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Black-out problem - Is there a solution?

By Xyxoz
Sep 30, 2006
  1. Hello everyone.
    I've had my computer for around 2 years now, and I've been experiencing a very annoying problem through those 2 years. Now I've decided to finally try and get some proper help.
    You'll get my computer specs first:
    Pentium 4 HT Northwood 3,2GHz
    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb
    2x512mb Kingston Valueram PC3200
    400W PSU
    Windows XP Home Edition SP2 fully updated.

    The problem is, that my computer irregularly goes black after an uncertain amount of playing time. It happens in any newer full-screen game (World of Warcraft, Warcraft 3, Counter-strike(rarely)) - my monitor goes black, the monitor power symbol starts flashing as if it had no signal, my sound stops playing, BUT my fans are still running and the light on "num lock" is still on. To start the computer again, I have to turn the power off and on again, as nothing else responds. Sometimes I can play for hours without experiencing the problem - it's happening irregularly. I don't think it can be the drivers, as I've been formating my computer several times through the past 2 years, and I've always downloaded the newest ATI driver and still had the problem.
    I can say already, that my temperatures are a bit high. I'm running with only one side on my case or else the CPU-temp goes beyond 67 celcius degrees. Right now it's max 65 celcius degrees, which I know is too high, but would the CPU-temp cause a black-out? It goes black with or without both sides on my cabinet.
    I've run the "Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool" under boot for 30 minutes, which didn't give any errors.
    My computer should be 100% spyware and virus free, as I've run full-scan with several anti virus and spyware scanners just to make sure.

    I am very frustrated, that I can't find a proper solution, and I wouldn't like to spend a fortune on making it work again.
    I really hope you can help me fix the problem.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    Definetly Overheating.

    Try going into the bios and go to the fan control configuration and turn of CPU fan control, or smart fan control or whatever so that you let your CPU fan run at full speed constantly.

    Download and run CPU-Z (google it). Check for the current voltage running on the cpu screen. If it looks like the voltage is high (aka overvoltage), them there is a problem with your motherboard. It could also be the PSU. Try to fix this problem by going into the BIOS and setting it to default settings agian. If it still overvolts by itself, then there is a problem with your motherboard. Download and flash your BIOS to the latest version and see if it corrects the problem.

    Is your pc running at 65C while doing nothing, no programs or apps running? If it is, then that is VERY VERY bad. If you built your pc yourself, then reinstall the heatsink and re-apply thermal paste.

    If your PC has none or insufficient case fans, your CPU will obviously overheat since it's a northwood. You need at least a fan to pump cool air into the case, and a fan to pump air out of the case.

    It's all about the airflow, the faster the air is moving through the case, the cooler the heatsink will be. Taking off the cover will not help much, as ambient air is still not moving across the heatsink, your heatsink fan will just pump more hot air onto the heatsink making it really hot. Install case fan if you have not already.

    Google on how to take off your heatsink, how to re-apply thermal paste, and how to install it agian.

    If you still have problems, start troubleshooting your video card. test your Video card to see if it's overheating. Do a video card swap with a different one and see if the problem persist.

    If that dont work, start looking at the Northbridge heatsink. If it's hot enough to cause considerable pain, consider looking for a aftermarket Northbridge heatsink for better cooling.

    If you still have problems, consider looking at problems with your PSU. Do a PSU swap.

    Then if you still have problems, try a Memory swap with seperate new RAM.
     
  3. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    I just did a major update, read it over and over agian :)
     
  4. Xyxoz

    Xyxoz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    First of all: Thanks for a detailed reply!
    Ok, I just downloaded CPU-Z, which says voltage is 1.600V - Is that too high?
    My CPU is max 65 celcius degrees, meaning it's only 65 in games.
    I have a fan in the front and a 80mm in the back, which didn't seem to be enough. My CPU-cooler is Zalman 7000B-AlCuLED.
    I used ATITool and registered a 82 celcius degrees on my GPU-core while playing games. I'm not sure if it's the right temperature, as Everest showed 60ish.
    I just have one problem.. I don't have any spare components to switch out in my computer, so I'll have to buy new ones :\
    I'm not very good at hardware.. So when you say heatsink, do you mean the heatsink on the chipset beside the CPU?

    I thought about buying a new case with very good airflow, but I really have to make sure that's the problem. Either way - Would it be worth it to spend around 200$ (converted from my currency) on a new case, even if it wouldn't solve the problem?
     
  5. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    1.600v?

    Go into your bios and load default settings agian.
     
  6. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    For now, I suggest you reinstall your Zalman CPU heatsink. All you need is a cheap different psu to test if something is wrong with your CPU.

    Do a video card swap ASAP with your 9800 pro. Obtain a seperate video card and use it and see if the problem is fixed. Buy a card from a store and test it, if the problem persist, return it. If the problem goes away, then keep it.

    And remember to go into bios, if you havent already and disable CPU fan control, or somthing like that to make your Zalman fan run at full speed constantly.

    CPU fancontrol, CPU smart fan control, any option like that.

    A case with 1 or more 120mm fans will be good. Some Cooler Master %60 case will be good.

    or

    Keep your case and get faster CFM case fans. (aka get faster fans)
     
  7. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    Whats your motherboard?, it would help to know.
     
  8. korrupt

    korrupt TS Rookie Posts: 716

    Try taking off both sides of your case, and blowing air in it using fans, then play for a few hours and see if this solves the problem:)

    Regards,

    Korrupt
     
  9. Xyxoz

    Xyxoz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    I loaded some default settings, but the voltage didn't change. Is 1.600 too much?
    I don't know what motherboard I have, as I didn't make this computer myself, but on the manual it says "PS83-BC/BL" and "PS85-BC/BL".
    I have a physical fan control, and it's turned on to the max. I didn't find anywhere to disable it in the BIOS. But it's running at 2300rpm.
    I'll try ask my friends if they have any spare components.
    How does a new PSU tell if the CPU is the problem?
     
  10. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    Bad. broken, messed up capacitators on the PSU which can cause problems.
     
  11. Xyxoz

    Xyxoz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    Ok, but would that cause the screen to go black? The fans are still running.

    2nd question: Can I use the onboard GFX-card instead of testing it with another card?
     
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