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AMD computer 'random' crashes - Source/Cause??

Last response: in Opinions and Experiences
January 28, 2002 8:30:54 PM

I have had, and know others who have had this problem!! If you (or ANYONE out there) knows of the root case, PLEASE let me know!! Thank you in advance!!

Here is a breakdown of my computer, and the problem my AMD computer has:
AMD 1.333, Asus A7M266 MB, 128 DDR 2100 RAM, 40 Gig hd, 300W power, ATI AIW Radeon video, SB Live Value, DVD drive, floppy, network card, Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse, Win2k (also tried WinXP with a different 100 Gig HD... same problems occurred)...

The issue: The computer randomly crashes... it will stay up for anywhere between a couple minutes to a couple days. The crashes are not the system 'freezing up' due to use. They are sudden instantaneous events. The computer blinks out and does a hard reboot. If I change the setting in Windows to not reboot automatically on a crash, it goes a blue screen of death where it gave a wide variety of messages (I don't have my notes with specifics handy, but there were at least 10+ different types of errors I have seen) If I leave a program such as Bearshare (ie. Napster type program) running overnight, it is pretty much a gaurantee the computer will crash before I wake up. Doing things like playing back movies, video capture, or gaming don't seem to trigger higher instances of crashes. Many times the crash occurs when I return to the computer after a period of time away from it. As soon as I click on a file to run it... it's crashes... (it should be noted that the computer is usually always running mirc, and often downloading files)

So basically I think I have eliminated the hard drive (by trying 2 different drives), and a bad OS install (by trying Win2k and XP).
That leaves: CPU, RAM, Motherboard, power supply, cables/wiring, and finally - possible weird hardware/software conflicts between components I have

Has anyone else experienced problems like this?? I have heard from a bunch of AMD users and they have reported the same problem, so I'm sure SOMEBODY out there must have figured this one out by now?? Is it a bad CPU? bad RAM? bad MB? HELP!!!
January 28, 2002 9:40:04 PM

Does the computer completly restart unexpectedly as if you hit the reset button and you hear the hard drive click off and then on again? If it does, I had the exact same problem in W2K and in XP. This is how I fixed it, I installed good old Win98SE back in and I have not looked back since. I don't care if I get cut down in this forum by all the guys on the "XP bandwagon" but I've said it before and I'll say it again. With the right hardware and software, Win98SE still is the best one for me. I am running a Athlon XP1600+ on a DFI AD72 with 512mb of DDR ram, 64mb savage 2000, soundblaster live, ati tv wonder, network card, smartmedia reader, Quantum fireball 20gig 7200rpm on a cable network. I have ran XP and W2k on this system and Win98SE has smoked them both performance wise and reliability. I can see it now, everyone who reads this who will throw there opinion about how good XP is but I don't care. I know the problem you are having and it does not happen in Win98SE, or at least it did'nt for me.
January 29, 2002 12:44:46 AM

Thanks for the input. I'm hoping to hear some more on this issue... perhaps a root cause of it. I do NOT wish to go back to Win98 (I have run Win2k on machines that don't crash like a dumb mofo... and I do love it's stability and functionality). I wonder if WinMe would fix the problem too.... although I would probably go to 98 before Me anyways...

Bottom line... I shouldn't have to switch OS to fix this. I didn't set out to buy a computer that would dictate I have to stay with an older OS for it to run properly.

Thank you for your response! It does give some insight into the problem... hopefully there are other ways to fix this...

Anybody else out there with insight into this problem????
Related resources
January 30, 2002 11:55:21 AM

at least give it a go - then you've found your root problem - if Win98 works then it must be the drivers for Xp and w2k

<font color=purple><b>Techie2001</font color=purple></b>
<i>(Crazy Alien)</i>
If it ain't broke, Don't fix it. :wink:
January 30, 2002 2:42:09 PM

Go ahead and reseat all of your cards and cables. Make sure you have the latest bios and that all of your drivers are updated and you have the the latest Critical updates for Win2k. I don't know what to tell you. I have a similar problem that I'm working on but I don't think it's related to yours.

I have XP professional and morphues. I have dual 1.2 MP's and 1gig of pc2100 reg. Ecc memory. Whenever I open up Windows media player and the shared folder at the same time and as soon as I close media player my computer slows down. I go to task manager and it shows explorer.exe taking 80~90% of both of my processors. And it kills the sound on the system. I reboot and I'm fine. It seems to be a media player problem, possibly a virus. I dunno. I don't have the version of media player so I'm not much help.

but for your problem I'd just try reseating everything and making sure that your software drivers are current.

<b><font color=green>Lizards</b></font color=green> for <b>THGC</b> Mascot!!!
February 1, 2002 11:59:32 AM

Common problem with cheap 300 watt power supplies. You should be running at least a 350 watt AMD approved. Make sure you aren't having overheating problems. What's the CPU /system temps ? Are all fans working ? Might consider adding more !
February 2, 2002 4:33:28 PM

Right now I have the case off with a house fan blowing into it.... no heating problems whatsoever. The temps read 22 for motherboard, and 44 for cpu (although that is really 34 - the latest bios revision increased the temperature reading by 10 degrees)

My power supply seems to be doing ok, but I might try buying a better one from a place that has a return policy - just to check it out
February 3, 2002 11:44:58 PM

I have the same board and a similar problem. I too was using a house fan to cool the thing for a long time. The root cause in my case was a jumper (VIO1) that should have been pulled that was causing the DDR memory to overheat. I only found it by trolling many reviews and one on pointed to the jumper. Beyond that it has ran for weeks on end, no problem.
February 7, 2002 4:13:26 PM

Some [-peep-] ASUS mb... Do a search for "A7V" and "trouble".
Then you'll know what trouble is...

Your SBLive card is very picky too. Lots of board share irqs. make sure your SBLive card has an irq of it's own.

Have you tried it totally blank, without any addon cards?
February 7, 2002 4:29:01 PM

Here it is... I looked it up for you. Most things aren't specific voor a7v, but for mobos in general.

I think only Tom got a functioning item for his benchmark... Very strange indeed.
February 8, 2002 1:43:16 PM

I bought a new 256 stick of DDR RAM and pulled my old 128 stick... I put the new 256 stick into the OTHER DIMM slot on the motherboard and fired the computer up.....

No crashes since.

So, it was either a defective stick of memory... or the DIMM slot was the problem. I also recently turned off all power management features, but I think it was the new stick of RAM that did the trick, and I will move it to the other DIMM slot just to confirm that.
February 19, 2002 5:56:05 AM

yes... ram could definately do it...

hey tiberius, do a search online and download the following program: memtest86

its a really EXCELLENT program for detecting any mem/cache/fsb errors your system may have.

Overclocked athlon 1200C @ 8.5 x 166FSB + PC2700 = GOOD! :smile:
February 22, 2002 5:41:30 PM

I don't recommend WinME at all. It crashed during the hardware reboot - when I was installing it!!

Stick with Win2k or XP...
February 23, 2002 7:07:28 PM

Me bad.. XP good... 98SE ok.. have both, get the same problems in both xp and 98, but i get better performance out of xp than 98. major problems do apply to software compatability....

Crashing takes a whole new meaning at 9.8 m/s.
April 20, 2002 7:03:53 PM

I have a very similar problem. I recently assembled an AMD system with a Athlon XP 1700+ processor, ASUS KT266 based mainboard, 256 Mb DDR-RAM, nVidia GeForce 2 MX AGP card, SounBlaster Live!, 60 Gb ATA100 hard drive, modem, network card. I installed Win XP.

Everything seemed fine, but I noticed it crashed rather often at seemingly random moments. It then just reboots. This can happen right after turning it on, when running a program, when doing nothing, etc. Sometimes after this happens, Win XP won't boot anymore, and gives a "fatal exception error". I have had to reinstall XP twice.

At first I thought the CPU was overheating, so I installed some extra fans. Now, CPU temp is 45 degrees max, but the problem persists. I moved the mem module to a different socket, took the components out and reassembled the system, etc. I also updated all drivers, ran various system check tools, but I still can't find the cause. I still want to install Linux, to see if it will crash then too. If it does, it must be a hardware problem.

Could the motherboard be faulty? Or the processor? How can I check that?

I would very much appreciate any suggestions! This is very annoying, the computer is hardly usable in its current state.


April 21, 2002 12:52:35 AM

Watch those Creative products, guys. The goodies that come with their soundcards can be quite detrimental to one's stability or even functionality. Don't check ANY of the extras unless you gotta have em...they're constipation for the computer.

If I don't get my 90THz AMD Quadraplex system soon, I'm afraid I may just combust right here.
May 5, 2002 9:28:00 PM

same proplem here , i run win98 but no reboot on my system ,just locks up and thats it , i have to switch off at power supply to reboot , mother board and cpu have been replaced twice at shop, same thing ,running a AMD K7 1000,could be that i run 64meg ram chip as well as a 128 chip ? but tested that theory by running 2 128`s also changed CD ROM , i have a feeling that my hard drive has a mind of it`s own ,

jack the russel
May 13, 2002 9:41:13 PM

Hy, I have encountered the same problem. I have an AMD Athlon ThunderBird 1.400 Mhz, a Geforce 3 200 Inno 3D 64 Mb, SBLive Audigy, Quantum Fireball AS 40 Gig, 256 SDR RAM, and I use win 2k. So, the system it's crashing with no reason, most of the time during the games. I can't play Serious Sam (for exmple) at all. every 3 minutes the system crashes (that means the system looks like it's rebooting but it's not, just the coolers and the power suply works), or if I leave the computer alone for a few minutes and i'm running something later it's crashing. I don't believe it's from the heat, I'm using a house fan too with no results, and I have a power suply of 350W. I've changed the memory position, and i've let in the computer only the graphic board without the SBLive, but no result. It seems it's a big problem and a lot of people is dealing with it. Can any one suggest something for me, please?
May 14, 2002 4:54:55 AM

a 350 watt power supply can still be the problem if its cheap. i would try a quality power supply first. then try replacing ram. then the last thing i would try is get a back up power supply, brown outs on certain outlets can cause trouble, it happend to my sister.

how do you shoot the devil in the back? what happens if you miss? -verbal
May 17, 2002 3:45:56 PM

Maybe the heat from the CPU makes the RAM TOO HOT???
May 21, 2002 8:04:55 PM

i also had that problem for a while ago, it was a memory dump... but somehow that is gone now... dont know what happeded but its not happening no more
July 23, 2002 9:53:26 PM

Try this one on for size.

1.33T-birdy running at 42c idle, 47c gaming
SB Live
256MB of PC2100
Voodoo 3 2000(No, I'm not a 3DFX die-hard)
Windows 98SE

For a year it ran like a dream. Then it started misplacing things on boot, including the RAM, video card, HD, CD-ROM, floppy etc. From random boot problems it moved to random boot problems <b>with</b> random restarts. I tried formatting, I replaced my Antec 300 watt PS with a 400 watt Antec and tried a new HD. It's now to the point where it will not post because it can't find the ram. It's basicly dead.

I'm now trying to get Asus to replace the board.

Mr. Perfect <i>a name fraught with peril</i>

Descent, because gravity is highly over-rated.
July 25, 2002 3:27:18 AM

Here was my experience...

I had the A7V133, 1333CPU (thunderbird, the early AMD), SB live, Geforce2GTS, 2 40GB HD on ATA100, 256MB RAM (centron, a single DIMM) on win98SE...

At first I had no problems for the first year, then at 12 months, it started locking up 'randomly', By randomly I mean it didn't seem to matter if I was running a game, or music, or doing nothing. They were not too frequent, but more than the never, or 1/week I had grown used to. I typically would reboot about once a week just for good measure, often jumping into lots of games and other programs and never saw problems, if I did it was rarely. I went through the normal 'low impact' troubleshooting like updated BIOS, updated drivers on everything, shutting down extra programs cluttering up the system tray etc..., but despite all this the lockups got more frequent over a period of about 6 weeks until it was every few hours. At this point I changed from leaving my computer on all the time, to off, because I had one close call where 98 came up cand complained that the registry was corrupt but it recovered itself. Well, at that point I wasn't functional and got serious.

Downloaded the memory testing software that has already been mentioned, no errors...I swapped my centon? 256MB single DIMM for 2 Kingston 256MB ECC DIMMS I had..still had problems...I swapped the geforce2 AGP card for a plain jane PCI card -> still locked up, this removes both the AGP slot and the geforce card as suspects. I then changed the clock setting down to half of my CPU's rated speed to see if that helped and the system locked up in the BIOS...this removed all driver and OS options leaving in my mind CPU, and MB. That was my last succesfull boot, after that, it wouldn't even beeps, no nothing...Well I swapped the CPU in case it had went south but it still wouldn't boot, so I sent it back to ASUS, I have not recieved it back yet. What good does this do you? Well I would, and did, try things in that same order for the most part, at least if you cannot locate any rhyme or reason to the problems.

In the end, truly random (not just ones that people THINK are random) lockups are bad video hardware or drivers 75% of the time, and bad memory another 20% of the time, with 5% for everything else. Just my experiences.

July 26, 2002 10:36:48 PM

Seams that the Asus boards have a 12 month life. O_o What revision of the board was it? I'd be interested to see if it was a early board.

Mr. Perfect <i>a name fraught with peril</i>

Descent, because gravity is highly over-rated.
July 31, 2002 3:38:39 AM


Having built and provided customer service over 100 computers (AMD and Intel) in the last couple of years, my experience has taught me turn off all power management functions in both the bios and in Windows. A second recommendation is to ensure that you have the Bios Plug and Play setting to PNP OS (yes). Both of these steps have improved the stability of my systems considerably. See if that helps.

One post mentioned "Bearshare". I would immediately recommend downloading and running "Ad-Aware". When you download "Bearshare" and "Agreed" to the terms and conditions, you agreed to give 20% of your bandwidth and CPU resources to these people. Read the find print usually located behind several links or references in the Terms and Agreements. If this doesn't curl your nose hairs, you also agreed to have them install spyware on your machine so they can monitor your surfing to "improve your on-line exerience and provide better customer support" (yah, right!). And yes, you also gave them the right to sell your surfing pattern to third parties. My experience has shown me that a person can collect up to 100 spyware programs and files in only a few months of surfing.

I have yet to find one spyware that improves a systems stability!

I once thought I had made a mistake and that I was wrong; I was wrong, I was Right!!