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Need serious help with nVidia Geforce2 GTS card!!!! No kidd

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
February 16, 2001 8:49:13 AM

The problem:

Whenever I attempt to play a game, of any kind, within a few minutes, my monitor suddenly goes blank, and the system locks up tighter than a drum. The only way to shut down the computer is to unplug the power cord from the wall, including the UPS. Restarting is difficult ... and may take up to an hour before the system will finally boot up. The computer WILL restart ... but only up to a point. It acts like I do not have a video card installed ... no beep codes, no display of any kind. Re-attaching the power cord to the computer causes a spontaneous reboot, but it may or may not actually load. As you can imagine .. this is becoming frustrating, because this only happens when attempting to play a game ... no other applications have any problems. And if you are thinking it ... no, with no display, no DOS, and no access to the BIOS. And it's not the monitor ... I've got a spare.

The Specs:

Win98 SE
1000MHz Athlon Thunderbird (Socket A)
MicroStar K7T Pro, with the KT133 VIA chipset (MS-6330)
256Mb Virtual Channel Memory (Micron PC-133 SDRAM)
18GB Ultra160 SCSI IBM hard drive
Adaptec 29160N PCI SCSI controller (Ver 2.57 BIOS)
Adaptec AIC-7850 PCI SCSI controller (for my Microtek SCSI-2 scanner)
Plextor CD-R PX-W124TS
Pioneer DVD-ROM DVD-115
Creative SoundBlaster Live! X Gamer
REALmagic Hollywood Plus MPEG decoder card
D-Link DFE-530TX+PCI Adapter NIC card (for the cable modem)
Iiyama Vision Master Pro510 22inch monitor @1024x768, with a "normal" refresh rate of 100Hz. (This includes a "custom" Direct Draw setting of 100Hz.)
300watt Antec power supply
Seven 80mm cooling fans. Three intake fans, and one directly on the video card. Three exhaust fans, including the one in the power supply, and one slot fan directly underneath the AGP port. Decent fan and heatsink on the processor ... although the fan on the video card is stock. (My bad.)
Direct X 8.0a Retail
Latest drivers for the SB Live card
AWARD BIOS, Ver 1.6 , Flash date 9-20-99

Things that led up to the current problem(s):

Yes, for a while I had the computer overclocked. But I was very careful about it. I studied all the material I could get my hands on, prior to overclocking. The processor was never overclocked higher than 1030MHz. The video card was overclocked to 393MHz on the memory, but due to artifacting during testing, I never raised the core from the default of 200MHz. The video card was not overclocked all the time ... only when I played games or watched DVD's.

Initially, I had tons of problems with this video card, because not all nVidia drivers will work with the VIA KT133 chipset. This is not something I have been able to find much information on, since most benchmarking tests and reviews I had seen prior to assembling the computer were done with Intel mobo's and processors. It didn't take me long to install the Detonator 6.31 drivers and the latest VIA 4-in-1 drivers, which at the time were the 4.24's. Afterwards, the computer ran fine for six months, with only the occasional stutter in a game like MechWarrior 3, or Pirate's Moon.

I did find it necessary to add the Hollywood MPEG card in order to play DVD's without the computer crashing ... and even this did not work well unless I overclocked the video card memory. (I use Power DVD 3.0, by-the-way. It's got it's own share of bugs, but that's another story ... and another forum.)

A few weeks ago, I installed MechWarror 4: Vengeance. The game ran fine at first, and then the problems started happening. The monitor started going blank, suddenly ... the system locked up ... and it can take quite a while before the system will reboot.

I checked repeatedly... temperatures inside the can were normal. I really don't think this is a heat-related issue.

I've done memory diagnostics, motherboard diagnostics, checked voltages ... you name it, I've checked it. Unless I play a game, the system functions normally.

Intending to try and beat the problem, I installed the latest VIA 4.28a drivers. I was surprised to find that the last modification date of these drivers is 12-21-99. Suspecting that I might have gotten shafted somehow, I went to the VIA site and downloaded and installed 4.25a. The date on these drivers is much newer than 4.28a. 8-10-2000 for the CPU to AGP controller driver, and 4-5-2000 for the CPU to PCI Bridge driver. I bet you think that's odd. Join the crowd.

After all of this, I attempted to play my newest game; Giants: Citizen Kabuto. Fellows, I never got pass the screen where you create a name for your character. Yep... you guessed it. WHAM ... no display. Thirty second of game play. Not exactly what I had in mind.

This really pissed me off. Something fierce.

I took the computer apart. I cleaned everything. I blew out all the nooks and crannies. I took out the CMOS battery, and completely set the BIOS back up, everything from the memory speed, to arguing with Windows over the SB Live 16-bit emulation and why I believed that it should share IRQ 9 with the Epson printer port, despite valid, prissy, typical Windows complaints. I reinstalled the OS. I checked the Registry for corruption. I did a lot of cussing, too ... although that's to be expected, I guess.

After three hours ... the computer finally rebooted. What really pisses me off is that I don't know why. Why it locked up AND why it decided to reboot.

So ... after all of this complaining <GRIN> ... here's what I'd like to know:

What caused the problem? Anyone have an educated guess?

AND ... what IS really the latest VIA 4-in-1 driver set?

AND ... (yes, MORE!) Will the latest Detonator 6.50 drivers on the nVidia site work with the VIA KT133 chipset?

I've noticed some of you mentioning Det 7.X drivers. Where do you get these ... and will any of these work with this chipset? Drivers meant for Intel mobo's do horrible things to your display ... and I'd hate to fight this machine, with the way it's been acting, in order to get the old Det 6.31's back in again. I've done it before, and it's tough when you can't see the desktop, even in Safe Mode. Catch my drift? LOL!

Finally ... well, do you think overclocking the memory on the video card damaged the card? If I had a spare video card, I'd already know ... but that's not an option. I don't know many people around my town who have a clue how to use a computer, much less would let me dig around in their new DELL and borrow their video card. IF they knew what I was talking about in the first place. This place is a damned retirement village, and email is still a new thing to these folks. <SIGH> Such is life. It's a good thing I like older women.

Note: AGP 4X is enabled in the BIOS, and the memory is set on TURBO. The VIA AGP controller driver was installed at the TURBO setting. The AGP aperture setting in the BIOS is 128.

If you guys don't have any answers for this ... then I am out of luck. Money is tight, right now, and I can't afford to run out and buy a new mobo for a while, despite VIA's lackluster memory bandwidth reputation. I want to get this card, chipset, and the latest games to run. Together, all at once. Without dying in less than a minute. That's the whole point of having a decent machine if you are a gamer ... and so far, all I've been doing is technical support for myself. That, frankly, just sucks.


All replies, no matter how far-fetched, will be greatly appreciated. Especially if you've read this entire message! If so, you're either a brave man, really bored, or very interested in my problem, and chock-full of real-world information I can use to my advantage. Hint, HINT!!

I'll shut up now and let wiser heads prevail.

Toejam31 (Somewhere in .VXD Hell, I think.)
February 16, 2001 10:50:59 AM

i think your problem is caused by little green men.
and if not those, then those wierd Blue intel guys.

February 16, 2001 10:52:51 AM

Try some of these if you havn't already:
1. Go into your bios and for <b>AGP 4x mode</b>, set to disable. Test, and let us know. This is most likely causing the problem. Please try and let us know.
2. Underclock everything, Cpu, Video card and maybe even main memory (100mhz vice 133mhz) and test, let us know.
3. Try Cas3 setting in bios and set memory Speed to Normal or less. Test and let us know.

What you describe mostly are symptoms of a hardware problem. Please do above.
Related resources
February 16, 2001 3:27:13 PM

To me, it looks like your CPU and GPU are overheat, epecially the CUP, I guess.
February 16, 2001 5:19:52 PM

I'm thinking you have a power supply problem. You have a ton of stuff in that system for a little 300w power supply. System crashing upon entering 3D games is one of the warning signs. Also, as a rule of thumb (according to, that for the combination of an Athlon system plus a Geforce card a power supply that can supply 20 amps on the +3.3 volt line is recommended. 300 watt PSU's typically only supply 14 amps max. on that line. Check the specs printed on your PSU. All those PCI cards and DRAM also draw from the 3.3 V line which is why I think your PSU may be inadequate.

You'll find a good discussion about this in AnandTech's article on Athlon Power Supplies. Here is the link.
February 17, 2001 11:38:59 AM

Holy macraro! Eight fans!!! Scsi card, devices on and on. Buddy you need more than 300 watts, maybe more than 400 watts. Let us know how it is working now and any test that you have done on it.
February 17, 2001 3:36:18 PM

I would lay money on the sound card causing some problems here. Remove it and see if the problems go away. If so try a different slot. Also, as some have mentioned it would appear that you have you 300 watt power supply under quite a load. Open up your case turn off some of those fans ( not the cpu one of course) and see if this also helps. I have one of these boards myself and have no issue with it but not running nearly the amount of hardware that you are. I was not aware of the fact this board supported virtual channel memory are you sure this is what you have?

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!
February 18, 2001 1:32:09 AM

I checked out the sound card ... it's not the problem. I've got it in the third PCI slot. Removing it didn't change anything. Neither did changing any of the settings for the card in the BIOS.

However ... it does appear that the power supply may be the culprit. I suspect that I have weakened it under the heavy load. A good analogy is the human heart after a heart attack ... it's never the same afterwards. Because of this, I have ordered a 400 watt that can deliver 28 amps for the 3.3 volt line ... which is twice what my current power supply can produce. That's an upgrade from 160 total for the 5 volt and 3.3 volt line, to 245 volts for the two lines. I would have liked to have ordered an even larger unit ... but money doesn't grow on trees, fellas. You know the drill. I saved some money building this machine myself, but the components still weren't cheap, especially last August.

I didn't really want to remove any fans, because with the SCSI drive and Athlon processor, the system is natually hot. But I did take out the slot fan, because I thought it might be rubbing against the the video card fan. I think I'll be better off just adding a blowhole with a 120mm, and pulling out a couple of the 80's.

Yes ... this mobo supports Virtual Channel memory. You can check the specs at the MicroStar website.

I very much appreciate everyone taking the time and trouble to respond to my post. I'll write again after installing the new power supply, and let you guys know the results. I've found out recently that there are many people struggling with this particular issue ... and hopefully, a larger power supply is all that's necessary.

It would be nice just to blame the problem on little blue men! LOL

Thanks again ... and look for my update, probably on Tuesday.


P.S. I still would love to know which Detonator 3 drivers, besides the 6.31's, work with an Athlon/VIA KT133 mobo, and if the VIA 4.28a chipset drivers are the ones to use. The creation date on these drivers is confusing, to say the least. Why do these drivers appear to be older than the set in the 4.25's? I want the newest, fastest drivers for this system ... don't we all?
February 18, 2001 3:59:34 AM

I for one, will be watching for your future posts regarding the results of the PSU upgrade.

As for nVidia Detonators. The numbering scheme is very confusing. I believe that the 4.xx's are all Detonator 2 series and all 6.xx's and later are Detonator 3 series. I don't know where the 5.xx's fit in this scheme nor do I know if some drivers are more suitable than others for various nVidia based cards nor do I know the distinction between Detonators 2 and 3. has a lot of information about nVidia drivers but it is far from comprehensive.

6.50 seem to be the fastest drivers (up to and including 7.17. You can find a link to a benchmark of various Detonators at You'll have to do a little digging to find it).

6.67 are the latest to get the Microsoft WHQL certification (whatever that means). Hopefully it means stability.

Disclaimer: What I have just stated is information I have picked up from nosing around. I can't guarantee the accuracy.

At the following site are the most Detonator drivers I have seen in one place:
<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 02/18/01 01:06 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
a b U Graphics card
March 6, 2001 8:59:22 AM

I think it's a power supply problem, where your motherboard cannot supply enough power to the GeForce2 GTS. So changing your power supply wouldn't help because the problem lies with the design of the motherboard.

Surf to:
There's an article there on modifying the motherboard's power supply to "eliminate the cold boot issue of GeForce 2 GTS (and above) not initializing properly on a P3V4X motherboard. The mod provides necessary power when high current supply is required by the video card at power-on time and under heavy 3D load."

It won't work for your MicroStar K7T Pro, but will you an idea ;) 

Just a guess.

good luck
March 7, 2001 12:34:16 AM

In response: The new power supply fixed the problem ... so it was not the design of the motherboard that was at fault. However, after having taken the time to thoroughly study the issue, I believe that this new 400 watt power supply is the bare minimum I can use that will support this system. I would prefer to have even more power, but like most people ... money doesn't grow on trees for me, and fixing this as cheaply as possible was also important. But I plan on buying an even more powerful unit in the future ... or I won't be comfortable with the idea of installing a second hard drive.

Since my initial post ... I have found MANY people experiencing the same kind of problem; one that only begins to show up after running powerful 3D apps. The majority of these people are running AMD or VIA motherboards, have every PCI slot filled, have six or seven fans for cooling, and all of them have some type of GeForce card. In every situation, replacing the power supply corrected the problem. I've been sending everyone to EMS computing ... the 400 watt Antec is $83.00 over there. Heck, I oughta get a referral for all the business!

The fact is ... GeForce cards need a lot of power when running graphic-intense applications. And to get that, other components in the system will be stripped of power. I noticed that when I first built the system, when I watched a DVD, I had to make manual adjustments because the display was too dark. After replacing the power supply ... the default settings are optimal. The DVD-ROM and/or the MPEG card was simply not getting enough power.

I had also been having a few problems with blue screens that I had been blaming on Win98 SE ... these have also disappeared.

I learned a valuable lesson ... when assembling a machine, don't take for granted that a standard 300 watt power supply is enough. Add a couple of fans, put a couple more cards in the PCI slots ... and you might weaken your power supply. At the time I built the computer, I was under the mistaken impression that 300 watts ought to be enough for a home PC ... nope. I was wrong. But I won't be burnt on this issue ever again ... I assure you.

I can now run games for many hours, without a glitch. Before, I felt it was necessary to overclock the video card, because neither the DVD or the games would run worth a hoot unless the card was overclocked. I didn't realize that the AGP port was ALSO having problems getting enough power. Now ... nothing is overclocked, my frame rates are fine, and my entire display looks better.

a b U Graphics card
March 7, 2001 12:48:12 AM

strange, very strange...

"akuna mutata" braza... :wink:
March 7, 2001 12:48:29 AM

Oh ... and by the way, I also found the correct set of VIA 4.28a 4-in-1 drivers, and a fast, stable set of the Detonator 3.x 6.50 drivers that work well with the VIA chipset and a GeForce card. These drivers will not disable CoolBits, and won't remove the Hardware Options tab from the nVidia driver control panel. Anyone who would like either of these two drivers, or both, post here, and I'll email them to you as soon as I receive the message.

March 7, 2001 2:09:25 AM

This was a very good tread where the problem was solved, hopefully most treads with problems can be solved here.
March 7, 2001 4:26:45 AM

One last result, for those who might be interested:

After installing the new power supply, I found that I was able to get my memory to run stable at Cas 2. I couldn't do that before; I was stuck at Cas 3, no matter what I tried. I did do a BIOS upgrade, and that might have had something to do with it ... but I think it has more to do with having the proper amount of voltage for the memory than anything else. The memory is on that 3.3v line ... and that was where the power supply was really having problems.

So ... for those of you who have decent memory, and can't seem to get your system stable at Cas 2; check your power supply. It definitely made the difference for me.
March 7, 2001 1:08:46 PM

Depending on the layout (and power rating) of the fans, they can take a lot of power. In fact, more than they're worth. You should check if there is good air flow.

One way to do this is to take off one side of the case (usually the left side, so you can see everything on the motherboard). Put a perspex/glass sheet on that side, so there is no airflow between, but you can still see inside. If you dont have that, It will still work to an extent.

Next, get some smoke source of some sort, a few ciggies lit together can work but not very effective. Place the smoke sources next to each inlet fans. and see the flow. If it is a good flow it can be quite easy to follow, but with a lot of perhipherals it can get very turbulent. This test can show where you need to place the fans in the case.

I have four fans to control the flow of the air + 1 for CPU + 1 for GPU and oh yeah lets not forget the power supply unit.