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Thread: GA-MA78GMS2H 1.1 f10 ~ Continuing Saga

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Vancouver, Canada

    Default GA-MA78GMS2H 1.1 f10 ~ Continuing Saga

    For those good folk who have helped me and read my threads since last November, I just wanted to let you know that this morning I FINALLY sent my dubious mobo to Gigabyte in California for either a fix or an exchange.

    It feels good to have sent it in. This RMA has been about 8 months in the making. I spent half 2008 accruing components piece-by-piece for this first-ever build of mine, and before I began (!) Tom's Hardware was already receiving dire warnings about heat issues on the GA-MA78GMS2H 1.0. That's what I had, still in a box and still wrapped in plastic, so NCIX exchanged it for 1.1 over the counter.

    But in November, that 1.1 didn't work. My 8GB of RAM was suspect, my 520 watt PSU was suspect, my Athlon 64 x2 5600+ CPU was suspect—and so were my fans and my Xigmatek heatsink. I was advised to RMA everything except my grandmother, who went to her RMA long long ago.

    The system just didn't come up. I had a sleeping monitor. NCIX tested the system and I was given a second 1.1.

    Since then I've learned that the second 1.1 was no doubt exactly like the first, and the system WOULD HAVE come up, no doubt—in about half an hour. No kidding; no exaggeration. Sometimes it just needed a bit more time, like an uncertain fiancé.

    I tried all the BIOSes that came out along the way. I learned a lot because you do learn things when you are tangling with alligators. I met some neat guys along the way and made a few friends.

    The .PDF I eventually compiled, which comprises a zillion graphs and charts and such, is over 70 pages long.

    The system was averaging 4 minutes from a cold start to the BIOS beep, and the first cold beep was always a distorted beep. Not 2 beeps, not a code error, but rather a beep with a hiccup: b-BEEP. An alcoholic sort of beep sound. Subsequent beeps and warm beeps were normal.

    Windows XP Pro 64 was normal, though sluggish to access. The RAM tech suggested incompatible RAM would not limit itself to a slow start to POST and then run Windows okay.

    The CPU saw that RAM as DDR2-800, as it should have. The 8GB of G.Skill were really DDR2-1000, for maybe future upgrading.

    Maybe the CPU wasn't up to the job. Maybe the PSU wasn't. But every test just confused the scene more. The best 7 start-ups I ever got, out of hundreds, were down to 20 seconds from cold power ON to POST: not bad. But I couldn't seem to keep those as guaranteed times. As for cold startups to POST with absolutely no hardware except 1 stick (2GB) of RAM, no drives of any sort (so no Windows), no USBs, no NOTHING—those were down to 45 seconds. (Note the fastest full-load startups were twice as fast as that.)

    But because the system WOULD run Windows, and because there were ALWAYS new ideas and new tests to try, the situation languished like this all through 2009 from January until now.

    Heaven only knows what Gigabyte will come up with. They can repair or replace or scratch their heads and tell me there was nothing they could find that meant anything conclusive. Whatever they decide, that's that: those are the rules. I offered to pay more money for a better motherboard. But really I just want a system that works, and POSTs pretty well as soon as it starts—like decent folks' computers, I told Gigabyte.

    When I sent it away, I thought the motherboard was the culprit, and maybe there was something not right in the BIOS chip itself. I have a feeling that a better motherboard would work fine. After all, mine is an unusual problem. The mobo is made to accommodate 16GB of RAM, and, by the way, my tests showed no difference between 1, 2, and 4 sticks.

    As for that Athlon 5600+, it is a lightweight component for the system, but I feel it should be able to handle the job. Of course a nice new Phenom II would be better.

    After the RMA, we'll all live happily ever after. I'll keep you posted. It went by truck—air was the same $$ value as the motherboard itself—so it will be at least mid-September before I have anything to add.

    Thanks for all your help, support, occasional humour, and good suggestions since the beginning of 2009.
    Last edited by Groonx2; 09-04-2009 at 01:56 PM.
    AMD Athlon 64 x2 5600+
    Gigabyte AM2+ GA-MA78GM-S2H ver 1.1. BIOS (newest) F11
    NB: AMD780G. SB: AMD SB700
    RAM 8GB (2 kits @ 4GB each) G.Skill DDR2-1000 (F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ PC2-8000 x2 CL5-5-5-15) running as DDR2-800
    Case Antec P150
    PSU Corsair HX520W. (PSU calc by Corsair + NCIX; tested by TT Dr Power.)
    Cooling Xigmatek HDT-S1283 heatsink (Arctic Silver 5); 6 fans
    HDDs usable 1.7 TB (4 Seagates—3x 500GB SATA ST3500320AS w/SD1A + 1x 320GB PATA ST3320620A)
    Opticals (3): Pioneer SATA DVR-212D; LiteOn/Sony PATA CRX230AE; external USB Samsung SE-S204S DVD Writer
    Video ATI Radeon HD4670
    Monitor 22" LG W2242TQ w/Belkin DVI-D
    Sound Altec Lansing 5.1
    Mouses (2) Logi MX620 + Logi V220
    KB Simple Perfection backlit USB
    No gaming; heavy simultaneous use of big programs
    System built Nov 2008

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