Go Back   Hardware Canucks > PC BUILDERS & TWEAKERS CORNER > Troubleshooting

    
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 27, 2012, 10:29 AM
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Default PC won't boot-is it memory or new 3TB HDD

Hi all,
This is the specs on my homebuilt sysem:
Windows 8 64-bit (downloaded December 2012- purchased from Microsoft-legit)
Intel Core i3 2100 Dual Core Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.1GHZ Sandy Bridge 3MB
G.SKILL F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL Ripjaws 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1333 CL9-9-9-24 240PIN DIMM Memory
Intel BOXDH67GDB3 H67 mATX LGA1155 DDR3 1PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 SATA3 USB3.0 HDMI DVI DP Audio Motherboard
OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD for booting to Windows 8
Western Digital green 640GB HDD
Western Digital green 1.5TB (2 HDDs)
Seagate 2TB HDD
OCZ ZT Series 550W Modular Power Supply

I've been running this sytem as an HTPC fine since August 2012 (using Windows 7 at that time until Win8 installed to SSD in December). I installed a Western Digital Red 3TB HDD on Monday (Dec.24). I initialized it as GPT and formatted it NTFS. In the computer, it showed as about 2.7TB available storage. As I bought it to consolidate my movies, I copied over about 1.3TB from one of the WD green 1.5TB HDD onto it. Copy went fine. It all seemed fiine until Tuesday, when the PC wouldn't boot. It powered on and I get 3 beeps and light blinks 3 times, paued, repeat same pattern. Looking at the manual for the Intel mobo, I see that sound/light pattern supposed to indicate bad memory (G.Skill). I think it's too coincidental though that I just installed the WD 3TB HDD. I unplugged the WD 3TB from the power and mobo but the computer still won't boot properly. I'm looking for guidance-should I be troubleshooting the WD 3TB installation or returning the memory to G.Skill? Should I have initialized the WD3TB as MBT instead (just wanting it for storage, not booting to).Any advice greatly appreciated. BTW-I'd say my level of expertise is between newbie and intermediate (just a hobby).
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old December 27, 2012, 10:52 AM
MAK MAK is offline
Top Prospect
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 78
Default

If the 3TB hard drive worked and you were able to copy to it, then I don't see how that could be an issue. Either a mobo and the OS does not like the 3TB drive and fails to see it (or sees it as a MAX 2TB drive), or it will work. And you did fine by formatting it as GPT.

Another instability could be from insufficient power; but your PSU looks OK. If it was causing issues, you'd have seen it starting the moment the new hard drive went in.

So I'd guess it is the RAM.

Here's a bunch of reviews from NewEgg, and in it quite a few people mentioned that the RAM became unusable in a few months.

Try removing one of the two sticks (if your motherboard allows that) to see if it will work and try each one individually. Swap the two RAM sticks (I guess you tried this already) and reseat them and see if they will post.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old December 28, 2012, 07:06 AM
Hall Of Fame
F@H
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 1,226

My System Specs

Default

Another hobbyist with an Intel motherboard here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papawolf View Post
In the computer, it showed as about 2.7TB available storage.
Don't forget there's a difference between TiB and TB. The drive manufacturers use TB because they can make the space look higher for marketing, while most OS use TiB but still call it "TB". Converting 3TB to TiB:
3x10^12 / (1024*1024*1024*1024) = 2.728
So the 2.7 "TB" (should be TiB) value is correct. There's also a minimal amount of space (at least relative to your hard drive space) taken up by the GPT and whatever backend stuff your filesystem has.

For the boot problem, I second MAK's suggestion - you could've ESD zapped or knocked loose a RAM stick while you were installing the hard drive. I say first try re-seating your RAM (remove the stick from your computer, then re-install it). If that doesn't work, you'll likely have to start stripping your computer to its bare minimum to boot which is CPU, motherboard, one RAM stick, and PSU. Don't forget to remove all USB devices and peripherals - my pesky Intel motherboard has boot problems when there's a USB hard drive attached for instance.
__________________
"The computer programmer says they should drive the car around the block and see if the tire fixes itself." [src]
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old December 28, 2012, 03:34 PM
Perineum's Avatar
Hall Of Fame
F@H
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Surrey, B.C.
Posts: 4,037

My System Specs

Default

My standard routine... run mem test and if errors reseat RAM. About a 1/4 of the time with bad RAM a reseat fixes it.

In your case it won't even boot up, so you need to reseat and / or try one stick at a time until you get POST then work from there.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old December 29, 2012, 01:22 PM
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK View Post
If the 3TB hard drive worked and you were able to copy to it, then I don't see how that could be an issue. Either a mobo and the OS does not like the 3TB drive and fails to see it (or sees it as a MAX 2TB drive), or it will work. And you did fine by formatting it as GPT.

Another instability could be from insufficient power; but your PSU looks OK. If it was causing issues, you'd have seen it starting the moment the new hard drive went in.

So I'd guess it is the RAM.

Here's a bunch of reviews from NewEgg, and in it quite a few people mentioned that the RAM became unusable in a few months.

Try removing one of the two sticks (if your motherboard allows that) to see if it will work and try each one individually. Swap the two RAM sticks (I guess you tried this already) and reseat them and see if they will post.
Hi Mak,
I've reseated the memory sticks (2) and checked all plugs and cables, no boot.
I swapped the memory sticks, no boot. I left 1 stick in the second occupied DIMM slot. That's when it booted. I downloaded MemTest 86 v.4.0 per advice from another forum and ran that on a single stick in DIMM 0 slot. That stick passed 6 passes but then MemTest got hung up on the 7th pass. Replaced that stick with the other stick in DIMM 0. That one showed well over 2, 000, 000 + errors before I shut the PC down. Just for giggles, I retested that same stick in the same DIMM slot and it passed the first pass and into the second pass, MemTest got hung up again. That;'s weird, no? You'd think if it had 2 million plus errors the first time I tested it, it wouldn't have gotten into a second pass, right? From what I've seen in Tomshardware and Anandtech forums, smarter guys than me use MemTest. Being a newbie, the inconsistent reports makes me wonder how good this software is for troubleshooting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frontier204 View Post
Another hobbyist with an Intel motherboard here


Don't forget there's a difference between TiB and TB. The drive manufacturers use TB because they can make the space look higher for marketing, while most OS use TiB but still call it "TB". Converting 3TB to TiB:
3x10^12 / (1024*1024*1024*1024) = 2.728
So the 2.7 "TB" (should be TiB) value is correct. There's also a minimal amount of space (at least relative to your hard drive space) taken up by the GPT and whatever backend stuff your filesystem has.

For the boot problem, I second MAK's suggestion - you could've ESD zapped or knocked loose a RAM stick while you were installing the hard drive. I say first try re-seating your RAM (remove the stick from your computer, then re-install it). If that doesn't work, you'll likely have to start stripping your computer to its bare minimum to boot which is CPU, motherboard, one RAM stick, and PSU. Don't forget to remove all USB devices and peripherals - my pesky Intel motherboard has boot problems when there's a USB hard drive attached for instance.
Thanks frontier204. I've taken out the other HDD, leaving only the boot SSD, PSU, mobo and 1 stick of RAM. Running MemTest on the stick which failed miserably on it's first pass, froze on the second and now is in it's second pass on the 3rd test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perineum View Post
My standard routine... run mem test and if errors reseat RAM. About a 1/4 of the time with bad RAM a reseat fixes it.

In your case it won't even boot up, so you need to reseat and / or try one stick at a time until you get POST then work from there.

Thanks Perineum. MemTest results are inconsistent. I downloaded MemTest 86 v.4.0 per advice from another forum and ran that on a single stick in DIMM 0 slot. That stick passed 6 passes but then MemTest got hung up on the 7th pass. Replaced that stick with the other stick in DIMM 0. That one showed well over 2, 000, 000 + errors before I shut the PC down. Just for giggles, I retested that same stick in the same DIMM slot and it passed the first pass and into the second pass, MemTest got hung up again. That;'s weird, no? You'd think if it had 2 million plus errors the first time I tested it, it wouldn't have gotten into a second pass, right? From what I've seen in Tomshardware and Anandtech forums, smarter guys than me use MemTest. Being a newbie, the inconsistent reports makes me wonder how good this software is for troubleshooting. I know that G.Skill is a reliable manufacturer with a lifetime warranty. I'm thinking of just sending back the memory and let them find if the memory really has errors or not.

Last edited by lowfat; December 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Merged all three posts. In the future consider using the + multiquote button.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old December 29, 2012, 09:05 PM
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Default

Hi all,
That second stick with the 2 million plus errors? Just concluded running it for 7 hours, 11 tests without an error. I'm going to reconfigure the PC as it was before the problem booting and hope that it was simply an error resolved by swapping the memory sticks around. I know that more knowledgeable folks than me use MemTest but I can't see how the inconsistent results are useful. Thanks to all, much apperciated and have a great New Year.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old December 29, 2012, 11:58 PM
MAK MAK is offline
Top Prospect
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 78
Default

That's interesting.

You shouldn't get inconsistent memtest errors like that. The software is very good for troubleshooting.

Some thoughts (Most of these are very unlikely, but I'm curious):
- It may be a bad memory slot (defective, or plastic ends bent or broken)
- A bad connection from the memory slot to the motherboard (could be caused by using excessive force when inserting RAM chips)
- Dirty contacts between the memory slot and the RAM.
- Power issues: voltage supplied is not steady.

Most of the above we can dismiss. Questions:
- Do the memory sockets look clean? Bent pins?
- Examine the RAM gold connectors - any dirty contacts/smudges/deep scratches?

As I said, this is very very unlikely - the last time I had any type of memory issues like this was more than a decade ago. Today's RAM and motherboards are built well with much better quality control, and I can't think of why it would be seriously inconsistent like that. And you have an Intel motherboard and GSkill RAM - both good products.

I ran memtest on a PC upgrade last month (because I bought the old DDR2 RAM from eBay and I was suspicious), but had no issues at all.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old December 30, 2012, 07:43 PM
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK View Post
That's interesting.

You shouldn't get inconsistent memtest errors like that. The software is very good for troubleshooting.

Some thoughts (Most of these are very unlikely, but I'm curious):
- It may be a bad memory slot (defective, or plastic ends bent or broken)
- A bad connection from the memory slot to the motherboard (could be caused by using excessive force when inserting RAM chips)
- Dirty contacts between the memory slot and the RAM.
- Power issues: voltage supplied is not steady.

Most of the above we can dismiss. Questions:
- Do the memory sockets look clean? Bent pins?
- Examine the RAM gold connectors - any dirty contacts/smudges/deep scratches?

As I said, this is very very unlikely - the last time I had any type of memory issues like this was more than a decade ago. Today's RAM and motherboards are built well with much better quality control, and I can't think of why it would be seriously inconsistent like that. And you have an Intel motherboard and GSkill RAM - both good products.

I ran memtest on a PC upgrade last month (because I bought the old DDR2 RAM from eBay and I was suspicious), but had no issues at all.
Thanks Mak. I'll check the slots and contacts as you've suggested.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old December 30, 2012, 07:53 PM
enaberif's Avatar
Hall Of Fame
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Calgahree, AB
Posts: 10,575
Default

make sure you are using this for memtest;
Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old January 3, 2013, 01:44 AM
Rookie
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Brandon, MB
Posts: 30
Default

Just to add up since you maybe stripping your system make sure you avoid electromagnetic discharge. Ground yourself well and a quick way is to just touch the back of the psu before you touch other components and make sure the remaiming power from capacitors are also discharged. When you unplug the psu a residual power is kept by the capacitors so just hit the power button again and your cpu fan may turn a bit and stop. An indicator that all power are discharged is that the power good led on the board is turned off, it is usually the green led that is lit once you have power on the motherboard. Hope this help and good luck with the troubleshooting.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Tags
boot , memory fail , western digital 3tb red

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Patriot Memory Announces New AMD Black Edition Ready G2 Series Memory Kits Sam_Reynolds Press Releases & Tech News 0 June 14, 2011 09:57 AM
G.Skill Releases the World's Fastest Memory, DDR3 2500 MHz Dual-Channel Memory Kit FiXT Press Releases & Tech News 10 April 14, 2010 07:49 AM
Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device BrianHanna Troubleshooting 44 February 11, 2010 01:13 PM
My Boot settings (Bootsect.bak/Boot directory) installed to another HDD? chouchou Troubleshooting 7 December 21, 2008 07:46 PM