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Old 05-28-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
Super TWiT
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Can an EEPROM Be Flaky?


I have been having computer problems lately. At first, I thought it was just my network card's eeprom being corrupted. Usually, it says it is corrupted, but after leaving the computer off for awhile it comes back. Sometimes it remains for a day other times just for a few hours. Now, I see I am having hard drive related problems. I am wondering now if it isn't a ram problem. Now that I think about it, I have been having bizzare errors with my computer lately before this network card even started having problems. Can an eeprom even behave this way?
 
Old 05-28-2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Can an eeprom even behave this way?
Hardware can do weird things. I haven't heard of this, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

Maybe you should run memtest86 overnight. Also clean out your computer case, de-dust, and check cards, connectors and memory modules are all properly seated (usually by taking them out, and then carefully reinserting them). The connections between devices are more likely to fail than the devices themselves.
 
Old 05-28-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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I did reseat everything and clean it out and still am having the same issue. I also took the cmos battery out. I wonder if because my ethernet controller is integrated if somehow that is messing with the disk controller. Intel boards are set up so that the io devices all go through the ich controller.

Last edited by Super TWiT; 05-28-2010 at 01:16 PM.
 
Old 05-28-2010, 06:19 PM   #4
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It sounds like a power supply issue since components like the hard drive is having problems. The power supply brands that I recommend are Enermax and Seasonic. Others are not up to par as they should. Brands that had a reputable name such as Power & Cooling (now owned by OCZ) does not have any quality power supplies.

The utility memtest86 only test for main memory problems, so it is useless if the problem is the EEPROM or something else. Your problem is not a memory problem. A memory problem will come up if you start using pass 25% of the memory capacity.

A bad ground can cause computer problems. Since the NIC is dependent on ground to shunt static electricity (high voltage), your setup could have got damaged from bad ground. Though all on-board components such as sound cards, storage controllers, NIC are stored in the motherboard's BIOS, so you could have a corrupted BIOS.

I would start with fixing the power supply. If that does not fix the issue, I would remove the BIOS chip and place a new BIOS chip. If the BIOS chip can not be removed, refresh the BIOS with the same version. Never do a Flash upgrade when there is problems like this or else you will have another problem that will then be hard to track down. Though fixing the BIOS should always be the last resort to fix a problem.
 
Old 05-30-2010, 02:25 PM   #5
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I am primarily a hardware guy, and I have met flaky Eproms. Either they fail dead, or they lose memory and the effect is generally pretty repeatable. It usually results from too quick of programming, or too many erasures.

Sounds like heat to me. Pull the side off the box and leave it off. Hot linear power supplies reduce output, so the voltage winds down. Switched ones can behave similarly. If that doesn't solve it, clean all heatsinks, and get the hard drives out hanging in air. If your problems go away, you know the issue
 
Old 05-30-2010, 06:15 PM   #6
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Well, 29 passes with memtest shows the ram is alright. As far as heat, the case is nearly immaculate inside, and the hard drive has nothing near it. I guess it could be heat/power supply... Also, I know my outlets are grounded right, because I recently tested them with an outlet tester. And for the BIOS, I removed the cmos battery, and reflashed it. Still, to no avail.

Last edited by Super TWiT; 05-30-2010 at 06:17 PM.
 
Old 05-31-2010, 02:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super TWiT View Post
Still, to no avail.
Can you elaborate on that please? When trying to remotely guess this sort of thing, information is key. As it stands, you don't know what to do, and I don't know what to tell you.

The fact that you manage 29 passes with memtest suggests most of the box is reasonable. Hardware faults often start in something that works when cold but misbehaves when up to operating temperature.
 
Old 06-01-2010, 04:02 PM   #8
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I just meant that I tried flashing the bios and removing the cmos battery, and I still had problems.

Last edited by Super TWiT; 06-02-2010 at 02:15 PM.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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Well, just want to catch everyone up to speed. I think that I *MAY* have found the real issue. I noticed that my sata power cable was loose. That could have made the intel ICH i/o controller a little upset. It was definitely the cause of the drive problems. Also, I noticed that my case fan was unplugged. Time will tell...

Last edited by Super TWiT; 06-02-2010 at 02:17 PM.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 03:32 PM   #10
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And time did tell, after I rebooted, it quit. That seems to be the pattern. If it is good, it will survive reboots if they are in short intervals. However, if I use computer for awhile and THEN reboot it dies. I can use the computer as long as I want and it will still work as long as I don't reboot it. I know this is true because I wrote a script that had it download knoppix, delete it, and download it again. I ran this all night, and it still worked. However, the second I rebooted it died.

Last edited by Super TWiT; 06-02-2010 at 03:35 PM.
 
  


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