Link Width issue

Hi. I'm having a very odd problem with my computer.

First I noticed all the games that I played had dropped in performance, FPS was low and I could hardly run games. I contacted nVidia and the problem lied in the Link Width being set to x1.

I used the jumper on my motherboard and it went back to x16. Just 2-3 minutes after I booted up my computer froze up and the audio stopped. I shut down the PC through the button and booted back up, but now the Link Width was back to x1. Later I shut down and used the jumper again, but this time the PC was running smoothly for about 2 months.

The PC froze out of nowhere again but this time no matter how many times I use the CLRCMOS to reset it to x16 it still freeze and go back to x1, even when I'm not in Windows (BIOS etc). I though - Maybe it's a driver issue but it still crashed in Safe Mode and after I reformatted during the XP installation.

I removed one of my RAM memories and booted up, still freeze. Took out the last memory and put back the one I took out the first time, still freeze. I removed the other PCI cards like my sound card, still freeze.

nVidia suggested buying a new Lithium battery but that solved absolutely nothing. So I went and bought a new graphic card. I bought myself an XFX Geforce 8800GT and it ran fine for the first 3-4 hours. The PC crashed with a 0xE7 error which I think is related to my sound card driver. Booted up and it was back at x1, so that made me wonder if the audio card caused any problems to my PCI buses, though after uninstalling the drivers and removing the card I still had the same problems. I updated the BIOS, same problems. I updated my graphic card drivers, same problems. I updated my motherboard chipset drivers, same problems.

Now I'm rendered a moron and can't figure out what else there is to check. A hardware issue sounds odd in my ears due to the PC being able to work smoothly when it feels like it. I've been suggested to buy a new motherboard, but just like buying a new graphic card I'm never guaranteed it's going to solve my problems. The issue might be something very simple I overlooked. Also, the motherboard is custom made for the XPS 420 PC ( where the CPU is tilted and the PC is opened from the right side instead of the usual left so it's very costy.

So what would you suggest? What can cause these issues? I've googled for so long on answers but I've never seen anyone who have their PC frozen up when it's in x16. Lots of people who have it stuck on x1 though.

Any replies and suggestions are highly appreciated.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
XFX GeForce 8800GT
Win XP Media center edition
400w PSU
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  1. It might not be the root cause of your problems, but a 400W PSU with a 8800GT is pushing it, especially if your computer is already a couple years old. Regardless of whether it fixes your current issue or not, I think it'd be a worthwhile investment. See what happens and go from there.
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