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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware
DVD burner causes freezing boot in SATA/PATA mixed system
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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon 01 Oct 2012, 14:27    Post subject:  

I parked this Dell computer for a month. When I finally booted it up again, the PCI card decided to detect as an IDE controller, rather than a RAID controller. Silicon Image device drivers installed smoothly. BUT, now that the DVD burner is on an IDE controller, albeit a PCI device, Windows won't complete the boot, freezing at the boot screen with blue progress bar. Back to Square One.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Oct 2012, 15:02    Post subject:  

Most modern computers (not sure how Dell qualifies here Laughing ) cannot boot from PCI. There are exceptions, but I haven't heard of many.

My guess (could be wrong here) is that rather than Windows being picky about hardware config -- this is actually a pretty rare thing, Windows will try to run on a lot of stuff that it shouldn't -- you've got a failing drive controller on the motherboard.

That controller would be inside a chip called a "Southbridge" -- the way that's put on the board, there's really not much hope other than replacing the board -- you need what's called a 'waveflow soldering machine' which can only be had in a PCB factory. That said, if you're in the US, you can get a new board for about $40 or so, courtesy of eBay.

...actually, that board looks to be a fairly standard MicroATX-sized board. I've seen some very weird stuff with the Dell label on it, but this one looks almost standard! If you've access to spare hardware, you might see if another board of that size (not more than 9.6" by 9.6", smaller is generally OK) would fit in the case. If it can, that opens up some rather nice possibilities for an upgrade!

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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec 2012, 20:44    Post subject:  

I parked this computer for a while, and now I have a new approach. I located a IDE-to-SATA power converter adapter so that I can install a SATA optical drive (DVD writer). At first, things looked rosy, but shortly the computer would start freezing, and refusing to boot, stopping on a black screen with a blinking cursor. Doing hard shutdowns from the front button, the computer finally gave a checkpoint error [Ithr], and quit. I thought this was a temporary condition and initially ignored it. I tried to run chkdsk from installation disk, but the keyboard kept freezing, so I connected a USB keyboard in tandem with the other. I ran chkdsk /p, chkdsk /r, and chkdsk /p to finish, but the computer refused to boot. The [Ithr] checkpoint is a thermal issue, ie. overheating. I felt the heatsink on the socket 775 3.0GHz processor, it was plenty hot. I decided to downgrade the processor, but did not have anything slower. I removed the heatsink anyway, noticed the paste was crusty and had spaces, so I cleaned the processor and heatsink, then applied Arctic Silver, and re-installed the parts. Voila, things started working right. Installed Motherboard Monitor 5, but still need to configure it to monitor temperature. If overheating is the primary problem here, I will have to backtrack and see if other configurations might work with the thermal issue fixed. Still working fine, long enough to type this report.

EDIT: Meh, it's still overheating. What a sorry design. It's got a case fan doubling as processor fan. The heatsink is tall, but the upper structure is comprised of very thin fins, so you can't attach a fan to it. Of course, the 775 socket is funky, and unaccommodating to any other heatsink/fan arrangement, plus there's a big green plastic hood over the heatsink & processor, interfering with any add-on fan.
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Bruce B


Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 11080
Location: The Peoples Republic of California

PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec 2012, 22:13    Post subject:  

nubc wrote:
I parked this computer for a while, and now I have a new approach. I located a IDE-to-SATA power converter adapter so that I can install a SATA optical drive (DVD writer).


Troubleshooting questions:

* Did it work before?

* If so what changed?

I'm very sorry that I don't recall details, but I think I learned not to do the IDE - SATA conversion you made. The best DVD writer would be an IDE.

Can you pull it out of the loop and see if it works right?

Question: How do you know it overheats, more details on this is needed by helpers. I mean by design it souldn't overheat. Why is it overheating? Slow fan? Something changed we don't know about?

~

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec 2012, 22:36    Post subject:  

It overheats because Dell is a grand pile of technological idiocy.

Their thermal design is nearly universal amongst anything that bears their name. The cases have all of two fans. One in the power supply, pushing air out, and one that is a combination processor and case fan, pushing more air out. The air can only come in through cracks in the (usually dust-laden) case, and the fan that cools the processor as well as vents the case is appallingly underpowered at best for the task at hand -- as would anything less capable than the sort you find at Wal*Mart with the name "Galaxy" on the side of the box.

nubc, I would recommend, if you can, drilling a hole in the top of the case and adding a fan there. 80mm on a side (an extraordinarily standard size) should be enough. This should be an exhaust fan. Also, if you can cut up the front somehow and add another fan (120mm, intake) that would help even more.

Heck, a bunch of small holes (drill press not required unless you require it to look nice) in the top, and the 120mm intake fan in the front, would be quite sufficient.

Also, I didn't catch your location, but if you're in the States, and you want a few free fans for this thing, PM me and I can do that for you.

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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 01:24    Post subject:  

@ Bruce B
You're on page 2 of the thread. On page 1 I was working with an IDE optical drive, and it didn't work at all. I actually installed a PCI IDE controller card which ultimately produced the same non-booting issue. Curiously, this card almost worked when it was jumpered to be a RAID card, instead of a simple PCI IDE. Incidentally, Linux has a problem with RAID 0 configurations, as I recall. I concluded that the channel controllers on this motherboard are defective. That would probably mean a bad southbridge chip. There is really no reason to not hook up the optical drive to the available SATA terminal on the motherboard. I had hoped to reserve that terminal for an extra storage hard drive, but in light of the problems encountered, this was no longer the plan. The computer is known to be overheating because of the checkpoint stoppage: [Ithr] is the code for overheating of processor. Symptoms: failure to restart after successful initial boot, freezing keyboard, freezing mouse, failure to reboot after running for 15 minutes, successful cold booting after remaining off for 10 to 15 minutes. I am sad to report, the cooling system is inadequate in its current design. It needs a powerful fan running in leafblower mode. I can feel air moving through the fins, but this processor runs really hot. A good sized cooler with its own powerful fan is needed for a 3 GHz Pentium 4 uniprocessor. If I could mount a custom cooler on it I would, but the mounting is different for a socket 775 like this.

@ starhawk
Really, only one fan is needed, namely, a fan directly connected to an adequate heatsink on the processor. The combo fan can become the case fan. It's not a big case, by the way. I found a heatsink, but it's too wide. I guess I could spend an hour hacksawing a half inch off the width....maybe not. BTW, the original passive heatsink with the flimsy thin fins on top has a huge chunk of copper as its base.

Last edited by nubc on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 12:52; edited 3 times in total
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2755
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 01:38    Post subject:  

nubc, can you post a (good) photo of the inside of this computer?

Failing that...

Somewhere on that board is a Dell combined part and serial number. It should be on a sticker with a barcode, and it should read something like this:

Code:
DS/N  MY-08P779-19341-24H-0EXE   : C/O MY


I need the second set of characters from that string, in this case "08P779". Alternately, there is another sticker with a barcode and a character string that should start with "AA", like this:

Code:
AA  A67834-400


I'd need the whole character string from that.

Those identify which board you've got, at which point I can look up pictures and see what we're dealing with in terms of mounting. I may be able to give you a solution... it all depends on what quality of stuff Dell was smoking when they designed your board.

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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 01:56    Post subject:  

motherboard
DS/N CN-0M3918-70821-4A4-00MS

heatsink
CN-0M5050-68282-48P-0056

combo fan mount
CN-0W5457-70821-4B2-D6ET

forum thread: modding 4700's cooling system, with pics (4 pages)
http://www.overclock.net/t/570434/modding-a-dell-dimension-4700-for-better-airflow-56k-get-faster-internet-bro

forum post: fan is "backwards" on 4700
Quote:
1. Dell(tm) Dimension(tm) 4700 Fan Orientation

Recently, several online forums and web logs (blogs) have reported that the system fan on the Dell(tm) Dimension(tm) 4700 was installed incorrectly (backwards) from the factory.

While it is true that the fans are installed "backwards" in the system, it is wrong to say this was done incorrectly or by mistake.

The Dimension 4700 system shipped with an aggressive system configuration that required more direct airflow than previously shipped Dimension systems. For this reason, Dell engineering modified the airflow in the Dimension 4700 to support a cooling solution designed with the fan pulling air into the chassis. The air is pulled in through the back of the chassis and is directed straight to the CPU heat sink and CPU voltage regulator before finally passing by the hard drive and out the front of the chassis.

It is correct to say the airflow is backward compared to other Dimension systems. However, without this difference in thermal design, the Dimension 4700 system would not perform nearly as well


forum thread: overheating issue Dimension 4700
http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/387944/all

Did I mention that I experienced all this overheating with the side panel completely removed? When the computer was freezing and refusing to boot, one side of the case was completely open. Point: this design is inadequate for cooling.

For more pics, just Google > Images for "Dell Dimension 4700 motherboard"

Last edited by nubc on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 14:09; edited 3 times in total
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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 13:10    Post subject:  

If by design the combo fan is pulling outside air into the box and thereby pushing cool air through the heatsink, resulting in warm air accumulating inside the case, I need to somehow attach a fan to the heatsink and reverse the combo fan to exhaust the air out the back. The single removable side of the case has a large perforated area for pulling in outside air. The other possible air intake on the front is significantly blocked by cascaded hard drive mounts/cradles.The green hood might have to be removed, depending on the heatsink fan. There's a tight row of motherboard caps on the side of the heatsink to which I would like to attach the fan. Any suggestions on how to attach a fan to the heatsink, like with plastic zipties or wiring.

Another decision is the power source for the two fans. Currently the combo (case) fan is attached to the one single motherboard power source, so fan speed is regulated by BIOS. Given the circumstances (overheating), this fan should never slow down, should be always full speed (2900 rpm), not half speed (1300 rpm) when the system is idling. Thus it might be preferable to connect the combo (case) fan directly to power supply terminals. This would free up the mobo power terminal for the heatsink fan.

Last edited by nubc on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 14:05; edited 1 time in total
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2755
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 13:50    Post subject:  

nubc, I can see at least 3 different motherboards when I Google the provided string. Please give me the part number!
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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 13:54    Post subject:  

motherboard
DS/N CN-0M3918-70821-4A4-00MS
Is that not the part number?

The first pic in this thread is my mobo, with the green hood up (out of frame)
http://www.overclock.net/t/570434/modding-a-dell-dimension-4700-for-better-airflow-56k-get-faster-internet-bro

Last edited by nubc on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 14:02; edited 1 time in total
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 14:01    Post subject:  

Very sorry, did not see that in your previous post Embarassed

My apologies.

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starhawk

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 14:11    Post subject:  

nubc, do you have or can you get (cheaply) a standard socket 775 heatsink and fan assembly, with the backplate? It *may* be compatible... I'm not sure.

The fan sure won't be, though -- so make sure the fan size you have matches the one on the new heatsink. You can then simply swap them. I'm guessing your current fan is a 120mm, but standard sizes that it could also be are 80mm and 90mm.

BTW, the part number itself on those things is "0$####" where $ is a letter and # is a number Wink The rest is the serial number.

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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 994
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 14:20    Post subject:  

To the best of my knowledge I do not possess a socket 775 cooler or its assembly. There is a shop nearby, but the chances of getting ripped off are high.

Would you care to suggest a few standard socket LGA775 coolers? Especially ones that might fit the existing mobo assembly.

EDIT: Actually, I do have some socket LGA 775 coolers, but not the correct size. The coolers I have are more or less square, or rather, the way the cooler is attached forms a square. The base of Dimension 4700 heatsink is rectangular, so the assembly has four screws forming a rectangle about 50mm wide x 80mm long. Naturally, the long dimension faces the combo fan. I assume the unusual size is not negotiable on this rather small motherboard. It's difficult to search for a cooler this size, because 80mm happens to be a standard fan size.
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nubc


Joined: 23 Jan 2007
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec 2012, 18:56    Post subject:  

I found a junk Dimension 4700 in my pile of stuff, and now I have downgraded the processor from 3.00 GHz to 2.80 GHz. Provided the CPU works (not tested yet), this substitution ought to be good for 20 or 25 degrees cooler operation.

I can reverse the combo (case) fan in its original mount, or just strap any old fan to the case in back. The combo (case) fan has an unusual connector to the motherboard. Basically this power connector looks like an internal analog audio connector, except the terminal has 5 pins instead of 4. There are no other fan power connections on the motherboard.

I have experimented with plastic zipties to secure a small fan to the side of the heatsink. If the fan is to evacuate air out the back, it must be connected to the side of the heatsink which has an obstructing row of caps on the motherboard. This row of caps, two of which are quite tall, severely limits the size of fan that can be attached to that side. A larger fan could be connected to the other side, but the air flow would be reversed, ie. air would be sucked into the case. That possibility doesn't really work because the larger fan would obstruct the green hood, which is responsible for air flow directionality. So now I am thinking about strapping an oversize fan to the top of heatsink, tossing the green hood, reversing the designed air flow direction by exhausting air out the back.

Last edited by nubc on Wed 19 Dec 2012, 23:39; edited 2 times in total
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