Can a motherboard have a malfunctioning drive controller?

Hi, I’m trying to justify disposing of an old EP45 DS3 Gigabyte motherboard. It still works but for ages I’m been having various problems and can’t figure out if it’s the board. I’ll try and keep this short.

I updated the BIOS to F10b (beta) years ago, added an M4 SSD to it and got artifacting (characters and symbols) in the storage and the Override boot section in the BIOS. Also from that point on, no drive appeared in the CMOS list of drives even though I could boot from disc and HDD to an OS.
I remember upgrading to Win10, but it didn’t handle it well with stuttering and just being very slow (on an SSD too). I’m sure AHCI was enabled.

I tried reinstalls on the SSD but I kept getting Windows errors, so I managed to clone the OS to the SSD. It worked but I kept getting Break Point errors. Looking these up didn’t make anything any clearer. I thought the SSD was faulty but recently tried it in another PC and it’s fine (so far).

I reverted the BIOS back to version F9 and drives appeared back in the CMOS menu. I installed Windows and it seemed okay. A few days later the drives had disappered from the menu again, however connecting an IDE / PATA drive for some reason showed up but not the HDD and two opticals via SATA.

Other problems include both PS/2 ports not working and then working again after a restart. Hanging at start up when certain drives are connected, testing them on other systems and they’re fine. Not booting into certain disc-based programs, just hanging. Everything seems to be drive based so that lead me to think there’s something up with what ever controls the storage. Am I just chasing my tail with this or is there some test I can do that will confirm whether this board has had it or not?

I have seen a PATA controller die on an old DFI board, but the rest of it ran fine. In your case where it seems all of the SATA ports, and now PS/2 ports going flaky, seems similar to a Gigabyte G41 board I had. Different ports slowly started to flake out, and the chipset started getting hotter than normal. I replaced the thermal paste and added a fan which increased stability, but ultimately it got to the point of not wanting to boot, becoming more difficult until one day it completely stopped.

You can try looking at doing the same thing with the chipset cooling to see if it increases stability. Also, maybe try to break some things down to the bare minimum (unhook optical drives unless you need to use them, USB keyboard and mouse if possible) and see if any more problems crop up over time. I have no idea about the BIOS. The manufacturers say not to mess with it unless you have a hardware problem that is specifically fixed by a particular update, and I agree with them.

Change the SATA cables if you haven’t done that already. I have had many strange problems that got fixed by changing SATA cables. Nowadays i seldom use used cables but always get a new cable when i need one. I don’t think SATA cables are very sturdy at all. I think the connector are made for 50 connections over its lifetime and that is VERY low in the connector world.
But yes, controllers can fail. All boards fail sooner or later.

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I have noticed certain heatsinks getting pretty hot, might see if it’s possible to remove them and change their thermal paste. Thanks.
I’ve minimised things to what it is in a usable state, it’s just where other things go wrong (like the PS/2 ports) and I can’t quite pinpoint what’s at fault.
I can’t remember what BIOS it shipped with, I’ve got a temptation to just revert it right back to the earliest version I can.

Actually had a SATA cable have to be replaced not long ago and not expensive to replace so if he has to buy one to try no worries about the wallet there.

For the Northbridge and that you can put fans directly blowing on them I believe to cool those down. Also in regards to trying different BIOSes nothing to lose by doing that. Another thing is have you tried replacing the CMOS battery? Do so if you have not. Finally risk vs reward … Do you want to continue to use certain hardware with this and have it take out other parts? I’d say if you want to tinker make sure you use low priority spare stuff or if you don’t have some get some.

PS: My son’s first pc was built with this exact brand and pretty much the same model motherboard and it has been off for awhile but going to keep it until it dies for sentimental reasons.

I’ve thrown away what were possibly okay SATA cables in the past due to using an SSD with this board. I initially had it installed in my laptop but it would blue screen or just not wakeup after I put it into sleep. I tested it with this board and it seemed okay, but then the problems started as mentioned above. I tried different cables, they would work in some ports but then fall fowl in others. I then blamed the SSD, but now it’s working fine in another PC.
I’ve just had one optical drive stop functioning on SATA 4. It ejected the CD and then just ceased to work, changed it to SATA 2 and it’s okay again. Now this board doesn’t run Parted Magic using Ultimate Boot CD. It works fine on other machines, but as soon as it ejects the CD it just hangs with a blinking cursor. It’s things like that that make me blame the board’s SATA ports.