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System freezes with P4 3GHz CPU & GeForce 6600 GT

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January 14, 2007 8:36:52 PM

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 could be graphics card related but perhaps there is some fault with the CPU or some settings I could change?

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.
January 14, 2007 8:42:09 PM

Check your temperatures. When was the last time you cleaned out the inside of your computer?

If heat is not your problem, try a fresh Windows install if you haven't in a long time (ofc back up all the files you want) and install the latest drivers.

I would suggest memtest86+, but it doesn't -really- sound like a memory issue, but it's possible. I'd say go ahead and run it before you reformat, better safe than sorry. Also -could- be the PSU, so try a spare one if you've got.
January 14, 2007 9:38:21 PM

Thanks for your suggestions. My first thought was temperature but it freezes literally minutes after powering on! Can it get that hot in that time? Having said that I haven't cleaned out the inside for some time so I'll give that a try. I'm trying to avoid re-installing Windows if I can because I don't want to lose my programs - it's a last resort!
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January 14, 2007 10:03:10 PM

what kind of psu are you using?
January 14, 2007 10:55:12 PM

I agree with the temperature issue, you'll be surprised how the vents on the CPU cooler and the GPU cooler can get clogged with dust. Take some time to clean them out, I've never regretted spending the time (and honestly I have to do it to my machines every few months).

Oh... and don't use a vacuum cleaner on the inside of your case. It's a static electric making monster. Canned air is the best may to go, but make sure your machine is cool before spraying cold air (or freezing propellant) inside your case. Oh... and clean the unit outside, otherwise you'll just put all that dust back into the air.

Good Luck.
February 16, 2007 6:54:50 AM

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 (http://www.qtec.info/products/group.htm?pc=POWER-SUPPLY...) 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.
February 16, 2007 7:15:41 AM

Quote:
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 could be graphics card related but perhaps there is some fault with the CPU or some settings I could change?

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.
Did this problem surface when you installed the 6600GT, or awhile after/before? Are you sure the auxillary molex connector(s) is plugged into the graphics card? Another possibility is the PSU. I see you've cleaned out your case and HS/F, but did you blow the dust out of your PSU? They can accumulate dust inside very rapidly, and when it settles on capacitors/heatsinks inside the PSU, they can get really hot....which can mess with the quality, and quantity of your voltages. A can of compressed air blown through the fan grilles will work good. 50C @ load is fine. GL :) 
February 16, 2007 7:39:12 AM

Geez dude, whats with the 3 posts (that I know of) on the same subject?????
February 16, 2007 7:56:04 AM

Well, I built the system from scratch so everything was installed at the same time. I noticed the problem from day 1 but just put it down to teething problems with Windows XP. I'm thinking about buying a new graphics card to see if it cures the problem but am worried that if I shell out £100 or so and it makes no difference, I've wasted my money! I just want to rule out every other component before I make that decision.

The PSU does seem to be troublesome so I'll give that a good clean out and disconnect a few other IDE devices to see if that helps...
March 5, 2007 9:41:15 AM

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?
March 5, 2007 11:32:53 AM

Assuming u are messing with AGP8 cards.

Ur ABIT IC7 is a mobo that is 4 yrs old, never place new hardware into an old mobo....thats askin for trouble...hehe (sometimes)
March 5, 2007 4:31:57 PM

Quote:
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?
There's still the possibility that it's the powers supply. The 6600GT uses more juice than the 9700Pro. Before you go out and buy a new graphics card, you might be wise to make sure it isn't just your PSU. What are your chances of borrowing your friends PSU also(assuming it's of decent power) for a day, and trying it with the 6600GT? GL :) 
!