usb keychain causes stoperror: problem with case or mobo?

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I want your problem about whether whether I should replace my mobo or
just transfer everything into  a new case.

I've been having some problems with my 3 year old desktop pc.

I backed up my most important data (though not all my data) a week ago
to a paid network backup service (Mozy).

it's a very odd problem. I've had stoperror/bluescreens happen
unexpectedly on a semi-periodic basis, with more often in the last few

A month ago I had to change the CMOS battery, which was odd indeed,
an easy problem to fix.

i initially thought  this week's problem was a video card problem, but
in the last three days I noticed I could replicate it by connecting a
USB keychain on the front usb port on the desktop. i would connect the
usb keychain, and WHAM! blue screen!

I got some errors related to hardware devices, and recently a "PFN
corruption error" (which is supposed to be related to faulty RAM).

I had already downloaded the Microsoft RAM checker and was about to
it out, when the system failed again.

This time it failed in a very strange and interesting way. Not only
the system not boot or post, there was no signal going to the monitor.

Then, I heard something very strange. I heard flickering/staticky
from the area near the hard drives...that nearly gave me a heart
But I unplugged all three hard drives, and tried again. The
flickering/staticky noise was still there!

That led me to believe that the hard drives were not part of the
at all. Staring further, I saw that the flickering came from a part of
the motherboard connected to the case light (yes, my case had one),
front fan and my front usb ports.  (it's not anywhere near the DVD
drives, CPU or power supply).

So the problem is probably just with the motherboard (that's what I'm
betting) or just with the case.

So now I need to figure what needs to be replaced (and what my budget

If it's a motherboard problem, I would probably want to buy a:
motherboard, cpu, case, RAM (at least 3 gigs), and possibly a new
videocard and monitor.

I have a gigantic/noisy/energy sucking CRT 21 inch monitor which I'd
like an opportunity to toss out and replace with an LCD (i have a agp
port video card which I'd have to replace though).

I might consider buying a full system from HP or Dell; they have
prices on monitors and financing (a big consideration), plus it would
get me  Vista.

It would be nice to keep this system going a little longer (and if I
bought a new motherboard, i would probably have to buy a brand new cpu
and RAM.

Do you agree that the motherboard should be replaced? Is there any
reason for my faint hope it's just a problem with the case? How could
I know that?

Robert Nagle


AMD Athlon 64 3500+        CPU-ADA3500AWBOX            1   286.00
2.2GHz Microprocessor,
Socket 939, L2 512K,
ADA3500AWBOX. Retail Box
Asus A8V Deluxe Socket     MB-A8V-Deluxe               1   132.00
939 ATX Motherboard,
AGP8x, 1394 & USB2.0, 8ch
Audio & GB LAN, S /
OCZ 1GB (512MB X 2)        DIM-OCZ4001024PDC-K         1   183.99
PC3200 400MHz Premier
Dual Channel
Xion Mid-Tower ATX Case    CS-Xion                     1    69.99
*Choose Color = Blue
w/ Side Window, LED
Lights & 450W PS, Color:
Blue, Silver, Black
Zalman CPU Cooler,         COOL-CNPS7700-CU            1    42.99
CNPS7700-Cu, Pure Copper,
Support Socket Intel
Pentium4 775/ 478, AMD
754/ 939/ 940. Retail box
Asus V9520Magic/T/128      VD-V9520Magic-T128          1    65.99
Video Card, GeForce
FX5200, 128MB DDR, AGP8X,
TV-Out, Retail box.
Western Digital Caviar SE  HD-WD1600JD                 2   102.00
Serial ATA 160GB Hard
Drives (WD1600JD), 8MB,
7,200RPM, OEM
UPS Tracking Number:
Plextor SATA PX-712SA DVD  DVR-PX-712SA                1   114.99
Dual Burner, 8MB Buffers,

Re: usb keychain causes stoperror: problem with case or mobo?

idiotprogrammer wrote:
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When I look at a picture of the motherboard, I don't see an obvious
source of noise in the lower right hand corner of the picture. You
might want to try a few Google searches on A8V Deluxe, because there
are the odd reports of failures.

If there was a rail to rail short inside the motherboard, that might
make the motherboard get hot, but in the past, I never noticed any
noise because of stuff like that.

Another place you can look, to match symptoms, would be here:

In terms of noise makers, the Vcore circuit, and the toroidal coils,
can sometimes make a noise. You might notice that the most, when
running memtest or Prime95.

A capacitor can make a noise, and how easy that is to do,
depends on the dielectric.

I don't see a reason to abandon all your stuff, that is, if a
motherboard can be found. I know brand new ones with AGP slots
will be scarce, so perhaps this will cost you a PCI Express
video card as a replacement. So a $50 motherboard and a $60
video card.

Asus A8V-VM SE

Asus A8V-XE

This third one was selling quite well on Newegg, until they sold
out. The price on this one is kinda high. The "Bulk" for this
one, means it is devoid of a lot of the accessories that come
in the regular box, and it is still $219. So this might not be
such a good deal, and is meant to show the price extremes for
remaining S939.

I think, considering what it would cost to replace the whole thing,
one of the $50 motherboards would be a good experiment. Just to see
if the symptoms disappear or not. For any arbitraty motherboard,
you should be able to do a repair install, to fix things up. Since
your current motherboard is still working, I might uninstall the
video card driver, before shutting down Windows for the last time,
then swapping motherboard and put in the new PCI Express video card.

(Repair install instructions - key here is selecting the correct option...)

Another thing I might try (because I already have the CDs) is
a copy of Knoppix or Ubuntu Live CDs. You download a 700MB ISO
file and burn a CD with it. Those two distros will boot without
a hard drive being present. I like the text messages on the screen,
while Knoppix is booting ( You can watch as things like
USB ports are probed and so on. The "dmesg" command will show a
record of what was on the screen.

For a video card, I might pick this to replace your previous one.
It is PCI Express x16, to fit the new motherboard, and seems to
have decent reviews.

ASUS EN7300GT SILENT/HTD/256M GeForce 7300GT 256MB 128-bit  $59


Re: usb keychain causes stoperror: problem with case or mobo?

first, Paul, thanks for your excellent advice.

this was really a great idea to replace the motherboard with a 939
instead of trying to build a new system....but I turned out not to use

I bought a microaTx motherboard for slot 939 for $55, only to discover
that it didn't have enough SATA connections or PCI slots for me. With
2 SATA connections, I could have used a PCI SATA card, but
unfortunately I didn't have that option.

Now, I see I made another mistake. I bought a PCI express graphics
card ( PowerColor HD 2600XT 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E Video Card, DirectX 10,
CrossFire & HDCP Ready, HDMI, HDTV for $139) without realizing that to
have crossfire you needed to have  a slave card and an upgraded power
supply. Unfortunately, my local company charges a 30% restocking fee,
so I'm not sure whether to buy another ATI 2600XT card (maybe the
cheapest of that chipset) or to absorb the 30% restocking fee and buy
a less interesting videocard instead. Crossfire might be nice, but who
knows if the video drivers actually work as planned?

I'll probably have AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 6000+ Socket AM2 CPU and
probably ASUS AMD Socket AM2 Motherboard M2N-E, nForce 570 Chipset,
Supports Dual DDR2 800, PCI-E, SATA RAID, GB LAN  with 4 gigs of RAM.
so pretty current hardware.

I'm an occasional videogame dude, but not seriously into it. Thoughts/

Also, I'm going to be on Windows XP.

Robert Nagle
Houston Texas /

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Re: usb keychain causes stoperror: problem with case or mobo?

(sorry to clarify) I would preferred the older 939 mobo, but I needed
3 SATA connections, and it only had 2. The only way i could get the
third one was through a PCI card, which I needed for my creative
audigy sound card.

i'm trying to buy locally, so my choices are limited somewhat.

Robert Nagle
Houston Texas /

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Re: usb keychain causes stoperror: problem with case or mobo?

idiotprogrammer wrote:
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Does the microATX motherboard have a PCI Express x1 slot ?
The following card could have a Jmicron chip on it (a guess based on
the presence of a PATA connector plus two SATA connectors). The
card features jumpers for selecting either the internal or
external connectors, so you can disable the external connectors
and use the two internal connectors instead.

I'm surprised there aren't more cards around (and I'd really rather
have some more choices than just the one card), with PCI Express to
SATA for low end applications. There is this chip for example, and
you'd think they could make cards with something like this. The
SIL3112, another Silicon Image product, was very popular when it
came out.

(SIL3132 PCI Express x1 to dual SATA)

As for the video card, I think I'd return it, and get whatever
you think is the right solution. Going from the V9520 to a
2600XT should be a large step. The reason I suggested the 7300GT is
because I thought it might have about the same performance
as your old card. If your objective is to build a gaming system,
maybe you should sit back for a few moments, and think it through,
as to how much you want to spend, and what games you plan
to play. You can get some benchmarks for video cards, here.

I personally would never buy two video cards, for either Crossfire
or SLI. There is application compatibility to consider (the use
of "profiles" prepared for each game). There is also the issue
of driver quality (Vista for example). And there is the issue
of what benefit do you get - does it always double the performance,
or does it occasionally fall down on the job. I'd much rather
buy a card I know I'll be happy with, than buy half a card and
then be forced to buy a second one, just to barely keep up.

There are web sites, like Xbitlabs, that have measurements for
video card power consumption, and you can get some idea how
much power they'll draw, by using the Xbitlabs search engine.
I don't see a measurement there for the 2600 XT though. They do
have some interesting articles, though:

"DirectX 10 Games vs. Contemporary Graphics Accelerators"

This isn't DX-10, but has a pretty good kick.


A 7900GS draws 45 watts.


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