Mysterious freezes - even the reset button stops working...

Symptoms: the computer freezes up completely, becoming unresponsive to keystrokes, mouse movement, and even the reset key. Whatever I was doing at the time remains on the screen, it doesn't go black; the hard drive LED goes on and remains on. I suspect that the lockups are somehow video-related, because they almost always happen when the system has been doing 3D video stuff (Operation: Flashpoint, FS2002, Deus Ex, etc, even the screensaver occasionally).

If I power down the system using the manual switch on the back and leave it for a while (at least a half hour), it operates normally again when I turn it back on. Turning it back on immediately results in a black screen and an illuminated HD LED, but no other activity; once, it got as far as the "Press <DEL> to enter setup" screen and then froze completely in the same manner.

This problem has occurred using the integrated video, using an old GeForce2 card and using my current Radeon 9000 card.

System specs: AMD Athlon 1.0 GHZ; 640 MB PC133 RAM (128 + 512); video card = Radeon 9000 Pro (64 MB); running WinXP (SP2); onboard audio.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Probably a bad CPU... hate to be the one to bear the news to you.  I doubt it is video related, but do you have a spare video card to test with?  Also it could be due to a bad motherboard.  First thing I would try, would be to open the case, and remove all devices... but leave them attached (cables).  Lay each device seperate from eachother on foam or some non-conductive material on a tabletop next to the case, (including the motherboard) and power on the system.  Also it may be a good idea to remove devices that have nothing to do with booting (extra RAM, extra HDD, CDROM), and test... this will rule out the possibility of bad hardware or a short.  Let me know what happens.  If all fails, probably CPU like i said.  Sorry

This could be caused by an under powered power supply unit. What is the specs of your curent PSU? Or you may have an over heating problem. Try running with the case open with a fan blowing in to it.

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I would have case open, power it on, watch the CPU fan to see if it is spinning.  If it doesn't then that is your problem.  If it does I would power the machine off and take the fan off clean the cpu off and add more compound...put fan back on and see if it locks up again.
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A few things to think about or try:

1.  Did the system previously work ok, or is this a new system with no track record?

2.  Have you made any hardware changes immediately prior to the onset of this problem?  If so, start looking there.

3.  Have you checked health readings (is the CPU overheating, as Snowguy asked?)?  At what temp is your CPU and system running before it freezes?

4.  If above suggestions don't work or apply, try running with one stick of RAM and see if the problem is still occurring.  If it still happens, try with the other stick.

5.  Is the system overclocked?  You might try going with default BIOS settings just to see if the problem lies there somewhere.

6.  What's your bus speed?  I had a similar problem when mobo was jumpered to 133MHz even though all components were "supposed" to run at that speed.  Had to jumper it to 100MHz then tweak BIOS to get speed back.  No freeze-ups since.
I would lean towards sound loop. Has Deus ever seized and looped whatever audio track it was on? If so, there has been extensive research in this area, as it is an elusive issue.
Anyways, there ae many links to tricks for bios settings and drivers.
What worked for me was junking my MonsterMX300. I was soo sorry to see it go. Beautiful card.
That plus a bios setting. But it will be different for different machines. Search Google for INFINITE LOOP ERROR.
Best of luck to ya.
MrRobAuthor Commented:
I've determined now that it's an overheating problem: as Snowguy suggested, I ran the machine with the case open and a big fan blowing into it to get the air circulating, and the problem disappeared. The regular fan is working, though, so I'm not sure why the computer would spontaneously start overheating. When I get some time this weekend I'll try brakmat's idea and see if it works. Will let you know how it goes.

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far!
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