Lockups in Games

By TheMadDoofer
Apr 13, 2006
  1. I keep having problems with lockups/freezing in games - mostly new, graphics-intensive ones (Oblivion, Far Cry, BF2, etc). The game will freeze right where it is and a high-pitched noise will come from the speakers. It requires a hard reset. My graphics card is NOT overheating, though I used to have that problem, but now stays at 40C idle 62C full load. (I don't know what kind of temperatures the rest of the computer should be at - Rivatuner/ATITOOL detects Ambient going up to 50C and Core going up to 60C). I have all brand new audio and video drivers, as well as new DirectX. This problem has been going on since I first got my computer.

    Dell XPS Gen 3
    3.4GHz Pentium 4 with HT
    4Gb Dual In-Line RAM
    ATI Radeon X800 XT 256mb
    Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS

    EDIT: BTW all of my games run fine, and then suddenly freeze, no signs of stuttering or any indication that it's about to lock up.
    2 250gb Hds

    PSU-I can't tell much because the sticker is obscured by a metal plate, but it's a 460W.
  2. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    I blew up my 450W crappy generic PSU litterly within a week of putting system togther. Spec in my profile. Our CPUs will take over a 100Watts of power alone from the 12V rail. Add a decent graphics card (GPU, this takes 10's of watts from the 5V rail) and you got a recipe for disastour.

    What are the specs of your PSU. 3.3, 5 and 12 voltage amps?

  3. TheMadDoofer

    TheMadDoofer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Is there a way to do so without having to open up the computer and look at it? It's mostly covered by a metal plate, and my service tag for dell doesn't give me a PSU type or voltage.

    EDIT: It seems that the Core temperature goes beyond 60C on full load - how hot can it get before things start screwing up?
  4. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    A P4 can go higher then a 64 in temp, but 60+C is getting to the clock down limit of a P4. If you reach it fast enough the CPU cannot respond with a clock down fast enough to prevent the temperature rise and it ramps down the clock frequency quickly. This will cause a freeze or a BSOD.

    The other scenario is: The PSU is near it's limit, the CPU is running a little too hot. The game gets a little more intense (and draws more power), the PSU starts to flucuate in voltage, the hot CPU can't take it (the last thing it needs is a drop in voltage) and the whole system freezes.

    My point is you definately are having temp issues with the CPU and it will only get worse. But it might also include a weak PSU (not related to CPU temp) just as another independent issue that can crop in fast PC systems.


    1) Remove the HSF on the CPU. Ensure there is good thermal grease there or if it's a thermal pad remove it with some rubbing alcohol. Apply new grease, reiinstall HSF.
    2) Replace PSU and the above.

    Can you see any model # on the PSU, name, something? Then try to look it up on web to get current specs.

  5. TheMadDoofer

    TheMadDoofer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I found a picture of the sticker on my PSU :

    Also, I don't think it's a heating issue - the "Core" that was going up to 60+ was on my GPU, and it can go up to 80C before crashing. The ambient case temp only went up to 47C (None of the CPU/Motherboard Monitors are compatible with my computer, so I'm kinda screwed). Also, I ran some games with the case open and a fan blowing into it - it never got that hot and yet it still crashed.
    By the way I ran Memtest86 overnight and it passed - so it's not a memory error as some people have told me could be the case.

    Thank you for your reply.

    EDIT: Would the Power Bar have anything to do with it? I'm using an ancient one.
  6. TheMadDoofer

    TheMadDoofer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Minor Update: I don't know if this could be related, but scanning with Norton Antivirus crashes it as well - and the ambient temperature stays at 41C during.
  7. Danascus

    Danascus TS Rookie Posts: 21

    I have been having the same issues, my system is:

    Mobo P4S800D-X
    3.2 P4
    2G RAM
    Chaintech Geforce 6600 GT 128m
    soundblaster audigy 2
    Rosewill 550W PSU
    lite-on dvd player
    80G western Digital SATA HD
    3 case fans

    I have tried a number of things to fix it, I have ran memtest86, removed sound card to see if that was the problem, unplugged numerous things to see if it was a power issue (I had bought the 550W to upgrade a 450W psu thinking that was the issue, I was sadly wrong), heat isnt an issue, my cpu runs at 41C on average, Mobo runs at 30C on avg. I have updated my bios, my vid card drivers, soundcard drivers, swapped the ram sticks with each other, and one thing I did happen to notice was that my old vid card (geforce4 ti4200) worked on the games that I play where my 6600gt didnt.
    Any ideas would help us out, cuz im pretty close to punting my PC across my front lawn...
  8. MyStiC<KoR>

    MyStiC<KoR> TS Rookie

    Ive seen a lot of this online...and I have reason to believe its Sound Blaster Audigy 2. My computer also freezes, and only when I have my Audigy installed. And amazingly both of you that have this problem have the same sound card.

    I have been looking forever for what the reason could be...and I'm thinking it's because you have to disable your onboard audio from the bios. Try that guys and tell me if it works...I can't find it in my bios for the life of me.
  9. Danascus

    Danascus TS Rookie Posts: 21

    I do have my onboard audio disabled on BIOS, it was a problem i had on my first PC build
  10. TheMadDoofer

    TheMadDoofer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I honestly can't find it under my BIOS. Is there another way to do it?
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    TheMadDoofer, if your Dell came with the Audigy 2 ZS, you don't have any onboard soundcard to deal with. That's why you can't find it in the BIOS, it's not there. If this problem has been going on since you got your computer, have you tried having it serviced free under warranty? Is it still under warranty by any chance?
  12. TheMadDoofer

    TheMadDoofer TS Rookie Topic Starter

    First, the video card overheated on me constantly - the only thing they would do was give me a new one - so I had to install an Arctic Cooling fan on it, and I thought that took care of it (and it gave me the same freezes as now, but I know it's not overheating anymore).

    And yes, I still have a bit left on the warranty, I guess I'll try out Dell tech support again.
  13. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    Perhaps you should have taken a new one if it was offered. Maybe the overheating damaged the card. Now that you have replaced the heatsink and fan with an aftermarket unit, Dell might refuse to warranty it. Still, see what Dell can do for you for free before you spend any money.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...