TechSpot

3d Games Crashes.....please Help

By Jubble
Jan 7, 2006
  1. Mine is a long, sad, and from looking round the web an all too familiar story:

    This is the best forum I’ve found so far, you lot actually seem to know what you’re talking about so here is my tale:

    I’ve built my own computer, my specs are as follows:

    OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600
    OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
    System Name HOME
    System Manufacturer 75V80
    System Model 775VM800
    System Type X86-based PC
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 3 GenuineIntel ~2999 Mhz
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 3 GenuineIntel ~2999 Mhz
    BIOS Version/Date American Megatrends Inc. P1.30, 14/10/2005
    SMBIOS Version 2.3
    Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
    System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
    Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
    Locale United States
    Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)"
    User Name HOME\Gareth
    Time Zone GMT Standard Time
    Total Physical Memory 1,024.00 MB
    Available Physical Memory 697.02 MB
    Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
    Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
    Page File Space 2.31 GB
    Page File C:\pagefile.sys


    My problem is that every time I play a 3d game (call of duty 1 & 2 , farcry, SOF2 etc.) is that about 10 minutes into playing my computer crashes.

    Normally this is just to desktop, with an error report that doesn’t offer a solution. Occasionally, but not for a while, I get the old BSOD, followed by a reboot and ‘recovered from serious error’ message, which leads to a more than useless Microsoft site telling me it may or may not be a driver conflict (I’ll tell you more about that in a minute).

    My computer is totally stable otherwise: I’ll list all the things I’ve tried so far:

    1. I’ve ran 2 different types of mem test for over 12 hours: no problems
    2. I’ve tried 2 different motherboards and 2 sticks of ram and 2 processors: (the shop I bought them from was very helpful)
    3. I’ve tried 2 different graphics cards (a radeon 980xt and now my geforce 6600)
    4. I have reseated all the components and checked the connections
    5. I have replaced the hard drive
    6. I have tried repairing windows, I have reinstalled a raw copy of windows.
    7. I have used windows update.
    8. All my drivers are up to date: I have used a driver uninstall utility to remove old drivers (in its latest incarnation my I did a raw install and only installed the latest drivers (no conflicts))
    9. I did have a creative sound card, but I have since removed that and uninstalled its drivers
    10. I have installed motherboard monitor and watched the temperatures before, during and after a crash: my cpu and gpu never get above 50. Just to make sure I have both sides of the case removed and a large fan blowing into it. (Believe me im freezing)
    11. My bios is flashed and up to date
    12. I have followed the bios set up thingy on this site and have disabled all the bollocks like game ports etc.
    13. I have no IRQ sharing or conflicts
    14. I am running Norton internet security, but any time I install anything I have used the ‘msconfig’ thing to boot without startup items.
    15. I have tried playing games in this mode as well; the results are the same
    16. I am about ready to throw it form the window.
    17. I have also used gamexp to tweak my ram settings as well, but have since returned everything to it windows default.


    I’ve probably done other stuff as well but I cant remember.

    I really am at a loose end, the reason im posting here is that I have read somewhere that it could be a faulty PSU. I wanted to see what you guys think before I go splashing anymore money on this god forsaken typewriter:

    My PSU is a Jeantech (bought from PC World here in the UK for £45 ($80))

    It is rated at 425.5 Watts; here are its particulars:

    +3.3v = 30amps
    +5v = 28amps
    +12v1 = 14amps
    +12v2 = 15amps
    -12v = 1amp
    +5v = 2.5amps

    I might be answering my own question, but the 14/15amps on the 12vlt rail seems a bit low to me??? Especially as both graphics cards I tried have had separate power inputs. Is this the cause of my problems???

    Also the motherboard monitor shows the following results for my voltages:

    +3.3 is averaging at 3.3
    +5 is averaging at 5.08
    +12 is averaging at 11.46 (with a low of 11.37)
    The graphics card is on the 12v isn’t it??? Is this my problem?????

    If you need any more info or copies of my minidump files (from Dr Watson) etc. please ask (they don’t mean anything to me.

    I think it’s the power supply, but I would really value your opinions before I go and splash the cash. This is the single most infuriating PC problem I’ve ever ever had.

    What worries me is that there are loads of people on various forums with similar problems and I cat find a comprehensive solution: some people claim to have tried new PSU’s without any joy.

    HELP before I turn to the xbox for ever more……
     
  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Playing for 10 mins then a crash usually indicates overheating, but in your case your temps are ok. But this does not mean the PSU temps are ok and you are correct that Jeantech 428W might be on it's upper limit. 12V 29A is not too bad, but depends on how many case fans, HDD (looks like just 1) and DVD drives you have. If it is running nears it's limit it will heat up, add some heat and it's efficiency goes down as does it's current output and you have an unstable PC.

    The other thing to try first is have DirectX9.0c and run DxDiag, make sure no errors/conflicts. Is this an AGP card? Do you have Fast Writes in BIOS turned off? Your virtual memory seems a little high for 1GB of RAM, I use 1.5X my RAM size.

    For those games go to TweakGuides.com and read about optimizing your PC settings. One quick help is to up your HunkMegs or Heapsize (term is game dependant). This is amount of RAM allocated for game use. R click on the game launch icon/properties. In the target line add this: -noipx -console -heapsize 512000 (could be HunkMegs for COD2)

    The PC crashing prob is the hardest thing to troubleshoot unfortunately, there are so many variables.

    Try those for now and see what happens and keep us posted.

    cheers.
     
  3. Jubble

    Jubble TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all your help and interest.

    In reply to your questions:

    I have run dxdiag with no problems at all.

    It is an agp 8x card, I have disabled agp fast write and have tried all possible combinations of aperture size and agp 4X 8X etc.

    Although there is two rails of 12v adding to a total of 29 amps, one rail is maximum 14amp the other 15amp, I seem to remember reading that some GPU’s need at least 17-18amps. I have tried mixing the connected in different combinations and even had the GPU on a rail all of its own, all to same result.

    I have looked at tweak guides before, but as a general point you shouldn’t have to mess with stuff like that just to get a game stable, they all ran fine on my previous system with no messing about.

    I will try lowering my virtual memory to 1.5 times my ram and see if that helps.

    I have not overclocked anything; i have infact tried underclocking components in an effort to improve stability; all to no avail.

    The ram is a single stick of unbranded 1gig ddr400, i have tried running at different speeds (slower) to see if that helps: no joy. As i said before i have tried 2 different sticks of ram, both of which tested fine on two different emtests over a 12 hour period.

    The motherboard is an asrock 775vm800; it is more than capable of handling the components im using. The processor and ram came shipped with the motherboard, and as i said i have tried 2 different lots now (in various combinations).

    The processor is a 3gig p4 with hyperthreading and all that stuff, my moptherboard supports this chip and its features entirely.

    As a side note i forgot to mention i have antispyware as well: the microsoft one and the one from lavasoft, so i dont think its a spyware issue. I also dont have any viruses or trojans.

    I would be surprized if its the monitor: I have kept the same monitor fomr my old system (amd2600xp, 2X512ram333, geforce 4200ti) which used to run all these games fine (all be it at a lower resolution).

    I have tried running all the games at low resolutions and even in safe mode: wih the same result everytime (about 10-15minutes into the game the crash).

    I am about 99% sure it is not a heat issue as i have monitored temperatures of case, mb, processor and gpu (although if anyone has knows of any alterative gpu tempertature monitors i could give them a try.)

    The LED's do not dim at all, but they are only small anyway; its been a long time since ive had the BSOD; almost every crash now just goes to the desktop, i can then restart the game straight away and play for another 10 minutes (ish).

    Oh and BTW I have tried increasing the voltage to the graphics card and ram both seperately and together (in bios), all to no avail.

    Heat wise I have have the heatsink and fan over the processor, heat sink and fan on the Graphics cards, and a case fan. As i said i have also removed move sides of the case, turned off the heating in the room, opened the windows, and had a fan blowing into the case. I have also monitored the temperatures and the processor was the hottest thing reaching a whopping 48celcius.

    If yu can recommend a decent gpu temperature monitor i would appreciate it as im not convinced of the accuracy of the one im currently using.

    The bsod has not been a problem for a while; it just crashes to desktop. When it did do that the errors were always different but googling them refered to a memory problem.

    from what i've read on various sites altghough the error message may make it loook like a ram problem; these ram problems can infact be caused by a dodgy power suppply; is this true??
     
  4. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,202

    Zip up a half a dozen or so of your most recent minidumps,there might be a clue in there.
     
  5. Vaerilis

    Vaerilis TS Rookie Posts: 64

    It's pretty much impossible for the 29A@12V to be insufficent for your machine. The 6600 isn't exactly a power hungry card and your other system components don't consume that much power, either. There is a possibiliy that your PSU is a faulty one or simply doesn't perform as well as advertised (after all, your 12V voltage is unusually low), though. Sadly, that's just one possibility, the crashing may be caused by a long list of problems.
    Have you tried switching some components' cabling from one 12V rail to the other one?
     
  6. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Yes an under powered system can simulate all sorts of hardware failures and faulty RAM ( a false failure) is very common.

    I agree your temperatures are very good so I don't think you have a component overheating problem. When 3D games are played they give the PC the hardest work out most ppl can give it, but there's a program used by OCer's called Prime95 you can download to check your system overall stability. Have you tried P95?
    I guess my point here is do you have faulty RAM or a bad PSU or some stupid driver conflict? The P95 test will expose the RAM/PSU issue (i.e. bad P95 performance is not driver related). From there you can make a guess and maybe replace your PSU or RAM. (I think it's your 14/15A 12V rails)

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Jubble

    Jubble TS Rookie Topic Starter

    although the 29amp over both 12 volt rails seems like a lot it is limited to a maximum of 14amp on 1 and 15amp on the other...i think.

    Im gonna download and try prime95, i'll let you know how i got on, thanks for your interest and help :)

    How do i zip and add my minidumps??? i can cut and paste the text from them but they are huge???
     
  8. Jubble

    Jubble TS Rookie Topic Starter

    IM running a programme called prime95 to strees my system and fault find, i've noticed my 12 volt rail is on about 11.4 permanantly now: is that too low?
     
  9. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    11.4V is 5% decrease from 12V, so in most situations you would want to calibrate that thing back to 12V. But with PSU for PCs we can't calibrate them.

    Being at 11.4V suggests it's at maximum output on one of the 2 rails (14A and 15A rails), but let's just see what P95 shows up.

    So did you have any crashes with P95 or was your system pretty stable? A stable system will run P95 for several hours without a fault.
     
  10. Jubble

    Jubble TS Rookie Topic Starter

    First time i ran p95 it crashed after about 10 minutes, im at work now so i haven't got the exact message but it found a '4' where it expected a '5' or something like that!!!

    Second time i ran it for about 5 hours and it worked fine: I HATE PC's :hotbounce

    On a side note becuase my processor is hyper threaded (and shows as a dual processor in windows) should i be running 2 copies of p95 at once???

    How do you do this cos i don't understand the instructions on the website.

    I've noticed that while running p95 the processor runs at about 50% usage (from task manager), if i do other stuff while running p95 it jumps up: it seems p95 is only using half my processor???

    On a side note i've bit the bullet and bought this beast:

    http://www.antec.com/uk/productDetails.php?ProdID=05481

    Waiting for it to arrive at the moment (should be here wednesday), the store i bought it from has a no quibbles return policy, so if that don't fix it I can always get my money back.

    I'll let you know how it goes, would be interested in still investigating with p95 though.

    Once again thanks for help: i'll keep you 'posted' ;)
     
  11. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    I haven't ran P95 in a few months now and I'm at work right now. But I remember there was about 3 types of stress tests. I think it's the third type you want to run (a little of everything). Type 1 is heavy CPU, light RAM, type 2 is heavy Ram, light CPU and type 3 is a little of both.

    Also it has to do with the type of calculation (so many fits(iterations) I think). I'll check this when I get home.

    The PSU you bought looks really good and I think it will solve your problems anyway. P95 for 5 hours is good result, but remember this checking the RAM/mobo data transfer and CPU and tells us you basically have a good stable system. Now we add heavy graphics and see what the PSU will do.
    Tonight when you get home run P95 again and then start up a DVD see how she likes that.

    So far so good.

    cheers,
     
     
  12. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Ok just ran Prime 95 for a few minutes to famil myself again. I forgot to tell you you want the torture test.
    To run this: in the TEST menu select STOP. In OPTIONS select Torture Test. Here select Blended (this is the third option part mentioned above). Now you should see CPU usage go up to 90%+.

    Cheers
    Edit: spelling
     
  13. Jubble

    Jubble TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Dudes:

    The latest.

    I fitted an installed that antec beast (i must say it truly is a thing of beauty, nice cable management system etc.) +very quiet.

    Upshot is my system appears to be more stable, i managed 3/4hr on COD without a glitch. Unfortuneately its my birds birthday so I cant play no more (pants).

    Interestingly, while monitoring my voltages they appear no better than with the previous supply. 12v is still at 11.34-11.4 (lowest)., despite the system appearing to be more stable.

    I'll do more extensive testing and let you know how i get on.
     
  14. Xeneize

    Xeneize TS Rookie

    OH!
    I have the same problem, but my computer shuts down during the play :dead:
    I have
    WIN xp SP2
    AMD ATHLON 3000+
    GeForce 6600 GT 256
    Maxtor Sata 160gb

    ...i downloaded the newest drivers for my grafic card.....
    I dont know what to do anymore...
    I have even changed my PSU, now i have ATX 550W Silent, but still makes probelmes...

    I have run P95 and it crashed down after 30 min....
    PLEASE HELP
     
  15. jaroddog

    jaroddog TS Rookie Posts: 99

    I had the same problem you did. I had a flaky, unstable system. Memtest was fine. I ran Prime95, and it failed after 6 minutes. I then ran it again, only to go 6 hours without a problem. I did some research. Turns out, my mobo was notorious for this type of sporadic problems. I replaced it (yes, I know you already did this). My problems were fixed. You'll want to check the voltage requirements on the mobo and ram, check the timings, underclock, and any other thing to see if you can determine the cause of the problem. Hopefully though, that new power supply will help. Make sure the mobo is "playing nice" with the memory. That's a constant system problem causer.

    Regards
     
  16. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Xeneize, have you updated the mobo chipset drivers lately? This would be the nVidia 4 or 3 drivers depending on the mobo you have.

    Other things to check are temperature problems with the CPU. Make sure you have good cooling, take the side off your case if you have to and put a fan on it.

    Other things to try is go into BIOS (hold DEL key on boot) and set to Fail Safe defaults. This will ensure you have no funny RAM timing or OCing on the CPU. (record your settings first if you do have OC and would like to set it back).

    Run P95 again and see if she's stable for at least an hour. If not then in BIOS set CPU Vcore up by 0.1V, save and reboot. Run P95, if not stable , then in BIOS up RAM voltage by minimum, save and reboot. Try P95 again.

    Let me know how it goes. Cheers.
     
  17. Xeneize

    Xeneize TS Rookie

    THANKS, but i have already took the computer to the service where i bought it!
    Its their problem now... :angel:
     
  18. Jubble

    Jubble TS Rookie Topic Starter

    dudes:

    just to let you know that after extensive testing (ie cod for 3hours straight) that the new PSU seems to have solved all my problems. Cheers for your help.

    Now I got to pursuade PC world to give me a refund for my old ****ty psu with no box, or receipt.

    MU ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa puke:
     
  19. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Yep, I'm not surprised it did fix the problem. It's amazing just how many probs an underpowered PSU can cause.

    Good to hear you got the problem solved, cheers.
     
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