So I'll start with my specs and then explain the problem...
Athlon 7750 AM2+ Dual Core Processor 2.7GHz
2*2Gig Corsair DDR2 800 Ram
XFX HD 4850 Graphics Card
Asus-Tek V-M3N8200 Motherboard
Western Digital 500Gig HDD
OCZ 500W PSU
Now for the problem I've been having and a rundown of what I've done and what I intend to do:
Basically while playing a game there seems to be a random chance that the computer would lock up. This tended to occur after I would lose the picture on screen, to see it be replaced with a series of dotted lines which I believe are called artifacts? But it's also started to happen randomly. I think this happened because something caused the graphics driver to fail, and instead of the computer recovering it it would lock up.
So, would this mean that the problem was the graphics card? I thought so, so I exchanged my HD 4850 with my brother's GeForce 8800 and we set about testing them. He has had nothing but spotless performance from my card, whereas I've just had the same issues, albiet different because it's a different card. As an example, yesterday I got the artifacts, although not as prominent, but the picture did recover, twice, then it locked up.
Could it be the Ram? I've ran several Memtests, but they all seem to come up clean, although I can't really run them for the 12 hours I've read you should run them for. Sometimes though I've blue screened, and the screen has said it was something to do with MEMORY MANAGEMENT... which brings me to the next question...
Could it be Vista? I upgraded to Vista from XP a while ago hoping it would solve this problem on XP, alas it only seems to have made it worse. Not only that, some of my issues were caused by a driver conflict which I did not know of before I upgraded to vista (I had an old Nvidia graphics driver that I needed to clean). Also, yesterday, when I was trying one of the games that gave me the most issues, it windowed me out to tell me that something called SuperFetch had stopped working, although it didn't stop the game. I've read that SuperFetch is a Vista service designed to speed up opening programs by preloading them into the Ram at the times it thinks you're most likely to use them. Could that be doing anything? I ask this because when I tried another game, it was jumpy, did that artifacts screen twice and then hard locked, but when I restarted the comp and ran the game again it ran smoothly, only crashing once, and that was only shutting down the game, rather than locking up the system.
As a final note, all temperatures seem to be cool, nothing really goes above 70 degrees celcius even under heavy load. I shall also be reformatting tomorrow and going back to XP. Still, before I do I wonder if anyone here might have any suggestions about what could be causing my problem? I'm not really sure how I would go about testing the motherboard or processor to make sure they aren't at fault and I've chkdsk'd the harddrive several times to make sure it wasn't that.
I have no idea how I would configure the BIOS to up the voltage, I'd be worried about damaging it. Also as far as I can tell the PSU seems fine. All the readings I've checked seem to indicate that the voltages are at the right levels.