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January 10, 2008 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Why can't I use power standby mode on my computer anymore?

I've had my computer for a couple years now. It's an Athlon 64 FX-55 with 2 gig of RAM and an ASUS A8N-Sli NFORCE4 motherboard. I've always had it set to go into standby mode after 30 minutes of inactivity. No problems.

Any time I come back to the computer after it goes into standby for the last few days it freezes up and emits one continuous beep. Sounds like the beep it makes when the computer posts upon startup, except, uh, continuous. Rebooting works fine and this never happens upon cold boot or in use.

My first thought is a power supply issue but why would it only occur in standby mode and never upon reboot or startup or any other time? I've disabled standby mode for now and everything seems fine, but I'd like to fix this if possible.

Does standby mode actually save enough power to make it worth investing in a new power supply to test if that's the issue? I secretly suspect that the "power saving" settings are actually worthless and just there to make you feel good about yourself.
posted by Justinian to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
What operating system?

Does standby mode actually save enough power to make it worth investing in a new power supply to test if that's the issue?

The new Energy Star specifications say a desktop must use ≤1.7 W in sleep mode, but ≤50.0 W–95.0 W (depending on category) when turned on and idle. While your motherboard certainly won't be certified for these specs, and might not be efficient at all, I would take it as indicative of the sorts of savings that one could receive on an efficient computer. You'd have to plug in your cost of electricity and amount of sleep time to figure out whether it was worth it. But it does seem a rather odd set of circumstances to be a hardware issue.

Can you use hibernate mode instead?
posted by grouse at 1:36 PM on January 10, 2008


Regarding the power-savings in standby mode, it could be substantial. It depends on which level of standby it enters. In S3 mode pretty much everything except the LAN card and the RAM controller gets powered down and power consumption drops dramatically. On the other hand, high end video cards, like the one you may have if you bought an A64 FX CPU, can consume as much power as the rest of the system, even when idling in 2D mode.
posted by Good Brain at 2:02 PM on January 10, 2008


Oops, sorry grouse. I'm running XP Pro.

Good Brain: I'm currently using a 640mb nVidia 8800 GTS, so the power draw is probably substantial.

I'll try hibernate instead but I thought that one took much longer to start up again.
posted by Justinian at 2:37 PM on January 10, 2008


It shouldn't be much longer, just long enough to read 2 GB off the disk
posted by grouse at 2:43 PM on January 10, 2008


Hibernate is a pretty good alternative, its really the same power usage as having your PC completely off as opposed to standby where memory and some devices are still getting juice.

Just a thought however, have you googled for standby "continuous beep"? I found a couple results referring to Asus boards and their strict requirements for memory modules. It's possible that during standby your memory is somehow being flushed or corrupted....

Hrmm, possibly check your BIOS settings (load defaults is a possibility but take note of what you had for your memory type, power, and clock settings) You could tinker with the PCI latency or other wait states as well. (if you get stuck you can always reset configuration using the reset jumper on your MB). Another option (if you're adventurous) is to obtain the latest BIOS from Asus and get to flashing. Just be sure to double check your BIOS settings...it's possible that if your ram doesn't meet the voltage specs of the MB, you might have problems with Optimized settings and will have to tone it back a bit.
posted by samsara at 4:23 PM on January 10, 2008


samsara - yeah I googled but the difficulty is that I've been putting the computer into standby for 2 years with no issues. This started happening a few days ago out of the blue, so I don't expect it's a problem with the RAM not meeting hardware specs or it would have been happening all along.

I've substituted hibernate and it came back without freezing up right before I posted this, so that may be a workable solution. Why "standby" mode would freeze up but hibernate works fine is another question.
posted by Justinian at 4:53 PM on January 10, 2008


Well the only other thing I can think of (on the topic of failing hardware) is capacitors are going bad on your MB. Take a look at this wiki article for more information.
posted by samsara at 12:32 PM on January 11, 2008


Yeah, hibernate isn't working either. Same symptom; on coming back to the computer it hangs and emits a single continuous beep. Going to open up the case and see if anything obvious is wrong tonight. Maybe some RAM came unseated... somehow... or something. I doubt it, but I suppose it's possible.
posted by Justinian at 6:39 PM on January 11, 2008


Ruh roh. Now I'm getting a Machine Check Exception blue screen of death half the time upon reboot. Houston, we have a problem.

Time to start yanking components and replacing them one by one.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on January 12, 2008


Yep, its sounding like a classic capacitor meltdown...good luck!!
posted by samsara at 8:30 PM on January 12, 2008


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