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Thread: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts




  1. #1
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    Question Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    I recently organized a new business system for one of my clients. The computer system was built by one of our reputable computer shops with the following specifications

    EP35-DS3R BIOS v1.06.59
    INTEL Duo Core 2 E6850
    4 x 1Gb Kingston DDR II
    2 x 500Gb Western Digital HDD
    1 x 80 GD Western Digital HDD
    2 DVD drives

    The two 500 Gb HDD are in a SATA Raid 1 (mirror) controlled by the Gigabyte motherboard. These disks have XP Professional SP2 loaded on them in 2 partitions (one for XP and the other for data)

    The 80 Gb HDD has Zenwalk loaded on it and the system is a dual boot into either XP or into Zenwalk as required

    The system works perfectly apart from an intermittent and potentially disastrous system failure. Everyso often the system will freeze and not respond to any mouse movements or keyboard commands and requires a brutal power off to restart the system. In Zenwalk this was not much of a problem , since the OS is fairly robust and will handle the power off. The XP part of the computer is another matter ofcourse. A few times we've been lucky and the system has restarted with out any problems apart from damage to my nerves. Once it managed to corrupt the Registry and required a tremendous amount of work to fix.

    I am at a loss to explain the cause of this problem and would really appreciate some help. I had thought it was due to the vagaries of XP, but this morning it managed to freeze the Zenwalk system during the operation of one of the screensavers (subsequently disabled). On XP, it would seem that the mouse starts to go very erratic in its movements then the system freezes. It almost sounds as if the memory of the system is overloading, but its hardly being stretched by what the computer is actually doing (standard Office applications and some minor photo manipulation)

    Sorry about the sketchiness of the details but I'm geographically removed from the system and I will need to talk my client though running any diagnostics.

    Regards

    Michael

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    WOW, well first I would be sure there is no viruses or spyware to be on the safe side of things.

    But I think you are correct when you think it is ram related. Sounds that way to me as well. Is there a floppy installed in the system, or can they burn a ISO File? If so or not, they need to somehow first run memtest86+ to see one of two things. I suspect either the ram is dying, or since it is 4x1GB config I almost would be sure the settings are all in Auto in the BIOS and this can be a issue from day one until fixed/set.

    Here is memtest86+ CD ISO and Floppy is available here, it is a DOS based app if you are not familiar with it, and will autorun. If they do not have a floppy and do not know how to burn a ISO you will need to somehow get a Properly Burned ISO of it to them so they can run it >>>>
    Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool

    If they are not computer shy and know some of the BIOS, you really should ask them if they fell comfortable testing with only one stick at a time. This should be done at stock speed, stock timings, and manually set voltages. Test each stick one by one in slot one for a few passes of memtest86+ full test. I suggest one at a time because if you do it with all of them in and it errors out, you will eventually need to do one by one anyway to find the dead stick/sticks. If they do not feel up to this, then at least have them run it with all 4 sticks in. And tell them if it passes one full test to let it run for several hours if possible.

    If it does test out to be ok then none of the ram is dead/dying which of course is good, but incorrect or Auto (With 4gb 2x2 or 4x1 this is incorrect as well) settings the ram may or may not pass memtest86+ but can still fail in windows. And it may just fail in memtest as well because of incorrect/Auto settings so it is not always meaning a dead stick if things fail.

    As for settings, can you please pass this along to them and have them go into the BIOS and then into the M.I.T. Section and fill this out and give back to you so you can post here so I can have a look. I will assume already it is likely in Auto, which if you do not have a dead stick in the mix, would be the cause of instabilities. Sorry, to get into the BIOS Tell them when the system starts to hit the "Delete" key until the BIOS loads.

    Here is what you will need to have them fill out for you >>>

    Tell them to pay not attention to the numbers I have in there, just to enter what they have on their PC. If Auto enter Auto and so on.

    Code:
    Robust Graphics Booster___________ [Auto]
    CPU Clock Ratio ____________ [8] 
    Fine Clock Ratio ____________[0.5]
    CPU Host Clock Control_ [Enabled]
    CPU Host Frequency (MHz)__________ [333] 
    PCI Express Frequency (Mhz)_______ [100]
    C.I.A. 2__________________________ [Disabled]
    System Memory Multiplier (SPD)____ [2.00]
    DRAM Timing Selectable_______ SPD __ [Manual]
    
    Performance Enhance = [Standard]
    
    CAS Latency Time________________ ?
    Dram RAS# to CAS# Delay_________ ?
    Dram RAS# Precharge Delay_______?
    Precharge Delay (tRAS)__________ ?
    
    ACT to ACT Delay (tRRD)_________ ?
    Rank Write to READ Delay________ ?
    Write to Precharge Delay_________ ?
    Refresh to ACT Delay______________ ?
    Read to Precharge Delay__________ ?
    Static tRead Value_______________
    Static tRead Phase Adjust________ [Auto]
    
    System Voltage Control____ [Manual]
    DDR2 OverVoltage Control__ [+0.300V] 
    PCI-E OverVoltage Control_ [+0.1V] 
    FSB OverVoltage Control___ [+0.1V] 
    (G)MCH OverVoltage Control [+0.1V] 
    CPU Voltage Control_______ [1.25]

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Hi Lsdmeasap,

    Thanks for the quick response.

    The possibility of a virus or spyware I think I can rule out in this case for two reasons. Firstly, both the XP and Zenwalk Linux systems have been hit with the same problem and both OSs are isolated from each other for security reasons. Secondly,I have run a full check on both OSs and neither are showing any indications of infestation.

    I can make up an ISO disk for my client and may need to run it myself on the system to check the memory, though my client may be able to run it with a bit of instruction.

    I will get them to record the settings from the MB Intelligent Tweaker and post the settings on here.

    I will also get them to send me the dmesg log from Zenwalk which may show if there is any problem with the memory, although I don't remember seeing any mention of it the last time I looked, although I was not specifically looking for it.

    SystemRescueCD is also useful for running diagnostics on failing machines and in this particular case has the memtest+ tool available on the cd as a virtual floppy.

    Sysresccd-manual-en System boot floppy disks - SystemRescueCd

    which may be of use to the members of the forum

    Once I have any further information I will post on the forum, though I must admit I tend to think its an issue with the AUTO setting as well. Although , it has been said before in the forum, this is an extremely useful site and I'm glad I came across it. Given that I knew very little about Gigabyte boards, a few hours reading on this site has helped my understanding of them tremendously. Congratulations on the great work

    Regards

    Michael

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Ok, Ya that would make sense what you say about possible virus/spyware.

    You would have to be there in person to run Memtest86+ yourself as it is a DOS app and you must boot from CD or floppy to run it. Hopefully you can walk them thru that, and if need be help them to properly burn a ISO

    Not sure, but I would assume the Memtest86+ on the CD you mention is a older version, and would not be P35 compatible which would make it give false errors. You do want to use the newest version to be sure the errors are real.

    Also, Sorry I just looked, That is Memtest, not Memtest86+ and it is old as well. Not going to be your best testing tool.

    But yeah, I kinda doubt memory is dying myself, and would assume any memtest tool will show errors. I say that because of how the system was built, and who it was for it is very likely that the company left everything in Auto. Which would for sure fail sooner if not later for 4x1GB, surprised it worked properly ever if this is indeed the case. If it HAS worked for a long time and you do find that things are in auto, it very well may be erroring/dying memory then

    Thank you for your kind words, and good luck on trying to get things figured out, I know it will be hard not having the system in front of you

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Hi Lsdmeasap,

    Well I've had my client running through the BIOS etc on the other end of the phone, much to their edification and amusement and we have come up with the following data

    Code:
    Robust Graphics Booster			[Auto]
    Robust Grapphics Booster          	[Auto]
    CPU Clock Ratio 				[9 x]
    CPU Frequency                     		[3.00GHz(333x9)]
    CPU Host Clock Control_ 		[Disabled]
    CPU Host Frequency (MHz)		[200]
    PCI Express Frequency (Mhz)		[Auto]
    C.I.A. 2						[Disabled]
    Perfomance enhanced                 	[Turbo]
    System Memory Multiplier (SPD)	Auto]
    Memory Frequency (Mhz)       800    800
    DRAM Timing Selectable	SPD		[Auto]
    
    
    ............................... Standard Timing  Control ............................
    
    CAS Latency Time			 6     Auto
    Dram RAS# to CAS# Delay	         6     Auto
    Dram RAS# Precharge Delay	 6     Auto
    Precharge Delay (tRAS)		18     Auto
    
    ................Advanced 
    
    ACT to ACT Delay (tRRD)		3      Auto
    Rank Write to READ Delay	4      Auto
    Write to Precharge Delay		6      Auto
    Refresh to ACT Delay	      42      Auto
    Read to Precharge Delay		3      Auto
    Static tRead Value			7      Auto
    Static tRead Phase Adjust	0      Auto
    
    ..............System Voltage optimized ............................
    
    System Voltage Control			[Manual]
    DDR2 OverVoltage Control		[Normal]
    PCI-E OverVoltage Control		[Normal]
    FSB OverVoltage Control			[Normal]
    (G)MCH OverVoltage Control 		[Normal]
    CPU Voltage Control			[Normal]
    Normal CPU Vcore               		1.35000V
    which if I am reading this correctly means that they have given us an unboosted system, however, i am not sure what the optimum settings would be would be for 4 Gb of RAM in this case

    The values for the PC Health Status are, in part,
    Code:
    Vcore                           1.316V
    DDR                               1.904V
    +3.3V                            3.296V
    +12V                              11.921V
    Current System Temp       32C
    Current CPU Temp             32C
    Current CPU Fan          1454 RPM
    Current Power Fan       625  RPM
    There is also a massive fan on the Side of the case that sucks air in

    Checking on the linux system revealed the following soft/hardware data

    BIOS : Award Software International version F2 (01/04/2008)
    Memory: DIMM 800 Mhz (1.2 MHz) width 64 bits
    CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E6850 @ 3.00 Ghz clock 333 Mhz
    DVD Writer: Vendor Pioneer : DVD-RW DVD-115d

    The LSHW (list hardware) interface showed all four memory cards as being available and identifiable. I also gotthe clients to check through the log files on the linux system, specifically the dmesg log, that records in detail the system check of the memory during the start up and all the memory was reading and mapping correctly and that there were no error or warning messages in the log. The messages during the general start up also showed no memory errors.

    The only other factor I would mention is that the client said on days that the system had "frozen" were on cold days when the fan heaters were on in the office. This was not the case when linux froze, but that may have been due to a particular screensaver and simply produced the same result for differing causes (I will go through the messages log and see if it reveals anything)

    Unless there is anything blinding obvious in the above data, it would look as if I will have to run the memtest86+ on the weekend, when the system is not in use for the business. Thanks for the heads up on the old copy of memtest on the SystemRescueCD. Usually that group is scrupulous about having all the latest versions of the tools. Obviously not in this case

    Thanks in advance for any insights

    Regards

    Michael
    Last edited by mprimrose; 10-15-2008 at 11:29 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Well Like I said you would likely find AUTO. That is just not going to be stable with 4x1.

    Please do run memtest86+ over the weekend there if you can. Yeah that may be the newest "Memtest" available for linux is why it is on there. And there is a Few tests that go by similar memtest names.

    Here is what I would suggest for 4x1 at stock for that setup. I will provide Optimal, and "Should be stable/loose" settings, this way you can tell them all the higher/loose timings over the phone to use and see if it helps. And then if you are there to test the ram and have time you can try to tweak things down a little bit >>>>


    Actually, just noticed you will need to give me the exact Ram model # or a link if you know it so I can advise the correct voltage and timing. So this will pretty much be a partial set of settings for you until then (If you have them Install CPU-z and look in the SPD tab, not memory, you may be able to see the ram model #. There should also be JEDEC Defaults there, which are generic timings/voltages which I already know, but most ram has a specific voltage and timing set other then this set that would be needed fro 4x1 use.

    It is likely 5-5-5-18 or 6-6-6-18 (Which I see being used, but may be incorrect since it is all Auto) ram with a 1.8V JEDEC profile at 800Mhz, but some will be 4-4-4-12 or 5-5-5-15/18 with 2.0-2.1V So best to be sure before I advise you about that

    Code:
    Robust Grapphics Booster          	[Auto]
    CPU Clock Ratio 				[9 x]
    CPU Frequency                     		[3.00GHz(333x9)]
    CPU Host Clock Control_ 		[Disabled]
    CPU Host Frequency (MHz)		[200]
    PCI Express Frequency (Mhz)		[Auto]
    C.I.A. 2						[Disabled]
    
    Perfomance enhanced                 	[Turbo] << Set to standard for best stability
    
    System Memory Multiplier (SPD)	Auto]
    Memory Frequency (Mhz)       800    800
    DRAM Timing Selectable	SPD		[Manual]
    
    
    ............................... Standard Timing  Control ............................
    
    CAS Latency Time			 6     Auto
    Dram RAS# to CAS# Delay	         6     Auto
    Dram RAS# Precharge Delay	 6     Auto
    Precharge Delay (tRAS)		18     Auto
    
    ................Advanced 
    
    ACT to ACT Delay (tRRD)		3      Auto
    Rank Write to READ Delay	4      Auto
    Write to Precharge Delay		6      Auto
    Refresh to ACT Delay	      42      Auto <<< Must be 52+ for 4x1.  Normally 56 -65 is best
    
    Read to Precharge Delay		3      Auto
    Static tRead Value			7      Auto << Auto, which is 7 may not work very stable with this ram if it is 1.8V rated ram
    
    Static tRead Phase Adjust	0      Auto
    
    ..............System Voltage optimized ............................
    
    System Voltage Control			[Manual]
    DDR2 OverVoltage Control		[Normal] << MUST be manually set to the ram spec, which is on the sticker or once you get the model # I can check.  normally 1.8-2.1
    
    PCI-E OverVoltage Control		[Normal]
    FSB OverVoltage Control			[Normal]
    (G)MCH OverVoltage Control 		[Normal] << MUST be set to +0.2 - 0.3 for 4x1GB
    CPU Voltage Control			[Normal]
    Normal CPU Vcore               		1.35000V
    Once we get the actual ram values I will provide you will a full direct list of settings for optimal and just plain stable for sure. The above mentioned things though will be a given no matter the ram model. Sorry I did not tell you this would be needed previously, I guess I overlooked the fact that the model number was not posted in your spec's above

    Also F3 Final BIOS is posted for that board, something you may want to also do when you get there this weekend >>>
    GIGABYTE - Support - Motherboard - BIOS - GA-EP35-DS3R (rev. 2.1)

    And here is info on a few ways to properly flash the BIOS >>>
    http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/bios...h-guide-27576/

    DO NOT USE @BIOS

    Well, let me know if you can the ram model or info I asked above and I will get you some direct answers before the weekend
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 10-15-2008 at 04:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Hi Lsdmeasap,

    I got my client to install and run the CPU-Z on their system. A very neat little program, which I hadn't come across before. The ability to generate the Register dump as a test file saves a lot of time in reading endless figures over the phone. The relevant bit for the memory is as follows
    Code:
    DIMM #n
    
    General
    Memory type        DDR2
    Module format        Regular UDIMM
    Manufacturer (ID)    Kingston (7F98000000000000)
    Size            1024 MBytes
    Max bandwidth        PC2-6400 (400 MHz)
    Part number        9905316-131.A00LF
    Serial number        B71D9236
    Manufacturing date    Week 10/Year 08
    
    Attributes
    Number of banks        2
    Data width        64 bits
    Correction        None
    Nominal Voltage        1.80 Volts
    EPP            no
    XMP            no
    
    Timings table
    Frequency (MHz)        266    333    400    
    CAS#            4.0    5.0    6.0    
    RAS# to CAS# delay    4    5    6    
    RAS# Precharge        4    5    6    
    TRAS            12    15    18    
    TRC            16    20    24
    All four memory cards have the same values and manufacturing dates. Hopefully, this is the information you required, Sorry, about the lack of allignment in the data but there doesn't seem to be an easy way to pretty up the code

    I had presumed from my notes that the MB was an ep35-ds3r, however it would appear from the CPU-Z data that the board may only be a an ep35-ds3. I'm not sure if this will make any difference to the memory settings or not. As far as I can see the only difference between the boards is a couple of SATA connections and an INTEL(R) chip . I will have a a peer inside the box on the weekend to see what the situation is

    Mainboard Model EP35-DS3
    Southbridge Intel 82801IB (ICH9) rev. 02

    Regards

    Michael
    Last edited by mprimrose; 10-16-2008 at 11:10 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Yes, that is part of the info I would need. But nominal voltage may not be the voltage required for the 800 Speeds that you would want to run. Will they open the case, and remove or look at a ram module? If so I would like to get the model # that is in this format (KHX6400D2/1G) it should be on a sticker on each stick.

    Ya, EP35 and P35 are pretty much the same minus the DES energy saving features and possibly additional connections that you mentioned

    If you cannot get this info, the below settings should be fine for stability and general system use >>>>

    Code:
    Robust Grapphics Booster          	[Auto]
    CPU Clock Ratio 				[9 x]
    CPU Frequency                     		[3.00GHz(333x9)]
    CPU Host Clock Control_ 		[Disabled]
    CPU Host Frequency (MHz)		[200]
    PCI Express Frequency (Mhz)		[Auto]
    C.I.A. 2						[Disabled]
    
    Perfomance enhanced                 	[Standard] << Set to standard for best stability
    
    System Memory Multiplier (SPD)	Auto]
    Memory Frequency (Mhz)       800    800
    DRAM Timing Selectable	SPD		[Manual]
    
    
    ............................... Standard Timing  Control ............................
    
    CAS Latency Time			 6    
    Dram RAS# to CAS# Delay	         6     
    Dram RAS# Precharge Delay	 6     
    Precharge Delay (tRAS)		18/24    
    
    ................Advanced 
    
    Many of these can be manually set, but I will just give you settings for the main ones that should be for this ram configuration.  The rest may be left in Auto
    
    ACT to ACT Delay (tRRD)		3      Auto
    Rank Write to READ Delay	4      Auto
    Write to Precharge Delay		6      Auto
    Refresh to ACT Delay	    54-62<<< Must be 52+ for 4x1.  Normally 56 -65 is best.  I would set as per my original noted amount or 54-62.  42/Auto will not work for 4x1
    
    Read to Precharge Delay		3      Auto
    Static tRead Value			7      8-9 << Auto, which is 7 may not work very stable with this ram if it is 1.8V rated ram.  I would set this to 8 or 9.  8 will probably do fine
    
    Static tRead Phase Adjust	0      Auto << always leave
    
    ..............System Voltage optimized ............................
    
    System Voltage Control			[Manual]
    DDR2 OverVoltage Control		[+0.1]  The default of Auto/Normal is 1.8V, for stability +0.1 will be 1.9 and would be best when using 4 sticks
    
    PCI-E OverVoltage Control		[Normal]
    FSB OverVoltage Control			[Normal]
    (G)MCH OverVoltage Control 		[+0.2V] << MUST be set to +0.2-+0.3 for 4x1GB, +0.2 should be fine for the 4x1GB ram that is used in this case
    CPU Voltage Control			[Normal]
    Normal CPU Vcore               		1.35000V
    And again, when you get there this weekend please do test the ram modules one by one with Memtest86+ as you may have a dead or dying stick in the mix

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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Hi Lsdmeasap,

    Thanks for the quick response with the settings, I will try them out on the clients system on the weekend. A couple of quick comments/questions if I might?

    Given the internal arrangement of the motherboard and cabling in the computer casing, I don't think my clients are going to have a terribly easy time getting the model # of the memory sticks. I know I had a pain of a time trying to get a temporary FDD plugged in for one emergency (Getting an FDD installed soon by the supplier of the system to save on my nerves) The client is more interested in the stability and general usage of the computer, given this is a business system, rather than with the optimum performance required of a gaming machine, so I may just run with the settings you've given me and let you know the model # later. Would that be OK?

    I was wondering about the comment on the 800 Mhz speed for the memory. I notice from the CPU-Z results that the max bandwith of the memory is supposed to be 400 MHz. So I am not sure why the system is setting the Memory Frequency to 800 Mhz This is an area I know nothing about so I don't know if the discrepancy is relevant to the problem, or if it is good or bad, or if I am simply confused.

    The last time I looked at the MIT on this system I think the standard and advanced timing control settings were greyed out from memory. From the documentation I think Ihave to set the "DRAM Timing Selectable SPD [Auto]" value to [Manual] to allow me to edit these values. Is this correct?

    I was planning to set the BIOS first off and then make sure I had no problems with the system in starting up and accessing stuff. After that I was going to run the MemTest86+ against the full set of memory to see if I encountered any errors. I may even run Memtest86+ first off to establish a base line if the test is not likely to cause any problems. Any thoughts? The system is still under warranty (less than 6 months old) and having discussed the issue with the client, if the memory is showing a problem I am inclined to replace the whole set with new copies of the same memory sticks.

    I realize that I should test each individual stick, but this raises a couple of issues. If I have set the BIOS to deal with 4 x 1GB memory sticks, are the settings going to be detrimental to an individual stick in the system and should I thus change the settings back to status quo before I run the tests on the individual sticks? The other point is that its been an age and a day since I got my fingers dirty plugging and unplugging stuff inside boxes (management is kept well away by staff from anything breakable for obvious reasons lol). Nervousness is not good when fiddling in tight corners in a system and would be better done by the people who built it.

    With the BIOS upgrade, I might postpone that to another day unless there is a major reason connected with the current problem that would require the upgrade. Its an extremely busy period for my client and I don't want to add in any further complications than I need to.

    Thanks as always for your help in this matter, since its way outside my areas of expertise.

    Michael
    Last edited by mprimrose; 10-17-2008 at 01:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Ep35-ds3r and intermittant system halts

    Ya, woud be fine about that model #. I just wanted it to be sure of the voltage I gave you, but you can easily look when you get there and see if it is printed on the stick. If no voltage is noted, but a Model # is just google it and you should find the voltage. It will likely be fine on the default/auto of 1.8V but I would set 1.9V anyway with 4GB in there

    DDR means Double Data Rate, so 400Mhz is 800Mhz operating speed when the memory Multiplier is at 1:1 (2.00 in Gigabyte boards) with the CPU Speed.

    CPU Speed is QDR, Quad Data Rate so 4 x FSB/CPU Host Freq. Something many get confused with, so dont feel bad about it.

    Yes you will need to set that to manual to enter the correct values for 4GB, and you can ignore any voltage warning you get when changing voltages. Those are just provided as a reminder to users who have not asked or do not know about changing them.

    Best to test each stick one by one, so you do not have to after you find errors with the whole set. But if you plan to get all new, then it wont matter so much I guess as one error would mean all new either way. You should however set those things in the BIOS before you run memtest, as without it I have no doubt you will see errors

    Hmm, yes leave things on Auto if you plan to test each stick one by one, manually enter the thing I mention if you plan to test them all.

    As for getting inside the PC, well that is up to you I guess. It is easy, and ram only is held down by two latches one on each side and can only be re-inserted one way because of a "Key" notch in the middle so you can't put it back in wrong either. but if you do not feel comfortable with these things then maybe you should take it back. And if you do, for sure ask them why they left things in auto for a 4x1GB setup

    Good luck with this, and for sure post back to let me know how you got along and what you did or did not do.

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