[nycbug-talk] Newbie can't boot server - needs person or shop in NYC with mobos & CPUs to troubleshoot

Maude User maudeuser
Fri Aug 19 01:29:11 EDT 2005

Hello All --

SUMMARY: I have a new server which I'm unable to boot up after talking to tech
support from various vendors over the phone. Since I don't have any spare CPUs or
motherboards around for troubleshooting I'd like to find a shop or person in NYC I can take
it to. I'm asking the nycbug list if you can recommend a shop or person in New York
who does troubleshooting / configuration / installation for hardware and FreeBSD.

MORE DETAILS: This is a 1U rackmount server (Tyan GS12 barebones) from buy.com, the
RAM & CPU are from axiontech.com and the hard drives are from monarchcomputer.com.
(Detailed specs below.) I have been unable to get it to boot into the BIOS setup,
even after talking to tech support at Tyan.

Orginally I had registered, ECC RAM in it because the Tyan website erroneously said
the GS12 motherboard required "unbuffered, reg./ECC" which I now know is a
contradiction in terms (the site has been fixed since I talked to them - I have a
screenshot of the old incorrect version though!). On the phone they told me
"registered" = "buffered" and they said this server actually requires _unbuffered_.
Now I have 2 x 1024MB of _unbuffered_, non-ECC RAM and it still won't boot into
BIOS Setup. The old CRT monitor I'm using appears to be correctly connected because
the greenish screen "blinks" once when I power on the server, and goes all white
when I unplug the monitor from the VGA port - but I don't get anything at all on
the monitor.

Today Tyan had me reset the CMOS and it still wouldn't boot into the BIOS Setup.
They say I have the correct RAM and CPU installed so the next step would be
swapping in a different CPU to see if there's something wrong with my CPU, or
putting my CPU in a different motherboard to see if there's something wrong with my

I was really nervous about getting a server because all my life I've just done
database programming, and if the hardware broke I always had a help desk to turn
to. I've been very confused trying to understand all the different specs for
motherboards, CPUs and RAM and what goes with what - and after the past few days of
frustration I'm tempted to return everything to the vendors and I'll only be out
the shipping costs. But on the other hand, I think it's about time I learned about
hardware and OSes so I want to stick with it and get this thing up and running so I
can get back to learning PostgreSQL and Ruby on Rails!

Unfortunately I don't have any spare CPUs or motherboards to test with, so I think
the best thing to do now would be to find a shop or a person in the New York area I
can take the machine to for troubleshooting. I'm looking for someone who's
knowledgeable about rackmount servers and FreeBSD and who hopefully also wouldn't
mind if I hung out and watched a bit so maybe I could learn a few things about
configuring hardware and the OS.


The specs for the server machine are below:

Processor Support
-- Single socket 478
-- Supports Intel P4 Northwood or Prescott processor
-- Supports 533/800 MHz FSB

-- Intel 875P MCH
-- SMC LPC47M172 Super I/O chip

-- Two 64-bits wide DDR data channels
-- Single/dual-channel mode support
-- Four 184-pin DDR DIMM slots
-- Up to 4GB unbuffered DDR
-- Supports non-ECC/ECC-type memory

External I/O Ports
-- One 9-pin UART Serial port
-- One VGA port
-- Two RJ-45 LAN connectors
-- Two USB2.0 ports

-- Two 1000Base-T, 100Base-TX and 10Base-T Ethernet LAN ports
(Intel 82541 and 82547GI controllers)

Storage Capacity
-- Upt to two PATA HDDs or two SATA HDDs
-- SATA HDDs support RAID0, RAID1 (for Win2000/XP)

-- Phoenix BIOS on 4MB flash (FWH)
-- ACPI 2.0 / APM 1.2
-- Detect function of hardware monitoring
-- Quick boot and multiple boot options
-- LAN remote boot (PXE) support


In the handbook (link to PDF below), the BIOS chapter says:

The Boot Menu allows you to set the priority of the booting devices:
- Removable Devices
- Hard Drive
- IBA GE Slot 0208 v1216 (LAN Intel 82547GI)


Tyan tech support has confirmed that once we get into BIOS setup and tell it to
boot from a Removable Device, this will allow it to boot from a USD CD-ROM. I
picked up a LaCie d2 DVD+/-RW/CD-RW dual-layer burner at J+R to boot from (and
back up onto). I have FreeBSD 5.3 Boot, Disk1 and Disk2 CDs, which I had no problem
installing on my laptop dual-boot with WinXP-Pro.

Installed hardware is as follows:
- CPU: Intel P4 "Northwood" 2.8GHz, 512K L2, 533MHz FSB
- RAM: 2 x OCZ 1024MB, DDR400, PC3200, unbuffered, no ECC, 400MHz
- HDs: 2 x Western Digital SATA 250GB, 8MB Cache

Back when I was a Mac person I would just take the whole thing into TekServe, but
for an Intel machine with FreeBSD I don't know where to turn in the New York area.
So I'd like to know if there's any shops or people in New York you could recommend
who would be good with configuring a rackmount server to run FreeBSD.

Thanks for any help.

-- Steve in Brooklyn



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