No Idea What The Problem Is

My friend built me a PC about 10 months ago, and it's just been one big nightmare:

First, games just kept locking up on it - in particular, my brother couldn't really play Guild Wars on it since it kept freezing up. I got another case fan thinking it was overheating, but it didn't help. We tried replacing the RAM, which didn't help. We tried using the onboard graphics, WHICH DIDN'T HELP. I figured maybe the CPU was overheating, so I bought some Arctic Silver 5 and put that on. Didn't help. I THEN found in the BIOS where the fan speed settings were... it was staying in the low fan RPM until 60 degrees celsius. Hardly ideal, lol, so I made sure that the high setting got turned on at 35 degrees. The CPU has not hit much over 45 since.

My video card shorted out while playing FEAR shortly after that, and due to a lengthy, aggravating RMA process with BFG, I didn't get a new card for 6 weeks. During that time, the PC ran flawlessly.

As you can guess, the second I put the new card in, problems arose. In Guild Wars and BF2, we got these weird pauses in the gameplay where the sound would be stuck in one small loop (it basically sounds like a quiet vibration). The game USUALLY recovered each time, but it was still annoying, plus the random restarting would be quite annoying. A few months later, we found that the video card started artifacting galore. It was toast, and I figured now would be a time to buy a new card that actually worked.

Exact same problem with the 7600gs. During the crashes, the card temps were logged no higher than 55 degrees celsius, so it's not overheating. I decided to do an ol' BIOS update, which did nothing. I then realized that my PSU wasn't good enough for it - 16 amps out of the +12V connections where it should have been at least 18. I got a new PSU (460 watts, 33 amps from the +12V), AND THE DAMN PROBLEM STILL PERSISTS!

Specs:

a64 3000+ s939
eVGA 7600gs PCI-E, latest Forceware drivers
2 gigs generic RAM
Enermax EG465P/AX PSU

And the core component... the one which my actual question involves:

MSI RS480M2/IL motherboard, with the ATI Express 200 chipset. Latest chipset drivers.

Are these boards notoriously unreliable or something? I really think that when the video card is installed, it's causing the Northbridge (thing with the black heatsink AND NO FAN ON IT) to overheat, but without an external PCI-E card, it chugs along just fine without frying itself. Whenever a game crashes or does that weird stuttering thing, I touch the heatsink just to feel the temp and it's extremely hot. It doesn't quite burn my finger, but it's definitely getting there (if I felt something that hot elsewhere in life, I'd probably take my hand off instantly out of instinct).

Does anyone think installing a proper active cooling fan on the northbridge would solve this problem? If not, what might the real problem be?
20 answers Last reply
More about idea problem
  1. I have heard that in other mobos with integrated graphics some boards will let you turn off the onboard graphics. This according to some posts has done the trick. Cooling on the north bridge sounds like a good idea! :D
  2. ZALMAN ZM-NB47J Aluminium NorthBridge Chipset Cooler
    Try this for your Northbridge.

    Do you have any other RAM to try? See if it makes any difference.
  3. I highly doubt that RAM is the issue - like I said, this problem ONLY happens when I'm using an external PCI-E video card. With the integrated video, everything runs perfectly.

    How would you "turn off" the integrated graphics? Is that a BIOS thing, or a Windows thing? I figured since it booted PCI-E first, it wouldn't bother turning on the integrated on boot up.
  4. Quote:
    I highly doubt that RAM is the issue - like I said, this problem ONLY happens when I'm using an external PCI-E video card. With the integrated video, everything runs perfectly.

    How would you "turn off" the integrated graphics? Is that a BIOS thing, or a Windows thing? I figured since it booted PCI-E first, it wouldn't bother turning on the integrated on boot up.


    Yes, turning off the integrated graphics is a BIOS thing. RTM and page thru the BIOS to toggle the integrated video off. Basically, the BIOS determines which hardware the system will use. If you have the integrated video on and try to use an "external" gpu, how does the mobo know which component to route the signal to? The initial display (PCI, AGP, PCIe) setting is seperate from which video the BIOS is being told to use. As a rule of thumb and generally speaking, anytime you use an "external" component, you always want to disable the onboard equivalent or you will have system conflicts. Also, to minimize issues, be sure to install the gpu proper drivers.

    After you get your gpu straightened out, then check the northbridge and see if it's still too hot...my guess is, if you did not disable the onboard video and also had a PCIe card plugged in, the northbridge was freaking out trying to figure out what's what...probably the same reason you fried you first video card as well...

    Good luck!
  5. Sorry, I missed the part about trying different RAM already.

    Go with chunkymonster's idea.
  6. Errrgh I hate MSI's documentation, it's so horrible... lol

    I guess I'll try to figure it out, although if anybody knows the exact option I need to change, it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  7. You should be able to find it fairly easily in the BIOS itself. If there is a hardware tab, or the chipset features (like mine) then it should be in under one of the submenus on there, or just that menu. Disable onboard video will prob be the name of the option, when I had an hp with onboard, thats what I had to disable in the (very simple) BIOS. Hope it was of some help, if you havent already found it by now.
  8. Another question - how can not disabling onboard video fry an external video card?
  9. Sound like you need a new mobo . . . I guess I could be wrong though, most of your problems sound like they arise from your mobo . . . beyond that I couldn't tell ya.
  10. Quote:
    Another question - how can not disabling onboard video fry an external video card?


    It's not that it could fry the video card, the idea was more that the northbridge was working harder than necessary...consider that the northbridge routes the traffic from cpu>memory>gpu plus all the other traffic from the I/O subsystems...truly tho, who knows how the mobo was routing the signals and voltage for both the onboard video and your gpu, ...it stands to reason (at least in my mind, but that's probably just me) that the voltages could possibly become skewed trying to signal both devices, which could possibly shorten the lifespan of your card...also stands to reason it was the cause of your hot northbridge...

    With skt 939's having an IMC no reason to have an active cooler on the northbridge anymore...proper case fans and airflow should be enough...

    Lastly, a GPU plugged into an PCI/AGP/PCIe slot is not considered an "external" device...an external device implies that it is housed outside of the case...the term GPU or video card is understood to be the card plugged into a slot meant for video out to a monitor...which is different from onboard video, and is usually just referred to as onboard video...

    Good luck!
  11. Man, this is going to be a long day... I wanna go home to see if this works lol

    I think my airflow is, shall we say, more than sufficient... 120x120mm intake, 120x120mm exhaust, and my PSU on full blast. It's noisy, but I just dare the heat to try and linger in my case. :P
  12. Sometimes what you may think is sufficient, may not be. That is good cooling, but does it follow the case's design? As in, did you use precut holes, or did you just throw some fans. Having fans put in the wrong place can actually be detrimental (not usually) and can create horrible "dead spots" where the air becomes stagnant in that one area and just continually heats up. I would maybe take the motherboard into a shop and have them completely test it if you have a little cash lyin around.
  13. I found an option in Advanced Chipset Features called "Internal Video Mode" with the options UMA and DISABLED. It was set to UMA, so I changed it to DISABLED - I assume that this is how the onboard video is disabled.

    It doesn't appear to have worked. There haven't been any outright crashes, but a few stuttery pauses in-game happened. Sigh, I don't know what to do... are there perhaps any other BIOS settings I should look into?

    I'm kind of a temp whore, and my case's ventilation is definitely not problematic. The two huge case fans are on the pre-cut mounting holes, and I've left the internal space as open as possible to allow air to circulate everywhere.

    I guess the next step is to try cooling off the Northbridge better.
  14. Did you restart the computer after changing the bios settings? Have you looked at the mobo sites faqs or forums? I would confirm that this setting you changed to disable, is in fact the onboard graphics settings.

    If it was me I would check with the manufacturer of the mobo to ascertain where and what the switch is in the bios. Could also be, that your northbridge is damaged due to excessive heat and will only supply limited performance now. Same as an earlier post.

    Hope the latter is not the case. Have you tried uninstalling the new gpu program and then reinstalling, be sure to get a cleaner for it. Nvida advertised a free one. Maybe Ati has one. Also removing the the card and reseating it is a thought.

    Could be since things got a little messed up early on with the new gpu, a bios reset might clear up some things too, dont ask me why...its just what I would try. You would have to change the jumper for the bios at cmos on the mobo, see your documentation on how your board tells you how to do it. At least this is not damaging. I am sure this is aggravating! Good luck.
  15. Also, when you were in the bios settings, did you save your newest change? If you did not, then it would revert back to the onboard gpu still being active. Just covering my bases! :D
  16. If memory serves, when you plug in a video card (agp, pci=e) on a MB that has intergrated video, that is what disables the onboard video.

    You basically can think of it as a jumper in the video port that switches it. I don't believe you will find any settings in the bios to turn it off.

    I believe your hardware requirements should be sufficent to run games smoothly as well as the temps you are posting.

    The only advice I can give, is to be sure you have the most updated hardware drivers for windows (video, sound, and chipset).

    I'd also run programs to determine CPU and Ram stablity. Prime95, and Memtest to run at least 6 hours.

    The other thing I would look for, is spyware, adware, or potential virus that may be running in the background stealing CPU cycles or interrupting your network connection.

    Hope that helps.
  17. I've done all of that before - the only thing that has helped is using the onboard graphics. And yes, there actually is a setting for disabling onboard video (of course, it must be difficult for MSI to give it a name more descriptive than "INTERNAL VIDEO MODE" :roll: ), but having it kept on for so long may have permanently damaged something. Although, come to think of it, none of my system memory was allocated to video whenever I had a card in there, so maybe it was turned off the whole time.

    I'm going to just give up, and send the computer into a shop to have them diagnose what the exact problem is. No, I don't like the idea of spending $60 an hour to find a problem I could probably find myself, but I don't have access to another free motherboard to test on.

    You guys have been really helpful, though. Thank you!
  18. First off MSI are very good boards. I have built a lot of systems on them and have never seen a MSI bios that says "internal video mode". They always say "Onboard video" and you need to disable that. In fact, disable anything you dont use. Extra usb ports, onboard audio, onboard lan, sata, whatever your not using disable it.
  19. The RS480M2-IL was probably rushed to market or something, because not only is the option "INTERNAL VIDEO MODE" (UMA or DISABLED), but the clear CMOS jumper doesn't even work, and half of the BIOS settings (eg, disabling Quick POST) will cause the system to not boot if they're changed.
  20. Quote:
    The RS480M2-IL was probably rushed to market or something, because not only is the option "INTERNAL VIDEO MODE" (UMA or DISABLED), but the clear CMOS jumper doesn't even work, and half of the BIOS settings (eg, disabling Quick POST) will cause the system to not boot if they're changed.


    Okay.. I took some time to look at your manual. The "INTERNAL VIDEO MODE" is basically part of the feature for Surroundview from what I make out of it, which allows you to hook up 3 monitors from what I understand.

    Now, I do remember my dad's Gigabyte MB with onboard video, and I did nothing to the bios. By inserting the AGP card, disabled the onboard. The one other thing I remember I had to do, was to pull out all other cards. I did extensive looking in the bios to see if there was anything to disable it, before I pulled the cards, and found nothing.

    :lol: . o O (I hated my dad's PC case, the way it held the explansion cards)

    Turns out it was having some kind of IRQ conflict. Display came up after I pulled all other cards, and reinserting them so the bios could give the APG card an IRQ it wanted, that was taken by another card.

    However, your MB has more features that works with the internal, and the PCI-E card, which I think you would need a dual head video card for it to work with 3 monitors.

    This is from the manual:

    Quote:
    SURROUNDVIEW™ provides the power and convenience of multi-adapter, multimonitor support for computers that use an AGP- or PCI Express®-based graphics card in conjunction with ATI integrated graphics processors (IGPs). Setting options: [Enabled], [Disabled].


    Now if the IGP setting is enabled, then that might (guessing) be what may be causing the choppy frames. Might want to make sure if that setting is disabled. Hopefully that might do the trick, if that setting is there.

    The other settings for it:

    Quote:
    Enabling the Integrated Graphics Processor
    In order to use SURROUNDVIEW™, the integrated graphics processor (IGP) on the motherboard must be enabled in addition to the graphics card in the PCIe™ slot. Make sure the IGP is enabled (using the BIOS setup utility) in addition to the graphics card before continuing.

    BIOS options (under “Advanced Chipset Features” and IntegratedPeripherals”).
    Enabling SURROUNDVIEW™
    To enable SURROUNDVIEW™, you must first alter your computer’s BIOS settings.
    1. Restart your system, and enter CMOS setup. CMOS is part of your system’s
    BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). When restarting, press DEL key to enter
    Setup. The CMOS Setup screen appears.
    2. Use the arrow keys to navigate to Advanced Chipset Features, and then press Enter. The Advanced Chipset Features screen appears.
    3. Use the arrow keys to navigate to Internal Video Mode and set it to UMA.
    4. Use the arrow keys to navigate to UMA Frame Buffer Size and set it to 64MB.
    5. Press Esc to return to the CMOS Setup screen.


    So the "Internal Video Mode" is part of the feature to work with a PCI-E video card installed with your onboard video.

    As far as UMA:

    Quote:
    UMA Frame Buffer Size
    Frame Buffer is the video memory that stores data for video display (frame). This field
    is used to determine the memory size for Frame Buffer. Larger frame buffer size
    increases video performance.


    As far as basic card installation :

    Quote:
    Basic Graphics Card Installation
    u To install a graphics card
    1. Turn off the computer, monitor, and other peripheral devices.
    2. Unplug the computer’s power cord and disconnect all cables from the back
    of your computer.
    3. Remove the computer cover. If necessary, consult your computer’s manual
    for help in removing the cover.
    MSI Reminds You...
    WARNING - Wait approximately 20 seconds after unplugging the power
    cord before disconnecting a peripheral or removing a component from
    the motherboard to avoid possible damage to the motherboard.
    MSI Reminds You...
    WARNING - Remember to discharge your body’s static electricity by
    touching the power supply or the metal surface of the computer chassis.
    4. Unscrew or unfasten and remove any existing graphics card from your
    computer.
    5. Locate the appropriate slot and, if necessary, remove the metal back-plate
    cover.
    6. Align your graphics card with the slot and press it in firmly until the card is
    fully seated.
    7. Screw in or fasten the graphics card securely and replace the computer
    cover.
    8. Reconnect any cables you have disconnected and plug in the computer’s
    power cord.
    9. Turn on the monitor and then your computer. If you have properly installed
    your graphics card, operating system messages will appear once the boot
    procedure is finished.
    Your monitor will be running in a basic video mode. Higher refresh rates are not
    available at this stage of the installation. Once you have installed the proper drivers
    and software, you can use the Display Properties control panel to adjust the video
    settings and configure multiple monitors.


    I don't see anything where is says you need to do anything in the bios. So having that feature turned on or off wouldn't be a switch in the bios to disable the onboard, but to use the feature for 3 monitors.

    But, I guess if you hook your monitor up to the onboard VGA port, and the display comes up, then you would know if it is diabled or not, by turning that feature (INTERNAL VIDEO MODE) to UMA/disable.

    If it does come up, then I'd say chances are that the IGP is enabled.

    Anyhoo... hope that helps, on that Internal Video Mode thingy.

    8O . o O (sorry for the long post)
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