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Help...damn thing still crashing

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by terrythecat, Jul 7, 2002.

  1. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Hi guys

    I hope someone can help me sort out this HCPC as it's driving me nuts. Since being built I've not had a crash free period with it. I was hoping that when I got rid of WinMe as advised, I would have a stable machine, but no such luck. I will not percevere for much longer even though the pictures great. For instance; last night it crashed about 6 times. I was sort of warming it up with a concert video before watching a film. After crashing like mad for about half hour I then watched the film through without any problems. If I can't get it sorted out I will get a prog scan DVD player and suffer the possible loss in picture quality, but obviously I'd rather not take that backward step.

    Main components in the HCPC are:

    Abit KT133A-raid 266Mhz motherboard
    1.1Ghz *266* AMD Athlon CPU
    Micron 256MB PC133 SDRAM
    10.5Gb XLStor HDD 5400
    ATI Radeon 32MB DDR VE
    M-Audio Audiophile 2496
    PowerDVD 4
    Windows XP Pro OS
    Pioneer DVD Rom

    We have installed all latest drivers and followed all recommended set-up procedures, all to no avail.
    So, if anyone has any ideas I'd be pleased to hear from them.
    Perhaps someone can see an incompatability problem that I'm not aware of.

    All the best

    Terry

    By the way, it's used in conjuction with a Barco DG 808s.
     
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I can only suggest formatting and a clean install, and just install the bare bones so you can play the concert for instance.

    If that's OK, then try installing other stuff like DVD player etc.

    Maybe doing that the problem will be obvious by its abscence prior to installing something.

    Maybe you could try a different mobo - do you really need raid?

    Gary.
     
  3. jonny m

    jonny m
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    Big tip if you are having problems is stay away from the highpoint controllers if you can and make sure you have the latest allinones from via.

    Almost looks like you might have a dodgy mb or other component.

    Did you fresh install XP or migrate from ME?

    Explain your crash's, reboot needed or just restart powerdvd??

    j
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    You could always try a cheap mobo like the ECS K7S5A (which I'm using with a 950 Duron) just in case that's the problem. Doesn't seem to have any issues and my system is very stable.

    Gary.
     
  5. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    How is it crashing?

    Blue Screens of Death? Any error messages before the crash? Or does it just lock up? (lock ups shouldn't really happen on XP).

    Do you have an internet connection? If so I would get some diagnostic software to test your PC, you should be able to find some shareware, which will blitz the components one by one.

    From the sounds of it, it does look like a memory or motherboard problem. You would really need to try swapping bits in and out.
     
  6. reefer

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    Your using older 133mhz memory with a new m/board that runs at 266mhz fsb, use some DRR (266mhz) ram. Ebuyer has some going for £41 currently.

    As mentioned above, install XP fresh from a new format.
     
  7. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Thanks for coming back to me guys. Would have responded sooner but have had to find a new ISP.
    We originally installed XP as an upgrade so have now formatted and installed XP as a fresh install. STILL have a problem PC!
    Have bought the ECS K7S5A MoBo and will install tomorrow.
    Crashing took the form of lock up, mostly followed by automatic start-up.

    I will buy some DDR memory ( the memory I have now came bundled ) if the new MoBo alone doesn't solve the problem.

    If it keeps crashing after this I shall rob a bank and buy the
    'ROCK'.

    Fingers crossed

    Terry
     
  8. Dubbing Mixer

    Dubbing Mixer
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    If it isn't the mobo or the ram then what sort of temperature is the CPU running at? Athlons are notoriously dodgy when they get hot.

    Sorry you're having so much grief. It doesn't have to be this hard, but unfortunately, sometimes it is.
     
  9. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Hi
    'Re-built' the PC around the new ECS MoBo ( not bad for a novice
    I feel ) and everything seems to have gone OK. My son's looking
    after the software side of things for me ( he's only 16 and self
    taught ) and has re-installed XP and PowerDVD 4. Have just played through one film, 2' 10", without any lock-ups. Have just
    popped another film in and if OK will re-install sound and take the PC back into the Home Cinema ( not as flash as it sounds being a converted single garage, but works great ).
    So, fingers crossed I may not be chucking it into the skip after all, which is how I have felt lately.

    Gary, you may be able to assist further. The instructions re: the FPI connector on the MoBo are as clear as mud and consequently the reset switch is not working. We have connected as follows:
    Reset sw pins 2+4, HHD LED pins 1+3, Power sw pins 6+8 and Power LED pins 5+9 ( 2 core into triple connector, middle one redundent ). Any ideas ?

    Oh, one other thing. The MoBo handbook say's to apply thermal grease to the top of the CPU. Is this absolutely necessary, as I don't have any and didn't.

    Thanks for now everyone

    Regards

    Terry
     
  10. jonny m

    jonny m
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    terry
    whats between your cpu + heatsink? it either needs to be a heat transfer film or some thermal paste to carry the heat from the cpu, to basically remove any air between the 2 pieces of metal for max transfer of heat.

    I suspect you got something with either the cpu or fan, maybe the film and its still there??

    j
     
  11. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    hi Terry,

    My book has the following:

    HDD LED P1&3
    Power LED P2&4
    Reset P5&7
    Power button P6&8

    Looks like your reset and power leds are in the wrong place - provided your mobo isn't different to mine. The pins are shown on page 14 of my manual at the bottom, under the Install the Mainboard title page.

    If your power led connector is three pin, there are two things you can do with the connector - either don't connect it, or remove one of the pins and place it into the center position - it can be removed with a small pin to press in the retaining lug (IIRC). It can only go one way round, so if it doesn't work, you'll have to reverse the operation, or trim off the redundant end connector.

    The reset switch should work Ok, as it just shorts the two pins together, so maybe you've got them on the wrong pins. Looking at the connectors, it should go on the left hand side, connecting the 3rd and 4th pins down on that side. They don't connect across, only down. Hope that makes sense.

    As for the cpu heatsink paste - didn't it come with any? Like Johnny said, they normaly have some with them - just remove the plastic film and install the cpu. You don't normaly have to buy any.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  12. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Jonny

    There was originally a blu-tak type of material between the fan and CPU but wasn't re-usable when I changed the fan ( just for good measure ). The guy where I bought the new fan from say's
    it wasn't necessary anyway as there was a small square of film on the new fan, but is looking a bit 'worn' now. My CPU is 1.1 Ghz and the fan is suitable up to 1.4 Ghz. The PC has been running now for about 4 hours and I've just opened the case and could touch the heatsink quite confortably. I will get some thermal grease if you think it safer to do so.
    One thing we can't understand is that on boot-up the PC is indicating that the CPU is 850Mhz but the CPU PnP setup page is not giving us the option to change it to 1133. I don't suppose it matters much. Does it?

    Cheers

    Terry
     
  13. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Hi Gary

    My manual is obviously different to yours as mine is shown on page 9. Thanks for the tip re: 3 pin connectors, will give it a go later when and if everythings OK and we have trouble free playback. My son has just re-installed sound so I am now going to take the PC into the garage, sorry, A/V room.

    Cheers

    Terry
     
  14. jonny m

    jonny m
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    I would do the thermal paste just to be sure esp if running for long periods.

    With athlon's isn't the heatsink not meant to be hot to touch? my celeron 1.1ghtz isn't that comfortable to really hold after its been on a while (although its a quiet cpu fan so its fan speed is less=hotter), the fact your is ok to hold maybe means your heatsink isn't drawing enough of the heat away. Any athlon owners care to comment? Gary??

    As for your cpu speed, I take it is a athalon FSB 133 1.1 ghtz.

    looks like your mobo thinks the bus speed is still 100 mhtz, you might find a switch somewhere to take it to 133 mhtz.

    8.5x133=1.1ghtz
    8.5x100=850mhtz

    good to see its working.

    j
     
  15. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Terry/Johnny,

    I have two AMD pcs, one is an Athlon 1.2 and the other a 950 Duron.

    The Athlon runs very hot according to the temp monitor. It tends to run around 60odd degrees. I had to modif the case and add a fan in the side because if I put the side casing on, the temp would run at over 70 degrees.

    The Duron in the K7S5A runs much cooler at around 52, but will go up to 60 if the room is very hot (my loft cinema in the summer!).

    I'd be inclined to agree with johnny - if the heatsing isn't that hot, then you're probably fine. The ECS mobo has sensors built in, and there's a utility called motherboard Monitor which will allow you to use these. Do a search for motherboard monitor and install it. You'll then be able to see what temperature your cpu is actualy running at.

    As for the speed, I think Johnny's hit the nail on the head there too, so you should check the cpu set up in bios - this board should auto-detect the cpu and set it accordingly though. Have you installed pc133 or pc100 memory? If it is 100, then that may have caused the board to set the fsb to that speed and hence the slower cpu speed.

    If you do manage to get it set correctly, the cpu will probably run hotter, so that's another good reason to install the temp monitor.

    Gary.
     
  16. jonny m

    jonny m
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    Gary
    Do either of your athlon's heatsink's feel comfortable to touch after they have been on for a couple of hours?

    I would say your quite right in that the temp of the cpu's will go up a fair bit when they hit the correct fsb speed.

    j
     
  17. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I've just checked my 1.2 TBird in my desktop pc, and the heatsink is quite warm, but not uncomfortable to touch. I haven't installed the monitor software yet due to a recent upgrade to XP, but I'll have to get around to it sometime I think..

    Gary.
     
  18. jonny m

    jonny m
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    Gary
    Ok

    Cheers
    j
     
  19. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    Gary those temps are pretty high.....

    I would recommend running higher rated Heatsinks and Fans. have a look here www.overclockers.co.uk.

    I have an XP 1600 and it runs at 40-45 C using a Spreeze Copper based Heatsink. I have also installed a Pabst superquiet fan for an exhaust. It may be worth looking at the case, you say you have a fan in the side? I assume this is not at the back? This is most likely not helping too much as it will be messing up the air flow, it is designed to pass air over the CPU and mobo from front to back. Side and top fans tend to disrupt this, would be better off installing a fan at the front to suck air in and pass it over the CPU area.

    You should only need to swap the T-bird Heatsink as if you put this on the Duron it should keep it super cool. :)

    Also make you sure you are using some kind of Thermal Transfer paste such as the Artic Silver etc.
     
  20. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I tried a fan in the front, then in the back, then two fans. The best solution was to make a hole in the case directly in front of the cpu fan. The case fan in the side now directly extracts the hot air out of the case directly from the cpu. I was measuring the temperatures, and this was the best solution.

    Athlons can run safely up to around 90c I believe, so I'm not worried about the temps as they are.

    I could get it cooler as you suggest, but I don't really see he need. Cheers anyway.

    Gary.
     
  21. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Gary, thanks for the recommendation re: MoBo, I seem to have a stable HCPC at last. Have put about 5 films thru thus far without any lock-ups. Funny that, because I sent my original back to scan computers together with the CPU and Ram and they said it tested OK. Obviously I had to pay for the priviledge and now putting in a new MoBo cures the problem.
    CPU now running at correct speed of 1133 and checked the CPU temperature last night after watching Santana in concert and it was 56 degrees, and the room was very warm. So that seems OK also. I think I can now sit back and enjoy this hobby without being on tenterhooks although I now need a good hairpiece as I've pulled all my hair out over the last 7 months.

    All the best

    Terry
     
  22. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Glad to have helped Terry.

    I think that mobo has got to be one of the best bang for buck mobos for htpc. Especialy as they now go up to about 2gig.

    Gary.
     
  23. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    Sorry to hear about the components with SCAN. I got burned a long time ago by them so I would never ever recommend them. Overclockers UK are by far one of the best PC suppliers in the UK, also I have had good dealings with Dabs and Simply.

    The problem with their tests is that all they generally do is plug the components in and turn it on. If it boots then fine, tested ok. Many of these problems obviously only happen under highload.

    To help protect your components in the future, I would recommend you get a surge protector from Belkin or a similar manufacturer.
     
  24. Dubbing Mixer

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    Interesting how different our experiences are.

    I have only had good service from Scan but I've been burnt by overclockers and had neutral but not great times with the other two.

    I suspect these companies go though cycles of good and bad times and their service varies accordingly. When I think I'm likely to have trouble with a component, E.g. untried new mobo. I now buy from Novatech because I can go and sit on their doorstep if I have to!
     
  25. Sinzer

    Sinzer
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    Yep, I am slowly moving more and more away from Internet Ordering long distance. It seems that it gets worse and worse as times goes on.

    I am looking to get some Home Cinema Equipment and I think I will just go to Sevenoaks up the road and pay an extra £150 so I don't have to mess around with telephone conversations and deliveries.
     
  26. Dubbing Mixer

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    The really annoying thing is sometimes mail order service is much better than 'over the counter'. But it can change very quickly and you just never know.
     
  27. terrythecat

    terrythecat
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    Thanks again for everyone's help but it looks like I need help yet again. Am posting new thread.

    Terry
     
  28. michaelm

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    I have a K7S5A board and I had problems running it stably.

    Firstly, there are known problems when using 2 PC133 SDRAM cards at once. You can only use one at a time and no BIOS revisions have addressed this problem. As suggested previously, buy some DDR2100 RAM.

    Now, check your cpu heatsink and fan. Is it AMD Athlon XP approved? Not many are, so I would invest in a good one if I were you. Check out the Thermaltake models for a cost effective solution.

    Athlons are very power hungry, so ensure you have a power supply that is up to the job. Nothing short of a 300W one will suffice.

    Next, the chipset (gold) heatsink is attached using thermal tape, which only serves to keep the heatsink cool and the chipset hot. Twist the heatsink off and remove the double sided tape from both the heatsink and chipset. The tape should roll off the chipset okay but you may have to use a bit of isopropyl alcohol and elbow grease to remove the tape from the heatsink. Then apply some thermal paste and a drop of superglue at each corner of the chipset and stick the heatsink onto the chipset again. Leave for about 10 mins to dry.

    Now, check the BIOS settings for your cpu/memory configuration and change it to 133/133 FSB. This is the highest the board will run at, unless you download and flash a custom BIOS, which will let you overclock the board to 150/150 FSB. DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE FIXED THE HEATSINK ON THE CHIPSET!!! Unfortunately, this board does not support overclocking via the clock multipiler which, when enabled on your XP, is the much better option.

    Finally, save your pennies for a couple of weeks and buy a better board. You can then unlock your XP's clock multiplier using the superglue and silver lacquer method outined at Tom's Hardware.

    And good luck!

    My system:

    Athlon XP1800+ 266 FSB
    Thermaltake Golden Orb heatsink w/fan
    300W PSU
    256Mb PC133 SDRAM
    WD Protege 40Gb HDD (system)
    Maxtor 60GB HDD
    Asus Geforce2 MX400 64Mb AGP 4x Graphics w/tv-out
    Asus 16x/48x DVD-ROM
    Yamaha 2100S 16x10x40x CDRW
    2 x 3Com 10/100 NIC's
    C-Media Soundcard w/SPDIF in/out
    Ali Firewire Card (3 ext/1 int)
    Symbios SCSI adapter
    Belinea 106065 19" crt monitor
    Windows XP Pro OS
    PowerDVD Deluxe
    TV Tool 6.5
    Terayon Cable Modem (ntlWorld 128kbps)

    (System running 100% stable)

    Saving for Abit KRVA-133 Mobo and 512Mb SDR2100 RAM to let my Xp1800+ be overclocked to 2Ghz. :D
     
  29. terrythecat

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    Michaelm,
    The K7S5A MoBo seems just fine, the PC being nice and stable for the first time since getting into HCPC. I'm only using one stick of ram (256) so no problems there either. The chap in the shop said the fan I bought was OK up to XP 1400, my CPU is 1133 so that should be OK too. The PSU is man enough @ 400w. FSB now set to 133/133. The PC was on for 3 hrs last night and the CPU temp reached 55 degrees which I understand is not a problem, and this is in a room that has been getting VERY hot lately, what with the Barco kicking out the heat like a fan heater, ( I'm going to box the bugger in ) definately not wanted in a small HC.

    So, PC wise, everything is hunky dorey at the moment, so I'm going to leave well alone now and just enjoy the big picture.

    All the best

    Terry
     

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