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Bad PCIe 16x slot?


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#1 nomofoshobro

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 03:24 AM

I have built a cryptocurrency mining rig and the specs are as follows:

 

Asrock 970 extreme4 mobo

AMD Sempron 145 cpu

G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB DDR3-1600 ram

3x Sapphire HD 7950 gpu

Seasonc Platinum 860w psu

running headless with Xubuntu 12.10 and cgminer 3.7.2 for mining

 

I began this build with an Asrock 990fx extreme3 mobo, but after about a week, it sparked and burned by one of the internal usb headers that had nothing plugged into it. It was fried. I RMAed the board and while I am waiting to hear about that one I bought the Asrock 970 extreme4. Got everything installed and running fine. The next day, the machine was off. Power supply wouldn't spin up when I turned it off and on again. I disconnected everything but the CPU and it powered up just fine. Added RAM, everything fine. Added one GPU to the first slot (I am using 16x to 16x unpowered riser cables to keep the cards further apart from one another), flipped the switch and nothing. Tried a different riser cable in the same slot, same result. Moved the GPU to the second slot and it starts up, but 1 second later the GPU sparks ans releases a burning smell, and I quickly shut down the computer. At this point I figure I've found the culprit. A bad GPU. I try another GPU in the first slot and it works fine. I add the second to the second slot and everything seems to be working. I leave it running and during the night at some point it turns itself off again. I unplug the GPUs and it starts just fine. I figure I have a bad PCIe16x slot. I am afraid it might have been the reason the card went bad as well, and now I am worried that the second card that was plugged into that slot might also have been ruined. I have yet to test the cards in other slots since this last failure, but plan to do that later today. The question is, do I risk putting the third card in that first slot or should I just call it quits and RMA the board (and the fried GPUs of course)?

 

I have also tested the PSU with a multimeter and the readings are within the acceptable ranges for the different pins, so this doesn't seem to be a PSU problem.

 

FYI. I was using well accepted mining settings for these specific cards which have been tested and used by many people in the mining community. My power draw at the wall is 800w with all 3 GPUs and 550w when I only had 2 of them working. These numbers also been confirmed and used under continuous operation by many miners.



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#2 nomofoshobro

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 04:08 AM

Anyone have any suggestions how I can figure out which part is causing the trouble?



#3 hamluis

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 06:46 AM

Well...I'm certainly no technician of any sort...but it seems that you have experienced problelms with two different motherboards, yet you are looking at a slot on one of the boards as a culprit of sorts.

 

I think that I would look in the direction of the PSU long before I considered anything else, based on what you have posted.  It's the common element.

 

Louis



#4 nomofoshobro

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 01:14 PM

Thanks for the reply. I suspected the PSU after the first failure, but it was giving out the right voltages when I tested it with a multimeter. Besides, the first board actually sparked and burnt out, and while that could surely be a result of improper voltage metering from the PSU, it could also have been just a weak point of the board. I am totally stumped here and not sure what I should do. I really don't want to ruin all the parts I bought. I guess I will just have to RMA the PSU.



#5 jonuk76

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:09 PM

Sparking on the motherboard is pretty unusual and to me suggests a short circuit.  Like something contacting ground (the bare metal case) that shouldn't be.  I would check that there aren't any excess standoffs (without corresponding mounting holes) under the motherboard and no loose screws floating around.  How about these extension wires you're using for the PCIe sockets, are these properly insulated or is there any chance any exposed wire could come in contact with the case?  I'd also check the cases USB ports, seeing as the damage on motherboard 1 happened in that area of the board.


Edited by jonuk76, 02 February 2014 - 11:20 AM.

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#6 nomofoshobro

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:53 AM

jonuk76, I already got a new motherboard. I just included that info in case it might be applicable to one of the other components failing. This build is not in a case. The parts are secured in a plastic crate with plastic standoffs, so there is no metal contact to short anything out. I tried a couple of things, but it still isn't running properly. I reset the CMOS and plugged in one GPU. I attached a monitor to the GPU, but when I start up the GPU fans spin at 100% even though there is no real heat coming off the GPU. The GPU does not output to the monitor, so I do not know if it is posting or not.



#7 OldPhil

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:53 AM

Just a thought should the board be included in a ground loop to the PSU I think so?  On any board I have installed it grounds to the chassis in turn to the PSU, maybe left floating is not good.  Mounted on plastic sounds as if it is floating with no complete ground circuit.  Maybe I am all wet but just a thought!

 

Phil


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#8 nomofoshobro

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:55 AM

Phil, that is something I didn't think about, but from my understanding, you don't want the motherboard to be touching the metal case in order to keep it from shorting. Besides, I am in Europe and all plugs are grounded. Also, my build is following a miner building guide that has been used by many people successfully. However, that being said, I am going to go ahead and check that my standoffs aren't bending something on the backside of the mobo.



#9 nomofoshobro

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:12 PM

So I have had some time to play around some more with this, and it is not looking good. I detached the GPUs and reset the mobo CMOS. Starts fine, everything spins up. Attached on of the GPUs and the fan spins at 100% and there is no display output. My GPUs have a dual BIOS button, but neither gets the card to work. I put it aside and plug in the original card that sparked. It works fine, so I add the other card that is still functioning, and everything starts up and is working properly. After running for about 4 hours, it shuts down again. Unplug the cards and it still won't turn on. Reset the CMOS, pull out the RAM and it starts. Replace RAM, it starts. Add one GPU, it works. I run Memtest86 and the ram seems to be good. Then I plug in the second GPU again and the machine will not turn on. Unplug it, it works. I try it in different slots, by itself, with the other GPU, etc, but when it is plugged in, it doesn't work. I plug in a low-end GPU from another computer (which draws all power from the slot) and it runs just fine as a 2nd GPU. So after all that, I am now starting to think it IS the PSU! Like Louis said, it is the common element behind all the problems. I have had one mobo burn, one GPU spark, and two others are now non-functional in two different ways. Guess I am going to RMA the PSU. Not sure what else I can stand to ruin!






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