System Instability - GPU or PSU?

I've built a new system with the following setup:
MSI K8N Neo Platinum mobo
AMD64 3200+ CPU
Corsair ValueSelect 512mb DDR400 x2
IBM/Hitachi Deskstar SATA 160gb x2 (Raid 0)
Soundblaster Live
SIIG SCSI controller card (for cd-burner)
8/4/32/48 ATA DVD-RW/etc
Asus AGP-V7700 4x AGP GeForce2 GTS 32mb DDR video
Ultra brand 500W PSU

It all seems to be ok and the mobo/bios says everything is perfect. However, I get a lot of system instability in Windows XP SP2 (new install). They seem to all be related to the video card, too. I am *not* overclocking the machine.
I've installed the latest drivers for the GeForce but the problems persist, in fact they are worse with the "newer" (actually older and unsigned) Asus drivers.
As far as I can tell the Core Cell program that comes with the mobo is detecting proper voltages (how can I tell?) but the machine acts like it is having power problems (ie random lock-ups / reboots / video card artifacts) and I've got a lot of stuff plugged into the machine (including wireless keyboard & mouse and about 4 fans).
I think it's the video card, but how can I be sure? I'd rather not spend $200-$300 on a new card to find out I've plugged a wire wrong somewhere or that the PSU is faulty.


9 answers Last reply
More about system instability
  1. Try unplugging extra stuff and see if you gain stability. (CD-drives, extra case fans, etc.)

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  2. You're going to be a very unhappy camper with a 32mb vid-card on that rig anyway. It looks like the problem from here. Why put a Ford Escort 4 cyl engine in a Ferrari F40?

    Abit IS7 - 3.0C @ 3.6ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
    Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
    Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
  3. Interesting!

    I played with the BIOS settings and here's the results:

    BIOS settings:
    AGP 2.0: 1x/2x 4.0: 2x/4x

    When I boot into Windows the ASUS Smart Doctor program pops up saying:

    "Your VGA card voltage 3.3 is out of safe boundary. Motherboard doesn't supply reliable 3.3 voltage. Please contact with motherboard manufacturer for help."

    (with bad english and all)

    Here's the voltage specs it gives me:
    VDDQ: 1.48
    AGP BUS V1: 3.31

    Here's the voltage specs Core Center (MSI) gives me:
    1.49v Vcore
    3.31 3.3v
    4.92 +5v
    12.32 +12v

    What's up with that???

    The system seems ok for now... I still have not been able to play *any* 3d games (the the graphics are all just screwed up) but will try with these new BIOS and "danger" settings (according to Asus).

    Any suggestions welcome!!

    (Could it be my PSU?????)
  4. HA!

    Well.... today while working with my computer it was getting worse and worse with the random freezing (especially while doing anything requiring the video card). So I finally decided to try out a friend's 9600se and take out the GeForce2. I hit "shut down" in windows and it locked up in that state. I walked over and was opening up my friend's case when.. "ka-POW!!!!" came from across the room.
    I checked the PSU and the card for damage - none. But the machine was still running ok so I assume the PSU is fine. Pulled out the video card, put in the 9600 and the machine ran like a dream.
  5. Consider yourself lucky! Anytime your rig goes "Ka-POW" and survives is a small miracle! Ka-Pow might mean a power supply failure is in the very near future. Check all the tops of the capacitors too for splitting or bulging.

    Abit IS7 - 3.0C @ 3.6ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
    Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
    Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
  6. I opened up the PSU and couldn't find any signs of damage anywhere...
    Voltages are all showing as perfect and the machine (with a new 6800 card I just bought) is running beautifully.

    Maybe later I'll do a more thorough inspection of the PSU.
  7. Computers don't go "ka-POW" without something having broken!

    If you value your investments you should tear down the system now and find what has broken!

    It's probably a blown capacitor, as someone already mentioned.

    <b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>
  8. I pity the fool who buys your old stuff.

    Try everything...
    Do not be afraid of failure, for this is how we learn and grow...
    Live life to the fullest...
    Do not regret what you have not yet done!!!
  9. the GF2 is going in the trash...
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