New build reboots when starting games

By strumpus · 14 replies
Nov 24, 2007
  1. I built a new rig about a week or so ago:

    Q6600 G0
    Asus P5KC
    2 GB OCZ 1066 DDR2-8500
    8800GT 512MB
    Sounblaster Audigy 4
    2 x SATA HDD, 1 x IDE HDD, 1 x IDE DVD-RW
    Antec Smartpower 500W PSU

    Running Windows XP SP2

    I bought and have been playing Bioshock (through Steam) at high settings with no problems at all (more than 15 hours racked up in this game with extended 5 hour + gaming sessions no problem).

    Bought NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer and COD4 as well a few days ago, and installed both earlier. However, when I try to play them my PC just reboots of its own accord. This happens at about 2-3 minutes into NWN2MOB, and with COD4 it always happens at almost the exact same point during the introductory sequence whilst the main game is loading.

    Portal runs okay as well as Bioshock. Given this pattern, I suspected a Securom problem, but I found it happens with Oblivion as well - again after about 2 minutes of game time as with NWN2. (I also tried a no-DVD crack for COD4 to see if that helped, but it didn't make any difference) I also found that the HL2 Lost Coast video stress test causes a reboot as well.

    So... how do I diagnose and correct this issue? Why does Bioshock run so well for so long whilst a less taxing game like NWN2 causes a reboot so soon, and COD4 won't even get past the introductory loading sequence?

    I am stumped. Usual suspects for me would be:
    PSU - but it's a quality brand, with 37A on the 12V rail - and Bioshock runs fine?
    RAM - but Prime, Orthos and Memtest run okay (Prime for 10 hours blending, Memtest I've run for 11 hours without errors)
    Gfx card - I've read about some problems with the 8800GTs, and have tried underclocking everything on the card (though my temps are fine on it anyway) and, again, Bioshock runs perfectly!

    I've restored my BIOS to default settings, turned off RAM transaction booster, onboard audio, PCI memory mapping, and other potentially destabilising settings, but still no joy. I've also got the latest chipset, gfx and sond drivers installed. I've tried swapping my memory sticks around, using one at a time, and changing the slots they use.

    I have no other PCI-E gfx cards to test with, nor a spare PSU.

    What are my next moves? Help! Please!

    I have automatic restarts disabled in system settings as well.
  2. guitto

    guitto TS Rookie Posts: 45

    Have you modified the voltages or timings on the memory? If not, you may want to loosen them up and maybe up the voltage .05 - .1. My first thought if that your PSU may not be powerful enough. I know it is inconvenient, but maybe upgrading to a 650-750 watt might be a good investment for future and present issues. Also, I notice you used an IDE HDD, is that the original drive you formatted windows onto?
  3. strumpus

    strumpus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your reply.

    I have relaxed my memory timings right down and put as much voltage through the modules as I am comfortable with, but it makes no difference.

    I have wondered about my PSU a little, but what is holding me back from blowing £70 or so on a more powerful one is that, having checked, this system draws less power than the previous one this power supply was powering! And with two healthy 12V rails, it really seems unlikely that it's the PSU at fault. Having said that, if I can't find any other solution I will eventually have to think about getting a new one.

    And, no, in reply to your last question, Windows and my programmes are installed on my 320GB SATA drive. The IDE HDD is just a back-up drive for my work files.

    Is it possible that this is software issue somehow? I don't know enough about Windows to decide that - I've just been thinking in terms of hardware.
  4. Bruce2

    Bruce2 TS Rookie

    I believe the 8800GT still has possible glitches that needs to work on. The introductory sequence of COD4 knots the frame rate way down on my rig as of it may be very stressful to the GPU. Would this be a possible reason for your bug?
  5. strumpus

    strumpus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's interesting. I don't know, to be honest. It does seem strange that I have tried running both COD4 and NWN2 at 800x600 with all effects and textures on low and they still cause reboots, whilst Bioshock doesn't. I can't rule it out, I suppose. I guess I'll have to see if I can get hold of a spare gfx card to test with.
  6. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,088

    See if you have any minidump files, look in c:\windows\minidump. Attach 5 of the most recent. Do you have any ASUS software installed?
  7. strumpus

    strumpus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your reply, but I can't see anything called minidump in my Windows folder. I don't have any ASUS software installed, no. I didn't bother with the PC Probe or other utilities on the bundled CD, as I have other apps I prefer (Cpu-z, Coretemp, Sandra, etc.).

    I have found that a fresh Windows install after clearing CMOS and loading default BIOS settings let me get into COD4 at least, but then it always rebooted at the same point in the game. I then updated to the latest beta Nvidia drivers, and I got past that point for the first time, but then rebooted a little later.

    Does that point with any certainty towards gfx card issues? Or could it still be power?
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Sounds like driver issues to me. Just keep checking nvidia for new ones.
  9. strumpus

    strumpus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I will keep checking and testing, but I can't understand why, if this is a driver issue, that forums all over aren't full of this sort of complaint? I have to admit that I don't know much about how drivers work with hardware and the problems they can cause, but I am nearing the end of the period when I can RMA the card for a refund, so I don't really want to hold on too long unless I'm pretty confident new drivers would solve this issue. Which brings me back to the question of why this problem doesn't seem more common? Wouldn't the relative scarcity of people having this same problem with 8800GT cards indicate something actually wrong with the card? I confess to not having enough knowledge to decide one way or the other.
  10. Bruce2

    Bruce2 TS Rookie

    strumpus, please disregard my previous comment in making your decision on RMA your card or not. It was the introductory sequence of Crysis knots my frame rate way down not COD4. I apologize. By the way, if your card can handle Bioshock and Crysis well, I have to agreed with the others on driver bugs.
  11. strumpus

    strumpus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the correction, Bruce. But there are some other developments to update my situation that may have a more important bearing on my decisions:

    The 7600GT for my spare PC arrived today. Dropped it into my main rig in place of the 8800GT, and found that I could play COD4 for the first two levels perfectly fine (albeit at lower settings, of course).

    Well, at least this rules out my motherboard, CPU and RAM as potential culprits for my reboot problem.

    It does, however, leave me with three possibilities to consider. These, and my thoughts on each, are:

    1. My 8800GT is simply a bad card.
    I do wonder how it was able to play Bioshock so well, though, and why 3d Mark 06 and RTHDR IBL ran perfectly.
    Possibility: something specific demanded of the GPU in all games I tried except Bioshock and Portal? Seems a bit odd, but possible bad GPU memory? I don't know.

    2. The problem was caused by driver issues with the 8800GT.
    Still, I tried a number of drivers, and whilst they did seem to make a difference as to when COD4 crashed and rebooted, none gave me a reboot-free experience. If this was the problem, wouldn't I expect to find forums full of people with the same issue?

    3. My PSU was not enough for the 8800GT, but is enough for the 7600GT.
    This is possible as well, I think. However, I remember COD4 always rebooted in the same place (though other games seemed a bit more random) - would this be because it was a point requiring more power suddenly? Even though one point was during a loading sequence (albeit an animated one)?

    I'd appreciate the input of anyone who could shed any light on the relative likelihood of any of these possibilities.
  12. Bruce2

    Bruce2 TS Rookie

  13. strumpus

    strumpus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmmm... yes, that does seem a little worrying. I bought an Antec as I thought it was a reliable brand that would last me a while, but maybe not.

    This is annoying, since I don't want to spend £70 on a new PSU and find out that I don't need it, but this review especially means that I can't rule it out.

    I'll have to decide whether to RMA the card and let them test it, or bite the bullet and shell out for a new PSU, I suppose...
  14. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    go ahead and RMA the card, let them check it, they will send it back if it is alright, also get a better PSU, u could use a better one with that rig anyway. and this is one time by better I mean bigger.
  15. C_Conqueror

    C_Conqueror TS Rookie Posts: 140

    I have the same card and same psu as you and I play cod 4 fine on full graphics. But this seems similar to a problem that I have with my old rig. A few months ago I bought a new motherboard for my old computer because the previous one had died and my computer just wouldn't turn on. I installed the motherboard and reformatted the hard drive and it seemed to work fine but when I load up any game it restarts the whole system. I checked my temps but they were fine and then I left my computer on for 24+ hours to see if it would restart but it never did. So I have no idea what the problem is I never really looked into it because I dont use that computer much but just brought it up because it was a similar to yours.

    System specs

    New Computer
    Intel Core 2 Duo 6300
    2 gb Corsair xms
    XFX Geforce 8800 gt
    500 watt antec smart power

    Old Computer
    Amd Althon 64 3200+
    Foxconn K8S755A-6ELRS
    1 gb Rosewill
    Evega Geforce 6800
    Antec 350 watt smart power

    Just thought I would throw that in because I think its your card since I have the same one with same psu and have no problems running the same game.
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