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Computer Freezing problem.. motherboard related?

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June 17, 2003 7:25:26 PM

I am having a real problem with my pc. I have a p3 850mhz (100mhz FSB), and an Abit SE6 motherboard. I have 512 megs of Micron pc133 memory (2 x 128mb & 1 x 256mb). I have a Hercules Guillemont Geforce 2 GTS 64mb video card, and a Sound Blaster Live MP3 sound card. Now with that being said this is the problem.

In Windows XP Pro, I have never had problems before. Out of the blue my computer started freezing up last week at random times and in all different random programs. I have Norton Antivirus 2003 pro and do a full scheduled virus scan every night and I have no viruses. I thought it might be something software related so I reformatted my C: partition and reinstalled Windows XP pro. But the computer still freezes at all different times. So I started testing hardware. I first took out the video and sound card. Still froze up.. I then took out all 3 memory chips and put them into all different of the 3 slots... nothing.. still froze up. I then took the memory out of the computer and put it into another computer and ran Memtest86 version 3.0 and they were all fine. When I try running Memtest in the computer that keeps freezing, I get most of the way through the test and it freezes.. just stops doing anything. So I need to reboot. This happens on any of the 3 ram chips I have in there, and also on other ram chips from other computers.

So now I am starting to think that it is either my motherboard or my Cpu. I don't know what else it could be because I started at the software and then just started removing component by component. The only things I never removed were the harddrive, the cpu, and the motherboard. I ran scandisk on the harddrive through windows xp and it seemed fine. I have 3 partitions on the harddrive, c: (windows installation), d: (mp3's), and e: (misc. files)
I only reformatted c: and reinstalled windows xp.. I don't know if that matters or not.

So basically I am HOPING that somebody here knows of another test or something that I can perform or a reason why my comptuer would just out of the blue start freezing up at all different times and in all different programs. I has absolutely no pattern at all. I have diagnosed many different broken pc's before and this time I am baffled, I just CAN'T figure this one out. Any thoughts.. ?
June 17, 2003 7:46:44 PM

I'm running a system with an athlon xp 1700+ with windows xp, and im experiencing basically the same problem as you are. I'll run programs like media player or word, and the system will freeze up on me. At this point im pretty sure its a power issue. There are two things I'm going to try:

1) Increasing the Vcore voltage by .1 V to get some stability

2) Try using another power supply

I posted a thread recently "Motherboard issues" I believe it was called. Some good responses there. Hope this helps
June 17, 2003 9:41:42 PM

I concur. Borrow or buy a power supply and see if it goes away.
Related resources
June 18, 2003 3:03:39 AM

This is seeming to freeze now EVERY time I open Microsoft Outlook... but Outlook express works fine. But the computer will still frezze at other given points.. don't have any pattern at all... why would the power supply cause a system to freeze? And is there a way to definately verify it is the powersupply without changing it?
June 18, 2003 12:33:31 PM

A system can freeze up if the power supply, due to age, broken capacitor, etc cannot provide a precise voltage needed. For example, if your supply is varying by +/- 5%, and dips below a certain threshold voltage, your system will lock up.
At least that makes sense to me.
June 18, 2003 9:59:23 PM

heya Mixerman;

I would try and reset your Bios first there may be a setting in there causing system instability, the default factory settings should resolve the issue, if that doesnt do it then its your power supply, you simply dont have enough power, this can be caused by age or just flat out lack of power. If you do happen to get it running stable again go ahead and flash you Bios with the latest revision this may fix some timing problems, and allow the board to run more stable.

I hope this helps.

XeeN
June 19, 2003 1:34:13 AM

Okay guys.. well my system is being okay for a couple minutes right now.. that's how I am writing this posting. But I was noticing earlier that my fan on my heatsink is making some weird noises. It will make some not so pleasant noises almost like it is "bogging down" then it sounds like it speeds back up and is normal again.. weird stuff. I believe my heatsink and fan is a Golden Orb. So anyhow I decided to install Motherboard Monitor 5 to check out my temps, voltages, and fan speed. Now I don't know much about voltages really, and I let Motherboard Monitor configure the different volatage readings automatically for me so this is what I have going on.

I have an Abit SE6 motherboard, P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133 ram (2 x 256mb modules), and a generic 300watt PSU that came with my cheapo full tower case.

Please remember that these freezing problems only started within the last week or so.. I have been running my computer 24x7 for about the last 3 years now and never had any problems like this. I have also been using for the most part the same software. So anyhow, onto what my Motherboard Monitor Readings are..

-=Sensors=- *I don't know what sensor is for what actual device.. I have one of those little thermal cables sitting ontop of my Hercules 3d Prophet 2 GTS video card, but again don't know what sensor goes with what..
Sensor 1 = 37 thru 39 C (Winbond 1)
Sensor 2 = 36 thru 38 C (Winbond 2 Diode)
Sensor 3 = 35 C (Winbond 3)
I tried all these different settings on each sensor and only the above give me realistic results. (ie. Winbond 1, Winbond 1 2N3904, Winbond 1 Diode). The other settings where giving me crazy high numbers and setting off the alarms so I figured they were wrong.

-=CPU Speed=-
CPU = 853mhz

-=Fan Speed=-
Only one fan gave me readings so I guess this is corresponding to my heat sink fan. The other 3 fans I have are just case fans and I don't believe they give readings... at least I don't know how to get their readings anyway..
Fan 2 = 4623 - 4687

-=Voltages=-
Now I have no idea what these mean. If somebody would be nice enough to explain them to me and explain what they SHOULD or SHOULDN'T be I would appreciate it. This way I can also set alarms to monitor if they are working properly.
So here they are..

Core 0 = 1.58 thru 1.63 volts
Core 1 = 1.49 thru 1.52 volts
+3.3 = 3.20 thru 3.22 volts
+5.00 = 4.97 thru 5.03 volts
+12.00 = 12.04 thru 12.16 volts
-12.00 = -11.6 thru -11.78 volts
-5.00 = -5.14 thru 5.24 volts

So I am sure these readings can change while more memory intensive things are running. I was testing these settings with just 2 browser windows open and then I was playing an mp3, and they changed slightly, not much.. but basically the numbers above are as accurate as I can get for now. I am sure once I get a bunch of programs going at once the numbers might bounce around a little more, but I can't do that right now otherwise the computer will probally freeze. The two biggest culprits of freezing are when I open Microsoft Outlook XP and when I am playing a .mpeg video through Windows Media Player (If I manually fast foward and reverse this will usually cause the computer to freeze). But I haven't been able to open Microsoft Outlook in the last 2 days without the computer freezing.
So Please let me know what you think of these results and if you don't mind giving a little explanation on these indicators I would appreciate it. Thanks again for all the great help everybody.

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 19, 2003 3:14:54 AM

I also figured out how to create log files in Motherboard Monitor 5 so if you would like to see them I can put them on the web for you. Thanks

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 19, 2003 2:40:26 PM

Okay last night Motherboard Monitor gave me this alarm a couple of times.

-5 voltage rail went to -5.29 volts which is more than 5% difference.

This happened twice, and one of the times was in the middle of the night when the computer wasn't even running anything.

Is this normal? Does this mean I have a bad PSU and that this is why my computer has been freezing..

Please help!


My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 19, 2003 2:59:48 PM

Heya mixerman;

The alarm is a pretty good indication that you ARE having PSU problems, i would go ahead and replace the PSU with a TRUE 350 watt, you should be able to find one for a good price on PriceWatch.com , also if your CPU fan is doing what you describe then it needs cleaned, remove it and clean it real good with an old toothbrush, making sure the blades are clear of grit, also make sure your heatsink is clear of grit inbetween the cooling fins, you can use a toothpick, this should fix the problem.

Try cleaning the fan and heatsink first though it may not be properly cooling the CPU causing the instability, this may fix the problem intirely.

I hope this helps.

XeeN
June 19, 2003 3:17:16 PM

Okay I will do what you said... but I don't think the heatsink ISN'T properly cooling... my temp readings on my CPU are between 95 and 107 degrees farenheight. I would think that if it wasn't properly cooling it should be MUCH higher than that.


My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 19, 2003 4:14:27 PM

Heya Mixerman;

If it is running that cool its okay, but its always a good idea to matenance your computer from time to time anyway.

With that ruled out then its definately your power supply get a new one, you should be good.

I hope this helps.

XeeN
June 19, 2003 4:21:50 PM

okay how would you say it is DEFINATELY the power supply though? Do even the hight tech Antec's have voltage swings of 5% or a little more? Or should there be very little voltage variance, such as less than 2% voltage variance no matter what the CPU load is?

Could the variance in my voltage be due to the AC line coming into my hous? Or does this not make a difference?


My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 19, 2003 7:55:30 PM

Heya Mixerman;

The reason i think its your PSU is because you made mention of the fact that the voltage got out of acceptable tolerances.

Btw did you check to see if the fan on your PSU is working?

With that in mind i would think thats the problem, otherwise you can check your ram timings and make sure they are at factory specs, This can also cause instability, lock up or blue screen, or even not post at all...

I hope this helps.

XeeN

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by XeeNRecoiL on 06/19/03 03:57 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 19, 2003 8:04:05 PM

Okay two questions...

1.) How do I check my Ram timings and how do I know what they SHOULD be?

2.) I just ordered the Antec TrueControl550w PSU and it comes with this front panel where you can change the voltages and fan speed. Why would you need to change the voltages of the power supply such as the +3,+5,+12,-12,-5,-3 Voltages... I thought in Overclocking you are only conserned with your CPU's Core voltage.. and that is the only one you change or increase for higher performance.?

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 19, 2003 10:40:37 PM

Heya Mixerman;

You can check your ram timings by going into your advanced tab in your bios then into the chip config tab and look at the sdram config settings, if it is set to time it by SPD then whatever the SPD has it set at are the factory timings, im guessing the ram timings will be 2.5-3-3-6 but who knows, you can check for sure by going to crucials website...

as for your second question i havent a damnn clue i have never seen a power supply like that sorry...

I hope this helps.

XeeN
a b V Motherboard
June 20, 2003 2:04:53 AM

Your CPU core voltage was way to low, as a result of your 3.3V rail being way too low!

You wasted a lot of money on that big power supply, a more than adequate Fortron 350W unit would have set you back 32 clams at newegg.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
June 20, 2003 3:58:29 AM

how do you figure it's way to low? I read intel's site and it is right on the money with what they say the core voltage should be.

I brought this big power supply for future upgrades. If I was going to invest in something I wanted something that would last me for whatever future upgrades I planned on doing?
Crashman, why are you so down on Antec power supplies? I hear nothing but really good things about them, you are the only one thus far I have come accross which doesn't like them for some reason. I am not saying Fortron isn't good at all, I am just saying that I hear Antec is just as good, so I don't feel that it's a waste of money.

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
a b V Motherboard
June 20, 2003 4:45:41 AM

Your CPU vcore is supposed to be either 1.65v, 1.70v, or 1.75v, depending on revision. Also, your memory runs at 3.3v MINIMUM (while it's supposed to be 3.33v plus or minus 10%, most SDRAM only runs right at 3.30-3.50v with stability and low heat). Every system I've tested destabilized when the 3.3v line dropped to 3.2v.

Now on to Antec, every one of my 250W Antec power supplies would drop the 3.3v line to 3.2v on occasion (this was on PIII systems, which work fine with 250W power supplies). Some would even drop to 3.15v!

OK, now in response to:
Quote:
I am just saying that I hear Antec is just as good, so I don't feel that it's a waste of money.

Well, you were misinformed. You see, this is a popularity contest. "Antec is the biggest, so they must be the best". Whatever. They got to be the biggest by selling cheap crappy power supplies during the mid 1990's, and undercutting other brand names. They later addd the high end models, such as the True Power...which actually live up to their ratings. But since Fortron supplies EXCEED their ratings and COST less, Antec is still a poor value at the top, and junk at the bottom.

The reason I said it was a waste of money is that you're buying more power than you need. You could have gotten by with a Fortron 350W power supply, and with an actual peak output over 400W had around 100W to spare on that system. I know you plan to upgrade, but you could have gotten a more powerfull supply for the new system and left this one in tact. And the Fortron 530W power supply is still cheeper and more powerfull than the Antec True Power 550W.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
June 20, 2003 3:06:35 PM

Okay so you think it's my +3.3v line which is causing the computer freezing problems? And is it the +3.3v rail that made my Core Voltage drop down?

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
June 20, 2003 3:11:08 PM

I also found this... is this the revision thing you were talking about? I have the Coopermine P3 I believe..
http://www.sysopt.com/articles/p3oc/

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by mixerman on 06/20/03 11:59 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
June 20, 2003 3:50:49 PM

Heya mixerman;

i believe that your questions have been answered, your not going to find out any more information than has already been given to you, Crashman and i have tried to give you the best advice possible.
At this point there is nothing left to say, if you have not recieved an answer to your questions, try asking the appropriate question, it may yield better results.
this is the last time im going to post on this one, your not listening and or believing to the advice poeple are giving you, so why bother.

XeeN
June 20, 2003 4:13:46 PM

I don't know what you are talking about "Not taking advice".. I am listening to everything you guys are saying and am very appreciative of it. Believe me, I trust in what you and Crashman have told me. As for the PSU, I needed one ASAP and the only type I could get right away was either an Antec or an Enermax. I couldn't get a Fortron right away because they are in NewEgg which is in CA I believe, and I am on the East Coast. So I would have been waiting at least 4 days. I should have my Antec TrueControl550w this afternoon delivered to me and I paid about $115 for it ($100 for the PSU, $15 for shipping), at a place in NY.. http://www.compuplus.com/
So I don't thinks too bad. I could of ordered the Fortron 530 at New Egg for $70 and then $5 shipping, but this would of taken much longer to get to me and would keep my computer on the sidelines for a while (if the PSU is indeed the only problem).

I mainly am asking all these questions because I know you guys are very very smart with computer specs and overclocking and such, and I want to make sure I learn from those who do this often before I start trying things on my own. Can't afford to be blowing up my board and chip by doing some stupid voltage changes, etc. I find it impressive how you guys told me right away it's my PSU most likely and after some MBM 5 tests, it seems to be right on the money with what you said. This evening I will throw the PSU in there and hope that fixes the problem. I will definately post my results, and I can even give some MBM 5 before and after logs.. I will put them on the web so you guys can check out the voltage differences.. would this be good?

As for the p4 arena, I am still new to this and will be building a new p4 system in the next couple months. It could even be sooner if this new Antec PSU doesn't fix my problems. So I am just trying to learn from the pros, that's all.

Thanks again though for all your help, please don't think I am not taking your advice becaus I most certainly am. I am just asking questions to learn from people who really know thier Sh#$&*&

Thanks again

My system:
P3 850mhz (100fsb), 512 Micron PC133, Abit SE6, IBM Deskstar 75gxp (60 gig @ 7200rpm), Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS (64 meg), SB Live MP3, Pioneer 16x DVD, Asus 45x CD-Rom
a b V Motherboard
June 21, 2003 3:07:22 AM

All PIII 850's were Coppermine. There were different revisions, called "steppings", for the 850:

cB0, the original version, 1.65v
cC0, the second version, 1.70v
cD0, the third version, 1.75v

Now, a cDO might not run at that low a voltage stabley. Also I've seen a lot of memory destabilise at 3.20v. Ideally you want the 3.3v line to be 3.33-3.35v, but a little more than that improves stability even more. In fact, Asus sets their 3.3v line to 3.45v by default on their boards! For me, anything from 3.3v to 3.5v is perfect, the closer to 3.5v the better. Beyond 3.5v you get wasted heat without benefit, and beyond roughly 3.65v you risk shortening the life of some chips.

OK, now it looks fairly certain that low voltages on the 3.3v line are causing your instability. So that's the first thing I'd address.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
!