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My friend's new build doesn't work, please help!

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August 11, 2006 12:30:01 PM

My friend bought various parts and started assembling a computer but he had some problems so he asked me to help him.

Here's a quick description of the build :
Intel D945GTPLR
Pentium D805
Kingwin Cyclone (cpu heatsink+fan) http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
2 DVD drives he had on his last computer
2x512mb Corsair Value Select DDR2 RAM
XFX Geforce 7300GS
and this case/psu : http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
Sata 80Gb Western Digital Hard drive
3 80mm case fans

He wanted to keep his budget under 700 CDN

Here's the problem :
The computer resets itself VERY often.

When the video card is used (it also has onboard video), the computer rarely has the time to get into windows before rebooting. (<10 seconds)

Using the onboard video was stable enough, I managed to install windows and configure it a bit (around 45 minutes - 1 hour)

Here's what we tried :

As mentionned above we removed the video card and noticed increased stability.

I reseated the cpu 3 times (first 2 using Artic Silver Ceramique and the last time using Artic Silver 5). All 3 times, the layer of thermal compound seemed near-perfect (thin layer covering all the zone where the heatsink is in contact with the cpu)

We tried using only 1 slot of RAM, we also tried different slots.

Note : the CPU is VERY HOT (like 55C idle, I've seen it reach 62C on minor load like windows update), I don't think that should be happening with 3 case fans and that cpu fan. BTW, I noticed the CPU fan doesn't spin very fast unless he's installing something (around 500 rpm), I'm gonna try to connect the cpu fan directly to the psu bypassing the mobo's speed control.

Here's what I think could be the problem :

Bad PSU, wouldn't be surprised considering its price and the fact that inserting a video card reduces the stability (increased power consumption)

Bad video card, it reduced the stability but that can't be the whole problem because the computer reboots even when using the onboard video.

Regards,
Kerdal

More about : friend build work

August 11, 2006 1:02:25 PM

Well, that's a generic PSU and since the specs aren't readily presented (and the fact that the case/psu was only $39) couldn't give you much hope that it was a very good PSU to begin with. Of all the major components in a computer, one of hte most important ones - the PSU - is often overlooked by inexperienced builders as being secondary in importance. Perhaps this is a lesson to be learned as a bad or cheap PSU could lead to some very bad results. IF you MUST go cheap, at least get a good cheap PSU.

COOLMAX CP-500T EPS12V 500W ($50)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
Great buy for the price because it has dual 12v rails with strong amps (18 per rail). It has the added bonus, most in this price range do not, with Active PFC.

I know you are in Canada right? I also know that Newegg isn't available there but if you could find this PSU at least it would be a better alternative than what you have. You'll be loathed to find any PSU with the specs of that Coolmax for that price.
August 11, 2006 1:06:21 PM

That's part of the test I was supposed to make later today (I'm at work right now so I can't do it). I'll try swapping one of my PSU in his rig to see if it helps (my X-connect 500W should be good enough).
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August 11, 2006 1:17:30 PM

Can you see the specs of the PSU ?
Can you see the voltages in the BIOS ? are they in the good range ?

IMO, CPU are too hot. My old P4 2.6GHz never touched 50° in idle. My new P4D 930 full load at 45°. I think your HSF are spinning too slow. Are there any other sockets for fan in the mainboard ? try to put it in those sockets. Don't you get an original HSF from Intel ?

Try to turn on you rig without those 2 DVDs and case fans, but don't close your case.
August 11, 2006 1:33:20 PM

I was suspecting the GPU as it seemed to run fine when he was just using onboard video and lost stability when the card was plugged in. It couldn, hoever, be GPU temp, but I was leaning more towards the PSU since he didn't mention anything about temps.
August 11, 2006 1:36:02 PM

90% certain it is a PSU issue. The fact that it runs stable with the onboard video, but reboots with that 7300 makes this very likely (too much draw for the generic PSU to keep up with). If it was a video card issue you'd get lock-ups or no signal to the monitor, not constant reboots.

As for the heat issue, pentium D's run hot, but even that seems a little out of whack. I'd suggest re-attaching the stock HSF that came with the CPU. I've never heard anything about kingwin coolers, but if they are anything like their power supplies, then you might be better off using that thing as a paper weight or a doorstop.

Also make sure there isn't too much thermal paste between the die and heatsink; too much can actually act as an insulator, impeding thermal transfer. Whether you go with the kingwin or stock HSF, I'd recommend using actic silver 5 too.
August 11, 2006 1:52:24 PM

Quote:
Can you see the specs of the PSU ?
Can you see the voltages in the BIOS ? are they in the good range ?


I checked the voltages, they are withing 5% range so they are fine. I don't have the computer near me at tmoment but I remember seeing 16 amps for the 12v and something like 25 for the 5v.

Quote:
I think your HSF are spinning too slow. Are there any other sockets for fan in the mainboard ? try to put it in those sockets. Don't you get an original HSF from Intel ?


I agree those are bad temps and fan speed, I'll try the rear and front fan connections to see if they change the speed at all but I might as well connect it straight to the psu and let it run at max speed at all time.

He bought an OEM cpu so no stock cooler. He never asked me for advices when choosing the parts, he simply came to see me one day with an half-built computer saying he had problems.

Quote:
Also make sure there isn't too much thermal paste between the die and heatsink; too much can actually act as an insulator, impeding thermal transfer. Whether you go with the kingwin or stock HSF, I'd recommend using actic silver 5 too.


I've installed HSF multiple times before and I know how to do it. The last 2 times I reseated the cpu, the thermal compound was evenly spread, only a thin layer.

I have a few spare 120 mm fans, if it continues to reboot with my PSU then it must be a thermal issue. I might install one of my "industrial" fans (12v, 1a, 140 cfm, 56dB) to see if it helps at all.
August 11, 2006 1:52:26 PM

A good way to tell if something is over heating:

When it turns off, try to turn it back on immediately. If it DOES NOT come on, usually could be pointing to something being too hot or a PSU issue. If it just restarts, or you can turn it on immediately might want to look at other hardware other than CPU..
August 11, 2006 1:55:46 PM

Quote:
A good way to tell if something is over heating:

When it turns off, try to turn it back on immediately. If it DOES NOT come on, usually could be pointing to something being too hot or a PSU issue. If it just restarts, or you can turn it on immediately might want to look at other hardware other than CPU.


That's not entirely true, I remember way back when I was building my p4 3.4ghz comp (using a 478 prescott of the first generation). The cpu reached 90C but it simply rebooted, it didn't turn completly off or anything, apparently while rebooting, it managed to drop below the threshold and could continue working until it reached the threshold again (which was around 94C at the time).

But if it's not psu or cpu issue, what could it be?
August 11, 2006 2:22:17 PM

So your system would turn off at 90C and you could turn it right back on? That doesn't make much sense because you keep pushing the temperature higher and higher (I guess it deals with the motherboard)

Is all this rebooting happening at the Loading Windows screen and before?
August 11, 2006 2:51:21 PM

On my old rig, I swear it would simply reboot (not turn off) at 94C and everything was fine until it hit 94C again. After installing the watercooling system, it all went back to normal with very good temps (25-35 idle, 30-45 under load).

Now for this current problem, it reboots any time... Sometimes before the intel logo and the "press F2 to configure" message appears, sometimes it gets to windows, sometimes while it's booting, sometimes it only reboots after 3 hours.

I can't identify a pattern.

Kerdal
August 11, 2006 4:00:32 PM

The reason I ask is because if it was happening during the XP loading process it could have been a driver initializing that may cause it, but since it happens all over (inside, outside, and during boot) I would think definately a hardware issue, now to narrow it down...

Here's something I noticed with XFX, I would use a XFX 6800 in my box but when I updated the drivers in completely fubar'd my system. I would try to load windows but it would like it only had 8 colors to use then it would kick me out to a blank screen with little rectangles all over the screen... could be video contributing to it or their driver, though when I was succesfull at getting back into Windows, it attributed the error to an nVidia driver not XFX.

I think power supply could be an issue. As you said, considering price and increased power draw decreases stability. Might want to swap with a known good if you have one available.
August 11, 2006 10:42:44 PM

Here's a small update, the computer ran perfectly during 6 consecutive hours and the new idle/minor load temp is 56 while heavy load temp is still unknown (didn't find any stress test taxing enough to raise the temp above 61C).

I did a bunch of updates to the windows and installed various softwares.

BUT that was without the geforce card, I just installed it and I'm downloading the drivers, once they are installed I will run the stress test again and see the result.

I completly closed the case now and I'm running in "real" conditions to see if it can survive.

BTW, I didn't want to use my AS5 because I'm the one paying for it lol My friend was too cheap to supply his own thermal compound (that's why I used the ceramique first).

I'm guessing the AS5 cured a bit and that's why the temp dropped a bit.

The cpu fan still runs around 560-700 RPM idle but it sometimes rises to 1000 rpm.

If it works well enough, I'll try to install a game or something.
August 11, 2006 10:59:20 PM

It seems you solved it, an after thought though.....Does the onboard VGA shut off automaticly when you insert the graphics card or do you have to manually set it to the Graphics slot?
August 11, 2006 11:04:34 PM

Good question, I have no idea, I simply hooked up the PCI-E card and it worked, I'll have to check the BIOS to see if I can deactivate it (to prevent future problems, he's kinda dumb sometimes so he might connect his monitor there...)
August 11, 2006 11:21:53 PM

Get a better heatsink and fan. KingWin is crap.
August 11, 2006 11:57:06 PM

Ain't my problem, not my computer. I already told him and it will be his call. Until then, it will stay like that.
August 15, 2006 2:40:08 AM

I know I should've edited the last post but I decided this was worth a whole seperate reply.

After a day and a half, my friend came back saying he still had the same problems so I decided to recheck every single parts starting with the PSU.

I completly dismantled the psu to discover it was a refurbished piece of crap and the dumbass who soldered that was either drunk or 8 y.o.

After resoldering half of the PSU, I checked the connectors and discovered another problem, the green cable in the 24 pin connector was very loose and wouldn't make contact 50% of the time (especially if the case was shaken or something like that).

Now I double checked everything AGAIN, ran a bunch of stress tests and decided to include shaking the whole thing as a part of my tests and now everything looks fine.
!