New build keeps rebooting

Sami

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Feb 18, 2009
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18,510
First of all, some details:

CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 920 (Retail, using stock fan/heatsink)
Mobo: Biostar TA790GX3 A2+ (http://www.biostar.com.tw/app/en-us/t-series/introduction.php?S_ID=376)
PSU: 500w
RAM: 2x2GB (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/2GB-Infinion-DDR2-PC2-6400-(800MHz)-240-Pins-Non-ECC-Unbuffered-CAS-6-Retail)

The problem I'm having is that the system reboots randomly and with increasing frequency the longer it is left on. I bought a brand new HD to go with it and have had very little success installing a fresh copy of XP on it (mainly due to the constant rebooting). I've been playing detective all evening and this is what I've managed to work out so far.

1) having two sticks of RAM in at once will cause a reboot within 10 seconds of memtest86 starting (bootable cd version)
2) memtest86 works perfectly fine and reports no errors when only one of the sticks are in (either stick, any of the 4 ram slots)
3) memtest86 is reporting that I have an Athlon 64, an AMD K8 chipset and DDR1 466mhz RAM. I'm hoping that's an issue with the program

Attempted to install windows with only a single RAM stick in, but past the initial dos-like installation stage (i.e. when it reboots and uses a proper GUI) it will cause a reboot when it gets to "installing devices" (could be "configuring" instead of "installing"). I have only managed to get windows installed once (and that was with both RAM sticks in actually), and then it went into an endless cycle of rebooting, getting to the login screen and then automatically rebooting again.

I'm completely lost as to what to look for next. I need to narrow it down to the component that has FUBARed so I can exchange it for another. I'm guessing towards either CPU or motherboard, but I don't know how to keep the system stable enough to update the BIOS to try and rule out the motherboard being the issue.

Any suggestions?

Many, many thanks in advance.
 

Sami

Distinguished
Feb 18, 2009
4
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18,510
1-3 checked
4-5 is n/a (using the on-board graphics until this gets sorted)
6-13 checked

14 didn't install the speaker (slight d'oh moment). I just dismanted the CPU/heatsink to make sure that was all connecting properly (it was) - when I get some more paste to reassemble it I'll put the speaker in and have a listen

15-16 checked
 
On number 6, were you able to confirm the DRAM timings and voltage? Do you have a link as to what those would be?

"500W PSU" does not fill me with confidence. Sounds like it could be heating up and becoming less stable as it does so. Brand and model? If there is no brand or model, stop using it now before it takes out your hardware.
 

Sami

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Feb 18, 2009
4
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18,510
Sorry, couldn't find the box. Silverstone Strider 500w.

Didn't verify the RAM timings (and won't be able to until new paste), as the issue was that it can't stop booting rather than won't boot ;). Also, was also told on another forum that memtest can't detect Phenoms properly hence the weird stats, but the tests themselves still work fine.
 
You should be able to get into the BIOS with just one stick installed, if I understand you correctly. That would be the first thing, to verify that the timings and voltage are right.

Silverstone Strider should be OK, but you should connect with only minimal hardware and see if the situation improves.
 

Sami

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Feb 18, 2009
4
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18,510
Have been doing so - the initial RAM tests were done with nothing else connected (graphics card disconnected along with the hd. dvd-drive needed for obvious reasons). I wasn't even going to attempt to start plugging in extras until I was sure I had the core pieces working.

I'll post back tomorrow with the RAM timings. Thanks for taking an interest btw :)
 

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