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9500pro ongoing problems

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August 4, 2003 11:51:11 PM

Hello all,

I had posted a while back about a problem I was having. I had bought a 9500pro and was very happy. Then I Dled DirectX 9.0 when it came out and after that any time I tried to play a game, within a minute my entire system would crash and reboot. So I got DX9.0a and catalyst 3.4 and still the problem persisted. no matter how many times I formatted and reinstalled to try different combinations of factors, the problem persisted.
I moved, and my computer has been down for 3 months. Got it back up today and installed DirectX 9.0b and catalyst 3.6 and everything seemed to be running great. Graphics looked good, everything was running well. Then, after about half an hour of playing my system crashed and when I rebooted I had tons of artifacts. My entire screen (the windows desktop) was full of artifacts to the point where I couldnt read any of my icons. I am letting my computer cool down now to see if maybe it is heat. However, when the problem was happening before, I had a room fan running full blast on my system to make sure that wasnt the issue.

Please, any help or suggestions would be MUCH appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Radiant

Athlon 1.4
epox 8k7a+
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro
Soundblaster PCI128
ViewSonic A95f 19"
WinXP Pro SP1
August 5, 2003 2:44:10 PM

If you are positive it's not heat related, I think it might be the motherboard...


This board is kind of old (considering it came out in 2001...I think...I got mine then and I think it was new) I'd want to know that the BIOS version on your mobo is current (last one released is <A HREF="http://web.epox.com/html/motherboard-download.asp?id=K4..." target="_new">5-29-2002</A>). There was a problem I had with this board when I had it (back when it came out) and my distro of linux I was running and its compatability with my RADEON vid card. I had the similar symptoms to those you are talking about. To fix this problem (with linux, mind you) I had to mess with NoAccel for xwindows. Of course, this won't help you now...I'd check what BIOS version the mobo has and see if there is an updated one on the epox website. It's always good to have the most current version of BIOS for your mobo anyways so you won't be hurting anything (granting that you know how to flash your mobo BIOS).

To me, it sounds like it is heat related...however, if you are sure this is not heat related here are a few suggestions...

First thing to check is your codes displayed on the mobo debugger. Check in your manual or get the manual from epox.com and see if there are any funky codes being displayed. A rule of thumb for this board is if it doesn't display FF, then something is wrong. FF = fully functional.

Another thing to check is your Vcore to make sure it is set at or within .1 of 1.75Volts. I know that it is easy to up the voltage and forget about it if you have ever messed around or toyed with OCing the vid card. If you're not sure how to do this, reset all things to default. I pop out the BIOS battery and unplug my system from the wall when I want a quick reset (if it doesn't have a reset to defaults in your BIOS). That should give you the correct voltages but if that doesn't work, still try setting the Vcore manually (you'll probably have to use the jumpers...yep, the hard to reach ones) at 1.75 because you never can tell...maybe some mobo makers are shady and trying a slight OC to up the benchmarks for the board. I know the manual absolutely sucks for this mobo but attempt to make sure you have all your jumper settings correct so that all of your voltages are good to go.

Another thing that could be the culprit is the VIA 4-in-1 drivers. Hopefully you have installed those. If not, I'd do that right now cuz your South Bridge is the VIA 686B which the 4-in-1's will support.

Also, the north bridge (AMD 761) on that mobo gets extemely hot. Mine actually generated more heat than my CPU did. I would recommend cooling it with a better fan because heat on any IC can cause weird malfunctions. I work with IC's all day and I've seen an air conditioner unit allow optical alignments to pass the tests I run them through...I wouldn't put it past a better cooling solution on a north bridge to help out a video card. I'd go with the Thermaltake Blue Orb...it seems to be a nice fan for that function. For some tips on how to remove the current fan go <A HREF="http://www.techimo.com/forum/t43201.html" target="_new">here</A>.

I did some outside searching for any problems that the epox 8k7a+ (I hate to go off only my view on the board) might have and it seems that there were quite a bit of graphics problems for both hardware and open gl rendering. If it were me, I'd upgrade mobos and call it good. This was a good mobo back in the day and was a great OCing board...but since times they do-a-change it might behoove you to update your mobo. I got rid of mine the very next year and upgraded to Abit mobos. I haven't switched back...I've become an Abit head. To each their own I guess.

PS: A good reminder if you do decide to upgrade...save all of your pertinent data you need and then wipe out your hard drive. You'll need a fresh install of whatever OS you are using if you switch...it will eliminate problems between the OS and hardware.

<font color=red>Alcohol, the cause of and solution to all life's problems. </font color=red>
<font color=green>Homer Simpson</font color=green>

TKS
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by TKS on 08/05/03 06:48 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
August 5, 2003 6:42:05 PM

I notice you didn't list your powersupply there. Believe it or not, a poor power supply can cause this type of thing. (Yes, I know that's hard to believe when you consider that the symptoms started after a DirectX install, but trust me!)

What is your power supply rated in Watts, and what brand name is it?

Other than that, I'd say the card is toast about now... and you'll probably have to RMA it if you can.

------------------
Radeon 9500 w/256 bit memory bus @ 367/310
AMD AthlonXP 2000+
3dMark03: 3439
Related resources
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August 5, 2003 8:38:34 PM

First, let me just say thank you for the time it took you to share that wealth of knowledge.

OK, here's where I am at; I let the system cool down and booted up. No artifacts. It was running fine. I installed MotherBoard Monitor so I could keep track of my heat. I started up GTA: Vice City and within 5 minutes my system crashed. I immediatly checked the bios to see what temp it was at at it was runnin at 45 degrees celsius which I dont think is too bad. So I rebooted, and played Medieval total war. The strategy map is not graphicaly intense and so I had no problems. But when it switched to the battles which is somewhat graphical, the system crashed and rebooted.

So now I believe that it is infact a hardware issue and most likely heat related. I am not sure exactly where the problem is however. I dont think it's the cpu because mobo monitor says it pretty much stays at 45 degrees celsius and the hottest it says it has gotten is 49 degrees.

I took a big rotating room fan and took the side of my case and put the fan on full blast. However, the problem still persists.

I have all the latest windows patches, I have the latest via 4-n-1 drivers, I have not flashed the bios with the latest version. my PSU is an Enermax 431Watt.

Do you guys think it is a problem with my motherboard or my Radeon? And how would I go about determining exactly where the problem is?

Thanks in advance.
radiant

Athlon 1.4
epox 8k7a+
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro
Soundblaster PCI128
ViewSonic A95f 19"
WinXP Pro SP1
a b U Graphics card
August 5, 2003 10:26:28 PM

I think it's your video card overheating. Does it have a fan? Is that fan spinning? Is the next slot down vacant, to allow for airflow?

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
August 6, 2003 2:38:49 PM

The easiest way to find out if it is your vid card or your mobo is to get ahold of another video card to temporarily plug into your system.

Do this first though:

uninstall your current 9500 drivers, power down
remove the 9500 Pro
Install temp card
Power up
Let windows install a generic driver
Attempt the games again
If it crashes, your mobo is most likely the culprit
If no crash, your 9500 Pro is likely dead or dying

**remember, this is a quick way to give you some direction. There are other things that could be the culprit. I've found that this method is usually right about 3/4 of the time though so I stick with it.

Check to make sure the fan runs on the vid card...that could be causing the problems. Also, make sure you have it plugged into the power supply in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer. And don't rule your power supply out as the problem. I'd go to compUSA and buy a power supply tester (one of the diode lighting ones) to make sure the PS is good before you decide it is the mobo that's causing all the problems. You could also check to make sure you have steady voltages in your BIOS screen and make sure they are concurrent with those listed in your mobo manual. If you really want to get crafty (I do electronics for the military so I get into the craftiness thing) you can get a digital multimeter and check the voltages of each of your four pin connectors to assure yourself that you have no bad lines....that's up to you. Remember that electricity takes the path of least resistance...if you have a short somewhere it will be drawing more current and voltage than it needs which will subsequently affect the voltages on other places as well. It's a downward spiral.

That being said, the quick card swap is the best way to tell if your vid card is the culprit...I'd try that one out. I always keep a spare around...it's just a good thing to hold onto. You can get a good spare for about 20-30 bucks on <A HREF="http://www.pricewatch.com" target="_new">pricewatch</A>.

Hopefully this isn't a driver related problem. I had some heavy driver problems with my previous RADEON cards but haven't had any in a long time. Before you call it quits on the 9500 Pro, try uninstalling the drivers for it and reinstalling them with those downloadable on ati.com. If this still doesn't work go to <A HREF="http://omegacorner.com/" target="_new">omegacorner</A> to get a different set of 3rd party drivers (the 'omega' drivers...go figure. I run these currently). They give a slight performance boost to utilize graphics during gaming...it might be just what your card needs. Hope this helps and everything works out to your best advantage.

<font color=red>Alcohol, the cause of and solution to all life's problems. </font color=red>
<font color=green>Homer Simpson</font color=green>

TKS
August 6, 2003 7:04:37 PM

well, the on going saga continues and it just went from bad to worse.

So, before I do any hardware tests, I decide to just make sure I have all the latest drivers. I download all epox drivers for my board and all via drivers and utilities. I decide to flash my bios. But both floppy drives I have apparently broke in my last move. And My computer cant connect to the internet right now to do the auto-flash. ok, so I figure Ill skip the bios, just install the drivers. I install the latest 4-in-1's, I install the latest agp's, I install the via IDETOOL, and my system wont boot. Windows splash screen, then womp, right back to the initial boot screen. So I try to recover windows, but, oh, wait, no floppy drive to use the automated recovery.

So, unless some1 has a better idea, I am just gonna go computerless for a few weeks until I can afford to buy a new mobo and reformat my drive.

*sigh* Thanks for the help though guys. I'll see you in the mobo forum. Ill be the guy with the "Best mobo to buy?" thread. :) 

Athlon 1.4
epox 8k7a+
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro
Soundblaster PCI128
ViewSonic A95f 19"
WinXP Pro SP1
August 6, 2003 7:25:49 PM

BTW,
to respond to Crash, yes my vid card has a stock fan. Yes it spins. Yes, the slot below the vid card is open, and the one below that is a serial/ata card so it is small and allows plenty of airflow. Also, as I said before, I have the side of my case off and a huge, industrial type fan blowing LOTS of air on the entire computer.

I had found that I didnt have the vid card snapped in tight. (Always check the simple things first) However, after snapping it in, the problem continued.

Radiant

Athlon 1.4
epox 8k7a+
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro
Soundblaster PCI128
ViewSonic A95f 19"
Enermax Whisper 431Watt PSU
WinXP Pro SP1
August 6, 2003 8:12:54 PM

This might work.
Go into your BIOS and load all defaults. Ok, now can you hit F8 right after the BIOS screen splashes? Just keep hitting it and see if it gives you an option screen to run Windows in Safe Mode...or select last known good configuration (I recommend safe mode). Then if I were you I'd uninstall that latest AGP and the IDETOOL (could conflict with onboard IDE process). I would assume that it is probably the IDETOOL that is giving you problems...see if that works for you. Hope it does. If this doesn't work, we can still get your data back...as long as you have a second hard disk.

<font color=red>Alcohol, the cause of and solution to all life's problems. </font color=red>
<font color=green>Homer Simpson</font color=green>

TKS
a b U Graphics card
August 6, 2003 10:00:27 PM

I mentioned those things because your symptoms are often indicative of an overheating video card. It's possible you got a bad card that overheats at stock speed!

You can try UNDERcloking the card to see if it improves, and if so, you'll know for certain it's a card heat issue and you'll want to get it replaced.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
August 7, 2003 3:26:53 AM

TKS,
After the bios finishes loadin up, I get the "Winblows did not start correctly. Choose Normal start, safe mode, safe mode w/ networking etc." I choose safe mode and it starts to load drivers. It gets to amdagpxp.sys, stalls for a second, then reboots itself. Any idea how to fix that? So far my internet searching has come up blank.

Crash,
The card being faulty wouldnt surprise me one bit. If I cant get my computer up and running so I can do some tests, then I am just gonna send it back and say it overheats at stock and get a new one w/o truelly verifying it myself. That way I can get a new one before my warranty ends. If I cant get my system up soon, then I will have to wait till I can afford some new parts.

Radiant

P.S. You guys rock. Thx for your help.

Athlon 1.4
epox 8k7a+
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro
Soundblaster PCI128
ViewSonic A95f 19"
Enermax Whisper 431Watt PSU
WinXP Pro SP1
August 7, 2003 2:52:11 PM

This file...amdagpxp.sys is the AMD AGP NB Filter file. I've seen it once before (on one of my old mobos)...It will load just fine and then stop in safe mode on the amdagpxp.sys file. This is the driver for your chipset and I will attempt to give ya a direction to go.

In earlier posts I said you had the AMD 751 chipset (northbridge) on your mobo. There are drivers that AMD uses for both the north and south bridges. You will need this driver <A HREF="http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/..." target="_new">here</A> for your northbridge so that it can use your AGP slot (graphics card). It contains that very file, amdagpxp.sys. Get that driver and put it on a floppy.

I assume you can get online since you are reading posts still. You should have made a floppy with your amd driver on it. The only problem is that XP uses NTFS for it's filing system. They took out DOS and replaced it with a command prompt "for added security" *cough cough* (dumarses). So, you will not be able to execute the .exe file from the command prompt...even in 'safe mode with command prompt.' We have to find a way around it and...this is where it gets a bit more complicated. I’ll quickly give you two other options (A & B) to avoid having to do the complicated stuff.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. By far the easiest option is to use the Recovery CD's in Windows XP or Reformat and Reinstall Windows. Easy as pie. If you don't have recovery CD's, get someone to make them for you. You might be able to do a 'repair' installation for windows instead of reformatting right off the bat, but I won't guarantee that this will work...you still might get the error.

B. The second easiest option would be to find someone that has the same chipset as you (northbridge AMD 751) and have them copy the amdagpxp.sys file to your hard disk. To do this you have would be to take the unbootable hard disk and install it as a slave into another computer. If you can find a system to slave that allows install of the driver above (the .exe on the floppy...which means the system you slave to must have AMD 751 northbridge), simply search for, find, and copy that file amdagpxp.sys from wherever it installed to the corresponding directory on the slaved drive and you will be set. Then unslave the hard drive and put it back into your system as master...boot up and it should work. If you can't find something to slave to, it will be a bit more complicated.

Ok, if you don’t want to or don’t have the resources to do either of the things listed above it will be a bit harder to solve this problem…Here are two options for you (1 & 2)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. You will need to get ahold of or make an NTFSDOS boot disk. These are made using a program called NTFSDOS professional and the problem with this is that it costs 299 US dollars. You can use it for free but it will be locked in 'read only' mode...since you need to write the AMD driver .exe to your hard disk, this won't help us (unless you know how to 'unlock' it >:p  which will allow you to use it) If you know someone that has this program and can make you a boot CD using it, we're fine and you can boot off the CD, put the floppy with the AMD driver in, copy the .exe file to your hard disk and execute it there. The rest is gravy. But if you have no NTFSDOS access..we have to go with option 2.

2. Convert your filing system to a FAT32 (if it isn't already FAT32). This will allow it to have executables that are actually executable (wow, what a concept). You can do this in a couple of ways. The first is by using a 3rd party program such as <A HREF="http://www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic/" target="_new">partition magic</A> (I use version 8.0). The second option is using a windows 98SE bootable CD/floppy and fdisk (I always use a boot CD so I can free up the floppy..plus I have two CD drives...still leaves one open). You can convert back to NTFS later after you fix your problem. Partition magic is easier because it has a nifty graphics user interface...you simply point and click. But it costs moo-lah and if you don't want to spend...we have to go with the bootable and fdisk.
I go to <A HREF="http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm" target="_new">bootdisk.com</A> and use the 98SE OEM. Then I make myself a bootable CD so that I can free up the old floppy drive. I can't really explain you step by step through the process in using fdisk...you'll have to do some messing around with the menus to get comfortable.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The thing to remember is that there is a wealth of knowledge out there on how to make boot disks that you will be able to tap into. There is also a wealth of knowledge on how to use fdisk. The cool thing is, once you make yourself a boot disk, you will always have it for troubleshooting. I've been using the same 98SE boot CD for about 2 1/2 yrs now. So, if you don't want to reformat/reinstall, get yourself a Boot CD and if you have any questions on what you're supposed to do next...drop me a post.

The bottom line is that in order for you to get past the amdagpxp.sys problem, you will need to install the AMD driver .exe file or at least the amdagpxp.sys file and you won't be able to install those unless you can write to your hard drive.

<b>I might have made things a bit more complicated so if anyone knows of an easier way to do this, by all means drop a post explaining...sometimes I do things the hard way when I don't need to :p </b>

On a side note: Something I've got in the habit of doing is having a 20GB-40GB Harddrive (I actually use an 80GB one...I have 3 120GB disks to browse) around with Windows XP Home on it. I never install it anywhere but I use it if my main disk becomes nonbootable. That way I can boot up off it, browse my unbootable and save anything I can't live without or copy anything I want to it. I suppose I could avoid that altogether by RAID configuring these two together...but I'm too lazy to do it :p  Hope everything goes well! Good luck!


<font color=red>Alcohol, the cause of and solution to all life's problems. </font color=red>
<font color=green>Homer Simpson</font color=green>

TKS
August 8, 2003 12:32:07 AM

ok, maybe somebody else can explain to me why this happened...


So I having no luck getting my computer to recognize either of my floppy drives, so I go out and buy a new one. Comp still wont recognize it. And windows still wont boot. So I decide to get drastic and load all fail safe defaults in my bios. Windows boots. I install the amd agp driver, windows reboots. It installs various drivers and reboots like 5 times. Once its up and going I go back into my bios and reset everything back to the way I had it (or atleast as well as I can remember) and wham, my floppy gets detected.

So now, other then windows running a little slower because Im sure there is some things still uninstalled, Im back to square one. My system is up, but graphics still crashes it.

Any ideas on what happened? Any new ideas on what could be wrong with my vid card. I have to say I find it hard to believe its heat. I have a giant industrial fan meant to cool entire rooms blasting air into the opened side of my case.

Thanks

Radiant

epox 8k7a+ - Athlon 1.4
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro - Soundblaster PCI128
60 gig IBM desktar - 120 gig Seagate SATA
Enermax Whisper 431Watt PSU
WinXP Pro SP1
August 9, 2003 3:27:24 PM

I agree with crashman, but underclocking the card still indirectly removes the load off of the power supply, too. You so far have not answered anyones question with regards to the power supply.

If you don't answer us, than make sure you answer to yourself.

rower30@earthlink.net
a b U Graphics card
August 10, 2003 12:39:23 AM

You might not have your floppy connected right. When you start the computer, the floppy drive light should flash, then go off and stay off. Is that what it does?

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
August 16, 2003 9:59:24 PM

Sorry for the delay in response, have been dealing with other issues non-computer related.

OK, where it stands so far:

I got my computer to boot by going into the bios and loading all fail-safe defualts. This also allowed my comp to detect the floppy for some unknown reason that I am not sure of.

So, back to where I started. Everything runs but comp still crashes when I play games. So I decide to call ATI's support. After immediatly getting transfered to a "senior technician" (hehe) I talk to a very helpful guy who goes through everything he can think of. Checked all my bios settings (he suggested I turn down the aperture, though that wouldnt cause the error) and checked all my windows settings. Suggested I try messing with my hardware acceleration. After none of it worked, he gave me the info so I can send the card back to ATI to get it "repaired".

So today I uninstall all ATI drivers, delete all folders and take out any ATI related registry entries. I then shut-down, take the card out and put in my old GeForce DDR card. I install the latest drivers, setup all the various settings, and start up the game.

Boom! Not even 1 minute into the game my computer crashes and reboots.

So now I am thinking that the problem isnt with my vid card. It is either a problem with some other hardware, or what I am believing now is that it is software related. Which would make sense seeings as none of this started until I downloaded DirectX 9. So now I suppose I will format, reinstall windows, reinstall all drivers/updates etc (which will be a pain in the ass seeings as my comp is not currently online, I have to use my roomates comp to get online) and then load DirectX 8.1 and see if the problem persists.

Wish me luck. And any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Radiant

P.S. I did, infact answer the power supply question. I have an enermax 431Watt PSU. I imagine that is sufficient? Or am I misunderstanding what the question is?

Thanks

epox 8k7a+ - Athlon 1.4
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro - Soundblaster PCI128
60 gig IBM desktar - 120 gig Seagate SATA
Enermax Whisper 431Watt PSU
WinXP Pro SP1
August 17, 2003 12:30:13 AM

After thinking about it, I have decided to just hold off on the formatting until I get a new mobo which hopefully will be in the next few days. Im gonna get an Asus A7N8X Deluxe. Hopefully that will solve any problems I am currently having. I remember reading in several places that people where having problems similar to mine and they were solved when they went up to 8x AGP (my mobo only supports 4x)

Im still open to suggestions though as I wait for some $.

epox 8k7a+ - Athlon 1.4
256megs Crucial DDR RAM
ATI Radeon 9500Pro - Soundblaster PCI128
60 gig IBM desktar - 120 gig Seagate SATA
Enermax Whisper 431Watt PSU
WinXP Pro SP1
!