PC freezing, gfx problem?

By Sam_41 · 8 replies
Nov 6, 2004
  1. Hi, stubmled across these forums whilst searching for a solution, sorry my 1st post is to ask for help!

    Just spent about 10 mins writing a post, then lost it when trying to submit. DAMN! here we go again......

    Recently put together a pc using components I have previously tested as working - but some haven't been used for a few months.
    specs are:

    AMD Athlon 1700
    384MB ddr ram 2100
    onboard gfx
    solarmax 300w psu
    pc chips m841 mobo
    Win Xp

    Recently the pc has been freezing- its been getting much worse lately- and when I reset the monitor loses signal. Even switching off @ back and on again doesn't get the signal back, but if i turn off for 30mins-1hr it will get a signal again, but then freezes after a few mins again. Freezing can occur at any stage, including in the bios setup.

    I've swapped the ram around several times, im sure its not that. i know the psu is weak but it has worked fine with much more devices in the past, and I am only running the essentials now mobo, hdd and still freezing occurs so dont think its a psu problem.
    Also dont think its a temp problem as i have been checking in bios b4 when its around 35-40c and its froze then. I spoke to local pc shop who said it sounds like a gfx problem. Does that sound right? If it is the only option is to buy a new mobo as its onboard gfx and i dont want to buy pci gfx card which are almost as expensive a cheap mobo.
    Just wanted your advice, if it is defo a gfx card problem im happy to buy new mobo as Im buying a case anyway so I'll save on postage costs.
  2. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 621

    well it could be a memory problem, motherboard problem or a power problem. It's rarely a CPU problem. It sounds like you have more than one stick of memory so try each one in slot 1 at a time. Memtest86 can help find a memory problem. A cheap multimeter (or even MBM5 voltage logging) can help with finding a voltage problem. If it's an on-board video problem you might as well get a new motherboard. It always helps when you can use spares to swap out parts for troubleshooting. Without spares it's easy to replace something that isn't really bad.
  3. Sam_41

    Sam_41 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I bought a new mobo with the case I was ordering anyway and after installing it I've realised the gfx card wasn't the problem after all! Damn, should've made sure like you said.

    Anyway, I'm sending the mobo back so not too much of a problem. Its difficult for me to test the parts as the pc barely loads windows (if at all) b4 it freezes. Also, I don't have access to any spares that I need. I'm sure its not a mem problem as I've tried switching that round with different sticks and no luck.

    I've got a bad feeling its the cpu, I can borrow a m8s psu and see if that solves the problem but if not I assume the only thing left it could be is the cpu. Anyway, thanks for the help I'll post back if/when I solve it.
  4. GeordieSteve

    GeordieSteve TS Rookie

    Hi...I'm actually suffeering from the same problem at the moment. I was pretty sure it was my gfx card or my mobo, so I replaced both of them - and seeing as it was 2 years since my last upgrade I bought a new cpu too. The problem is still there though. The problem has actually got worse since I replaced them...my latest thinking is either that there's a bad earth somewhere, or more likely, the psu needs to be replaced.

    I guess my advice to you is not to buy a new cpu until you've exhausted all the cheaper options!

    I'll be swapping out my psu tomorrow...will post an update to let you know whether the problem is fixed...
  5. GeordieSteve

    GeordieSteve TS Rookie

    I checked out my voltages last night and discovered that the +12V supply was actually only +11.1V...a quick trip to my local hardware store confirmed that my PSU brand (YoungYear from Taiwan) was "lousy".

    I have now replaced it with a better unit, but I'm still only getting +11.7V from the +12V supply. It has made a difference in that my machine gets further now at bootup before losing the data signal so I'm sure the PSU was the problem.

    Now all I need to do is work out how to get a good +12V supply from the new unit...
  6. GeordieSteve

    GeordieSteve TS Rookie

    Problem Solved...

    OK, I can confirm that in my case it was definitely a PSU problem. The final little problem I was having yesterday was that I hadn't plugged in the ATX12V connector and the standard ATXPWR connection couldn't provide a good +12V on its own. Since I plugged in the ATX12V cable I haven't had a reoccurrence of the problem.

    Hope this helps a few people...I've seen quite a few threads like this on various boards and most people tend to blame the video card
  7. Sam_41

    Sam_41 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Glad you got your problem sorted Steve, I appreciatte you posting as I had assume it wasn't the PSU and reading yor posts made me think twice.

    However, I've just connected my psu from another machine (which is running far more components and works fine) and the problem is still there. In fact, there is no signal at all now, even from start up. I think the PSU is crap, but if it works in the other machine it should handle this one.

    I actually remember now at one time the cpu was running at ridiculous temps (high 50s early 60s)due to a heatsink problem. I completley forgot about this, and it would make sense now that the cpu is the problem. I'm off to buy a new cpu now, if that doesn't sort it I'll have to consider actually buying a decent psu.
  8. I'm curious to if the cpu worked so keep us updated.
  9. Sam_41

    Sam_41 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great News!! :bounce:

    I went to my local pc shop to get a cpu (£37 for a sempron, not bad for a small pc shop I thought) to see if that would fix the problem. Well, in the end, I've managed to save the money on the cpu as I figured out why it wasn't working, so i returned the new cpu!

    Basically, as I stated earlier, I have had heatsink problems in the past and the cpu was running at ridiculous temps (at one stage it was @ 65c after a few mins of running!). I decided for the short-term to slap a bit more compound on, which actually did a good job of knocking 5-10c off the cpu. Unfortunatley, I must have put too much on so it acted as an insulator and stopped the cpu working. Very stupid mistake I know but in fairness this is only the 2nd or 3rd pc I've built.

    I can't believe I've been swapping parts around and spending hours on this over the last 4 weeks and in turns out to be something so simple! its definatley working now tho- i've had it running over night and no problems. Cpu temps are now stable @ 35c after buying a new case which doesn't have the psu right next to the heatsink.
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