at the end of my rope/IDE cable :)

hi all!

first-time poster, and really hoping i can get some help from the collective wisdom here. my system is very unstable. it either hard-locks (have to re-set or power right down, including the power switch at the back of the case), or it randomly reboots (the hard lock usually happens either in the middle of an app, or if i go away and let the computer go to "sleep"..i.e. shut the display off...rebooting usually happens during a game...no, no particular game, ANY game). before i go any further, here are my specs:

asus a7s333 mobo
amd xp 1600+ chip
512mb ddr ram
geforce 4 ti4200 vid card
audigy 1 soundcard
maxtor 40 gig hard drive
liteon burnproof cdrw
dlink network card
daytek 95p monitor
smc wireless router (i'm hardwired into it, as is another PC on my homelan, with 2 other PCs using wireless network cards)
400 watt PS
OS-win98se w/all the latest updates incl. directx9.0b (or whatever the latest is)
BIOS-updated to the latest for my mother board...have also updated to the latest SIS AGP drivers for my mother board.

things i have already done (in no particular order...it's late and i feel like i've been banging my head against a brick wall :) ):
-swapped memory with another system that has same mobo.
-ran memtest 86 on current memory and memory borrowed from other system
-reinstalled OS (win98se)
-fdisked and formatted hard drive (after running every imaginable maxtor utility i could download to verify it WASN'T a hard drive problem)
-moved cards around in my pci slots to eliminate possible conflicts
-checked if it was a heat problem (all monitoring programs say no...to be on the safe side, took out chip and cleaned and re-applied arctic silver)
-tried changing powerbars
-tried plugging into a different electrical outlet
-ran the system w/o cd-rw plugged in (ya never know)
-reinstalled video and soundcard drivers
-uninstalled most recent windows update updates (but left IE and OE 6)
-tried using different plug-ins off my power supply
-tried using different IDE cables..and configurations (master/slaved HD/CDRW; configured both as masters in primary/secondary IDE channels; right now, have the HD as primary master and CDRW as secondary slave)

that's all i can remember having done right now. the only things i can think it would be now are:
1) power supply is bad
2) mobo is bad
3) case is bad
4) processor is bad

none of the things i've already done made a LICK of difference...system crashes many times a day, and at, because murphy rules, the most inopportune times. luckily, it's mostly a games machine, and not one i do much work on...but i do do SOME work on it...and this is driving me nuts!!!! the other machines on my LAN are ROCK-SOLID...so i'm, literally...at the end of my IDE cable. any help would be HUGE!

thanks a million!
steve in canada
17 answers Last reply
More about rope cable
  1. I'm not really sure what could be wrong with your case. And if the computer boots, I don't think the CPU is bad. I would guess the problem is with your motherboard or power then.

    First, I'd check out the Asus Probe (<A HREF="http://www.asus.com/support/download/item.aspx?ModelName=Tools&Type=Latest" target="_new">link</A>). You might already have it, that's good. Watch the voltages in the voltage monitor. If they spike or the numbers aren't within 5% or so of what they should be, then your PSU is probably crapping out. If you want, you can turn on the record history option in that program and then check the voltage, temps, and fans after it crashes. This might give you some useful data.

    If your power supply is fine, I would guess that you just got a bad motherboard. Hope someone can give you more useful information. Good luck.
  2. Does seem like a PSU issue. You say it's a 400W unit, is it a generic unit that came with the case or a branded (i.e Antec, Enermax , Fortron etc) unit? You could always rip a PSU out of one of the other machines on your LAN that you say are stable and use that to prove the point. If the fault goes away, buy a new PSU, but get a good brand name. Top name doing the rounds in here is the Fortron, great value and superb output.

    <font color=blue>"If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain. Do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits.” - David Brent</font color=blue>
  3. i've run asus probe before..but since it didn't sound off with alarms, bells and whistles, i THOUGHT everything was fine. as per the advice of another member in one of the other forums here, i downloaded motherboardmonitor, and ran it...crashed within about 15 minutes, but hopefully i got some useful in the log.txt file i can check when it get home. i'll post it here, in hopes of getting some more expert input :)
    thanks guys!
  4. to robd:
    it's a generic piece o'crap US-can (that's the brandname) power supply in the machine. i'm gonna swap it out when i get home from work (ran motherboard monitor this morning...hopefully for long enough before it crashed to get some useful info that i'll post here) for a PS from one of the other computers on my LAN. it's only 300w tho...but is currently running an amd duron 750, so i'm hoping that's enough juice. is it?
    thanks!
    steve
  5. I reckon it'll suffice long enough for you to do the test and prove where the fault lies. I'm currently using my old 300w generic that came bundled in the case (AMD approved though) while my other one is on loan (for another similar test to yours). I have the same board as you, R8500pro, XP2200+ etc etc, so with any luck, it should be able to provide you with a long enough comparison. Good luck, post back to let us know.

    <font color=blue>"If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain. Do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits.” - David Brent</font color=blue>
  6. thanks again robd!
    the reason i called my PS a piece o'crap is cuz i ran into a bad one (same brand) about a year ago from the same tech-shop (which i've since quit going to...a few other problems as well). don't ya just hate being at work when you've got a PC you'd much rather be trouble-shooting :)
  7. what follows is the log txt file i got after running mbm5 this morning...notice it ran for less than minute before my computer crashed :) hope someone who knows more than me can make heads or tails of the following numbers. here goes:
    +---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
    | | | | Case | CPU | Sensor 3 | Core 0 | Core 1 | +3.3 | +5.00 | +12.00 | -12.00 | -5.00 | Fan 1 | Fan 2 | Fan 3 |
    +---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
    | 1/5/04 | 8:51:26 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5113 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:51:21 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5113 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:51:16 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:51:11 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:51:06 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:51:01 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:50:56 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:50:51 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:50:46 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
    | 1/5/04 | 8:50:41 AM | 1399 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.79 V | 2.50 V | 1.65 V | 4.91 V | 11.88 V | -5.84 V | 0.00 V | 0 RPM | 5192 RPM | 0 RPM |
  8. and the drama continues :)
    so, after swapping out my 400w psu for the 300w psu in another system in my
    homeLAN that is stable I (when i took it out of this other machine, i was
    amazed at how much stuff i have plugged into that 750mhz duron system [3hds
    for example], that i should probably have the 400 in it:), i was still
    getting reboots (the game i'm using to make it crash right now is diablo 2).
    what typically happens is right after i start the game (as soon as i load up
    a character and start running around, within about 30 seconds) the computer
    reboots. and it happened even after swapping out my PSU. so on the advice of someone in another forum i frequent, i went into the bios after the system had rebooted, and throttled
    back my cpu from 1400 mhz to 1050 (which knocked by FSB from 133 down to
    100). now, usually, when it reboots, and i try to go back in and play
    diablo2, it'll just keep rebooting until i power every thing down (including
    switching off the PSU itself), and leave the machine off for awhile. BUT
    NOT THIS TIME!?! i was able to get back in and play for a good 15 minuters.
    i'm gonna to leave the computer on overnight, and see if it's still running
    in the morning. good night... :)
    btw the voltage readings on the 400psu and the 300psu, according to
    MotherBoardMonitor are exactly the same...for whatever THAT'S
    worth...hehehehe so, if it's still running tomorrow morning, am i looking at a CPU problem
    possibly? or mobo?
    thanks all!!!!
  9. an update.
    so i get up this morning, and, yes, computer had crashed. i turned off power-saving features like monitor and hard-drive shutdown days ago, just on the off-chance that was what was giving me my grief. but i did power off the monitor physically before going to bed last night. when i turned the monitor on this morning, the green light came on briefly..then it went to a solid amber light, with no display. hit the reset button, got a post-code (damn, just realized i should have listened to the post-code..ooops..next time...i THINK it might have been 2 beeps), and the hard drive light came on, but still no display. so i powered it down, swapped the power supplies again (my 10 year old will be VERY happy :), and powered her back up. went to the bios immediately (whenever i have one of these hard crashes, it ALWAYS does that, telling me PC had hung on boot-up because of an improper CPU setting). i set it back to 1400/133fsb (amd recommended settings btw) from 1050/100fsb (which obviously didn't make the system any more stable). i'm now posting this while the computer's still running. funny thing is, i seem to be able to work in windows mostly fine (altho i have had the odd reboot while running IE6), but the soft reboot crash happens primarily in games. the either complete freeze (where i can see the desktop, but nothing responds, including the mouse and keyboard), or the display refuses to come on, usually only happens after i leave the PC on for several hours (i say several because this is what seems to happen each time i leave it on overnight...i WOULD stay up all night if it wasn't for that damn thing called a job :)
    anyway, all the advice i've recieved so far has been VERY helpful..plz keep advising...i'll listen ;->
    thx again!
  10. so i left for work this am with the computer in safe mode...got home and it had crashed (frozen desktop). hit reset, back into windows, was checking the forums, couple of newsgroups, when BLAM rebooted again. as it was booting up, i powered the machine down, and swapped my xp1600+ chip for a 1.2 duron in another machine i have with the same mobo that by comparison is rock-solid. gonna leave that in overnight and see if it's crashed again by morning. btw, what does chip damage look like? reason i ask is when i flip over my 1600+, there are these marks that look like carbon-scoring on a star wars spaceship, very tiny, in the "no prongs"-area in the centre. could that be sign of a damaged chip?
    thanks again,
    steve
  11. Sounds like a good move, go for it. Can't hurt, right? I was bloody convinced it was PSU. Oh well....

    Oh, and don't forget to alter to bus speed in the BIOS for the Duron. Those markings on the chip <i>could</i> be damage. Get a can of compressed air and try a quick burst. If it is slight burning, it'll still be there. Can't hurt to clear all the dust out of your case anyways.

    <font color=blue>"If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain. Do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits.” - David Brent</font color=blue>
  12. so i get up this morning and, lo and behold, for the first time in recent memory, the computer's still running! looks like swapping the chip did the trick. gotta run for work...will leave PC running all day, see if it's still usable when i get home tonight!
  13. They say no news is good news. Sounds like everything's still running OK, which is great. Time to get a new CPU then.

    <font color=blue>"If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain. Do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of tits.” - David Brent</font color=blue>
  14. ahh if only twere that simple robd :)
    further to that last post of mine, it crashed again (reboot while playing a game this time)...after getting back into windows, it started rebooting whenever i tried to surf the net. so, in desperation, i powered it down this morning, pulled out everything BUT the keyboard and videocard, booted into the bios, powered off the monitor, and went to work. got home, powered on the monitor, and, lo and behold, IT HAD CRASHED! :) anyhoo, i have no idea what's going on. maybe it's time to turf both the CPU and mobo and start over again. on the off chance (and despite the fact i already thought i troubleshot the possibility the juice coming out of the wall in my computer room was dodgy by running an extension cord into another room), i moved the whole computer, kit and kaboodle, down the hall to my son's room tonight. i unplugged everything from his outlet, and plugged my pc into it. power management's off in both the bios and in windows, so let's see what the morning brings :)
    thanks again robd!
    steve
  15. It's a good one this, I have to say. One other thing to try. Take the RAM out of the known good machine and whack it into this one and see what happens. I had something similar with my previous machine. RAM would always pass the tests with flying colours, but would cause random lockups and reboots. Swapped it out with another known working DIMM and hey presto, problem solved. Give that a try.

    <font color=blue>"Look, I know it's old-fashioned, but I'm from the school that believes if God intended us to fly, he wouldn't have invented Spanish air traffic control" - Dave Lister</font color=blue>
  16. I read this topic and it just sounds too weird to be just one thing. What did you try to rule out the mobo? The mobo has just so many components which do different things it can usually be the cause of any problem. Swap the mobo with a friend.

    Got a nice overclocked overvolted system to keep you warm at night? That's great. Guess I'll have to settle for a woman...
  17. my experiment with moving the computer down the hall is far good. i moved it last night, left it running all night just sitting at the desktop (power management disabled in both bios and in windows), with the monitor on. got up this morning and it was still running. now, for about 3 hours, i've had diablo 2 running with 3 windows explorer windows open, no crashes. so i've run some cable down the hall from my old computer room, plugged the PC now in my son's room into the router, and have net access. so i'm going out to run some errands with the wife now, and will leave D2, IE6, OE, and an explorer window open. only thing that's not plugged in now are my speakers :)
    steve
    ps i did try swapping the ram out...still crashed...and the 512 stick ran like a dream for the 24 hours i had it in my son's machine :) like ya said, a good one, this one. if it weren't for my current financial situation (new baby, wife off on mat leave), i'd have just bought a new mobo and chip weeks ago :)
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