TechSpot

Weird PC freeze

By Kwebbel
Sep 21, 2004
  1. Hi,
    Can anyone help me with the following weird problem :

    Sometimes -usually after being turned on for a longer period- my computer just freezes.
    The only way out ,then is to push the power button.
    But it gets even more weird :
    As I try to restart the system, the pc freezes again, but at different points in the startup-procedures.
    When the PC works long enough to go into the bios, it freezes in bios (which I thing rules out software problems).
    The longer I wait, the further the startup-procedure goes. So sometimes, it freezes duren the windowsXP boot.

    After turning of the PC for at least 4 hours (without trying to power up) all the problems seem to have dissapeared.

    My system :
    PB Music dream Machine II
    AMD AThlon 1.1Ghz
    motherboard: explorer
    Video : ATI Radeon
    CDROM Drive (Goldstar)
    DVD-R (Pioneer)

    Installed 2nd Harddrive 120GB
    Installed Firewire-card,
    Installed 2nd memory-bar 256


    I have received the following input on the problem via different sources :
    - Heat (fans)
    - Cpu problem
    - Power supply

    As a solution, I tried the following things :
    - disconnect the newly installed HD
    - disconnecteted the CDROM drive
    - Dusted off the system (fans)
    - removed one of the two memory-bars
    These action did not cause the PC to power up normally.


    I brought my pc to the shop (twice), but since they do not work on the problem immediately (although I insisted), they don't detect the problem.


    Does anyone have experience with this problem, or can anyone help me please.


    Oh yes, when the PC fails to fully power up, i cannot open de CDROM. Don't know if this is important, but I can open the DVD drive from the moment that there is power.


    Many THx in advance for your response.

    :eek:
     
  2. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 616

    The random interval that increases based on time makes me think heat is an issue here. In your bios, usually there's a spot to observe the temperatures.. sit in there for a bit, what sort of readings do you see??

    Your power can definately be a partial contributor. A new power supply can never hurt. What's the rating of your current power supply, do you know?? A 350 would be marginal, a 400+ preferred in this situation I'd say. And of course, quality makes a difference.

    A faulty CPU is certainly a potential cause, but highly unlikely unless you took a power surge or lightning strike lately, or it's a new processor.

    Edit- PS Welcome to Techspot! :wave:
     
  3. Kwebbel

    Kwebbel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The temperature in Bios is around 40-44C.
    That shouldn't be a problem I think.

    Sorry, I don't know the rating of teh power-supply.

    Do you suggest to try a new power supply?


    Hey, Thx for the very-quick response.
     
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Is that ATI Radeon the original videocard that came with the PC, or did you put it in yourself?
    What type is it, could it be that the graphics card FAN is full of dust, or not working?

    Check out all other fans, clean them up but watch out for static. Don't use a vacuum cleaner!!!
     
  5. Kwebbel

    Kwebbel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, The ATI radeon is the original videocard.
    The type is ATI Radeon VE with TV-OUT (is that enough?)

    All the fans seem to be working, and I have cleaned them.

    Another thought : could the second installed HD (120GB-7200rpm)
    cause a heating or power problem?


    Thx for your input realblackstuff.
    __________________

    You should try a belgian beer
     
  6. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 616

    A second drive can cause a power problem if your machine was on the edge of low power before.

    To check your power supply, you have several options. If this is a dell/gateway/etc, you can generally look online and see what the standard part shipped with it is.

    You can also open the case, and manually examine the PSU for a sticker which specifies model number, the wattage, or other hints. You may need to go look up that number (which frequently contains the wattage in it), or it may be obvious.

    Another option could be a leaky capacitor on the motherboard. I know the theory behind what happens and how it happens, but I know very little of how to test for this and how to remedy this (shy of replacing the motherboard.)

    For good measure, you can always download memtest86 and run a few passes on that. Freezing in the bios, however, leads me to believe that this isn't a RAM issue. It is much more likely a heat/power/cpu/mobo problem.

    I would recommend being sure you have the most recent bios, however that you freeze in the bios worries me, and discourages attempting to flash your bios- it would be very bad to have a freeze in the middle of a flash.

    For testing heat, I would open the case, and set the opening vertically. Set a box fan on high or medium on the case, and see if that helps improve things. Be sure to use compressed air to blow out your heatsink fins, your fans (on all parts) and in general any dust in the system.

    If that doesn't work, I'd think the PSU would be the next best place to look.

    Also, do unplug the new HD, see what that does. If it doesn't solve things, issues are more complex and may require a few extra examinations.

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. SMA

    SMA TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Why did you remove only one of the memory bars? I once had a problem with freezing and it turned out the cause was the memory. I think it was solved by reversing the positions of the memory bars. I can't remember why that worked.
     
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