Question System fails to boot often

vishnumrao

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I have a desktop I built about 10 years go. It has a AMD Llano APU (A8-3870) and 8 GB of RAM. It runs Windows 10 on a RAID0 with two 60GB sata SSDs.

Motherboard is A75m-itx from Asrock.

No separate GPU. Using onboard graphics

PSU is an Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU.

DRAM is: Patriot Memory Performance Edition Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) 240-Pin SDRAM AP38G1608U2K

Of late the system will fail to boot frequently. It will not post into BIOS / UEFI. I first noticed that the system wouldn't resume after going into suspend to RAM / sleep in Windows10. A hard reset was tried and then the system fails to get to BIOS. Turning off the main power does not help either. It somehow is able to boot after a few hours of just being turned off i.e. power completely turned off at the outlet.

Any ideas on where to start debugging?

Maybe a weak CMOS battery?

Or RAM going bad? I doubt this is the case since the system works great once it boots up.


I am hoping to continue to use this system for another few years until Windows10 goes EOL. It serves my use case very well.

Edit: Added more system component information.
 
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DSzymborski

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Exploring a PSU issue would make sense. Hard to say more as you didn't really provide that much information: the only actual specific spec you gave is your CPU and things like exact RAM, motherboard, PSU, PGU (if there is one) completely missing.

The utterly baffling use of RAID certainly raises eyebrows, but that bit of goofiness likely isn't the problem here if you're not POSTing.
 

vishnumrao

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Exploring a PSU issue would make sense. Hard to say more as you didn't really provide that much information: the only actual specific spec you gave is your CPU and things like exact RAM, motherboard, PSU, PGU (if there is one) completely missing.

The utterly baffling use of RAID certainly raises eyebrows, but that bit of goofiness likely isn't the problem here if you're not POSTing.


Motherboard is A75m-itx from Asrock. I will add that information to the original post.

No separate GPU.

PSU is an Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU.

DRAM is: Patriot Memory Performance Edition Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) 240-Pin SDRAM AP38G1608U2K

I wasn't suspecting the PSU as there are other times the system boots up fine.

RAID being a culprit? I doubt it. I reset the BIOS which resets the BIOS to remove the RAID. Still the problem persisted. I had to reload a bakup copy of the BIOS settings to recover the RAID0 on which the OS resides.
 
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DSzymborski

Titan
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Motherboard is A75m-itx from Asrock. I will add that information to the original post.

No separate GPU.

PSU is an Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU.

DRAM is: AMD Memory Entertainment Edition 16GB (2X8GB) 1600MHz Kit DDR3 (PC3 12800) AE316G1601U2K

I wasn't suspecting the PSU as there are other times the system boots up fine.

RAID being a culprit? I doubt it. I reset the BIOS which resets the BIOS to remove the RAID. Still the problem persisted. I had to reload a bakup copy of the BIOS settings to recover the RAID0 on which the OS resides.
That's a pretty old PSU, so it would make sense to swap it out. Just because the problem is intermittent doesn't mean it's not the PSU.

I specifically said that the RAID isn't likely the problem here. Just something that popped out as utterly bizarre.
 

vishnumrao

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I don't have a separate PSU at this time. Why do you suspect the PSU?

When the system powers on I can hear the cpu fans turn ON , SSD activity light blink etc. If power was an issue, the system should likely not power on at all.

Or maybe is it possible, only some rails are coming up?


Why is the use of RAID baffling? I have no data on this system. All my data is on my NAS or little bits of info are synced to cloud services. The RAID0 improves the responsiveness of the system tremendously.
 
Of late the system will fail to boot frequently. It will not post into BIOS / UEFI. I first noticed that the system wouldn't resume after going into suspend to RAM / sleep in Windows10. A hard reset was tried and then the system fails to get to BIOS. Turning off the main power does not help either. It somehow is able to boot after a few hours of just being turned off i.e. power completely turned off at the outlet.

Any ideas on where to start debugging?

Maybe a weak CMOS battery?

Or RAM going bad? I doubt this is the case since the system works great once it boots up.
A dead or dying CMOS battery can cause your issue and so can faulty RAM. Unable to resume from sleep mode is also a cause.

Replace your CMOS battery anyhow and run Memtest86 to check your RAM for errors. If there are any then RMA the full kit.
Go into Device Manager and check for any yellow triangles that would indicate a bad driver. If there are then delete the offender and reboot.
 

vishnumrao

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Since you don't like what I have to say, I have a foolproof method to save time for us both.

Good luck to you; I hope you resolve your issue!

Gee man. I don't know what I said that indicates I don't like what you have to say. All I said was I don't have a separate PSU and asked why you suspect it.

If you don't have any other ideas, at least you can indicate that and not be rude. How unbecoming of a moderator! Anyway thanks for some ideas.
 

vishnumrao

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A dead or dying CMOS battery can cause your issue and so can faulty RAM. Unable to resume from sleep mode is also a cause.

Replace your CMOS battery anyhow and run Memtest86 to check your RAM for errors. If there are any then RMA the full kit.
Go into Device Manager and check for any yellow triangles that would indicate a bad driver. If there are then delete the offender and reboot.
Thanks. I will need to get some extra stuff like PSU, CMOS battery etc to try some of the ideas here. I will likely start with CMOS.

Maybe i can run memtest first as the machine still boots up but infrequently.
 

vishnumrao

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I tried memtest86 . Passed. So not a DRAM issue.

I have also tried changing CMOS battery. It did not make a difference.

I guess I will now need to to try getting another PSU to see if its the PSU.
 

vishnumrao

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Alright. I was able to borrow a PSU from a friend's PC that works. Problem persists. It does not appear to be a PSU issue either.

Right now, I have taken the entire motherboard out of the case to do a visual inspection, just to check if there are are any leaking or swollen caps or anything physically evident. Nothing. Everything looks good.

Now I am running out of ideas. I am entertaining the thought of contacting Asrock tech support, but I doubt they will be interested in responding to a query about a 10 year old motherboard.

A couple of observations:
  1. Originally the system would boot up after I had left the power turned off the system overnight.
  2. But now the problem seems to be getting more frequent, in the sense that it fails to get to BIOS most of the time. in fact I have not been able to boot into the system in the last couple of days.
 

vishnumrao

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Not according to any tests I've seen.
ex: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-benchmark,3485.html


In this non-boot experience, what exactly happens?
Interesting observations in that article. I mostly read through the conclusion. How is the raid created in those tests? SW raid or BIOS based RAID?

I was mainly talking from my own experience. In my case I have RAID0 created through the BIOS. I have tried multiple scenarios. Single drive, two drive RAID0 and 4 drive RAID0. Going from single SSD to a two drive RAID0 was a nice bump in system responsiveness. I haven't reallly tried any benchmarks. But going to a 4 drive RAID0 did not provide any noticeable improvement.


There is another reason I am using a RAID0 set up. My SSDs are a set of old 4x 64 GB Crucial C400 SSDs. So to run windows10 and be able to add some additional software etc, i need to do a RAID0.

I have Ubuntu on the other RAID0 with rest of the 2 SSDs. Hope this explains why I do the RAID0.


Back to my problem: The system now does not get past BIOS. The CPU fan spins and there is no video output etc. There is a motherboard speaker, which beeps when the system gets past the BIOS. But when system boot up fails, no beep either. So I know its not getting past the BIOS. As indicated in previous updates, I have tried swapping in other PSU, CMOS battery from a friends system and have also checked out the RAM. No luck so far and the problem appears to be getting more frequent.
 

vishnumrao

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2-4x small, ancient SATA II SSDs in a RAID 0 is completely different than a current SATA III SSD of rational size.

Agree on that. But I am not trying to set any records. It meets my needs perfectly.

Just to record straight, they are not SATAII but SATA III. At least the label seems to indicate so.
 

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