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Constant reboot- Is motherboard the source?

Last response: in Motherboards
March 5, 2005 6:27:12 PM

Note- I've posted this in another forum too, but I wanted it here since there is a sad chance my motherboard could be the source as I've already replaced my processor. Thank you for your help in advance!

I have been having incredible difficulty with my computer since I first built it two years ago, and replacement of parts up until now has not fixed it. I am one step short of just bringing it in and paying $100 to have the problem diagnosed, but this forum has never failed me in the past- so I want to try asking for help.

Here's my basic computer specs (I know there is a file I can get with details on my system, but I forget how to- if you need it, let me know, and I'll get it)

Motherboard- Soyo Dragon KT400 Platinum
Processor- AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (333 mhz fsb)
RAM- 2x500mb 400mhz dual channel DDR /w ultra cooling copper heat spreader on each
Graphics card- Radeon 9500 128 megs VRAM
Western Digital WD800JB (80 gig 7500 RPM (whatever the normal RPM is, that's it))
DVD drive- Sony DVD RW DRU-530A
Heatsink used- ThermalRight SI-97 with Vantec Tornado 92mm fan and Arctic Silver 5 thermal conductor paste used
Sound Card- SB Audigy 2
OS- Windows XP SP2
Antivirus and firewall- Norton Systemworks

*takes breath* Whew, okay, that should be a good summary. Here's the problem- sounds simple, but it's hard as hell to figure out. My computer simply restarts- one short beep and it restarts, often I have to turn it off and on again manually as it will just sit blank for a bit, but eventually I think it restarts on its own. This happens when 1) I am web-browsing, sometimes at certain webpages it will just restart. 2) Playing more recent games. Diablo II it never resets on... playing more recent ones, however, especially ones that utilize the power I bought it for, it will regularly restart. Particularly strong 3D games like Rome: Total War. Any 3D game, you name it. 3) It used to happen with burning DVDs when I used my previous processor, AMD AThlon 2500+ but doesn't happen so much now. 4) Almost always resets when I do a full virus scan, and used to reset when I installed large games on my hard disk before I upgraded the processor. Now, just virus- I put the computer in safe mode, and (after rebooting a few times trying to start safe mode) it usually works. My computer is, according to Norton Systemworks, completely virus free, btw.

Here's what I've replaced: I started with an AMD Athlon 2500+ with the HS/Fan that came with it, and upgraded to AMD Athlon 3000+ 333 mhz with my own fan/heatsink. The fan RPM is over 5000, which is good from what I know. The case side has little in the way of air holes, but there is a 92 mm fan on back sucking air in. 400 watt power supply. Due to driver problems I didn't want to pull my hair out getting over, I use an ethernet card instead of the motherboard's.

So, that's the basic state of things. My problem: what is causing these reboots? Why can't my system be stable or handle the kind of loads an AMD Athlon XP should handle without problem? My system temp seems to be okay- when it shut down last, the temp was 107 deg F. It usually runs around 98 F on start-up. I tried lowering the FSB mhz speed, but it won't start up properly unless I have it at 166 mhz (erm, the setting that lets it run at 333 mhz... I forget the terms, but my motherboard has built in settings to let me overclock (which I DO NOT DO) and adjust settings). The heatsink and fan I have SHOULD be more than enough to keep this baby cool.

Goal- I want to find out what is wrong. If I can't fix it, I'll replace whatever needs to be replace. Hard disk file problems? I'll reformat (if I ABSOLUTELY have to), or replace hard disk (what I will probably do if old HD has problems). need new graphics card? Fine. New motherboard? If I have to, I'll save up for it. New case for better air circulation? Sure, no prob. But what I won't do is replace everything randomly until I find out what is wrong.

Any ideas? What info can I give to help you aide me in assessing the problem? This reset issue has gone on since the system was first put together by me- and I had a professional tech look it over and make sure eveything was put together correctly during config one (before I upgraded processor).

Most sincerely,
March 5, 2005 9:30:54 PM

What OS are you running? Sounds like a memory or power problem. Log your voltages and temps and let us know what they are. Run <A HREF="" target="_new">Memtest86+</A> and let us know if you get errors. You'll have to put it on a floppy and it should run at a reboot. If you don't get any errors with memtest, then run <A HREF="" target="_new">SiSoft Sandra</A> when in windows. Disable the auto reboot function and you should get a BSOD instead of a reboot next time. Let us know the errors that are reported on the BSOD.

:tongue: <font color=red>Have you read the FAQ? Searched for other posts on this topic?</font color=red>
March 6, 2005 2:52:44 AM

I have some information for you that should be helpful. First of all, thank you for your advice- you've given me a lot of helpful things to try! I'm going to run the memory test while I sleep, but I can tell you right off that I bought and installed the memory in January and had the company that shipped it perform (at my expense, I will add) a memory test to ensure it all worked perfectly. So, I doubt a RAM problem at the least. I'm predicting the memory test should pass fine.

Next, the info! I have recorded the temp and voltage information IN DETAIL. Hope this helps, let me know what you think.

Cpu external temp- 34 cel
CHA temp- 32 cel
CPU temp on die- 45 cel
CPU fan speed- 5443 RPM

Vcore- 1.63v
+3.3v= 3.20v
+5v= 4.81v
+12v= 12.48v

DDR voltage= 2.48v
AGP voltage= 1.45v

I will try the SiSoft tomorrow after finishing the memory test, and report what comes to you guys. Thank you again.

Related resources
March 6, 2005 3:38:37 AM

Do you have the most up to date drivers and BIOS? What PSU do you have in the system? Generic?

<A HREF="" target="_new">MBM5</A> has a logging feature for volts. It gives the high/low/avg. Log the volts and if it reboots, then tell us what the volts were at reboot. Your temps look ok. Is it safe to assume that these were taken while the system was at idle? What are they like at full load? That 3.3 line looks a little low.

:tongue: <font color=red>Have you read the FAQ? Searched for other posts on this topic?</font color=red>
March 6, 2005 3:49:00 AM

I am going to bet the farm that your problem is the PSU and has been the whole time. You didnt say what brand it was. The # of watts doesnt mean anything if it is not a high quality PSU. The PSU is one of the most often looked over components. The truth is however that your system is only as good as the PSU that is powering it. That 5V rail is way off. If the readings are correct this is probably the problem. Post the brand and model #.

March 6, 2005 6:16:34 AM

Your voltages are low. It's not the psu that worries me though. It's the mobo supplied voltages that are terrible. Cpu min is 1.65, agp min is 1.5 and v-dimm min is 2.6. These are minimum values. Anything below that just doesn't cut it. Yours are all below minimum. Either the v-core or the v-dimm could cause your problem. Raise them bothe.
March 6, 2005 12:49:54 PM

All your help is so deeply appreciated!
My power supply is- ColorCases. Model: SZ-450WP4.

I'm going to go into my system setup and see if I can raise the voltage settings as another fellow recommended (I didn't know I could do this, but I shall try! Any suggestions always welcome). If you feel this power supply is a potential problem, just let me know- and advice about what a good brand to use to replace it with is always helpful!

March 6, 2005 1:04:30 PM

The temp and voltages I gave you were given through my setup menu (so I guess that would be idle), but shortly after I manually reset while I was burning a DVD so it had been "warmed up and run" so to speak.

I have adjusted my voltage settings to the minimums recommended above, and I'm thinking that should help too. Also, due to advice given in the CPU forum, I took my SoundBlaster Audigy 2 out- since they said SB seems to conflict with many VIA chipsets. So far, so good, but only so far.

March 6, 2005 1:06:12 PM

I raised all three settings to the min you recommended- previously the motherboard was set to "auto". Question- should I only have these settings at "min"? Should I try raising them any higher- what determines the best voltage and what effects does it have? Should I keep them just above the min settings, as I have them now, or should I probe higher- if so, how?

Thanks for your advice, my friend!
March 6, 2005 1:07:43 PM

"Me": Could it be that the PSU is struggling to give the power that the system needs? His voltages are low across the board and that seems to indicate a PSU issue instead of a settings issue.

Coro: If I were buying a PSU right now, then I would go with something like the <A HREF="" target="_new">Fortron Blue Storm 500W</A>. Don't take my word - read up on <A HREF="" target="_new">ATX12V v2.0</A> and THG's<A HREF="" target="_new">Power Supply Review</A>.

:tongue: <font color=red>Have you read the FAQ? Searched for other posts on this topic?</font color=red>
March 6, 2005 1:07:52 PM

Sorry, one final question I forgot to answer- yes, I have downloaded from SOYO the most recent motherboard drivers. I did that a while ago, more than once even. I've tried my best to keep ALL my drivers up-to-date!

March 6, 2005 8:03:59 PM

Have you flashed to the most recent BIOS?

:tongue: <font color=red>Have you read the FAQ? Searched for other posts on this topic?</font color=red>
March 7, 2005 12:51:43 AM

I was thinking the same thing.

March 7, 2005 12:58:23 AM

First you need to post what the voltage reading are when they are set to the stock settings. You can definetly go higher, but you dont want to damage the board or components so keep psting the readings so that we can help you decide whats going to be about right. Alot of the time, the voltages will be slightly low for the Vcore and it will take a slight bump of voltage to get it where it needs to be. Im going to check that PSU out, im not familiar with it. Oh, this is just a suggestion but you may want to limit the # of forums that you get advise from at one time. I have found that when you have 3 or 4 different post in seperate forums it can cause to much confusion. Im not suggesting one over the other, just be careful not to jump from one thing to another.

March 7, 2005 1:01:08 AM

One more thing, be sure that you fully understand how to flash the BIOS before doing it. If you screw up it will be bad. I just noticed that you are using a SOYO board. They are famous for not supplying enough voltage per component. I know this bcause I have one myself.