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Flashing cursor at boot. Appears to be motherboard

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
Hi,

Recently I got a blues screen crash and on reboot I get a flashing cursor in a black screen at top left corner of screen. Prior to that I got a couple of other BSDs which I couldnt attribute to anything. Unfortunately no crash dump file was saved for unknown reasons (dumps are enabled).

It appears to be something to do with the motherboard, as even with nothing attached except a bootable usb flash drive which works on other PCs, I still get the cursor.

Before testing with a usb drive I tried a bunch of stuff:
-tested power supply to hard drive by powering up hard drives using power supply then connecting them via sata adapter to other PCs. The drives can then be read on the other PC.
-changed ram sticks and slots
-tried different sata ports and 6g sata ports on motherboard
-cleared CMOS, reset BIOS, remove and put back battery, switched to other BIOS (the motherboard has option of switching between two onboard bios).
-disabled all onboard devices and tried with BIOS configures for IDE.
-Tried on board j-micron sata port.
-tried with other video card and other video card slots

At boot the motherboard LEDs light up as normal and then go off as they should. They do stall a little longer on the 'boot device' LED though, and 4 very faint beeps coming from the board (not the drives) which dont sound like the normal loud POST beep which indicates no CPU fan is connected (I'm using a fanless heatsink)

Any drives attached are detected in BIOS in the 'sata configuration' section and in the 'boot devices section', but regardless, after POST I get the flashing cursor.

I recently switched to an SSD from mechanical. Perhaps the sata controller got fried by the traffic? Would that also cause boot from USB to fail as well? Thanks for any suggestions. Will try anything.

Rampage 3 Extreme Motherboard
Intel 980 Extreme CPU
Various drives tried
EVGA 750 p2 power supply.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,515
939
126
I'm thinking he hasn't yet tested the CPU in another similar motherboard? But it's also possible for the storage subsystem to fail and it wouldn't post anything -- as he describes.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
4,683
659
126
Can you get into the BIOS? Can you run memtest?(make sure it is the legacy version)
 

stAbb

Member
Apr 12, 2018
31
24
41
Presuming you can get into the UEFI, did you check if your secure boot settings are set correctly?

With kind regards,
stAbb
 

XavierMace

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2013
4,307
444
126
Presuming you can get into the UEFI, did you check if your secure boot settings are set correctly?

With kind regards,
stAbb
The Rampage 3 Extreme isn't a UEFI board and doesn't have any secure boot settings.
 

stAbb

Member
Apr 12, 2018
31
24
41
Great to hear, one less thing to worry about.
I presume you tested this with more then one boot-able USB device?
You can see the USB and pick it out in the boot menu, so the USB connector itself is probably fine.

Still, Murphy can be a bitch sometimes.
Be sure to check if your USB device doesn't show up in a HDD list, even when it sees removable media, that doesn't mean it doesn't want to boot from it as a HDD.
I usually boot from the USB directly by using the boot menu so I don't have to worry about these issues.

From what I gather, you can get into the BIOS and presuming you installed the OS with default CMOS settings, resetting the BIOS or swapping between the two BIOS chips is a good test.

Every board has it's own quirks though.
I see that yours has the wonderful option of swapping between IDE or ACHI mode twice.

Main menu:
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/479522/Asus-Rampage-Iii-Extreme.html?page=106#manual
Onboard Devices Configuration:
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/479522/Asus-Rampage-Iii-Extreme.html?page=112#manual
It's something that I or a coworker could easily miss at first glance.

As far as I know, that controller only provides a PATA interface and a couple of SATA ones. So even if it is broken it shouldn't mess with the USB.

I don't think I'll be able to be more help then this, as I haven't spend much time with higher end boards from this era.

With kinds regards,
stAbb
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
To confirm, yes I can can get into BIOS. Can't run memtest as the BIOS doesn't have memtest, and I can't boot any device (tried working ssd,working hdd, working pen drive with windows installer). And to confirm, no I havent tried CPU in another motherboard.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
4,683
659
126
Can it boot from a SATA/IDE DVD drive? Or still no go?
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
If anyone else agrees with my suspicion this is a southbridge/sata controller hardware issue please confirm and I will look at sending it to an Asus repair centre
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
4,683
659
126
Have you tried a various other USB boot options to make sure it cannot boot any USB device? IE memtest86+, linux, ultimate boot CD on USB etc? South bridge may be separate from the USB stuff, though I am not certain. Still, could very well be a mobo issue.
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
Ok have just tried with a working bootable USB with ultimate boot cd on it. I have now tried 2 working bootable USB drives ,a working mechanical drive with windows on it, and a working SSD with windows on it. All are recognised in the boot device list in BIOS and after pressing f8, all go to the flashing cursor
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
22,170
2,745
136
Ok have just tried with a working bootable USB with ultimate boot cd on it. I have now tried 2 working bootable USB drives ,a working mechanical drive with windows on it, and a working SSD with windows on it. All are recognised in the boot device list in BIOS and after pressing f8, all go to the flashing cursor
Buy a PCI-e SATA controller card. If that solves the problem, it will be significantly cheaper than what Asus will likely charge.
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
Buy a PCI-e SATA controller card. If that solves the problem, it will be significantly cheaper than what Asus will likely charge.
Hadn't thought of trying that. If it works, assuming one SSD as operating drive and one or two mechanicals as backups, would it likely have any performance disadvantages over getting the board fixed (if possible)?
 
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Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
Just tried with a drive connected via a brand new pci-e card. Drive is detected and selected for boot, then the same flashing cursor.

Have also just tried with a different power supply.
 
Last edited:

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
22,170
2,745
136
Try booting from the win10 USB stick, and see if it will find the ssd for install. If you get that far, nuke the ssd and start with fresh 1803 on it. If you cannot get that far, board must be toast.
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
Can we rule out CPU? If there's any chance it could be a CPU problem I could get another one and try. Would be a bit of time before I could get one though.

A couple of the pins on the socket are a little bent. I didnt mention because once you get the CPU in right and tighten up the heaatsink it works fine, and has been like that for a couple of years.
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
I have confirmed that there are three separate chips controlling the SATA ports on this board.

i) Intel ICH10R Southbridge: - 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports

ii) Micron 363 controller: - 1 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s port - 1 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)

iii) Marvell PCIe SATA 6Gb/s controller: - 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports.

Im getting the same result using the ports for all of these controllers. Does this mean I can rule out the southbridge with 100% certainty, or is there a part of the southbridge which likely controls part of the operations of all these three controllers?
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
The PC is now working. For posterity and any others who may have these symptoms, I put another CPU which I bought cheap into the PC and it worked and since then no problems so far. So I'm assuming something went bad with the CPU and this was the cause of all the above.

Would nevertheless be interested to hear any speculations on what fault with a CPU could cause such a strange set of symptoms , where it POSTs OK and passes the MB CPU test, and gets into BIOS, but cant find any bootable devices.
 
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LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
28,523
1,569
126
Well, the 980X is pretty old now.

If you put it back in do the problems return? :)
 

Califauna

Junior Member
May 17, 2018
20
0
11
Yes , I pt 980x back in to check and got the same result. NOw back with Xeon I bought for testing and works fine.
 

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