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Any techies out there know why my HTPC keeps crashing?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by terryc, May 5, 2002.

  1. terryc

    terryc
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    Hi

    Since being built for me In November my HTPC has been nothing but trouble.I cannot play a film through without it crashing.For instance,we watched a film last night and the damn thing crashed three times.This is a normal occurance with this machine.
    I've had two separate engineers look at it and made sure that everything is installed correctly etc and neither could find anything wrong.The concencus of opinion was that it was a motherboard/processor/ram problem so I sent those items back to Scan computers to be checked and they say they tested out OK, and in their opinion it must be a software or DVD Rom problem.I asked if it could be the processor fan not working properly and they said yes it could be.When i got the bits back I re-installed them with a new uprated fan only to find that the power supply had packed up (it was only rated 135W) so I had a new 400W psu fitted and guess what........it still crashes.
    We have changed the harddisc in the past also to no avail,so that leaves the DVD Rom not tested and my son say's it can't possibly be a software promlem.

    Anyone got any idea's before I throw the damn thing in the skip? and where can I get a really good syrup because I've pulled all my hair out.

    HTPC consists of:

    Abit motherboard
    AMD Athlon 1.13 Ghz
    256 SDRAM
    10.2 Gigs Harddisc
    Pioneer 106s DVD Rom
    Radeon DDR 32mb VE
    M Audio Audiophile 2496
    PowerDvd 3 and 4 (makes no difference which I use)
    and the usual array of home cinema prigrams.

    Cheers

    Terry
     
  2. Guest

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    When you say crash what do you mean exactly, freeze up, display some error message? Mine was crashing all the time and I installed new video card drivers and turned off anything to do with power save and standby modes/hibernation in the power options in the control panel, hasn't crashed since and it used to crash every half hour or so!

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  3. miro

    miro
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    Have you tried swapping out the video card?

    Some motherboards cannot supply enough juice for demanding video cards and cause running or startup problems. An Asus TNT and Intel mobo combo springs to mind.

    If you can dig out a card, give it a go. PCI or AGP will do.

    Miro
     
  4. Cam

    Cam
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    Hi Terry,
    I have had problems with my setup which is (was) similar to yours

    Abit KT7 Raid (going Intel soon)
    Athlon 1Ghz ( ditto )
    512 mb sdram
    20 GB Barracuda HDD boot drive
    80 GB Barracuda HDD
    LiteOn 163 DVDrom (quieter and cooler than my previous 106s)
    ATI Radeon 7200
    IDS Falcon capture card
    DAL CardDeluxe (replaced previous Audiophile 24/96)
    Enermax 365 VE FMA PSU (replaced previous Quiet PC 300watter)
    Home made aluminium case (never again!)
    TT player
    Dscaler
    Pwerstrip

    I had no end of problems with the Abit motherboard/VIA chipset not liking the M-audio 24/96. I tried all sorts of driver combinations and registry tweaks but never found a solution that I was 100% happy with. When I changed to the DAL CardDeluxe that cured the problems I was having (PC hanging and locking up) completely and also made a BIG difference to the sound quality, not that the 24/96 is a bad sounding card (far from it).
    A quality PSU makes a heap of difference as well.
    After all the hassle with the AMD/Abit/VIA combination I have decided to go the tried and proven route of Intel/Asus/Intel on the grounds of less compatibilty issues and reduction of fan noise, my KT7 mobo has a fan on the northbridge than is small and the noisiest component in the PC now.
    The other thing you didn't mention was the OS you are using, Win ME is particularly prone to crashing on Abit/VIA mobos. I upgraded to WinXP Pro.
    The easiest but not cheapest solution IMO would be a Celeron 1.2 or a P3 1Ghz+ and an Asus TUSL9 mobo utilzing your other existing components.
    I hope this is of some help.

    Cam
     
  5. Pootle

    Pootle
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    I had no end of problems with a radeon card and the ATI DVD player running on windows 98SE. I started using powerDVD and more recently windows XP, and now have no problems at all with DVD playback.

    It would blue screen, freeze, or application error, typically within 15mins of starting to play.

    ASUS mobo, Athlon 1.2G, Radeon AIW, 256Mb RAM
     
  6. terryc

    terryc
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    Thanks for replying guys.

    We use Windows ME at the moment but we are going to install Windows XP Pro tonight.
    By crashing I mean the picture just freezes or we get a blue screen error.There is no pattern whatsoever.Last night a film went right thru' without any problems,yet on other occasions it has crashed as many as 7 times during 1 film.
    I'll see how we get on from here, but I have a gut feeling It's the mb/processor.

    Cheers for now

    Terry

    Oh! I've just remembered another thing; on numerous occasions the PC when crashing has actually turned itself off.Weird!
     
  7. Cam

    Cam
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    I had that exact same problem under WinMe and that was sorted with the switch to WinXp.

    Cam
     
  8. Dumfy

    Dumfy
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    IMHO..............dump Me as fast as you can. It must rank as the most unstable and unreliable piece of software that Microsoft have come out with. You should see a big improvement if you're going to use XP.

    I've got both Win98 and XP running on my system with no problems on DVD (although I don't use it as my main viewing source). ME is a nightmare in comparison and no longer resides in y house. It wouldn't even run a usb printer without error.

    Dumfy

    ;)
     
  9. paiger

    paiger
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    I agree. You should have few hardware problems with an Abit board but there can occasionally be an issue with certain cards. I would suggest that ME is your problem and XP should cure it.

    Just as a note, and the reason I am replying is that I have had problems with one of my PC's that has never really been stable no matter what I did. It's all Asus and Abit inside with top PSU etc. but was prone to freezing, even in Win 2000/XP. I decided in the end to swap the Dimms with my other PC upstairs which was perfect and guess what? That one started crashing. Anyway, after much fiddling, I isolated the problem down to a 128Mb NEC Dimm. Strange because it's a named brand but it just crashes everything. I have now reluctantly binned it and have no more problems.

    Just thought I would mention it as it's unusual and may help others.

    Steve
     
  10. mjn

    mjn
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    This sounds like an intermittent fault, so more than likely the cause is going to be drivers or firmware.

    First of all of would get rid of Win ME, because its full of bugs in the code. Use either Win98 or win2k.

    Make sure you use all VIA chipset motherboard drivers.

    Also if the PC blue screens again, make a note of the errors, as you can use the microsoft website to decode them, and maybe find out what the exact problem is.
     
  11. terryc

    terryc
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    Thanks again for your replies.We (my son and I; I'd be lost without his help) installed windows XP pro the other night and have ran about six films thru' the PC and have not had one single problem.I'm still on tenterhooks at the moment obviously but by george I think we've done it.Touch wood.

    Cheers all

    Terry
     
  12. terryc

    terryc
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    mjn

    thanks for the tip regarding the microsoft website re: blue screen errors,might come in handy.

    terry
     
  13. paiger

    paiger
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    You shouldn't get the blue screen of death with Xp. It will apologise and tell you that the application had to close. It's like that.
     
  14. jrwood

    jrwood
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    Once you get your HTPC perfect then you may want to look at a utility like DRIVEIMAGE or GHOST which will take a complete snapshot of your Operatingsystem/software installed. If you encounter problems in the future you can simply re-image the harddrive to exactly how it was when you created the image!.
     
  15. terryc

    terryc
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    Thanks jr, I will seek out DRIVEIMAGE and GHOST for future reference.

    Cheers

    terry
     
  16. paiger

    paiger
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    No need with Xp. It has a feature called System Restore which takes a snap shot of the memory at certain points and you can restore the configuration to that point at any time. It will usually create a restore point before you install any drivers so if it all goes horribly wrong you can just revert back to the previous configuration. I've used it twice and it's a lifesaver.
     
  17. Cam

    Cam
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    Windows ME has the same feature but I would still advise using Ghost to have a copy of your configuartion, that way you are covered even if a drive dies.

    Cam
     

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