System Freezing in 3D games

Hola folks!

I've been tearing out my hair for some time now trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my system. Essentially, whenever I go to play a 3D game (which all are now, more or less) I am either dropped back to the desktop or the game freezes the computer.

This is random, but constant. I can be on for five seconds or an hour, but eventually, it is going to happen. I've several games now that I can't even run (No one lives forever, Mechwarrior 4) and it is something of a serious frustration.

Here is my configuration, as best I can tell. If more information is needed, ply me, as I'm desperate.

Soyo MB 5EMA+ v1.0
AMD K6+ 3D 450mhz
Cardexpert Geforce 2MX, 32meg
Sounblaster LIVE! value
384 megs PC100 RAM
Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1302
Imation CD-RW IMW040420
Western Digital 7200 RPM 13gig HD
US Robotics 56k Voice Win modem

That's about everything of relevance that I can think of that would matter.

To date, I have replaced the video card (from a Creative Labs Annihilator Pro) the sound card (from a very crappy Yamaha 3D) and I have pulled all my memory (three 64meg PC100 chips) and went from 192 RAM to 384 RAM.

Of course I thought those upgrades would take care of my problem, and they haven't. That leaves me to think that it is either my chipset or the motherboard or both.

I have gone to the website and have looked for a newer bios, but there isn't a flash needed for my version.

For the chipset, I've been told to turn off the Cache Internal and External to see if it would run without crashing, but after twenty minutes of still waiting for my OS to boot, I figured that wasn't going to happen, so I enabled them again.

Now originally when I put this system together, I had problems with my modem installing and working properly, and found that there was a conflict of sorts, and that I fixed that by disabling Comunications Port (COM1). I'm not sure if that has something to do with the problems I'm facing but it's a thought.

Now, to date, along with replacing all of this and updating to the latest drivers all around (I believe so anyhow) I have also pulled both the modem and the sound-card on the off chance that they were causing the problem. Even with them out, I'm still having the trouble.

If anyone can help, I will happily take any and all advice. I'm ready to buy a new chip and or motherboard but right now it just comes down to the principal of it all. I want to know what the hell is going on here (smile).

Thanks for any and all comments, suggestions and help!
19 answers Last reply
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  1. i know i sound like i am echoing but check you power supply for fuzz. if it gets to hot the voltage regulators may be shutting down long enough to shed some load.

    who is more foolish...
    the fool, or the fool that takes his advice?
  2. Hi,

    Bummer of a problem.
    Perhaps try a fresh install of Windows with minimal cards & drivers insatlled on a different HD/partition (clean install and easily discarded). I'm guessing that this is not Windows/vid-card Driver related, as you've changed the vid card, but safer to cover all the possibilities.

    I had a similar problem with a Monster 3D-II - bugged me for ages, turned out to be a driver problem! Reinstalled an old driver and all was OK. DirectX can be a pain too, check which version you've got and try a different one.

    Perhaps another thing to check are your fans: are they all working OK - CPU/mobo/ram/other bits might be getting a bit warm when stressed. Try running an intensive non-3D app (e.g. seti@home) for a long time to see if you can make it fall over out of 3D.


  3. Thanks for the advice Mootin and Boxcarwillie.

    I have done everything from format the HD to installing different OS system (WIN ME, which I found to be a hog, and uninstalled). The drivers have been updated constantly, and the latest DX driver I'm using is 8 (fresh off Microsoft server).

    As for the fans and power supply, all are clean. I regularly open up the case (mainly cause I'm fiddling so much trying to fix this damn problem) and clean it out with canned-air. Everything is lint free and turning, so I think I can rule out problem.

    As for running non-3D programs, I can do that all day and not have a problem. Every once in a while I'll have an issue with MS Explorer but that just comes with the territory.

    I got to thinking today that perhaps it is something in the BIOS that I am missing. Tooled around in there for a bit and saw that my AGP-2X was disabled, I quickly changed that.
    I thought for a while that did the trick, as I quickly got into No one lives forever and played it for upwards of an hour, which had never happened before, then, right back to where we started. It froze, then when I rebooted, I was crashing ASAP upon entering the game.

    Also I have heard that I should perhaps turn off Video BIOS shadowing. I have, but that didn't do the trick, so I just turned it back on.

    Any other ideas folks? I'm desperate, and most certainly frustrated.
  4. SB Live wants to load its 16 bit drivers at boot; prevent this from happening.
    IRQ 5, mebe.

    Or you could be describing an heating/psu problem...

    <b><font color=blue>Brainy Sturgeon</b></font color=blue>
  5. Once again folks, thanks for the replies, this is definitly helpful, even if it only serves to narrow down my problems.

    Now, it may just be early, and I am having a complete brain meltdown, but I'm a little lost on how I can stop SB LIVE from loading it's 16bit drivers.

    As for setting the sound card to IRQ 5, I don't believe I have ever actually forced anything onto a particular setting, other than perhaps COM or something. Could you fill me in ... laymans terms (smile)?

    I've been wondering if perhaps all of you are right about the heating problem as that seems to be a recurring theme I am hearing here. As I see it, I've got a fan on the processor, the fan from the power unit and an additional fan in the front of the case. All are working, is it possible that I'm missing something here?

    On another note, I was given this paste (it's about the best way to describe it) by someone that said it would help cool down the chip and that I was to smear some of it on top of the CPU and then place the fan back in place. I've been hesitant to do this. Has anyone else heard of this, much less done it?

    Also, if it was a heating problem (such as when I had the voltage too high on the motherboard when I first put it together, and had to take some time to find since it kept rebooting the machine cause it overheated), wouldn't it happen all the time, instead of in just games? Perhaps I'm not making the connection.

    Lastly (shoot me, I haven't had my coffee yet), I'm having a brain drain. PSU. Power Source Unit?

    Again, thanks for the help folks, any and all advice will be followed up on as it's come down to the principle of not letting this damn thing beat me (smile)!
  6. I comes down to the principle of the situation now (smile). I've pretty much changed everything else out, hardware and software, and I'll be damned if it's working quite yet.

    I AM going to get another motherboard (btw, you don't even want to know how long it took me to figure out that MOBO stood for motherboard) and processor but in the end I would like to take the two that I'm replacing and place them in my wifes computer, which is in need up upgrading, and this would do just the trick for her.

    So it comes down to me wanting to actually know what the hell is the problem as well as wanting to re-use the components in another system.

    (pulling hair out) Grrr ....
  7. disable sb16 in the device manager. right click on it and choose properties and check the disable box.

    This was posted solely to increase my post count and may not contain any relevant info
  8. Now if I am reading this correctly, this will disable the soundcard itself, thus getting me no sound. If I'm wrong, please tell me where I took a left turn.

    I think Uncoando was suggesting getting rid of, or turning off the SB16 drivers elsewhere, where I'm not sure (thus my reason for asking), and still keeping the system going.

    Someone want to clear me up here?
  9. I have read on several posts that people have been having similar problems with DX8, seems it conflicts with quite a few games, GO back to DX7 and see if it makes a difference.

    Life is a lesson, You learn it when youre through
  10. Alright, the latest and greatest in this rollercoaster ride (sigh).

    I have taken the advice of many of you and I have done the following. Disabled the 16bit drivers for the Soundblaster LIVE! Uninstalled DX8 and reinstalled DX7a. Flashed my motherboard BIOS to the latest and greatest.

    Still the problems persist. Anyone else have a clue?
  11. Have you tried putting your stuff in a different motherboard? If it works there, then you motherboard may need to be returned.
  12. As of yet, no I haven't tried either a new motherboard or a processor. The system is a little over a year old and hadn't got much use in the way of gaming until recently, thus finding this little problem of mine here.

    At this point, it would take either me buying a new motherboard and fiddling with it, or dropping it off with some tech-geek with the parts to see what's wrong with it. Either way it's more money than I really wanted to spend (sigh). In the end though, I think I might just have to do that.
  13. Sorry I was unclear. SB16 wants to occupy IRQ 5.
    What Bubba said...sb16 are the sound card's DOS emulation drivers, disabling in device manager will prevent your SB live from loading its real mode drivers, no big thing.
    You can also REM the sb dos drive statement in autoexec.bat.

    PSU=power supply unit
    thermal paste will help heat dissipate from the cpu to the heat sink.

    <b><font color=blue>Brainy Sturgeon</b></font color=blue>
  14. Frustrated--

    Many of the replies address possible reasons and fixes to your 'frustration'.

    Your mentioning of the 'paste' may well be the key to your problem--I'm amazed nobody else noticed this.

    The paste is quite likely heatsink paste, which functions --in simple terms--to provide an even, continuous layer of contact between the heatsink and CPU. It serves to help maximize the transfer of heat from the CPU to the heatsink (when applied properly).

    The reason that you didn't run into problems when running productivity/web browser applications was due to the fact that these programs aren't usually CPU intensive. 3D games are--often to the max! More activity, more heat.

    All you need to do is remove the heatsink; apply a smallish gob of the paste to the CPU; even it out with a razor blade or credit card to a thin, somewhat translucent layer (a too thick layer is almost as bad as no paste at all); reattach the heatsink. Remember to always use proper anti-static procedures.

    If you still have lock-up problems, you may need a better heatsink/fan combination.

    I hope this helps.
  15. Bahngeist-

    Thanks for the reply. I went ahead and took your advice and pulled the heatsink and applied some of that paste (never heard of it before, but thanks for clearing that up on me). After a bit of finagling, and a lot of cussing, I finally managed to get that damn heatsink back on (that was a bitch).

    Still though, the problem persists. I'm thinking it's come down to the point now that it's hardware of either the motherboard or the chipset. I honestly can't think of a damn thing that I haven't done as of yet.
  16. There appears to be a new 4-in-1 driver, ver. 4.28a, and a BIOS upgrade for your motherboard . Have you tried these?

    4-in-1 drivers

    BIOS upgrade (Download AWDFLASH.EXE then select 586 BIOS Upgrades)
  17. Please do not try and replace any of your hardware anymore. I have had the exact same problem with my A7V / Athlon 1Ghz on Win98SE. I have seen a bug fix posted on the AMD site that fixed a WinBench 3D on Win2000. They stated that sometimes while running the WinBench 3D benchmark the system would lock up. That is my and your problem exactly. I am going to upgrade to Win2000 and apply the registry patch that they supply:

    Let you know.

    :wink: <font color=red>Im</font color=red><font color=green>Em</font color=green><font color=blue>PeD</font color=blue>
  18. The patch is for Athlon/Duron only. Frustrated has a K6-3+
  19. My post was not a post for his particular fix but just to point out that after all that AMD had found registry errors in Win2k running Athlon/Duron. So what I was trying to get to is that maybe there is more to his problem than hardware and bios configurations more to OS problems. Sorry to confuse you try better next time not to.

    :wink: <font color=red>Im</font color=red><font color=green>Em</font color=green><font color=blue>PeD</font color=blue>
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