Build a PC Unidentified Hanging Object

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Posts: 10   +0
That to which I refer is, of course, my computer.
My rig:

Athlon 64 2 gig
Maxtor 40gb IDE hd
Western Digital 40gb IDE hd
768 MB DDR 400 RAM (1 stick 512, 1 stick 256)
GF 5200 AGP vanilla version (switching to Radeon 9500 soon)
PCI Firewire card
PCI SB 5.2 soundcard
PCI TV card (Hauppage one)
Elite Group motherboard
CD-RW drive (generic)
DVD-ROM drive (generic)

I used to have an Athlon 1.3 gig, which ran fine until recently when it started to reboot on any high graphics dependent programs, i.e. Homeworld 2 etc. I upgraded due to this and other issues (I felt it was time, I'd had it three years), but now the new machine (new mobo, cpu, ram) is beginning to hang on similarly high-stress programs. I can play UT2003 for about an hour and then it will hang. Similarly, it will almost always hang during DVDs now which is getting REALLY annoying. I was thinking it could be a PSU issue - I've got a 350 W one on this machine but it's generic and my wattage when I added it up with one of those calculators was right on the limit. I reckon it's those two hard drives causing me problems - I could get one 80 gig and then transfer, or go for a bigger PSU. What do people reckon the problem is? I thought it could be software, but have tried several different drivers for the vid card.

Henry H


Posts: 10   +0
There's no need to be short - I said in the original post I was seeking confirmation. And I did do a search.

The number of posts I've gone through in which people disagree about the PSU required for any given system is enough for me to look for a second opinion, rather than assuming that I know the answer & throwing more money at my machine.


Posts: 6,450   +3
Isn't the fact that I referred you to that other post, a confirmation of what you were looking for?
You stated yourself that your generic PSU is a weakling and on the verge of the allowed/needed.
Most all computer cases come with very basic PSUs. If you buy a quality case like Lian-Li, it is always supplied without PSU.


Posts: 10   +0
Well, all is done, and I now have a shiny Tagan 480 W with a beasty 28 A on the 12V rail. That should be fairly future proof. It's quite quiet too.

I must say I feel I have to do some things on the cheap - but a PSU won't be on my list from now on.



Posts: 4,719   +447
Let us know if this solves your problems.
If not we'll have to come up with other suggestions of what the problem cause could be.


Posts: 10   +0
Well spoken, Arris.

Now it seems to hang even more than before, so:

Things I think I can eliminate:

1. PSU (new tagan working very nicely thank you at 480 W, 28 A on 12v rail)

2. Video card (Was hanging before I got the Radeon 9500 - when I had a GFX 5200)

Last time it crashed it did a memory dump and actually brought up a crash screen. It said something about the non-pagefile area of the hard drive. I'm rather worried about this development. Is my hard-drive going the way of the dinosaurs? I hope not I've just got a new one...

It occurs that i got the mobo/cpu/memory in a bundle, and I haven't tried taking the generic memory DIMM out.

On the whole when it crashes it hangs up in the middle of a multimedia application, with a loud screeching noise coming from the sound output. DVDs seem to be the worst. It's also more likely to hang when warm.

I do have 1xcase side fan, 2xpsu fans, the video card has a fan on it, and then of course the CPU fan, so don't think it can be the temperature. Hmm. Any more thoughts?


Posts: 4,719   +447
Ok, here goes... Sorry if its a bit War and Peace like in length :p

Goto the Device manager and check for any IRQ conflicts.
I've had problems like that before with the computer hanging with noise because the video card and audio card were fighting over the IRQ ;)

Your motherboard manual should specify which PCI slots share IRQs with AGP, other PCI and onboard devices.

Try running 3dmark03/Prime95 and monitor temperatures and look for errors in Prime95 that would suggest instabilities with your system. Your CPU should be ok up about 75C if I remember the specs from AMD correctly. But just monitor the temps and if they are getting above 60C I would say they are getting too high.

Since you had an error reported regarding an area of the hard drive I would be tempted to run checkdisk on it with a full surface scan to detect any disk problems.

Also you can run Dxdiag from the run dialog and check that all the tests in that complete without error, including the sound tests.

You mention that you bought the system as a bundle and that you haven't tried taking out the generic ram.
Does this mean you have some generic ram paired with a stick of another brand. The memory should clock down to timings of the slowest stick (both clock and timings including latency). Its definitely worth trying running with one stick of ram.

With my Asus K8VSE Deluxe for my A64 it was noted in the manual that for different combinations of double sided and single sided ram with diffferent sizes that DIMM sockets had to be populated. For my 2 x 512 OCZ EL-DDR 3500 ram which is double sided (chips mounted on both sides) I have to populate DIMM sockets 1 and 2. Check if there is similar information for your motherboard.

Finally if none of this helps to locate and/or eliminate your problem fall back to the age old problem hunting technique of the barebones build.

Start with motherboard, cpu, 1 x ram, hard disk, video.
See if you still get the problem with this basic configuration. If you do you then know its one of these components. Since it crashed with your GF FX5200 you can pretty much rule out the video card as the culprit. Try switching sticks of ram. If it is stable like this, add your other PCI cards and components one by one and you should find what is causing your problem.

Keep us updated to how you get on and check back for other peoples recommendations and opinions.



Posts: 10   +0

I thought this could probably be one of the problems last night - and checked the IRQs.
As it turned out, a PC TV card from pinnacle and my AGP were fighting over the IRQ, so I took the tv card out. Unfortunately it didn't resolve the problem. Now the only thing that is on the same IRQ as the AGP controller is supposedly the RAID controller on my motherboard. Do you suggest disabling this?

I reckoned it probably was a problem with my audio card before - but hadn't heard of those crashing entire systems before.

I'll try doing what you suggest - although last time I checked the temperature of the CPU straight after crashing it was a fairly low 35 degrees.

Will look at the motherboard manual over the ram - although I don't think it has any specific requirements on location of ram. I might just try swapping them over and seeing.

Is it worth moving my PCI audio card to a different slot, and trying then?


Posts: 4,719   +447
And 480w isn't that future proof if you consider the minimum requirement for the GF 6800 Ultra is a 480w PSU :D

Again, let us know how you get on with your problem.
Hopefully my limited A64 experience (check my profile or click on "My computers" in my sig and you'll see I'm running a setup not that much different from your own).


Posts: 10   +0
Yes, I'd noticed that.

Nice to know I have a similar machine to a self-confessed computer geek, albeit part-time!

Will keep you posted - thanks.


Posts: 4,719   +447
I think that the raid controller should be ok but if your not using it you might as well disable it. Will probably improve boot times and also rule it out as a possible cause of trouble. Also check in your BIOS that the memory timings are set to auto, and try running with one stick of ram to make sure your not having ram compatibility problems.

I too have a pinnacle TV card but I haven't installed it as I couldn't get it working properly on Windows 2000 on my last setup, so I haven't bothered installing it yet with my current PC and XP.


Posts: 4,719   +447
Originally posted by realblackstuff If you buy a quality case like Lian-Li, it is always supplied without PSU.

JFYI: My Lian-Li PC-50 didn't come with a PSU. in fact most places I can find online in the UK for buying a Lian-Li case don't list them with PSUs. Usually cheap cases come with cheap PSUs and Antecs often come with an Antec PSU.


Posts: 10   +0
Too true.

On inspection my PSU ended up only providing 16 Amps on the 12V rail, despite claiming to be a 350 W PSU. That's fine if you're not running a beast of a CPU, but the Ath64 does seem to be a bit of a beast!

The case is cheap, I grant you, and the PSU was a waste of time, but I don't think I'd want to spend a lot on a case, anyway - I mean, as long as it doesn't fall apart, it's fine! Or am I being dense?


Posts: 10   +0

The problem is solved.

It was the new stick of 512 MB of RAM that I got from a supplier in the UK. I'm now going to try and get my money back. Grr.

Anyone got any idea why my ATI card claims it's got SMARTGART stopping me from using 4x or 8x on the AGP and fast write? It claims it's to stop it from running settings that are unstable, but I'm guessing this isn't the case as it used to work. Does it need SP1 by any chance?
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