I upgraded my computer system from a Core-i 2500K to a Core-i 3770 back in December. I went through the necessary BIOS upgrades ending at 0039. The system has been somewhat erratic since doing this. Most of the issues seem related to power management, though I have also been getting exclamations in the Device Manager in the Intel Management Engine on the first boot. A quick re-boot consistently clears this. I also experienced difficulties adding a hot-swap drive bay. The system was unable to recognize a new drive whether it was in the drive bay or directly connected to the SATA and power connectors. I did get past this last issue with no good explanation for the difficulties encountered.
After further sleep and power issues, this past weekend I upgraded the BIOS to 0042. I used the recovery process and the upgrade proceeded without any issues. After upgrading the BIOS, the system seemed a bit unstable but settled down after a few reboots. By Sunday the system was running well and even the power management looked promising. The system would shut down and sleep without waking right back up, as it has always sometimes done, and it would come out of sleep without errors or rebooting, even after more than six hours of sleep.
I awoke the system and used it several times on Monday and Tuesday without issue. Then, late Tuesday, after an emergency run to the veterinarian, I settled in for some Photoshop work I needed to get done. When I went to use the machine it did not wake cleanly. It went into a blue screen with an error message that there was some problem at XXXXXXX location. I shut it down and restarted it. The system opened into Windows recovery mode and I instructed it to continue to start Windows normally, which it did. I checked the device manager and I did not see an exclamation in the ME of Device Manager. This issue seemed to be resolved with BIOS 0042.
I had been working in Photoshop for about 45 minutes. I had Lightroom and Chrome open at the time. I was doing an extraction, which requires use of the mouse and the keyboard simultaneously. I believe I fat-fingered the Windows key when I wanted the command key and the Windows menu popped up. I went to click on the Photoshop panel again to turn off the Windows menu but my pointer was right over the Start/Run button in the Windows pop up and I believe I clicked on it. This happened very quickly, so I’m not sure of this, but I think this is what happened. At this point the computer shut down. Initially I didn’t realize what had happened, but then surmised that I had accidentally put it into sleep mode. I hit the power button to restart it. The computer turned on, made sounds as though it was going to start (it has a pattern I can recognize) and then just sat there with the lights on, monitors out and the fans spinning for about twenty seconds. It then shut down and went through the process again. And again. And again.
The machine is now stuck in this process. I left it off overnight and tried it again this morning with the same results. The system is not beeping, though I believe it beeped three times once in the very early attempts to restart it. I tried to boot it off a Paragon recovery disk, but the system does not attempt to read the CD. I turned on the back-to-bios button so that I could check the BIOS, but the system fails to go into BIOS mode.
At this point I have no idea what the issue is or how to work around it. Any advice would be appreciated.
Assuming that I can recover the system and get it going again, is it possible to go back to the 2nd Generation Core-I 2500? I had no problems with that CPU but have had nothing but problems since upgrading to the i7 – or is this all due to moving off BIOS 0029?
Alternately, an Asus Z68 board is only about $100, a small price for stability. Should I consider ditching the DZ68BC? There are certainly plenty of posts that indicate that the DZ68BC is a star-crossed board. If I ditch it, what is the suggested replacement board?
This is the configuration on the system:
OS, Windows 7 x64 Ultra
MB, Intel DZ68BC
CPU Intel i7-3770
Memory, 2 x 4GB DDR3
Chassis, In-Win ATX case with 400w PS
120GB Intel 520 SSD (system)
1.5 Seagate 3.5 7200 SATA
0.5 Seagate 3.5 7200 SATA
HD 4470 video card with dual monitors
LG DVD/CD optical drive with light scribe
Multi-function memory card reader (on USB3 header)
3.5" hot-swap drive bay