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Randomly Locking up

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December 16, 2009 7:24:04 PM

I recently put a new motherboard in my computer because my old one blew out on me, i made sure that all my current parts were compatible with the new board, my dad made sure, my uncle (the original builder of the system) made sure they were compatible.

I followed all the instructions in the book as to where all the connections to the boards go.

Here is what im running on my system.

Intel Pentium 4 2.68ghz processor

Windows XP Professional 32bit

550-watt power supply

1.5gb of RAM

a 1gb Super-Talent stick and the 512mb is an Elixir

A seagate 80gb hard drive

Radeon 9600 video card

My sound card is from Mad Dog Multimedia, but im not sure what model it is.

A sony CD-RW drive, i have a Sony DVD-RW drive in the case also, but its only connected to the power, i have to switch them around because of the placement of the IDE cable and i havent got around to it.

I have an IBM flat panel LCD monitor, not sure if that can cause lockups but im listing it anyway.

I have all my drivers updated with the exception of one, ive used a driver scanner program to be sure of this.

The one not updated is my video card, whenever i download and install the driver directly from the ATI Radeon website, for the 9600 series, it sets my resolution to 800 x 600 and to 8 bit colors and tells me "This driver was designed for an earlier version of windows and is not compatible with the one you are using"

But when i uninstall that driver, my display is perfectly fine. 32-bit colors, 1024x768 res.

The computer most always locks up when i try to play a game or watch a video.

Ok im pretty sure its overheating, my BIOS says my processor is running at 190-210 degrees Fahrenheit, which i know is very very bad even though ive heard the intel pentium 4's run pretty hot.

Im pretty sure all i need is some new thermal paste.. which im gonna pick up a tube of some arctic silver 5 on friday, so hopefully that will fix it. I installed my heatsink wrong the first time also, i fixed it but it didnt make much of a difference.

More about : randomly locking

December 16, 2009 7:32:31 PM

You don't tell us what Mobo it is.... is it a hard lock? or does the machine shut off? If it is a hard lock it's hard to say, if you blue screen, it's possible low voltage on cpu, videocard, or ram, if you shut off it's possible power supply death. You say it locks up when trying to watch a video or play a game. I would then have to believe it is your videocard (which could easily cause these problems), i would install the drivers off ati's site, whether or not they run at the resolution you want. See if the game freezes up. If it doesn't freeze up, and runs at 800x600 you know it's a driver issue and not hardware necessarily.
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December 16, 2009 7:52:45 PM

Its a hard lock, not a blue screen, not a shutdown or restart.


Im not 100% sure what the motherboard is, i cant find a brand name anywhere on it. Its a purple-ish color, the book only says "Motherboard" on the front. I think its an Intel though..

The model number is PT800DBP though.

The link for the driver you posted is the exact one that i used that gave me the resolution/color issue. But ill try it again to see if it freezes.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2009 8:27:45 PM

Is the new motherboard a different model than the old motherboard? That could be the problem. You usually have to reinstall your OS when you switch to a different motherboard, or you'll have all kinds of driver conflicts, some of which are pretty much impossible to resolve. So if you just moved everything over to the new mobo without reinstalling Windows, that's my first guess.

If not, can you post the specs of your RAM? If it requires anything higher than the default voltage for its type, that's another thing that could cause freezing. If you had it set up correctly on the old motherboard, then moved the RAM onto a new board that's still operating at default BIOS settings, it might not be getting the correct voltage and you'll have to change it manually.

So, just a couple of things to check if you haven't yet.
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December 16, 2009 8:44:58 PM

Its the same brand, but different model. I did reinstall windows, on a completely different hard drive also.

How can i find the specs for my RAM?
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December 16, 2009 9:14:20 PM

Ok i figured it out.. its seriously overheating.

When im not straining it at all, the CPU is sitting at 194 degrees Fahrenheit, and the case temp is around 82.

I have no clue why its overheating and even less of a clue on how to fix it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2009 9:37:15 PM

First thing that comes to mind is a problem with the CPU heatsink/fan -- either not completely touching the CPU, thermal compound applied incorrectly (or not at all), or the CPU fan unplugged or dying. I would absolutely check that out first.

Also, I've sometimes seen it happen that when people take a case apart and reassemble it, one or more of the case fans end up getting screwed on backwards. A lot of them aren't very well marked. If you have a case fan blowing out where it's supposed to be blowing in, or vice versa, that could be causing the air inside the case to get stagnant and heat up in a hurry.

Or: It could be an airflow problem, which is most often the video card or wires blocking the air from the intake fans and keeping it away from the CPU area. Although I don't think the Radeon 9600 is a very big card.

Not sure if any of these is the problem, but things you probably want to check out, and all pretty easy.
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December 17, 2009 1:47:09 AM

I never took off the fans so i know those arent the problem. so its either the heatsink isnt touching it, i know i dont have any thermal compound, mostly because i didnt know what all the "gray crap" as i called it, was on it so i wiped it off.. Bad idea i guess. Where can i buy the thermal compound?

And the radeon 9600 is fairly decent sized, http://img.tomshardware.com/cn/newsimages/2003/0000494/... heres a picture of it.

I may put my 9250 back in cause its smaller.
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December 17, 2009 5:25:00 PM

Search "arctic silver" on newegg. It is the best thermal compound. Also, SUPER important...lol. When you install, put a very small amount on the cpu, about the size of your pinky nail (there are specific ways depending on the processor type, quad, dual, etc, but this should work fine for you), then make sure the heat sink is firmly secured.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 17, 2009 7:37:32 PM

avarice_13 said:
i know i dont have any thermal compound, mostly because i didnt know what all the "gray crap" as i called it, was on it so i wiped it off..


Well, there's your problem. You can either order more from Newegg, or pick it up at pretty much any computer store. As mentioned earlier, Arctic Silver is probably the best you can buy.

I wouldn't worry about the 9600. It's probably not the problem, now that you've identified a far more likely issue.
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December 18, 2009 2:14:49 AM

Thanks guys, ill let you know how it goes tomorrow after i get the stuff.

Is there anything that wont hurt the processor as a temporary fix for the paste?

Im having serious gaming withdrawals here XD

And i have another question..

The reason why i replaced my motherboard was all 5 hard drives that i had gave me a similar problem. None of them had anything on them, and whenever i tried to install windows, which i also tried 3 different copies of, the setup would freeze, or i would get a blue screen during the setup. Is that a motherboard problem or something completely different?

If my old board is still good, ill pop it in my spare PC as a little upgrade.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 18, 2009 7:20:05 AM

I would not run the machine without thermal paste for any reason if it's giving you those temps. You don't want to messwith it until you get the heat under control.

Hard to say if the old problem was the motherboard or the RAM. It certainly sounds suspicious if several hard drives did not work with the system. But then again, it could be an issue with bad RAM, mismatched RAM or undervolted RAM that was causing a system hang before any program could run. We really need to know the specs of the RAM to figure that out.
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December 18, 2009 2:31:37 PM

capt_taco said:
I would not run the machine without thermal paste for any reason if it's giving you those temps. You don't want to messwith it until you get the heat under control.

Hard to say if the old problem was the motherboard or the RAM. It certainly sounds suspicious if several hard drives did not work with the system. But then again, it could be an issue with bad RAM, mismatched RAM or undervolted RAM that was causing a system hang before any program could run. We really need to know the specs of the RAM to figure that out.



Agreed, i wouldnt even turn the system on if there is no thermal interface mat. If the cpu is auto-shutting down, then it is very close to cooking itself to death.
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December 18, 2009 9:33:00 PM

Got the thermal paste, everything works great.

How do i find the specs of my ram?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 18, 2009 10:35:20 PM

Sometimes it's just printed on the sticks themselves. If not, you can download a program like CPU-Z and it should be able to identify it for you.

If there's not an obvious mismatch or voltage problem, I honestly would not spend a hell of a lot of time troubleshooting the old motherboard, because a) If it's a Pentium 4-era component, there's a very real chance that it just doesn't work anymore, and b) If it turns out to be functional, installing it in another system may still be more trouble than it's worth because you'll still face big-time limitations with any motherboard of that era.

Basically, when dealing with technology that old, my motto is, if it's still running, don't mess with it. The chance of winding up with a screwed up machine usually far outweighs the potential benefits.
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December 19, 2009 5:14:10 AM

Yeah good point.. I don't have a job yet so what i have is what i get. I looked at the popular builds thread and, yeah im a gamer, but im not hardcore, i was looking mostly at the "Budget" system, when i start getting a positive cash flow i think that will be my next system.

But im 99.9% sure my overheating problem is fixed with the AS5, so this topic can be closed.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 19, 2009 6:05:33 AM

Give somebody a 'best answer' to mark it as solved and only googlers with your problem will see it.
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