Hardware Period era and tool PC checks out, can't install jack

codezer0

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Okay, so, asking here.

Basically had an old pre-built that was toxically flooded with bad caps, and given how limited it was, I was pretty much in a mental state where it wasn't worth my time to fix or repair. Scavenged what I could, and was able to source some parts for it.

Specs are as follows:
  • AMD Opteron 185 (s939) - 2C2T 2.6GHz
  • Asus A8V Deluxe - VIA K8T800Pro chipset, BIOS 1017
  • 4x1GB DDR400 RAM (two matched pairs)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro
  • Samsung 120GB SATA hard drive
  • some Generic USB add-in card so I could use the companion card reader functionality on the floppy drive
  • (not yet installed) Adaptec R1200 IDE card
I figure as it is, it should do just fine for say, booting up xboxhdm for fixing up Xbox consoles. But given the specs, I was thinking it could do well for some period era gaming as well.

Using UBCD v5.3.7, CPU stress testing checks out, VRAM testing checks out, and memtest checks out.
However, I can't seem to get any Operating system to install on it.

With Windows 7 (x86, since I have a legit key to spare for that and I am still using x64 on another machine), I had an interesting... paradox. In short, if I put the hard drive on one of the native SATA ports on the board, setup detects it, but won't install to it, convinced that it can't boot from the drive. If I plug it into the add-in controller, whether it's set to RAID mode or just IDE mode, setup fails to detect it. Thinking it was just a driver issue, looking up for drivers for the Promise add-in controller and... can't find any. Can't even find any for it on Windows Vista.

So, researching for Vista as an option, but can't find any drivers for either controller. looking on VIA's archival site and basically it's a case of where VIA just "checked out" of making any more drivers for their chipsets after XP, and checked out of drivers altogether after Vista. So, I guess that just leaves Windows XP.

Using a disc that I had slipstreamed with Service Pack 3 from a long while ago (back when I had a lightscribe enabled burner from the looks of it), and... with four sticks installed, it just flat out hangs at the textmode part where it would get to "Setup is starting Windows..." not even Ctrl+Alt+Del works. 2 sticks, same thing. Down to just 1 stick installed? I then get to where I can select what hard drive to install (after F6 drivers), and... instant BSOD when I try to pick it.

So as it is, three different possible OS's I could have had on it, but I can't get any of them to install. And I don't even have an IDE hard drive big enough for an OS install. The most I have are some leftover 8GB hard drives salvaged from xbox consoles I've fixed up. Of course, nobody makes any new IDE storage drives anymore.

So, without basically having to buy more hardware, what can I do to get things to behave and work on this setup? I've not yet ruled out Linux, but please understand that I've not had a single version of any distro of Linux or *nix or *BSD that hasn't just outright pissed me off other than Mac OS.
 

FAST6191

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Apple's OS failed to piss you off where other unix variants did? Operating systems are mostly just that for me but apple's ecosystem came close (between the "we know better" and constant nickel and diming for things everything else does for free...).

That might be a bit old to run a virtual machine on (not sure what AMD did for virtualisation and when and I am not invested enough to go looking this morning). For some you have a linux host (proxmox being one I have used in the past, though not for quite a while) but the VM is all what the machine presents itself as and thus allows you to play. Speaking of playing a lot of things will speak to GPUs quite well these days so you can possibly even get games going on with the VM.

I assume you tried whatever sata modes you could in the BIOS to install to it (you said you did for the card but just to check the boxes on the proverbial list). Alternatively could you force install it on a drive it will work with and then clone it over?

Before you write off XP if you went to the effort of playing with litescribe might it have been one you force installed a driver with? I did one once for a laptop and accidentally fed the iso to something else which caused no end of issues.

On new IDE there are adapters but I don't much like them. Equally CF cards are IDE and can have simple pin to pin adapters. Slow as sin (the iops are not good at all) but might be enough to get it installed.

Other OS... maybe try a version of server.
 

codezer0

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Granted, my last experience with OS X was with earlier versions, where it was still trying to be a desktop OS. Can't speak for any version in the last couple of years. but, back on topic...

Board has two sets of SATA controllers - one from the VIA chipset, one from Promise.

My first thought was going with 7 x86, since I was still using the key for x64, and because I was hedging bet for updated drivers already being on it for as much of the hardware as possible (and being able to use current drivers for the rest).
Not knowing the situation with Promise, it failed to detect anything on the Promise controller. If I connected the drive to the VIA SATA ports, it would find it, but refuse to let me select it. The error it would throw up would say that the drive was not made bootable. I thought that was the point of the setup portion of this disc? :wacko: It would not let me pick the disk to install, even if I told it to format the drive in question.

Before I tried to install Vista, I had some time to research. Basically, Promise's site doesn't even bother hosting drivers for it anymore. It (the given SATA/IDE RAID controller) isn't even listed on their site, much less for any OS I was hoping to install for. And VIA's site also steadfastly refuses to let me download any drivers, both insisting that they stopped supporting driver updates for any still supported OS and that 7 should have drivers for the chipset already integrated. Well, so much for that. Even when I could get to an archival page where they did list drivers to download, again I had the problem where they had no drivers even for Vista, much less 7. XP was as far as it would go.

So, then back to XP. By default, even with a disc that has Service Pack 3 integrated, XP's setup refuses to detect a drive. Even if I do the F6 and get a floppy that has drivers on it to load from, when I get to the part where I should be able to pick a disk, it BSOD's immediately at that point.

The disc was from a lightscribe burner, but I've not had that drive, or the system it was on, in years.
 

FAST6191

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On drivers have a look on the PCI database type sites (sadly the main one I used to use of pcidatabase.com went a little while back). People often include them in comments there.

As for bootable the setup should have been able to handle it but if you wanted to format and check all the relevant boxes (there is a bootable flag you can set for some things) with something like gparted (ubcd should have it somewhere in there) it might get it to sort itself out.
 

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