Issues from improper PCI seating?

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Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby LakaWaka » Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:45 am

I have had my latest computer built for the last 7+ months, and it has been running very well, except for a few random issues.

1. Sometimes on a webpage the page will go blank (white) and then if I scroll it will kind of reappear but in a "Static" sort of way, and will usually be fixed by refreshing the page.

2. When changing from one computer to another and switching the HDMI and DP input, I sometimes cannot get a display from the DP which is connected to this computer. I will have to try a couple of times for it to get recognized.

3. My soundcard sometimes stops working and all I get is a "BEEEEEEP" which I've heard is Windows way of saying that the default sound selection is missing or corrupt. I also have had issues with the computer freezing with a beep, as well as sound sounding distorted, and sometimes getting this random static that's usually loud and hurts.

So a few minutes ago I started getting this distorted sound, and switched to my monitor's sound to make sure it was my sound card, and it was. I tried to touch my sound card a little and I got the random static loud noise and it was really loud :(. Then my computer froze. I did my usual reset and tried touching the back again and noticed I got the BEEEP noise when I tried to touch the plugs connected to the card. After resetting and getting the beep again (usually happens on it's own), I tried to fidget with the soundcard/plugs again, and I got a louder beep and the computer froze.

This makes me think that these issues are related to not being properly seated into the mobo.

One thing I want to note is that I did some modifications to this case, and I had bent the case by accident, so I'm not sure if I'm fully aligned, and noticed this from the start. I've seen pictures of other people having similar looking graphics cards in the PCIe slots, so I thought it might be more normal, but now I'm thinking not. I have noticed that when putting in the sound card into it's slot (which I did the other day to reseat it), that it doesn't seem to seat properly, and to screw it in I have to bend it up a little. I notice it also bends out of slot, so I'm not really sure what the proper alignment is.

One thing about the sound card is that it's using 3rd party drivers and it's made for Win XP, so I thought maybe I was having some issues with drivers, but I think it's more PCI(e) slot related.

I also notice that it looks as if my "CPU Heatsink" is bent a little bit compared to the GPU, but I'm wondering if it's more the GPU that's just positioned weird, possibly also with some GPU Sag.

So I'm curious if this sounds like it could be affecting both my sound card and graphics? I am curious if it's possible to do some serious damage to any of my cards? It seems that everything fixes itself, but not sure if at some point something bad could happen...

I'm thinking about getting a new case, and possibly using this old case for another computer I was needing a case for that doesn't have any PCI(e) slots used up, and get a nice new case for my current machine.

Any thoughts are always appreciated, I'm interested in hearing what people think.

I really loved this case, spent time modding it, so hopefully it's still usable. Sadly the parts are a little dusty (not terribly dusty), so wish I maybe had a new case before, but whatever...

Thoughts on what I should do? I'm thinking about just getting a nice case and beign done with it, but I wanted to make sure what's going on is actually what I think it is.

From the moving of the Sound Card/touching the back of it, it makes it seem like it's a slot issue.
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:55 am

Device cards have to be fully inserted into their slots, to avoid contact shorts. The AGP style was notorious for this problem, having two rows of contacts. The lock tab on the inner edge resolved the issue.
If a device card does not properly seat and the mount plate fit properly on the back of the case, then possibly the mount plate can be "adjusted" to keep the card fully inserted. But that is just a work-around, not a true fix.
The contacts in sound card jacks are minimal, and any finger contact on them can leave a residue that causes resistance to signal flow. Wiping the plug with a slightly damp bit of tissue with alcohol is best to remove that residue. Not much can be done for the contacts in the jack, unless you have a pipe cleaner and do the similar cleaning. But a gentle push-pull ONLY, or risk distorting the contacts!
If PC speakers sound distorted, ensure they area compatible to digital sound. Analog speakers cannot reproduce digital signals.

Should not be a problem with older audio cards, newer drivers should be compatible to both the OS and the card. But ensure that any on-board sound features (including MIDI) are disabled if an add-in card is used. If there is a control line for a modem and it is not used, then set as "NA" or "disabled".

Odd video problems could be due to a card not properly seated in its slot, or driver set that is not fully compatible.. or a conflict of device assignments.
The Administrative Tools/Computer Management has a page where you can view all device assignments by type and IRQ/DMA for possible conflicts or driver issues.
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby LakaWaka » Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:53 pm

IF there are shorts that can cause damage then, correct? The sound card is a PCI card, with no lock tab like on the PCIe cards.
I think I was confusing when I mentioned the jacks. I was trying to see if they maybe weren't pushed in all the way, and I think I moved the sound card a little out of socket, so it beeped and the computer froze. The jacks themselves aren't hte problem, but that I touched the soundcard and it moved.
I figured that the drivers might be the issue, so I reinstalled it. The same issue with the long beep or computer freeze happens, but I used to be able to get sound back on the first reset, but now I have to reset muliple times or else it wont have sound the first time, and might freeze again (which appened the first installation).

I should disable all on-board sound? Is there a reason why? What do you mean about a control line for a modem?

Idk if the graphics card is also not seated properly, but it's very rare in both cases, but it seems that the sound card is definuitely due to not seating properly.

I'll check out the AT/CM It will let me know about driver issues and such?


So would you recommend me getting a new case? The case seems fine, I bent it back to what it seemed to be, but there might be a little bit of issues.

Plus, there has always been trouble getting the side panel on "properly," but I feel a little bit moreso now. I don't think the case was a problem in the past though... I really love this case, but if it's going to cause me to lose another computer, I might have to retire, or at least use it for a less important machine, that doesn't ahve as many PCI(e) slots taken up.


So really it comes down to if I could damage something, and if I should get another case, or try to fix this one. FWIW I noticed the I/O section also doesn't fit as good as I want it to. The shield lining up was a PITA. I tried to change positioning on the mobo, but I still have issues. Thanks.
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby Karlsweldt » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:07 am

The device card slots have the power contacts, maybe 10 at most, nearest the mount plate or back plate. Only data contacts fill out the rest of the slot. Even with severe misalignment, the power contacts likely would not short. But when data contacts short, the system cannot process or route data.. and freezes.

There is a slight difference in mounting points between the older AT/XT and ATX style motherboards. And ITX motherboards. The standard for Eastern (European) and Western (American) designs can be off a bit, due to the metric/ISA measurement differences. A true inch equals 2.54005 cm, but 'rounding' (2.54 cm)can distort measurements!

If an add-in device duplicates an on-board device, then the on-board device should be totally disabled to avoid conflicts. Yes, you can run dual sound, video or LAN features, but each needs its unique IRQ/DMA assignment.
If there is a control line about a modem setting in the BIOS, and no modem is used, then best to disable its assignments with the "NA" setting. This can free IRQ/DMA assignments for other features. On-board sound systems are as good as add-in sound cards, but maybe don't have the extra frills and features of top brands. That "AC '97" moniker is only as a class rating, for the ISA standards.. not a brand name!

Very difficult to distort a PC case, but is possible. And more difficult to get it back in exact alignment!
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby LakaWaka » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:58 pm

Thanks for the information, so it seems that I'll be safe from the card being damaged, but what about the constant freezes/shutdowns/restarts?


Hmm... This case was created in 2004, and was used with my LGA 775 Motherboard. Interesting info on the measurements though.


I've heard that I should disable the onboard, so I should do that in the BIOS? I don't have any of the drivers installed either. So if you run dual video then there is a specific assignment that's needed? I've had dual monitors in the past and just set it up through Nvidia Control panel, but is more needed to be done? I'm not sure what you mean about "Control line" or what the modem is? I'm assuming we aren't talking about the modem used for internet?

I've heard many times that onboard can be "as good" but others have asked what that means overall in terms of sound. I like my card due to an external volume control and such, plus why not, since I have it hanging around and it's a great card. Not sure what "AC 97" is :).

This case I guess isn't the best of materials. When I was modding it I was trying to rip out a part of it, and bent it while stepping on it :P. It seemed fine.. But by looking at it, it seems to be pushing out the back a littke, and you can see that by the alignment of the PCI screws... Shame... Will fix it, and keep the case as a backup/test case, but not for my main rig!!!


Sorry to sound confused, I'm not really sure what you were saying above for a few things with "modem" and "control line" or the settings, but I'll try to find what I need to disable my onboard sound. I would assume no drivers would mean no conflicts, but maybe not?

Thanks a lot :).
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby LakaWaka » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:16 pm

Sorry for the double post (still cannot edit), but I'm curious about your comment above saying that these air blowers have to be far from the components or else it could damage them or break them off?

There are many attachments for the Datavac, and some of them are for very small areas to blow out dust that would be hard to get to. On my sound card, there are areas I cannot clean off with wiping my fingers (just now thinking is that bad due to oils)? I'm curious if there is an issue with these attachments and that it could hurt the electronic equipment? https://www.amazon.com/DataVac%C2%AE-El ... ds=datavac



I've been looking at a Caselabs case to replace my current case, as they seem nice. Any comments on them, besides them being expensive? I feel that for a work computer this needs a good case as well, plus I really like the horizonal design. They don't come with dust filters, but I see they recommend http://www.demcifilter.com/c58/CASELABS.aspx Have you ever heard of demci filters? I also would like to dust off all of my equipment in the best way possible, before transferring. There is some dust ,but not a ton, surprisingly, but still want to dust it off as best as possible. It kind of upsets me that I let it get as bad as it is (not terribly), but I don't think I have done anything to damage the parts, I just need to clean them off.


Decisions decisions...
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby Karlsweldt » Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:41 pm

If the data bus contacts are shorted, very little damage is done.. except to storage files, perhaps, when the system freezes. All are at the same voltage potential, almost no current.
If the power bus contacts are shorted, could be the end of the motherboard. And possible fire.
That bit about a 'control line' in the BIOS means there is a feature listing for a device or service, with a choice of how it is set.. active, disabled, or change of status. Just as your date and time can be set.
If an on-board feature is left active, and a duplicate feature is added via a card slot, then the IR/DMA assignment may find two devices on the same assignment with different chipsets. Conflicts can arise. One or both devices may fail to work properly.
The older dial-up modem is seldom used in a PC today, except for a dedicated FAX service. Typical assignment was IRQ 3. If not used, that assignment can be set to "NA" or "not active". That IRQ is then free for another feature.
On-board sound can have up to a 7.1 channel feature, with equalizer, special effects and so on. The program driver for it should give all the 'bells and whistles', similar to a high-end audio card.

Small fans don't spin beyond about 1500 RPM max. If a strong stream of air were to cause them to spin over 5,000 RPM, the could shatter and send shards into someone's face! Keeping them from spinning is a safe idea. Those 'canned air' cleaners can send an air stream at over 50 mph from the small nozzle. Bad idea to use a high-pressure air hose to clean a PC setup. May be some oil vapor in the air, and that will leave a film to attract dust. An oil-less compressor is acceptable, but only at low pressure (less than 10 psi).
Some components may be pushed aside from proper alignment with high air pressure, and cause poor stability with data or RF signals. Some components are by design affixed a certain way, to avoid cross-field interference. Ever wonder why tube-type amplifiers with the output transformers close together are set at a 90° angle to each other, but same plane if a good distance apart?

Body oils can cause unwanted contact resistance. Best is a slightly damp clean cloth with alcohol to wipe them. For the slot, use the cloth on a thin credit card, just dip in and out a few times. NO SLIDING!

A "Datavac" is a fairly safe means to dust out electronics gear, without damage. Uses low-pressure air that is filtered to remove harmful particles and static possibilities. Better details in this link..
https://www.metrovacworld.com/DataVac_E ... 0/overview

Not sure why you now can't auto-post or do editing. Will have to contact an Administrator about it.
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby LakaWaka » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:54 am

Thanks for the info. That makes me feel better, but yeah it's annoying it keeps restarting.

I did read that someone didn't have their PSU connected fully to their GPU and fried it......
Thanks for the information on the control line and Modem. I was confused at first, but I guess the modem takes up an assignment slot? I would assume that computers were smart enough these days to automatically change these things if not in use, but maybe not? So essentially I'm making sure the assigned values are not duplicate? I actually believe I saw a post about setting up an NAS system that spoke about assignments like that and said if anything is using the same number, that there will be an issue.
Yeah, it seems onboard is pretty good these days, though I heard the last REaltek version is better than the last, it's hard to know what's what. I've spoken to Audio lovers who ask "What exactly is the same between the 2," since whenever someone says "they are the same' they want to know how...? So it's hard to know what's what, but I do like my card, even though I could have not used it, and gotten a better mobo.. However I really liked this card and console, and I wanted to use it again. FWIW, the case in this topic is the control console for the soundcard :). I have 2 control panels lol. Speaking of that, I also received another sound card when I bought this, but the user said that when he would put it in the slot it wouldn't boot the computer. Any idea what could be the cause? I would like to test this other card, but scared it could damage my mobo. Any thoughts on that? I tried looking over the leads, but it's hard to see. I would assume I would need to take this to a professional to see what they think about the electronics of it? Not sure you would have an idea.

I have 40mm fans from Noctua that go max 4500RPM, but were maxxing 4700 in my BIOS.. LOL. I heard that all fans should be taped down to make sure they don't break, or ruin the bearings. That's insane in those canned air. High pressure air hose? Like ones used to clean a house roof?
You then say the "Datavac" is fairly safe (what makes it unsafe)? So the pressure is very low, and even the attachments directly blowing air onto PCBs and such will be okay?
So if components are moved a little there could be issues in the circuit itself? Hmm intersting....

Damn, maybe I shouldn't have tried touching the contacts, but they look fine TBH. I rather not use alcohol and wipe (I hear that alcohols can leave films as well?) I think the slot would be okay too.
I think my issue is just that I need a new case and get everything flat.
I can edit if I get a chance to edit, but usually you accept my replies, then reply :). Last night I actually had the chance to edit my double posting, but nothing was needed to be edited :P. I'm asssuming 25 posts is the limit, and I'll be reaching that with this next post so wish me luck :).

Thanks so much for your help, I greatly appreciate everything.

So to sum it up. I can use the datavac ESD version and it shouldn't hurt parts. I could clean my stuff if I wanted to (don't think I really have to), and I should make sure to not hurt components or anything else. Also make sure my IRQ settings are correct... :)?
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:44 am

The BIOS is the "manifest" where devices are identified and set for basic configuration in the system. Then when the OS comes into control, features and device assignments are finalized. This is the "plug and play (pray?)" process. Very few device cards have jumpers to manually set. Back before Windows, almost all device cards had myriad jumpers to set, to avoid conflicts. So too the high number of jumper settings for different CPU types, cache and main memory. Then the CPU gained a lot of extra contacts, which auto-set voltage, speed and multiplier needs.

If that other sound card that does not allow a motherboard to boot, it could be damaged. Look over all the components and traces for odd signs. May be a capacitor that is bad (bulging top, leaking).
The primary purpose of larger capacitors is to smooth DC voltages, and ensure it is pure.. no 'ripples'. But smaller capacitors pass signal pulses between circuits, without allowing different circuit voltages to cross. If one is bad, then that acts like a short to the main data bus.

A high-pressure air line to clean a roof? Impractical, unless wanting to dry a washed area for repair. Forbidden for use on dusting out a PC cabinet or other electronic gear! Better to use a leaf blower or similar on a roof job.
For cleaning any type of fan, best not to allow it to spin above maximum speed. Small fans can be kept still with a toothpick or cotton swab.

Rubbing alcohol may contain some moisturizing oils. Pure antiseptic alcohol is preferred for contact cleaning.. no residue left behind. You could use 100 proof Vodka or similar.

As to IRQ/DMA settings, there are 16 base assignments. Most can have up to three DMA assignments. Two are 'cascading' or 'associating' IRQ assignments, allowing extended IRQ/DMA listings beyond 30, in some setups. Yes, the "0" IRQ assignment is a valid state!

Typical IRQ assignments, for the AT/ATX setup: 16-bit/32-bit/64-bit ISA/PCI/AGP/PCI-E.
0 = System Timer
1 = Keyboard Controller
2 = Second IRQ Controller Cascade (Also known as a PIC, or Programmable Interrupt Controller)
3 = Serial 2 Port (Com 2, Com 4)
4 = Serial 1 Port (Com 1, Com 3)
5 = Sound System, or Parallel Port 2 (LPT 2)
6 = Floppy Controller
7 = Parallel Port 1 (LPT1) Also used with some sound systems.
8 = Real-time Clock
9 = Available as IRQ 2 or IRQ 9 (Cascading)
10 = Available
11 = Available
12 = Mouse Port (PS2) and available
13 = Math Co-processor
14 = Primary IDE
15 = Secondary IDE

IRQ 5 may be used for the USB port controllers or other devices.
Only the older sound cards required an IRQ of 5 or 7. Newer cards work with an IRQ of 9, 10 or 11.
IRQ assignments above 15 are handled through the cascading provision of other ports.
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Re: Issues from improper PCI seating?

Postby LakaWaka » Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:08 am

Interesting... Thanks for the information on the jumpers and such. I see some on the mobo still, but think that would be for something else.

I haven't tried the card myself, but the person I bought it from said it doesn't work, and that it would not turn on, or short or something.....

I'll try to give it another look, but it didnt seem to have any issue besides dust.... If I take a picture for you, would you be able to maybe spot something? I have a feeling you would be able to detect something better than me. There was nothing "leaking" but I did notice there was one really bent capacitor (but the leads were still fine).
Interesting about the signal pulses, what exactly does that do? It makes sense with his comment about "shorting out" so I wonder if it maybe is a capacitor? Overall do you think it would be hard to "fix" this card if I took it to someone? Not sure if I could fix it myself....

You mentioned high pressure air hose, so I wasn't sure what exactly you were talking about hahah.. I would use some sort of stick to hold the fans in place :). Also, how bad is it for a fan to stop rotation? Sometimes Iaccidentally touched my fans and they stopped spinning for a second and then restarted..... This happened with testing the small case, by accident :(. So do you think the datavac would be a good tool? Your comment about "fairly good" has me questioning if there could be an issue? I feel the ESD one is a must over the other one (even though people claim they had no problems with using the regular one and computer parts).

Thanks for the IRQ assignment list.. There's a bunch of them :).

So I guess the question comes down to... Do you think I should try plugging the other Sound Card into my motherboard? Is there ANY chance of damage that could occur? I really would like to test it out on another machine that I Could build cheaply, but my main machine? Kind of scary, but not really sure if I should be scared/worried?

Now you said that a capacitor can... leak? Now we are talking some sort of fluid or...? If so... Is that something we should be worried about (toxic,etc), or...? The card was wrapped up when I got it, and didn't seem to have any wetness to it (just lots of dust), but I want to make sure there isn't anything that could be dangerous/get on other parts, sinc eI'm storing it with other components (wrapped up still). I'll be doing a quick Google search on this as well.

Thanks for the information and your time as always.
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