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Thread: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3




  1. #1
    Martinique is offline Junior Member
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    Default Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    The problem I have is frequent hard freezing. It happens most often when the computer is idle or when system temperature is low, such as booting up for the first time in the morning. Usually after a freeze and reset BIOS still shows both RAM sticks, but weirdly only 1024MB available and in single channel mode, so I believe the board has trouble keeping the memory running. After powering down both sticks register OK. I've cleaned everything and made sure the sticks are seated properly. I also tried swapping slots.

    With Cool 'n Quiet enabled it freezes very often, sometimes in a matter of seconds from boot. Disabling it helps quite a lot, but this is a HTPC that mostly sits idle, so I should be able to run it, well, cool and quiet. A CPU cooler running at full blast kind of defeats the purpose of having bought a pricey semi-passive PSU and special fans for low noise.

    Temperature is not an issue. With CnQ the CPU idles at around 25-30 degrees, and without it around 35-40. During load this rises to 45-50. Memtest and CPU stress tests don't indicate any problems.

    I noticed that BIOS sets RAM voltage to 1.60V by default, while RAM specs say they're for 1.50V. I found a sweet spot at 1.55V, which reduced freezing. Also, setting NB voltage to 1.20 instead of Auto seemingly helped a bit. I dared not touch any other voltages or clocks, as having never overclocked I don't know them well. Other BIOS settings are pretty much defaults too, as they've made no difference.

    The OS (Ubuntu) is ruled out as cause, because the same happened with Windows too. Also, the PSU is brand new (tested another one too), HD and graphics card too, and the CPU and RAM work fine on the old M-ATX board, which I had to replace with a full ATX board to make space for a second DVB card. Removing the cards makes no difference.

    Thus, the board is the main suspect, but if there's any way to solve this by adjusting voltages etc., I'd rather keep it than RMA. Performance is less important than stability and low noise, so I'm willing to try anything that might help.

    This issue seems impossible to sort out without expert help, because after every BIOS change I must let the computer cool down for a long time to see if it had any real effect.

    I read elsewhere that CnQ might lower some voltage too much, causing this kind of instability, but which voltage(s) should I adjust then?

    System info:
    MB: Asrock 970DE3/U3S3 (BIOS 1.70)
    CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 (stock cooler)
    RAM: 2x1GB KVR1333D3N9 (dual channel mode)
    GPU: HD 6450
    HD: WD Caviar Green 2TB
    PSU: NesteQ ASM XZ-500
    OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Linux kernel 3.5)

    Edit: I now tried a different RAM kit, running single channel, and various RAM speeds. Still freezes.
    Last edited by Martinique; 09-26-2013 at 01:50 AM. Reason: Added details

  2. #2
    Martinique is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    Apparently it was some kind of incompatibility between the board and the CPU. I tried 4 different RAM kits of various brands, so memory was not the problem. I gave the Athlon to a friend, and he's now been running it with CnQ without any freezes on some Asus board. I bought a Phenom II, and it has been running without freezes for several days now, with CnQ and other BIOS power saver settings active.

  3. #3
    Martinique is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    This monologue is starting to feel awkward (BTW, where's that Asrock staff member this forum advertises?), but for future reference I wish to state that 970DE3/U3S3 obviously has bad incompatibility issues.

    Although Cool 'n Quiet now works without freezing, the memory problem is back, and worse than before I just didn't notice it at first, as I was busy praying that the freezing wouldn't return. BIOS sees both sticks, but both the POST check and the OS only see half of the total RAM. Unless someone knows some magical BIOS settings to fix this, apparently the only solution is to use single channel mode. Fortunately performance loss doesn't seem too bad.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    Welcome to the forum.

    I've sent a PM to ASRock TSD - Emily and asked her to see if she can help you.
    It might take a day or two for her to respond.

    Were any or all of the memory kits that you tested with in the ASRock supported memory list for your motherboard?
    Which memory slots are you using for dual channel mode and single channel mode?
    Have you tried testing with different memory slots?
    Last edited by profJim; 10-30-2013 at 05:31 PM.
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  5. #5
    Martinique is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    Thanks for replying.

    At least 3 of the 4 kits I've tried are on the compatibility list. For dual channel I've tried both A1+B1 and A2+B2. Now the sticks are in A1 and A2.

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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    Dear Martinique,

    Sorry for the late reply for this issue.

    For single channel issue, do you have another CPU or memory module to verify if system can detect the memory on DDR_B1/B2?
    I'll do stress test with below config. to check this issue.
    CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 (stock cooler)
    RAM: 2x1GB KVR1333D3N9 (dual channel mode)

    Please kindly also offer the S/N of this board and the contacting information to me via PM.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Have a nice day
    ASRock TSD
    Emily

  7. #7
    Martinique is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    Quote Originally Posted by ASRock TSD - Emily View Post
    I'll do stress test with below config. to check this issue.
    CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 (stock cooler)
    RAM: 2x1GB KVR1333D3N9 (dual channel mode)
    Thanks! Note that I've replaced the original CPU and RAM kit with a Phenom II X3 720 BE and a pair of Corsair CM3X1024-1066C7. With the Athlon there was the random idle freezing with Cool 'n Quiet and occasional dual channel malfunction, possibly related. Now there seems to be no more freezing, but dual channel seems completely broken. I gave away the Athlon and returned the other RAM kits I borrowed for testing, but I still have those KVR sticks, so I'll try both those and the B slots.

  8. #8
    Martinique is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Idle freezing with Asrock 970DE3/U3S3

    Testing the B slots was a great idea. I tried with both the Corsair and Kingston RAM kits, and the board doesn't POST at all when they're in B1 and B2. As I have two of these boards and both have shown similar symptoms, I doubt I'm so unlucky that both are just randomly faulty. Could this be a BIOS bug?

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