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Fix my decent 939 system that freezes, or suggest Core 2 Duo upgrade?

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January 24, 2008 8:02:32 PM

I’m having some computer problems, and I’m trying to determine what the real issue is, and if it’s worth fixing. Would anyone be kind enough to help give some advice?

Problems:

- Biggest issue now is the computer freezes so much it is unusable. It makes it past the post screen, then shows temps which all look ok (CPU is usually around 34-36, definitely not overheating), then it starts to boot XP. Usually it freezes while Windows is loading, before login screen. Sometimes it starts Windows and then freezes up while I’m in the middle of something, like virus scanning. The issue is not software, hard drive, or video card (pulled those out and used alternates, with same results). My guess is it’s the mobo, but I guess it could be the CPU, RAM, or PSU too. I have a backup AMD 64 3500+ to swap to test the CPU if that’s likely. What do you think?

- Video card fan is dying, video drivers conflicting with things and making programs crash and games not loading. Have to reinstall Catalyst now and then to smooth things out. This was the first and last time I go for ATI.

- Have to press the power button multiple times for any power to come on at all. There’s no lights or fans or activity for sometimes 3-9 presses. (It’s not the case switch. I tested another switch and using an on-board switch on the mobo, and same issues occur. So it’s the mobo or PSU.)


Current rig that doesn't work:

Case: SILVERSTONE SST-TJ08 MicroATX Mid Tower
Mobo: BIOSTAR TForce6100 939 GeForce 6100 Micro ATX
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Toledo 2.3GHz 939 (mild OC w/ stock cooler)
RAM: Corsair TWIN2048-3200C2 Pro 2GB 184-Pin DDR400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel
GPU: Powercolor Radeon X800 GTO 128MB 256-bit
Audio: Onboard
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
PSU: Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-480 ATX12V 2.01 480W
Windows XP

Looking at if trying to fix:

Mobo: Foxconn 6150BK8MC-KRSH 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150B(PV) Micro ATX
GPU: EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0
~$295

1. Think this would fix my computer problems?

2. I’ve seen some people with 939 mobos that say the 8800GT works with it, and some that say it doesn’t. What are the chances that it would work with this one?

Looking at if buying new:

Case: SILVERSTONE SST-TJ05B ATX Mid Tower
Mobo: MSI P35 Neo2-FR LGA 775 ATX
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 (with OC’ing)
CPU Cooler: ZALMAN CNPS 9700
RAM: GeIL Esoteria 4GB 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
GPU: 1x EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0
Audio: Onboard
HDD: same as now
PSU: same as now
Windows Vista to get DX10?
~$1025

3. How do all these parts look for building a stable and OC’d system? Is the RAM good for overclocking with the CPU? I have a lot of experience building computers, but limited with OCs. Please suggest parts that don't amke this more expensive.

4. It looks like people are already running the 8800GT on smaller PSUs than mine, but would all this possibly be too much for the 480W Antec?

5. Is it worth putting $300 into fixing the 2-year-old system, or just put it toward the C2D upgrade?

For some background, I generally keep computers 4 years, and my computer IS FAST enough for what I do now (except maybe the video card). Of course, I haven’t played with or built Core 2 Duo systems (my last Intel build was a Pentium D), so I don’t know how much faster this upgrade would be. I do large photo editing and processing, watch video, and basic Word / web work. I am NOT a big gamer, but I'd like to play Bioshock or Jericho (which the x800 won’t do cause of its old SM) or StarCraft 2 when it comes. I will probably not SLI or RAID my system, and I don’t need the newest hardware. That said, the full upgrade is more power than I need now, but it would be putting money into not having to deal with buying computer parts for longer, future-proofing.

…sorry for the monster question, and thanks for any advice.
January 24, 2008 8:28:29 PM

Havent read the whole thing yet...(still at work)
The fact that it will POST leads me away from Mobo...

If it is dying after boot.ini is going....yet freezes before login...its a services issue...they load b4 login..startup programs load after.

When was the last time you reformatted?
January 24, 2008 8:31:47 PM

Thanks (and sorry it's long to get through, trying to be thorough lol)

I always posts, yes, and usually freezes at the white bar going across the bottom of the screen (before the windows logo even comes up).

I'm pretty sure it's not a problem with the hard drive or software/Windows. I pulled out the SATA hard drive and threw in an old formatted IDE one. I was setting up Windows on it, and the freezes kept happening through Windows setup.
Related resources
January 24, 2008 8:34:00 PM

Ill have to say, I have seen this several times caused from dieing PSU's...I'd start there.
January 24, 2008 8:38:37 PM

Alright, so it doesn't seem to be the OS then :) 

Do you have any diagnostic tools available to you? (if not check out hirens boot disc)
This could be a large amount of different issues :|
I'd probably start at a) running diags on the HDD first...easiest and quickest to get out of the way
2) run Memtest86 on both ram sticks.
3) check cabling running to the front panel where your button is
4) swap psu
January 24, 2008 8:44:15 PM

On to the upgrades :) 

The 8800 GT should have no issue working with your 939 board...its generally all reliant upon drivers and compatibility with the BIOS (939 should be fine..u may have to flash and update yours tho)

Will the GT fit in your case?

Brand new build looks fine to me...cept for the PSU..thats iffy...quad alone is gonna be pulling 135W let alone everything else. (keep in mind your PSU has degraded over the last few years...it wont be pushing out 480W anymore)

The speed increase in processing power/gpu power is immense from what you have now...however as to you deciding between costs...thats really up to you :) 

if $300 gets it to do what you want to...thats technically savings of $700..but its all up to your cash flow my friend :) 
January 24, 2008 8:50:28 PM

I had exactly the same symptoms and it turned out to be bad RAM. Note that the RAM had previously passed memtest86 tests with flying colours, but once the lockups started, retesting showed a failure in one of the chips. You definitely want to run memtest86 and see if it passes. If it doesn't, the failures should all be in the same general place.

As others have noted, though, you could also have a failing PSU or motherboard. I only mention the RAM because your problems are ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL to the ones I had a few years back.
January 24, 2008 8:50:37 PM

You said it wasn't a software issue. Try booting in safe mode....... F8 while it tries to boot. Safe mode with networking..... get to desktop run a virus scan.

try and do a repair. boot to cd with opsys disc in and try repair.

May be a heat issue. Try and clean the old lick dab off the heatsink and fan and re-install it.

Try one stick of ram, then try the other stick.

Could be the power supply........... sounds like it the more I read. ***************

I have one of those motherboards. So far th gt and gts model worked on it. thats not the problem.

Pull the powr cable ( 20-24 pin ) out of the mobo and reseat it.
January 24, 2008 8:54:04 PM

Hi there. I'm going to thow some ideas out there then wait for your response. Everything fully seated? Can you enter the bios? Are there any capasitors bulging? Can you try reloading your os? Did you try swaping your power supply? All jumpers in place/ proper place? One stick of ram at a time when trying to boot, then swaped? Will it post wo the HD? Have you tried reseating CPU? Something a computer shop will do on a rebuild is thorghly blow it out with compressed air to clean it. It's amazing what those little dust bunnies can to to goof things up. I will give you an opinion to your question about replacement directly though. You could look for a replacement 939 mb they are out there. If you go the full replacement route is money an issue and are you considering AMD and Intel or just Intel as stated above? The system you are considering looks good, I'm sure that you have done your research and like the parts. If you are considering AMD be sure to look at AM2+ MBs only, best path for upgrade. Ausu has a very good one the M3A32-MVP Deluxe. Maybe a 5000+ BE (99USD +/-)now and swap to a phenom when the issues are ironed out. The Q6600 oc'ed will be a great chip if you go that way. The new series chips, Nehalem I think will need a new MB if you go Intel. Since you keep your systems for several yrs it will be a whole new ball game by then. Do you think that you will be adding a lot of new software? Multi core enabled? If not a dual core chip might fit the bill for most useages. You will see a lot of action in the forums about the new e8xxx cpus, something to consider. They are proported to run a bit faster, cooler and less power hungry and are said to oc well also.
January 24, 2008 9:19:38 PM

Wow, thank you for all the replies...
Replying to the repairing comments, starting from the earlier ones:

Quote:
a) running diags on the HDD first...easiest and quickest to get out of the way
2) run Memtest86 on both ram sticks.
3) check cabling running to the front panel where your button is
4) swap psu


I will try that boot CD. Thanks for the recomendation! I checked the cabling (and also tried a backup power button instead) with no luck. I have not tried swapping a psu, btu I will as soon as I get one to swap.

Quote:
As others have noted, though, you could also have a failing PSU or motherboard. I only mention the RAM because your problems are ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL to the ones I had a few years back.


Thanks for your experience. I'll try Memtest and booting with one stick of ram at a time.

Quote:
You said it wasn't a software issue. Try booting in safe mode.......


I did try the safe mode/virus scanning/repair/boot to cd/reading temps.

Thanks for the other tips, I will try one stick of ram at a time, and swapping psu when I get one. And I'll try reseating the power connectors again.

Quote:
Everything fully seated? Can you enter the bios? Are there any capasitors bulging? Can you try reloading your os? Did you try swaping your power supply?...


Everything is seated, but I will re-seat it. I can enter the bios, yes. No capaciors are bulging. I tried reloading the OS on a different HDD, and the installation freezes up too. I don't have a backup psu to swap, but will soon. The system is pretty dust-free, but that's a good thought.

I'm tring: Memtest86, booting with one stick of ram at a time, swapping psu (when I get another), re-seating a few things, and blowing dust out.

For everyone's comments on upgrades...

It sounds like I need a new PSU either way I go, and I don't have a backup atm. I usually just go for Antec or Enermax. Can anybody please suggest a good/stable PSU and Wattage that would work for either the 939 or C2D system for <$100?

An 8800 GT will fit in either my current MicroATX (it's not a small one) or the ATX I picked out. If I put the 8800 in a 939, how bad would the bottleneck be?
January 24, 2008 9:56:34 PM

Re power supply. THG has a section about OEM tiers of quality for PS's it is recommed to choose something from the 3rd tier and above. I bought this one in Dec and have been very happy with it, it is quiet. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Also now is a good time to replace your Video card. You could do the 8800gt. The 8800gtx prices will be coming down. Ati seems to have a winner with the HD3850 and the HD3870. The resolution of your monitor will determine the amount of horsepower you need in a VC. But mostly you could be the proud owner of one of the new HD3870x2's. Reported to be the latest and greatest VC. They are supposed to be out shortly; next few days. I have read that the issue is the new driver and building of stock for the launch. The Q6600 oc'ed to 3.+ ghz and a HD3870x2 would be a uber machine for you. The 8800gt is great also. Best to compare prices. As long as we're helping you spend your money, I just got a 19" LCD I really really like it for gaming. Clear bright and it wasn't all that much money. Here is a link to a 22" LCD I was looking at http://www.legendmicro.com/store/more_info.asp?product_... . You'll be the fragmeister.
January 24, 2008 9:59:05 PM

I believe the 8800GT will be a fine match to the x2 4200. Providing the PCI-e slot is indeed 16x electrical which I believe it is on that motherboard, you wont be severly limiting that card in most games/benchmarks except for the extremely CPU bound ones. Even if it isn't, it wont be a huge bottleneck. I have been looking into it a lot recently just prior to purchasing an 8800GTS.

I can't say I know if it'll fit in that case, pull out the measuring tape or ruler and check it out. Sometimes google helps too.

I agree with the ram/power supply diagnoses as well. they are the more common culprits for these symptoms. If you're still having troubles, it could be something like grounding as well. If you're fairly cautious, it never hurts to strip everything else out from your computer, then re-install/connect cpu/motherboard/psu/1-stick of ram/video (or onboard), then start adding an optical drive and doing tests from cds/dvds.

Afterwards you can think about hooking up your front I/O such as the power/reset switches and other drives. Sometimes its hard to diagnose when everything is still plugged in.


January 26, 2008 2:33:27 PM

Thanks guys, I've had some luck now. Since posting last time, I tried:

- without any overclocks
- without the pci express card (using onboard video, and I have no pci cards to remove)
- without optical drives
- without front I/O
- without using the case power switch (have a backup switch I tried)
- with one stick of RAM at a time on default SPD and 2.6v in Memtest86, passed
- with both sticks of RAM at the normal speed, 2-3-3-5 2.7v in Memtest86 all night, passed
- with swapping in my backup 3500+ processor
- spraying out dust
- re-seating all power connectors, RAM, and the video card

None of that stopped the problem, so this pretty much narrowed it down to a motherboard or power supply issue. While waiting for a loaner PSU to get here to swap in, I found an update to my BIOS that's been updated since I built the computer. Flashed the new version, and poof... I'm running for the past day without a freeze! Of course, I want to see it stable for at least a few days before I think I'm in the clear. It's really strange if the BIOS just suddenly stopped working when I hadn't installed any hardware recently (last thing was upgrading to the X2 processor 3-4 months ago).

I'm feeling good about this, and I think you guys helped me fix it! You're awesome. Thanks so much for the help. :) 

That leaves me with just the video card dying and the power button not working. I can deal with that... I think I'm getting the 8800GT, and have the loaner PSU, and I'll see if those things help with those 2 issues.


praeses said:
I believe the 8800GT will be a fine match to the x2 4200...


Cool, it's good hear from somebody else looking into pairing the 8800GT with the X2 4200. My slot is x16. My case it a MicroATX, but it's from Silverstone, who builds everything big and with lots of fans. I did measure, and I have just enough space, thanks to a good case design. If not, I have a spare ATX that could fit SLI GTXs with room to spare.


topper743 said:
Re power supply. THG has a section about OEM tiers of quality for PS's it is recommed to choose something from the 3rd tier and above...


Thank you for the recommendation. I never used an FSP before but those reviews look good, and quiet is important. I will definitely be buying that or another on the THG list if the loaner PSU fixes the problem with my power button not working right. Re vid card: My current ATI card has enough problems and driver issues that I think I'm just looking at Nvidia this time around. I might look at ATI cards again the next time I shop for one. Re monitor: I have a nice 19" Samsung myself, and it's perfect for me too :) 
January 26, 2008 4:45:58 PM

Check around with the electronic supply stores in your town. The on/off switch is pretty standard. It is likely that they will have one that fits your machine. I had one go out before and it was an easy fix.

About the forums: my experience has been a positive one. It seems most posters are very willing to help and the posts are for the most part friendly. There are some very knowledgeable peple here. The arguments about Intel vs. AMD and ATI vs. Nvidia seems to bring out the worst in people and the threads that discuss this are mostly nasty flame wars. You'll see the same people being nice and helpfull time and again and the same people with snotty comments in thread after thread. Just as in RL ignore the bitter mean people and embrace the "good" ones.

I too have a Samsung 19", a 950p. I agree that it is a good one. But as I said I got a LCD and it is outstanding for online gaming. I see things now that I couldn't before. I moved the CRT to a business computer I have, I'm sure that I will use for many more years.
!