AGP slot check this link: http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/5145263-2/A33651-ND/1121510, I decided to look on ebay for another Asus A7V8X motherboard and save myself the headache of soldering a new slot onto the motherboard, which can be a royal pain even with the right tools!

The one A7V8X motherboard I find for a decent price on ebay has the 333FSB sticker on it as well as the IEEE1394 ports and associated hardware for it came with it and two SATA ports are built into this board, both of which my current motherboard did not come with because it was an optional feature.

I order the motherboard and when it came in, I put the system together, exactly as my origional one was, expecting everything to work.

When the system booted, it too having the audio chip for post reporter, states "System failed VGA Test"
Okay faulty video card right?

To find out, I put in a PCI 64MB ATI Radeon 7000 video card and the system boots, just like the other motherboard did.
Assuming the EVGA 6200 is bad and because someone at the ASUS forum board states your PSU is your problem, I decided to put this video card into the only other motherboard I had that supports AGP cards.
It is an FIC VA-503+ AMD-K6 socket 7 motherboard, with 500MHz CPU and 512MB of memory and a flimsy 250 WATT power supply!
The video card worked! So now it is a conclusion that video card is not at fault here.
My PowerLink 500 WATT PSU is a lot more powerful than this 250 WATT one, so if it works in this old system with this PSU, it would certainly work with the 500 WATT one.

One of the things I looked into like I do with any hardware problem is the computers BIOS support, I booted the ebay computer with a PCI card and checked system information to see that the actual BIOS was what was printed on the BIOS chip sticker, both were the same, AWARD BIOS revision # 1010.

An attempt was made to boot from a floppy which held the same BIOS revision update I had flashed into my original A7V8X motherboard which was revision # 1015.003 BETA. The AFlash utility loaded, but failed to flash the BIOS chip. It failed several times saying can't open the file.

Okay, since the BIOS chips are in sockets, I decided to wedge the 1015.003 chip out of my original motherboard, wedge the 1010 chip out of this board and switch BIOS chips then boot the computer to see if it will POST with a different chip.

The results was that it did boot and upon checking system information in windows, it indicated that the BIOS revision was 1015.003 BETA. So the BIOS chip switch did work.

Now I figuring that the BIOS updates were for support for newer hardware, as this is stated on the Asus web site for each BIOS firmware release they published, I figured the updated chip would fix the VGA failed error problem, because it should support the newer 8X cards.

Sadly, upon re-installing the EVGA AGP card in the AGP slot and booting up the system, the POST reporter again states "System Failed VGA Test" :angry:

14 hours of researching the Asus A7V8X or A7V8X-X or A7V8X-LA motherboards on Google brings me to than endless array of dead-ends, after dead ends!
No one ever posted a decent solution or most threads went unanswered and came to a dead end.

Being that I am a repair tech, I often check slots for signs of burns or defective components, such as leaking capacitors or faulty solder connections, I wish that was the problem, but it isn't!

Now of course I do plan on returning the motherboard to the seller on ebay, because it must obviously have a defect in the VGA circuitry.

Mind you these particular A7V8X motherboards do not come with on-board video chips, some of the LA or X models did.

As for the original motherboard, I'll have to wait for another AGP slot to come in from DigiKey and hope for the best.

Well I shared my nightmare with the rest of you, just because I am a repair tech does not mean I am immune from computer headaches and disasters.
Just curious what the opinions are from the rest of you out there.

Have many of you experienced issues like this with Asus motherboards?

I want to finish this rant with stating that my origional A7V8X was a motherboard I bought new back in October of 2002, I only recently started using it in January of 2009 when I took it out its box for the first time and built a system out of it.

Until a week ago, it worked flawlessly. :whistle:

Thanks for letting me rant and share my nightmare! :thumbup2:

Thank goodness I have more then one computer to play with. :wink:

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 17 October 2011 - 04:57 AM.

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:27 PM

Just adding an update here, I did get an email from Asus today regarding the email I sent them 3 days ago.
I am sharing that email with all of you. :busy:

Dear Mr. Bruce
Unfortunately there is no documentation anymore for this board. But if two boards are having the same issue with the same card then either your hunch is accurate or the 512mb version of the card isn't compatiable.

---------- Original Message ----------
From : mrbruce
Sent : 10/15/2011 12:39:38 AM
To : "tsd@asus.com.tw"
Subject : <TSD> Motherboard A7V8X

[CASEID=WTM2011101582941712]

Apply date : 10/15/2011 12:29:04 AM(UTC Time)

[Contact Information]
*Name : Bruce
*Email Address : MrBruce
Phone Number : XXX-XXX-XXXX
City : Norwich, CT
*Country : United States

[Product Information]
*Product Type : Motherboard
*Product Model : A7V8X
*Product S/N : 29ZG0B6382
Place of Purchase : E TECH
*Date of Purchase : 2002/10/26

[Motherboard Specification]
*Motherboard Revision : 2.01
*Motherboard BIOS Revision : 1015.003 Beta

[VGA Card Specification]
*VGA Card Vendor : EVGA Nvidia
*VGA Card Model : GeForce 6200 AGP8X 512MB DDR2
*VGA Card Chipset : Nvidia
*VGA Card Driver : nvlddmkm.sys

[CPU Specification]
*CPU Vendor : AMD
*CPU Type : Athlon XP 2400+
*CPU Speed : 2000 GHz

[Memory Specification]
*Memory Vendor : PNY
*Memory Model : DDR PC3200 1 GB
*Memory Capacity : 3 GB

[HDD Specification]
HDD Vendor : Maxtor
HDD Model :
HDD Capacity : 500 GB

[Add-on Card Specificatio]
Add-on Card Vendor :
Add-on Card Type :
Add-on Card Model :

*Operating System : Windows 7 32bit

[Problem Description]
During POST, the post reporter indicates "AGP failure" then there is one post beep,
however the screen remains blank.
PCI video card works.
This is happening on two of my Asus A7V8X motherboards.
The PSU is supplying more than the required 18 Amps of power on the 12 volt rail
and VOM meter measurements under load indicate there is enough power for the
video card.
Does the ASUS A7V8X motherboard AGP slot support 512Mb video cards?
It woked fine with an Nvidia GeForce 6200 256MB AGP 8X, why does it not work with
512MB cards?

At least they replied.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 17 October 2011 - 03:25 PM.

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
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My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

I Am Currently Using Windows 10 Home Edition.

As a Volunteer Staff Member of Bleeping Computer, the Help That I Proudly Provide Here To Our BC Forum Board Membership is Free of Charge. :wink:

#3 hamluis

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 04:07 PM

Just a thought...a board bought in 2002...even though unused...may just have a bad CMOS battery in it.

I have no idea what the life of a CR2032 is...but I would try a new battery if I had a board sitting on the shelf that long, used or unused. As we learn every day, it's a small, inexpensive article that can seriously reflect problems that would not otherwise appear.

Louis

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for your feed back, hamluis.

The CMOS battery of the original motherboard was dead the day I built the system two years ago and I have replaced it twice in those two years, not because the second one was dead, but because like you said those batteries are like 5.00 at Radio Shack and I usually buy 10 at a time.

The second motherboard from ebay came with the battery installed in the slot, so before I fired it up for the first time I put in a fresh CR2032 battery.

Then I corrected the time and date and made sure all drives were properly detected in the BIOS, but of course I was only able to do that with a PCI video card in the board, the AGP slot was a no go no matter what I did with the card in the slot.

I even tried booting the other computer up out of the case on a table where I knew the AGP card was fully seated in the slot.

Now I am not 100% sure if out of those 124 pins, which make contact with the gold connectors on the video card are not flexing back and touching another pin.

Those pins are arched so that as the video card is inserted they flex back from the pressure, however if those pins were to bend slightly, they can make contact with a neighboring pin causing a short.

If you have ever looked closely at how PCI, AGP or PCI-E slots are designed, they are basically "insertion force" connectors.

Bruce.
Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
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My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

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