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Semi-Bootable GA-7VRXP

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michaeli

New Member
Joined
May 8, 2003
Hello,

Ahh, how fun to be the new guy (though I'm sure by the time I'm finished posting this message, there will be someone new who will have created an account to take my coveted place: "Hey, look at the n00b!!"); I'm certainly new to overclocking (read: never done any, no real plans to) and came here not for that but because I figured there would be a lot of people here with a huge amount of hardware experience. After reading a few threads, I hold my ground.

So, this is my story:
I bought an unused OEM Gigabyte GA-7VRXP mobo from a guy on eBay (first mistake: buying OEM, second mistake: buying eBay), it saved me some coin and some shipping, but has increased my frustration. I got the board a couple of weeks ago but didn't have a power supply or RAM to build the box, which I picked up two days ago. Since then I've been trying to get this beast running. No luck yet.

I'm using a retail Athlon XP1800+, a 512MB (DDR PC266) stick of fairly generic RAM, a Maxtor 40GB hdd, Yamaha 16x10x40 CD-RW, Radeon 9500Pro (not mine really, I own an Nvidia TNT2), a generic 480W power supply and a SB Live 5.1, Win2K installed on the hdd from my previous box... I think that's everything.

I put everything together and turned it on. Things booted up nicely, I got into the BIOS and set the date and IDE info, etc. I saved the settings and rebooted -- it got as far as the first progress bar (grey, no splash), hit the end of it and rebooted. It did this consistantly. I tried booting from the Win2K CD -- it loaded the drivers, but the instant it tried to bring up the screen where you can choose to run a fresh install or repair a current one, it rebooted.

I thought the RAM might be the problem so I replaced the stick of 512 with a 256MB DDR PC266. With this config it got past the grey progress bar to the Win2K splash screen, but when the blue progress bar on the splash screen was complete, the system either froze (with a partially-garbled display) or rebooted. When I tried to boot from the Win2K CD, it would give me the screen to choose a fresh install (Press 'Enter'), to repair (Press 'R') or to exit ('F3' I believe) but the second I went for either an install or a repair, it rebooted. I also tried a Redhat 9 boot CD and had the same issue (it said press 'Enter' to start a graphical install -- did so and everything reset). I borrowed a 512 PC333 stick of Infineon RAM, but this time the system hung while reading from the various boot devices. I didn't try this piece of RAM much more than once or twice as it obviously wasn't an improvement in any way.

Initially I had my Nvidia TNT2 vid card in and replaced it with the Radeon 9500Pro. This didn't seem to change anything -- the system behaves identically.

I went back to the shop I bought the RAM and PSU from and asked them if they had any suggestions. The guy there said it sounded like it might be a bus problem and I mentioned the IDE cables I was using were rather ancient. He thought this could very well be the source of my issue, so I picked up two new 3-foot ATA100/133 cables. No change with these.

I tried taking my buddy's hdd and tossing it on, but it exhibited carbon-copy behaviour.

I still have an extra NIC and the SB Live 5.1 installed, and I don't know if one of these is just incompatible and is screwing things up -- I some how doubt it, but that may be my next step as I've replaced almost everything with hardware I know to be functional. I also doubt it's the processor, as it's a new retail box chip. I haven't tried switching because AMD chips (for most of my experience) are put on in such a manner that the heatsink prevents the socket lock arm from being raised.

In terms of BIOS settings, I've loaded the most recent revision (F12) on again (it had it already), and I've tried booting from the previous version (F10). I've loaded the fail-safe settings and disabled most everything I saw to be extraneous (not necessary) and poss\ibly screwing things up. None of this made any difference. I don't know too much about RAM timings and settings, but there was only one setting (as I recall) that I could change with the RAM and that was from 2T (the default) to 1T and back again. I tried playing with the AGB aparture and the AGP bus speed. Nothing again.

I haven't emailed the guy I got it from yet (will be doing that in a day or so if I can't get anywhere further) as it's not really dead, but it's not so much functional either. I think the most common assumption would be that there is a hardware conflict somewhere and there are many places where that could happen, so I'm not too sure how willing he'll be to take it back, before I've convinced him I've tried virtually everything. That's why I'm hoping someone here might have had a similar experience (with this motherboard or otherwise) or would have a suggestion or two I could try out.

Kudos and apologies to those of you who've read this far into this essay: five minutes of your life you'll never get back. Well, hopefully you might have the pleasure of knowing you've helped a random, friendly guy from Canada.

Later,
Eli.

EDIT: I have Rev. 2.0 of the GA-7VRXP, in case anyone was wondering.
 
Last edited:

Hood

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Location
Scotland
Temps OK?
If yes then Clear the CMOS and remove everything except HDD,DDR,CPU andCD, then see how you go with the repair/fresh install. Also disable all of the onboard components(well the ones your not using) and set the FSB to 100 until after the install. If OK then start adding the rest one by one.
Hood
 
OP
M

michaeli

New Member
Joined
May 8, 2003
Hood said:
Temps OK?
If yes then Clear the CMOS and remove everything except HDD,DDR,CPU andCD, then see how you go with the repair/fresh install. Also disable all of the onboard components(well the ones your not using) and set the FSB to 100 until after the install. If OK then start adding the rest one by one.

Hood,

Thanks for the prompt reply -- after reading the few threads I did I would have bet a handsome sum on the fact you'd be the first to reply; my gratitude goes out to you. I cleared the CMOS despite the manual saying the clear CMOS jumper should only be used on PCB Ver 1.1 (which I'm not sure if that's the same as a motherboard Rev. or not...). When I rebooted after this, it said the checksum wasn't correct but after I went in and turned off the various onboard functions it was quite content.

When I changed the FSB to 100MHz, the chip ran at 1150MHz (the CPU clock ratio was set to Auto). I changed the clock ratio to >=12.5 and the chip ran at 1250MHz. I'm not concerned about this, really , as long as there's no danger of this messing things up (as it's supposed to be running at 1533MHz).

Either way, with everything taken off the motheroard and I disabled almost every function and service I deemed to be useless, it was in no way different than with everything in and turned on.

The only thing that seems to make a difference is (as I mentioned somewhere above in my first post) switching between the 512 and 256MB sticks of PC266 RAM.

Later,
Eli.


EDIT: Oh, and yes, the temps seem to be alright. When I first booted they were in the 46°C range. It's been slowly dropping since then and are now in the low-30s range. I don't know if this is a function of the phase-change pad getting worked in (as I just put the heatsink onto the chip three days ago).
 

Hood

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Location
Scotland
OK the 100 thing is just to slow things down until you get it installed then back to 133. Doesnt seem to help you though so not an issue.
Dont really know what else to suggest at the moment apart from making sure the HSF is on properly as it could be getting a bit toasty. Also did you try another PSU(too lazy to read again) Think you tried failsafe settings in the BIOS but just make sure that SPD for DDR is enabled also set to Normal and 2T.
If none of that helps it may be best to remove from the case and bench test, just to eliminate the possibility of a short.
Hood
 

Hood

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2002
Location
Scotland
OK ignore the temps bit as yours are OK, and yes the pad will bed in and work better after a while.
Hood
 

Marley

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Location
Liverpool, Uk
i have the ga-7vrx..i bought new a while ago, when i first go it out it set it up with the memory to 133, the pc didnt start. I then turned it down to 100 and it worked fine once i set the pc up i reset it to 133 and its been fine since.