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Old 12-26-2010, 01:00 PM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* Stan Hoeppner <stan@hardwarefreak.com> [101226 13:35]:
> Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/26/2010 5:12 AM:
> > 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.
>
> Two?

Hi, Stan. It really isn't so odd; after months (several weeks total
in transit) of messing around with the M3A78-T without success, I
decided to replace it; thus, the P5Q-EM. I long have used Asus
boards, but (after a failure of the USB circuitry on yet another Asus
board) I think that the P5Q-EM is going to be my last one.



>> 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.

> Sounds more like a DDC problem with your monitor, which you didn't
> bother to mention.

Two different CRTs (iiyama and KDS XF-7G); two different LCD (NEC
1760NX). It seems to me unlikely that the same symptom is seen with
all of these, unless the motherboard is at fault. Of course, with the
P5Q-EM, the problem has to do with Xorg.



> Now would be a good time to provide us with the make and model# of
> your CRT/LCD monitor, what refresh setting you were using, color
> depth, etc. It sounds like it may be a sync issue.

Again, the red and green lines with the M3A78-T are apparent even in
the POST displays.

Thankfully, with the P5Q-EM -- on which I just moments ago completed
the installation of Squeeze -- the installation of Squeeze solved the
problem! X is working!



> This, assuming neither of these boards every worked with said
> monitor. You didn't state a sequence of events, i.e. what failed
> when. We need that information to help you.

Back to the M3A78-T: Inasmuch as I generally turn on the machine then
grab a cup of coffee while it boots, I seldom notice the POST; X is
running when I sit down to log in. And I seldom use terminal mode.
Consequently, I had been running the system for several months before
I noticed the red and green lines on the back background. The lines
are thin and somewhat faint, but once you notice them they are very
apparent.

RLH


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Old 12-26-2010, 03:19 PM
Joe
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On Sun, 26 Dec 2010 11:12:17 +0000
"Russell L. Harris" <rlharris@broadcaster.org> 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 need a recommendation for a reliable desktop motherboard for normal
> desktop use (no gaming) with Debian Lenny or Squeeze. My primary
> application is writing and typesetting with XEmacs, LaTeX, etc.
>
> I would prefer a motherboard with solid capacitors. I would prefer a
> brand other than Asus, and I would lean toward Gigabyte or Intel.
>
> If you recommend a motherboard without integrated graphics, kindly
> recommend also a readily-available graphics card.
>
>

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.

--
Joe


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Old 12-26-2010, 04:11 PM
Mark Neidorff
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On Sunday 26 December 2010 09:00 am, Russell L. Harris wrote:
> * Stan Hoeppner <stan@hardwarefreak.com> [101226 13:35]:
> > Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/26/2010 5:12 AM:
> > > 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.
>
> >> 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.

Well OK. So, this seems to me to be a memory problem. I'm guessing the video
ram. Whatever memory the 80X25 mode is mapping into has become flaky. When
you start X, you are using different memory, so no problem. Why didn't ASUS
solve the problem? dunno. Perhaps, once the MB booted into whatever they
tested with (X, MS-Win, whatever), the problem isn't apparent. Their bad.
Also, the problem does not seem to affect the operation of the MB once it is
booted. So, how much worse is this than annoying? Of course, you know that
you can look at udev and the logs to see all the boot messages once the PC is
in X. Did I miss something?

Now, for something else that just occurred to me....Are you using the same VGA
cable when you attach the different monitors to the different motherboards?
Could it be the cable, or are there instances where the cable works properly?

Mark


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Old 12-26-2010, 04:37 PM
Hugo Vanwoerkom
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

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 need a recommendation for a reliable desktop motherboard for normal
desktop use (no gaming) with Debian Lenny or Squeeze. My primary
application is writing and typesetting with XEmacs, LaTeX, etc.


I would prefer a motherboard with solid capacitors. I would prefer a
brand other than Asus, and I would lean toward Gigabyte or Intel.

If you recommend a motherboard without integrated graphics, kindly
recommend also a readily-available graphics card.




No Asus? Too bad. I really like my Asus M4N98TD EVO. First mobo I bought
that worked out-of-the-box.


Hugo


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Old 12-26-2010, 05:03 PM
shawn wilson
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On Dec 26, 2010 12:11 PM, "Mark Neidorff" <mark@neidorff.com> wrote:

>

> On Sunday 26 December 2010 09:00 am, Russell L. Harris wrote:

> > * Stan Hoeppner <stan@hardwarefreak.com> [101226 13:35]:

> > > Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/26/2010 5:12 AM:

> > > > 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.

> >

> > >> 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.

>

> Well OK. *So, this seems to me to be a memory problem. *I'm guessing the video

> ram. *Whatever memory the 80X25 mode is mapping into has become flaky. *When

> you start X, you are using different memory, so no problem. *Why didn't ASUS

> solve the problem? *dunno. *Perhaps, once the MB booted into whatever they

> tested with (X, MS-Win, whatever), the problem isn't apparent. *Their bad.

> Also, the problem does not seem to affect the operation of the MB once it is

> booted. *So, how much worse is this than annoying? *Of course, you know that

> you can look at udev and the logs to see all the boot messages once the PC is

> in X. *Did I miss something?

>

> Now, for something else that just occurred to me....Are you using the same VGA

> cable when you attach the different monitors to the different motherboards?

> Could it be the cable, or are there instances where the cable works properly?

>



Could also be that he's using analog vga with no choke and is picking up RF or other line noise somewhere. Still think its RAM though. Asus wouldn't see that on an rma unless it was an issue with integrated video RAM and not shared RAM which comes from the modules he takes out before he sends it back. Oh and AFAIK, manufacturers don't generally test equipment before they process the rma.



Just the $.02 from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about and likes dell (actually Apple).
 
Old 12-26-2010, 07:55 PM
Doug
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On 12/26/2010 11:19 AM, Joe wrote:

On Sun, 26 Dec 2010 11:12:17 +0000
"Russell L. Harris"<rlharris@broadcaster.org> 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 need a recommendation for a reliable desktop motherboard for normal
desktop use (no gaming) with Debian Lenny or Squeeze. My primary
application is writing and typesetting with XEmacs, LaTeX, etc.

I would prefer a motherboard with solid capacitors. I would prefer a
brand other than Asus, and I would lean toward Gigabyte or Intel.

If you recommend a motherboard without integrated graphics, kindly
recommend also a readily-available graphics card.



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


--
Blessed are the peacemakers...for they shall be shot at from both sides. --A. M. Greeley


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Old 12-26-2010, 10:46 PM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* Mark Neidorff <mark@neidorff.com> [101226 22:56]:
> Well OK. So, this seems to me to be a memory problem. I'm guessing the video
> ram. Whatever memory the 80X25 mode is mapping into has become flaky. When
> you start X, you are using different memory, so no problem. Why didn't ASUS
> solve the problem? dunno. Perhaps, once the MB booted into whatever they
> tested with (X, MS-Win, whatever), the problem isn't apparent. Their bad.
> Also, the problem does not seem to affect the operation of the MB once it is
> booted. So, how much worse is this than annoying?

Thanks, Mark. Your diagnosis makes sense.

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?



> Of course, you know that you can look at udev and the logs to see
> all the boot messages once the PC is in X. Did I miss something?

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



> Now, for something else that just occurred to me....Are you using
> the same VGA cable when you attach the different monitors to the
> different motherboards? Could it be the cable, or are there
> instances where the cable works properly?

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.

%%%



The only other possibility which occurred to me is that the difference
in temperature or humidity between the Asus US service facility and my
location may have caused the symptom to disappear and reappear.

For example. Years ago a co-worker was puzzled by a dead short
between two solder pads on a populated circuit board; he expected to
see an open circuit. Several individuals had inspected the board with
a magnifying glass, no solder bridge was visible. It turned out that
the pads in question were used for a large component which had been
soldered by hand. The factory-made board had been flow-soldered and
cleaned. But the pads for the large component had not been cleaned
after soldering, and the pool of hardened rosin was shorting the pads,
despite the fact that, normally, the residue of rosin-core solder is
an insulator and does not need to be removed. Cleaning off the rosin
cured the problem. Something of the same sort may be happening on the
motherboard.

RLH


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Old 12-26-2010, 11:25 PM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* Doug <dmcgarrett@optonline.net> [101226 22:56]:
> 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.

Tantalums are good, but manufacturers consider them a little too
expensive for mass-produced motherboards. Tantalums are valuable when
you need high capacitance in a high-frequency application; the
capacitance of electrolytic diminishes rapidly with increasing
frequency. This is why you often see two or more capacitors in
parallel; typically a tiny, low-value ceramic (which has excellent
high-frequency performance) is paralleled with a high-value
electrolytic -- and the combination still is less expensive than a
single tantalum.

You can make almost anything explode (that is, fragment) if you apply
enough voltage and current. Years ago I had several clones of the
LM317 three-terminal regulator explode when the output was shorted;
this despite the fact that the data sheet claims that the device
withstands a short of infinite duration. I phoned National
Semiconductor and it was Bob Pease who picked up the telephone. I
began by saying, "I have some LM317s manufactured by one of your
competitors..." But before I could say another word, Bob interrupted
to ask, "Was anyone hurt when they exploded?" Bob went on to say that
National short-circuit tested every LM317, and "the ones that explode
don't get shipped." It is episodes such as this that have made Pease
a living legend among electrical engineers.

But even if you manage to blow up a tantalum, there is no electrolyte
to spill.

%%%

If I recall correctly, the problem which I cited was caused by
manufacturing changes regarding the chemistry of electrolytics. The
problem eventually was solved by further manufacturing changes in the
chemistry of the electrolytics, but not before a great many
short-lived motherboards were manufactured and sold. I remember that
Tyan in particular received much bad publicity from the matter, and
that some motherboards failed within three to six months of being
placed in service.

(Something similar happened with alkaline cells when the "get rid of
the mercury" mandate came out several years ago. It turns out that
mercury reduces gassing, and mercury-free cells gassed so badly that
they leaked electrolyte.)

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.

RLH


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Old 12-26-2010, 11:27 PM
Mark Neidorff
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On Sunday 26 December 2010 06:46 pm, Russell L. Harris wrote:
> * Mark Neidorff <mark@neidorff.com> [101226 22:56]:
> > Well OK. So, this seems to me to be a memory problem. I'm guessing the
> > video ram. Whatever memory the 80X25 mode is mapping into has become
> > flaky. When you start X, you are using different memory, so no problem.
> > Why didn't ASUS solve the problem? dunno. Perhaps, once the MB booted
> > into whatever they tested with (X, MS-Win, whatever), the problem isn't
> > apparent. Their bad. Also, the problem does not seem to affect the
> > operation of the MB once it is booted. So, how much worse is this than
> > annoying?
>
> Thanks, Mark. Your diagnosis makes sense.
>
> 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?
>

You are correct. The system boots into X correctly and runs correctly. So,
it is working correctly. You've got a non-fatal glitch in the memory that
the PC doesn't use when it runs.

> The only other possibility which occurred to me is that the difference
> in temperature or humidity between the Asus US service facility and my
> location may have caused the symptom to disappear and reappear.
>
Yes, you seem to be in a tropical area. Perhaps an extreme tropical area.
Extreme heat/humidity will make things behave in <ahem> unusual ways as you
already know. This doesn't necessarily point to a generic flaw from the
manufacturer. The unit you have could be on the edge of tolerance and your
extreme conditions pushes it over. You are lucky that it only affects the
boot video.

Mark


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Old 12-26-2010, 11:28 PM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* 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.

RLH


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