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Thread: Need some extra brains on this one.

  1. #1
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    Default Need some extra brains on this one.

    I just put together a backup system using bits. It's not my primary system, but it works well (I'm typing this on it) with one big issue.

    Let me describe what I've got.

    I have an old HP Vectra desktop case with a TF-format PSU in it (a Seasonic SS300TF).
    The motherboard is one that I bought years ago and never bothered to use--a Gigabyte GA78LMT-S2P (ver. 5.0). The CPU is a socket AM3+ Sempron II X4 and I've got 8 GB of DDR3 on it. I'm running Linux, although that's not germane to the problem.

    Here's the issue--I can power on or reset (doesn't make any difference which one) and it will go through POST and attempt to boot, which will bring it back to the POST screen. This can continue for 5 or 10 times before the system finally boots. Once booted, it stays that way and is quite stable. What is present for boot media (SATA hard disk, DVD, USB flash) doesn't change the behavior. As a matter of fact, all boot devices can be disconnected and the behavior will continue. I can bring up the BIOS setup screens and the boot device menu (F12) every time.

    I've re-flashed the BIOS, checked the PSU output, reset the BIOS to defaults and nothing seems to make a difference. I've swapped CPUs and memory.

    Does anyone have a suggestion on what to try next?

  2. #2

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    That is a 300W power supply. What you described as your system is at least 300w of usage. Even conservatively, I calculate it at 298W. Given it is a seasonic psu (a good OEM), it would be passable for a short time in my book.

    But that isn't a new unit, is it?

    I'd try a beefier power supply and see if the issues stop.
    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

  3. #3
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    Tried a no-name 600W external supply with the same behavior.

    Why it should fail on attempting to boot with no devices connected at all other than a keyboard and monitor is a mystery. Note that I'm even using the on-board video.

    I would think that if it were a power supply issue, I'd see failure when I loaded the thing down. I've tried de-rating the CPU to a single core and 1GHz clocking. Same issue.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); June 12th, 2018 at 08:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    I have heard of Phenom II x4 and Athlon II x4 but never a Sempron II x4 (semprons are single core correct?).

    Just because you flashed to the current BIOS and rebooted doesn't mean it works, some boards make you move the jumper for clearing CMOS to get the job done (especially boards with DUAL BIOS chips).

    Make sure you have the correct BIOS for the rev board you have (there are rev 3.x, 4.x, 5x with different BIOS).

    Gigabyte boards have BIOS overclocking and core opening functions that need to be turned off else you get bad boots and rebooting problems.

    If I had to guess the primary BIOS is incorrect or screwed up and the machine just sits there trying to use it and then just uses the backup one OR you have leftover overclocking settings from the last user that keep making the machine reboot to x number of boots where it just goes to default settings and finally boots.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  5. #5
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    You indicated that you are using Linux. Is there a feature in the Linux OS boot routine that allows 'Automatic Re-boot'? This was a common problem with XP, Vista, and W7 back when.

  6. #6

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    Does it get worse with colder temperature?
    Dwight

  7. #7
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    Not that I can tell.

    @AO, please allow me to reiterate--this behavior happens with no peripheral storage attached, other than a USB flash drive with DOS installed. No CD-ROM, no hard disk. Adding those doesn't change the behavior. It gets to the point in the boot process where it displays that it's updating the DMI data and it goes back to square zero. I assume that the DMI update is the last thing the BIOS does before looking for a boot device. It's very consistent--I let it re-run the POST until it finally decides to boot.

    Very bizarre--I can't ever recall seeing anything like this.

  8. #8

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    It's a bit of a long shot, I have a 386SX board that does this, but it is missing the keyboard controller. Goes through he POST then starts all over again. I don't know how this relates to the Sempron world, other than sometimes Model M's on new systems pull too much current.
    Looking for: OMTI SMS Scientific Micro Systems 8610 or 8627 ESDI ISA drive controller, May also be branded Core HC, Please PM me if you want to part with one.

  9. #9
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    Hmmm, that's a thought--I hadn't thought about the keyboard. I'll give it a try.

    No dice--does the same with the keyboard unplugged.

    Bugger.

  10. #10
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    You may want to do a RAM check if you haven't already, but it may be quicker just to attempt to boot with a minimum configuration - swap them out to see if it makes a difference.

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