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Computer Freezing. Probably A Graphics Card Issue

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#1 bleachlizard


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Posted 03 August 2008 - 06:39 PM

About 3 weeks ago, I was playing a game when the computer randomly froze. I didn't think much of it, I just thought maybe the graphics card might have gotten too hot or something. Ever since, my computer has been freezing randomly, but at an increasing frequency. Now it's to the point where I can get into normal windows for a few seconds, and then it freezes. I'm able to run it in safemode with no issues. I thought perhaps it was a bad sector on my HD, since it seemed to happen when I copied large amounts of data, but it turns out that was just coincidence (or was it?). It just happened that way because of the fact that it was taking long periods of time to copy the large data, and of course the probability of the computer freezing when copying all that data was much higher.

I found a topic today about someone who was having an issue with his computer freezing during gameplay, and he just replaced the PSU and it was fine. Could this still be an issue, even though I've had the computer with the same hardware for the last two years, running flawlessly? I'm running the numbers for my PSU right now, so I thought I'd run this by everyone just in case it could be something else.

There's these factors as well:
- Computer runs fine in safemode
- Tried running Ubuntu, runs fine unless I try to install it (when it gets to the GUI)
- Knoppix live-cd (oldschool version) runs flawlessly, including copying large amounts of data (ruling out HDD?)
- Occasionally freezes right at Windows loading screen (always within the first frame of the fade-in)
- Sometimes, when it freezes and I hard-stop it (turn it off without reset), the power light on the front of my computer stays on, even though the computer is off

You can see my DETAILED specs below. It is a system I have built, so all this is pulled off Newegg:

Brand Western Digital
Series Caviar SE
Model WD2500JS
Interface SATA 3.0Gb/s
Capacity 250GB
RPM 7200 RPM
Cache 8MB
Average Seek Time 8.9ms
Average Latency 4.2ms

Model 8WA741
Fan Size 92mm
RPM 4000 10% RPM
Air Flow 74.41 CFM
Noise Level 39.80 dBA
Power Connector 4 Pin

HDD COOL (I have disabled this)
Fan Size 60 x 60 x 12mm (2pcs)
Bearing Type Hydro
RPM 3500 10% RPM
Air Flow 22.5 CFM
Noise Level 30 dBA

Brand Kingston
Model KVR667D2K2/2GR
Type 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM
Capacity 2GB (2 x 1GB)
Speed DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)
Cas Latency 5
Voltage 1.8V

MOTHERBOARD (Yeah, I know... it's not the best, but it's what I could afford)
Brand ECS
Model PT890T-A V1.0
Supported CPU
CPU Socket Type LGA 775
CPU Type Core 2 Duo / Pentium D / Pentium 4 / Celeron D
FSB 1066/800MHz
Supported CPU Technologies Hyper-Threading Technology
North Bridge VIA PT890
South Bridge VIA VT8237A
Number of Memory Slots 2240pin
Memory Standard DDR2 533
Maximum Memory Supported 4GB
Expansion Slots
PCI Express x16 1
PCI Express x1 1
PCI Slots 4
Storage Devices
PATA 2 x ATA100 4 Dev. Max
SATA 1.5 Gb/s 2
Onboard Audio
Audio Chipset VIA VT1708A
Audio Channels 6 Channels
Onboard LAN
LAN Chipset VIA VT6103L
Max LAN Speed 10/100Mbps
Rear Panel Ports
PS/2 2
USB 4 x USB 2.0
Audio Ports 3 Ports
Onboard USB
Onboard USB 4 x USB 2.0
Physical Spec
Form Factor ATX
Dimensions 12.0" x 9.6"
Power Pin 24 Pin

Series X-Dreamer II
Power 420W
Fans 2x80mm Fans

GRAPHICS CARD (it is not fanless)
Model 100172L
Interface PCI Express x16
Chipset Manufacturer ATI
GPU Radeon X1550
Core clock 550MHz
PixelPipelines 4
Memory Clock 800MHz
Memory Size 256MB
Memory Interface 128-bit
Memory Type GDDR2
DirectX DirectX 9
OpenGL OpenGL
TV-Out HDTV / S-Video / Composite Out
Tuner None
Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
RoHS Compliant Yes
Cooler Fanless (not true)
Dual-Link DVI Supported Yes
Windows Vista Certified for Windows Vista

Brand Intel
Processors Type Desktop
Series Pentium D
Model HH80551PE0672MN
CPU Socket Type
CPU Socket Type LGA 775
Tech Spec
Core Smithfield
Multi-Core Dual-Core
Name Pentium D 805
Operating Frequency 2.66GHz
FSB 533MHz
L2 Cache 2 x 1MB
Manufacturing Tech 90 nm
64 bit Support Yes
Hyper-Threading Support No
Virtualization Technology Support No
Multimedia Instruction MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, EM64T
Voltage 1.25-1.4V
Thermal Power 95W

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#2 dc3


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Posted 03 August 2008 - 11:25 PM

Hi bleachlizard, and welcome to BleepingComputer.

You didn't list your PSU, that graphics card requires a minimum of a 420W PSU.

You can view the system requirements here.

Edited by dc3, 03 August 2008 - 11:29 PM.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.





#3 bleachlizard

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 12:41 AM

Thanks for the swift response. It's a definite help. This seemed like the forum to ask something like this, since what I've read indicates a genuinely friendly community.

The PSU is up there, it's built into the case. It's exactly a 420W PSU. However, I'm not sure about the 75W dissipation. So far I haven't been able to find much information about the PSU. I am at work right now, so later tomorrow afternoon I'll have to pull the PSU out and check it out. I thought for sure that the PSU was going to be enough. I built this back when I didn't know much about the relation between the PSU and the GPU. Now, I'm not so sure that it is enough. My card also has a fan on it. You can view one here. I assume that this will up the wattage req's for the card, but then again I could be mistaken.

I'm gonna try giving this card x1300 drivers, since everywhere I've searched has said that the Sapphire x1550 and the Sapphire x1300 are virtually identical cards (ATI and AMD merger changed the series). I tried installing Vista recently as well, and Vista recognizes the card as a x1300, so I assume that the drivers would work just fine for XP.

Many thanks.

Edited by bleachlizard, 04 August 2008 - 12:46 AM.

#4 dc3


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Posted 04 August 2008 - 01:29 AM

I didn't see the PSU, it was cleverly disguised as a power supply. :thumbsup:

Generally, PSUs that come with a case are not of the best quality, and that 420W is right at the edge of being adequate.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.





#5 bleachlizard

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 07:39 PM

Yeah, the power supply is not a top-of-the-line, but it has done it's job... wouldn't it affect other systems as well if it were going bad? It has been adequate for as long as I've had it. I've even tried dumbing down the power usage of the system in the BIOS. This didn't change a thing. I'm gonna try the x1300 drivers right now, just for the heck of it. I'll post the results.

Thanks again for the replies. It's helping to bounce ideas off someone else.

Edited by bleachlizard, 04 August 2008 - 07:40 PM.

#6 bleachlizard

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 08:19 PM

Just to update, I tried weeding things out. I had two other fans attached, plus a fan controller, and I just disconnected all of them. Still, no change. So this weekend I'm going to get myself another power supply and see if that helps. If not, then I'm going to get a new video card. I'd get the new video card first, but I still would have to get a new power supply to support a better video card... so if the power supply works, I don't have to buy the graphics card too (though in a few weeks, I may end up upgrading the card anyway, lol).

In the future, I'm going to pay more attention to power distribution. Back when I built this computer, I didn't know enough about that to take it into consideration. Thanks dc3 for your replies.

#7 bleachlizard

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:15 PM

Alright, I got the new power supply today. It was not the power supply. Again, I weeded out the RAM and HD.

I did notice something that may help those in the future recognize a graphics card failure, which I'm about 90% sure that's what it is now.

Try getting into your boot menu (F8 in Windows). If you get something like this:
Posted Image

And an example in Spinrite
Posted Image
(I edited each image to show what it does, these are not exact screenshots, but are identical to my issue)

You can clearly see that there are a few missing pieces. It does this with all basic kernel programs like this (tested with 98 bootdisk, spinrite, and a few others).

If anyone thinks there might be another issue, please let me know before I buy a new video card. Again, I did rule out the hard drive, since I thought it was that at first.

Edited by bleachlizard, 15 August 2008 - 08:29 PM.

#8 bleachlizard

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 03:51 AM


Turns out it was my motherboard... I went to Fry's Electronics today and bought a new video card... it didn't solve it, so I took it back and got the motherboard. Took care of the problem instantly. So, it looks as though if you have this kind of issue, check your motherboard.

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