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8 Krypton

Slow BIOS booting

I have the following USB devices attached:

 

  • Belkin n52te
  • Logitech Driving Force Pro
  • Logitech G9
  • TactX keyboard

 

When starting from a cold boot, it takes 59 seconds to get through the BIOS to the boot menu (F12).

From that point, Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium takes 1:44 to get to the login screen.

This seems like a very long time.  Almost 3 minutes total from cold boot.

I listed the USB devices in case one of these is causing extra delay.  It takes 45 seconds from cold boot for the Driving Force Pro wheel to self-calibrate.

Is this normal, even with 2x 10K rpm drives in RAID 0?

Is there a way to turn off "memory testing" or anything else that is causing extra time?  I've tried hitting ESC during the BIOS to skip any memory test, but it doesn't change.  I also turned off my RAID OptionRom to shave a couple of seconds.

 

 

System: Alienware Area-51: Core i7 920 @ 3.2 Ghz, OS:  Corsair Force Series GS Red 480GB; Data: 2x 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor in RAID0 (OS/Games), RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1600; Video: ATI 5970 + 5870

Displays: HP zr30w + Dell U2410 + Dell 2709W 27"

Peripherals: Belkin n52te, Logitech Driving Force Pro, Logitech G9, Alienware TactX Keyboard, TactX headset, PS3 Dual-Shock3 controller (using MotionJoy)

 

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Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

Time it without these two devices attached:
Belkin n52te
Logitech Driving Force Pro



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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

Time it without these two devices attached:
Belkin n52te
Logitech Driving Force Pro

You're right, I should have done more testing.  Looks like I need to re-read: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

I also failed to mention I have 3 other devices connected:

 

  • Dell 2709 S-PVA monitor with 9-in-1 reader via USB
  • Western Digital My Book 1TB eSATA
  • Playstation 3 Dual-Shock 3 controller (via USB) (for anybody interested, I'm using MotionJoy http://www.motioninjoy.com/ to present this as an Xbox 360 controller in Windows)

 

Here are my results with various testing.  All times are in seconds, from cold boot power on to my boot loader (Grub which has no timeout, it just waits for my input) which means it is just past the BIOS.  I tested with a few different ways - F12 for boot menu, and F2 for BIOS setup, all times were the same.  I did it this way so I wouldn't be pressing any buttons during the BIOS to get a proper measurement.

 

  • 0:40 - No devices connected (BIOS error because it didn't detect keyboard)
  • 0:45 - Connected TactX keyboard
  • 0:45 - Connected Logitech G9
  • 0:53 - Connected Playstation 3 Dual-Shock controller
  • 0:45 - Removed PS3 controller to verify (left it unplugged)
  • 0:48 - Connected Dell 2709 USB cable
  • 0:48 - Connected Belkin n52te
  • 0:55 - Connected Logitech Driving Force Pro
  • 0:55 - WD 1TB My Book eSATA
  • 0:59 - Connected PS3 controller

I tried tweaking as many settings in the BIOS that made sense, but nothing improved the boot time, including changing all unused SATA devices to "Not Installed", disabling timeout for CD/DVD (under Integrated Devices below where you change from AHCI/RAID).

This seems like way too long for a BIOS post.  I'm used to working with Dell PowerEdge servers, where you can disable (or at least hit ESC) memory testing and save a lot of time.  Is there a way for us to do this?  I also wish there was a way for it to not scan USB devices once it finds a keyboard and mouse, but I don't know how to avoid that.  I would hate to have to unplug/plug every device on every boot just to save some time.

I guess I can save 14 seconds by connecting everything to a powered USB hub and disconnecting it during boot?

Related to Command Center board, I wanted to to note that of these 10 cold boots I experienced the following (note that I never went into Windows, just cold booted each time):

  • 4 times the Alien head light stayed on ... If I unplugged the power cable, it went out after 5 seconds.  
  • 1 time the fan was surged at full power the entire time, the rest of the time it idled down after 30 seconds during BIOS post
  • 1 time the vent stayed half open, the rest of the time it closed

Last odd thing: Since I disconnected all my USB devices, when I reconnected them I did so on different ports (based on length of cable), which caused 2 things:

  1. The Drive Force Wheel no longer calibrates during BIOS.  However, it did the first time I booted into Windows.  After that I rebooted, and it DID calibrate during the BIOS.
  2. The Boot menu to Windows login time was reduced from 1:44 to 0:38.  I'm not sure why that is.  I tried twice and the time was the same.  This is more reasonable.

Final question: When I didn't have a keyboard plugged in, the error screen about "no keyboard" looked like a normal bios - no Alien head, and the typical system devices are listed like normal.  How can I enable this screen for normal booting?  I don't see that option in the BIOS, but I would much prefer that.  In fact, this screen probably shows the memory testing or whatever is taking so long.

Anybody else in a similar boat?

 

 

System: Alienware Area-51: Core i7 920 @ 3.2 Ghz, OS:  Corsair Force Series GS Red 480GB; Data: 2x 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor in RAID0 (OS/Games), RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1600; Video: ATI 5970 + 5870

Displays: HP zr30w + Dell U2410 + Dell 2709W 27"

Peripherals: Belkin n52te, Logitech Driving Force Pro, Logitech G9, Alienware TactX Keyboard, TactX headset, PS3 Dual-Shock3 controller (using MotionJoy)

 

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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

So nobody else has a 0:45 second BIOS boot with only a mouse and keyboard connected?  Is this acceptable BIOS posting time, or do I need to dig into it further?

 

System: Alienware Area-51: Core i7 920 @ 3.2 Ghz, OS:  Corsair Force Series GS Red 480GB; Data: 2x 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor in RAID0 (OS/Games), RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1600; Video: ATI 5970 + 5870

Displays: HP zr30w + Dell U2410 + Dell 2709W 27"

Peripherals: Belkin n52te, Logitech Driving Force Pro, Logitech G9, Alienware TactX Keyboard, TactX headset, PS3 Dual-Shock3 controller (using MotionJoy)

 

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Praxxis
6 Indium

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

My times are about the same as yours. It takes 57 seconds for the BIOS to boot with keyboard, mouse, and external Western Digital USB hard Drive. Running Area-51 with i7 975, 6GB RAM, RAID 0, and GTX 295.

I just try to avoid rebooting as much as possible (unless applying updates) and hibernate the system instead.

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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

Ok thanks.  At least I know I'm not the only one.

I'd love to go back to putting my system into sleep, but the latest A06 Command Center is preventing that, which is why I was investigating this.

 

System: Alienware Area-51: Core i7 920 @ 3.2 Ghz, OS:  Corsair Force Series GS Red 480GB; Data: 2x 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor in RAID0 (OS/Games), RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1600; Video: ATI 5970 + 5870

Displays: HP zr30w + Dell U2410 + Dell 2709W 27"

Peripherals: Belkin n52te, Logitech Driving Force Pro, Logitech G9, Alienware TactX Keyboard, TactX headset, PS3 Dual-Shock3 controller (using MotionJoy)

 

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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

With a mouse, keyboard and external 1TB drive attached my BIOS screen appears for about 45 seconds plus or minus. Right from the very start, after receiving the system last November, I was surprised and concerned about how long the POST phase took.  I talked with the Alienware Tech Support guys in Costa Rica and they said this was normal bahavior due to the many additional sensors in the case that have to pass muster during the boot.  In addition, they said, it is also lengthened by the number of USB devices attached.

So, that said, I have now "accepted" the annoyingly long POST and am enjoying the system immensely!

Doug

M17xR2
Win7x64
ATI 5870 (single)

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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

I suppose I'll have to do the same now.

I remember working with Dell PowerEdge servers like a R900, with tons of SCSI devices, remote access controller, 32GB memory.  The memory test itself took minutes, which is why I always ESC out of it, or disabled it in the BIOS.  The rest of the BIOS post took between 1 and 2 minutes.  With the memory test you were looking at several minutes.

This is why I strongly believe it is a hidden memory test that is causing these delays that we cannot disable, but I have no proof. 

I wonder if anyone with 12GB of memory would mind testing and reporting?  I'm tempted to remove 2 of my memory sticks and see how long the boot is with just 2GB of memory.

I'm sure there are definitely additional sensors and such that delay the boot process as they say, but if that were the case I wish my sensors worked properly ... 

I know it isn't that big of a deal to most, but since I cannot hibernate/sleep, this is becoming pretty annoying for me.  My XPS M1730 with 4GB of memory takes less than 5 seconds to get through the BIOS.   This system should not be taking almost as long as a fully populated server.

 

System: Alienware Area-51: Core i7 920 @ 3.2 Ghz, OS:  Corsair Force Series GS Red 480GB; Data: 2x 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor in RAID0 (OS/Games), RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1600; Video: ATI 5970 + 5870

Displays: HP zr30w + Dell U2410 + Dell 2709W 27"

Peripherals: Belkin n52te, Logitech Driving Force Pro, Logitech G9, Alienware TactX Keyboard, TactX headset, PS3 Dual-Shock3 controller (using MotionJoy)

 

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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

My XPS 730x took just as long to boot the BIOS as my Alienware Area 51 does and to this day they never fixed the BIOS boot issue on the XPS. I don't expect them to fix this one ether.

Get used to the long boot it aint going away.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Area-51 Cosmic Black/Windows 8 64-bit Pro/BIOS A11
Intel Core i7-980x Extreme Edition @ 4.0 ghz/Intel 160gb X-25M SSD Raid-0
6GB Corsair Dominator GT 1866 DDR3/PNY GeForce GTX 680 SLI/ATI TV Wonder

 

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8 Krypton

Re: How long does your Area-51 take to boot?

Just for reference, my new Area 51 takes 1:30 to go from power on to windows 7 desktop and I don't have anything connected but the keyboard, mouse and the internet cable.

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