Tech Support banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My computer has recently started acting up, and I need some help figuring out what to replace.

Here's my system:
Epox EP-8RDA+ motherboard
AMD Barton 2500+ processor
1 GB ram (2x crucial DDR 333)
ATI Radeon 9500 Pro video card
Antec True480 power supply
Windows 2000 Pro

The motherboard (and on-board audio section) and video card have up to date drivers. Windows has a recent service pack. I've run Spybot and an antivirus program (Avast!), and the system comes up clean.

When I'm watching video clips or playing computer games (Star Wars Galaxies), the computer will occasionally reboot. It doesn't just crash windows - it seems to power cycle. When playing my game, it happens about once per hour. I think the game is a little more stable when I disable the sound. I thought it was just a game problem until it happened recently while watching a video clip. I tried several times, but was unable to get through the video clip without the computer rebooting.

I'm happy to replace whatever's causing the problem, but I need help figuring out what that might be. I'm a novice at building and debugging computers, but as far as I can tell, it could be the processor, the motherboard, the memory, the video card, or the power supply (one of the voltages I can monitor with the motherboard utility gets down to about 1.2 volts sometimes). Of course I'd rather not have to replace everything to find out which one was causing the problem.

Are there any utilities that can help me determine why my system crashes? I have run through all the sound and video tests in dxdiag. I've downloaded utilities from the motherboard manufacturer, but they just monitor system functions - not tell me why the system crashed. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I have also run Hot CPU Tester, a diagnostic tool which stress tests parts of the system for several hours. All tests finished without error. Tests run were:

Complex Matrix
Calculating Pi
Sorting Algorithms
Prime Test
Memory
HD
MMX

I assume these just make the processor and memory do something all the time. The full version of the software runs more tests on the processor, but I haven't bought it. This doesn't test the video card or audio section though - the only tests I've run on those were through the dxdiag utility.

I have also kept an eye on the temperature in the case and of the CPU. Both seem pretty reasonable to me. Case temperature says 10 C (I bet that's a bit low), CPU temp says 47 C. About a year ago, I put Arctic Silver on the CPU to help with a temperature problem I had at the time.

Oh - the voltage that goes pretty low is Core VDD. It seems to vary between 1.2 and 1.4 volts. I'm not sure what this voltage is supposed to be.

Any recommendations on how I might debug this, or utilities I should try? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
When doing diagnostics, first rule of thumb is to swap out parts that are known good. I'd first start with the power supply, then the memory, then the video card.

Also, see if there are any buldging capacitors on the motherboard. There may be some crusty white stuff on top of them. This indicates that the capacitors are leaking and need to be replaced or replace the motherboard. Let me know if any of this helps.

- Dapunisher

Webmaster: BestTests.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I assume the theory would be that you can cross a component off the list if you swap it out and the computer still has problems. However, I don't have any spare parts.

My goal is to find which part is broken so that I can replace it, but I don't have a spare power supply, memory, video card, or other component that I can swap in. I'd like to buy as few parts as possible to repair this computer. Any other suggestions that don't require additional hardware to test? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Do you remember if you installed anything, updated any drivers or installed any software updates or windows patches prior to or right before having these problems? You can uninstall what you installed and see if you get the same result. Also, you can boot into safe mode which will install a basic VGA driver to see if its your video card causing the problem. rebuilding your system is also an option, but last resort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again for the reply.

I don't remember installing or updating anything before the problems started. I know the video driver hasn't been touched for at least a couple months, but it's up to date. I don't think I'd be able to duplicate the problem in Windows safe mode. I've only been able to duplicate the problem when watching video files or playing my computer game. The video file I saw the problem with was on the internet (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8039477657790445932&q=cartoon). I don't know if I'd be able to get to this video and watch it from safe mode, but I'll give it a shot. I know I won't be able to play my game while in safe mode, so I can't duplicate the problem that way.

I did find a diagnostic tool for the memory (www.memtest86.com), and all tests so far have come up clean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well, I think I may have solved the problem. I was able to go into the bios for the motherboard, and disable the audio section of the board. Once I did this, I was able to get through the video file without a crash (obviously without sound). I've borrowed a friend's sound card, and am now able to get through the video with sound and without a crash.

Hopefully that's all it takes. Thanks again for the suggestions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Glad to hear things are working out for you! Sounds like the problem was due to an irq conflict. :sayyes:
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top