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Help me fix my PC

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November 15, 2005 7:13:10 AM

My computer has been freezing with increasing frequency lately. At first it just started out during video games, where my computer would just freeze where you cant even use Ctrl-Alt-Del to exit. No response whatsoever. Now, it seems that it occurs when doing anything on this PC.

I have already reformatted and reinstalled windows and this has not helped. Benchmark and diagnostic software which I run also cause the PC to freeze.

I had already run Memtest86 in DOS, where it reported 6 errors. So, I had the RAM replaced under warranty. However, Memtest86 also reports the new RAM also has errors. Memtest86 also crashes sometimes when run.

I also ran Windows Memory Diagnostic (link http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp) but this program says the new RAM is fine. So whose test results should I believe ?

Here are my system specs: (all run on stock, no Overclocking)
-1.3 Duron
-ABit KV7
-256MB DDR400 running at 233
-MSI GeForce FX5200

More about : fix

November 15, 2005 7:22:28 AM

Reboot....go into your BIOS and write down the rails for your power supply.

+12v
-12v
5v
3v

Watch them for about a min or two and write the highest each one gets and the lowest each one gets.....then tell me

I think it might be your Power supply. Also check your temps when you are in your BIOS too...can't hurt
November 16, 2005 4:41:28 AM

OK.

-Max temp for CPU is 65 C
-Max temp for mobo is 60 C

That is the highest I have seen it at. Although it normally runs in the mid 50's.

Voltage (Usually it only varies by about .03 or maybe .04 volts)

CPU Core 1.73 - 1.76
ATX 3.3 3.16 - 3.18
ATX 5 4.96 - 4.97
ATX 12 11.61 - 11.67
AGP 1.51 - 1.52
DDR 2.61 - 2.62

Yeah, other people I have asked said it could be the power supply. But I dont think it is. Because this freezing problem only seems to occur whenever I try to do something which "stresses" both the CPU and the RAM.

Stuff like
-PC Games, playing old games from the 1999 to 2001 era
-Using Winzip, Winace to Make and decompress large files.
-Run Windows 2000 Disk cleanup
-Running my virus scanner
-Running large flash files
-Running Photoshop
-Sometimes it even freezes in DOS (Running Memtest86)

Yeah, I just upgraded the Mobo and RAM to the specs I listed above about maybe 2 months ago. It never gave me any troubles up until about 3 weeks back.

Doing general stuff like going on the internet seems fine. When I multitask running Winamp, Firefox and some other programs then the PC freezes.
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November 16, 2005 2:20:42 PM

This sounds like a heat or power problem - those temps are high for your rig...very high. Open the side of the case and blow a standard house fan into the case, then run the programs and see if you get the same freezes. When was the last time you cleaned the inside of your case? HSF? Case fans?

The issue with only checking your PSU voltages in the BIOS is that you aren't stressing the system. You stress the PSU when you run an intensive app and that is when your voltage rails are likely to spike up or down and cause system instability/crashes. Download Motherboard Monitor 5 (MBM5). This utility will monitor/log the voltages while you are running tests.
November 16, 2005 5:52:28 PM

Quote:
Yeah, other people I have asked said it could be the power supply. But I dont think it is. Because this freezing problem only seems to occur whenever I try to do something which "stresses" both the CPU and the RAM.

Which is precisely why they (and I do too) say it could be the PSU. When you're stressing the CPU, RAM & Video, they're drawing more power from the power supply. If the power supply can't keep up, it drops voltages and when voltages are low the system can lock up or throw errors.

Hmmm, Temps are rather high - The top temp under full load (while you're gaming) shouldn't be over 60, and closer to 50 would be much better.

Your voltage rails are bordering on the low side, but they're still within the 5% spec - barely.

What brand and wattage PSU do you have?

Mike.
November 16, 2005 8:34:59 PM

And those are voltages from the BIOS - no real strees on the PSU. I'd be willing to bet they spike under stress. I think the first problem is the heat - control heat and then check the PSU.
November 16, 2005 10:13:30 PM

The system is run when the case is wide open. Plenty of air circulation.

As for the PSU, its a no name brand (Hairong) ATX-318W. Yeah, sounds crappy huh ? But the thing is, this system has worked fine for the last month. Unless PSUs degrade over time.....

I dont know, what is considered the minimum standard wattage of PSU's today ?

Still could be the RAM though, as Memtest86 results say this new RAM is faulty, even though Windows Memory Diagnostic says otherwise.

Could be the CPU too maybe, its about 3 maybe 4 years old. But when CPUs get damaged, the whole system refuses to boot.
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