System freezes/reboots during gaming (ATI Radeon 9800 PRO/VIA KT600 chipset)

By mithy73
Dec 30, 2005
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  1. Hi,

    First post, so please be nice to the n00b ;)

    I've been having a number of problems while playing games - and only while playing games, it seems - on my computer system. The full spec is in my profile.

    Whether it's Freelancer, Civilization IV or The Sims 2, I may be able to play the game for minutes or hours, then at some point the system will unaccountably freeze up (Ctrl-Alt-Del does nothing, even Num Lock doesn't work) requiring a reset. If I'm lucky, it'll reset itself (though this doesn't happen often - a freeze-up is more common).

    The CPU temperature is typically around 51-52°C after a reset (compared to about 46°C during "normal" usage such as Web browsing). However, I'm not convinced that this is relevant as I can easily push the CPU temp to this level by running any non-graphical CPU-intensive program, and the computer will carry on quite merrily indefinitely.

    I couldn't tell you what the GPU temperature on the graphics card is, I'm afraid: neither MSI CoreCenter nor SpeedFan report it.

    I've tried pretty much everything with this system - I've upgraded the fans from the bog-standard ones supplied with the case, I've installed a PCI slot grille fan, I've given the AGP card its own dedicated power cable, I've vacated most of the other PCI slots, I've updated the OS, system BIOS and every driver I could lay my hands on to the most recent versions (5.13 is the most recent for my card), I've set the AGP memory to 128MB in the BIOS, I've disabled Fast Writes in the BIOS, and disabled VPU Recover in Catalyst, I turned the fan speeds up to ear-damaging levels, I even took the AGP bus speed down to 4x - all to no avail.

    I'm completely stumped. I'm fast coming to the conclusion either that the graphics card is simply getting too hot and giving up whatever I might attempt to do about it, or that the card and my mainboard simply don't like one another. I'm that far from throwing in the towel and blowing a couple hundred quid on an NVidia card*, as my love affair with ATI is rapidly drawing to a close.

    Any ideas?

    (* Yes, I know it would be much cheaper to replace the mainboard, but I happen to like this board, and it is way too time-consuming to replace. Half a day of my free time is worth the extra money.)

    Update: Today I uninstalled the Catalyst software, deleted the ATI directory, and reinstalled it. I also dug out my old Iiyama CRT to act as a secondary monitor, so I could watch CoreCenter and the Task Manager while Civ 4 was running. I duly managed to make the game crash again, and on reboot, was told that the system had crashed with the following error:

    STOP 0x000000EA THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER

    Unfortunately, the suggested remedies are either to update to the latest driver versions (done), or to replace the video card (ouch).

    Is there any hope? Or are this card and mainboard simply Not Meant To Be? Should I go with NVidia instead? Or complain to MSI or ATI? Or have I missed something really painfully obvious?
  2. mossimoboy

    mossimoboy Newcomer, in training Posts: 212

    52C on bootup? Thats not very good.

    Your cpu or graphics card may be overheating, and in that case, will freeze your computer.

    Judging on what you say by the cpu temps, I think it's your processor.
    Take the heatsink off (gently, dont rip out the CPU), clean it (its probably full of dust like mine was :/, and reapply thermal paste to the CPU (use a RICE SIZED drop, more than that it might spill over the sides of the cpu.
  3. mithy73

    mithy73 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Already done. Before I went through the phase of reapplying paste and adding new fans, the temperature would occasionally get up to 60°C! It's been a while since I checked out the heatsink and paste, though, so I might give that a go - if there are any shops open tomorrow that sell thermal paste; mine seems to have gone walkabout :(

    And it's 52°C after a crash, not on a cold start. ;)

    The thing is, if it was a problem with the CPU overheating, I would expect it to lock up or reset in any CPU-intensive application, regardless of whether I was playing a game. However, it doesn't happen at all unless what I'm doing is graphics-intensive. I've tried writing a very simple script to max out the CPU, left it running for hours, and no crash. It's only when the graphics come into play that I start getting problems. Case on, case off, fans at normal speed or at full whack, nothing makes a difference. Which inclines me to believe that while the 52°C CPU temperature is sub-optimal, it's not the cause.
  4. mithy73

    mithy73 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Update

    Update: Located thermal paste, reapplied it, no difference. Nice idea, though.

    It also occurs to me that these Barton core processors tend to run hot anyway, so I don't think 50-55°C is out of the ordinary for them. I'm led to understand that it's only a worry if they get above around 65°C.
  5. Potemkine

    Potemkine Newcomer, in training

    Recently, the same problem appeared while playing Civ4 and while rendering videos using Zoom player. I've got a Radeon 9000, same version of drivers. I tried the same tricks, from updating the drivers to cleaning the motherboard+CPU, I also tried an alternate sound card. I tried ATI's old drivers (4.9), no difference. I tested the memory using microsoft's checker, no problem there.
    I suspect the problem comes from the video API of DirectX9 and a conflict with the Radeon video card. I've got no problem with games using OpenGL. I suspect a hardware malfunction, probably the graphic card.
  6. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,058

    I was having the same problem with my 7800 gt i tried everything then what i figuered out was when playing bf2 if you set the setting to low played a game for a second then quit switch the settings to high then started the game play for a sec then finnally putting all the settings to highiest posible

    \
    that's what did the trick for me now it works great
  7. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,058

  8. Potemkine

    Potemkine Newcomer, in training

    Thanks for the tips! I was thinking using radeonator to see if I can succeed to get a stable configuration for my graphic card, I'll try also with ATITOOL.
  9. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,058

    If you need help using the program I'll help you its a basic program but a bit complicated.
  10. nikolas82

    nikolas82 Newcomer, in training

    Infinite Loop

    i had the same problem after doing all whats supposed to like drivers bios bla bla i opened the case took all the dust out and especially from the video card onboard fan also changed slot to the sound card booted up been playing with no problem for about 2 hours i dont think its gonna happen again so id recommend u make the interior of ur pc DUST FREE especially the graphics card if this wasnt the case then change slot to tthe sound card if u never wanna know and just want to play do them both
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