Brand new PC is crashing :(

By acrobat · 31 replies
Feb 1, 2007
  1. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 616

    Thanks for the update.. and here's to hoping you stick around!
  2. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Thanks :) I will.
  3. SRamz

    SRamz TS Rookie

    I hope this is okay...

    Hello everyone - particularly acrobat - and thank you all for one of the most informative and friendly forums, it has been my pleasure to come across! It is rare, indeed, to find such an enormous wealth of information - at a single site - and people with the patience required, to make it work!

    I am posting here, simply to add to acrobat's already fascinating post(s). Funny thing is, I navigated to the TechSpot forums seeking a cure for a completely different problem. I have been pouring over post after post (and enjoying every second, I should add) for about four hours now; with limited success. I came across SNGX1275's post that linked to: "..the greatest first post that anyone has made on these boards ever." I agree!

    While I certainly haven't got a box with specs like acrobat's – I was experiencing almost exactly, the same graphical problems; albeit, without as many crashes. Of course, we have all - to some degree - come to a point where we no longer scratch our heads, but pound them instead! So, I thought I’d share the following story.

    Since I’m really not seeking a solution, I’ll just include the most important specs, for reference.
    I guess by today's standards, my machine is pretty ancient; however, here goes:

    PSU: Antec NEO480
    Board: ABIT IC7-G (Intel i875P-ICH5) 1.0/1.1
    Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
    BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG 12/28/2004
    CPU: 3.00 gig Intel P4 Dual-Core 16 kb primary memory cache; 1024 kb secondary memory cache
    (Hyperthreading enabled)
    RAM: 2GB Kingston HyperX KHX3200AK2/1GR (Dual Kits)
    Display: RADEON 9800 XT 256MB (Omega 3.8.273) Not sure why – but these drivers work so much better than the Catalyst-equivalent.
    Monitor: ViewSonic 21” P815 Pro Series
    Audio: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy (1)
    Network: Netgear WG311v2 802.11g Wireless PCI Adapter
    Cooling: Corsair HydroCool 200ex (CPU only; I use an after-market Zalman for the GPU)

    OS: Windows XP Media Center Edition Service Pack 2 (build 2600)
    DirectX Version: 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
    (All Windows updates are current as of Sept.11, 2007. All drivers are as up-to-date as they can be; considering most mfg’s no longer support the hardware I have)

    Alright, as I said, I was experiencing the same graphical problems that acrobat was. My first thought was heat. But, the CPU is water-cooled; and the Zalman that’s on the Radeon almost never lets it get above 85 degrees (fahrenheit). I desperately wanted it to be anything but the video
    card; but, about 6 months ago, the absolute worst happened; My water cooling sprang a leak – at the water block! So, by the time I realized what was happening, the underside of the Radeon had been drenched, along with the lower section of the motherboard and all my PCI cards.
    But, because it was a distilled water/glycol mixture, I was hopeful. Once I pulled everything out, it wasn’t too much trouble to blow it all dry and begin the clean up. Two days later, I put it all back together and fired it up; it ran just fine. And so it went, until recently, when I began to notice the graphical anomalies that acrobat described, while playing Quake3. Q3 isn’t a very taxing game, granted, and I’ve always played at 1600x1200x32 with everything turned up to the max. I was now turning everything down, or off; just so I could have a playable game. Fortunately, I was able to tweak the settings enough to eliminate 90% of the garbage. Not so, however, with the next game.
    Having already played through Thief: Deadly Shadows, when it first came out (on my current machine, but minus the Radeon) I didn’t think twice about the capability of my setup, when I decided to play Thief again. However, this is where the problems were at their worse. TDS was the only game that actually crashed to the desktop; which it did 3 or 4 times. Dr Watson wasn’t a big help either. I even spent a couple of hours attempting to modify the game to use the OpenGL driver, from UT2004, in lieu of the supported direct3d driver. No luck, though.
    I tried every combination of video settings – both, in the Radeon’s control panel and in the game. Nothing worked. Finally, I totally uninstalled the video card, pulled it out and replaced it with the one I used before: an nVidia FX 5600. (The one I first played TDS with) The only difference was that, instead of everything going south after about a minute – it started to be noticeable at right around 30 minutes, then unplayable by 45 minutes. Perhaps, I thought, I just didn’t blow the AGP slot out, well enough. Ditto, maybe, for the Radeon. Maybe one, or more, of the resistors and/or caps may have gone out. But, since the nVidia was showing mostly the same signs – combined with the fact it never got any fluid on it – I still had hope for the ATI. In fact, to be honest, I had no plans to ditch the Radeon and, as such, exhausted all other troubleshooting avenues, even the ones that clearly weren’t suspect – at least twice! NIC; hard drive(s); Monitor; I even suspected my n52 Speedpad! Just a lot of wasted time! Why? Because, for me, $450 (Half-Life2, or not) was a huge amount of money to justify spending on a video card!
    “Oh no; it IS NOT the video card!”
    Back to the heat. When this stuff started happening, I had good reason to suspect heat. I was living in the God-forsaken heat capital of the world: Gustine, Ca. (well, one of the top ten, anyway!) In the summer, the temps outside average 102 every day! (That’s considered pleasant, to the locals!) To make matters worse, it doesn’t “cool-off” when the sun goes down, either. We all know how the ambient room temp, wherever the computer is, dictates what the system temps will be. Water cooling; well-placed case fans; even central air… Well, winter notwithstanding, lets just say it’s wicked-hot in Gustine! So, I decided (for other reasons, of course) to move back to the Bay Area. I’ve been back here for a couple of weeks; only, with all the moving, I didn’t have much time to spend on computer problems. Then, a few days ago - after getting everything where I wanted it; I set the computer up and plugged it in. I went straight into the BIOS, just to make sure all my settings were still intact. When I got to the “PC Health” tab – I was blown away! These are the values it was reporting: (some were fluctuating a bit, which I hope is normal)

    CPU Core Voltage (1.3375v): 1.24v
    DDR Voltage: 2.44v
    DDR VTT Voltage: 1.32v
    AGP VDDQ Voltage: 1.45v
    ATX +3.3 volts: 2.89v
    ATX +5 volts: 4.88v
    ATX +12 volts: 12.16v
    Battery Voltage (+3 volts): 3.32v
    Stand-by Voltage (+5 volts): 5.04v

    Even though my power supply (Antec!!) seemed to always be blowing out extremely hot air – I never dreamed it was my problem! I mean, Antec! They’re up there in the “awesome” columns, right? There is a MaximumPC “Kick-***” sticker right on the front of the factory box, for crying-out-loud!

    My case was made by Aspire, as was the power supply that came with it. It’s got a nice paint job (lacquer black) and that’s why I bought it. Thing was, there was no fan in the top blowhole. The PS it came with was too long. I would have to find a shorter power supply. Antec fit the bill. (The case also has a front mounted display, that shows temps and fan speeds, which worked out-of-the-box for a total of 10 minutes! But hey, I really liked the paint. You should see it when it’s waxed!) Anyhow, I immediately yanked the Antec out, and put the stock one back in. All is as it should be, once again. About the only headache that remains – is turning everything back up in all of my games. And maybe another coat of wax…

    I’m looking forward to hearing from Antec, once they have inspected the PS. It is clearly defective, and, thankfully, still under warranty.
    Anyway, I just wanted to share this story with all of you. I hope I didn’t bore you all to tears. Again, it is such a breath of fresh air, to have found this forum and its boundless source of information - as well as the community that provides it! Thank you all, very much!
  4. jl093080

    jl093080 TS Rookie

    pc crash

    If you are still experiencing the crashes....try one more thing. Disregard all the talk about video cards and drivers. Uninstall Trend Micro and see what happens. If you search enough online you will find where many others are having the same problems and are not finding any solutions. Everyone says that they run trend micro and are not finding any problems. I can say from 1st hand expeience that trend micro is the problem. Let me know what you find out.
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    @jl093080, where exactly does it say in his post that he's using Trend Micro?
    @SRamz, every PSU maker produces a defective PSU now and then. None of them can claim to never having produced a single defective PSU at all. I suppose you could chalk it down to bad luck. ;)
  6. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Posts: 126

    Wow I don't believe I've only read this now, I have been haunted with the crazy colours and dots on the screen just as you described for arout 3 years with my 6800GT 256mb from day one when I bought it for £220!

    Obviously its too late to return it, but its a shame I suffered all that time and didn't dedicate an effort to fixing it. It never crashed on games played often, only a few games (I remember for example I couldn't play Just Cause demo for more than 2 minutes without a crash!)

    That card is in my secondary PC now but I still use it for games of C&C3 and others with my friends. (Which is a game I play often...) Up until yesterday I'm still having problems as I've had "the crash" in the recent Gears of War PC game, so it looks like I wont be able to complete campaign there with my bro over network... :(

    At least I know now I need to get a new card if I want stable performance. But its only an AGP slot and 6800GT hasnt got much competition from what I know
  7. slowdown

    slowdown TS Rookie

    monitor gremlins maybe?

    This is just a thought after reading your fascinating saga of gaming crashes, maybe your monitor settings have a speed refresh problem? I am not an expert and figure things out like a blindfolded monkey, but I have sometimes found mysterious relationships with playback conflicts on the monitor between different software utilities that are also warring for control of my monitors. I do a lot of video editing and 2-D animation, and am constantly switching between programs that have their own proprietary sound or image playback utilities. It can create conflicts just like warring virus scanning programs can lock down a system. I did not see any mention of that sort of problem analysis so I wanted to suggest another way of considering the problem. Once again, i am not really a brilliant computer wizz and can hardly tell my cpu from my crt. Good luck, and meanwhile, you have an excellent source of free psychedlics.
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