Sons PC crashing - Part II

  Jeffers22 00:32 11 Feb 2005
Locked

Time for the next installment. We have got nowhere rapidly so far.

My son's PC regularly freezes and/or crashes out within minutes of starting a couple of games - Dawn of War & Rome - Total War. My own machine plays them with no problems. It also crashes in normal use pretty regularly.

Sons PC:
MSI KT4V mobo, Via KT400 Northbridge, Via VT8235 Southbridge, AMI bios
Athlon XP2400+ CPU
768 Mb RAM (PC 2100 I think)
Connect 3d 128Mb Radeon 9200 AGP card
Good 300W PSU (from AOPen case)
CPU temp - max it gets to is 57 (high but not drastic I would have thought)
System temp - max it gets to is 32
1 hard drive on IDE 1, 2 optical drives, Sound Blaster live

My PC:
Abit KG7 Lite mobo, AMD 761 Northbridge, Via 686B southbridge, Award bios
Athlon XP 1800+ CPU
1 Gb RAM (not sure of spec, but it's somewhat older - May 2002)
Connect 3d 128Mb Radeon 9200 AGP card
Good 350W PSU (from quiet PC)
CPU temp - max it gets to is 50
System temp - max it gets to is 37
3 hard drives - 2 on Promise controller, 2 optical drives, SB live

I'm beginning to get a little miffed at this state of affairs. His mobo, CPU and RAM are all newer, the graphics cards (and drivers) are identical, both run SBs and Win XP pro. Temps seem OK and we've done lots of fiddling with various settings on the graphics card and within the games - to no effect.

Needless to say I am getting a lot of grief from my son about the "crap PC" I built for him.

If anyone has any suggestions as to probable - or even possible - cause I would be really grateful. The only thing I can think of doing is change the mobo to one which has the same bios and chipset as the one in my own PC.

Thanks in advance ...

  AndySD 01:56 11 Feb 2005

300w is a little on the low side.... but leaving that aside are you using then ewest via drivers. click here and try downloading and installing the latest soundblaster drivers. click here

  handful 08:02 11 Feb 2005

I suffered almost 2 years of instability, restarts, registry corruptions and was starting to think I was never going to have a stable pc. I tried everything including numerous reformats and driver updates etc,etc but eventually I cured it (I think, so far anyway) with a bios update. May be worth a try if all else fails. Hope this helps

  Ivor_Monkey 09:02 11 Feb 2005

What about the power connector/adaptor thingy that connects to the hard disk? Why not swap them around and use another one?

Are you sure the hard disk is sound? Perhaps swap in one of your HDDs to test?

BTW: It is a great game and worth the hassle, but I guess that only makes your grief worse.

  ICF 09:35 11 Feb 2005

Have you tried swapping things from your own computer in your Son's?The method of elimination is a good one.

  Jeffers22 10:05 11 Feb 2005

Thanks for the replies folks.

Installing the latest Radeon drivers made it worse, so we reverted to the original - to little effect.

Latest news is we switched the AGP from 8X to 4X in the ATI control panel and he got a full half hour before Rome crashed - that is the best yet. Anyone got any idea of the significance of this?

Still think it may be heat related as mobo monitor is not available during game ...

AndySD - not worried about PSU, it is a good one with a decent output. Will try the latest Via chipset drivers and also the updated SB drivers. Thankyou for your trouble.

Handful - hmm, I'm pretty happy tinkering with hardware and software, but to date have not flashed a bios as it sorta scares me. Thanks, as you say, perhaps a last resort before chucking the whole damn thing in the river.

Ivor_Monkey - will try a different Molex connector, but do not hold out much hope as I changed the PSU three days ago to no effect. Pretty certain HDD is sound.

ICF - would rather not do this if I can avoid it. My PC is vital to my business and am reluctant to take a risk with it. May have to though if nothing else works.

Next steps, are heat related, new CPU fan, additional case fan. Then the suggestions of the good people who have replied. Probably update this late tomorrow, no time today .

  Jeffers22 20:26 12 Feb 2005

It appears it WAS a heat problem after all. I bought a Jeantech Phong case (under £30) at PC World on line component store. It has two 120mm fans (front and back) plus a funnel that finishes over the CPU that draws cold air in from outside directly onto the CPU fan. CPU temp at idle dropped from 55 to 36, system temp only a touch down at 31. It seems to have done the trick, he's been playing on Rome Total War without a crash for hours!

Incidentally, what a fantastically designed case! The front fan draws cold air in directly through the hard drive bays, and has a filter as well. I think I'll get another for my main PC.

Thanks to all those who offered suggestions.

  Ivor_Monkey 11:50 13 Feb 2005

Glad it worked.
Apart from the good design of the Jeantech Phong case, how noisy is it?

I'm interested in a well designed, quiet case that doesn't cost more than the bits inside.

  Jeffers22 13:40 13 Feb 2005

Reasonably quiet. Both fans have a rheostat controller on the side at the front which allows you to turn them down for normal stuff (you can hardly hear them) and up full for gaming or anything that pushes the CPU and GPU. Being 120mm fans they shift more air with less speed (and therefore noise) than 80mm fans. No PSU, but if you want quiet, that's just one bit you don't have to throw away.

Design is fantastic. It is the best I've ever seen for cooling (conventionally). Plenty of room and everything is easy to get at, 5 hard drive bays behind the filtered fan at the front, four CD type bays at the top and two floppy bays.

I really cannot recommend it highly enough

  ICF 17:38 13 Feb 2005

I said:-
"Have you tried swapping things from your own computer in your Son's"

Jeffers22 said:-
"ICF - would rather not do this if I can avoid it. My PC is vital to my business and am reluctant to take a risk with it."

Jeffers22 said:-
"Incidentally, what a fantastically designed case! The front fan draws cold air in directly through the hard drive bays, and has a filter as well. I think I'll get another for my main PC"


SO how you going change the case without putting your main computer at risk?

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