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Computer freezing when loading resources in games or installing games

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June 10, 2012 12:52:01 PM

Hi, and thanks for visiting yet another computer freezing thread. I tried to find threads regarding my particular problem, but none came up where freezing was occurring in the same situations. This will be a long post, and I thank you in advance for bearing with me.

Since I replaced my old motherboard, my computer is often freezing up when loading new maps or areas in games, or when installing large games. This is not the only time it freezes, but I would say that 95% of the time it has happened (which is many many times over the last month), it was during loading a new room or area or map in a game. The games most affected are the big X3 games (Reunion, Terran Conflict, Albion Prelude), but occasionally this has happened in League of Legends (when on the post-champion select loading screen, but only about three times total in hundreds of games. One of those freezes happened immediately when a MP3 I was playing in the background stopped playing) or in Dota 2 (when loading character model animations/speech on the hero select screen, and only 1 time in hundreds of games).

When installing the Diablo 3 beta not too long ago while I was asleep, it froze up at 36%. I restarted it when I woke up, then it went on to freeze up 5-6 more times before I finished installing it. There were no applications running other than the Blizzard installer. So no sound and only basic video in use (mostly desktop).

Freezes often come accompanied with a low and quiet sounding "buzz" from the speakers which sounds like a lawnmower motor (this is not always the case, however. Freezes during installing games are silent); and the LCD lights on my mouse and other peripherals turn off. In all cases, a power down is required and there is no BSOD or crash dumps to look at.

There doesn't seem to be any reliable way to reproduce the freezes, though I have noticed them a lot more when playing Albion Prelude than any other game. I could probably load it up, play intensively for 30 minutes flying from sector to sector and get a crash out of it since it likes to crash when loading new sectors.

My specs:
CPU: Intel Pentium E6500 Dual Core 2.93ghz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250
Mobo: MSI G41M-P34
RAM: Corsair DDR3 1024mb x2 (CM3X160C9DHX)
HDD: Maxtor 6L200S0 (200gb, games), Seagate ST380021A (80gb, OS)
OS: Win XP Pro SP3

Things I have tried to remedy/diagnose the problem:
Fresh Windows XP install
Fresh DirectX install (9.0c)
Replacing the PSU
Switching from on-board sound to a SB Live! card
Disabling on-board sounds and video from the BIOS (removed realtek drivers)
Extensive memory diagnostics with memtest86 (9+ hours, I believe 16 passes) zero errors
Intel processor diagnostics, no problems detected
Check disk on both HDDs, no problems or errors detected
Stress testing graphics, processor and PSU with OCCT (no conclusions from this, other than my computer is VERY difficult to force to crash. Pretty sure I melted the board on my video card and it's still trucking)
Probably several other things I've forgotten about...

Any help in diagnosing this problem would be lovely. I have tried many things and I don't know where to go next. Replacing the motherboard is my next option but I would hate to spend the money on a new one (I accidentally lost the receipt for my current one while housecleaning) only to find out it's not the problem. For what it's worth, it is the exact same model of my old board which gave me no problems whatsoever for the years that I had it.
June 10, 2012 1:28:56 PM

there are few bios patches for ram for the mb i would check to see if you have those. sounds like you have a bad ram stick or ram slot or memory speed is set wrong. i would download cpu-z and see what the speed of the ram is set for and read the ram spd info. most times it the mb running the ram to fast or the timing or voltage is off. one issue i do see is your under sized in ram for a gaming pc. 4g is the min for windows and an os. one thing to check with msi afterburger is your fan speed and gpu temps the 250 run hot and if the fans not spining up to speed you can have hangs.
June 10, 2012 3:48:46 PM

Quote:
there are few bios patches for ram for the mb i would check to see if you have those.


I'm not sure what you mean with "patches for ram" but the BIOS version listed in CPU-Z matches the latest one on their website.

Quote:
sounds like you have a bad ram stick or ram slot or memory speed is set wrong. i would download cpu-z and see what the speed of the ram is set for and read the ram spd info. most times it the mb running the ram to fast or the timing or voltage is off.


I have been using CPU-Z but I really don't know what I'm looking at in the SPD tab. Both memory sticks have the same settings and from what I understand these are set based on what the system considers the best. If there's some other settings I should try I wouldn't know what they were. It is not something I'm familiar with at all. I can not figure out what proper settings are for my brand, or if there is such a thing.

If you could possibly elaborate on this or point me in the direction of a guide or somesuch that would be great. There is scarce information available about this that I can find; and all of it seems related to overclocking which is not what I want to do.

Quote:
one issue i do see is your under sized in ram for a gaming pc. 4g is the min for windows and an os. one thing to check with msi afterburger is your fan speed and gpu temps the 250 run hot and if the fans not spining up to speed you can have hangs.


From what I understand, Win XP is not going to recognize more than about 1/2 a gig more even if I added 2, so if and when I decide to upgrade to more ram it'll probably be when I upgrade my OS.

I'm positive GPU overheating is not causing these issues, both because I've specifically tested it and the computer freezes when no graphics are happening at all (it almost never crashes when actually playing games).

Thanks for the reply. I feel like memory may actually be the issue, since that's the one thing I don't know all that much about.
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June 10, 2012 4:16:54 PM

your a little confused over a 32 bit os and a 64 bit one. a 32 bit os will stop at 3.2g in size when it reads ram. a 64 bit os will stop depending on the os itself. i would add two more one gig dimms four 4g total or a new kit of 2 by 2 dimms. with ram under cpu-z the spd tab it have a few colums. these collums are the jtag info that cpu-z is reading. the speeds that are the stock and over clock speed for your ram..like one that say xmp is the over clock. if the ram is 1066 ram you should see under the dram speed that memory set for 1066 or 533 speed. if it 1333 ram it be 667 in dram speed. ram is going to be most stable at it stock speed and timing (ie 9-9-9-9-24) that cpu-z reads and the voltage needed on the bottom.
June 10, 2012 5:02:56 PM

Okay I think I understand about the SPD tab now. It shows certain speed configurations, but not necessarily what the settings are currently at (those would be shown in the Memory tab)?

So I rebooted and checked in the BIOS, and all of the settings matched the 2nd column, which listed 533 at the top (my ram is ddr 1066). So that checks out okay I suppose. One setting was to "auto" which was "FSB:D RAM" so I changed that to 1:2 rather than "auto" (does it matter? I don't know). The ram voltage was set to "auto" as well, but according to the BIOS "auto" is defaulted at 1.53v where 1.5 is the listed voltage in CPU-Z. I just left that alone since it seemed okay. Should I manually lock that into 1.5 (I don't know)?
June 11, 2012 5:43:49 AM

1.53 is the stock mb voltage for 1.5v. it fine. if it was reading 1.6 or 1.7v then you have a problem.
June 11, 2012 6:25:58 AM

Thanks for checking back with this thread. I looked at the label on my RAM and it looks like the voltage required for them is 1.8v, and my board only provides 1.5v. As well, the computer was freezing at the desktop when I tried changing the timings. So I'm fairly certain this was the cause of the other freezes.

I'd like to put this down as problem solved, however there is a new problem.

I have replaced my ram with a single 4gb stick that works with 1.5v (part of a 2x 4g package). I'd like to run some games for awhile to test for freezes, but now I'm getting sound corruption in X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude with the new memory stick (loud buzzing noise replacing engine sounds, the buzzing is even in stereo following the camera). Tech support for these games indicates most sound problems are caused by a few specific codecs, none of which I am using. Now I'm not sure if this sound corruption is a memory issue or something else, but it only seems to happen with those 2 games and only since I put the new memory in.

edit: sound corruption is happening with other games.
edit2: reinstalling sound drivers did not fix
editsRcool: turning hardware sound acceleration to "Basic" in dxdiag fixes it, but it doesn't work with Standard or Full acceleration. This can't be good.
June 11, 2012 7:56:08 AM

Alright, I ditched the old SB Live! card and went back to onboard sound (since that wasn't causing problems that I know of anyway). Now sound is working with full acceleration and my system seems stable with the new memory. I will report back if I get any freezes or not.

If nothing else, at least I learned how to manage memory better through all of this. Appreciate all the help!
June 11, 2012 1:10:09 PM

with the sb live cards there only a beta driver that sb made on there web page a long time ago.
there is some people made newer drivers in open sorce.
http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/index.php?skip=1
you can try and see if there driver update fixes your soundblaster issue.
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