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MP3s/computer  from hell??

Posted on 1998-09-12
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Last Modified: 2008-02-26
Hi,

   I just upgraded my computers' motherboard and CPU.  And it seems that everytime i play certain MP3s, my computer screen will go black and the computer will reboot!  I tend to notice this more true with hip-hop music.  Some songs will get towards the middle and the screen will go black and the machine will reboot.  Some songs will play for 3 seconds and the same will happen.  This has got me really concerned!  
I am beginning to suspect it has something to do with the video card.  I had problems from the get go with my new system but i thought i ironed it out.  I will summarize and explain my upgrade experience below:

1) Originally bought an ABIT BH-6 mobo but couldn't get NT to install whatsoever.  The machine would just continuously reboot about 5% into the installation.  Got a new BH-6 from the store, same problem!  Replaced CD-Rom, same problem.  Tried different harddrive, same problem.  Stripped the computer of all nonessential components, same problem.  Tried separating the ram chips (1 33 MB from Toshiba, and 1 64 Mb from unknown but gauranteed to work with a BX), same problem.

2) Returned the Abit and got an Asus.  Installed NT with no problems.  Now i got the MP3 problem!!  Ran WinTune 97 to check out the components, no error messages.  One weird thing though, it reports my CPU at 326 instead of 333 even though i shut most of programs running in the background.

I have replaced and tested every major component in the system except the ram, video card, and CPU.  Please see my post in this section about "telltale signs of failing video carsd."  Could my video card be the culprit?  The only symptom i received from the video card is that my screen booted up yellow before but i fixed that by reinserting the card into another slot.  Would a conflict with devices cause this?  Please exlain.

Please post comments only and i will select the best comment/answer and reward it an A+.

Specs:

Pentium II 333 boxed (strange that WinTune reports it as a PII 326).

Asus 2PB BX chipset
96 MB of ram (dimms @ 66 speed)
2 maxtor UDMA harddrives
SB 16 PNP
Matrox Mystique 220 PCI 4 MB ram
Canopus pure 3d addon card w/voodoo chipset
NT 4.0 workstation
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Question by:dankh
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by:khemicals
ID: 1124993
check the voltages of the power supply with a volt meter and make sure that they are correct..... make sure that the memory is set to the correct speed or slower in the bios... do not tell the bios that 70ns simm is 60ns... or just switch it to the highest number available
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by:khemicals
ID: 1124994
check the voltages of the power supply with a volt meter and make sure that they are correct..... make sure that the memory is set to the correct speed or slower in the bios... do not tell the bios that 70ns simm is 60ns... or just switch it to the highest number available
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by:dankh
ID: 1124995
Khem,

    Had a field support technician check the voltage of the power supply at work with his lil gadget:  everything checked out fine.  I will take a closer look at the ram settings, although i believe it is at default.
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by:khemicals
ID: 1124996
just another general comment to add to this
my computer is running winnt server 4 and it reboots seemingly randomly on me every now and then... have no clue as to what is causing this though... i strongly believe it to be a compatability issue with certain devices/drivers as i replaced my internal modem with and external and now it occurrs a lot less.... where it would happen 1 or 2 times a week it is now down to 1 or 2 times a month

also consider the possibility of heat... how hot is the room with the computer... is the computer in direct sunlight... etc etc etc... try another cooling fan in the case
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by:dankh
ID: 1124997
Hi,


   Half the components in this computer are a few days old.  The other half are under 6 months old.  The case runs at 89 to 110 degrees Farhenheit.  I don't think it is a heat problem, because i have ran the components in this computer at the same location succesfully.  

I have this intuitive sense that it involves the Video card or CPU.  I have borrowed two different Video cards and will test them out.  If not the video, i am going to have to return the 7 day old boxed cpu and get another  one.  I am lost here.  What is strange is that i get no error messages whatsoever!  If something is failing, it causes my comp to reboot!  If only i had an error message to work with.  
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Expert Comment

by:BabyBoomer
ID: 1124998
- Make sure that your dimms are PC/100 compatible.
- Make sure that your mainboard is configured extremely perfect ( either jumpers or bios )
- Consider recompiling the mp3s with a PROFESSIONAL program, preferably from Fraunhofer.

( I've had the problem that each MP3 I compiled with Fraunhofer and recompiled to a WAV with MP3 2 WAV was ready to be thrown away.
Stick to Fraunhofer !
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by:mark2150
ID: 1124999
Case runs 90 to 110? That's way too hot!

Voltage tests don't tell you much as power comming in to MB is adjusted to specific voltage CPU needs. (There are a set of four pins that the CPU uses to tell voltage regulator exactly what voltage level is needed. So variations on CPU voltage from chip to chip are normal.


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by:warmcat
ID: 1125000
dankh,

What MP3 _player_ are you using?  It's a red herring to consider the encoder, as even a garbage encode should never cause the player to combust.

Your spontaneous reboots never occur unless you play these 'bad' MP3s?

It does sound like the problem 'belongs' to one of your components you tried in both motherboards, and the ABIT one just happened to act as a better 'problem detector' than the ASUS.

Regards,

-Andy
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by:warmcat
ID: 1125001
... just had another thought.... how are your speakers powered?  Possibly it is the soundcard trying to power the speakers during an 'intense' drumbeat with the volume turned up that is causing the 12V line to sag, triggering the LM79 monitoring thing.

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by:ryans
ID: 1125002
Let's step back a bit.... Is this still an issue??

"One weird thing though, it reports my CPU at 326 instead of 333"

If so, this should be the place to start troubleshooting.  What is displayed when the system does it's Post Diagnostics?  You may also want to double check with www.asus.com for the latest BIOS revison.  Also, I know lately there have been quite a few addendums to the ASUS manuals regarding "clock frequecies" stating corrections.
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by:dankh
ID: 1125003
Hi,

  Ok, I have replaced the video card and the damn thing hasn't rebooted yet on these MP3s.  Goddamn, talk about weird.  It is too soon to say it is fixed, so i will continue to run it for a few hours and see if i can get the damn thing to reboot. Funny, now i am trying to crash the damn thing.

Ryans:

My bios reports the CPU at 333 and Win NT reports it as 333.  However, this darn WinTune max at 326 even though i shut down all running programs.  I am going to return the CPU and get another one--just to be safe.  The chances of getting a bad, boxed CPU from Intel is very low.  But **** happens i guess.  Also, i have the latest Bios.  This board was made 2 weeks ago.

Warmcat:

   I agree with you, the mp3 encoder really has nothing to do with it.  Besides, i have tested the mp3s on other machines.  I am using WinAmp 1.92.  I think the ABIT was more picky about my components than the new mobo.  I know there is something not kosher with one of my components, and it seems to be the video card.  Maybe it is on the blink and it acts up intermittingly.  My speakers are powered by a separate adapter, so we can rule out the LM79 thing, what ever the hell that is.  :)

BabyBoomer:

   I am using a 333 PII with a 66 FSB so PC100 ram is not needed.  My mobo was configured by me and an engineer at work, and we checked it at least twice already.  No connection/configuration problems.


Mark:

   My Bios reports a temp of 86 degrees on first boot so 90 to 110 degrees during use doesn't seem all that high.  Besides, i have ran another machine at exactly the same location without extra cooling devices.
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by:dankh
ID: 1125004
Hi,

   Ok, the damn thing rebooted again!  As the MP3 was playing, i emptied my trash bin and voila: blank screen and reboot.  What the hell is going on here??  My last component is the CPU, now.  It better be that cause i am running out of ideas.  Could this problem be due to running two harddrives on the same IDE port?  I have two Maxtor Diamnond Maxes with UDMA support.  

Could it be a heat problem??  
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by:warmcat
ID: 1125005
Dankh,

LM79 is a chip on many modern motherboards which monitors in-case temperature, fan speed, and various voltages.  It can provoke a reset if any of these thing go over or under preset levels.

Possibly Mark thought you meant ºC instead of ºF.

Glad you seem to have resolved your problem.

Regards,

-Andy


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by:warmcat
ID: 1125006
doh!
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by:khemicals
ID: 1125007
when it reports a boot up temp as 86... is 86 farenheit or celcius??
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by:warmcat
ID: 1125008
Dankh,

Could be some stinky interrupt problem.  Check the IRQ used by the soundcard and try changing it to something new.  Also, I recall hearing somewehere the UDMA mode IDE can cause diseases somewhere.  You might consider turning off the DMA mode and using the old PIO modes to see if that's the issue.

I must admit this is very vague, desperate advice.

Regards,

-Andy
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by:dankh
ID: 1125009
Hi,

   Ok, i got the new CPU.  I am going to test it out and pray that was the problem.  When i talk about temperature, i am referring to Farhenheit not Celcious.  If it was 90 degrees celcius, then we are talking problems.  

   Since the change in video cards, my MP3s won't cause the machine to reboot.  The problem has transferred itself to the second harddrive.  When i am playing an MP3 and i try to access the second harddrive (waking it up from sleep) the machine reboots.  Damnest thing!  This is how my harddrives are setup:

IDE 1 (master):  Maxtor UDMA 5.2 GB with NT only (2 partitions)
IDE 1 (slave):  Maxtor UDMA 5.7 GB for storage use only (2 partitions).

I store my MP3s on the slave drive and play them from there.  Maybe the IDE port doesn't like using two drives concurrently?

I tried setting my bios to default: that doesn't fix the problem.
I tried playing with the IRQs and DMAs for the soundcard: doesn't fix the problem.

I don't think it is a conflict with IRQs and such because all the devices work.  

Anyway, i am going to install the new CPU and see if that will fix it.  If not, then i will rearrange my Harddrives to separate IDE ports and see if that works.  I will even replace all the cables!

Allow me to recap what i have done:

1) Been through 3 different MOBOS.

2) Replaced the harddrive, cdrom, separated the ram chips, and installed different video card.

3) Checked out the new case with a voltage meter to make sure it is correct.

4) Played with the bios settings and even set it to default.


I am trying to figure out a correlation between what i am doing and the notorious crash and reboot.  I have never had so much trouble with a computer before!  
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by:Otta
ID: 1125010
> Case runs 90 to 110? That's way too hot!

It depends. My body-temperature is 99 degrees (Fahrenheit),
while the water in the steaming kettle is 99 degrees (Celsius).

Remove one of the two DIMMs (32MB or 64MB),
("Mega" meaning 1024*1024, not 1000*1000)
and see if that helps.

>  When i am playing an MP3 and i try to access the second
> harddrive (waking it up from sleep) the machine reboots.

IRQ #14 is used by the "primary" IDE channel,
and the one (or two) devices on that channel,
while IRQ #15 is used by the "second" IDE channel
and the one (or two) devices on that channel.

So, if "something-else", namely audio or video card, is using IRQ #15,
and then you try to use IRQ #15 for disk I/O,
then "unpredictable results", including rebooting can occur.
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by:public
ID: 1125011
The 3d video board may be a problem. You may want to disable power management in bios. Also disable video bios shadow. Proper NT drivers may not be available for chipset devices. Win95 did not include UDMA drivers. Does nt include these?
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by:danpaul091498
ID: 1125012
Intermitten reboots and shut downs usuallly indicate that the power supply you are using is to small. You might consider a 300w job. Secondly, Winnt is not the best choices in OS's for what you are doing. Try running WIN95 on an experimental basis and see what happens. But from what you say it is possible that the power supply or a driver conflict is causing your problem.I don't think swapping out hardware is a very good solution to the problem. Start with a minimum setup and see what happens. Don't run two HD's-run only one and see if you get the reboot.
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by:warmcat
ID: 1125013
Dankh-sehr,

Actually dan might have a point there, seeing as you a spinning up the 2nd HDD from sleep.  I assume the case and PSU has also been a constant throughout these tests?

Regards,

-Andy
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by:busuka
ID: 1125014
OK, looked discussion and I think you guys overlooked one thing:
DRAM Read/Write timings in BIOS setup. Try to increase them
slightly and check your MP3-hell again :)
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by:warmcat
ID: 1125015
bus,

You're not wrong, but on the two motherboards I bought recently the BIOS no longer has these settings: it works it out itself from information provided by the DRAM S/DIMMS.

Regards,

-Andy
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by:tommes
ID: 1125016
dankh, -just two things:
to my knowledge, a BX board only works best with SDRAM's (DIMM's), they can differ in size but have to be from the same manufacturer (and, at the end, they are very cheap).
sounds very unusual, but, can it be that you got a PII 300 and "overclocked" it to 333 ?
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Expert Comment

by:ewilson
ID: 1125017
Just Curious:

  1.  You mentioned changing slots for your vid card... um didn't you get an AGP card for        your PIIBX mobo?

  2.  Do you have winamp set to cache the entire song before playing or is it spooling?

  3.  Why are you using an NT server to play MP3's?
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Expert Comment

by:ewilson
ID: 1125018
Dankh, sounds like your problem isn't the computer but possably the power going to the computer... Do you have a UPS? if so active or passive? if not how many things do you have plugged into that particular power circuit?  I have encountered problems in the past with overloaded wall outlets not drawing a steady enough current and causing intermittent reboots.  You may want to try running an extension cord from an outlet on another breaker and using it to power your server only, leaving the speakers/printer/peripherals on the existing power.  If this works then you need to trim down on the power consumption or call an electrician out.
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by:ewilson
ID: 1125019
Dankh, sounds like your problem isn't the computer but possably the power going to the computer... Do you have a UPS? if so active or passive? if not how many things do you have plugged into that particular power circuit?  I have encountered problems in the past with overloaded wall outlets not drawing a steady enough current and causing intermittent reboots.  You may want to try running an extension cord from an outlet on another breaker and using it to power your server only, leaving the speakers/printer/peripherals on the existing power.  If this works then you need to trim down on the power consumption or call an electrician out.
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by:danpaul091498
ID: 1125020
I can suggest one possibility. I was setting up a computer once. I put IE on the computer and AOL. It worked for a while, but all of a sudden the screen would go black and it would reboot. I then reinstalled everything except for AOL. It worked fine after that. I think your problem is not hardware; rather, I believe it is software. It's probably a driver NT can't handle or some other software related issue. I would try running your hardware under Win95-98 and see if the problem still occurs.
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by:tedoff
ID: 1125021
Sorry if I can't provide specifics which would prove most helpful, but it sounds like a problem I've encountered with Asus before.  Please check your CPU's exact clock speed from Intel, and not from Asus, and make sure the motherboard is set for that speed.  Your PC is rebooting probably because the CPU is being underclocked.  For example, a CPU running at 75MHz will not function right on a motherboard trying to run it at 66MHz.  Get your CPU speed from the CPU, not from the motherboard manufacturer . . . Asus has been wrong before, as have other manufacturers!!!
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by:mlaiosa
ID: 1125022
Although I've neaver head of a CPU not working becaouse if undercloceking, that could explain you benchmark issue
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by:warmcat
ID: 1125023
tedoff,

Maybe you know something that has passed me by, but 'underclocking' sounds like total nonsense to me.  The CPU has no clock source of its own, on the die or in the Slot 1 module.  Its clocks are all provided by the motherboard.  Although some non-static designs can stop working at very slow clock rates, say, under 500kHz, this cannot happen at the rates you're talking about.  The CPU will work at any clock speed up to its rated speed, and usually somewhat past that depending on the temperature.

mlaiosa,

The 326 vs 333 thing is almost certainly due to numbnut benchmarking software.  Perhaps the loop they use to determine the speed was crafted for a Pentium, not a P2, or the multitasking of NT is affecting it somehow.

dankh,

You should try to eliminate the second HDD as an issue.  Copy a 'bad' MP3 to your primary HDD and allow the second HDD to spin down.  Then try to play the MP3 from the primary HDD and see if you can provoke the problem.

Regards,

-Andy
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by:dankh
ID: 1125024
Hi,

   Ok, the CPU was replaced.  I have been running it for a day now while trying my best to crash the thing without success!!  I have brought multi-tasking to a new level and the computer has not crashed yet.  I am convinced now that i had a bunk CPU.  That would explain why my OS didn't install on the first mobo. And even though the second mobo accepted it, i had problems subsequently.  Even Intel screws up now and then i guess.  

By the way, I have a 300 Watt power supply.

I ran WinTune on the new CPU and it still reads 326.  I think the other 7 Mhz are being used by WinTune itself!  That would explain the odd number.

It took me two weeks to get this freaking computer upgrade up and going.  I was almost reduced to tears at one point.  With all this high technology, you would think a computer (or its bios) should at least tell you if a component is bad.  I guess computers are still 'stupid' in a sense.

Anyway, i am very happy that this problem has been solved.  I want to thank all the experts that replied to my post with their suggestions.  It was encouraging.  As for the points, i am going to award them to Warmcat for being there since the beginning.  Besides, i like his 'axe murderer' look.  :)

Please post a comment and i will give you the points, Warmcat.


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warmcat earned 100 total points
ID: 1125025
Dankh you; as you know I hardly ever murder anyone with an axe.  Still I wish there was a more satisfying reason to point to here than a 'wildcard' bad cpu.

Regards,

-Andy
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by:dankh
ID: 1125026
WC,

    **** happens.  If a plane can malfunction and kill hundreds of people, Intel is allowed a mistake now and then.  :)
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by:danpaul091498
ID: 1125027
It would be interesting to find out what part of the CPU is defective. Usually it works or it doesn't work. A defective CPU is one of the hardest components to trouble shoot. One of the best diagnostic tools availible is SYSINFO. You can get this  from Tom's hardware. It will check out every major component on your system.If there is a probelm with your hardware it will find it.
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by:dankh
ID: 1125028
Dan,

   The CPU has been returned and everything is working like a charm now.  However, i will try that sysinfo just to be 100% sure.  Thanks for the info.
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