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Thread: problems with Asus M3A78-EM

  1. #1
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    Sep 2008
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    Default problems with Asus M3A78-EM

    Here's the system:

    Antec Mini P-180
    AMD 5400+
    ASUS M3A78-EM
    A-Data 2G DDR2 800
    Samsung SH-S223F
    Zerotherm BTF95
    FSP BlueStorm 400W
    WD 80G IDE

    All items new except PS (3 months old) and HD (6 months old). Just got the ASUS today.

    Got everything connected but wouldn't boot into WinXP. The message, "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM". Booted the WinXP CD and tried repair. Didn't work, so I installed a new XP. Booted into Windows and ran the Asus CD. Left everything at default. Booted into Express Gate, checked it out and then booted into XP. Weird... no more XP. I got the same message about "file is missing or corrupt." The BIOS 'sees' the HD and the CD/DVD.

    Booted from PartedMagic (a Linux live CD utility) but that didn't work. Got the message, "Failed to find the media! Your drive is not supported." Tried the live Knoppix CD and got a similar message, "Can't find KNOPPIX filesystem, sorry. Dropping you to a (very limited) shell." Odd that the WinXP install CD boots fine.

    Three days ago I had a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H installed and experienced none of these problems; it booted to the existing XP on the HD before and after installing the drivers... and booted to a Linux live CD. I returned it because the NB (85c at idle) required too much active cooling for a quiet system.

    Any idea why XP keep getting corrupted, or why won't it boot to a live Linux CD? Are these known issues that have workarounds?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    Well with Nvidia gfx card you could try Ubuntu 8.10 alpha (in forcevesa mode) or you could try 8.04.1 this boots on more systems too.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2008
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    Default

    Appreciate your reply, Kano, but I guess I don't understand the reference to the Nvidia gfx card... this MB has the onboard ATI Radeon HD 3200 and uses the Catalyst driver.

    This morning, on a whim, I tried a two week old CD of Lenny Beta2. It booted and I installed it on a spare partition. Once installed, I again had access to the HD and my other distros, which also work. I also downloaded the newest version of PartedMagic (v3) and it booted just fine, too. I think the Linux issue had to do with older software, and the newer OS's having the ability to read and work with the newer hardware. My thanks to you and the Debian devs for that!

    It still leaves the issue with XP. I found a well know workaround for the 'missing or corrupted file' problem but not why the Asus drivers cause that to happen. Heh, I've got s'more googling to do.

  4. #4
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    What is your Sata set to in the bios? SATA/AHCI/RAID?

  5. #5
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    Sep 2008
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    Main > SATA Configuration

    OnChip SATA Channel - Enabled
    OnChip SATA Type - SATA
    SATA IDE Combined Mode - Enabled

    Deanjo, with an IDE drive I didn't think I'd need the advanced features of AHCI; there's only one HD and its a desktop setup. Also, the above are the default settings. Since reading your question and looking around, I found a comment about XP needing the AHCI setting for it to function correctly. Is that the problem?

    Another setting which may/may not have an impact on this:

    Advanced Settings > PCI/PnP

    Plug and Play O/S - Yes

    Default was No but I changed it to Yes. The No setting lets the BIOS configure all the devices. Yes lets the OS configure the devices not required to boot the OS. I thought Yes would be a better choice for Linux and changed it after experiencing the problem with booting XP. Is Yes the best/appropriate setting for a dual boot?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenios View Post
    Main > SATA Configuration

    OnChip SATA Channel - Enabled
    OnChip SATA Type - SATA
    SATA IDE Combined Mode - Enabled

    Deanjo, with an IDE drive I didn't think I'd need the advanced features of AHCI; there's only one HD and its a desktop setup. Also, the above are the default settings. Since reading your question and looking around, I found a comment about XP needing the AHCI setting for it to function correctly. Is that the problem?

    Another setting which may/may not have an impact on this:

    Advanced Settings > PCI/PnP

    Plug and Play O/S - Yes

    Default was No but I changed it to Yes. The No setting lets the BIOS configure all the devices. Yes lets the OS configure the devices not required to boot the OS. I thought Yes would be a better choice for Linux and changed it after experiencing the problem with booting XP. Is Yes the best/appropriate setting for a dual boot?
    No on a ATI chipset you definiately want to leave the the OnChip SATA Type set to SATA. AHCI on AMD chipsets is buggy as hell. As far as Plug and Play O/S I would recommend setting it back to no. Now since your harddrive sounds like a PATA drive, I would definately recommend checking that the jumpers on it are set for "Master" and not "cable select". There also have been a few BIOS updates for your machine anda couple of them address controller issues so check to make sure your running the latest.

    If all else fails I would also suggest trying to set SATA IDE Combined Mode - Disabled as combined mode has a history of causing drives to vanish in earlier kernel history.

    And there is one more thing, try new cables. It does not take much for a cable to go bad.

    http://support.asus.com/download/dow...model=M3A78-EM

  7. #7
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    Sep 2008
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    Thanks for the info and support link, Deanjo. I reset the PnP back to 'No' as suggested and when I booted to the OS (Kubuntu 8.04), the screen had a 640x480 res. Fiddled with the OS and the buttons on the monitor (reset, etc) but nothing worked. Changed the PnP BIOS setting back to Yes and its working again with the correct resolution (1680x1050). Also tried the 'old' PartedMagic and Knoppix CDs with the Yes setting and they worked, too... guess I was wrong about needing newer software with newer hardware. Maybe the default setting (BIOS handles all devices) expects to see Vista and messes things up for any other OS? Whatever it is with this board, I found a few others who posted about the same XP/OS problem.

    I think its reasonable to expect a new board to work with a simple setup like mine. I don't know how to troubleshoot a MB and have neither the time nor the inclination to do Asus' job for them. I'm returning this board tomorrow.

    Which will leave me open for a new MB. Any thoughts on the following list? Aside from Gigabyte and Asus, they're the other mATXs with the onboard Radeon HD3200 graphics. I'm leaning toward one of the first two.

    I'm inclined to go with Foxconn because they've got the coolest running NB of all these boards. Though they had a Linux issue with their BIOS, there's a posted workaround as well as an upgraded BIOS version. That said, I'm still open to any info/suggestions. Thanks.

    MSI K9A2GM-FIH
    Foxconn A7GM-S
    BIOSTAR TForce TA780G M2+HP
    ASRock A780FullDisplayPort
    JetWay JPA78M4H-LF

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenios View Post
    Which will leave me open for a new MB. Any thoughts on the following list? Aside from Gigabyte and Asus, they're the other mATXs with the onboard Radeon HD3200 graphics. I'm leaning toward one of the first two.

    I'm inclined to go with Foxconn because they've got the coolest running NB of all these boards. Though they had a Linux issue with their BIOS, there's a posted workaround as well as an upgraded BIOS version. That said, I'm still open to any info/suggestions. Thanks.

    MSI K9A2GM-FIH
    Foxconn A7GM-S
    BIOSTAR TForce TA780G M2+HP
    ASRock A780FullDisplayPort
    JetWay JPA78M4H-LF
    Personally, would recommend against a ATI based board, but given from the choice of boards you listed I would have to say go with the foxconn. Biostar and Jetway don't have real great quality control, ASRock is Asus's budget brand, and MSI has a history of really cruddy BIOS's.

  9. #9

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    ok buddy since u have a ide drive, do the following in bios to fix ur issue....
    first upgrade your bios to the latest 1010 version then disable on chip sata in bios... disable it only if u have an ide drive not sata.... since you told you have ide so disable the onchip sata and then reboot your comp install xp and enjoy////

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by godofinternet View Post
    ok buddy since u have a ide drive, do the following in bios to fix ur issue....
    first upgrade your bios to the latest 1010 version then disable on chip sata in bios... disable it only if u have an ide drive not sata.... since you told you have ide so disable the onchip sata and then reboot your comp install xp and enjoy////
    Won't work

    1 ) His optical drive is Sata
    2 ) Even if his optical drive was PATA, running you HD and Optical drive on the same channel is a dumb idea. Performance killer. His motherboard only has 1 IDE channel.

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