memevector (memevector) wrote,

computer problem details

Thanks oilrig, topbit, cryx & lovingboth for the computer suggestions. Here's a more comprehensive review of the whole scenario...

Motherboard: ASrock ALiveNF6G-DVI
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 dual-core 3600+ (Brisbane)
Memory: Kingston ValueRam 533MHz DDR2 240pin Non-ECC CL4 DIMM (Kit of 2)
Case: Antec Solo P150 Tower Case
Power supply: Antec NeoHE 430 Watt Quiet Power Supply (comes with P150)
2 hard drives: Samsung 80GB 2.5" HM080HI SATA
Optical drive: the one I bought is the NEC AD-7170S-0S (SATA), but this failed to be recognised, so right now it's an old Pioneer drive (IDE).
Floppy drive: basic Sony one.

Yes I had looked at the boot sequence and set it to CD/DVD first. (In fact I'd also set it to Floppy first when I was trying the floppy drive instead, even though my understanding is that shouldn't be necessary as it would keep looking if it didn't find a bootable thing at the first location.)

I have tested the Ubuntu Live CD on my old machine (the one I'm writing this on now), and it does get to an Ubuntu screen on that (although reports that Linux won't run, due to something or other on this machine being too old, but that's probably irrelevant as that's not what I'm trying to do :-) ). Haven't tested the Rescue CD on this machine yet, suppose I could do. I should say however that the Windows setup floppy is a pretty old one and that's the only floppy I've tried.

I've tried two different CD drives (not counting the brand-new SATA one which wasn't recognised), the second of which had only just been transplanted out of the Mac and was the very same one used to burn the two Linux Live CDs. This has its jumpers set to "master", and indeed the computer appears to be recognising it as such. I've now (re-)detached the floppy drive and HDs. I then tried three different IDE cables on the CD drive, inc the one it had in the Mac.

In each case it spins up and the computer recognises it and announces it on screen. I was wrong to say that the "working" LED doesn't light; it does, but only for a second or so, then the CD player spins for a short time without lighting the light, then it settles down and the whole thing just sits there from then on. (I suspect that's default power-on behaviour for the CD player.)

When I say the SATA CD drive failed to be recognised, I mean that when only that one was plugged in, the BIOS showed no SATA devices and there was no sign that the computer knew it was there. Using the same SATA lead and the same SATA header on the motherboard, the computer did recognise one of the SATA hard drives. (It will also recognise the other hard drive.) A bit more swopping of leads and headers produces only results consistent with the new SATA CD drive being faulty, so I'm leaving that alone for now and sticking to the older CD drives which have been known to work and are recognised.

When I say the IDE CD drives have been recognised, I mean that the computer knows not only that they're there but what they are. So the IDE connection could be faulty but is not entirely dead.

Here is the screen on startup at the moment, give or take a few spaces:
AMIBIOS(C)2005 American Megatrends, Inc.
CPU : AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 DualCore Processor  3600+
 Speed : 1.90GHz    Count : 2

Press F2 to run Setup
Press F11 for Boot Menu
Dual-Channel Memory Mode
1984MB OK
Auto-Detecting Pri Master..ATAPI CDROM
Pri Master: PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-109  1.40
            Ultra DMA Mode-4

plus, in the bottom right hand corner, what looks like 2 digits of hex, not always the same. Sometimes it's 75 and sometimes it's something else (I think it was A1) - can check if anyone thinks this is important.

When the SATA HDs are plugged in then it announces them in similar terms too, though it didn't announce the floppy at this point when that was plugged in.

Pressing F11 for Boot Menu gets a message saying something like "Popup boot menu selected", but not an actual boot menu. I'm guessing this refers to something you have to set up before it's usable.

Pressing F2 does get you the BIOS screens.

This is the main part of the Boot screen:
Main  Advanced  H/W Monitor  Boot  Security  Exit

Boot Settings

Boot Settings Configuration

1st Boot Device   [CD/DVD:PM-PIONEER ]
2nd Boot Device   [1st FLOPPY DRIVE]
3rd Boot Device   [Hard Drive]
> Removable Drives
> CD/DVD Drives

It also has a right hand column which gives you contextual clues and decodes the shortcut keys. When "1st Boot Device" is highlighted, the right hand column says:
Specifies the boot
sequence from the
available devices.

A device enclosed in
parenthesis has been
disabled in the 
corresponding type

That second paragraph looks a bit perplexing and suspicious to me, because it talks about devices being disabled. But all the variables throughout the Setup screens are in square brackets - so surely it can't mean that? And what is the "corresponding type menu"? So that is one mysterious possible-clue.

Any of that ring any bells with anyone? Anything else obvious I should try?

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