View Full Version : computer freezing randomly

rob rhodes
04 April 2006, 10:22 AM

I built an AMD x2 4400 machine over xmas and it has always crashed randomly (screen just locks up) and im pretty sure its not a windows or program error as it can happen at any time and i reinstalled windows to see if that helped and it didn't. Though before the PC did switch itself off and restart saying it has recovered from a serious error but this hasn't happen since the windows reinstallation.

I tried replacing the graphics card by upgrading from a XFX geforce 6600 to a 7600 - which i was looking to do anyway but that hasn't made a difference.

my specs are:

AMD x2 4400 (slightly overclocked to 2300mhz from 2200mhz)
cooled with a vapochill micro extreme (runs at 45degrees absolute maximum when flat out rendering for hours)
MOBO: Epox EP-9NPA3 Ultra
RAM: 4 x 512mb Corsair value ram
HD: samsung spin point 200GB.
PSU: Arctic cooling 350w (built into my silentium T2 case)

I have bought another HD to work in a RAID set-up which ive been meaning to install so I could try just swapping the HD's to see if that helps - is it worth doing?

My feeling is it could be faulty RAM and looking at other threads someone suggested using memtest so I will try that. Then I suppose I could try swapping modules out. 2 of the 4 modules came with the mobo +Cpu as a upgrade kit saying they were compatible so I got the same for my extra RAM. I think ill slow the cpu down to stock speed to see if that helps but surely these modules would run with a AMD64 3700 or 4000+ that would run at 2400mhz 2600mhz which is a much faster than my 2300mhz. Am I best going for a higher performance RAM?

Other than those suggestions it would leave mobo or PSU (I think) my trouble is i've no way of testing them that i know of without just buying new parts. If its the psu then that means buying a new case as well. Are there any tests i can do to test these components (software or otherwise)?

Thanks for your help and sorry about the long post. Rob

04 April 2006, 12:13 PM
1) Run Random freezes and lockups are a VERY common symptom of bad ram (or ram thats being inadvertently overclocked)

2) If the problem still occurs, check your cpu temps in the bios. Report them back here. You can also check cpu temps (and do a burn in test) with si soft sandra.

Download the lite version. Your cpu temps should be in the 40-50C range.

3) If you then suspect a power issue...try disconnecting everything in the computer except for the hd, 1 video card, 1 stick of ram, and the cpu fan. Try to reproduce the problem then. Usually cutting out excess hd's and rom's is enough to reduce the power drain on a psu enough (if you are running too low of a wattage for your demands), to show where your problem might be.

You also shouldn't need to buy a new case to get a new psu. You can pick up a nice 500watt FSP psu from newegg for around 90 bucks.

This is the standard psu I use for single DC opterons at work.

rob rhodes
04 April 2006, 02:57 PM
Thanks Greg,

Ive downloaded memtest on my laptop so ill check it on my main pc but won't be until sunday. I hope it is the RAM in a funny way because that seems the easiest thing to replace and hopefully not too expensive at the moment, it seems you can pic up some higher quality RAM for reasonable prices (or about the same I paid for my value RAM 6 months ago. if i do need to replace the RAM is it likely (in peoples experiences) to be just one of the sticks (I have 4 x 512mb)? if so what would anybody reccommend doing to replace it? should I buy a new 1GB stick to replace the dud so that way I can justify spending more money increasing my RAM capacity (making it 2.5GB) or just get a 512 one to go with the other one? What about the need for pairing?
Finally what comeback do I have with Corsair - will they just say I can't prove its the RAM and blame it on the mobo or something?

Anyway cheers for your help.

P.S. CPU temps are usually below 45 degrees i have seen it at that after a nights rendering in a warm room but usual peak about 42 degrees.

04 April 2006, 03:20 PM
if i do need to replace the RAM is it likely (in peoples experiences) to be just one of the sticks (I have 4 x 512mb)?

Memtest will show you at which memory size the error occurs. If you have 4x512, and all the errors are occuring around 700-900 megs, then its most likely the 2nd dimm in the group.

Corsair should exchange the ram with no issues. Just tell them you ran memtest and got X amount of errors.

They might ask you to run a program confirming the ram is running at the proper spec, as ram being overclocked or running past its spd designations will result in errors sometimes as well.

04 April 2006, 09:18 PM
I have almost the same problem, not with freezing but with reboots when Iīm gaming and kind of sluggish viewport action in XSI.

I located the problem to the power supply, 350watt is not enough for a x2 4200+, 2gb ram, nVidia 6800GT(AGP), DFI nForce 3 UT, 2 HDD and 2 DVD/DVD RW.

It seems like the X2 and 6800GT sucks power out of the power supply when its working hard.

And I got 183413 errors in memtest on this computer(pass 0 test #5-8), but not a one error on my other computer when I tested the memory there.

So I just ordered a Hiper R-type 580watt PSU, that should be enough....I hope :)

rob rhodes
05 May 2006, 01:05 AM
Damn it I ran memtest a couple of times and no errors and still im crashing! It did tell me that my RAM was only running at 330mhz rather than 400mhz. So looked in the bios and id left it on auto - so manually changed it to 400. Is it right that the RAM mhz is directly linked to the CPU multiplier? my CPU was set at 210 x 11 and my ram ws showing up as 210mhz now as it was still crashing I slowed myCPU to stock speed of 200 and my RAM is back to 200mhz. But im still crashing. my RAM voltage is about 2.75V is that too high - my bios alarm system default is lower than that so I disable it.

So im thinking it might be the PSU - Fredie how are you getting on with your new PSU - has it solved it? Mine doesn't slow down at all it just freezes and I don't need to be pushing it, just had indesign and photoshop open there with small files open and it went. so don't think im straining the graphics card. Its a XFX geforce 7600 (passive cooled) so no cooling fan, but it does reccommend a min of a 350w PSU all the same, (runs about 33degrees so pretty cool). Do the AMD x2's suck power? Ive only got 1HD and 1 DVD so if i disconnect that DVD and just use 2 of my 4 512mb RAM (still need to get some work done)! and see if that makes a diff. But can't see it reducing the load all that much.

My PSU is a Seasonic / Arctic cooling one that is built into my arctic cooling case as far as i can see. its at the foot of the case with the fans pointing down into the plastic shoe / vent. It claims to give a lot of pull for a 350w PSU and they said it would handle a P43.8 with a 6800 so I was hoping it would be enough to power mine. - do the AMD x2's drain more than the top P4?

Might I have a mobo or CPU problem? or does this not sound like one of those? my CPU ws originally overclocked from 2200mhz (4400+) to 2400mhz (4800+) speed might I have fried it? Its never been above 48 degrees and that was only for a bit as i stopped it and put it down to 2300mhz and it rarely gets to 45degrees - so I dont think its ever got too hot. Is there other damage you can do?

Anyway sorry for the long post again and thanks for your help guys,


05 May 2006, 08:36 AM
I hope I have my new PSU today, but I can play COD2 in DX7 mode with the PSU Iīve got now.

The wattage is not the most importent thing when it comes to power an X2, ampere is the most importent thing to look for.

The Seasonic/Arctic-cooling PSU only put out 17A on +12v, it should be atleast 20A at minimum on the +12v for an X2.

This PSU that I have now is going in to my second computer with a 3500+ that is freezing just like yours, in that comp I have a Antec PSU that just puts out 16A, and this FSP PSU is putting out 18A and thats not enough for my X2 4200+ but it is enough for my 3500+ and a 9800 pro graphicscard.

They are suckers for good juice.

rob rhodes
05 May 2006, 10:11 AM
wow thats really interesting freddie, please let me know how you get on with your new PSU as it sounds like we have both been suffering with power loss. What amper does your new PSU put out? How on earth do shuttles cope with AMDx2's as their top PSU is about 330w (don't know about amps though). if it is my PSU its not a total loss as I can reuse the old case with some cheep bits to go with my spare HD and graphics card!

Anyone got any case + PSU recommendations?


05 May 2006, 11:11 AM
This is the one I ordered:

It has 2 X +12v lines, one with 20Ampere and one with 18Ampere.
That should be enough for future upgrades :)

And it has a nice feature that the smaller 80mm fan stays on for a couple of minutes after shutdown to vacate hot air :)

05 May 2006, 11:15 AM
Rob, are you filling all the memory slots on your mobo? I have an Abit KN8, and according to the manual, if you fill all memory slots, the memory does not run at PC3200 speed (so you are overclocking it if you are even running it at spec, let alone when you bump it up) I recall reading someone else complaining about this on another mobo also. Try removing 2 dimms and set all CMOS settings (clock speeds) to Auto or default.

Your power supply sounds like it might be SLIGHTLY anemic, but I am pretty sure the problem is with memory timing.

My PSU, I highly recommend it. 14cm fan:

05 May 2006, 11:23 AM
Some searching ( I did.

More. (

I would not be surprised if this is not a limitation of the Athlon memory controller or the nForce 4 chipset, thus affecting pretty much all AMD systems.

rob rhodes
05 May 2006, 02:18 PM
thanks guys, i havn't much time at the mo but will look into it at the weekend. Ive just downloaded the AMDx2 driver which I didn't realise you needed to do - don't remember mine coming with one. Is it worth installing? might it help. I took my top two RAM sticks out and it crashed again in about half an hour just with win image viewer open so deff not straining it! so swapped in my other RAM and it went the rest of the day without crashing but Im not holding my breath just yet as it could easily crash tommorrow! Anyway thanks again, its a real pain this coz iv'e got so much on - the last thing I need is a dodgy PC!

05 May 2006, 02:31 PM
Hate to dissapoint you, but I have the exact same problem on my x2 4800+ rig, installing AMD's driver didn't help. Am taking it to the shop today, will report back here when I have some answers...

05 May 2006, 02:48 PM
Got my new PSU today, installed it and played COD2 for an half hour then the computer frooze, not reboot as it used to.

BUT it is always when I have DX9 turned on in COD2 instead of DX7, when DX7 is turned on instead of DX9 I can play for a hole day without problem.

But the game ran smoother with this PSU so it had some problem with the juice anyway.

So back to the error searching :/

Rob, is the program your using using DX9 in some way?
Like 3ds max?

A wild guess only, but since you have a 7600 and I have 6800 and have the similar problem.

Maybe it has something to do with the cards and DX9.
Just a wild guess.

I have tested with a lot of memory sticks, 5 PSUs, 2 motherboards and get the same ending, freezing or rebooting.

rob rhodes
05 May 2006, 04:12 PM
Oh no thats bad news freddie. I don't use MAX I use Cinema4D, Maxwell, photoshop - i don't think they use DX at all! Well I had a 6600 card before my 7600 card and that froze as well so not sure if it is the cards as thats 3 models tested and I havn't been running games or DX. Sounds like we have a similar problem but whether its the same cause or not I don't know as you've said your running DX7 with no probs.

Interesting that you've tried another mobo and still no luck. I've been thinking about that as my next target but don't know how to test it without forking out for another one. Also interesting to see that tkapeta2 has got a similar prob on his 4800+ so maybe its the processor. Which would be a killer. I don't know enough about this problem really but its really frustrating when you've lost hours of maxwell rendering time!! I have been saving often but you can't save an image in maxwell halfway through at the mo I don't think.

tkapeta2: yes please tell us what they say at the shop - thats the beauty of buying it from a local shop! I built mine myself and your kind of stuck when it all goes pear shaped!

05 May 2006, 05:38 PM
I took my top two RAM sticks out and it crashed again in about half an hour just with win image viewer open so deff not straining it! so swapped in my other RAM and it went the rest of the day without crashing but Im not holding my breath just yet as it could easily crash tommorrow! Anyway thanks again, its a real pain this coz iv'e got so much on - the last thing I need is a dodgy PC!

At the same time, did you set all clocks and voltages back to automatic/default? You might also want to try some different memory rather than Corsair? I don't use Corsair due to reading about some flakiness in several different locations.

You might try UNDERclocking everything also. I still put money on ram timings.

05 May 2006, 06:58 PM
Some searching ( I did.

More. (

I would not be surprised if this is not a limitation of the Athlon memory controller or the nForce 4 chipset, thus affecting pretty much all AMD systems.

Its pretty commonly known that older revisions of the Athlon64 could not use DDR400 when all 4 slots were full. However, recent revisions (as early as the first E stepping CPUs) can. Albiet you must use 2T timings rather than the preferred 1T. If you wish to use 1T, you must down clock the RAM to DDR333 speeds. This is a limitation of the memory controller and has nothing to do with the motherboard.

This topic has come up in several threads on these forums in the past. Take a search :)

05 May 2006, 07:32 AM
tkapeta2: yes please tell us what they say at the shop - thats the beauty of buying it from a local shop! I built mine myself and your kind of stuck when it all goes pear shaped!

Actually I built mine as well, I always build my own systems, and I've never had this kind of problems. However I did buy the CPU, motherboard and RAM from the same vendor so I took it to their service department. I can fix a lot of stuff, either software or hardware problems, but in this case I got sick of playing guessing games, so I'm paying professionals to resolve the problem for me. When I find out what was wrong, I will make as detailed a report as possible. My money is on the motherboard, though.. there must be some voltage inconsistency or something like that somewhere.. My general impression with dual cores for now is that support for them is still sketchy at best. Sometimes I feel like I don't have a CPU I bought at the store, but rather like I'm testing a prototype :)

05 May 2006, 10:45 AM
That PSU isn't man enough, whatever the cause I would still look into changing it. If you don't you risk destroying you mb, hardrive and cpu. Your kit basically.

I know when I had my x24200 and 7800 gtx running through my 300w UPS it had problems. It would beep and kick in when I played games. Basically my kit was drawing too much juice. More than the 300w could handle.

Freddie have you installed all hotfixes and patches correctly?

There is also a registry fix you can do for opengl, which has certainly helped some dualcore lightwave users.

You know I am just wondering if these are a dodgy batch of chips. If I overclock my system and don't pump enough voltage through the cpu, I experience freezing just the same.

A good idea would be to get hold of prime95

I'd set everything at default. Remove all but 1 memory stick and then run a torture test.

When you download this app you want to make a copy of it and run two at a time. Set affinity to cpu 1 and 0 and run something like a custom blend test on it. You need to set the memory setting at under half your total ram. So if that's 512 mb, set it to something like 200 or 250.

It's an overclockers tool basically, but will stress both ram and cpu. If it fails at default then it would suggest a possible problem with the cpu, and maybe you should think about returning it.


05 May 2006, 01:56 PM
On the AMD platform, its not the dual core thats so much buggy. As software that takes advantage of dual CPUs is just fine with the dual core CPUs. Similarly for the single threaded apps. Insted I've noticed more problems with the motherboards for AMD chips. There seems to be a real inconsistancy between boards of the same make, from any company. All of the big companies seem to have at least one major problem with thier boards.

Though alot of time you can peg this on user ignorance, its still a roll of the dice to get a good mobo out of the deal...

05 May 2006, 02:53 PM
Totally agree Lots. What's more frustrating is manufacturers not actually owning up to mistakes.

Just my experience. Asus A8N SLi-Deluxe, dodgy chip-set fan. Asus A8N32-SLI deluxe, ran extremely hot. Asus probe in the red, warning alert for chip-set (Ironically it has pictures of snowflakes on the back). DFI Expert, temperature reported is approx 10 degrees cooler than real temp, again have history of dodgy chip-set fans. DFI Ultra-D, memory voltage is .1v up to .2v more than what is set in bios. Other than that Ultra-D owners seem pretty damn happy.

Basically from what little experience I do have, the lesson learnt is that more expensive doesn't mean better. In my opinion Asus A8N-premium and DFI-Ultra D are probably among the good choices for AMD motherboards.

I don't know of many buggy X2's, but I do know of one recent case where the guy was having to up his voltage just to run at stock. So occasionally they are problematic.


05 May 2006, 05:48 AM
Well my Tyan has been great ;) Though for the $400 its worth, it better be :P I also notice that boards I keep for my self in systems built for me, everything works perfectly. In systems I've assembled for friends, using pretty much the exact same parts, they start having problems. Dunno what it is, but some people just cant touch comptuers..... Bad things start to happen :P

QA is a tough job. Its hard to get every item out of the factory perfect every time. That said, it makes you wonder how all the big brands managed to get thier reputations for stability, while almost all of them have some problem..

On the flip side.. Abit NF4 boards have been doing fairly well in the systems i've seen. My brother, and two or 3 friends of mine built machines around these boards.

05 May 2006, 10:34 PM
I totally forgot about a thing until a couple of days ago, Iīve been busy error checking that I repressed how it all began.:blush:

A couple of month ago, I was playing COD2 online with a friend when the computer rebooted by it self and one minute later after reboot rebooted again by itself.
So I went in to the BIOS and checked health status, the fan on the motherboard that is cooling the nForce3 chipset stood still.

So I contacted DFI and got a new chipsetfan from them 3 days later, it seemed to work fine for a week then it started reboot again but the fan ran at 4000+ rpm as it should and the nForce3 chipset was around 40C.

Didnīt think a moment about the motherboard since a friend of mine have had the same fan breakdown problem with his nForce2 motherboard and he has not have any problem since.

SO I expected that the RAM maybe got damaged at that time, so I bought 2 new 1gb sticks.
One of them didnīt work so I got that one changed and the computer worked fine but not in COD2, then it rebooted as usual.

So I read an article on the swedish IDG homepage about that the PSU was the mother of all f*ckups when it came to crashing computers, so I tested that theori and it wasnīt that either, but it felt a little quicker then before so it helped something anyway.

SO now I using my old MSI motherboard and havenīt had a reboot since friday.

But I had a total freeze thursday night, the music frooze in one place and I couldnīt do anything except hard reboot with the resetbutton and I had a fatal error in COD2 on friday .

So I rebooted and got an error message as soon as I logged in on XP that said that win XP recovered from a severe malfunction or something like that.

So I rebooted again and started up XSI, and found out that the files Iīm working on was corrupted and alot of other files to in my XSI project.

So on friday I ran the online seatools from seagate, and found a error that is in need of repair on my harddrive.
So I ran a scandisc with repair errors and the other stuff checked.

It couldnīt repair the disc :/

So this weekend have been fun, error checking and recovering of corrupted files and saving what can be saved. :banghead:

So it seems that the nForce3 chipset doesnīt have any failsafe mechanism against overheating. :banghead:

And that my HDD got a little fried at the fan breakdown.:cry:

Murphy's law applies at my home for sure :/

rob rhodes
05 May 2006, 10:17 PM
Sorry to hear about your HD Freddie - what a nightmare.

I've gone nearly a week now without it crashing. installed latest mobo drivers, AMD drivers and took 1 GB of RAM out and switched the power conectors for my CPU fan and HD to separate cables - they were both coming off the same one. I need to put one of the RAM sticks back in to see if its one of those. But strange I got no errors with memtest86
I wrote to Arctic cooling and they said the power should be fine as they have been running a pentium D 840 with a ATI 1900XT with no probs.

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