ASUS Sabertooth z87 unstable


D

DevilsPGD

I've got a brand new ASUS Sabertooth z87 which is acting a bit unstable.
It started with a BSOD when enabling Hyper-V, or when installing certain
drivers (Intel's Rapid Storage, for example), but after a BSOD,
resetting using the hardware reset switch would hang on the logo of the
BIOS screen.

It has since progressed to periodically hanging on the logo (before any
other details appear) occasionally on startup, and more frequently after
an OS reboot.

Since it happens outside the OS (and sometimes before an OS has loaded
at all), I'm leaning toward blaming hardware.

The hardware is a i5 4670K, Sabertooth z87, 4 sticks of Corsair XMS3
CMX12GX3M3A1333C9 4GB DDR3-1333, an Intel 530 Series 180GB SATA SSD on
SATA port 1, and a couple other older drives.

I've run CPU and memory tests (Prime95, Windows 8 memory diagnostic and
MemTest86), temperatures stay normal. ASUS's diagnostics reports a RTC
failure, but otherwise no issues.

Is this likely a motherboard needing an RMA, or have I missed anything?

How picky is Haswell about RAM matching? The RAM is matching spec-wise,
but is from two separate 3x4GB kits (this hardware replaces a x58 triple
channel system). Is it important to keep one set within one bank if the
brand and specs match? Would this cause intermittent issues, or would it
reveal itself in memory tests? And how worried should I be about a RTC
failure warning, given that this is a brand new board?
 
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V

VanguardLH

DevilsPGD said:
I've got a brand new ASUS Sabertooth z87 which is acting a bit unstable.
It started with a BSOD when enabling Hyper-V, or when installing certain
drivers (Intel's Rapid Storage, for example), but after a BSOD,
resetting using the hardware reset switch would hang on the logo of the
BIOS screen.

It has since progressed to periodically hanging on the logo (before any
other details appear) occasionally on startup, and more frequently after
an OS reboot.

Since it happens outside the OS (and sometimes before an OS has loaded
at all), I'm leaning toward blaming hardware.

The hardware is a i5 4670K, Sabertooth z87, 4 sticks of Corsair XMS3
CMX12GX3M3A1333C9 4GB DDR3-1333, an Intel 530 Series 180GB SATA SSD on
SATA port 1, and a couple other older drives.

I've run CPU and memory tests (Prime95, Windows 8 memory diagnostic and
MemTest86), temperatures stay normal. ASUS's diagnostics reports a RTC
failure, but otherwise no issues.

Is this likely a motherboard needing an RMA, or have I missed anything?

How picky is Haswell about RAM matching? The RAM is matching spec-wise,
but is from two separate 3x4GB kits (this hardware replaces a x58 triple
channel system). Is it important to keep one set within one bank if the
brand and specs match? Would this cause intermittent issues, or would it
reveal itself in memory tests? And how worried should I be about a RTC
failure warning, given that this is a brand new board?

Did you overclock? Is this one of those "OC" (overclocked) models they
charge a premium because supposedly they claim the hardware will run a
slightly higher clock speeds? If you can't get into the BIOS screens
(before the lockup on showing their banner screen which typically
replaces the POST screen), you might try the CMOS clear jumper (I think
it's at the bottom of mobo near green LED as I can only zoom in only so
far in Newegg's pics of this mobo) which is called Clear RTC RAM for
this mobo. Despite their CPR feature (that requires you to unplug the
power cord from the PSU and let the PSU drain before plugging back in
the cord) that is supposed to recover after hardware failure from
overclocking, you might still have to use the CMOS clear jumper. Is
there a jumper (cap) on the correct pins of the Clear RTC RAM mobo
header? Read their warning in section 1.2.7 about boot failures if it's
not properly positioned.

Different memory modules may use different architectures while providing
the same memory capacity. You want the same architecture on all memory
modules. Although you said you didn't get al 4 as a 4-pack matched set,
and despite Corsair doesn't manufacture anything but specs out what
their supplier is supposed to deliver to them on which Corsair slaps
their sticker, the architecture probably matches on those 4 memory
modules from the same source for the same model number. However, that
only requires the hardware to match on Corsair's specs. If a memory
module fits in Corsair's specs and at the same price tier then they may
end up mixing modules from different makers or different models from the
same maker. Corsairs produces no hardware. They resell it. CAS delay
may differ but Corsair should specify the slowest one, so if you're
overclocking or altering BIOS setup, like on delays, then you could be
using settings too fast/short for the slower module(s). Also, SPF read
from the memory module is often only from the first one found, not the
minimums read from every memory module. So you might've stuck in a
module with faster specs in the 1st slot but the other slots have slower
modules. If BIOS is set to use SPF then you may have to juggle the
modules around to get the slowest one in the 1st slot. Have you yet
followed their manual's instructions on how to use the MemOK! button on
the motherboard?

You say the crashes/hangs occur before loading the OS. Are you sure?
The time between when the POST completes (which is getting hidden by
electing to show their banner screen) to when BIOS loads the OS boot
sector could be very short, especially when using an SSD. Try
disconnecting the SATA data cable from the SSD and see if the hardware-
only crashes/hang still occur.

If replacing the CR2032 coin cell battery doesn't fix the RTC error then
I'd return the mobo as defective. Why would you want a mobo whose RTC
logic is faulty and probably won't keep track of time when the computer
is removed from an AC power source?
 
P

Paul

DevilsPGD said:
I've got a brand new ASUS Sabertooth z87 which is acting a bit unstable.
It started with a BSOD when enabling Hyper-V, or when installing certain
drivers (Intel's Rapid Storage, for example), but after a BSOD,
resetting using the hardware reset switch would hang on the logo of the
BIOS screen.

It has since progressed to periodically hanging on the logo (before any
other details appear) occasionally on startup, and more frequently after
an OS reboot.

Since it happens outside the OS (and sometimes before an OS has loaded
at all), I'm leaning toward blaming hardware.

The hardware is a i5 4670K, Sabertooth z87, 4 sticks of Corsair XMS3
CMX12GX3M3A1333C9 4GB DDR3-1333, an Intel 530 Series 180GB SATA SSD on
SATA port 1, and a couple other older drives.

I've run CPU and memory tests (Prime95, Windows 8 memory diagnostic and
MemTest86), temperatures stay normal. ASUS's diagnostics reports a RTC
failure, but otherwise no issues.

Is this likely a motherboard needing an RMA, or have I missed anything?

How picky is Haswell about RAM matching? The RAM is matching spec-wise,
but is from two separate 3x4GB kits (this hardware replaces a x58 triple
channel system). Is it important to keep one set within one bank if the
brand and specs match? Would this cause intermittent issues, or would it
reveal itself in memory tests? And how worried should I be about a RTC
failure warning, given that this is a brand new board?

One of the differences with Haswell, is internal voltage regulation.
I would have thought that would have a prominent place in this article,
but it barely gets a mention. Two stages of DC regulation, is generally
less efficient than one stage of DC regulation. Yet, the internal
regulator does not run off 12V directly. As far as I know, the
intermediate voltage (where power enters the CPU), is 2.4V.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haswell_(microarchitecture)

A slide deck from development is shown here.

http://www.psma.com/sites/default/f...ully-integrated-silicon-voltage-regulator.pdf

It means the motherboard regulator converts 12V @ 7A to
2.4V @ 35A, then the switcher dice inside the processor
MCM package, convert that to 1V or less, at 84A or more.
The array of capacitors in the socket area, likely play
a part in keeping smooth power. It's hard to say whether
any of those polymer caps on the outside of the
socket, hold up the internal power plane or not.

It kinda makes a joke out of "multi-phase" power. They
could likely run the outside regulator with four phases
and it would still be fine. So whether that external
regulator on the Sabertooth is doing a lot for you,
isn't clear to me. And if this design doesn't
allow overvolting (since the regulator is completely
inside, and there's no reason to expose VID pins),
then there wouldn't be much point in supporting more
than 35A on the external VCore. Frequency margining
on processors, can be in the 500MHz range, at a constant
VCore value. That's how much a well margined processor
should give you. (I.e. If more than 500MHz was available,
the engineers could raise the nominal frequency rating
of the processor.) The processor self-regulates
temperature, so the temperature the processor has to
support is known.

*******

An RTC failure, would be a failure of PCH (Southbridge).
That is, if the diagnostic works properly. RTC and CMOS
RAM, are in the CMOS well of the Southbridge. That's the
same chip that does your SATA ports. Check VSouthbridge
value (Vsb?) and bump one notch and retest. For the
SATA issue. For RTC, there's nothing you can do
in terms of settings. RTC runs off 3VSB, whatever
voltage that happens to be (3.3V?).

*******

Try running with one stick of RAM, to test your
memory theory.

*******

I can't guess as to which is at fault here, motherboard
or CPU. One test, would be to test the CPU in another
motherboard, and see if it is operational there or not.
Other than that, I'm out of my league here :)

There's really no reason for the RAM behavior to have
changed.

Paul
 
D

DevilsPGD

Paul said:
I can't guess as to which is at fault here, motherboard
or CPU. One test, would be to test the CPU in another
motherboard, and see if it is operational there or not.

At this moment I don't have another Haswell system to monkey with. I'm
looking at ordering two more, but I'd like to get matching motherboards,
and I'm nervous about doing so until I figure out whether this
particular one is a lemon, or if it could be a problem with this model
(but that seems unlikely, if only because there are a couple reported
problems, this isn't one of them)

I am considering ordering a couple more CPUs for my future builds
though, since they're on sale and I'll be working on the builds in about
3 weeks anyway, so this might give me a CPU to swap around. I might bite
the bullet and order another motherboard too.
Other than that, I'm out of my league here :)

Thanks for the insight, and all the information... I'm out of my league
here too, otherwise I'd have fixed it by now.

When I described the issue to ASUS, they opened a RMA on the motherboard
and said it's probably not worth replacing the CPU, so I'll take their
word for it, but since the rapid replacement seems to be taking several
days just to get started, I'm still looking for other possibilities. I'd
hate for the problem to continue, and I suspect there's a fine line
where ASUS just issues an RMA rather than troubleshooting.
 
D

DevilsPGD

VanguardLH said:
Did you overclock? Is this one of those "OC" (overclocked) models they
charge a premium because supposedly they claim the hardware will run a
slightly higher clock speeds?

No, no overclocking at all, everything is at ASUS's default settings,
stock clock speeds etc.
If you can't get into the BIOS screens
(before the lockup on showing their banner screen which typically
replaces the POST screen), you might try the CMOS clear jumper (I think
it's at the bottom of mobo near green LED as I can only zoom in only so
far in Newegg's pics of this mobo) which is called Clear RTC RAM for
this mobo. Despite their CPR feature (that requires you to unplug the
power cord from the PSU and let the PSU drain before plugging back in
the cord) that is supposed to recover after hardware failure from
overclocking, you might still have to use the CMOS clear jumper. Is
there a jumper (cap) on the correct pins of the Clear RTC RAM mobo
header? Read their warning in section 1.2.7 about boot failures if it's
not properly positioned.

I did reset the BIOS, both with the internal settings and finally the
jumper. I've also pulled the battery, just for fun. No change.
Different memory modules may use different architectures while providing
the same memory capacity. You want the same architecture on all memory
modules. Although you said you didn't get al 4 as a 4-pack matched set,
and despite Corsair doesn't manufacture anything but specs out what
their supplier is supposed to deliver to them on which Corsair slaps
their sticker, the architecture probably matches on those 4 memory
modules from the same source for the same model number.

It does, based on visual inspection as well as the fact that it was
ordered to be as identical as possible (and was previously used in 2
triple channel banks) -- I realize this isn't definitive, but from the
BIOS and ASUS's software, I can't pick one set out from the rest, they
appear identical.
However, that
only requires the hardware to match on Corsair's specs. If a memory
module fits in Corsair's specs and at the same price tier then they may
end up mixing modules from different makers or different models from the
same maker. Corsairs produces no hardware. They resell it. CAS delay
may differ but Corsair should specify the slowest one, so if you're
overclocking or altering BIOS setup, like on delays, then you could be
using settings too fast/short for the slower module(s). Also, SPF read
from the memory module is often only from the first one found, not the
minimums read from every memory module. So you might've stuck in a
module with faster specs in the 1st slot but the other slots have slower
modules. If BIOS is set to use SPF then you may have to juggle the
modules around to get the slowest one in the 1st slot. Have you yet
followed their manual's instructions on how to use the MemOK! button on
the motherboard?

Yes, absolutely.
You say the crashes/hangs occur before loading the OS. Are you sure?
The time between when the POST completes (which is getting hidden by
electing to show their banner screen) to when BIOS loads the OS boot
sector could be very short, especially when using an SSD. Try
disconnecting the SATA data cable from the SSD and see if the hardware-
only crashes/hang still occur.

Yes. I have the boot logo disabled, so I get a quick flash of BIOS logo
plus text. When it hangs, only the BIOS logo appears, otherwise I get
about 1 second of text before the OS starts.

I've also pulled it off without any partition on the SSD, intending to
boot from a USB flash drive. I was watching closely, the USB flash
drive's light didn't turn on (so the hang probably happened before the
USB initialization)
If replacing the CR2032 coin cell battery doesn't fix the RTC error then
I'd return the mobo as defective. Why would you want a mobo whose RTC
logic is faulty and probably won't keep track of time when the computer
is removed from an AC power source?

I don't observe any problems, it holds time with the battery installed,
but their software reports a failure, so I trust that something has
failed.
 
V

VanguardLH

DevilsPGD said:
I don't observe any problems, it holds time with the battery
installed, but their software reports a failure, so I trust that
something has failed.

You need to pull the power cord from the PSU and wait until the 5VSB
line from it drops going to the motherboard. Then let the computer sit
for awhile, like several hours, plug the power cord, and check the time
(in the BIOS).

I figure Asus knows how to test their own hardware. If their diagnostic
tool reports an RTC failure that I wouldn't waste time on trying to fix
anything else.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/misc/utils/Motherboard_Diag_User_Guide.pdf

That doesn't provide much help on why it will declare an RTC failure.
I've read from other RTC tools that they check the accuracy of the RTC
on the mobo against the CPU's clock to determine if they are too out of
sync. The RTC is externally powered (by 5VSB from PSU or the coin cell
battery) and tracks clock ticks independent of the CPU. The RTC test is
to uncover if there will be problems with the system time updates,
periodic interrupts, or alarm interrupts.

Due to temperature change, frequency variation of the crystal, and
cost-cutting designs, the RTC will drift. Quartz oscillators are
accurate but they aren't perfect hence the need for NTP (Network Time
Protocol) to re-sync your computer to the atomic time standard.

Does the Asus diagnostic tool save output to a log file? If so, does
the log file show any more details about the RTC failure?
 
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P

Paul

VanguardLH said:
You need to pull the power cord from the PSU and wait until the 5VSB
line from it drops going to the motherboard. Then let the computer sit
for awhile, like several hours, plug the power cord, and check the time
(in the BIOS).

I figure Asus knows how to test their own hardware. If their diagnostic
tool reports an RTC failure that I wouldn't waste time on trying to fix
anything else.

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/misc/utils/Motherboard_Diag_User_Guide.pdf

That doesn't provide much help on why it will declare an RTC failure.
I've read from other RTC tools that they check the accuracy of the RTC
on the mobo against the CPU's clock to determine if they are too out of
sync. The RTC is externally powered (by 5VSB from PSU or the coin cell
battery) and tracks clock ticks independent of the CPU. The RTC test is
to uncover if there will be problems with the system time updates,
periodic interrupts, or alarm interrupts.

Due to temperature change, frequency variation of the crystal, and
cost-cutting designs, the RTC will drift. Quartz oscillators are
accurate but they aren't perfect hence the need for NTP (Network Time
Protocol) to re-sync your computer to the atomic time standard.

Does the Asus diagnostic tool save output to a log file? If so, does
the log file show any more details about the RTC failure?

I wouldn't lose any sleep over an RTC test failure.

The RTC uses a digital watch crystal, running at 32KHz.
BCLK, the processor input clock source, is traceable to
a different quartz crystal on the motherboard. Each crystal
drifts, and could drift in a different direction.

A good source of overview articles on PC time hardware,
is the various VM sites. This is an example. (It seems
I didn't bookmark the last one of these I read. There
might have been one of these on the VirtualBox site.)

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/Timekeeping-In-VirtualMachines.pdf

"Common PC timer devices include the programmable interval timer (PIT),
the CMOS real time clock (RTC), the local advanced programmable
interrupt controller (APIC) timers, the advanced configuration and
power interface (ACPI) timer, the time stamp counter (TSC), and
the high precision event timer (HPET)"

You might need additional hardware details, to trace what
clock source each of those uses, and whether the clock source
is modulated in any way (affected by power saving, or
spread spectrum).

If I got such a result here (RTC failure), I wouldn't
be freaking out. I'd be looking for a more
reputable piece of test software. A piece of
test software that is up-to-date with recent
hardware types and implementations. As we can
never be sure when new hardware comes out, what
they fouled up this time.

Such a test, has to allow for tolerances. If
two different quartz crystals are used for
timing, one is +/-100ppm, and so is the other
one, one crystal could be +100ppm, the other
could be -100ppm, for a 200ppm error. The
test would then have to "pass" such a result,
as being "good". If the difference was more
than 200ppm, the author of the test would then
have to think carefully about whether any other
effects in hardware, could account for it.
(Down spectrum method of spread spectrum.
Spread spectrum can sometimes be turned off.)

I might even rate the test as "virtually useless" :)
As checking the BIOS setup screen, to see if
the digits are "stuck" in there, does you about
as much good when it comes to testing the RTC.
If the 32KHz quartz crystal was broken, it's possible
for the digits of the BIOS setup screen clock,
to stop. The BIOS may actually be reading out
the RTC, via the LPC (low pin count) bus.
One digit at a time or something. The BIOS
doesn't care about the alignment of the digits,
as all it has to do is copy the RTC clock when
a 1pps tick elapses (interrupt from RTC). This is
not considered good enough, for general OS usage.
Software people would have heart failure if you did.
But to make the display in the BIOS, it's good enough.
Maybe staring at the BIOS setup screen is the answer :)

Paul
 
V

VanguardLH

Paul said:
I wouldn't lose any sleep over an RTC test failure.

The RTC uses a digital watch crystal, running at 32KHz.
BCLK, the processor input clock source, is traceable to
a different quartz crystal on the motherboard. Each crystal
drifts, and could drift in a different direction.

A good source of overview articles on PC time hardware,
is the various VM sites. This is an example. (It seems
I didn't bookmark the last one of these I read. There
might have been one of these on the VirtualBox site.)

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/Timekeeping-In-VirtualMachines.pdf

"Common PC timer devices include the programmable interval timer (PIT),
the CMOS real time clock (RTC), the local advanced programmable
interrupt controller (APIC) timers, the advanced configuration and
power interface (ACPI) timer, the time stamp counter (TSC), and
the high precision event timer (HPET)"

You might need additional hardware details, to trace what
clock source each of those uses, and whether the clock source
is modulated in any way (affected by power saving, or
spread spectrum).

If I got such a result here (RTC failure), I wouldn't
be freaking out. I'd be looking for a more
reputable piece of test software. A piece of
test software that is up-to-date with recent
hardware types and implementations. As we can
never be sure when new hardware comes out, what
they fouled up this time.

Such a test, has to allow for tolerances. If
two different quartz crystals are used for
timing, one is +/-100ppm, and so is the other
one, one crystal could be +100ppm, the other
could be -100ppm, for a 200ppm error. The
test would then have to "pass" such a result,
as being "good". If the difference was more
than 200ppm, the author of the test would then
have to think carefully about whether any other
effects in hardware, could account for it.
(Down spectrum method of spread spectrum.
Spread spectrum can sometimes be turned off.)

I might even rate the test as "virtually useless" :)
As checking the BIOS setup screen, to see if
the digits are "stuck" in there, does you about
as much good when it comes to testing the RTC.
If the 32KHz quartz crystal was broken, it's possible
for the digits of the BIOS setup screen clock,
to stop. The BIOS may actually be reading out
the RTC, via the LPC (low pin count) bus.
One digit at a time or something. The BIOS
doesn't care about the alignment of the digits,
as all it has to do is copy the RTC clock when
a 1pps tick elapses (interrupt from RTC). This is
not considered good enough, for general OS usage.
Software people would have heart failure if you did.
But to make the display in the BIOS, it's good enough.
Maybe staring at the BIOS setup screen is the answer :)

Paul

Alas, we don't really know what Asus' RTC test does. Might be it does
an accelerated test of drift between RTF and CPU clocks. Could be it
tests on the interrupts to the RTC (so if any fail then major
functionality is lost since, as I recall, there are only 3 interrupt
types). You'd think Asus would put something in the log (and that it
creates one) but the OP never mentioned a log or looking at it.
 
P

Paul

VanguardLH said:
Alas, we don't really know what Asus' RTC test does. Might be it does
an accelerated test of drift between RTF and CPU clocks. Could be it
tests on the interrupts to the RTC (so if any fail then major
functionality is lost since, as I recall, there are only 3 interrupt
types). You'd think Asus would put something in the log (and that it
creates one) but the OP never mentioned a log or looking at it.

Agreed.

You'd think, if the author of the test was particularly
proud of the method, the details would be dumped in a log.

On the flip-side, you'd think Tech Support at Asus,
would be kicking the guys ass, for causing so much trouble.

Think how many "RMA phone calls" that message is generating :)

*******

To be honest, over the years, I've seen precisely
one diagnostic package that looked decent. That was
the one included with my Sun workstation at work. It
didn't look like it was written by idiots. I've had
the misfortune to buy other packages for home use,
to be mainly disappointed with what they were doing.
So I guess you could say, I generally assume hardware
test packages are crap, until proven otherwise. If you're
paying for one, it's generally full of "fluff".

Paul
 
D

DevilsPGD

Paul said:
As checking the BIOS setup screen, to see if
the digits are "stuck" in there, does you about
as much good when it comes to testing the RTC.

Sorry if I wasn't clear, the BIOS is freezing on startup, this is what
started the investigation and the only error ASUS's diagnostic came up
with was RTC related -- I wasn't concerned about it, except that it
might provide some clues as to the underlying situation.
 
V

VanguardLH

DevilsPGD said:
Sorry if I wasn't clear, the BIOS is freezing on startup, this is what
started the investigation and the only error ASUS's diagnostic came up
with was RTC related -- I wasn't concerned about it, except that it
might provide some clues as to the underlying situation.

If the MemOK, CMOS clear, and switching in just 1 memory module at a
time to test (as suggested by Paul) doesn't work, the probably
candidates thereafter are: CPU, video card, and mobo.

I didn't see any video connectors in the backpanel when looking at pics
of this mobo. So presumably there is no onboard video and you're using
a video card. Do you get a single beep when you do a cold boot
indicating the video BIOS has loaded? Video BIOS loads before system
BIOS because, obviously, you need the video to be working to view the
POST and BIOS screens. Do you have a spare and known-working [and
cheap] video card you could use and are willing to risk testing with
this mobo?

Also, for giggles, have you tried removing the video card and then
making sure to fully seat it in the slot and retest? Just reseat the
video card without screwing down its backplate. I've seen poorly
designed cases and/or video cards where the backplate was too high and
screwing it down torques up the other end of the video card. If there
is a mismatch between height of case slot and card bracket then you'll
need to figure a fix, like epoxying a washer to the top of the case's
slot frame through which a longer hold-down screw(s) get used to hold
the card securely in place.

You said you had some more CPUs on order. You could try one of those.
However, if they take longer to arrive than is the return period for the
mobo then you'll have to decide to keep the mobo to test another CPU and
then, if the mobo is bad, work with the RMA of the mobo to the maker
instead of returning for exchange with the seller.
 
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V

VanguardLH

VanguardLH said:
I didn't see any video connectors in the backpanel when looking at pics
of this mobo. So presumably there is no onboard video and you're using
a video card. ...

Oops, I see in a better pic that there is an HDMI and Display Port in
the backpanel so there is onboard video (from your Intel i5 CPU). I'm
still a bit older school and expect to see a DVI port on the back for
onboard video.

Are you using onboard video or a video card? If using a video card,
have you looked at the BIOS settings on how it will determine which
video controller to use? Auto should use a PCI-e video card, if
present, as the primary video source. If Auto mode isn't working, see
if selecting iGPU (if you're using the onboard video) or PCIE (if using
a video card) gets video to working okay.

If using an onboard video card, which PCI-e slot are you using for the
video card?

If you're getting the video showing up to show the BIOS output (the
initial screen with name of BIOS maker, CPU type and speed, etc) then
don't bother troubleshooting the video for now as it's probably working
okay. So then start looking at the CPU or mobo.
 
D

Darklight

DevilsPGD said:
Sorry if I wasn't clear, the BIOS is freezing on startup, this is what
started the investigation and the only error ASUS's diagnostic came up
with was RTC related -- I wasn't concerned about it, except that it
might provide some clues as to the underlying situation.
Have you tried a bios update.

Have you checked the asus web site to find out if your bios version supports
your cpu!
 
D

Darklight

DevilsPGD said:
Sorry if I wasn't clear, the BIOS is freezing on startup, this is what
started the investigation and the only error ASUS's diagnostic came up
with was RTC related -- I wasn't concerned about it, except that it
might provide some clues as to the underlying situation.

I have seen other users of ASUS Sabertooth motherboards having problems
like the ones your experiencing. But with AMD CPU'S. Check out
the reviews on Amazon. And see if other people were having the same
problems as you are experiencing. After reading the reviews on Amazon
I decided not to go for a AMD Sabertooth MB.

Next have you tried a bios update. Or even if your bios version supports
your CPU. Just clutching at straws there.
 
P

philo 

I've got a brand new ASUS Sabertooth z87 which is acting a bit unstable.
It started with a BSOD when enabling Hyper-V, or when installing certain
drivers (Intel's Rapid Storage, for example), but after a BSOD,
resetting using the hardware reset switch would hang on the logo of the
BIOS screen.

It has since progressed to periodically hanging on the logo (before any
other details appear) occasionally on startup, and more frequently after
an OS reboot.

Since it happens outside the OS (and sometimes before an OS has loaded
at all), I'm leaning toward blaming hardware.

The hardware is a i5 4670K, Sabertooth z87, 4 sticks of Corsair XMS3
CMX12GX3M3A1333C9 4GB DDR3-1333, an Intel 530 Series 180GB SATA SSD on
SATA port 1, and a couple other older drives.

I've run CPU and memory tests (Prime95, Windows 8 memory diagnostic and
MemTest86), temperatures stay normal. ASUS's diagnostics reports a RTC
failure, but otherwise no issues.

<snip>


Since the board is new it should pass /all/ tests.

I'd reset the bios and put in a new CMOS battery and try again and if
the board still hangs and you still get a RTC error, I'd RMA the board.
 
D

DevilsPGD

Darklight said:
Have you tried a bios update.

Have you checked the asus web site to find out if your bios version supports
your cpu!

Yeah, this CPU was supported by all versions of the BIOS. BIOS update
possibly made the BIOS hangs worse although it did make the system more
stable once it's in the OS -- In fact, at this point it's pretty close
to rock solid once the OS is booted.
 
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DevilsPGD

philo  said:
Since the board is new it should pass /all/ tests.

Yeah, that's kinda what pushed me to thinking I should RMA it rather
than spend too much time figuring out what might be wrong.

Unfortunately ASUS is having trouble getting the RMA together, so I've
put a but more effort into getting it up and running, thinking that I'll
just swap the board rather than flattening the OS completely once the
RMA replacement arrives.
I'd reset the bios and put in a new CMOS battery and try again and if
the board still hangs and you still get a RTC error, I'd RMA the board.

I sadly don't have a spare battery that is known good, but the one
that's there does seem to have the right voltage (off a multi-meter,
unloaded), and frankly, the RTC shouldn't be battery dependent with the
PSU providing power anyway, and the battery does keep the clock visibly
in sync, so I don't think I can point fingers at the battery.
 
D

DevilsPGD

VanguardLH said:
If the MemOK, CMOS clear, and switching in just 1 memory module at a
time to test (as suggested by Paul) doesn't work, the probably
candidates thereafter are: CPU, video card, and mobo.

I've gone down to two sticks, and then swapped out for two other sticks
that weren't previously in this system at all, without change, so either
I'm the unluckiest guy on the planet or it's not RAM.
I didn't see any video connectors in the backpanel when looking at pics
of this mobo. So presumably there is no onboard video and you're using
a video card. Do you get a single beep when you do a cold boot
indicating the video BIOS has loaded? Video BIOS loads before system
BIOS because, obviously, you need the video to be working to view the
POST and BIOS screens. Do you have a spare and known-working [and
cheap] video card you could use and are willing to risk testing with
this mobo?

It happens with the onboard video as well as a probably good PCIe video
card that I had kicking around, and also a brand new ASUS Radeon R9
(that just arrived since this thread started)
You said you had some more CPUs on order. You could try one of those.
However, if they take longer to arrive than is the return period for the
mobo then you'll have to decide to keep the mobo to test another CPU and
then, if the mobo is bad, work with the RMA of the mobo to the maker
instead of returning for exchange with the seller.

Unfortunately I got guilted into traveling for Christmas, and I'll
probably be out of town by the time the parts get in stock. At this
point I'm trying to RMA it with ASUS since they offer an advanced
exchange option (that way I'm not without the computer in the mean time)
 
P

philo 

Yeah, that's kinda what pushed me to thinking I should RMA it rather
than spend too much time figuring out what might be wrong.

Unfortunately ASUS is having trouble getting the RMA together, so I've
put a but more effort into getting it up and running, thinking that I'll
just swap the board rather than flattening the OS completely once the
RMA replacement arrives.


I sadly don't have a spare battery that is known good, but the one
that's there does seem to have the right voltage (off a multi-meter,
unloaded), and frankly, the RTC shouldn't be battery dependent with the
PSU providing power anyway, and the battery does keep the clock visibly
in sync, so I don't think I can point fingers at the battery.


Well, I'd push ASUS for an RMA then
 
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DevilsPGD

philo  said:
Well, I'd push ASUS for an RMA then

I've got an RMA number, but I wanted a rapid/advanced replacement, which
they apparently offer for $10 and a hold on my credit card. But that's
where the process has fallen off the wheels, the department that is
supposed to initiate that process apparently hasn't bothered, despite
the front-line support having sent the request multiple times.

However, since I'm mostly stable now without it, I'm inclined to just
let them do their own thing for a few days, then once it's been a bit
longer, I have more of a case to escalate it and get it happening.

As it turns out, I'll be out of town from Saturday through Thursday
anyway, so it would just sit on my workbench waiting for me, so it makes
it easier to be patient :)
 

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