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Freeze-ups / reboots with old machine

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August 29, 2006 9:16:49 PM

I have an old machine that has run like a champ for years, but something is causing it to freeze up and reboot lately (infrequent BSoDs too).

Pentium III-450
Intel 440BX chipset
384 MB RAM
GeForce 3Ti200 video card

I replaced the power supply but that didn't help. I ran MemTest86 against the memory a couple times with no errors. I reformatted the hard drive and re-installed WinXP and all the service packs/updates. I installed the latest video drivers.

The odd thing is that the reinstall completed just fine. But after sitting overnight, I'd find the machine frozen. I figured that was OK and put the case back on and now the machine freezes within minutes of boot up.

I suspect some kind of overheating problem somewhere since the problem is worse with the case on. But how do I narrow down where the problem is? The fans are all working fine as far as I can tell and the BIOS says the CPU temperature is around 40C.

I have another AGP video card I can throw in to eliminate that as the problem, but if the problem is still evident, is there something I can use to test the CPU and motherboard? Am I missing anything else that might be to blame?

More about : freeze ups reboots machine

a b V Motherboard
August 29, 2006 9:29:42 PM

Quote:
I have an old machine that has run like a champ for years, but something is causing it to freeze up and reboot lately (infrequent BSoDs too).

Pentium III-450
Intel 440BX chipset
384 MB RAM
GeForce 3Ti200 video card

I replaced the power supply but that didn't help. I ran MemTest86 against the memory a couple times with no errors. I reformatted the hard drive and re-installed WinXP and all the service packs/updates. I installed the latest video drivers.

The odd thing is that the reinstall completed just fine. But after sitting overnight, I'd find the machine frozen. I figured that was OK and put the case back on and now the machine freezes within minutes of boot up.

I suspect some kind of overheating problem somewhere since the problem is worse with the case on. But how do I narrow down where the problem is? The fans are all working fine as far as I can tell and the BIOS says the CPU temperature is around 40C.

I have another AGP video card I can throw in to eliminate that as the problem, but if the problem is still evident, is there something I can use to test the CPU and motherboard? Am I missing anything else that might be to blame?


I have a 450 pentium. Some time ago I upgraded the RAM from the original 128 megs. to 384. Then the freezing and reboots mostly started. The RAM was given to me and turned out to be 133 mhz. My system used 100 mhz. Gave the RAM back to my friend and bought two 128 meg. 100 mhz. DIMMS off the Kingston website. Totally stopped the freeze/reboot problem.
August 29, 2006 10:04:46 PM

I'll give that a check but I'm skeptical that's the problem as the machine has worked for over a year with the extra memory in it.
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a b V Motherboard
August 29, 2006 10:07:37 PM

That system originally came with windows 98. When I installed windows xp upgrade, I had a few driver issues. Been a while, but I had to use the manufacturer disk to install some of the needed drivers after installing windows XP.
August 31, 2006 6:21:36 AM

Well, I put the GeForce4 Ti800 card in the machine and it seemed to work fine, so I figured the GeForce 3Ti200 was the culprit. So I went out and bought a GeForce FX 5200 to replace it and I'm getting freezes and reboots again. :?

So how do I figure out what component is really the offender?
a b V Motherboard
August 31, 2006 6:34:42 AM

Quote:
Well, I put the GeForce4 Ti800 card in the machine and it seemed to work fine, so I figured the GeForce 3Ti200 was the culprit. So I went out and bought a GeForce FX 5200 to replace it and I'm getting freezes and reboots again. :?

So how do I figure out what component is really the offender?


Interesting, I have my 450 mhz P3 sitting on my kitchen table defragmenting my 16 meg. Fireball HD. Mine has a Riva TNT 16 meg video card. Also 384 megs (3 x 128) 100 mhz RAM. I added the two Kingstom 100 mhz after some 133 mhz caused system reboot. I'm going to put the original DVD ROM in a minute and hook up the Zip drive.

Yeah, you suspected a heating issue. It could be you board has gotten old and is failing. You said you ran the system a lot. And the freezing just started at random? You didn't add any new hardware when the problem began? How abut software?

I have win 98 under my xp upgrade installed on that Fireball 16 megger. I'm about to go online and find out what board exactly I have. So, when your system fails it just freezes? Does it ever restart? How about blue screen?

Because you say it just all of a sudden started freezing and crashing out of the blue stumps me. How about your HD? Old? Make any noise?

We oughtta be able to put two 450 P3 heads together and find the problem.
a b V Motherboard
August 31, 2006 6:46:05 AM

Quote:
Well, I put the GeForce4 Ti800 card in the machine and it seemed to work fine, so I figured the GeForce 3Ti200 was the culprit. So I went out and bought a GeForce FX 5200 to replace it and I'm getting freezes and reboots again. :?

So how do I figure out what component is really the offender?


I just reread your post. You say you put a different video card in and the computer ran all right? The freezing stopped. Then you put an fx 5200 in and the system started freezing again. Sounds a lot like a video driver issue. You might try a slightly older driver than the latest driver out there. If you have the driver CD the cards came with use those. If you had a Ti800 (i'm unfamiliar with that card) in there and the freezing stopped, then there's your answer.
August 31, 2006 7:10:32 AM

I managed to get the nVidia reference drivers uninstalled, but I'm having a devil of a time getting the drivers that came with the card installed since the machine freezes or reboots when it recognizes the new card and starts trying to install a driver for it. Is there a way to prevent that auto-hardware detection?

Also, I put the GeForce4 Ti 4200 (got the model number mixed up above) in for about 1/2 hour and it worked fine. Needed to put it back in my main machine though so didn't get to push it. Had it running with the latest nVidia reference drivers.
a b V Motherboard
August 31, 2006 7:16:47 AM

Quote:
I managed to get the nVidia reference drivers uninstalled, but I'm having a devil of a time getting the drivers that came with the card installed since the machine freezes or reboots when it recognizes the new card and starts trying to install a driver for it. Is there a way to prevent that auto-hardware detection?

Also, I put the GeForce4 Ti 4200 (got the model number mixed up above) in for about 1/2 hour and it worked fine. Needed to put it back in my main machine though so didn't get to push it. Had it running with the latest nVidia reference drivers.


I think you should go to ADD/Remove programs and uninstall any Nvida video drivers on the list. Delete all NVIDIA video drivers you see. Then reboot, let the system find your card and install the drivers. I think you have a driver issue. Try and remove whatever NVIDIA drivers you have, Not system drivers though. Just NVIDIA VIDEO drivers.
August 31, 2006 7:41:57 AM

Like I said, I already removed those. I just did a fresh reinstall of WinXP so there's nothing else on the machine beyond WinXP and the related updates.

Just for fun I went back and put the GeForce4 back in the machine and kept getting the same reboots and crashes as with the other 2 video cards, so I think I can rule that out.

This thing is even rebooting and crashing in Safe Mode now.
a b V Motherboard
August 31, 2006 7:56:11 AM

I gonna have to crash, been up working 16 hours. :? Have you tried one 128 dimm in slot one? I'll pick up on it tomorrow when my mind is clear.
August 31, 2006 10:36:30 PM

I think I've pretty much limited the problem to the CPU or the mobo. I'll try one stick of memory at a time, but since memtest86 ran fine, I'm not optimistic that will fix things.

I've already sunk about $60 into this crappy old machine to replace the PSU and vid card and I'm loathe to keep replacing parts at random until I find out what's wrong. Is there a way to test the mobo or CPU to rule one or the other out?

Mobo: Abit BE6 (Intel 440BX chipset)
CPU: Intel Pentium3-450
a b V Motherboard
August 31, 2006 10:51:58 PM

Quote:
I think I've pretty much limited the problem to the CPU or the mobo. I'll try one stick of memory at a time, but since memtest86 ran fine, I'm not optimistic that will fix things.

I've already sunk about $60 into this crappy old machine to replace the PSU and vid card and I'm loathe to keep replacing parts at random until I find out what's wrong. Is there a way to test the mobo or CPU to rule one or the other out?

Mobo: Abit BE6 (Intel 440BX chipset)
CPU: Intel Pentium3-450


I think if the CPU were bad your screen would be pretty much blank :D  . Of course if you had another MB you could switch everything over, but who has a spare obsolete MB?

I'm curious. How did just load up windows XP on the old MB? I had to load windows 98 and my gateway system CD first, then install windows XP upgrade on top of that.

That was fun the past two days getting my old P4 450 up and running again. I looked up my specs and dowmloaded a boat load of drivers here:

http://support.gateway.com/s/MOTHERBD/JABIL/M00472/m004...

I would say your MB is the likely problem unless you are experienceing some system or video driver problem. Next project is my Pentiun 100 mhz! man that thing is sick :lol:  Someday I'll get a fortune for all my computers. Got a Celeron? 266 mhz system in perfect condition too.
August 31, 2006 11:31:00 PM

That's the kind of info I'm looking for. What does it look like when your CPU or mobo go bad?

I see your point about the screen just going blank if it was the CPU. I'm leaning toward some kind of power problem on the mobo, possibly old capacitors?
a b V Motherboard
September 1, 2006 12:09:43 AM

I've had two cpu's go out in recent years. The system powers up, but the screen is just blank. I don't have a technical description for the occurunce. Off the top of my head, I've replaced four MB's I remember. One I overvolted and burned clear through the back and singhed the case brown. Another I probably mishandled and could not get the LAN to work. It just disappeard like it wasn't even on the board. Another that I figured had a bad DIMM slot. Kept rebooting when I used the slot. And a forth I can think of that I screwed up the BIOS chip trying to update it. So, a bad MB could show up as any of the above in my experience.
September 1, 2006 12:26:27 AM

Hmmmm those problems can be tricky to solve. Sounds like you tried a lot of different things. I have found that it can some times cause problems trying to install newer operating systems on older computers. Remember to that electronic equiptment does eventually wear out and can fail. All those years of dust, static electricity, and moisture can eventually wear your system out. If you can't get it working I suggest buying or building a new system. If you are looking to do it real cheap look at Ebay or the state you live in might have government surplus that you can pick up for between 20-50 bucks. I would guess you could build a new system on a 939 platform for less than 300 bucks that would be much faster than you old system and you could possibly even reuse you old video card. :idea: Also if you have any computer geek friends check with them they might have another system or enough parts to get your new system set up. I always have a back up part/parts sitting around the house. :idea:
a b V Motherboard
September 1, 2006 1:28:18 AM

:wink:
September 1, 2006 4:55:33 PM

I won an auction on eBay for an equivalent mobo *with* another Pentium 3-450 *and* 128 MB of memory included for just $28 shipped!

Now I'll have all the parts I need to get to the bottom of this problem! :) 
a b V Motherboard
September 1, 2006 5:07:05 PM

Quote:
I won an auction on eBay for an equivalent mobo *with* another Pentium 3-450 *and* 128 MB of memory included for just $28 shipped!

Now I'll have all the parts I need to get to the bottom of this problem! :) 


Cool. The price is certainly right. I am interested to know how it turns out. Please keep me posted. :D 

*I went to Fry's last night and bought a beige floppy drive. I am using the one that came with my 450 in another machine and that empty hole in the case made an otherwise nice looking old system look kind bad. That old rig runs nice. Museum quality :lol: 
September 1, 2006 8:00:15 PM

I went to my local PC recycler and bought a used floppy drive for $4 in case I needed it while building my new machine, but never needed it. :) 

I'll let you know what happens once I get the parts.
September 2, 2006 12:57:40 AM

Good job! You certainly are doing this wisely as I would have dumped the old thing in the trash. My friend got a good deal when I built him a computer from some old stuff I had lying around the garage. He bought a new hard drive and CD rom and I supplied the rest and now he has a nice system a 1 gig duron and 1 gig ram Ti4200 video card etc. all for free. Dang im a good friend. :wink:
September 2, 2006 1:03:25 AM

Heh, that's a pretty decent system (for a non-gamer anyhow) despite being, what, 6-7 years old? This was my main machine up until about 2002 and I built it so it has some sentimental value. Plus I use it to run my "buffbot" in the online game I play (Dark Age of Camelot). :) 
September 3, 2006 7:42:28 AM

Funny related story...

Tonight I finished putting together my new system and I took the old one over to give to my Mom. I took her old machine apart to get at the hard drives to transfer her data and what processor does it have? A Pentium III-450! So now I'll have 3 of them once my eBay order goes through.

Think I'll start an obsolete technology museum. ;) 
!