This problem will get ya thinking, me thinks

  innus 13:29 26 Apr 2003

Well, this problem is a bit of a saga, and I'm not sure where to start.

Firstly, I build the comp myself and the specs are:

256MB DDR 2100 ram (128 of twinmos, 128 of crucial - had same problem with just the twinmos one, before I bought the crucial one.)
ATHLON XP 1500+ (with coolermaster fan, upto 1900+ apparently, keeps it at about 42degrees, so should be ok?)
Liteonit 40x12x48 CD/RW
40GB hard drive
Creative Soundblaster 128 PCI
Intel V92 HaM data fax voice modem
All-in-wonder 128 AGP - 16mb graphics card
a cheap 550W PSU - click here, upgraded from the 300W one that came with the case
Windows XP pro
The problem is this:

Whenever I play direct3D games, the computer either spontaneously restarts or blue screens beyond return. This is the same under DXDIAG when I try "test direct 3D", BUT I can get through these tests if I disable AGP texture accelaration. Whatever I do, I cannot seem to get through the 3dMark 2001 tests, (at 800x600 with everything else at minimum) it will play the car driving thing for 10/20 seconds, and then just restart the computer, or drop to the desktop. This is all with the ATI all-in-wonder.
At first, I thought this was just the allinwonder being old and rubbish, so I bought myself a nice new Gainward GF4 MX440. The same problems now, but 1000x more often. The computer now resorts to restarting during normal computer use (e.g. surfing net, using my computer etc). I thought that the graphics card was faulty, so after much hullabaloo (and going on forums, see below) I ended up sending the card back.

click here

click here

click here

Of course, I am using all the latest drivers - I tried clean installations of both XP and ME, trying both the latest drivers I could find and trying just using the drivers on the driver cd. I tried removing everything except cpu, hard drive, graphics card, memory and still had same problem. I tried with nothing installed but the default windows drivers, and still same problem.

I tried disabling the onboard RAID, and still same. I disabled video shadowing in bios, and AGP 2x is what I should be using, so I left it like that. I tried messing with the irq in bios - I set to manual to let the OS decide them, but still no improvement.
I tried the gf4 in my friends computer, and it worked perfectly. I tried my friends gf2 mx400 in mine, under XP, and it had the same issues as the gf4.

The strange thing is that, after I send the gf4 back, I tried installing windows 98, and that worked fine - I got through the 3dmark tests fine, and I could run black and white and GTA III (admittedly very slowly with the 16mb), which I couldn't get to work under XP. This leads me to believe that it is not a hardware issue, but a software compatibility issue with XP drivers. If this is correct, how can I get around this? At the moment my computer is working fine - is really stable - and I can play games such as red alert 2 and unreal tournament with no problem, but I want to upgrade the graphics card to something a bit more respectable, and still run windows XP.

Also, although the error message is often different, it was mostly "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL" and then it would mention (if I remember correctly) win2k.sys or some ATI file (see the links). I have downloaded the drivers more than once, just in case they were corrupted when I downloaded them.
I thought it could be a power issue, but i have recently bought a 550W one, which was recommended as a good budget choice by click here , and there is no improvement.

I know this is very long winded, and I have probably made no sense and missed a load out, but I would be very grateful if you could fix this for moi

  TheTerminator 13:37 26 Apr 2003
  LastChip 13:53 26 Apr 2003

I note your remarks about the latest drivers. Does this include the latest VIA 4 in 1 drivers, and did you load them BEFORE you loaded your graphics card drivers?

Have you checked the BIOS, to confirm your clock settings for both the CPU AND Memory, are as required? This sort of problem can be indicative of incorrect clock speeds.

  innus 14:16 26 Apr 2003

Hey, yep I think so, and also the clock speeds are right - athlon XP 1500: x10 and fsb of 133)

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