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Computer Issue >>Please Read<<

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March 13, 2010 9:32:16 AM

My PC has been crashing lately just randomly and I cant find the answer as to why. When I first got the PC it had 256mb ram so I upgraded that to 2 x 1gb sticks which worked out fine. I then added a Nvidia geforce mx440. This is an old graphics card that is about 64mb. Thats were the problem started, I need a graphics card to play this game and it lags without one. So if anyone can tell me how to stop it crashing and needing a cold restart please let me know ASAP. The fans dont stop working and everythings still on but its really strange. Please help

Alex

More about : computer issue read

a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2010 9:57:58 AM

What motherboard are you using? It may be an incompatibility of some sort between your motherboard and your graphics card. Does the system work fine with onboard graphics? What game are you trying to play?
March 13, 2010 10:48:36 AM

OS: XP pro

Intel Celeron D 351 (3.20GHz)
2gb Ram DDR2
80 GB hard drive
CD Rom Drive
Nvidia Geforce4 MX440
320V PSU

World of Warcraft, but doesnt happen just on this it can happen on Youtube, Facebook or even Windows Movie Maker.
Related resources
a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2010 10:56:47 AM

It is an old graphics card...64MB AGP 8X. Havent seen one of them for a while! I wouldn't be surprised if the card was causing your computer to freeze. I really doubt it would have the capacity to play WOW and may even have hiccups with other things like youtube as you mentioned.
March 15, 2010 2:54:04 PM

You said it started crashing when you add the graphics right? I'm not an expert at this but I think your power supply is starting to fail or just can't handle your graphic card. Try upgrading it to a branded psu. I can't imagine you' needing a psu greater than 350 or 400 watts.
March 15, 2010 3:15:12 PM

Well ive had this pc since 2006.. was thinking of getting new case with 450W psu built in if that would stop the crashes?
a b ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2010 3:48:46 PM

(1) I never buy a Case with a PSU pre-installed. Generally they put a crappy PSU (not always) in. You can generally buy a case and a PSU for close to the same price point (might be a little more, but WELL worth it). While the cpu may be the brains, the PSU is the heart. Read the ton of post here at toms on PSUs and problems with "crappy" Psu.

(2) As stated above, it could be your PSU. Down load CPUID HWMonitor (google it) install and run it. Run a program the will load your cpu (ie prime 95 Added this will also verify no memory errors). If a problem, you found it 2nd run a program that taxes the video (I run Furmark, not sure it would run on your system.
Monitor the Min - max voltage levels. The +5 V must not drop below 4.75 V, The +12 V should not drop below +11.4 (This is the specification, I use 11.6 as my Min value.)

(3) Could be a driver issue. Need to remove all unused video drivers. Go to control panel, system Hardware and remove. Reboot in to safe mode and run a driver cleaner program such as CCleaner. Reboot and re-install the latest video card driver for your Graphics card. A bigger pain in the Butt, but may work better. Re-install your operating system. MAKE sure you back-up any of YOUR files/data.

If you need to buy parts - weigh that against a "New" build. Pats you buy for you current system are not cost effect. A low end (subjective) I3-530 can be built for arround $600 -> $700 that would run circles arround your current system, and not even pant!!!
March 15, 2010 4:01:05 PM

porkster619 said:
Well ive had this pc since 2006.. was thinking of getting new case with 450W psu built in if that would stop the crashes?


Maybe it will stop but i can't really guarantee because it's just a hunch. Maybe you really did got a bad gpu like the others pointed out, not sure. I really think you should upgrade your whole computer though. AMD has some really cheap dual cores and the integrated graphics on 785g chipset isn't have bad specially when overcloked. Certainly better than Nvidia Geforce4 MX440 according to this table.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/best-graphics-card,review...
a b ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2010 4:16:48 PM

I3-530 review
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/01/04/intel-...

Just built a low-end I3-503. NOT a good bench mark, but the win 7 graphic scores were both in the 5s. (Neither AMD/Intel chips with inergraded graphics are very good for anything above low end game requirements)

Other than low end games a real graphic card should be used and would score about the same for both amd/Intel. For CPU intensive tasks the I3-530 would be a better choice.

If Not into Overclocking, the Charts included in the link provide stock CPU speeds.

Added:
http://www.goldfries.com/hardware-reviews/intel-core-i3...
This link compares the IGP for the I3 to a GT-220 - Not sure how that compares to the IGP of a 785g

Build for my wife: NOTE Low end games, for her any game over $10 is a rip off
I3-530 (will OC), H55M-2UD2H (No sli/xfire needed), Corsair 400 W PSU (can easily run a 5770 GPU), 4 gigs of ram CL7 1.35 V (Cheaper available).
$365 Hard to beat.

I added a 3rd party HSF for $23.

What I didn't need to buy at this time. (I'll probably buy her a new case (HEC 63RABB and latter on the 5670 GPU)
If need new operating system (Recommend win 7) that adds $105.
If needed (as I already had):
New case - $40->$60
HDD ($50 -> $75)
DVD writer Approx $25
GPU - 5670/5750 approx $120
March 15, 2010 6:14:38 PM

I know us telling you that you should buy a new computer is not what you want to hear, but it is better than constantly upgrading an ancient computer. RetiredChief has some good advise but if you want something very cheap but still a good computer. This is my advise on what you should buy (assuming that you live in america that is but also applies to other parts of the world). All of this was in newegg.

CPU= AMD Athlon II x2 240=$58.99
Mobo= BIOSTAR A785GE AM2+/AM3 AMD 785G beacause its IGP has some decent overclocking results for an am2/am3=$69.99
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/amd-785g-motherboard,revi...
Grand total=$128

You could reuse all of your previous system components like your ddr2 ram, harddrive and cdrom, Windows and your case, not the power supply though. You should google the case with PSU you were looking at for some feedback. What is it anyway?
March 15, 2010 6:23:50 PM

I agree with above, build a new system, even a low end i3 or Core 2 Duo would beat the Celeron D and use less power doing it. And a new $50 video card would blow your mind compared to an MX440.

If you're doing it cheap, I'd replace the video card (but buying a new AGP card might be expensive since they're out of date, ebay might be your best bet, I haven't checked). 320W power supply should be fine for those old cards (but if you build a new computer, it wont be).

As mentioned above too, first thing to try though is uninstalling the old drivers, and installing the latest version from nVidia. It's free, so should be the first thing you try.

EDIT: oh and something else, when using the MX440, disable the onboard video in the BIOS, as it might simply be conflicting (something else you can try for free!). If you need the on-board working again, and the MX440 has died (worst case scenario), to get it back on you would need to reset the CMOS by shorting the reset CMOS pins on the board.
a b ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2010 7:04:48 PM

SpiderWeb
A 320 Watt PSU would work, But I would recommend the Corsair 400 Watt currently on sale at newegg for about $40 after MIR. My I3 Build (above) w/o GPU is Only 120 Watts at idle (He could almost pay for the new computer over 3 years just in electricity savings!!!). My i5-750 OCed to 3.6 GHz with a 5770 Graphis card is under 300 Watts

Opps, the 50 W I listed was for Monitor. Plugged the wrong AC plug in to the watt meter. corrected to 120 W
!