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martinistripes
1 Copper

C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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Hi all,

I recently upgraded an old C521, with an Athlon x2 5600+ and Radeon HD5570. After the upgrade the CPU ran at full power constantly even when CPU temps were super cool. Everything else was fine. I read a suggestion to replace previous processor, update BIOS (I was running 1.1.4) and then try the upgrade again (to fix the loud fan issue). So now I'm on 1.1.11.

I can't get past the BIOS screen and F keys don't work. Fan comes on immediately at full power. I've tried BIOS reset by removing battery. This will bring up several error messages before allowing me to run F2 setup.

Diskette failure (I've tried turning it off in BIOS)

low voltage detected (I've replaced the battery several times)

and previous shutdown due to thermal even (?)

Invalid configuration, run setup (?)

Regardless of what setup I use in the BIOS, on reboot it becomes stuck again at the BIOS screen. I've tried removing the Radeon card also and using the onboard -same thing. Also, I noticed I couldn't access HDD Boot Sequence in BIOS and Boot Order the Bootable hardrive isn't included by default (but is detected).

Any other suggestions? I'd like to revert back to 1.1.4 (which I have on a bootable USB) but just can't find anyway to boot from the stick and in the BIOS the USB-ZIP isn't detected now on the boot order page.

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RoHe
6 Indium

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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You said you connected the HDD to the CD drive's SATA cable. So is the HDD connected to SATA0 or SATA1? It should be connected to SATA0.

Have you checked all the cable connections to/from the motherboard?

What color Is the power button and is it steady or blinking?

Have you tried clearing BIOS with the new processor installed? And when was last time you replaced the motherboard battery?

If the optical drive was an optional upgrade, SATA1 would probably be off by default.

I don't know if you'll actually be able to boot from the HDD without reinstalling Windows since you changed the CPU.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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martinistripes
1 Copper

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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Update: I removed the CD-ROM drive and connected the HDD to the CD-ROM drives power and SATA cable. Now the fan is at normal quiet speed and when I reset BIOS I'm no longer getting shutdown due to thermal event error. Can't get any further. My last hope is that BIOS downgrade will fix the machine, but just can't get past BIOS to even install it.

I realize it's an old machine, but (with the upgrades) would have been perfect for office stuff and some light gaming. Can't bring myself to throw it out... there HAS to be a way...

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RoHe
6 Indium

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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Are you sure that new CPU is compatible with this system? Just because it fits in the same socket, doesn't mean BIOS has the microcode to run this specific CPU.

Thermal Event - Did you clean both surfaces and apply a thin fresh coat of thermal paste (eg Arctic Silver) each time you changed the CPU?

Are you sure the CPU fan cable is correctly connected to the motherboard? BIOS has to read a sensor in the fan and can't control the speed if the fan isn't connected and/or if the fan's sensor failed.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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martinistripes
1 Copper

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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Thanks for your reply.

According to this thread http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19489291 it's compatible. It's the last processor in the 2nd post. The BIOS sees and reports the CPU correctly.

Yes, I cleaned and applied Noctua NT-H1 (small 5mm blob in the cenre)

CPU fan cable is attached. Actually, the fan seems to be normal again since I removed the CD-ROM drive which obviously doesn't make much sense. And I'm no longer getting the 'system shutdown due to thermal event' error.

When I'm in the BIOS, I can't make changes on the 'HDD Boot Sequence' page. This is not the main boot order page, but just one for the SATA drives. I remember being able to access this in 1.1.4. Also, I noticed on the page where you can turn on or off each of the SATA drives, upon resetting the CMOS, SATA1 (The CD-ROM) is off by default. When I switch it on, it displays the information for the CD drive at the bottom of the page. But I thought strange it was defaulting to off. SATA0 (HDD) defaults to on.

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RoHe
6 Indium

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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You said you connected the HDD to the CD drive's SATA cable. So is the HDD connected to SATA0 or SATA1? It should be connected to SATA0.

Have you checked all the cable connections to/from the motherboard?

What color Is the power button and is it steady or blinking?

Have you tried clearing BIOS with the new processor installed? And when was last time you replaced the motherboard battery?

If the optical drive was an optional upgrade, SATA1 would probably be off by default.

I don't know if you'll actually be able to boot from the HDD without reinstalling Windows since you changed the CPU.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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martinistripes
1 Copper

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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"Have you checked all the cable connections to/from the motherboard?"

I decided to replace the stock processor and video card, whilst everything was out the box I had a rummage around and found a loose connector on the little USB, power button chip at the front of the box (between the CPU fan and HDD bay). I must have snagged the cable at some point whilst swapping CPUs.

Never again will I be annoyed when someone asks, 'Are you sure it's plugged in?'... Thanks RoHe

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RoHe
6 Indium

RE: C521 Won't Pass BIOS Screen

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Sorry if you got annoyed but that's what I'm here for.  

And the is always in those small things...

Glad you got everything connected...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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