Another motherboard down

Yesterday morning at around 6.30am my (second) P5N32-E SLI motherboard died.

After 2 weeks of running without any issues, it had rebooted itself and reported a "BIOS Checksum Error" - at this point it tries to launch the ASUS EZ-Flash utility, and when that fails due to the user sleeping in another room it emits an insanely high pitched screeching noise. Nice feature.

The problem sounded similar to this, except in my case playing about with RAM didn't fix it. Neither did booting from the support DVD and re-flashing the ROM BIOS. I was experiencing some randomness, mainly sometimes it would actually POST and try to boot before Windows threw a fit, which led me to wonder if it was possibly a power supply problem. Power supplies die pretty frequently, so it was plausible.

Well I now have a nice shiny new modular powersupply (modular supplies are so neat), however the problem remains.

After replacing the PSU I decided to try taking out the CMOS battery for a few minutes. After doing this the system now won't even power up. The fans get power for half a second and then give up. At least it's consistent now!

I've got no idea what could have caused the problem. A power spike would be a good guess, but all my gear is behind a UPS and a surge protector. Overheating would be possible, except I'd been monitoring the temperatures, and mine were WELL below average for a quad core - CPU was reporting 19-24 degrees @  idle for the surface reading, and the motherboard between 33-35 degrees. Those are some pretty decent temperatures.

Seeing as this is the second of these boards to fail, I was trying to think of a way to determine if they were considered a good or bad board in general. How the hell do you go about something like that? You can't exactly check the ASUS Support forums - they're typically inhabited by slightly one sided people! The only way you could really spot a good board is if the support forum was totally empty, however that could also be due to trigger happy forum moderators.

In a bizarre twist of fate, I already have a replacement board here. The supplier accidentally sent me a replacement board in error on Wednesday, and I was in the middle of arranging to send it back - I guess I won't have to now.

I simply didn't have time to mess about with hardware this weekend, too much work to be done, however it looks like next week I'll be replacing my motherboard (I just drunkenly typo'ed 'botherboard' which is pretty apt) for the third time.

Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 7:36 PM | Miscellaneous Me

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