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Upgrading a newer system and one system with problems

Last response: in Systems
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April 24, 2008 1:38:48 AM

Hello all,

This is my first post here and it is kinda lengthy. I want to add as much information as possible for the best answers. I am a novice system builder with no overclocking exp. I built 2 new pc's for my wife and I to be used for mostly gaming. Ill post the rig specs first then go over my questions and issues. Both systems are on updated XP for the OS.

My Rig-

Mother Board
EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard - A1 Version, NVIDIA nForce 680i, Socket 775, ATX, Audio, PCI Express, SLI, Dual Gigabit LAN, S/PDIF, USB 2.0 & Firewire, Serial ATA, RAID

Chip
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

Ram
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (4 gig in mine)

Power supply
SILVERSTONE OP650 ATX 12V 2.2 & EPS12V 650W Power Supply 100 - 240 V RoHS, FCC, CE

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS Superclocked Video Card - 640MB GDDR3, PCI Express,SLI Ready, Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card

Case
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Dvd/CD RW
Lite on sata

Moniter
Samsung SyncMaster 225BW 22" Widescreen LCD Monitor - 5ms, 700:1, WSXGA+ 1680x1050, DVI, Black, 16:10 Aspect Ratio


My wife's rig has all of the above minus 2 gig of the ram. Her rig is solid and runs great with no issues at all. My rig has a weird issue were it locks up and when it reboots I will be missing the hard drive or the Dvd/cd rw or both and then windows has issues. When I open th case and switch the sata connections around it will most of the time load back up. Other times it freezes and I will have to switch the connections many times to get the rig to fire up.

I was wanting to take the video card out of my machine and SLI it into hers and add another 2 gig of the same ram for her machine in anticipation of Age of Conan. When I do that Ill need a new video card solution for mine. I am wanting to go with something that will be about the same as the cards I have now in SLI. Will the 8800 GT 512mb cards in SLI perform/out performe the cards I have now in SLI? Also what steps can I take to address the issues I am having with my rig? As for OS I was wondering would vista be a good step up? If so what version would you all recommend as I am not very knowledgeable about the 32 bit or 64 bit vista.

Thanks in advance!




April 24, 2008 2:05:15 AM

You have a good machines dude :) 

As for your lockup issue, are you using 4x1GB or 2x2GB? If it's 4x1GB, pull the 2GB out of your machine and see if it's running stable. It was reported many times from many fellas that 4x1GB RAM configurations sometimes is not stable. Normally we should increase the voltage by a bit to have a stable one. However on what voltage we should set at, I would leave it to others, since I don't have first hand experience on this type of board (n680i).

For the video upgrade issues, well I'm not really following into the latest one yet, so I wouldn't say anything to prevent misleading any info.

As for the Vista/XP issue, the Vista SP1 is more stable, but I don't see much benefit on Vista yet. Yes, they have a great visual compare to his older brother, and the SP1 performance now getting better compare to Vista first release, but still it doesn't convince me yet to go to Vista. However if you should decide to go to Vista, get the 64bit version and embrace yourself with at least 4GB RAM. 8GB will be better :D 
April 24, 2008 2:38:44 AM

So you think it's a memory issue other than a cable/harddrive issue? I am running 4 1gig sticks in my machine. I have read on evga's forums of guys having issues and also guys not having issues with 4 1 gig sticks. Very frustrating problem. The pc runs fine but out of the blue it will have these problems.
Related resources
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
April 24, 2008 9:59:27 AM

Very similar hardware to mine.

You have two nearly identical systems. You can test parts by substitution - if your wife will let you. The downside of this is that you can also end up with two computers with problems. Keep very close track of parts - by serial numbers and marking the parts where they came from. Document everything - BIOS settings, which RAM in which slots, SATA ports used or changed, etc.

Test only one thing at a time (well, RAM sticks can be tested in pairs until you have some indication of failure). It's terribly frustrating to change or move several parts, notice that the symptoms change, then realize that you lost track of which parts went where. Made that mistake once - about 30 years ago.

Know what to expect. For example, you are troubleshooting an instability/booting problem in one of your computers. As you swap parts, that problem should either move to the other computer (hopefully) or stay where it is. You should not see a different problem.

Important. If you change something, and things go badly wrong, stop and back up to where you were (you are documenting everything, right?). Common sense, but you'd be surprised ...

What voltage is your RAM running at. VRAM should be set to 2.2 volts with your memory.
Are you overclocking? If so, go back to stock speeds until you have your problems sorted out.

The four stick RAM problem is not uncommon.

Try swapping the RAM in your wife's computer with yours. See if she has the same problem with 4 sticks as you. Does your system run with her RAM?

Run memtest.

If you have the A1 package, you have plenty of SATA cables. Try different cables.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
April 24, 2008 10:08:01 AM

Oh, I forgot.

Don't upgrade until you have your problems sorted out. I would not expect Vista to fix a WinXP stability problem.

Cost effectiveness of upgrading your graphics system? Question could better be asked in a different forum.
April 24, 2008 11:51:44 AM

Thanks jsc. I appericate the reply. The only problem I see with swappng out the parts is that it doesnt always give me issues. It can be weeks before it does the locks/freezing. Or it can happen every other day. It's gone a week now since the last one.
!