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Periodic crashing under load, can't play favorite game!

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September 1, 2006 11:45:33 PM

:(  Okay, searched the forums, tried every adjustment I can think, really need help with this. I'm lost.

I put the system together (listed below), loaded up XP, everything clean and beautiful, seems okay. Then, I launch a resource intensive application (Battlefield 2 in this instance) and all seems okay at first. Then, after 5-10 minutes of play, one of two things happens:

1) crashes all the way to a reboot
- or -
2) freezes, have to reset

I would have thought this was a software issues, except that the same crash occured a couple of times just on the desktop. Plus, all the parts meet the minimum specs for that game.

Here's the system, all brand new except the DVD and floppy drives, and the second 160GB hard drive.

PSU: AMD Athlon 64 3800+
VIDEO CARD: nvidia 7600 GS 512 MB (which does NOT require separate power)
2 GB DDR2 RAM
Gigabyte MOBO (GA-M55plus-S3G)
Using onboard RealTek audio drivers
350W power supply
DVD-ROM
CDRW
Floppy
300GB Seagate ATA hard drive
160GB MAxtor ATA hard drive

I've updated all drivers and BIOS, rebuilt the system from scratch twice, very clean builds, still having trouble.

I have run the memtest86 utility and the Microsoft RAM utility on it, passes fine.

Any ideas??
September 5, 2006 7:10:03 PM

^^ I agree

If your PSU is not a top-quality name-brand like Antec or OCZ, I would imagine that this would be causing the issue (especially at only 350W).

I would suggest that you try getting a good PSU of 400W or better and see if this fixes your problem. 18A on the 12V rails are quite acceptable from top-quality companies, but 24A is ideal.
September 5, 2006 8:15:58 PM

Yeah, I defnitely understand the need for a new PSU. I will pick one up when my next computer "allowance" comes along. In the mean time, I disconnected the DVD drive and the second hard drive.

The other problem I discovered was with RAM. As an experiment, I removed a stick of RAM and ran it with only one stick and it worked PERFECTLY. I thne put the 2nd stick back in (in the color-coded slot for dual channel) and it crashed again. I then pulled the second stick, put it in a non-color coded slot and it botted as single channel RAN, but showed both 1GB sticks, and also ran perfectly.

So, my RAM is not functioning in dual channel mode, and was causing me to crash. Not a huge deal, but could be an issue if I add RAM in the future. Here's my RAM:

(2) sticks each of identical 1GB DDR2-SDRAM 533 mhz PC2-4200.

any thoughts on that? Thanks for all the help!
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September 6, 2006 1:13:49 PM

Can you disable the Dual channel mode, and run the 2GB RAM in single channel mode?

Power I would agree is likley to be a problem too, and it could be that the extra load is tipping the PSU over its limit, I know that RAM is not that much of a load, but there will be a point below which it works and above which it doesn't.
September 6, 2006 5:34:17 PM

Great find on the non-dual channel RAM side of things, I have the same MoBo and the same problem. I've run Mem86 etc. etc. for over 24hours and no errors but still crashes in applications/games. I believe it's a MoBo issue as I've just updated the BIOS to F5, previously I was getting about 30 mins between crashes, I'm now getting about 3 mins! So I'm going to move some RAM about until Gigabyte fix the MoBo issue.
September 6, 2006 11:39:47 PM

Yeah, I put 1GB stick in an orange slot (or is it yellow?) and the other 1GB stick in the red slot and it worked great. Honestly, I can't tell that much difference between single channel and dual channel -- a subject of much debate amont enthusiasts, I know.

But I think if you make that RAM switch, it'll work fine. I have the F5 BIOS as well, but I am running just fine now with that BIOS and in this RAM config.

Should work until I want to add more RAM, anyway!
!