CURSED PC [or VIA Chipset PT800 Stability problem (PCCHIPS m952 MoBO)]

By dbx2r · 4 replies
Aug 22, 2006
  1. I have this awful problem which is taking my sleep away...

    (Now be ready, this is gonna be loooong, but I'll try to make it not so boring
    for you people. For you, hunters of creepy stories, here is the one for you)

    I'll first explain my PC because is necesary for this case to previously do it. I have this this beautiful all 100% working and stable as hell system at home.

    PCCHIPS M952 v. 1.3VIA CHIPSET PT800 Northbridge VT8327Southbridge
    Capable of handling HT P4 CPU, and up to 2GB of DDR400 Memory, PATA & SATA drives, and includes network adapter, modem, sound & 8 convenient USB 2.0 ports.

    The little thing is fully equiped with 2 IDE HDD disks, Hitachi DeskStar first of 'em 160GB, next 60GB, (partitioned 30-20-10). Windows is on D drive; as I use first whole disk for temporary space. It also has two DDR333 memory modules, being first 512 ant next 256. I also got:
    - P4 3GHz/800MHz FSB/512KB L2 HT Processor
    - Creative Audigy2ZS 7.1 sound card, attached to a 5.1 4200W system.
    - nVidia GeForce4 MX440 64MB Video Card w/TV Out
    - Two LG DVD Writers
    - AVerTV Studio TV Tuner
    - Decent Printer, Scanner, Monitor & other non-signiticant stuff

    Now my system is, as I said, lovely stable. Sorry to waste time describing it, but you'll now understand...

    I've assambled a system very similar to mine for a friend of mine, but with slight changes. Since mine is very stable, and I actually use it to produce not so amateur video (I hope) on DVD; I thought I wouldn't be a bad idea to make it similar as possible, improving where I could. I also did it very carefully and tenderly, since I happen to work with this person. The thing is like this:
    - PCCHIPS M952 v. 1.3 MoBO
    - P4 3GHz/800MHz FSB/512KB L2 HT Processor
    - Two DDR400 modules (512 & 256)
    - 160GB HITACHI DeskStar SATA HDD (Partitioned 80-45-15, D:\ is WinXP)
    - nVidia FX5200 128MB Video Card, w/TV Out
    - Creative Audigy 7.1 Sound Card, attached to a 5.1 3500W Sound System
    - Two DVD Burners, LG , LiteOn, both 16X, both master on IDE channels 1 and 2 respectively; where they don't have to share anything
    - A from-this-world FireWire VIA Card, don't remember model, but certainly trusty (was mine before)
    - A Genius TV tuner Card, same case as above
    - An insignificant normal floppy drive
    - All above, fitted onto a large Case with a 470W power supplier

    Up to this point, all beautifull, but now is when the sad story starts. I am going to detail EVERYTHING I did, because I pretty much think I did all I could and I'm running out of ideas.


    I bought it a month ago, first, I opened the monitor box and I found a totally crashed mixture of glass and plastic....first presage of all bad luck. I got it changed. Then I started to assamble everything. Everithing seemed to be working fine. I installed WinXP. I got a CD that already has included SP1. Installed SATA driver...

    Instalation couldn't complete at all. Always sotopped, I forced it....system crashed every time at start. Random blue screens appeared. I didn't surprise at first because from my experience VIA chipset are quite complex sometimes, and its kinda hard to get them 100% stable and working. I prefer SiS chipsets...they're simpler ;). I often build up machines an sell them to make some money. I always buy PCCHIPS MOBo's. The reason is simple: low cost and decent performance (in my country, Bolivia, low cost is VERY important), also, this is the first time I have a problem with the brand.

    But I started to worry when after some time I didn't catch the problem. Then I started to use hardware testing. Bum! Memory moule it changed. I then hoped all nightmare was over, but, my friends, It wouldn't be that way.

    After I installed the new memory module, I reformatted de HDD, and started all over again. I had the module tested before, so this one wouldn't be faulty; it passed the tests. Windows installed all right this time. I installed MoBo's drivers, SP2, and all possible Windows updates up to day, installed peripherals' drivers and experienced some ocassional crashes meanwile. I didn't pay too much attention on the fact.

    But when I went over it, The system was still unstable. I couldn't provide stability to it.

    And now it is a month ago that I bought this stuff...and it is still very unstable.

    I tried to do all the following with no results:
    - Replaced de memory modules with those of mine
    - Exchanged components between my computer, which is very similar as I explained, and this faulty one
    - Disassamble everything and aislate better the screw contacts
    - Install All kinds of last drivers to anything, MoBo, Chipset, Video Card...etc.
    - Exchange SATA ports and try all possible combinations of Master-Slave with DVD burners on IDE ports.
    - Exchanged the order of memory modules
    - Handled almost all combinations of MoBo setup utility, including disable HT, Load Optimal Settings...Best Performance Settings...etc.
    - Update MoBo BIOS,
    - Copy my MoBo version of BIOS
    - ReInstall WinXP hundreds of times
    - Install last drivers from VIA Arena
    - Relocate PCI cards in almost any possible combination
    - Replace Video Card
    - Enable and disable incorporated peripherals
    - Cleaned all contacts between everithing
    - Checked and exchanged cables and contacts
    - Installed updates for all programs installed, including Adobe Premiere Pro
    - Plugged the system to a voltage stabilitation module
    - ...
    - ...Talk gently to the computer...and so on.

    But also, I made some slight progress.

    - Some crashes were preceded by a lost of monitor signal, or blue screens related to video. I noticed it was Video card getting extremely hot; then I attatched a fan to it; and the problem was solved.

    - Since I've been reading that most of similar issues are related to audio, and I actually noticed some relatioship to audio also, I disabled the onboard audio card...My first Idea was to remove Creative's Audigy since I read some problems about it, but system increased unstability. After I reinstalled Audigy and disabled onboard sound card, I noticed improvement, but not success

    - Actually every software update, specially driver update I made, Improvved the situation, but still is unacceptable

    - I noticed SP1 is less stable than SP2, (I tried leaving updates only up to SP1)

    And some things I could never do:
    - I tried to update Creative's drivers, but I'm told "No Creative valid products were found in this system" or some message like that.

    Funny thing is that components seem normal when I install them on my system. They just don't like each other when together.

    These are some hints that may help you help me:
    - This is all software PC has: WinXP SP2; Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5, DVD Architect 3.0, DVDLAB Pro 1.5, Adobe CS1 (not fully installed), AVAST AntiVirus, Office 2003, WMP10, Nero 7, and of course all driver programs that come with devices (all updated, except for Crative, as I explained before)

    - I have some test utilities from UBCD. When I tests the components of this faulty PC on itself, sometimes they stop at random points; sometimes at fixed points. Memory tests specially. But when I remove te modules, place it on my PC and run the tests, they end normally, showing no errors at all. So I suppose hardware I test is good anyways.

    - Nowdays, system only crashes on critical tasks, such as capturing video, exporting video, producing a DVD, trascoding video, burning a DVD at max speed, specially when using both burners at a time.

    - System can handle very heavy payloads for a good period of time; but when the first crash of the day comes, then it can handle nothing, an starts to crash every time sooner and with less work.

    - Anyhoo...Let's say it will never crash while writing a letter in Word...But heavy work will be EVERYDAY's work for this PC, which was designed not to write letters.

    - During the mornirng, I could capture video while burning a dvd and work with Premiere and listening to music and the system will not crash. All crashes start during afternoon. At night it's just imposible to get it running for 15 minutes. I SIMPLY CAN'T EXPLAIN THIS MAD BEHAVIOUR. Will this stupid PC be Cursed?????

    - The fact that a first crash leads to many others, and every time sooner and with less heavy work; until making imposible for the PC to even be turned on, lead me to think my problem is a TEMPERATURE problem; but PC has its temperature measuraments in BIOS Setup, which show everithing normal (20 - 30 ºC). When a crash occurs, I open the case inmediatly to sense for hot components.....nothing is too hot.

    - Still I believe some audio stuff is the problem, Mos crashes are related to some audio activity, but not all of them. Main crashes do, but when this "cursed behaviour" starts to take place, everithing can cause a crash.

    - I strongly believe my friend is starting to distrustme severely, and her father is growing inside himself the will to come to my place and kill me with his own hands...No need to say my attempt to impress a girl is ending up in disaster.

    PLEASE HELP ME, I'm really lost now and I don't know what to do....Maybe I could buy another MoBo and see if that works, but I can't efford to do that, and I am praying for a solution that does not cost me now what I can't pay...

    Hope something comes out from this long and boring statement....
    Thanks in advance, I'm happy to be onboard in your forums

  2. gamingguy27

    gamingguy27 TS Enthusiast Posts: 168

    Power Supply


    The coponent overlooked in all modern PCs is the power supply, getting a good power supply ensures all components have a stable source of power it also protects the PC against power surges.

    The power supply you have included in your friends PC sounds to me like its fairly generic. A generic power supply will not offer a stable voltage and could be prone to "spiking" where the voltage either cuts out or overloads the system.

    You need to buy a good power supply, I would reccomend one of these brands:

    OCZ, Thermaltake, Hiper, Antec, Enermax, Coolermaster, Seasonic, Fornton.

    I would reccomend at least 450W.

    You may be thinking that the power supply you fitted is more than that, and therefore should be fine. Cheap power supplys do not always acctually produce the advertised wattage.

    If you want more help just ask,

  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    When exchanging components with your own computer, did you change the motherboard too? What happens if you load all that pile of peripherals to your own computer?

    What do the crashes look like? Do you get BSOD? What do the BSOD say?

    It would be helpful if you found out what exact kind of stress makes the computer crash. Is it heavy CPU load, disk IO, memory usage, heavy PCI IO etc.
  4. dbx2r

    dbx2r TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have another Power Supplies at home, I'll try and then comment the results.

    I get no BSODs. Most crashes correspond to no mouse or keyboard response, screen freeze, and looping short sounds. Most of times it crashes when any kind of sound is playing.

    Most of crashes are about CPU stress, around 100%; but I found it to be more related to large PageFile usage...(before, exceeding 400MB was fatal, now the PC can handle some more). Tasks like exporting a project from Adobe Premiere, i.e. causing pretty much all kinds of stresses are the problem.

    Also today I found DVDLab Pro 1.5 can't export a single project to DVD, not even a two minutes disc! Although,that could be a particular software problem.

    Today I installed some Latency patch for VIA Chipsets....and some patch for Audigy. As I always experienced, Audigy drivers of all kinds can't be installed because they tell me that I don't have a right card installed. The fixes seemed to work, as always, but we'll have to see.

    My friend still reports that the "cursed behaviour" still continues. Last night, when the PC started to crash, at about 1am it dind't even stand to be turned on.

    That's current state report....hope it gives you some more hints.


    Oh, I forgot....I didn't exchange MoBos; I also didn't load all the peripherals to the other PC, but I loaded almos everithing....all except the SATA disc. In the other PC all is like heaven.
  5. dbx2r

    dbx2r TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I tested using another power supply. I see improvement, but main problem is still present. So, nothing solved yet. Any ideas please?
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