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Serious Hardware Issues. out of ideas. Please help

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  • Graphics
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November 15, 2004 12:21:22 PM

I had this posted under "Faulty Products" but It only got 3 views over the entire weekend (let alone responses). So I'm posting it here since I think it might have something to do with my video card. And also to get some more people reading it.

I'm at my wits end. I am having a very serious, and very hard to diagnose, problem. My PC has been randomly shutting off for no obvious reason. It has been happening for about two weeks now. Here are my specs.

asus a7v600 (onboard nic, onboard 5.1)
AMD Athlon XP 2100+
512mb PC2100
Celestica Radeon 9600xt 128mb
Thermaltake PS (can't remember what one exactly, butI believe it is 450watt)
2 Maxtor 7200spin Hard Drives (80gig, 60gig)
lite-on cd-rw 40x16x48
pioneer dvr-108 (installed the other day. Problems were occuring prior to this)
Windows XP Pro /w SP2

My problems started occurring when I upgraded to the newest Beta version Catalyst Drivers. I was running v4.7, and I upgraded to 8.04(or something close to that). My mistake was that I did not un-install the 4.7 drivers first. After updating I fired up Vice City, and lasted about 10 seconds into the gaem, and It froze up. after several seconds, I got a VPU error, asking me to reboot. Try again same thing, try another game same thing. I go to uninstall & it is missing some files and wont let me uninstall. Download ATI cat remover. Doesnt work. Reboot in safe mode. Doesnt work. After some messign around, I found all the registry settings that had anything to do with the ati driver, and removed them. Reboot, and install back to 4.7. Reboot, fire up Vice City. Same thing. Frustrated, I leave my computer. Come back few hours later to browse the internet. Pffft, monitor shuts off. Do a hard reboot, work for a few minutes not really doing anything demanding. Pffft, monitor shuts off. a few seconds later, computer reboots. Since then, this has been happening over & over again at random times. I cannot pinpoint it to anything that I am doing on my computer, or running on my computer. Doesnt seem to matter. sometimes it lasts only a few minutes, other times it lasts several hours (even over night and a good portion of the next day). It seems that it happens much faster when playing any type of games though. This is the only consistent thing. I am sure it is not a heat issue. I have Motherboard Monitor running, and I am average around 55-60 degrees c on my cpu 30-35 in my case. Never seen CPU go over 65. Also, the overdrive tab on my video card I have never seen go higher than 42. I have done a complete format of my system, and re-installed windows. Figured it was fixed, but a few hours later, it happened again. I updated my motherboard to the latest version, but it happened again. I tried playing COD while not connected to the net, and having the sound un-plugged (ya never know), but it happened again. I did a fully system virus scan, nothing was found. I am completely stumped about this. Tried everything I can think of. I'm pretty sure that it is hardware issue with my video card, power supply, or motherboard (or combination there-of). Seeing how it can sometimes be many hours before it happens, I can't really swap something out & determine if it works or not. I wont be able to get any hardware place to find the problem. I know they'll just fire it up, and run it for 5 minutes and see no problem, then just give it back, laugh at me, and take $40 bucks. What on earth can I do?!?

More about : hardware issues ideas

November 15, 2004 1:33:28 PM

My Opinion? Power supply.

Use MBM5 to log Voltages to a file, and you'll probably see them drop just prior to a crash.

Failing power supply, maybe dodgy RAM... But I'm about 90% sure on this one... sounds like a textbook dying PSU .

---
"Sex without love is an empty experience...
But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
November 15, 2004 3:30:47 PM

Ok, I will give that a try tonight. So, you think that a Power Supply problem could be causing me to get VPU errors when I play games? Or would that be another problem? I really hope you are right about this, since that would be the cheapest thing to replace.

I should also note that, I most often get the crashes when doing things that involve multimedia (playing games, listening to music, watching videos), but I can do things that are very cpu intensive without any problems (compressing & moving files, burning cds/dvds, etc.).
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November 15, 2004 3:42:01 PM

As for installing new drivers, I always completely uninstall the existing driver off my comp beforehand, with the help of drivercleaner. That is if that is the culprit.

However, these symptoms are textbook for a failing PSU, creating railling in the voltage. Get MBM5 and monitor the voltage and if 5v and or 12v lines rail +-5% then is time to get a new or better PSU. Another thing is to Flash the CMOS or even unplug all optical drives, floppy drives and PCI peripherals and run it under a benchmark to see if it will do that reboot. If it passes then plug on item in at a time till the reboot occurs. Remove the item again and move on to another and if it still reboots then Id look at the PSU. If it did not, it could be that peripheral cause stability issues. There are more things to try but try these first.

<i><font color=red>Only an overclocker can make a computer into a convectional oven.</i></font color=red>
November 15, 2004 10:38:19 PM

I have tried what was suggested, and experienced a crash more than once (when coming to this website, actually). I had MBM5 running, and writing all the log information to file. There was no difference between when it was running at first start up, and when it crashed. It doesn't seem that it is the powersupply. I am now pretty certain that it is the video card. I swapped my old GF2Ti into my computer, and played through the training mission on COD and a bit of the following mission. With my Radeon in there, the farthest I ever made it was maybe half way through.

So it is obviously the video card that is causing the problem. Or else that the Power Supply cannot handle the power needs of the radeon (although this seems only a slight chance, since I dont think the power difference is THAT drastic between these cards).

This is rather dissapointing since my video card is the most recent upgrade I've made, and it's basically the one component I was most happy with. Now I feel like I need to upgrade everything.
November 15, 2004 11:37:41 PM

My computer was crashing randomly, and it ended up being a bad stick of ram, try running memtest86. I was worried about power supply and videocard temps, and it ended up being the last logical thing so its worth a try.

Use driver cleaner to uninstall all your drivers (make sure your in safe mode with no networking enabled), and then try reinstalling the new drivers you want, if its a driver problem that should clean it up.

Asus p4c800 Deluxe,1 Gig Mushkin PC3200 Dual Channel Level II V2,Pentium 4 3.0 512k 800fsb HT, Thermaltake Xaser III, Thermaltake Spark 7+, Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum Pro, eVGA GeForce 6800 GT
November 16, 2004 1:58:59 PM

Quote:
I dont think the power difference is THAT drastic between these cards

It's not amazingly huge, but it is fairly substantial.. AFAIK the 9800 is somewhere between 50-60W, and the Gf3 Less than 30W.

that 20-30W could easily be 'the straw that breaks the camel's back'

What Monitor interval are you using with MBM? Make it as short as possible. if it's 5 minutes or something then it could easily drop & go boom in that time. Also, you don't say what your voltages are - Care to enlighten us?

It's not so much the VPU errors and stuff that suggest PSU, but the reboots, and the fact it gives these problems while under stress. Those are the classic pointers to a failing PSU, since your temps seem ok (though not exactly cool)

You can also try Memtest86 to rule out the RAM.

---
"Sex without love is an empty experience...
But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
November 16, 2004 2:01:32 PM

sorry... Didn't spot the existing memtest86 recommendation there :wink: .

---
"Sex without love is an empty experience...
But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
November 16, 2004 2:13:57 PM

I forgot to mention that I did try memtest, and it passed 100%

As for the MBM. I used an interval of 30 seconds. Should I drop it down even less than that? I was about to copy the results but closed it, and posted on the forums. By the time I opened it again, there had been enough new entries, that the old readings were over-written. Is there a way to increase the amount of readings it can show? I was gonna call in to see if I can get warrenty on my card, but maybe Tonight I will give it another try and show you guys the differences running my radeon both when running fine, up until a crash. Also I can post the readings when my GF2 is in there, in case that will help. If it still seems that the PSU is fine, THEN I will take my card in for a checkup.
November 16, 2004 2:18:19 PM

Pretty sure there's a Max no. of log entries there somewhere. I can certainly remember setting it on mine at least, as the default is only 10 or something equally useless.

---
"Sex without love is an empty experience...
But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
November 16, 2004 3:27:53 PM

Well The 9600xt require a descent 300-400wt PSU and if you got that then its the AGP card being duche and needs RMA.

<i><font color=red>Only an overclocker can make a computer into a convectional oven.</i></font color=red>
November 17, 2004 10:06:35 PM

Ok. I have ran a couple of tests, and collected all of the information that MBM5 will record. I shortened the intervals to 10 seconds, and allowed for a much larger range of data. Here is what I have found


The first test was when I tried to play half-life 2. At 5:30:48 I stopped getting readings and the computer crashed. The results after that is when I had rebooted.
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|Date |Time | CPU Speed | Case | CPU | Sensor 3 | Core 0 | Core 1 | +3.3 | +5.00 | +12.00 | -12.00 | -5.00 | Fan 1 | Fan 2 | Fan 3 |
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| 11/17/2004 | 5:34:17 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:34:07 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:33:57 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:33:47 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.73 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:33:37 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:33:27 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:33:17 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4272 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:33:07 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4272 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:32:57 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:32:47 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.73 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:30:48 PM | 1725 MHz | 29° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.18 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:30:37 PM | 1725 MHz | 29° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.18 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:30:29 PM | 1725 MHz | 29° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.33 V | 3.18 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:30:17 PM | 1725 MHz | 29° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.31 V | 3.18 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |


The second test was when I tried to come to this forum to report my findings. At 5:35:37 is when I stopped getting readings, and the computer crashed. The results after that is when I had rebooted.
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|Date |Time | CPU Speed | Case | CPU | Sensor 3 | Core 0 | Core 1 | +3.3 | +5.00 | +12.00 | -12.00 | -5.00 | Fan 1 | Fan 2 | Fan 3 |
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| 11/17/2004 | 5:38:22 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4166 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:38:12 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 49° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.36 V | 3.22 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4166 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:38:02 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.73 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:37:52 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:37:42 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.73 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4166 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:37:32 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:37:23 PM | 1723 MHz | 31° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.73 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:35:37 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:35:27 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.67 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:35:17 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.36 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:35:07 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:34:57 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:34:47 PM | 1725 MHz | 30° C | 48° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 3.22 V | 11.61 V | 0.47 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |


Just to compare... these are the results of when my computer is running on my GF2 Ti.
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|Date |Time | CPU Speed | Case | CPU | Sensor 3 | Core 0 | Core 1 | +3.3 | +5.00 | +12.00 | -12.00 | -5.00 | Fan 1 | Fan 2 | Fan 3 |
+---------------+---------------+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| 11/17/2004 | 5:50:53 PM | 1734 MHz | 27° C | 43° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 4.08 V | 11.73 V | 0.39 V | 0.00 V | 4166 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:50:43 PM | 1734 MHz | 27° C | 43° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 4.08 V | 11.73 V | 0.39 V | 0.00 V | 4218 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:50:34 PM | 1734 MHz | 27° C | 42° C | 0° C | 1.80 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 4.08 V | 11.73 V | 0.39 V | 0.00 V | 4166 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:50:23 PM | 1734 MHz | 27° C | 41° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.33 V | 4.08 V | 11.73 V | 0.39 V | 0.00 V | 4166 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |
| 11/17/2004 | 5:50:14 PM | 1734 MHz | 26° C | 40° C | 0° C | 1.78 V | 0.00 V | 3.34 V | 4.08 V | 11.80 V | 0.39 V | 0.00 V | 4115 RPM | 0 RPM | 0 RPM |


Do any readings help identify the problem. I notice that the +12 setting jumps between 11.61v - 11.73v back and forth. Is this a sign of anything?

I sure hope this helps solve my problem. *crosses fingers*
November 17, 2004 10:39:44 PM

From those voltage reports, look like the PSU is working fine. Changes in voltages are ok as long as it is withing -+5%.

<i><font color=red>Only an overclocker can make a computer into a convectional oven.</i></font color=red>
November 17, 2004 10:45:06 PM

Have you dumped the system yet?

<i><font color=red>Only an overclocker can make a computer into a convectional oven.</i></font color=red>
November 17, 2004 11:07:39 PM

not sure what you mean by "dump" the system
!