Double check my troubleshooting / help me build a new system

Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
I had a horrible month of where everytime I finished troubleshooting and fixing one issue, another would popup next to immediately. Unfortunately, this last item has brought me to the point where I cannot figure out how to fix it, and am halfway resigned to just replacing the whole unit and getting a new system.

Issue: System was idling in windows, I swap out the external DSL modem/wifi-router that it was connected to. I attempt to bring up IE to verify connectivity as well as bring up control panel to double check what the new IP address and gateway are to begin configuring the new router. System completely locks up, on reboot, it takes an extremely long time to complete the BIOS self check and begin to load windows, where I recieve an error about the HDD / OS being bad. I figure, no sweat, and pull out my OS disk and prepare to run the recovery console to fix whatever OS files have gone bad, or even format and reinstall if necessary. At this point, I cannot even get the system to finish loading into the recovery console on the OS disk. It goes through the DOS like loading files progress bar, then goes through a secondary loading windows screen progress bar, then black screen. After leaving it to run for a couple of hours, I did eventually get a cursor on a flat black screen, but nothing beyond that.

Troubleshooting steps: Since I cannot get the system to boot to either Windows or the Windows Disk, I figure the problem must be with the motherboard or the memory. So, I pull out half the memory and the problem persists, I pull out the other half and put the first half back in, same problem. I even tried different combinations of which memory slots on the motherboard I'm using, but same problem persists. I cannot get the system to boot to the harddrive or the OS disk.

Here are the 2 stores in my area that I'm thinking of building/buying a new system from:
http://www.memoryexpress.com/
http://www.b-com.ca/offers.php?mode=offer&offerid=30

For the most part, I know what I want to build, but am looking for tips on what processor / motherboard combo to go with. My end goal is something that can run MechWarrior:Online smoothly, which means ideally quad core and 8GB of RAM++.

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  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    I'd recommend doing some runs of MemTest86, just to be sure it's not a memory issue.

    Otherwise the "standard" recommendation for a quad-core system would be a solid Z77 motherboard (ASRock Extreme4 or Gigabyte UD3H are good choices) along with a 3570K. If you aren't interested in overclocking, go with one of the non-K quad cores from Sandy/Ivy Bridge and a good H77 motherboard.

  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    I'd recommend doing some runs of MemTest86, just to be sure it's not a memory issue.

    Otherwise the "standard" recommendation for a quad-core system would be a solid Z77 motherboard (ASRock Extreme4 or Gigabyte UD3H are good choices) along with a 3570K. If you aren't interested in overclocking, go with one of the non-K quad cores from Sandy/Ivy Bridge and a good H77 motherboard.

    I'm fairly certain its not memory, unless multiple sticks went bad simultaneously.

    Thanks for the tip on the motherboard. :)

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  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    So I did some more trouble shooting, including running a memory test. The memory test with all 4 memory sticks went through 3 iterations without finding any problems.

    However, I found that if I unplug all of my HDD then the system is able to boot into the Windows disk. I've tried plugging different HDDs in one at a time, but cannot get the system to boot to the DVD when I have any of the HDD SATA connections plugged in.

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  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    So I did some more trouble shooting, including running a memory test. The memory test with all 4 memory sticks went through 3 iterations without finding any problems.

    However, I found that if I unplug all of my HDD then the system is able to boot into the Windows disk. I've tried plugging different HDDs in one at a time, but cannot get the system to boot to the DVD when I have any of the HDD SATA connections plugged in.

    Make sure your DVD drive is set to be the first boot device, some boards throw a bit of a fit if they're set to boot from HDDs first and none of them are bootable.

  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    So I did some more trouble shooting, including running a memory test. The memory test with all 4 memory sticks went through 3 iterations without finding any problems.

    However, I found that if I unplug all of my HDD then the system is able to boot into the Windows disk. I've tried plugging different HDDs in one at a time, but cannot get the system to boot to the DVD when I have any of the HDD SATA connections plugged in.

    Make sure your DVD drive is set to be the first boot device, some boards throw a bit of a fit if they're set to boot from HDDs first and none of them are bootable.

    Yep, pretty sure I set the DVD to be the first item in the boot list, but still seem to run into problems. Managed to get a Safe Mode version of the Windows DVD to load for installing windows, but it keeps locking up at random times, like half way through entering the cd-key it will lock up for 5-10 seconds. Then the system doesnt want to detect any of the HDDs when I get to the where to install windows section.

    I did manage to get it to detect one of my old HDDs from another PC that was made in 2005 and had XP installed, but it too locked up when it got to Windows XP and found that it was in a new system config. I tried to install a new OS overtop of the old XP installation, but that failed as well somewhere after it got to the uncompressing files.

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  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    I got all the parts for a new PC as well as a new copy of Windows (My old one was Vista32, now I have Win7Pro).

    I'll test some of these new HDDs in there and see if I have better luck.

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