Computer Locks Up, after time, during games.

By Jakal
Mar 25, 2002
Topic Status:
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  1. Computer locks up after a certain amount of time during some games.

    Specs:
    Windows 98 SE
    DirectX 8

    Biostar M7VKD KT133A SND
    AMD Duron 900
    TTGI 320W Power Supply (AMD approved)
    256MB name brand ram (Crucial I think)
    10GB Western Digital ATA-33 HD
    Diamond Monster Sound MX300
    PNY Geforce2 MX400
    Real Hollywood+
    DVD-ROM
    Plenty of fans

    The main culprit is Black & White. After an hour the computer has a tendency to completely lock-up. I don't think the problem is heat. I have a decent cpu heatsink/fan, chipset fan, videocard fan, and two case fans. Does anyone have any ideas on what it could be?
  2. T-Shirt

    T-Shirt Newcomer, in training Posts: 329

    if it's not heat, could be a resource problem.
    Since you are using SE run Dr.watson in the back ground with a log file. after a crash or 2, you should be able to figure it out,if it's a software problem
  3. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    I agree with T-Shirt on this one. Your memory is probably being depleted and the OS is locking up because of it. Also, your graphics card isn't the best out (no offense meant because neither is mine :) ) so it might have something to do with it. Have you tried different drivers???
  4. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I've tried several versions of detonator, and several of the 4-in-1, and it doesn't seem to make a difference. Who makes Dr.watson? I've tried searching for it, but I can't find it.
  5. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    Dr. Watson comes installed with Windows. Here is something that might help you out:

  6. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Wow, now I feel stupid. I can't believe I didn't know about that.:monkey:
  7. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I opened drwatson, and played Black & White until it locked-up (about 1:30 this time), when I restarted, there was no log file. Isn't that normal for lock-ups? I've been keeping an eye on system resources, and they seem to stay at about the same level. At one point I just turned on the computer, and didn't touch it for 2 hours, and when I came back, it had locked up. The motherboard, heatsink/fan, and power supply aren't the best, but they are all AMD approved, so I don't have any reason to suspect them. I just don't know how to troubleshoot something like this.

    Whoa, I just looked, and my system resources are 50%.

    AuthenticAMD AMD Duron(tm) processor
    256MB RAM
    49% system resources free
    Windows-managed swap file on drive C (3648MB free)
    Available space on drive C: 3648MB of 4822MB (FAT32)
    Available space on drive D: 3452MB of 4822MB (FAT32)

    That is weird. All I have running is Zcast (netzero), and Internet Explorer. This may be an indication of the problem.
  8. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    It sounds like a program your running is causing all your lock-ups. I would try closing programs out one at a time to pinpoint which one is giving you problems.

    Sounds to me like Windows is taking up all the resources, but since you have a dedicated swap file I find this odd.

    Anyway, I'll do more research in the morning, right now though the bed is calling!!! :)
  9. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    The distressing thing is, that I have few background programs running. I had imgicon.exe from my iomega zip drive which I believe had been removed at this point on account of it not appearing to serve any useful function. Besides that the only background program seems to be freectrl for my soundcard. I will try shutting that down since it seems to just give me access to a... can't remember the name of it. It let's me control the volume of sound at certain wavelengths. I guess I should look at programs that don't show up in my taskmanager too. I will try that tonight.
  10. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,537   +92

    Try searching this forum for "Lockups".
    Have a read through the Lockup section in the GeforceFAQ in my signature.
    Has this system run without problems previously or have you always had this problem with your current video card?
    Have you made any major software or hardware changes lately?
    Do you have any IRQ conflicts in the device manager?
    Just some things for you to consider/answer ;)
  11. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I had lock-ups with the video card I had before my geforce.
    This computer has locked-up during games its entire life (5 months, don't laugh at the cheap hardware).
    I've resolved all hardware conflicts.
     
  12. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    Have you tried a fresh install??? It's probably not the best solution, but it might solve the problem. If this doesn't work then I'm afraid you more than likely have a hardware problem. :(
  13. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I've reinstalled the OS three times. If it is a hardware problem is there anyway to tell what is to blame, or at least a good guess? I've heard lock-ups are often caused by the power supply, but couldn't it also be the mobo or cpu or ram?
  14. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    I find it hard to believe that it is your CPU that is causing the problem. Even so here is a program you might want to try:

    http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm

    Here is one for your memory:

    http://www.teresaudio.com/memtest86/

    Also, I don't know right off hand a program for your mobo's stability, but I'll look. Look here for a hard drive stability tester:

    http://support.wdc.com/download/

    That hard drive isn't the faster one around so it might have something to do with it (although I have my doubts).

    Anyway, run the prime 95 program for a night with your computer on and if it doesn't crash then your fine. Run the memtest86 around 3 times to be sure your memory is fine.

    One more thing, go here to get Motherboard Monitor 5, an excellent program for monitoring fan speed, voltage, cpu temp, etc. Make sure all dust is out of your case, cables plugged in tightly, fans running at the right speed, everything you can think of to clean that baby out!!!

    http://mbm.livewiredev.com/

    Hope this helps!!!
  15. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks, I will try those. The hard drive is OLD, I bought it back when it was $300. It is the only part that I wouldn't feel bad about replacing.
  16. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I ran the memory test three times without any problem, I ran the hard drive diagnostic and everything came out alright. I ran prime 95 for 5 and a half hours before I had to turn it off because the fans were keeping me awake, but it was still chugging away. I think this indicates that my cpu, memory, power supply, and motherboard are probably rock solid (well relatively, I haven't tried running it for a year straight). This goes along with the fact that only games seem to lock up my computer. Besides these the only constant has been my soundcard. According to the Sonicblue website there seems to be some incompatability between the MX300, win98, and via motherboards, and I don't think they have done anything to resolve it.

    I am going to try to see what happens when I don't use my soundcard. I am not too proud to use onboard sound.
  17. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    Glad all your hardware seems to be stable and working great!!! Keep us posted on how it works out. Good Luck!
  18. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I took out my soundcard, and played Black & White for 2 and a half hours without a lock-up. I think that is a good indication that the soundcard was to blaim. I think I have gone that long a couple times before, so I should test a couple more times.

    I tried hooking up my onboard sound, and not only did it not work (it gave subtle clicking sounds), but it also disabled my modem somehow. I don't know how it did it, no conflicts were listed. I am hoping I can resolve this but if not, does anyone have any suggestions for an affordable via & win98 compatible soundcard (I will never be able to afford pants :( )
  19. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah Newcomer, in training Posts: 868

    I use the Creative Audigy X-Gamer card and it works great for me!!! :) Although I have heard horror stories with this card, but I guess it's that way with all sound cards. Just hope you get a good one from a quality retailer.

    I use this card with XP Pro and a Via chipset and it works fine. Although my card wasn't cheap at the time ($99) I think the price has come down some, and I've seen OEM versions for around 60, but I highly recommend getting a sound card from a respected dealer. One last question how much are you looking to spend on the card?

    Here is a couple of articles about the Audigy cards:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/video/01q3/010927/index.html

    http://www.tomshardware.com/video/02q1/020115/index.html

    http://www6.tomshardware.com/video/01q3/010925/index.html

    The last one reviews a number of sound cards so it might help you a little more.
  20. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I don't want to spend more than $100. I think I am going to try to run the MX300 without the taskbar program on the off chance that it was the program, and not the soundcard that caused the crash. I don't have high hopes though.
  21. Jakal

    Jakal Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Okay, I have confirmed that it was the sound card that was causing the lock-ups. :) With the sound card B&W would lock-up within an hour and a half. Without the card, it never locks up. Now to buy a new soundcard. :(
  22. svtcobra

    svtcobra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 875

    Hmmm...Black and White used to lock up on me randomly in the middle of gameplay. I never thought that it could be the sound card causing all the grief but it just may have been that. I wish I tried it before I sold the game on Ebay because I was mad at it.

    EA had me thinking that it was a DX8 issue but all of the resolutions never worked for me. It just may have been the sound card.
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