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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been having a curious issue for some time with my computer in that the entire machine locks up from time to time during graphically intensive 3d games (Oblivion, GRAW, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Splinter Cell Double Agent). What it does is pretty much randomly, the whole machine will halt for 5-10 seconds, then continue on as if nothing had happened. This problem ONLY occurs in intensive games, never anywhere else, so the presumption is naturally power or heat.

It's relatively infrequent and aside from being a minor annoyance in SP games, it was never a huge deal so I pretty much left it be. I've found though that it freezes long enough sometimes to get me disconnected from MP games, which obviously creates a problem.

It's been doing this for almost a year now, everything else works fine and less intensive games have zero issues. I suspected at first that it might have been a heating issue, but my temps never seemed particularly high and I've been careful to keep some decent cooling going on (thermaltake case with two intake fans and one main exhaust, zalman CNPS7000-Cu CPU fan) and I've even tried removing the side of the case and having a house fan blow on the machine while running a game to see if the freezing stops. It doesn't, of course else I'd not be here.

Thought it might be a power consumption issue, as I only had a 400W supply running it, replaced it recently with a Dynex 500W and though the issue seems to have reduced a bit, it hasn't gone away. It may of course just be my imagination that it's less frequent. Since it's a random occurance, it's tough to judge.

My hardware as it stands:

Windows XP Professional, SP2
Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI Motherboard (Nforce 4 AMD base)
1 x Gigabyte 6800 Ultra 256MB video card (PCI-E)
3GB Dual Channel RAM (2 x 512 MB Corsair PC3200, 2 x 1024 MB Kingston PC3200)
Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum
Western Digital 120GB SATA HD
Logitech G15 keyboard
Razer Copperhead
Acer 22" Widescreen LCD

I've gone through the sticky thread and had already done everything listed there. All drivers are updated, processor, chipset, graphics card, sound card, right down to keyboard and mouse drivers. All the newest official versions as of yesterday (save for the 93.71 Nvidia drivers that are recommended for R6:Vegas).

I was thinking that since I think I got some reduction in the problem with a more powerful power supply, that I might just not have jumped up high enough but I can't imagine needing more than 500W for the system I've got... it's hardly cutting edge, after all. Even still, I don't know how to check whether or not it's getting enough power.

Couldn't seem to get onto the stvsoft website, so I downloaded Everest Home Edition instead. Not entirely sure what to do with it just yet. Still looking at it.

If anyone has any ideas or needs more information, by all means please ask. I'm eager to sort this issue out so that I can get some more stable gaming going.

Oh, and since I've got the box handy, I'll list the written information on the power supply:

Input:

Voltage: 230Vac(180-264)/115Vac(90-132)
Frequency: 47Hz-63Hz
Current: 4.0A(MAX) At 230Vac; 7.0A(MAX) At 115Vac
Inrush current: 70A at 230Vac Cold start at 25 degrees Celsius
Efficiency: 70%MIN at Full Load 230Vac/50Hz, 60%MIN at 30W load 230Vac/50Hz

Output:

Voltage: +3.3V +v5V +12V1 +12V2 -5V -12V +5Vsb
Max Load: 35A 40A 16A 18A 0.5A 0.8A 2.5A
Min Load: 0.5A 2.0A 1.0A 1.0A 0A 0A 0A
Regulation +/-5% +/-5% +/-5% +/-10% +/-10% +/-5%
Ripple: 50mV 50mV 120mV 120mV 100mV 120mV 50mV
Noise & Ripple: 100mV 100mV 200mV 200mV 200mV 200mV 100mV
Power Good Delay Time: 100-500mS
Power Fall Delay Time: 1mS MIN
Hold-Up Time: 16mS MIN
Line Regulation: 1% MAX

Protection:

Over Voltage: +5V:6.8V, +3.3V:4.5V, +12V:15.6V
Short Circuit: All output to GND
Hi-Pot: Voltage 1500Vac, Time 2-3 Sec. cut off current 10mA MAX

Of course none of that do I really understand. I know how to use a computer and a decent amount about how to build one, but the nitty gritty on some of the parts is beyond me yet.
 

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Welcome to TSF Ted!!!

I've gone through the sticky thread and had already done everything listed there. All drivers are updated, processor, chipset, graphics card, sound card, right down to keyboard and mouse drivers. All the newest official versions as of yesterday (save for the 93.71 Nvidia drivers that are recommended for R6:Vegas).
I'm hoping you haven't updated your Video drivers, if so, take a look at the 'Nvidia Drivers' link in my sig, make sure you are using the 84.21 drivers, you'll see why.

I was thinking that since I think I got some reduction in the problem with a more powerful power supply, that I might just not have jumped up high enough but I can't imagine needing more than 500W for the system I've got... it's hardly cutting edge, after all. Even still, I don't know how to check whether or not it's getting enough power.
Input:

Voltage: 230Vac(180-264)/115Vac(90-132)
Frequency: 47Hz-63Hz
Current: 4.0A(MAX) At 230Vac; 7.0A(MAX) At 115Vac
Inrush current: 70A at 230Vac Cold start at 25 degrees Celsius
Efficiency: 70%MIN at Full Load 230Vac/50Hz, 60%MIN at 30W load 230Vac/50Hz

Output:

Voltage: +3.3V +v5V +12V1 +12V2 -5V -12V +5Vsb
Max Load: 35A 40A 16A 18A 0.5A 0.8A 2.5A
Min Load: 0.5A 2.0A 1.0A 1.0A 0A 0A 0A
Regulation +/-5% +/-5% +/-5% +/-10% +/-10% +/-5%
Ripple: 50mV 50mV 120mV 120mV 100mV 120mV 50mV
Noise & Ripple: 100mV 100mV 200mV 200mV 200mV 200mV 100mV
Power Good Delay Time: 100-500mS
Power Fall Delay Time: 1mS MIN
Hold-Up Time: 16mS MIN
Line Regulation: 1% MAX

Protection:

Over Voltage: +5V:6.8V, +3.3V:4.5V, +12V:15.6V
Short Circuit: All output to GND
Hi-Pot: Voltage 1500Vac, Time 2-3 Sec. cut off current 10mA MAX
This just looks far too weak to me, i'm running a very similar system and i have quite a few more amps on both 12volt rails, nearly double in the case of the +12V2 (despite the fact that mine is only a 550 watt).
With PSU's, it's not only the quantity, but the quality that is important.

Have a read of the 'Power Supply Information' link in my sig as well, it's long but it is worth it.
You would need to be looking near the higher-end PSU's, take a look at some of the reccomendations and compare them to your current PSU. Personally i've never heard of Dynex, which means it's probably generic (aka, not good quality).


I know it sounds like i'm nailing your PSU here but that's all i can think it could be, you don't have any programs running in the background do you? If so, shut them down before playing. Aside from that i can't think of anything that could be causing the random slowdowns, you seem to know a fair bit, so i trust you've done full virus scans etc. etc.

If you need any more info or are unsure, feel free to ask.
 

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please download http://www.stvsoft.com/SensorsView12Setup.exe
install it and post a screen shot of the temeprature readings and voltages on idle and load.

what directx are you running ? have you updated it recently ?

please as tiber suggested try the 84.21 drivers from nvidia as those are the most stable ones especially for the 6800 ultra.

pleas also run through this : http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp and add 30% of the total to it. if you also could please post your processor.
 

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Welcome, Ted.

Tiber has made an excellent point about the power supply, and I highly recommend you read the thread he mentioned. If you can get access to a high quality unit (such as Enermax, Antec, OCZ, Silverstone, Seasonic, FSP) in the range of 500W+, stick it in your system and give it a go.

As Tiber said, double-check that you don't have any background tasks running - some common ones are listed in the sticky thread. Also read the NVIDIA Drivers thread Tiber linked, and make sure you're using the 84.21's, as bad drivers sometimes cause the problem you're describing.

It may be a heat problem, so install Everest, and then take a look under Computer -> Sensor. Record the temperatures and voltages, both when the system is idle (at the desktop) and when under load (after 15 minutes or more in a game). Post that info here, and we'll take a look.

EDIT: Fr4665 beat me to the draw again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions guys, really appreciate the help.

Haven't had much time to look at the things suggested yet, being a damn busy time of year, but I can respond to a couple.

Yes, the Dynex power supply is essentially a no-name brand. It's just one that I happened to have access to without dropping any cash on and listed itself as being more powerful than my last one. Will consider dropping the cash and bumping up to a higher quality one if none of the other suggestions solve the problem.

Ran through the Power Supply Calculator thing and it stated a 301W result, so with the additional 30%, that's around 390W.

Yes, my direct x is the newest version, updated by Rainbow Six Vegas which was just released last week (though my direct X was at the newest version long before that).

I was running the 84.21 drivers before, since they were the recommended drivers for Dark Messiah when running a 6800 card. Still had the issue then, and I updated drivers with Vegas to 93.71 as the readme for that game states that those were the drivers used to test Vegas. I'll give it a shot going back to see if it reduces the problem any, but since I had the problem still when I was on them, I have to assume that wasn't the issue.

Yes, Virus scans and Spyware scans are run on a weekly schedule, no issues found there.

No real major software running in the background to be concerned with, and I've tried running on a clean boot as well, with everything disabled, so it's not a matter of CPU load or memory consumption.

I'll give everest and sensorsview a shot later tonight and report the results, got to run to work now.

Thanks again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Getting a bit of an odd disparity between the two programs people have recommended.

Everest reports my CPU temp at 30 degrees Celsius.
Sensorsview reports it at 71 degrees Celsius.

(Both are idle temps)

Obviously if that 71 is accurate, I've got a problem there...

Edit: Just rebooted to check my BIOS and that supports the numbers Everest is reporting, at 32-33 degrees Celsius. Strange that.
 

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Interesting. Obviously SensorsView is wrong. So, please copy down all the temperatures and voltages from Everest, when idle and under load. Post them here and we'll see what it looks like.

Another thing, which seems a bit of a long shot but is worth a try, is: download Memtest86 (link in my signature), and run it on your system for 10 or more cycles. If it finds errors, test each of your RAM sticks individually (for 10+ cycles each), note down the results and post them here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Idle:
Field Value
Sensor Properties
Sensor Type ITE IT8712F (ISA 290h)
GPU Sensor Type Maxim MAX6646 (NV-I2C 4Ch)
Motherboard Name Gigabyte K8NF / K8NS / K8N Ultra / K8NXP Series

Temperatures
CPU 34 °C (93 °F)
GPU 52 °C (126 °F)
GPU Ambient 46 °C (115 °F)
Seagate ST3160812AS 32 °C (90 °F)

Cooling Fans
CPU 2220 RPM
Power Supply 2250 RPM

Voltage Values
CPU Core 1.39 V
+3.3 V 3.33 V
+12 V 12.03 V
VBAT Battery 2.66 V
DIMM 2.72 V
Debug Info F 4C 4B FF
Debug Info T 26 34 71
Debug Info V 57 AA D0 C8 BC 9C C4 (77)
Starting load test now. Will add results in a moment.

Under Load:

Field Value
Sensor Properties
Sensor Type ITE IT8712F (ISA 290h)
GPU Sensor Type Maxim MAX6646 (NV-I2C 4Ch)
Motherboard Name Gigabyte K8NF / K8NS / K8N Ultra / K8NXP Series

Temperatures
CPU 42 °C (108 °F)
GPU 70 °C (158 °F)
GPU Ambient 61 °C (142 °F)
Seagate ST3160812AS 33 °C (91 °F)

Cooling Fans
CPU 2482 RPM
Power Supply 2280 RPM

Voltage Values
CPU Core 1.39 V
+3.3 V 3.31 V
+12 V 12.03 V
VBAT Battery 2.66 V
DIMM 2.70 V
Debug Info F 44 4A FF
Debug Info T 26 42 72
Debug Info V 57 A9 CF 86 BC 79 49 (77)
 

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Just a note: from what I see there, I would say that SensorsView is showing the real GPU temp as "CPU" and the real CPU temp as "Aux". So you can probably use SensorsView, if you swap the numbers around.
 

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Okay, the first thing I see when I look at those temps is the video card. For a 6800, the idle and load temps are both too high. I have a 6800GS in one of my systems, and it idles at 42C - 46C. So I think we can confidently say that your video card is getting too hot.

Your options:
- Buy an aftermarket cooler.
- Get a replacement card.

For now, do you have another video card you could put in the system? Even if you could borrow one from a friend. Try another card, and see if you get the same freezes.


PS - Check your private messages. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
At the moment I don't have another video card available to me that's capable of running these games (both of the games that really cause this problem require Nvidia 6 series cards as a minimum).

Going to run through the memtest86 that you recommended as it's one of the few things I can do at this point.

I suppose that supports an argument to upgrade. :p But then a more powerful video card is DEFINITELY going to require a better Power Supply, so that might be a place to start nonetheless.

Going to see what I can do about cooling down the card in the meantime and see if that reduces/eliminates the problem as well.

Thanks again. :)
 

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No worries. You're spot-on about the power supply. If you decide to just upgrade, make sure you get a good power supply first. The "Power Supply Info" thread in my signature (which Tiber mentioned earlier) has some very good recommendations for quality supplies - I'd look there first.

Let us know how you go with memtest and the cooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No worries. You're spot-on about the power supply. If you decide to just upgrade, make sure you get a good power supply first. The "Power Supply Info" thread in my signature (which Tiber mentioned earlier) has some very good recommendations for quality supplies - I'd look there first.

Already have, already eying an OCZ 700W. Looks like it'd be a good buy to cover me for an upgrade to a dual core system and an 8800 mid-next year.
 

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The OCZ 700W should be fine, but if you can afford it, I'd go for something a little bit bigger, to give you a bit more breathing space. The 8800's draw a lot of power, so you wouldn't want to add too much to the system with a 700W.

Just as a matter of interest, here's the system I'm running:
Athlon64 X2 5200+
Asus Crosshair
Corsair 2GB DDR2-800
2x 7800GTX's
4x Seagate 250GB SATA
2x ROM's
Silverstone Zeus 850W

It's always best if you give yourself a bit of room with your power supply, but the 700W should be fine. The Hardware Team is currently working on an update for the Power Supply thread, to include recommendations for systems with 8800's, so check back in a while (might be a few weeks, as they're very thorough).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looks like the GPU temp might indeed have been the issue here. Managed to get that down to 59 degrees under load and I didn't have any freezes for 15 full minutes. Will have to run a longer test to know if it went away completely.

Any ideas on an aftermarket GPU cooler that's decent? I've never had to use one for a GPU before. If it saves me money over replacing the card it might be a worthwhile consideration until I'm ready to upgrade the rest of the machine as well.

Zalman's got some nice ones listed on their website, but if there's a recommended make/model I'd appreciate it. :)
 

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Just wondering if you solved your problem. I'm having the same, here my specs:
400watt psu
geforce 8500gt
2,5 gb ram
amd athlon x2 6000
asus m2nvm hdmi
I want to know if the psu change solved the problem..
Thanks in advance
 
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