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Strange Problem

Last response: in Systems
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January 13, 2011 8:11:07 PM

First start off with the computer spec's

CPU - AMD Athlon x2 5400
MB - Comes up as NF-MCP68 which I found as a MB made by Nvidia
RAM - 4GB DDR2 @ 1.692Mhz
Video - nVidia 9500 GT 512MB
HDD - Western Digital 350GB
PSU - RaidMax 450W
Sound - RealTek HD (onboard)

My problem is this. While playing any game I encounter this problem within 10-15 minutes of play. The sound will seem to skip or stutter sounding like a CD skipping. Then it will correct itself. The problem gets continually worse and other symptoms include looping audio but a stuck video and always end up in a total system lock. I get no error or BSOD. I have run multiple types of burn software to include Hot CPU Tester Pro, Memtest, BurnIn, ORTHOS, IntelBurnTest, rthdrbl, and Prime95. I used SpeedFan and RivaTuner to monitor temps during the Burn process. I ran these tests for multiple hours (obviously not at the same time) and cannot replicate the error. It will only occur while a game is actually running. I have used a power supply calculator to try to rule out the power supply and I can also monitor the voltages in real time using speedfan. I did other research using my system spec's and I got a few hits with problems regarding my sound card but I couldn't really find one that gave a solution. The only other thing that I am going to try tonight is running the game in a windowed mode with SpeedFan to see if the point that it locks up is consistent with a temperature or load. Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated. Thanks


Robert

More about : strange problem

a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2011 8:18:53 PM

First try updating your video drivers from the company website. The other issue you may have is that it sounds like you have a gpu and an onboard sound active at the same time and they may be conflicting if your video card is also running sound so you may need to go into the bios and deactivate the onbarod gpu if you are not using it. You could also try increasing your virtual memory if you are using windows xp.
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January 13, 2011 8:24:38 PM

Posted in a thread similar to this earlier on and it sounds like a similar kind of issue. I'd agree that it seems to be either a heat or power issue. When you monitored your temperatures, did you check your GPU also? HWMonitor from CPUID is a good, free utility to monitor temperatures of most of your hardware. Run your game etc. that is causing you problems and keep an eye on all of your temps, in particular the CPU and GPU. Post back with those temps at both idle (doing nothing) and at load (playing your game) and we'll have a look at them.

Also, I'm not a fan of RaidMax PSUs. They're usually of questionable build quality and while the rated wattage should be enough for your system, I still don't really trust them. If you happen to have another PSU you can use, or borrow one from a friend then I guess that would eliminate the possibility.

Post back and we'll go from there. BTW I love your name ;) 
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January 13, 2011 11:55:46 PM

Could you disable your onboard sound via the bios and then try playing a game and see if the problem occurs? Kinda far-fetched, but you never know...
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January 14, 2011 12:50:20 AM

I did disable the sound in the BIOS previously. The game seems to run smoother and obviously I can't tell if the audio skips, but the game does still lock up. I have another program that monitors just the GPU and during all of my testing the temperatures didnt get higher than 50C, so I find it hard to believe that running a game on its lowest settings would cause the graphics card to overheat. My plan right now is to try replacing the PSU or get a cheap stand alone sound card and see if the problem is fixed. I'm going to run some more tests with Quake 3 in a windowed mode since you can demo loop it. It's the closest thing I can come up with to simulate the conditions of the problem. All my drivers are the newest ones that are available. The only update I haven't pursued is the BIOS update since I couldn't find one for my specific problem and the only place I found that hosted them wanted money for the update.

@Evilavatar - I'm not sure if the GPU has a sound driver, I don't understand why it would. Under the Sound and media tab in device manager I have "Audio Codecs, Legacy Audio Codecs, Legacy Video Capture Devices, Media Control Devices, Realtek High Definition Audio, and Video Codecs". It does seem like alot. I wonder if the Audio drivers are conflicting with the RealTek. Maybe I'll disable the legacy ones and see if it fixes the problem. I am running XP SP2. It seems odd that virtual memory would be a problem since I have more RAM than the computer can recognize, but maybe I don't understand the relationship between them.

@moody89 - I'll check that one out and try to post up the log. It might be awhile unfortunately since I have to go to my in-laws this weekend. I've used this name for everything since I was playing Counter-Strike in High School. Just sounded funny and appropriate.


Robert
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2011 4:13:00 PM

Update to xp sp3.
Check out the audio codecs and see if that is the issue as opposed to the legacy ones if your first fix doesn't work.
Virtual memory is swappable memory that is actually just space on the hard drive the ram can use as a place holder of sorts for extra data that it swaps in and out of your ram.
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January 17, 2011 1:23:09 AM

Got some more testing done.

Upgraded to SP3 and increased virtual memor to 4092MB. Ran the game and it did get farther than before but not by a whole lot. The result was the same starting with stuttering sound and proceeding to skipping then ending with a full system lock up. I've been trying to find a way to run the game in a windowed mode but it doesn't seem like this is an option. Running Quake 3 in a loop doesn't put enough tax on the system for it to be effective, so I'm using Dawn Of War II. I disabled the sound again and I am going to run the game and see if there is a further improvement. I did a short burn test, and got results for that but I did not get the system to lock up. Also their is no sound portion for the burn programs so I'm not sure how I can rule out the sound being the culprit using that. I'm not sure what the Temp1 Temp2 and Temp3 sensors are, since they aren't the cores or GPU. I am also intrigued by the difference in core temperatures. I attached a screenshot and will continue some more tests. Again input is appreciated.



Robert

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