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Old hard drive failed slowly and painfully... just put in a new Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA drive & powered up ready to start installing (a brand new copy of) Windows but... machine won't boot beyond the Setup F10 / Bios F2 Screen.

Gateway GT5228 Media Center Computer
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4200+ dual-core processor with AMD64 Technology
Installed: 2048 MB DDR2 533 MHz (PC4200) (two 1024 MB modules)
FIC K2BC51 Motherboard with NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Chipset
1 TB 7200 RPM Serial ATA II hard drive with 64 MB cache - BRAND NEW NO O/S YET

Since the machine was not responding to my "F2" press, I tried the USB keyboard in every one of the 7 available USB ports in 3 different places - no dice.

The only things I've touched were the cover panel to get inside, slid the new HDD into a free spot in the bay & secured w/mounting screws, moved the SATA power and data cables onto the new drive from the old one (didn't even take the old one out, just disconnected); and was very careful, re: static discharge. Can't figure what (else!?) could be wrong, now - but definitely seems like hardware? I did check all connections to the MoBo are snug; re-seated the memory, and even tried clearing CMOS with the jumper, and have now also removed the CMOS battery for 1 hour & put everything back as was - still no dice, no change.

Machine powers up; fan runs; no POST beeps at all, "Gateway" screen comes up saying F10 for Setup or F2 for BIOS - and this is where it gets stuck & won't respond to my attempts to press F2 (or anything else for that matter).

Reason for new HDD was that after the computer got moved around in an office shuffle, the prior hard drive failed steadily and repeatedly over 2 weeks - went flaky and every time I recovered it and was able to run CHKDSK, more and more bad sectors - so I think it got physically damaged. HDD definitely failed but now I am wondering if something else (hardware related) was contributing to the crash.

Really stuck, here... forked out for a nice new HDD and a shiny new copy of Windows 7 to go with it... already kinda expensive... what could be the cause of this? Thx!! :)

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Last Post by gerbil
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Sounds like it is failing on the hardware test part.... below the F10/F2 lines do you see your SATA hdd identified? Reason I ask is because it may be your disk interface that failed.... the Southbridge. Try booting with no hdd connected, see if you can enter BIOS via F2. If yes, then perhaps your mb or PSU have a problem. A tech can do a quick load test on your PSU with a plug in tester module.

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Sounds like it is failing on the hardware test part.... below the F10/F2 lines do you see your SATA hdd identified? Reason I ask is because it may be your disk interface that failed.... the Southbridge. Try booting with no hdd connected, see if you can enter BIOS via F2. If yes, then perhaps your mb or PSU have a problem. A tech can do a quick load test on your PSU with a plug in tester module.

I tried a PS2 keyboard, too, on the off chance that all that CMOS clearing made USB an issue... no change. Soooooo... disconnected power & data cable from both the old & new HDD's per your suggesstion & held down F2 when powering up... aha... click, click, click, click... it's recognizing that I'm holding down a key... and... YESSSSS... enters BIOS !!!!!! Made more progress in 5 mins from your suggestion than I did ALL DAY yesterday mucking with this, so thank you very much, gerbil.. you rock! ;)

However... I may be a little outta my league here now... I really don't know anything about "Southbridge"... would this mean I need an entirely new Motherboard??? What should be my next step?

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All you can do now is borrow another hdd and try it. If BIOS jams on a drive you know is good then the mb is toast. Check your warranty, many are 2 years.
The Southbridge is, in your mb's case, one of two largeish chips that make up the chipset, denoted 410 or 430 in that Nvidia 6100 kit. The Southbridge handles communications, all disks and USB etc, ethernet, audio....
It STILL could be your PSU unable to supply the load [miniscule] demanded by a drive. If you have a meter check the 12V and 5V levels on a spare drive power connector with a hdd connected [it takes a decent tech shop just seconds to test it under load].
By the time POST gets to checking the chipset it has already done a skimpy memory test. You MAY be able to run a check via a bootable flash drive test. May.... A bootable test is Memtest 86+ - gurgle it. You can get flashdrive version fromn the homesite, saves burning a cd. Run it for some time, at least half an hour. A single failure is a total failure of that particular module. But, if the Southbridge failure is complete you won't be able to connect anything successfully. With no hdd can your sys boot with a cd/dvd drive?

Edited by gerbil: n/a

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Hey gerbil - thanks again & very much for taking the time to read about my issue and make suggestions. I am learning a lot that I didn't know before. I posted this to a couple of forums and there is a general consensus among people who know a lot more than me that PSU is always a possible culprit, however slight, and that it doesn't take much to test 'em and see if they're good or not.

Shopping list: multimeter - just have one! :)

I've also learned a lot about motherboards, and Southbridge... and I'm happy to report that my problem is solved in the cheapest possible way... wish I'd thought of this myself, but at someone else's suggestion that SATA cables and ports can go bad, I popped the cable into the other SATA port ont the MoBo and that was the problem. Thanks again!

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:))
Good enough. Just keep an eye out for that failure not being a simple connector issue but rather a failure in the chip itself where it handles that port. Warranty?

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