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ATI 9700 Pro with Asus A8N8X

Posted on 2004-04-09
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Hello,
I recently insatalled a new ASUS A7N8X mb with a AMD 2600 gig ( 2 512 stix) o' 3200 DIMM using a ATI 9700 Pro VGA.  I'm not sure where the problem lies-my BIOS or the drivers but all games-from Unreal 2004 to Harry Potter crash after a few minutes into it.  The choppiness in Unreal is worse than my old Soyo K7VtA Pro (AMD 1800).  WHat did I do? More problems with new mb....
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Question by:Ersatz_Unsane
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Nilknarf earned 125 total points
ID: 10792939
Are you using the latest ATI Catalyst drivers (v4.4) released the 7th of this month?
http://www2.ati.com/drivers/wxp-w2k-catalyst-8-00-040322a-014266c.exe

How hot is your CPU after playing games? If you haven't got anything installed to monitor temperatures try motherboard monitor, it's free and works very well: http://mbm.livewiredev.com/download.html

How powerfull is your PSU? It should say on the label on the side how many Watts it is, as well as the number of Amperes delivered to the +12v, +3v and +5v lines.

Are you using the latest BIOS version for your motherboard?

Try taking a stick of memory out and try to play the games again, if it crashes swap the two sticks and try again.

Lastly, are you using XP? There, lost of questions for you! :o)
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10793175
Also I notice that your motherbaord features the nforce chipset. Have you installed the latest IDE and AGP gart drivers for your system?

The latest can be obtained here:
http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_udp_winxp_3.13

This is a unified driver package containing everything your system's chipset supports.
Annoyingly it also includes onboard audio/video drivers, making the package a little bigger at 12.9 MB (the bare IDE driver package is only 3.3 MB big, but it lacks the AGP gart drivers).

Your graphics card also features an extra power conector (the small floppy-drive type), check to make sure it's plugged in.
While your in there feel the heatsink on your graphics card, is it hot to the touch, or is it just warm? The crashing in the games could be casued by overheating of the GPU of the memory on the card.

A few other things you could try are disabling AGP fast writes, or changing the AGP speed from 8x to 4x. If it makes the games any more stable then at least it's a starting point to troubleshoot from.

Out of curiosity, what knid of score do you get in any games or benchmarks? If you give a few FPS figures and the game titles, or the number of points in 3DMark then I could compare with my 9600XT to see if your card is underperforming.

Hope this helps you out! :o)
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by:Callandor
ID: 10794200
A 9700 Pro with an AMD 2600 should be smooth in UT.  Drivers are usually the deciding factor - I use Catalyst 4.3 with a 9500 and P4 1.6a overclocked to 2.4, and it is smooth.
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by:tmj883
ID: 10794968
You used the hard drive that was configured on the old mainboard not a fresh installation of the OS?
T
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by:Ersatz_Unsane
ID: 10803182
Hello-
Thanks to all for the prompt and excellent responses.  I've just installed the latest Nforce drivers-hope that works.  I had a confliction of drivers on a previous machine but, as always, forgot to jot down the solution so I've been trying various drivers old and new for the VGA, sound card (Creative Audigy Gamer), and BIOS settings.  It's usually a matter of just finding the right switch to flick.  I'm using the hard drives from the previous machine but formatted/reinstalled Win XP.
The VGA seems a normal temp-mb/cpu temps going good so far as well.  I am curious about something regarding the BIOS setting "CPU External Frequency": at 100 Mhz my cpu registers at 1G but does read the correct 2600 when this setting is set to 166.  Is this kosher or could this have something to do with my problem?

Thanks again everyone
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10804006
You have a thouroughbred Athlon xp 2600+.

There have been three types of Athlon XP 2600+ processor:

- Athlon XP 2600+ with 256KB L2 Cache
  CPU Speed: 2133MHz (2.133GHz)
  CPU Frequency Multiplier: 16.0x
  CPU External Frequency (MHz): 133

- Athlon XP 2600+ with 256KB L2 Cache
  CPU Speed: 2083MHz (2.083GHz)
  CPU Frequency Multiplier: 12.5x
  CPU External Frequency (MHz): 166

- Athlon XP 2600+ with 512KB L2 Cache
  CPU Speed: 1917MHz (1.917GHz)
  CPU Frequency Multiplier: 11.5x
  CPU External Frequency (MHz): 166

It sounds like you probably have the latter model given the spec of your system. This chip has a multiplier of 11.5 and should have a core frequency of 1917mhz according to AMD.

So, 11.5 x 166 = 1909mhz which is about right, although you say at 100mhz FSB the chip is 1ghz (which would make the multiplier 10, not 11.5!).

If you download and run this this small app called CPU-Z you will be able to check what type of CPU you have:
http://www.cpuid.com/download/cpu-z-122.zip

I have built a few systems using your motherboard for people before and I have found that when setting the FSB, the best way is via jumpers on the motherboard (it just seems more stable than via the BIOS, don't ask me why!).

If you check your motherbaord manual there will be an open for 100, 133 and 166mhz. 100mhz is the default as it does less damage if used incorrectly!
(If you can't find your motherboard manual you can get a pdf of it from here: http://www.asus.com.cn/pub/ASUS/mb/socka/nforce2/a7n8x-deluxe/e1292_a7n8x_deluxe.zip ).
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10804017
Sorry, that pdf was for the delux version, here's the one for your standard A7N8X mb:
http://www.asus.com.cn/pub/ASUS/mb/socka/nforce2/a7n8x/e1293_a7n8x.zip
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10804068
Actually, now I come to think of it, that motherboard only has two jumpers. One for 100mhz FSB and the other for 133, 166 and 200mhz FSB 'support'. The FSB has to be set up in the BIOS for that one!

He he, just ignore me about the jumpers then, I must have been thinking of another ASUS board! :o)
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by:Ersatz_Unsane
ID: 10805323
Hello again-
Thanks for the links-
OK...for an update.  I think I've got the hardware problems ironed out with your help-thanks again.  What I'm dealing with now is odd.  Any time I try to download and install Windows SP1 it fails to install.  I was up late last night flipping through the Microsoft FAQs and support forums with no luck.  I've downloaded it a dozen times from different places but am still unable to install SP1 or any other updates.  Could this be associated with the reauthorization Microsoft required of Windows XP on my PC?  CS said that the copy of XP I have is supposed to be used only on the mb I purchased it with but were kind enought to reauthorize it anyway.  Which brings me to another problem:  what to do if I ever need to reinstall Windows (which is looking likely).  Thanks again
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10805858
What do you mean it fails to install SP1? Does it say the file is corrupt, does it stop half way through installing?
Whe you say you can'y install any other updates, do you mean that windows update doesn't work either? I hope this CS didn't give you a pirate CD key for windows because it was easier than reactivating it properly! ;o)

If your copy of xp is fully activated and you have original installation CD and product key then re-installation should be easy, all you need to do is make a backup copy of wpa.dbl in C:\WINDOWS\system32

WPA.DBL contains a 'hash key value' which represents your hardware at the time of activation, and the current activation state of your PC.
Your computer looks at this file every time it starts up and compares your current hardware state with the hardware listed in the file. If is it significatly different from when you activated it will tell the computer that you have to re-activate XP.

All you have to do it install windows fresh, then when it asks you, decline activation. Copy wpa.dbl into C:\WINDOWS\system32 then restart your computer, windows should then be activated again.

This procedure should work fine as long as you don't change your hardware from it's current state while installing windows!
You can even call Microsoft and get them to give you a reactivation key for your system, I've done it for a couple of PC's when the motherboard had to be swapped. As long as you explain whats going on they don't mind (to be honest they don't really care, the activation thing is only there to stop casual pirating).

P.s. who are CS?
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by:Ersatz_Unsane
ID: 10812063
Thanks again-reinstalled Windows and was then having a problem with the Direct X 9 download.  Restored sytem to point when it used DX 8 the installed 9 again from BAttlefield:Vietnam disc.  Everything works fine when CPU External Frequency is set to 100 MHz but when set to 166 Mhz (setting where CPU actually is recognized as 2600) the game shuts off to the desktop.

Thanks again

Ps Customer Service :)
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by:Ersatz_Unsane
ID: 10812080
I should have mentioned that reinstalling Windows over a formatted drive took care of the problem with downloading the updates. Thanks
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by:Nilknarf
ID: 10812216
Customer Service, I should have guessed! :o)

If it only crashes when the FSB is set to 166 MHz then you may have a memory problem (or your CPU is overheating, but you have already said that it wasn't hot).

Go to this page:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

Click on the second link from the top "Download Windows Memory Diagnostic".

Download the little program and get a blank floppy disk. When you run the program it will create a bootable floppy disk with a memory testing program on. Switch off your computer and remove the second stick of memory. Start it up and boot from the floppy disk (you may have to change the boot order in the BIOS, but I'm sure you know what to do - also, ensure your FSB is set to 166 MHz).

When the program loads it will immediately start checking your memory in 'standard mode'. Any errors encountered will be displayed at the bottom.
If your memory passes the test without any errors then it's probably okay, but just to be safe you can press 'T' which will make it go into a more thorough mode (this takes a bit longer - I recommend leaving it overnight to do this one).

After the standard test is finished you can switch your PC off, swap the memory modules and repeat the test to check the other one.

*note* any number of errors is a problem! If your computer returns one thing when it was expecting another it will cause it to crash.

I myself had a bad stick of memory several months back, I bought 1GB of TwinMOS memory (2 x 512mb) 'supposedly' suitable for an Athlon 64 environment. However my PC kept crashing when i did anything memory intensive, so I decided to check them both with the above program. One of the modules returned lots of errors (the other was fine) and I had to return them both to get a refund!

I ended up getting just 512mb or Corsair memory for almost the same price as the 1GB of TwinMOS, but at least it's good quality! :o)

p.s. I'm glad you got your update problem sorted! :o)
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