Yet another 9800 pro problem, or could it be magic?

By cshrivan
Oct 23, 2005
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  1. Once upon a time, there was this perfect gaming rig...

    (no need to skip to the end, the problem is video related. 3d does not work and changing resolutions or even starting windows seems to pause the pc where I need to reset it)

    (how it came to be)
    A year and a half ago I put this pc together. I purchased an antec sonata case so that its quiet, a stick of 512mb samsung pc3200 ram, western digital 160gig hd 8mb cache, abit nf7-s motherboard (revision 2?) with soundstorm and didn't bother getting a soundcard to replace it, an lg dvd rom and a heap of various cables. Things were great for the first year and I was experiencing this strange problem where running final fantasy xi (and only this game) where I would hear the hard drive click and the pc would keep going for about 3 seconds then the audio would repeat and eventually the pc would stop completely. This was the only problem I had.

    (strange problems, lots of rambling)
    One cursed morning after I must have been drinking cursed tea and cursed crackers, I decided that after a year of perfect performance, my windows XP home was running a tad slow and I decided to reinstall. I will explain the problems I had that are not related to the current video problems, in case they are somewhat a perfectly concocted spell for disaster. I installed linux which after the first boot wouldn't go in anymore (suse 8.1) so I deleted the partitions it created and put them back together and installed everything back to how I normally have it. I remember having some hard drive problems back at this time and reinstalling windows several times. The fun began a month later when I decided to purchase another stick of 512mb samsung pc3200 ram and a dvd burner (lg). After installing these, I had a hardcore weekend lan and by monday I couldn't go into windows. I could get past the login screen. Next I reinstalled and decided to quickly toss in a game of quake 3, the computer strangely did the ol' ffxi trick and paused in-game. I reset and the boot sector somehow wiped itself. I did scandisks and formats and deleted partitions and drank a many mountain dew. After three windows installations and writing zeros to the hard drive I was able to reinstall windows (but had a prob finding the boot source and I pressed enter and it went in anyways).

    (the return of heck)
    Things were finally working good. I thought my hard drive was damaged (even though there were no bad sectors) but the problems seemed to go away. I played black and white 2, and various other high capacity games in the next few days then tried a game of painkiller. Midgame the pc did its hard drive click and the game haulted. I restarted and found out that even when changing resolutions the computer would pause. I started windows back up and it would pause going into windows. I would try play a dvd and it would pause. I would write 'it would pause' in notepad .. and it would pause.

    (conclusion)
    I quickly dismantled my backup pc and tossed in the geforce440mx that it had .. and ever since, everything is fine. Quake3 runs, dvds play, notepad screams with vigor. However, my ati radeon9800 pro lies half-dead or magically tainted in a box? I have read many other problems that people had with the ati radeon 9800pro and the nvideo chipset. I tried a few things and I have come to the conclusion that either my hard drive hates the ati card, my psu doesn't have enough power to run the 9800pro now because of some other curse, the motherboards agp is damaged, the extra ram might have damaged it, or that installing the ram and dvd rom sucked up so much juice that the radeon9800 pro had to wait in line?

    (afterthoughts)
    Now that the geforce is the man of the machine right now, I am very unhappy. I am thinking of purchasing an AIW radeon9800 pro and get some sort of cooling for it, but I am not good with installing fans and such, I would expect that I would have to take it to some local shop to do that, unless its just a simple screwin. I may humor you here but I am really a crazy psychopatic maniac who takes his anger out on cute cuddly teddy bears. Although, I hope I have written enough here to give somebody an idea of what went wrong and the decimation of my pc gaming empire. Thanks for reading. ps. I wont reply in chapters.
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso Newcomer, in training Posts: 25,948   +17

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    Yes it is magic. Black Magic lol.

    First. With your Radeon in your computer. Have you tried turning off fastwrites in bios? Some Radeon cards are known to have issues with these.

    Second. Are you sure that your psu is upto the job of powering the Radeon?

    What psu do you have?

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  3. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,198

    You could have a couple of problems.

    1) As already mentioned, you should inspect your PSU. Make sure it's fairly new, well rated (350W+ would be best for that system), and a name-brand PSU.

    2) You had all sorts of issues after installing your second stick of memory. While memory may be stable 99.9% of the time, flakey memory can cause similar results to what you are encountering. Get a blank, formatted floppy together and download memtest86 at:
    http://www.memtest86.com/

    Let this run overnight through 3 or 4 passes at least. I've had memory that will make it through 3 passes of all tests, then finally result in 1-20 errors on the 4th pass. Flakey memory can be very hard to isolate! memtest86 is great for this if left on overnight, turn off monitor and let it go several full passes.

    3) Your drive clicking could also be a sign of a faulty drive. It could also be only rarely flakey, so it'll function good for weeks or days, then finally start clicking/erroring. If you can afford to replace it, it may be a good thing to buy a new drive for the system/OS and slave your existing drive for data or games. This way, you'll know down the road if it's just flakey as the new system drive will be intact, but volume/drive D: (or whatever partitioning scheme you pick for it) will log errors.

    Realize a bad, weakened or older power supply can cause both memory and HD's to perform flakey. You should pursue PSU and inspect this first as the primary/likely cause. If it's a brand new unit, name brand and good wattage.. it may still be defective.
  4. cshrivan

    cshrivan Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Reply

    It is an Antec 380watt psu that was included with the antec sonata.

    Thanks and I shall troubleshoot with some of your suggestions. I am also going to test another videocard in the agp slot.

    I shall report back here as soon as I know!

    Again, thanks.
  5. cshrivan

    cshrivan Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    More information

    Very interesting.

    I put a radeon 9500 in the pc to test the agp and everything ran fine. This current installation has not had windows updated, so if anybody has any news where videocards do not work after the oct 14 patch it would be helpful :) I doubt that plugging in the 9500 is sufficient to test because the 9800 pro uses more power and therefore it my powersupply could somehow be damaged. Is there any way of testing a psu ?

    I have found something interesting though.. I am using memtest and it has been running for its first test with no errors and I went to my other pc (which is plugged into the same surge protector) and turned it on so I can write an update here and as soon as I turned the pc on there were two failing addresses in memtest. How did this happen? I thought that power fluctuations did not effect memory like this. Does this confirm that my psu is indeed damaged?

    Also, are there any utilities I can test my hard disk with? I tested the 9800 pro in another machine and it ran alright.. no hangs, but it had a stronger psu and the correct drivers were not installed (just the regular windows xp drivers with ati's drivers laying around). I wasn't given time enough to test it properly. I have heard that the antec sonata case is very bad for heat but its difficult to add any fans since there are very few places for proper ventilation.

    I guess I am getting closer to getting this fixed. There must be something I am missing.
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