July 20th, 2005


Hardware woes

Two weeks ago, we bought some new hardware for klik's computer. Right now she is working on an old P3, and it just can't cope with the stuff she wants to do.

We got her an Asrock A7S41GX motherboard (the same I got for my mother and the same that babarage uses), a 2500+ Sempron and 512 MB of Corsair ValueRAM memory. And a Coolermaster Centurion to put it all in, just because we can. Harddisks and DVD-ROMs are all already available, we'll just place those in the new machine.

We installed all the stuff, as we already did twice before. But when I started WinXP off her old harddisk, I got a BSOD, saying that fault PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA had occured. This is a bit of a nebulous error, because it could mean anything.
So I swapped in another harddisk and proceeded to install WinXP on that. At first we couldn't even start the installation process, but by migrating the old AGP card to the new machine (luckily they turned out to be compatible), we got through the first step.
However, the error has returned, and I can't get the thing to work.

Most pages you find about the topic point to the memory as the culprit, so I ran memtest while I was at work. After a run of 9 hours, no problems found. I swapped it with the PC2100 RAM I have in the MACH F (where it runs without any problems), and still I got the error.
I have tried every possible combination of every memory setting available in the BIOS, I tried lowering the FSB -- all to no avail.

Common causes cited for the error are:
- Defective harddisk. This can't be the case, because we get the errors on two harddisks -- one of which is working perfectly fine in the old machine;
- Defective memory. This too can't be the case, because we get the errors with two separate memory modules -- one of which is working perfectly fine in another machine. Also, memtest86 couldn't find any errors.

I am suspecting the motherboard, but how could I even get that far if the motherboard's the problem?

Does anybody have any idea?

UPDATE: It seems I've succeeded in executing a fresh install of WinXP... I don't know exactly what I did to get this far, I will investigate further.
UPDATE THE SECOND: Apparently my spare harddisk died on me, or it got too hot. Either way, the installation can't be finished. I placed the harddisk of the old system (with WinXP already installed) in the system, and I again got the errors. I followed the advice of kees_s and set the AGP data rate to 1x and disabled fast write, to no avail. I also set the memory latency to 3T (though the module should be able to handle 2.5T), but that didn't work either.

MACH F: Minimod

The case I used as the basis for the MACH F, the black AOpen H340A, has a green LED as power indicator and an orange LED as harddisk-activity indicator. However, I used a black/red theme for the MACH F (the display will be all red LEDs too), and somehow it irritated me to look at those different-colored LEDs.

So I did what I had to do: Collapse )
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