There are Three Beeps!

jamor

I had a problem with the speed on my Intel motherboard so I went into the BIOS and reset the RAM speed to 800MHz. On restart, I got three beeps, which signals a RAM failure or RAM not recognized on my board. Is there a way to reload the BIOS? I have tried resetting the CMOS by pulling out the battery but I still get three beeps with no POST. I even used the ISO method to create a BIOS disk image for a boot-from-disk, but the board still does the same thing.

I get nothing. No HDD light, no monitor. I even pulled the RAM and replaced it, and still nothing. The system is only six weeks old and it’s built on an Intel DQ963FX, Pentium E2200, Nvidia 9400 GT, 4GB of Kingston 1GB DIMMs, and a 650 watt power supply.

—Jim Murray

You might be running into that strange feature of Intel boards involving the configuration jumper. Or, technically: the “BIOS Configuration Jumper Block.” This jumper has three modes. Your board should have shipped in “normal mode,” or 1–2. If you throw it into “configure mode” by setting it to 2–3, you can reset the BIOS value you want. This will also let you clear any BIOS password. Pulling the jumper completely from the header will set it to “recovery mode,” which recovers data if you have a bad BIOS update. The Doctor assumes you haven’t tried resetting the BIOS using this jumper, since no vendors besides Intel use a system like this. Assuming you didn’t kill the system with your BIOS restore attempt, or damage the RAM during the troubleshooting, this is likely the solution to your problem.


Some Intel boards have BIOS configuration jumper blocks, which are used to reset the BIOS to its defaults. If your Intel board won't POST, try resetting the jumpers.

If the jumper isn’t the culprit, you may have defective memory or a broken board, which would require replacement or repair. To determine which component is at fault, try dropping the memory into a system you know works properly. If it works there, the motherboard is suspect, but if it doesn’t, you probably have bad RAM.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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