AWE32 stuttering after AGP stability fix

System info: AMD Athlon 1200 Tbird, Abit Via KT133A m/b, pc133 cas3 sdram, Creative boxed Geforce 2 GTS Ultra, Creative AWE32, IDE disks on both IDE channels.
Software: Windows2k, sp2. Via 4 in 1 ver 4.33, detonator 27.4.2 XP/2000 drivers, Win2k native awe32 drivers

I had been experiencing repeated hangs when running certain 3D applications. In this situation, the video would freeze and I would lose keyboard. Sound would continue. Occasionally, the entire system would reboot.

After investigating, I read that the problem might be to do with the Via 686b southbridge, but upon further investigation, the issue seemed to revolve around the Live series of cards, and not the old ISA awe32. Nevertheless, some of the fixes appeared to offer potential fixes, so I emplyed them.. these being replacing the my Win2k HAL to a standard PC one, running a large frame size AGP registry fix and updating my Via 4 in 1 drivers to 4.33, (which I had been running previous to returning to 4.31 in an earlier attempt to fix the crashes).

I do not as yet know whether the measures have fixed my crashing problem as a new problem has arisen.. being stuttering sound from my soundcard. The sound will play for a sec, freeze for a sec, play again and so on. This seems to be accompanied by unusually large amounts of disk accessing.

Please help me! I'm at my wit's end.
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  1. Some may disagree, but if it was my system, I'd format the partition and start from scratch.

    I'd disable Plug and Play in the BIOS, and re-enable ACPI. I'd disable APM. I'd also make sure that the legacy device was assigned an IRQ in the BIOS, and/or upgrade the sound card to a PCI device (such as a SoundBlaster Live Value), and place it in the third PCI slot. I'd set the AGP to 2X, and the aperture to 64. This could be adjusted later, after the system is installed and stable. Turn off any video BIOS shadowing, and leave the driving value (strength) on Auto.

    Then I'd reinstall the OS. After the installation, I'd install the second service pack, the latest VIA 4-in-1 drivers (v4.27), any updates and hotfixes needed for the operating system from the Windows Update site, DirectX 8.1, and Internet Explorer 6.

    You shouldn't need an AGP patch in Windows 2000 for your VIA chipset with the latest service pack in place.

    Next, I'd upgrade all the other drivers in the system. There is no upgrade for the default sound drivers in Win2k for your card, but you might consider avoiding installing the Creative software, which is really unnecessary for the card to function correctly.

    The very last thing I would do is install the video card drivers, and I would stick with the 23.11's in Win2K. They are fully functional, and should give you no problems if the system doesn't have a conflict. Manually add the drivers by extracting them into a folder, and updating the Standard VGA driver in the Device Manager by browsing to the folder. Do NOT use the setup.exe in the nVidia driver installation file.

    Installing these drivers in this sequence will give you a better chance of the OS being stable, and minimizing conflicts. It's not enough to simply install the drivers ... Win2K and WinXP are particular about the sequence of the driver installation, as well as the age of the drivers.

    Note: I'd also check the specifications for the PSU. You need at least 20 amps for the +3.3v line with a KT133 mobo and a GF2 card, and that should be without maxing out the PSU, or stripping the +5v line of power. These two lines share. This is far more important than the overall wattage of the PSU.

    AMD recommends:

    +3.3v = 20A
    +5.5v = 30A
    Combined = 165W.

    This is the bare minimum. More is better.

    An inadequate PSU could cause many of the problems you have been experiencing.

    Next ... it would be a good idea to look and see if there are any BIOS updates before reinstalling the OS.

    Finally ... be sure that the system has an adequate cooling solution, as to eliminate any possible heat issues.

    That's my opinion.


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