System freezes with GeForce 6600 GT

My system freezes (no error message, blue screen or re-boot, just a frozen screen) every time I boot into windows. Start up is ok and Windows login is ok. After approx. 2 minutes the screen will freeze and nothing responds. I manually power off and power on and usually this fixes the problem - Windows will run happily.

I have been living with this annoying problem for a year or so but have noticed a change just recently. I have been playing Medieval Total War 2 since Xmas and the freezing problem comes back with a vengence, and more frequently when I play it. Sometimes I can play for hours with no problem but most times I can only play for a few minutes before it freezes. This leads me to believe it is graphics card related.

Does anyone have any ideas or similar experiences?

My system spec is as follows: Abit IC7-G motherboard, P4 3GHz Northwood CPU, 1GB OCZ RAM (2x512MB, dual channel), Sapphire GeForce 6600GT 128MB, Windows XP SP2, all latest drivers etc.
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  1. I would try formatting, and re-installing Windows first.

    This would eliminate some issue, which can be drivers, or malware.

    Also, what's the power supply?
  2. Since the last post I've been making some more investigations.... I found some hardware monitoring software and logged my CPU temperature when Windows was idle and then when I was intensively running a game. At idle the temperature was stable at 36 deg. C but it went up to about 50 deg. C when running the game. I don't think this is too high but gave the case a good clean and removed a lot of the dust. Unfortunately, the freezing problem still carried on the same.

    I also removed one of my 512MB memory modules to see if this had any effect - no change.

    I've installed all the latest drivers and checked that the BIOS settings match my hardware (e.g. CAS latency, FSB etc...)

    Two components that I'm still struggling with is the PSU and the graphics card itself. The PSU is Q-Tec 550W Gold Dual Fan ( I have no idea whether this is a good make or not - it was just something I bought from my local Maplin around 2 years ago.

    The graphics card is a mystery to me - are there any settings I can change there?

    Unfortunately I do not have a spare PSU or graphics card to try out.
  3. Unfortunately trying to diagnose a problem is difficult without first formatting the HDD as was mentioned, otherwise what you may think is a faulty component is really just some software which is causing the problem.

    I had a similar issue a couple of years ago and after formatting ten testing near every component it turned out my processor (p4 2.8) was busted (methinks that 3.6 overclock for 2 years was not healthy). But until you eliminate the software component then diagnosis is difficult at best.

    Once the format is done just use something like sisSandra to stress test individual components until hopefully one of them will fail in test and you will find the culprit.
  4. That's good advice, cheers. I really want to avoid formatting if I can so I don't lose all my progs etc. If I create a new partition and re-install Windows there, would this work?
  5. I believe so but I'm not 100% sure, maybe someone else may know. However in context it should work as your partition will essentially be a new hard drive install so it won't have any software as such.

    I reckon give it a go, worst case scenario you are back to square 1, but you may just find that faulty component without losing all your stuff :P
  6. I have had a similar experience just recently involving a newly upgraded system and medieval: total war1 (the first mtw, as I'm not convinced that mtw2 is worth buying in it's current state, until it is suitably patched/goes gold, etc). I bought this computer a year ago (athlon 3500+ single core, 2gb ram and geforce 7800gt) and over the course of that year, configured the system until it was to my liking and ran well. At the start of this year (6 weeks ago), I then had the not-so-bright idea to drop the computer in to the place from where I bought it, for a processor upgrade (4800+ dual core). They told me that they were having some problems with it and needed to format the hard drive (eventually and for some strange reason, they replaced the drive, under warranty). However, each time I got the computer back from them, it died on me within 1 or 2 days of normal use (and often within just a few hours). By 'normal use', I mean connecting to internet, d/loading the very many windows xp updates and playing 1 or 2 games. The game that caused the system most problems was medieval:total war1, which kept causing the system to crash and reboot itself (equivalent to the blue screen of death). I returned the computer no less than 5 times, until they finally got it right. By 'right', I mean until I was able to play medieval:total war1 without this causing the whole computer to crash - the actual game did crash on me many times, but I wasn't too concerned with that, as long as it didn't crash the computer with it! I've now been using the system for a few evenings, 5 or 6 hours each evening, doing various things with it (installations including reinstalling windows xp, configuration, internet and gaming) and it hasn't crashed on me once, for which I am eternally grateful. The computer place eventually concluded that it was the new processor that was causing the problems and they simply replaced it with a new one. However this was not before they had also replaced the motherboard (for a better one), a larger case to fit it in, the sound card and hard drive!

    Each time the computer place gave it back to me (5 times over the course of 6 weeks) they assured me that they had tested it to their satisfaction, using various testing software such as 3dmark06, etc. However, the best test of the system I found was to try installing and playing medieval:total war, since mtw is a most tempermental game at the best of times and trying to run it on anything less than an optimal operating system will cause problems (either the game will crash frequently or it will cause the entire computer to lock up/crash). When I finally got new computer back for the fifth time, I therefore made it a priority to test the system using mtw (in campaign mode, playing for at least a few hours involving both the main map and real time battles), firstly to check that the computer was without fault, and secondly to configure the system until it could run mtw without causing the game to crash. This second one involved going into msconfig and disabling many start up items that could affect the running of the game. Once I had mtw running and playing for a few hours without crashing (in campaign mode), I then set about continuing to install various other software and configuring the system, each time testing the system with mtw. If I made a change to the system, or installed some software which then caused mtw to crash, I would know what the cause was. The point I'm trying to make is that just because your system can run sisandra or any other 'testing' software without causing the system to crash or lock up, don't take that as a sign that your system is all A-ok. The best test I have found is mtw (and it is also more fun!). If the computer can run mtw without crashes (either in the game or the entire system), then you know you have a rock-solid system. If you have mtw1 gold, I would use that, rather than mtw2, which is still under development and has many known (and unknown!) issues. Sorry this is such a long-winded post, but I'm currently sitting here bored at work with little else better to do with my time [edit: at least I was when I actually wrote this 7 hours ago - just had this late opportunity to post it!] If your interested, in my mtw campaign I'm playing england and I've just been attacked by france in 3 provinces, which is going to make for an exciting evening's play.
  7. Latest update:

    I borrowed a friend's ATI Radeon 9700Pro graphics card and installed it. The system is now completely stable and I have no freezing or crashing of any kind! So it looks as though there was some sort of incompatability with the graphics card. I have no idea why so if anyone could shed some light, I'd be interested to know!

    The other question I have is if I replace the 9700Pro (it's getting on a bit now) with something new (I was thinking about the X1950 Pro), do you think I'll have similar problems?
  8. There is a post in nvida's tech support about the drivers and this issue however the post is about artifacts but the drivers they recommand work for your problem aswell
  9. Ok, thanks. I did try updating the drivers but it didn't seem to make any difference. Do you have the link to the tech support post?
  10. here
    Had to copy and paste the text because the url is way to long but this is the driver the link given

    Artifacts are appearing in DX games with the GeForce 6600 GT AGP. WHat can I do about this?

    The issues that some users have reported seeing when using the GeForce 6600 GT AGP are due to a driver bug which causes 3D corruption when this GPU is used with certain motherboards, most notably SIS motherboards.

    We have verified a fix for this bug and have posted a new driver, 67.03, which can be downloaded from nZone.

    I cannot promis this will work but its a start disable fastwrites in bios
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