Computer Experts: Need Second Opinion
Mar 6, 2006 at 4:58 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

dj_mocok

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My PC often freezes when playing games. Sometimes after 1/2hr playing game, sometimes 1hr or when it's in a good mood, it will let me play 4-5 hrs without freezing.

But it pretty much freezes on games ranging from the current ones such as "The Movies" to older ones like C&C Generals.

I (highly) suspect it's the video card, because whilst playing C&C Generals, sometimes the screen goes black (the game is still running ok) during the game and in some part of the cut scene.
I tried some settings, and under display setting, if I adjust the "Mip map detail level" to "performance" (second one from the 4-bar slider), it runs ok and the black scene doesn't show at all. But if I adjust it one step higher towards "quality", it will go black again.

Now, this didn't happen to me before, I remember when I just bought my videocard I could play this game at all-highest setting level with no problem at all. Plus my card is an ATI 9600 XT Extreme, so it should chew older game like Generals without effort. (But it doesn't!)

So my guess is, my P.O.S. video card is faulty already. Or I might be wrong and it's actually something else altogether?

So which part of the PC do you think is most likely the broken one?

Without playing game, sometimes it also restart by itself, but it's really a once in a blue moon thing.

I tried to reinstall windows, use all current drivers, and it's still the same. So something must be broken here.

Any second opinion?
Thanks.

PS: This is my rig:
AMD Athlon 2500+ Barton - stock speed
1GB DDR400 (512MB X2 in Dual Channel DDR Mode)
Gigabyte GA-7N400Pro-2
Gigacube 128MB Radeon 9600 XT
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 5:09 PM Post #3 of 31

nysulli

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i'm with nabwong, if you haven't dusted out your pc in a while, wouldn't hurt to grab a can of compressed air or use and air compressor to clean it out

i had a friend who was a tech at compusa and he always said you'd be suprised the number of pc's that came in for service that only needed a dusting or a bad fan replaced
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 5:22 PM Post #4 of 31

NiceCans

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that would be my first guess . . . the fact that you say it runs for a period before the problem arises also makes me suspect it may be heat related.

I just serviced a g/f's pc and it looked like a cat and her litter inside there
eek.gif

It also looked like there was a carpet between the CPU fan and the heat sink over about 70% of the surface!

Also check the cooling fan on your GPU, most ATi's have em.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 5:41 PM Post #5 of 31

rx7_fan

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over heating, if you would buy an extra fan it might decrease a few degrees. I would say open it, clean it, maybe put some thermal paste on the CPU/heatsink. oOoh on the fan setup, make sure you have a constant flow of cool air going in and hot air coming out.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 6:48 PM Post #6 of 31

dj_mocok

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I know overheating might be one (Athlon generally runs hotter anyway), but my PC has been running at this temperature since the 1st day I bought it (and it's 2 years now I think), and there's not so much dust inside the last time I checked (quite recently). Room temp. is also normal, not stinking hot.
My case is also not touching a carpet, and it has generous spaces around the sides.

But I think the fact that I have to lower the mip map setting in order for the game to show certain cut scenes doesn't have anything to do with overheating, no?
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 6:51 PM Post #7 of 31

philodox

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It might be worth your while to get the updated video card drivers from ATI as well as updated motherboard drivers and BIOS from Gigabyte. I had some issues with my computer that are similar to yours and that cleared it up for me.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 7:36 PM Post #8 of 31

skudmunky

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Well, the last few generations of ATI drivers suck. My x600 crashes at least once every 2 days. I'm really dissapointed with ATI right now, fortunetly my nvidia 6800GS will be here wednesday.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 7:54 PM Post #9 of 31

philodox

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Really, that sucks... the nvidia drivers are great.
smily_headphones1.gif


I have an ASUS 6200TC right now, but there is a XFX 6800 GS on it's way to me. Might get another one later on and SLI it.
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 8:17 PM Post #10 of 31

Jon.

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I'd just avoid ATI
wink.gif
I had a 9800 pro that would do the exact same thing with Generals, it would also overheat and shut down after awhile, and I take care of my computer. Go get an nvidia card.
wink.gif
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 8:25 PM Post #11 of 31

asmox

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Could be your RAM.

Bad RAM has a tendency to arbitrarily restart your machine and lock up applications. Try taking out one of the modules, then try the other one. If the same thing happens with both modules running individually, see if you can borrow a compatible stick of RAM from a friend or something. If you have non-stock timings set on your RAM, try setting them back to defaults and see if that helps.

Could also be your powersupply. Check the rail voltages.

I really doubt that it's overheating.. but you can always get something like Motherboard Monitor and keep an eye on your temps if you're concerned.
 
Mar 6, 2006 at 9:29 PM Post #12 of 31

skudmunky

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Quote:

Originally Posted by philodox
Really, that sucks... the nvidia drivers are great.
smily_headphones1.gif


I have an ASUS 6200TC right now, but there is a XFX 6800 GS on it's way to me. Might get another one later on and SLI it.
biggrin.gif



Yup, nVidia rocks. My first 6800GS (that I stepped up to from a agp 6800) came in DOA, so I called eVGA, and they are sending me a replacement with a prepaid shipping label for the dead card. Pretty sweet customer service there.

I like the nVidia control panel a lot, with customizable settings for each game...
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 12:23 AM Post #15 of 31

Illah

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dj_mocok
I know overheating might be one (Athlon generally runs hotter anyway), but my PC has been running at this temperature since the 1st day I bought it (and it's 2 years now I think), and there's not so much dust inside the last time I checked (quite recently). Room temp. is also normal, not stinking hot.
My case is also not touching a carpet, and it has generous spaces around the sides.

But I think the fact that I have to lower the mip map setting in order for the game to show certain cut scenes doesn't have anything to do with overheating, no?



1. What is 'this temperature'? I may have been running hot for some time. How have you been monitoring it?

2. is there good ventilation around the back of the case? Sides don't matter. The back is where the exhaust is and it's very important to have a good 6" of open space back there. Open space means totally open, not sticking the computer in one of those cubbys with 6" behind it.

3. Are there cables and junk inside the case which could be tucked away? Having lots of cables and junk hanging around can kill the airflow and leave hotspots in the case where there is no flow.

Judging from your descriptions heat really sounds like the cause. If you've been running pretty hot for years the chips may be slowly failing, but more than likely a little tweaking would get it working.

If you *really* want to identify the cause try some stress testing. Memtest from a bootable CD/floppy will hit *just* the RAM so you can rule that out. Prime95 really hits the CPU and RAM hard, and 3DMark will hit the CPU, RAM, and video card.

I'd start with:

1. Memtest - if you can run it 2+ hours solid you should be OK (or run overnight).
2. Prime95 - If you can run it 4 hours solid you should be OK (run overnight for a real test).
3. 3DMark - let this run for 2+ hours (or overnight).

--Illah
 

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