Hardware problem (I suppose)

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by FeelTheRads, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. FeelTheRads

    FeelTheRads Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 15, 2004
    I used to have this configuration:

    Motherboard: Ali M1621
    Processor: Celeron 333MHz on Slot 1
    Ram: 2*32 + 1*64 PC100
    Video: GeForce2 MX 400 32Mb AGP
    Sound: Some Yamaha thingie on PCI
    Hard disk: Quantum Fireball 3.2Gb.

    Now, I have this:

    Motherboard: The same
    Processor Pentium III 450MHz on Slot 1
    Ram: 1*128 PC133
    Video: The same
    Sound: The same
    Hard disk: Quantum Fireball 3.2Gb + Quantum Fireball 5Gb.

    The problem (that seems to appear for random periods of time) is that in some 3d games and other 3d applications the computers locks up and usually the only thing I can do is press the reset button. However there are differences... in some games it locks only for about 10 seconds and then it starts moving again, in others I can use Ctrl+Alt+Del to close it and others simply stop responding for good.
    Also, it seems that this lock-up doesn't affect the sound because I can still hear the music in the game and other sounds... for example once it locked-up during a tutorial of a game and that guy kept talking while everything was frozen on the screen.
    I had this problem with my previous configuration and I have it with this one too, both on Win98 SE and Win2000. I tried both without the Yamaha sound card by using the on-board sound card and with no sound card at all.

    Now, since almost everything was changed (or not used) except for the motherboard and the video card, I assume the problem is somewhere around them, but I'm suspecting the video card since there are some weird issues with it, like: In Win2000 I have to use a very old Detonator driver because otherwise the monitor flickers (just like it does when you install Win2000) randomly. I tried the latest driver from the NVIDIA site and no luck. In Win98SE I can install any driver without problems, but on certain shades of grey some green dots appear.

    So... basically the question is: can it be something else and not the video card? The motherboard maybe? I don't know... but I think if the motherboard would be broken it would lock up completely... so no sound or Ctrl+Alt+Del still working.
  2. Briosafreak

    Briosafreak Lived Through the Heat Death

    Dec 18, 2003
    Well how should i say this? You`re using last decade tech and trying to play 3d games with it, in the days of DX9b and OpenGL2.0. There`s nothing you can do, the things your video card actually can stand are killed by the 128 megs and your processor and mobo from the Midlle Ages. So maybe it´s time to move on and get something new, what do you say?
  3. Sovz

    Sovz Vault Dweller

    Aug 11, 2003
    true, time to scrap that old junk you have (you can still use it as a file server or play with linux on it).
  4. FeelTheRads

    FeelTheRads Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 15, 2004
    Of course it's ancient technology, and it wouldn't bother me if that would be the cause, but it's not since the problem appeared about 3 months ago.

    And anyway, games that should run smoothly on this computer, like Quake 2, lock-up too.
  5. Ashmo

    Ashmo Half-way Through My Half-life

    Jul 2, 2004
    If it worked before, I'd still suspect issues with one or more of the hardware components.

    The RAM might be borked. Try replacing it (some computer stores let you return RAM even if it was in your machine for a day or so) and if that doesn't have any effect, I'd suspect it might be the processor (switching from Celeron to Pentium III doesn't sound like the smartest idea to me, especially without reinstalling Windows).

    For shits and giggles you could try removing the new harddisk, but I doubt that that's even remotely close to the problem -- at least it's one of the easiest things to do and doesn't cost you a dime.

    Lastly, some people manage to damage (w00t! rhyme!) their motherboard when replacing CPUs (I know I did that once -- didn't matter, the mobo was crap anyway), but usually that results in the computer not working at all. Still, y' never know.

    In general Windows isn't exactly the least complicated OS when it comes to replacing critical hardware without a fresh install, so it's usually a good idea to reinstall it in either case (once I ran into a problem that for some absurd reason could only be fixed by installing the drivers in a particular order, DirectX before the actual video driver even).

    I agree with the general opinion tho: If you want to try more recent 3D games, your computer is horribly out of sync with technological progress. Consider turning it into a server and getting a better computer as Desktop PC.
  6. Sovz

    Sovz Vault Dweller

    Aug 11, 2003
  7. FeelTheRads

    FeelTheRads Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 15, 2004
    As I said, I had the same problem with the old RAM and the old processor.

    And I have reinstalled Windows several times trying different things... like installing other drivers, and yes, even changing the order in which I installed them.

    I don't want that. I want to be able again to play games I used to without any problems.
  8. Ashmo

    Ashmo Half-way Through My Half-life

    Jul 2, 2004
    Sell it on eBay and buy a new one?
  9. Montez

    Montez So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Jun 20, 2003
    Could possibly be a cooling issue too, though I guess you be seeing more graphical glitches than lock-ups if that were the case. I'm sure that PIII throws off a lot more heat than a celeron in any case - did you get a decent cpu fan for it?
  10. FeelTheRads

    FeelTheRads Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 15, 2004
    Since I already feel I'm spamming the place, I'll try to be more clear and post all the things I have tried. Sorry for not posting them from the start.

    -The problem was there for quite some time before making the upgrade.
    -It's random. Today and tomorrow it might work with no problems, and then suddenly start locking-up again.

    I have tried:
    -removing the sound card and using the on-board one.
    -with no sound card at all.
    -various configurations: the old processor with the new RAM and the new processor with the old RAM.
    -removing the new hard-disk.
    -reseting the BIOS.
    -formatting the hard-disks.
    -reinstalling Windows several times both on FAT32 and NTFS
    -using different video drivers and different DirectX versions.
    -cleaned the dust from all the components.
    -hmm.. "fingering" the heat-sink on the CPU and it was barely warm after hours of using the computer - both with the Celeron and the Pentium III

    That's all I can remember for now. I'll edit it later if I can remember more.

    I hope I can get someone to let me try their video card on my computer and see if that's actually the problem. This issue I alread posted:
    makes me think the video card is the problem, but who knows, maybe the two problems are not related to each other.

    Ah, goddamnit, I'm more and more tempted to use Sovz's advice and hammer down the whole computer.
  11. SkynetV4

    SkynetV4 Mildly Dipped

    Jan 25, 2005
    Have you tried rotating the sticks of RAM in different slots? Have you gotten any blue screens? If you start having Page Faults in Non Paged Area and IRQ NOT LESS THAN EQUAL errors you might be looking a troublesome RAM or faulty mobo memory slots. Also the VRAM on the video card could be going down the wash.

    Dell-branded advise: www.pricewatch.com

    Try another computer.
  12. DarkShade1989

    DarkShade1989 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 21, 2003
    I had a similar problem. Any game involving 3d acceleration would lock up after 15-20 minutes. After swapping most of the parts in the computer, it turned out to be the video card (a Radeon 8500). I'm not sure if it was a cooling problem or the card was just defective, but buying a newer card seemed to fix the problem.
  13. Dove

    Dove Half-way Through My Half-life

    Dec 2, 2003
    When it comes to vide cards dying after time, it can be dirty heat sinks, and fans. Clean them before you do anything drastic.
  14. Dracon M'Alkir

    Dracon M'Alkir Vault Senior Citizen

    Jul 19, 2004
    *sigh* One of two things.

    1. Video Card Overheating (most likely).
    2. Not enough AGP power. (a little less likely).

    How to test #1!
    1. Buy a big big fan.
    2. Open the side of your case.
    3. Plug the big big fan in.
    4. Turn it on super high and let it blow in your case.
    5. Play Quake 2, and if it doesn't freeze after 10 min. it's overheating.
    6. If it STILL does freeze, try option #2.

    How to test #2
    1. Reboot your PC (or just turn it on if you haven't)
    2. Hold down the DEL key.
    3. Find the AGP settings option within your bios.
    4. Change the voltage to 1.7v.
    5. Exit and save settings.
    6. Run Quake 2 and if it doesn't freeze after 10 min, then you're good.
    7. If it DOES still freeze or if your comp doesn't boot up after setting changes, then reset your bios using the proper jumper on your motherboard and RMA your card. Or let your card meet Mr. Hammer.

    Dark Legacy
  15. FeelTheRads

    FeelTheRads Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 15, 2004
    Well... guess what?

    I've tried another video card and there is no difference. The same problem occurs.

    Don't know... I guess I'll have to try another motherboard now... if I can still find something that can handle the other components.

    Thanks everyone for trying to help.
  16. Scrapper

    Scrapper First time out of the vault

    Apr 2, 2005
    You know, you can get decent systems nowadays for less than $500. I mean, they're not gonna be uber Alienware machines, but right now anything is better than the pre-Y2k junker you're using.
  17. Lord 342

    Lord 342 Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    May 21, 2004
    While I strongly advise, much like everyone else here, that you upgrade to a newer machine, I can say that I have had positive gaming experience with the following machine:
    Intel PIII 500MhZ
    256MB RAM
    64MB ATI video card

    Believe it or not I was able to play MechWarrior 4 Mercs on that old rig, in spite of it needing something like at LEAST an 800 MhZ system! It would't be hard to put more memory in your machine (Find the Main Board specs and install the upward limit. I'm serious. This will help A LOT. If your upward limit is already 128MB, then don't waste your money. Save it for a new system.) and also a newere video card than the 32MB, that's not a lot. 64 is the bare minimum, and you could do better for not much money. 128 is pretty good these days,but for any kind of RAM. more is better, always.