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Old 12-27-2010, 07:22 AM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/26/2010 5:46 PM:

> If the problem indeed is in the video ram, am I correct in assuming
> that I should have no great concern regarding data integrity in the
> other systems of the motherboard?

I seriously doubt a DIMM is the problem. I can physically see what you
describe with words, but it sure sound like an EMI/RFI issue, not the
hardware, _especially_ after swapping mobo guts twice.

> No, I did not know that. I have been running Debian for ten years
> now, but I never have learned to use the logs.

.... If you now tell us you have used the windows event viewer I will
personally drive a wooden stake through your heart.

> No, each monitor has its own cable. And the lines (horizontal and
> vertical, red and green) do not appear with any other motherboard
> which I have attached to these monitors.

Cabling is likely irrelevant.

To fix your problem Russell:

1. Remove the electric pencil sharpener and/or stapler from your desk
2. If you have a florescent lamp/light remove it.
3. Remove anything with an electric motor or transformer of any kind
including charger bases for cell phones, cordless screwdrivers,
VHS or other magnetic head recording device, etc, etc.

Get any/all of these things at least 10 feet away from the PC with the
problem. If you still have the problem, take a table or chair outside
the building to the parking lot, an extension cord, and ONLY the PC, KB,
mouse, and monitor, and fire it up there in isolation.

If you still see the screen artifacts, find different employment, as
that office/site is dangerous.

--
Stan


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Old 12-27-2010, 08:24 AM
"tv.debian@googlemail.com"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

>26/12/2010 21:55, Doug wrote:
>> On 12/26/2010 11:19 AM, Joe wrote:
>> I've had a Giga GA-MA74GM-S2H for a year now. It hasn't died yet, and
>> I can't really say more than that. The most exotic stuff I do is gEDA
>> PCB layout, and I'm not aware of any performance problems. Built-in
>> sound and graphics, using 1440x900/60, running Sid in 2G RAM.
>>
>> I'd have thought MB trouble was rare enough that you won't get
>> statistically useful results. I have run two Asrock (cheap Asus brand)
>> boards for several years with no trouble, and still have them as I
>> don't like throwing things out when they still work normally, I just
>> wanted more power after a few years.
>>
>> As to capacitors: the only ones I would deliberately avoid are the
>> surface-mount aluminium types, the silver ones with the black arc on
>> top to show polarity. I've replaced many hundreds in the last fifteen
>> years or so, repaired the PCBs as necessary, and repaired and tested
>> boards after literally thousands of the little beasts have been
>> replaced by other people. Before they die they distribute electrolyte
>> over the surrounding PCB, and that stuff eats copper, particularly
>> plate-throughs. It's also, rather obviously, conductive, and I've seen
>> a puddle of the stuff draw half an amp from a five-volt rail. I've
>> never seen a wired capacitor do that kind of thing. The wired ones are
>> bigger, but there's not much height restriction on a MB.
>
> Maybe it's time to buy tantalum capacitors. More expensive, slightly
> smaller,
> and (I believe) less likely to blow up. Available with parallel wires or in
> surface mount configurations. Military equipment has been using tantalum
> caps for years, so they must be reliable. (If anybody from a QA
> department is
> on line, maybe you'd comment.)
> --doug
>

Asustek uses what they call "military grade" technology (chokes,
capacitors and mofsets) on some boards (SABERTOOTH's at least), it's not
tantalum but claimed to be at least as reliable.
MSI uses it on some gfx boards, I have a "Twin Frozr" gfx card which
advertises on the box the use of tantalum capacitors. I assumed it was
more marketing hype directed toward teenage gamers, but anyway they both
have been doing well for months under heavy load (video processing and
encoding mainly).

Frankly, I am not sure those technos are worth it on mother/gfx boards
unless you're a keeper, it will probably be replaced long before it
bursts a capacitor, much cheaper boards with whatever capacitors can
last for a couple of years should be good enough for most use. If it
brings some extra peace of mind it's good, but something else could fail
before the capacitors.
Having lost two expensive Samsung screens to crappy (CapXon) capacitors
burst I can use the extra reinsurance ;-).


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Old 12-27-2010, 09:28 AM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* Stan Hoeppner <stan@hardwarefreak.com> [101227 08:28]:
> I seriously doubt a DIMM is the problem. I can physically see what you
> describe with words, but it sure sound like an EMI/RFI issue, not the
> hardware, _especially_ after swapping mobo guts twice.

>From amateur radio experience in years past, I know a little about
EMI/RFI. But aside from whatever radiation leaks from a home LAN, I
am not aware of a strong source of interference. Besides, the
pattern which I see is regular and stable -- lines perfectly
horizontal and vertical, spaced about 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch as
I recall. One colour (red or green, I forget) for the horizontal
lines, and the other colour for the vertical lines.



> > No, I did not know that. I have been running Debian for ten years
> > now, but I never have learned to use the logs.
>
> .... If you now tell us you have used the windows event viewer I will
> personally drive a wooden stake through your heart.

I parted company with M$-DO$ and Window$ when the calendar rolled over
from A.D. 1999 to A.D. 2000, on which occasion M$-Word 5.0 (the last
rodent-independent version of WORD) began writing garbage to data
files. This was one of the few _genuine_ Y2K bugs; M$ acknowledged
it, and abandoned Word 5.0.

At that point, I came face-to-face with the evil of proprietary
formats for data storage, and I resolved never again to use editors
which stored documents in anything other than plain text.

Having started out with MS-WORD 1.0 back about 1980, I lost hundreds
of documents, because there was no practical way to automate recovery
of the text, much less, of the formatting. That experience led me to
Linux, Emacs, and TeX. After a year of trying nearly every variety of
Linux, I decided to commit to Debian. I am not a novice, but neither
am I a Linux guru. For me, Linux is a means to an end.



> > No, each monitor has its own cable. And the lines (horizontal and
> > vertical, red and green) do not appear with any other motherboard
> > which I have attached to these monitors.
>
> Cabling is likely irrelevant.
>
> To fix your problem Russell:
> 1. Remove the electric pencil sharpener and/or stapler from your
> desk.
> 2. If you have a florescent lamp/light remove it.
> 3. Remove anything with an electric motor or transformer of any
> kind including charger bases for cell phones, cordless screwdrivers,
> VHS or other magnetic head recording device, etc, etc.

None of these are a factor; the nearest potential source of
interference is a ceiling fluorescent fixture. And I see the same
pattern with the machine in different rooms.



> If you still see the screen artifacts, find different employment, as
> that office/site is dangerous.

I've read warnings about cellular towers; but none is close by.

The problem is that this diagnosis does not address the fact that other
machines using the same monitors do not exhibit the lines in terminal
mode; that is one of the first things I checked. It is difficult to
escape the conclusion that the M3A78-T is defective or else
overly-sensitive to emi/rfi.

%%%

Thanks all.

RLH


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Old 12-27-2010, 09:40 AM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* tv.debian@googlemail.com <tv.debian@googlemail.com> [101227 09:28]:

> Asustek uses what they call "military grade" technology (chokes,
> capacitors and mofsets) on some boards (SABERTOOTH's at least), it's not
> tantalum but claimed to be at least as reliable.
...
> Having lost two expensive Samsung screens to crappy (CapXon) capacitors
> burst I can use the extra reinsurance ;-).

In view of the fact that capacitors are the Achilles Heel of the PC
motherboard, not long ago one manufacturer went so far as to develop
and market a PC motherboard which utilized no capacitors (other than
the tiny ceramic bypass capacitors, which are inexpensive, reliable,
and indispensable).

The function of a capacitor is energy storage; but this also is the
function of an inductor. Accordingly, with a change of circuit
topology, the manufacturer was able to replace all the (electrolytic)
capacitors with inductors, and do so at a competitive price. This was
a "garden-variety" motherboard, intended for general use.

RLH


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Old 12-27-2010, 11:37 AM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* Russell L. Harris <rlharris@broadcaster.org> [101227 00:28]:
> Finally, I was in error regarding the P5Q-EM; it employs solid
> capacitors only in the critical power supply circuitry surrounding the
> processor; other capacitors on the board are electrolytic. This is
> typical of the garden-variety motherboards which I see on display at
> the local electronics emporium.

Forgive me; the above is incorrect. All of the capacitors on the
P5Q-EM are solid; there are no electrolytics.

RLH


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Old 12-27-2010, 11:55 AM
Camaleón
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On Sun, 26 Dec 2010 11:12:17 +0000, Russell L. Harris wrote:

> I am tossing into the dumpster the last two motherboards which I
> purchased -- Asus M3A78-T (AMD64) and Asus P5Q-EM (i386) -- because of
> video problems. I purchased the boards because of the long-life solid
> capacitors. (Motherboard life typically is limited by deterioration of
> conventional electrolytic capacitors with age and heat.)
>
> With the M3A78-T, the POST screen displayed a cross-hatch pattern of
> horizontal and vertical red and green lines with a variety of monitors,
> both CRT and LCD. The pattern also is visible in terminal mode outside
> of X. Three trips back to Asus did not cure the problem.
>
> With the P5Q-EM, the display goes blank ("out of range" message on the
> monitor) when X starts.

(...)

I don't think you need a new board but digging a bit more about your
current problems. What would I check?

- BIOS update (check if there is any new BIOS revision for your board)

- Video card (if you are using an external card, just try with another
one, if you are using an embedded card, just test with an external one)

- PCI-e slot (if your VGA is external, try by swapping the card into
another free pci-e slot)

- Cables (DVI cables can do weird things, just try with another or even
try with the VGA input/cable instead of using the digital signal, just
for testing)

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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Old 12-27-2010, 03:37 PM
Hugo Vanwoerkom
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

Russell L. Harris wrote:

* Hugo Vanwoerkom <hvw59601@care2.com> [101226 22:56]:
No Asus? Too bad. I really like my Asus M4N98TD EVO. First mobo I bought
that worked out-of-the-box.


Hi, Hugo,

Thanks for the recommendation. I suppose that I should look again at Asus,
now that Squeeze has X working on the M3A78-T.



BTW I put an AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 250 Processor of 3000 MHz in it (65W)
and 4GB of memory. I did not use the CPU cooler that came with the CPU
but used a XIGMATEK cobra – d984 92mm HYPRO Bearing CPU Cooler. The CPU
temp never goes over 30C and the CPU busy never exceeds 60%, but those
numbers probably need to be taken with a grain of salt.


Hugo


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Old 12-27-2010, 05:45 PM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

tv.debian@googlemail.com put forth on 12/27/2010 3:24 AM:

> Frankly, I am not sure those technos are worth it on mother/gfx boards
> unless you're a keeper, it will probably be replaced long before it
> bursts a capacitor, much cheaper boards with whatever capacitors can
> last for a couple of years should be good enough for most use.

FWIW, I have a manufactured in 1999 Abit BP6 PPGA 370 mobo with _dual_
Mendocino Celeron 366s o'clocked to 550. Currently it's in my headless
home office Lenny smtpd/imapd/smbd/httpd/ftpd/webmail Swiss Army Knife
server. I bought the board in used condition off Ebay in 2002, so the
original owner ran it for at least a couple of years before I acquired it.

>From 2002'ish to 2006 all it did was crunch 4 processes of the Linux
Seti@Home client 24x7x365. It's been running 24x7 for 8 years now, 4 of
those at constant full CPU load. It has the old industry standard
cheapo caps. It still runs fine, although a little slow at times by
today's standards, mainly when manipulating photos and videos
(imagemagick and ffmpeg) and running curator against dirs with thousands
of jpgs.

AFAIK the caps haven't burst, though last I looked at the board, a year
or so ago when I added a new SATA controller and drive, a few caps
around the ZIF sockets were bulging a slight bit. This board has seen
more current load on its caps than most boards ever will due to the
constant Seti@Home for 4 years.

My point is that tantalum caps might be nice and on average give longer
life, but, they aren't absolutely necessary for long life. If you
consider 10 years of pretty harsh duty a "long life". Who knows how
many years my BP6 has left in it. Hopefully at least a few, as I still
love this board, and it works great in its current role.

--
Stan


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Old 12-27-2010, 07:00 PM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/27/2010 4:28 AM:

> None of these are a factor; the nearest potential source of
> interference is a ceiling fluorescent fixture. And I see the same
> pattern with the machine in different rooms.

The line artifacts you describe, if you are indeed describing them
accurately, are nearly always caused by static stray magnetic fields.
Something as innocuous as a small decorative refrigerator magnet stuck
to the PC case can cause things like this.

I can almost guarantee you from knowledge and experience that if you
have the same line artifacts with two different mobo models or two
different vid cards that it's not the mobos or vid cards causing the
problem.

Did you ever actually bench test your components? I highly doubt you
did or you'd have already discovered the boards aren't the problem. You
have not described any detailed troubleshooting or bench testing
procedures, only anecdotal evidence.

For instance, if you are doing all your mobo testing inside the case,
then you haven't followed proper thorough testing procedure. You need
to eliminate _every_ component, including "inert components" of the
system, including the case itself.

If anyone ever in the history of that case stuck a magnet on it,
especially one of any strength, for any length of time, the case itself
will now be magnetized, unless it's an all aluminum jobby. Alums make
up less than 1% of the market and this isn't a home gaming/overclocking
kids, so odds are very high you have a steel case. A magnetized case
could cause the exact problem you describe.

I've seen this exact scenario before in custom car stereo shop. One of
the trunk monkeys (installers) had affixed a coax door speaker to the PC
case in the owners office, being the dichotomous ignorant know-it-all
kid he was. He'd stealthily removed it when the owners wife started
complaining about lines on the screen. They wanted to replace the CRT,
so I took it back to the shop when I went for the replacement. I tested
it first. No lines. Took the new one out--lines. I touched a paper
clip to the case and it stuck. Bingo. The installer later copped to
sticking a speaker to the case and apologized, claiming ignorance. At
least he was being honest.

It's touch for a know-it-all to admit ignorance.

--
Stan


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Old 12-27-2010, 07:26 PM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/27/2010 4:40 AM:

> In view of the fact that capacitors are the Achilles Heel of the PC
> motherboard

Cheap case designs and motherboard designs with poor ventilation around
the CPU socket VRM mosfets are, not caps. Far more motherboards fail
due to VRM fets burning up than from caps popping, or anything else for
that matter. And these failures occur long before cheap caps pop,
especially during summer in non air conditioned environments.

In the few years early in my career when I did almost exclusively
PC/server builds and maintenance, I never saw a dead board with blown
caps. ALL of them were due to, roughly in order of frequency:

1. Manufacturing defect (board trace)
2. Burned VRMs due to inadequate airflow or defective FETs
3. Direct shorts due to improper installation (screw stuck between the
PCB and the mounting tray). These usually caught during burn-in.
4. PSU going south and taking out the VRMs due to DC voltage surges
5. Lightning strikes through phone lines into ISA/PCI modems

Interestingly I remember one server I repaired that lost the fax modem,
the SCSI card next to it, and the NIC next to the SCSI card. All 3 PCI
slots were dead, but the motherboard otherwise functioned flawlessly.
Every other lighting strike victim I serviced had a fried mobo. This
one was unique. Thus I kept it, and still have it in storage somewhere.
I pulled it out a fews years later to fire it up and convince a
non-believer. It still smelled of burned epoxy resin (and still worked,
but for those 3 PCI slots).

Paul I get the feeling you've read a lot of forums and magazines, and
know some people who might know their stuff, but that you personally
don't really have any experience as a PC/server hardware tech. Is this
an accurate assessment?

--
Stan


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