Unstable System After Upgrade - Please help

By fordi
Nov 9, 2004
  1. I recently purchased a new processor for my pc after I realised for the type of gaming I am into an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ is too slow. Along with the new processor I replaced the ram (details will follow). After sorting all the bios options the computer restarted fine, but once into windows it died... repeatedly and usually after the same amount of time. I eventually solved the problem by underclocking my processor too an Athlon 2200+ (not what i bought it for). I have replaced my 400 Watt power pack with a 550 Watt power pack, but the problem persists. Soon after I decided it was windows and reinstalled... and to begin with the computer ran fine, there were one or two stability problems. Shortly after it started up with the restarting again. This time though it only occurs when doing anything processor intensive or using the graphics card - ie games or winamp visualisations. Another noticable problem, when running Videos with the processor at 3000+ green dots appear on screen in clumps and in different places moving all the time. Yet at 2200+ it works fine.

    Mother Board: MSI KT4AV-L (6712)
    Processor: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ FSB 166mhz 512kb L2 Cache(OEM)

    (Currently running at 2200+ FSB 133mhz)

    Chipset: VIA KT400A
    CPU Fan-Heatsink: Cooler Master Aero 7+
    RAM: 512MB Kingston DDR PC 2700
    Graphics Card: NVidia Gforce 5600 (128MB, AGP 8x)
    HDD: Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 80GB UDMA133 8mb Cache 7200RPM
    LG DVD-ROM/CD-RW combi
    Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy LS
    Speakers: Creative P580 5.1 speakers
    LAN Card: Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC

    What I have already tried:

    Reinstalling WIN XP
    I have SP2
    Graphics drivers up to date (61.77)
    Checked board compatability
    Replaced PSU (No change)
    Mess with all sorts of Bios settings (ie spread spectrum)

    And now I am stuck... I am contemplating updating my bios, but the update that is available is of no use. I am about 2 steps away from just scrapping the system and starting again.

    Can anyone please help me.
  2. me(who else?)

    me(who else?) TS Rookie Posts: 387

    It could be a bad processor (rare), or a damaged motherboard. If it wasn't the power supply, I'd go through with some spare parts and test out everything (e.g. different video card, processor in a different motherboard, old processor again, etc.). It could also be a heat problem. DId you you apply the heat paste in a Didou-esque fashion, or is it sloppy? You could try memtest86 to test the RAM. There's a lot of possibilities
  3. fordi

    fordi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the speedy reply... I don't think it is a thermal issue, the system is running at 43 degrees at 2200+, and 46 degrees 3000+. Not bad compared to the old 2000+ which ran just above 50 degrees, more after I had played a game.

    I also believe there is no problem with the processor. I would of thought, if it was a bad processor it wouldn't work at all. Same with the motherboard, if it was damaged I would not have thought that it would work, regardless of speed (please correct me if I am wrong, I know quite a bit about computers, but there are still gaps in my knowledge). Didou-esque fashion? That is not a term I have come across before, can some one please explain what this is.

    I have a feeling it is the graphics card... it is getting on the old side now, either just under or over a year old (sparkle agp 8x gforce 5600). Maybe it can't handle the increased fsb and processor speed, but I wouldn't have thought anything like that could affect graphics cards. Its a bit bizarre, the graphics card works fine at 2200+, and the same on the old 2000+, but at 3000+ it causes games and such to break down. Halo is a good example, once into the game it comes up with and exception and while finding it the machine resets.

    something I forgot to mention when the system reboots, it states the computer recovered from a serious error.

    I intend to replace the graphics card at some point in the near future (around crimbo, all hail to the GForce 6800)
  4. me(who else?)

    me(who else?) TS Rookie Posts: 387

    Sorry, I forgot you're new... you'll understand that eventually. For now, it'll suffice to say that if you're confident in your core temps, it's fine. I have had cases where a bad processor can work up to a certain capacity before hitting a problem. Bad RAM can also cause this problem. One thing I found on the last computer I dealt with like this, was that a bad PSU has surged and damaged the CPU and RAM, causing similar problems, which gradually deteriorated the parts to nothing.
  5. fordi

    fordi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    What your saying makes a huge amount of sense... I did run the 3000+ on the old power pack (400 Watt) before upgrading to a new one. The main thing that has me confused is that windows states it has recovered from a serious error after each restart. I don't know much about overclocking and have no intention of trying it... Out of simple curiousity when a processor has been overclocked and say for example during a session in windows the processor locks up and reboots the system does it come up with a recovered from a serious error?

    I've just updated the bios on my board and am now going to see if there is a bios update for my graphics card. I will report back with any developments
  6. fordi

    fordi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    hmmm... bios update made no difference, and no bios update for my card. Looking through other forums and posts it could be many things, I have noted that many sites state that the fan on the GForce FX 5600 isn't enough to cope with the heat which this card kicks out. Unfortunately I have enough fans and my system is noisy enough... I think this calls for a graphics card replacement.

    As long as this one can play Half Life 2 in 6 days replacing it can wait.

    Thanks for your help
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