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BuildOrBuy News
Boot Problems with Mobile Racks:

By George Walker

Update: 1/5/2005

We are experiencing the same problems with the Gigabyte GA-K8NSPro board.
[See: HTML PC Build Specs - Print in Landscape Mode (11/15/04)]

 

The Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 motherboard has been on the recommended list for BuildOrBuy members for over a year and a number of Computers have been assembled using this motherboard. Recently a problem has developed in at least three cases in that the computers would not boot unless the Hard Drive is installed in the Mobile tray connected to the middle connector on the IDE 1 cable, the mobile rack was removed, or a 36" data cable was used to connect the racks to IDE 1.  

Installing the 36" cable allows the computer to operate as others have in the past with mobile trays installed and Hard Drives of various sizes from various manufactures employed.

The processors are all Athlon XP processors of various speeds. All cases have Hard Drives installed in Mobile racks (Kingwin KF22 and Lian-Li RH-32) connected to IDE 1. One computer had Kingwin and two had Lian-Li mobile racks. The Hard Drives that were involved were an 80 Gig Seagate, 80 Gig Western Digital and Three 120 Gig Western Digital Drives. All Drives were pinned as cable select. All Motherboard Bios' had been upgraded to revision "FI" The Operating System was WinXP for all.

The test that I ran gave the following errors when the Western 120 Gig drive was installed in the Lain-Li tray connected to the end of the 18" cable connected to IDE 1:

 

                " Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

                 <Windowsroot>\system32\ntoskrnl.ese

                Please re-install a copy of the above file."

or

                "Disk Error

                Press any key to start"

and after pressing any key

 

                'Disk Boot Failure insert system disk and press enter"

Installing the 120Gig drive in the tray connected to the middle connector of the cable attached to IDE 1 allowed the drive to boot. By moving the cable connector from IDE 1 on the motherboard to IDE 4 the 120 Gig drive booted as expected. I was able to repeat this during my tests, but moving the connector to IDE 4 did not work on another computer. In all cases the installation of the 36" (80 wire/40 pin) solved the boot problem.

Using the 36 data cable is not a satisfactory or final solution to the problem. Since we have used various Mobile racks with 16 data cables with a variety of hard drives, and various motherboards in the past the problem was not expected. The fix using the 36 cable seems to be at best a temporary solution until the root cause of the problem is solved. The workings of the motherboard are suspect as the use of a longer cable might indicate some type of timing problem.

I wish to thank Tom Tyner for the use of his new Motherboard for testing. George Walker

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