Help with possible bad CPU or RAM

I have a question that seriously needs answering. It's more along the nature of problem solving.
Recently I took a gamble and purchased an ASUS A7V, T-Bird 800MHz, and PC133 ram from a friend because he was having problems with it and was fed up with it. I Hoped I would be able to figure out what the problem is, but I need the advice of someone wiser than I.
The problems I'm having here are exclusively with games. This system runs great in windows, but as soon as I fire up a game, it straight out freezes. I know it has to be one of two things, the cpu, or the ram. I know this because my system ran perfect before the addition, so all my peripherals are OK. I've left out cooling, because I have two case fans... and a huge heatsink/fan combo on the athlon. Power cannot be it either... as I'm running it on a 300watt supply and my friend was running it on a 350watt and still having the problems. The board cannot be bad either because my friend bought another one of the same board and it had the same problem, so he bought a similar board by another manufacturer and it STILL did the same thing. I read somewhere that bad RAM will cause the system to freeze, and it's only freezing during games (levels of high stress) but I may be remembering that wrong. In your honest opinion, do you think my RAM or CPU is bad? I know it cant be the graphics card, because between the two of us, we've tried 7 different cards (Geforce2, Geforce2 MX, Geforce, Radeon, G400, and Tnt2) Sorry for such a rambling letter, and Thank you in advance for your time
13 answers Last reply
More about help
  1. Is A7V based on the VIA chipset? If so you may one to do a few things to get your card up and running in the BIOS. Set AGP Aperature to 1/2 of your installed RAM. DISABLE Fastwrites. Instead of using 4X AGP, you may want to bring it down to 2X AGP to keep things a little more stable. You may also want to flash your mobo BIOS to the newest version then try all this.
  2. also don't forget to install the latest VIA 4in1 drivers (4.26 i think)
  3. First of all, I don't think you CPU is bad. If that was the case, your system would behave in a much more annoying way...;-)

    It is POSSIBLE that your RAM is bad, but I don't think that is the problem either.

    You should check the AGP/RAM settings in your BIOS. Try setting everything to the slowest option. I highly recommend that you try to run the RAM at 100Mhz...if the RAM is of poor quality, that could help. If that is the case, the vendor should replace the RAM, no questions asked.
    You can also just load BIOS defaults, which should pretty much keep you in the clear.

    You should also install the latest VIA drivers for your mainboard. You can get them at
    www.viatech.com
  4. I would set some BIOS settings to the most reliable modes (e.g. DRAM to Normal timing, Interleave disabled, Page Mode disabled, AGP 4X disabled, AGP Fast Writes disabled, Fast Command Decode (if availabe) disabled, Enhanced Chip Performance (if available) disabled. Set the PCI setting to defaults. This should make the motherboard the most stable possible and you can then address other potential problems.

    Next, get all your drivers up-to-date. Download the lastest Via 4-in-1 and AGP Bus drivers. 4.25a is the latest official release for the former. I can't recall what the latest version is for the AGP Bus. Choose the Geforce Card for now. I know the drivers available are stable and mature. Use the nVidia reference driver, Detonator 3, version 6.31 (the last official release). Uninstall the old video drivers if you can.

    Lastly, Install or re-install DirectX 7a. If you are already using DirectX 8 then you will have re-install that because it is difficult to go back. I suggest 7a because some people are complaining of issues with DirectX 8 and you don't want to worry about that yet.

    I recommend you do all this from a clean install of Windows 98SE but use Windows ME or 2000 if you prefer. If you don't want to re-install Windows, it's up to you. If you do use Windows 2000, AMD AGP patch. See one of my other messages at http://forumz.tomshardware.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=faq&notfound=1&code=1

    If after you do all this and still have problems, look for a BIOS update for your motherboard as a last resort. I, generally, don't recommend BIOS updates unless they specifically address problems that one is having or the manufacturer SAYS the update IS necessary.

    Good luck!
  5. Just get some better ram.
    What kind of ram is in there now? If you are not sure, then how much did it cost?
  6. Your PC133 should says 7.5T (133Mhz) or 7T (143Mhz) if it is 8T or 10T then it is not PC133 and won't be stable. All above advice is good.

    However I have,
    Duron 650 O/C to 900,
    A7V, VIA_4in1_4.25a, BIOS_Load Default, only change CAS2
    128MB_PC133_7.5ns_C2,
    GF1DDR, Creative 6.34a
    WinME,
    no problems. Good Luck to you.

    and I am interested to know how are you getting along later?

    Best regards
    cx5

    DirectX 8<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by fcchin on 01/03/01 10:58 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  7. Thanks for all the wonderful help guys, but here's a few notes.
    All the drivers I'm running are current... the most recent detonator drivers, the newest 4in1 drivers, sound drivers, everything.
    I've played with everything in the bios... at first I had it running at agp4x with fast writes enabled... now it's at 2x with them disabled.
    Someone mentioned trying the newest bios version... 1005. I went to the ASUS website and tried to download it, but all the links were bad. It seems that they have it posted on their sites, but the actual file doesnt exist.
  8. try it like one said with the memory at 100Mhz

    ***Hey I run Intel... but let's get real***
  9. What OS are you using?
    My 0.2 cents:
    If all else fails, try getting the agp fix drivers from Microsoft..
    I have a Duron700 with a TNT2U and had a my pc freezing in games using Direct3d on my Win2k. What fixed it was a registry setting by amd (only if you have win2k --> http://www.amd.com/products/cpg/athlon-duron/amd_win2k_patch.html).
    Other drivers for amd related stuff --> http://www.amd.com/products/cpg/bin/
    beware though :)
  10. Doesn't this sound like a Directx problem guys or not? You may want to try running a benchmark test and see where it dies...maybe it's specific to OpenGL or Direct3D...Wintune 98 even performs a memory test...

    Hey you could even run DXdiagnostic and test Direct3d. I'd give this a shot.

    BTW I would have the BIOS up to 1004c. I'm currently using 1005a but I'm still not sure if this is the root of my problems.
  11. Dear Syphon

    I can't believe no one can help you. I want to try again, can you please list full detail, very very detail like this

    AMD Duron 650Mhz (o/c 900Mhz FSB100 9x V1.85)
    Asus A7V BIOS 1004D, Promise BIOS 2.01 Build 28
    Creative Annihilator Pro = Geforce 256 32MB DDR
    Infineon 2*64MB PC133 7.5ns C2
    Maxtor 15GB ATA100 7200rpm connected to Promise100 Primary Master
    Enlight 250watts ATX Tower

    mobo settings all default, except PC133, RAM CAS2, Jumper mode, on-board audio, modem Disabled.

    Drivers
    VIA 4 in 1 (VIA_4in1-4.25a.zip)
    Graphics (3db9xdrv_634.exe)
    Blaster Control 4.3 (bc4setup.exe)
    DirectX_8 (dx80eng.exe)
    Asus Probe 2.12.02
    Promise100 SAD TO SAY BUILD 25 only,
    where can I get 28???
    WinME
    Office 2000
    bla bla bla

    I really hope some one can help you when you publish the full detail, make it really full, more full than mine.


    Best regards
    cx5
  12. Asus A7V (bios version 1005a)
    AMD Thunderbird 800
    128mb Generic PC133 RAM
    Creative Annihilator 2 GeForce2
    Sound Blaster Live
    Maxtor 7200 ATA/66 15gb Hard Drive

    Dont worry about it though. I figured out the problem. I went into the BIOS and set the ram speed to 100MHz and it stopped freezing, it seemed like my guess was right, my generic PC133 ram is bad. Thanks for all the help anyway
  13. There seems to be an awfull lot of bad PC133 going around lately. Hasn't the word got out yet?
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