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Computer hard locks, graphics card related?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 26, 2007 8:32:24 AM

First, here is what I am working with:

Windows Vista Home Premium
Athlon 64 x2 5400+
3 GB DDR2 800 RAM (two 512mb sticks of generic, two 1gb sticks of G. Skill--possible problem?)
NZXT 500 watt power supply
connect3d RADEON x1950pro 256mb graphics card

Anyway, my problem is that my computer hard locks after I've been playing graphic-intense games. I've had this happen to me while playing four different games (Call of Duty 4, Battlefield 2, Company of Heroes, Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs). It seems to me that it is a problem with my graphics card, because once temperatures hit around 70c, my computer screen goes black and it becomes unresponsive (unable to ctrl+alt+delete restart) to the point of needing to shut down by holding the power button. I use ATI Tool to override my fan settings, but after playing for a while on CoD4 temps will eventually reach the 70c threshold and it locks on me. Any suggestions? I've been told that it could be a problem with my power supply, but I have very little experience with computers and I'm at a location that doesn't have any PC shops I can take it to get it checked out.
December 27, 2007 3:58:37 AM

I was thinking about either outfitting the card with the Accelero S1 fan, or just getting a new RADEON 3870 512mb card. Getting a new card, however, doesn't mean I wouldn't have the same problems (PC shutting down upon GPU reaching 70c).
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December 27, 2007 1:33:12 PM

the problem you describe is something i have had to deal with a few times in the past. the most likely cause is either bad memory, or bad power supply. the x1950pro gpu's can handle temps much greater than just 70c, though running them hotter would shorten their life span. but i don't think thats the problem you are dealing with. if the problem was the video card you would probably see things like the image getting all thrashed up, textures not lining up or missing, objects distorted, or maybe just a black/blank screen before it locks up.

i would start by removing some of the installed memory. you could have a bad stick. removing the sticks one at a time. if that doesn't work then try swapping them around to different slots on the motherboard. having different sized sticks of memory shouldn't be a problem, unless you are trying to run them in dual-channel configuration. for daul-channel, all 4 sticks should be identical.

as far as the power goes, it "may" be the power supply, but it could also be the mother board. you didn't list the brand/model board you have. not all mobo's are created equal. cheap boards have cheap voltage regulators that have a tendency to fail under heavy load.

i tried doing a search for "NZXT 500 watt power supply", the most common match i got was model number PP500. there were a lot of seriously mixed reviews ranging anywhere from complete junk to totally awesome so i won't even try to guess if it's a decent power supply or not. according to the specs for the PP500, assuming the power supply is good, it should have enough power for the hardware you listed.

the bad news is your best bet would be to swap your memory, power supply, and mother board for different ones. but since you said you dont live near a PC shop, that would be a bit difficult/expensive.

some more info would be needed to help ya further. what other hardware is installed? what motherboard brand/model, hard drives...how many installed and what model/brand, optical drives..how many installed, do you have a sound card, video capture card, or any other cards? have you rescently added or removed anything?

does your PC only hard lock under heavy load (playing games) or does it also lock up after a while sitting idle? for this try turning over your screen saver and let it sit at the desktop for an hour. if it locks up then i'ld say it deffinately a problem with the power. i've had 2 mobo's that locked up while idle and once replaced the problem went away.

i'm sure you don't need me to tell you this but hard locks suck. i feel your pain cause i've been there too many times myself.
December 27, 2007 2:45:46 PM

I took a look at the tier listing for the NZXT PSU and its listed as a tier 5 PSU. In other words, its little more then junk. It may work, it may simply fail, it may fry your computer. So I'd recommend replacing it for a minimum tier 3 PSU, prefering a tier 2 or better. A bad PSU can lock the computer up fairly fast. Check the tier listings under forums/cpu & components/power supplies/the power supply faq/tier listings. Then you might go to jonnyguru.com and look over the PSUs that he has tested.

After that, its possible that the memory on your video card has failed. I had that happen on a X1900 XTX that I had. It didn't hard lock the computer, but would slow it down so much that framerates droped to about 2 fps. The 3870 is a great card, by the way, but it would overtax your particular PSU in the best conditions, much less if the PSU was already failing. As for the heat, 70c is high, but not uncommon when under full load. Some cards run 80-90c under full load.

December 27, 2007 3:20:16 PM

Take out the 2 512 sticks. If it still crashes its probably you graphics card.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
March 28, 2009 9:11:39 AM

:bounce:  hi friend, i encountered a recurring problem in my pc. it happens maybe after playing games(comm and conquer) for 30 minutes or more. first the movements stops, sounds like a broken record, blocks out, then a notice appear about overheating/nvidia something/and others that i cannot memorize. the background when this notice appear is skyblue. i repeatedly brought it to the technician we have here but the problem is not solved. can you help me?
April 7, 2009 10:06:53 AM

Quote:
:bounce:  hi friend, i encountered a recurring problem in my pc. it happens maybe after playing games(comm and conquer) for 30 minutes or more. first the movements stops, sounds like a broken record, blocks out, then a notice appear about overheating/nvidia something/and others that i cannot memorize. the background when this notice appear is skyblue. i repeatedly brought it to the technician we have here but the problem is not solved. can you help me?



you need to make your GPU fan run faster I have the same problem and this is what im testing next other wise you may need a new PSU. try benchmarking it , if you pass that then you know its not MEM or mobo problems. So its either TeMPS or a lack of power
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