3D games lockup system

I am currently experiencing a problem where my system will lockup in most (if not all) 3D games that I play.

I first encountered the problem several days after finishing an upgrade to my system. (Most of the key components are new.) After getting the system setup, I was able to play Sim City 4 (a hardware accelerated game) for at least 2 days in a row. However, one day, after playing the game for around 2 hours or more, I encountered the first lockup.

What is interested about the situation, is that I had been playing SC4 for around 2 hours or so, and I then exited the game and did some other things. As far as I can rememeber, I made 0 changes to the system. It was when I started the game up again, that the computer locked up within about a minute's time. I was still able to see the game on the monitor, however the cursor would not move, the sound stopped playing, and the keyboard lights would not change when I pressed the caps lock key.

After this incident occurred, I basically found that almost all of the 3D games that I tried would lock up in the same way (many times within a few seconds). During this whole time I never received a blue screen error.

Over the past week or so, I have tried several different things. I was even able to play a 3D game demo without any lockups at one point (not sure about now though).
*) I went into the video card properties and turned off things like the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering -- Sim City 4 still locked up.
*) I ran Sim City 4 in software mode. I does not lock up in software mode, but does lockup in hardware mode.
*) I lowered the video acceleration. Basically if I raise it above the 4th level (enable Direct3D) then I will get lockups in Sim City 4 hardware mode.

There was also an interesting problem that I encountered during this time. Occassionally, insted of locking up during a 3d game, my surge protector's circuit breaker would flip it's switch, thus causing me to lose power to the system. Sometimes after powering up the system after a lockup or "power loss," the surge protector's circuite breaker would even flip after a few minutes of basic desktop useage (no 3d games). If I switched to a different surge protector, I did not lose power, however the lock ups continuted. Towards the end of my testing, it almost seemed as though the surge protector that kept losing power was becoming less prone to the lockups. Because of this odd situation, I was wondering if perhaps the power supply or video card may be causing some unsual surge.

System Specs:
Motherboard: Asus P4P800S-SE - Intel 848 chipset
Processor: P4 "Willamette" @ 1.5Ghz (socket 478)
Memory: Corsair 512 DDR PC3200
Video: Geforce 6600GT 128MB AGP (MSI)
Power: Enermax Noisetaker EG475P-VE (see: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=270318)
OS: Windows XP Home
Components plugged into surge protector: Computer, Monitor, Speakers

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by KevinAr18 on 05/31/05 04:03 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
15 answers Last reply
More about games lockup system
  1. sounds like faulty psu/cableing to me o.O

    <font color=red>One Lowe</font color=red>
  2. It may be working now... I removed the drivers and then added the video card drivers back.

    I'll need to test some more to be 100% sure, however, it is at least working in one case where it used to just lock up.

    On another note, the system also never reset itself when it encountered the problem. I noticed someone mentioned this in another thread.

    BTW, masturdebat3rr, thank you for the reply.
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by KevinAr18 on 05/20/05 09:47 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. An update:
    I got the lockup again after making the last post.

    However, I did some tweaking with the driver settings and was able to eliminate the lockup in Sim City 4 (haven't tested any other games yet). Perhaps the lockups were caused by a combination of disabling vsync and using reforce lock to force my computer into a certain refresh rate (that and/or maybe having some old monitor refresh rate settings, that I configured in reforce lock, left over as well). I haven't actually confirmed if this was the problem, however.

    So, it may not be a hardware issue after all. Thank you anyways for the reply. At this point, I probably won't bother looking into the issue in any more detail.
  4. Well, the changes I made didn't solve the problem; either that, or I broke it again by making some more changes to the settings.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Another piece of information that may be worth noting:
    The hard drive is from the old system, and thus had Windows XP Home already installed on it (it's a Retail version).

    The previous system also had an Nvidia card on it, but it was an Nvidia Vanta instead of a Geforce 6600 GT. After starting up the new system, I did a repair/re-install of Windows over the top of itself. Once in Windows, I downloaded and installed the latest driver from Nvidia (did not remove the old drivers as noted earlier). The system worked fine for at least 2 days during which I played Sim City 4.

    A little while later, after the system problems, I uninstalled the drivers that I had installed. I also ran NFR to check for remaining Nvidia files (all but one I manually removed myself; one of the files kept coming back, however).

    At this point, I followed the readme install instructions for the latest Nvidia drivers by installing the drivers from the device manager instead of using the install program.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by KevinAr18 on 05/23/05 04:24 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  5. Did you swap motherboards? I'd definately wipe that hard drive clean and do a fresh XP install rather than messing with that old existing Win XP intallation.

    <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm05=658042" target="_new">3DMark05</A> <A HREF="http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=3781954" target="_new">3DMark03</A>
  6. What is your power supply? It may be just not powerfull for you card.

    Try to enable overclocking and underclock (not over) you video card. Does it help? If it does, it is either defective card, or, most probably you do need better power supply
  7. The motherboard is new, yes. In fact, the following components are all new (vs the old system)
    video card
    power supply (see the link in the first post for more info)
    processor heatsink
    and case

    Windows would not run properly at first. However, I did a re-install or repair or whatever it's called of Window XP using the Retail CD.
  8. Did you try underclocking?
  9. > Did you try underclocking?
    No I haven't. It sounds like an interesting way to try and detect the problem.

    On another note.... I read that anything over 80C would be too hot for the 6600GT, is this accurate?
  10. The best thing you could do is a reinstall of your OS. Sounds like it is definatly a driver problem.

    If reinstalling is not an option, you could try removing all hardware from withing Control Panel->Add Remove Hardware, then reboot and let Windows find all the necessary drivers.

    Also, have you tried reinstalling DirectX 9.0c? This may help as well. Try removing your video card drivers with detonator destroyer, then reinstall them, then install DirectX.

    Also, have you installed all your motherboard drivers? Specifically your AGP drivers?

    Systems Running F@H:
    AMD: [A64 3200+] [XP2800+ x2]
    Intel: [P4 2.8 x4] [P4 2.0] [P4 1.8] [P4 1.7] [P4 1.6 x2] [P4 1.4M] [Xeon 1.0] [Cel 1.0] [P3 ??] [P3 500]
  11. By reinstall I suspect you mean starting from scratch on a blank hard drive or one with no OS? I would have preferred this option as well, however, I didn't want to bother with all the stuff that it would require. (I did do a reinstall or repair of Windows, however, for the system to work right).

    I haven't tried the directx option.
    As for the nvidia drivers, I looked up the detonator destroyer and it's supposedly not made to work with XP. I did use Nasty File Remover, however.

    As for the motherboard drivers... I did all of them except for the Intel Chipset one (this controls the AGP as well, doesn't it?) Perhaps this is the culprit.
  12. 80C does sound high. My overclocked 6800GT can work only around 70C or below, overclocking higher leads to the problems, very similar as you have described. This is why I suggested underclocking to test the it.
  13. An update...
    It seems that the problem was due to the heatsink. When I put together the system, I had accidentally knocked off the metal retaining clip on the back (top) of the video card. I put it back on, but I think I put it back on incorrectly.

    Then, last week, the computer degraded even further to the point where it locked up shortly after turning it on. After turning the system off, I found out that the video card heatsink was loose and/or no longer touching the GPU.

    After talking with MSI, I put the card back together. I have yet to test any 3D games (heavy load), but I've removed the [unsolved] status from this thread.

    Thank you all for the help.
  14. That's exactly what I was going to say too! LOL JK
    Good to hear ya found the problem finally, hopefully.

    <b><font color=blue>Athlon64 3200+ Winchester/MSI Neo4 Platinum SLI/MSI 6800 Ultra/1 GB Kingston HyperX (Dual Channel)/74GB WD Raptor/600Watt Enermax Noisetaker/ Dual Mitsubishi 21 Inch Monitors</b></font color=blue>
  15. One thing you might try is removing the sound driver and reinstalling the latest updates for that particular sound chip.....goodluck

    I want to die like my Grandfather...in my sleep...not screaming in terror like his passengers.
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