New P4 2.66Ghz PC Hanging

Hi all experts,

I built a new PC for myself using the following components recently:

512MB PC2700 DDR
2 x 123GB IBM/Hitachi D/Star (Running a Striped RAID)
Intel Pentium 4 2660 (N/W,RET,533)
ABit IT7 MAX2 V2.0
ATI Radeon 9200 Vivo 128Mb DDR AGP  
Generic PCI Modem
Iomega ZIP 100
(No Sound Card... onboard sound on MOBO)
***Precise details at end from Sandra report***

My problems started when I installed the operating system (Win2000). Every now and then (Usually whilst running Norton System Works) the PC will hang. It does this so randomly (Sometimes even on boot up) I am totally stumped as to what it could be. I've tried running Sandra on a burn in using 100% processor power for well over 8 hours and I can't get it to repeat the problem. Does anyone have any suggestions? Please help I'm at my wits end with this.

Thanks in advanvce people


Sandra report

SiSoftware Sandra

Model : Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.66GHz
Speed : 2.67GHz
Performance Rating : PR2936 (estimated)
Type : Standard
L2 On-board Cache : 512kB ECC Synchronous ATC

Bus(es) : AGP PCI IMB USB FireWire/1394 i2c/SMBus
MP Support : No
System BIOS : Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG
Mainboard : IT7-MAX2 (Intel i845PE-ICH4)
Total Memory : 511MB DDR-SDRAM

Chipset 1
Model : Abit Computer Corp 82845PE Brookdale Host-Hub Interface Bridge (B0-step)
Front Side Bus Speed : 4x 133MHz (532MHz data rate)
Total Memory : 512MB DDR-SDRAM
Memory Bus Speed : 2x 166MHz (332MHz data rate)

Video System
Monitor/Panel : SONY CPD-200SFT
Adapter : RADEON 9200 SEC
Adapter : RADEON 9200
Imaging Device : CanoScan N1240U

Physical Storage Devices
Removable Drive : Floppy disk drive
Hard Disk : IC35L040AVVA07-0 (38.3GB)
Hard Disk : IOMEGA ZIP 100
Hard Disk : HPT37x RAID 0 Array SCSI Disk Device
Hard Disk : Apacer Embedded Reader USB Device
Hard Disk : Apacer Embedded Reader USB Device
Hard Disk : Apacer Embedded Reader USB Device
Hard Disk : Apacer Embedded Reader USB Device

Logical Storage Devices
1.44MB 3.5" (A:) : N/A
Main (C:) : 230.1GB (151.5GB, 66% Free) (NTFS)
Secondary (D:) : 38.3GB (12.2GB, 32% Free) (FAT32)
Removable Drive (E:) : N/A
Removable Drive (H:) : N/A
Removable Drive (I:) : N/A
Removable Drive (J:) : N/A
Removable Drive (K:) : N/A

Serial/Parallel Port(s) : 6 COM / 0 LPT
USB Controller/Hub : VIA USB Universal Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : VIA USB Universal Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : VIA USB Enhanced Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : Standard Universal PCI to USB Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : Standard Universal PCI to USB Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : Standard Universal PCI to USB Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : Intel (r) 82801DB/DBM USB Enhanced Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB 2.0 Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB 2.0 Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : General purpose USB Hub
USB Controller/Hub : TDK Bluetooth USB Adaptor
USB Controller/Hub : Belkin USB-RS232 Adapter
USB Controller/Hub : Belkin USB-RS232 Adapter
USB Controller/Hub : USB Mass Storage Device
USB Controller/Hub : USB Printing Support
FireWire/1394 Controller/Hub : Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
Keyboard : Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard
Keyboard : HID Keyboard Device
Mouse : PS/2 Compatible Mouse
Mouse : HID-compliant mouse
Human Interface : Microsoft SideWinder Strategic Commander HID Drivers
Human Interface : Microsoft SideWinder Virtual Keyboard
Human Interface : Microsoft SideWinder Virtual Mouse
Human Interface : Microsoft SideWinder Strategic Commander

MultiMedia Device(s)
Device : Avance AC97 Audio

Communication Device(s)
Device : LT Win Modem

Printers and Faxes
Model : HP DeskJet 720C
Model : Fax

Operating System(s)
Windows System : Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Version 5.00.2195  Service Pack 4

Network Adapter(s)
Network Drivers Enabled : Yes
Adapter : Realtek RTL8139(A)-based PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Have you tested this after disconnecting any external devices ?
jamie_bennettAuthor Commented:
I've tried it with and without... it gets intermittent faults that I just can't attribute to any specific device... although I haven't actually dismantled the PC itself and pulled out the PCI cards (Which is only the modem). Problem is it’ll run and install all the applications that I need to get the PC ready for use. But for no apparent reason it’ll just lock. No blue screen, no reset, just the mouse freezes along with the screen. Interestingly it keeps the processor warm so it’s obviously stuck doing something. The only repeat offender I can get to lock the system is “Norton System Works One Button Checkup” but even that doesn’t work every time.

Have you try removing Norton System Work?  Did this happend before SP4 installed onto your machine?

OWASP Proactive Controls

Learn the most important control and control categories that every architect and developer should include in their projects.

Bad RAM.  Try swapping out your modules for some others.  My guess is that the problem will go away.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Don't use NSW.

Jhance, curious on how you can tell that it would be the RAM?
Jamie try using Memtest86 you can get it at, it has a .bat file that it would create a booteable floppy to start the tests on your RAM, to finish this tests just pres ESC key or reset your machine, ALSO take a look at the frecuency of the DDR memory ´cause some memories do not support the real speed the tell you they do,, my guess it the RAM, next time try using KINGSTON i never had a problem with them.
ALSO take a look at the RAM configuration maybe they are configured to DUAL CHANNEL try to desactivate this first ´cause maybe they are not certified to handle DUAL CHANNEL with a P4 that it also NOT CERTIFICATED to run under Win2000/NT/98 ´cause this operating systems can´t handle the INTEL hyper-threading technology, only LINUX and WINDOWS XP can do that, but just try that thing with the DUAL CHANNEL first and tell me if it worked.

If the motherboard is new, it could be a marginal motherboard.  I would exchange it for another, while still under store warranty.
jamie_bennettAuthor Commented:
Hmm... curious I've pulled one of the memory sticks (Used to have 2 x 512 2700). And it appears stable as a rock... could I need "registered" memory? If so can anyone recommend a retailer in the UK (Web or otherwise). Incidentally I had a fried RAM chip first time out on the second slot (There's 3 on my MOBO) could this be a dodgey slot? If so how can I test it? Problem is I'm reluctant to remove the MOBO as it'll mean a total rebuild and several days downtime  :-(

It seems you have, as I suggested, a BAD memory module.  It's VERY unlikely that this is a registered vs. non-registered as if your motherboard requires one type vs. the other, the wrong type will simply NOT WORK at all.

It's not at all uncommon for a memory module to be defective in this way or for such a problem to crop up after a time in the field.  These types of defects are very difficult to find without specialized RAM testing hardware (i.e. NOT SOFTWARE!!) and generally end-user have no access to this type of sophisticated and expensive equipment.

Get a suitable replacement for your suspect module but hang on to the old one.  If you later need it in a Win9x/ME system I think you'll find that it works 100%.
BTW, if you suspect a slot problem (which is unlikely as all slots are wired in parallel) you can put the suspect module in the remaining slot.  See if the RAM problem follows the module.

It's also possible that these modules (or possibly the motherboard but that is less likely) are just marginal enough that they will work alone in the PC but with others loading down the memory bus they fail.  Again, if you find that EITHER module works alone but they don't work together, I'd still suspect that ONE of them are defective.  Get a NEW one and then try the combinations to see which one is the truly defective one.

It's possible that BOTH are defective, but again, that's LESS likely.
jamie_bennettAuthor Commented:
Well this'll make the third set of RAM I've sent back to this mail order company, so I think it may be a case of bad QA on there part. Would more expensive "branded" RAM such as CORSAIR TWINX (IE Twinned 512Mb sticks), or Kingston be a better option/more reliable or am I just paying for the name?

Well the fact is that QA costs money.  There is NO profit in RAM these days so the only way to make anything on it is to cut costs to the bone.  If EE is any indicator, problems like this are epidemic over the last 2 years.

I've found NO difference in "branded" vs. non-branded RAM.  Some believe that brands like PNY, Kingston, Corsair are better but I've not seen that to be true.
i have went through enough kingstion modules in one summer to believe that there are not any better than some non-branded.  just my opinion.  I see that since you have a nice video card and a gig of RAM that it would be my belief that you like to play games.  If you do brands like Geil, Ocz, or Muskin are the types of ram you want.  They are good quality but also have there cost.
jamie_bennettAuthor Commented:

That indeed would be the case :-) Although I do a lot of video encoding too. Can you recommend any retailers in the UK

No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:

Accept: Jhance

Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.

EE Cleanup Volunteer
jamie_bennettAuthor Commented:
Right sorry it’s been a long time coming... I've tried generic memory in the board as well (In both slots) and the same problem occurs... I've installed 3x512 and that cause my board to fail before the bios completed loading!

Simply put I'm sticking with 512 at the moment... I can't seem to see a solution. Unless there are any more suggestions out there I'll be awarding 300points to Jhance and 200 to buckeyes33.

Thanks all

Can you get a RMA request on the motherboard and processor both.  Why don't you just send them both back and get a new board and processor and see if that clears up the problem

look for burnt spots on the motherboard and the capacitators.  Also look for rounded capacitors and leaking ones that have cracks in the top of them.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Networking Hardware-Other

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.