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Anybody built their own PC ?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by sifowler, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. sifowler

    sifowler
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    Can anybody help me on this one.

    I have recently built a PC from the following parts :

    Athlon 2100+ with AMD heatsink/fan
    Gigabyte GA7-VAX (KT400 Chipset) Motherboard
    TwinMos 512Mb PC2700 2.5v 333Mhz memory stick
    Leadtek Nvidia Ti4200 128Mb Graphics Card

    Installed Windows XP Pro. Normal web browsing, word processing etc etc is fine, no problems.

    The problems start when I try to play a game. Soldier of Fortune 2, The Sims to name but two.

    It seems that as soon as the PC has to do something graphic intensive it crashes. In The Sims it simply crashes back to the desktop, SOF2 it just blue screens at the same point when I try and run the tutorial.

    I've tried all sorts of BIOS settings with no luck. I'm also gonna try and replace my memory.

    Has anyone experienced these problems themselves. If so, where do I need to start looking ?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    Make sure you have updated all your drivers!

    That includes the VIA 4in1's for your mobo (I think that mobo is a VIA chipset) and get the latest NVidia drivers.

    What Blue screen message do you get? Have you tried searchin on MS or google for it?
     
  3. CW1000

    CW1000
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    What PSU are you using, AMD chips need at least a 300W PSU (cheapo PSUs can't always cope)
     
  4. bigduv

    bigduv
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    I second the point about the power supply. I build my own machines. My current game box is a 1900+ with GeForce 4200.

    The problem I've encountered is that when I started building my own I always bought a pretty cheap case. I found that with the box above I had a lot of problems with stabililty. Remember the graphics card takes a fair bit of juice to run as well as the processor.

    I upgraded my power supply to a decent brandname 450W and have had no problems since.

    I've also had power supply failures with cheap cases.

    In my experience there is no substiture for a decent case, in terms of reduced noise and quality of power supply.
     
  5. sifowler

    sifowler
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    Its 300W. Must admit though, it was a cheap case from dabs.com
     
  6. bigduv

    bigduv
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    Toms hardware had an interesting article about power supplies.

    http://www6.tomshardware.com/howto/20021021/index.html

    It was after reading this I decided to upgrade my PS. Quite revealing. Basically a lot of power supplies fail/become unstable before they even reach their specified power rating.

    Worth a read.
     
  7. hulkhead

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    could it also be heat related? ensure your case has good ventilation and enough fans especially an exhaust fan and an approved amd power supply with the two fans - one to draw heat away from the cpu and an exhaust fan. Not forgetting a good case in the first place.

    AMD processors run hot compared to intel. Make sure you have a good heatsink and not the crappy ones that come with the processor....
     
  8. sifowler

    sifowler
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    According to the BIOS (and apps that came with the mobo) my CPU is rarely getting into the 50 degrees range.

    I am using the heatsink that came with the processor - would AMD supply a heatsink that couldn't do a proper job ?? Its not in their best interests surely.
     
  9. hulkhead

    hulkhead
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    i bought the amd xp 2100+ with heatsink package. I have an asus mobo and their monitoring software said that at idle the temp was 60c. I installed the coolermaster HHC-L61 heatsink fan with the paste stuff and the idle temps dropped down to 51c idle and upto 55c under full load (ie good ut2003 session).
     
  10. NeoBlade

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    I've been building PCs for the best part of 5 years or longer and one day I might paid to do so lol. Anyways it seems its a software configuration problem as its restarting ot the desktop rather than providing a hard crash. Re-check the installations and make sure you have the latest Direct X version (v9). Also update all of your drivers to the latest spec. Also update WinXP via the Auto Update feature... Just remember not to install Service Pack 1 unless you have a legit version of course ^_^

    IMO you should have went for the nForce II motherboards as dual channel DDR is simply amazing but the chipset you have now isn't bad providing you have the right RAM.

    If the games are still not having it make sure they all support Windows XP. If not pop over to the website of the Sims (EA) and SoF to see if they have an XP patch. Run the compatibility mode if you have to.

    If that doesn't work then check the hardware once again and make sure everything is seated properly.

    hopefully these simple steps will do the job. If not then you might have to dig deeper to see if there are any conflicts etc.
     
  11. holtehero

    holtehero
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    I would agree that it sounds like a driver issue, as you mention other apps run fine. If it was a power problem then the PC would more likely lock up randomly or not even boot.

    I would as other people have suggested, get the latest Nvidia detonators (41.09 from Nvidia or www.Guru3d.com) , avoid the ones that come bundled with the card, as from past experience they have caused nothing but trouble for me

    If you haven't already installed Dx, try 8.1 first and then if no joy go to Dx9, as the GF4 isn't a Dx9 card anyway, though there are bound to be certain fixes.

    Failing that, probably best to start removing some parts (2nd CD/DVD drives) and seeing if that makes any differences, but i would imagine your problems lie in the drivers, not hardware
     
  12. NeoBlade

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    Yeah its true his card isn't DX9 certified but its nice to have ^_^ Really sifowler needs to hit us back with either more recent findings or to give us more details about the crash itself and other programs he may or may not be running. Until then we can't do much to help, other then to speculate on possible configurations.
     
  13. sifowler

    sifowler
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    Bit more info (!) :

    I'm running DirectX8.1. I'm also using the current Detonator drivers from the NVidia website and I think I've got the latest VIA 4in1 drivers. My XP is not service packed though.

    Anyway, something I did last night appears to have made a difference. My memory is 512Mb Pc2700 333Mhz but I read on several forums that some people had set their BIOS setting to 266MHz. So I tried this and lo and behold, no crashes !

    I can't think why this would make such a difference. Any ideas ?? Does this point to bad memory or is that too obvious ?
     
  14. holtehero

    holtehero
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    When u mention you set the memory to 266 do you mean you set the memory to run @ 133 or changed the Front Side Bus to 133?

    DDR333 (PC2700) is actually rated to run @ 166MHz, while the Xp2100 is officially meant to run at 133FSB.

    There are usually dividers that allow the ram to run faster than the FSB in the case of the CPU running slower than the processor in its default state.

    You can also run at 1:1 ratio (166/166), but you would probably have to increase the voltage for the CPU to achieve this, something if you are using stock cooling i wouldn't recommend

    IMHO if the memory was faulty, you would either experience Win XP not loading/BSOD's or random crashes.

    Glad to hear it is working now though :)
     
  15. sifowler

    sifowler
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    I can't remember the exact BIOS setting (and I'm at work at the mo). The default setting was Auto and the options were to change the RAM frequency I presume. 3 options - one for DDR400, one for DDR333 and one for DDR266 ( I think !).

    Anyway, I'm swopping the memory from where I got it so when I get my new stuff I'll set the BIOS setting back to what it was and give it a go.

    Thanks for your help though.
     
  16. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    The one time I got blue screens in XP was related to faulty memory.
     
  17. NeoBlade

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    I think most of us forgot the real value of RAM... Especially good branded RAM. Still its nice to hear that the problems are sorted out for now ^_^
     
  18. holtehero

    holtehero
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    Just about to build a nforce2 based rig, and i will definitely be using Corsair or the new OCZ ram as it has good reviews and reputation for stability at highspeeds

    I have probably built 9-10 PCs for myself and mates and buying cheaper components always costs you more in the long run IMHO as some of my friends have found out
     
  19. chicken balti

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    Are you using a hard drive from a previous machine? Did you reformat the HD and load XP Pro from scratch or upgrade over Win 9X? If there is any cross over from an old setup I suggest you start again with a full clean install.

    Update your BIOS, reformat your HD, load the latest drivers for all hardware, if you have a soundcard make sure you disable any onboard sound on your MB, use Nvidia drivers instead of the ones that came with your graphics card, don't use jumperless CPU and memory settings as there may be a bug in your BIOS (Asus have been known to be culprits here but I'm sure they aren't the only ones), play safe and use jumpers if you have them.

    Graphics lockups are usually a result of poor CPU cooling and/or aggressive overclocking. This is why you should play safe with using the MB jumpers. Use your MB temp. sensors if you've got the option, this will identify potential cooling problems.

    I have only ever bought one PC, I've forgotten how many I've built myself but I've been doing it now for about 14 years!
     
  20. NeoBlade

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    Good choice mate. I built two nForceII PCs so far and the motherboard seriously kicks arse. Dual channel is a must and most nForce II mobos are feature packed. I bought the ASUS Deluxe mobo from www.ebuyer.com. Cracking chipset and Corsair is rated very well indeed.

    If you can find a 1GB DDR PC2700 module or higher could you post a link please since I can't find any about >_<
     
  21. holtehero

    holtehero
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    Have you tried crucials website?? they are £404 inc VAT each though :eek:

    Trouble is i am waiting for the revision 2 Abit NF7-s that is due in a few weeks (Hopefully)
     
  22. NeoBlade

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    £404?! Damn... Looks like I'll wait a bit then ^_^ Still waiting on the Clawhammer as well but at least the Barton Core is out. September is a looooong wait...
     
  23. holtehero

    holtehero
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    I hate waiting, that why i have been buying all the bits like new keyboard, mouse, case, KVM switch - the sort of stuff that isn't out of date by the time its delivered
     
  24. james.miller

    james.miller
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    thats way too high. that's probably the problem right there. I could garentee that every time my axp1800+ hit 48c it crashed EVERY SINGLE TIME. that was with a volcano7 heatsink. now i've got an slk-800 - temps are 27c idle and 34c load. guess what - no more crashes.

    Id say generally thats too high as well. But, if it aint broke, dont fix it:D As long as it doesnt crash, then you've got no problems.
     
  25. hulkhead

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    That is my opinion now. I battled with trying to get the temps down but never had any system crashes or hangs. So as you say, if it ain't broke.....
     
  26. sifowler

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    According to the AMD web site the maximum operating temperature is around the 90 degrees mark. I would have thought around 50 is fine.
     
  27. james.miller

    james.miller
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    Sadly, the thermal specs for processors can rearly be trusted.. go to any computer-related forums and you will see the same there as i am telling you. 90% of people will tell you to try to keep the temps under 50c. anything higher and athlonxp's ARE in danger of damage, very possibly perminent. The same goes for intel p4's, but even more so. P4's are very picky about heat and especially voltage.

    being a member of a pc-based forum, and seeing the amount of cpus that die because of heat-related issues, i would NEVER trust either intel's or amd's thermal specs for their processors.
     
  28. tony kop77

    tony kop77
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    I am going to upgrade my pc in the next few weeks but a little undecided to what i should buy. I was going to buy the new FX card but heard they are not very good so i will either be buying GeoForce 4 4600TI graphics card or the radeon 9700 pro.

    I currently have a 64mb Hercules Kyro II card, i am also looking to upgrade the cpu i have 1.4 thunderbird at the min but dont know if i should buy an intel 2.4ghz or AMD Athlon 2700.

    I can get an Athlon 2700 for £200 radeon 9700 pro for £260 and an Asus A7V8X SktA DDR M/board and Raid for £90, should i wait or are should i buy now as these prices are not too bad
     
  29. james.miller

    james.miller
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    well the really depends on what you expect from the products. are you intending on keeping they at stock speed, or are you overclocking them? I'm asking this because most xp2100+ thoroughbred 'b's are getting upto 2.4/2.5ghz with air cooling now, which is way past xp2700+ speeds (xp2700's run at 2166mhz btw).


    personally, id rather sped £70 on an xp2100 and overclock it, than spend £200 and end up with something very much slower.

    as for the graphics card, yes id recommend the 9700 pro if you can afford it. you could allways get the non-pro and flash the bios - the pro and non pro are 100% identical hardware-wise. all you have to do is flash the 9700 card with the pro bios and there you have a 9700 pro. the 9700 series are extreamly fast and you wont be dissapointed with them. to put there performance into perspective, even the 9500pro is up to 100% faster than a ti4600 with FSAA on. i would never recommend ANY nvidia card anymore. ATI have got all the bases covered and totally trounced nvidia.
     
  30. holtehero

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    I would agree with most of what James has just said.

    However, it is worth pointing out that the XP2700+ is the thoroughbred "B" core, which does consume less power and hence generates less heat (meaning possibly less case cooling and noise)

    Also, while there have indeed been some really good XP2100 chips lately and they do overclock really well, to overclock to their potential your memory will still have to be able to handle higher FSB's.

    I wouldn't buy an Nvidia card now, my current machine has a Ti4400 but i will buy either a 9700pro (or wait for the 9900) which is due in April. ATi have truly spanked Nvidia when you turn on the nice filtering and aliasing features

    A good place to find 9700pro for £230 is here
     

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