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Computer Freezes, Video Stops, Fans Stay on, HELP!

Posted on 2004-08-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I just put together a new computer today.

Components:

Gigabyte K8NS-Pro Motherboard
Athlon 64 3200+
1GB PC3200 Crucial DDRRAM
Radeon 9600 SE
200GB SATA Western Digital HD
Lite-On 16x DVD Drive
LIte-On 48x CD Burner
 

This computer, when first installing windows xp, froze at 19% reformatting the HD to NTFS. I rebooted, and quick formatted, and the computer worked fine for an hour or so.  We noticed that the mouse and keyboard sometimes would stop working, and often the whole computer would stop responding.  Over the next few hours, the computer gradually lasted for less and less time.  Occassionally, it would even freeze while loading windows.  Currently, we can get it into windows for about 10 seconds to 2 minutes before it stops again.

We've removed everything but the video card, one stick of ram, and the cpu, and removed the motherboard from the case, and it still does this.  We've found no remedy, and so i'm asking you guys.  We've tested all kinds of different combinations of hardware and we're unsure of where to go from here.  I need to know if anything I have may be bad, and if so, what.  I'm offering 500 points as this question is extremely urgent.  Please help!
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Question by:EvilAardvark
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by:Callandor
ID: 11802722
I would advise reseating the cpu and heatsink, because this sounds like heat buildup.  If you put your hand on the heatsink, it should be almost hot to the touch.  While you're at it, reseat the video card and RAM, to ensure good contact.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802778
The heatsink is only quite warm to the touch, but the case temperature is only coming to about 80 degrees, compared to 74 degrees external.

I'll reseat the cpu/hsf.  I"ve reseated the video/ram about half a dozen times in the past hour
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802805
Resaet the CPU and follow these instructions. http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_silver_instructions.htm
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802811
Also make sure you did not get thermal paste on the CPU. If so use denautered alcohol to take it off.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802814
Didn't work :(  Anything else to suggest?  
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802817
Well one more thing that HSF and CPU should be very hot not warm.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802821
What thermal paste are you using.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802828
Also what are you memory timings.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802829
I reseated the CPU, the hsf looked like it was placed well, the thermal compound was directly over the CPU.  Didn't work, froze again :(

Does this sound like a bad CPU, or a bad Motherboard?
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802836
Still sounds like the CPU is not being cooled properly though.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802847
Did you look at the instructions for the thermal paste on CPU. Too much is as bad or worse as too little.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802871
The cpu temp is perfect.

There is no overheating.

There was never any mention of thermal paste.  (In fact, i didn't use any, i used the default thermal pad)

My computer still doesn't work.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802877
One comment:

If i plug everything in and set up the computer... It won't even post.

There's no beep, the HDD Activity light stays on, and nothing happens.  
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802897
Evil that thermal pad sucks and is probally your problem. Do you have access to any thermal paste any kind.?
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802901
Well even though it sounds like overheating still. Did you teat your Power supply voltages and what PSU is it.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802904
Test I meant.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802906
The thermal pad IS NOT MY PROBLEM... There is NO OVERHEATING.

I'm sorry if you didn't understand that.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802913
Also does you 9600se have a molex power connecrtor that needs to be plugged in I dont think so but just checking.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11802915
Just curious how did you determine that the cpu is not overheating?
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802923
Both the bios temperature and feeling the heatsink.  

Unfortunately my bios won't tell me the voltages, it only says "OK".  I don't have a voltmeter either.

The 9600 does not have a molex power connector.  
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by:AshuraKnight
ID: 11802966
If you have access to another memory stick (which is tested and work fine) try to replace your memory stick with that.
this is in my opinion is either bad memory or overheating.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11802986
Already Tried replacing the memory :-(
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11803005
Evil First off gigabytes bios temps are no where near accurate. Second off feeling the heatsink is not an effective way to check temps. Third that pad just plain sucks if it is used once it is usually just the bare minimum you can get away with also with very high CPU temps. So I am going to leave it at this go buy some A/S or other good thermal paste you cannot go wrong anyway.  I have built systems with the same CPU as you and tried the stock retail cooler Keep in mind I use excellent cases with 4 or more case fans. 50-60C Idle with that HSF Just not acceptable I do not use stock coolers anymore on any of my systems or for my customers espically AMD. All boils down that I could tell you otherwise but what you are describing is classic overheating symptoms. Goodluck with it I could be wrong but everything you have said points to Temps. Hope it works out for you.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11803027
Thank You for your comments, they have been ignored.  When I say overheating is not a problem, overheating is not a problem.
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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11803044
Ignore whatever you like my last post and you go on my blacklist I do not enjoy wasting my time and knowledge helping someone who does not appriciate it. I could give a crap about the points also. Go pay a shop to fix it stop wasting peoples time on here who are very knowledgeable AND GIVE UP THERE FREE TIME FOR FREE and have told you the same thing a few times.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11803073
Yes, the same thing a few times, after each of which i explained that it was not the problem.  Gigabytes bios temps are at the VERY MOST accurate within 10C, and i'm running at 34C, so i'm FINE.  Even if i'm 20C off, which is horribly unheard of, i'm still at 54 and within acceptable temp range.

My case has been open the whole time and more than well-ventilated enough.
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by:AshuraKnight
ID: 11803246
did you try to reformat and reinstall windows ?
how about try to boot using dos then leave it for few hours ? :)
if the keyboard still responding at that time, it should be your windows ?

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by:Dynamic1
ID: 11803346
Evil if you think your 3200+ is running 94 Degrees F like you say or 34C with the stock cooler and thermal pad and a case temp of 80F last time I am saying this well i am not saying this. My lapped copper Zalman and A/S 5 on a 3200 64 with case temps of 71 does not even get those low temps and I measure with a $300 FLUKE thermometer. And if you have a hot spot on your CPU that will also cause these problems. Your stock cooler runs 50-60C Idle no matter what you tell me if the pad is used more than once or not perfect it could be your problem. That is just what the stock coolers run ALL OF THEM yours is no different then the dosens of others I have tested that is what I am trying to get across to you. It is a poor design made for a Price point the minimum and also so people do not try to put thermal compound on incorrectly. No way in hell the case temp is 80F and the stock cooler with thermal pad is keeping the CPU @94F. Only way this would be possible is if the CPU is not getting enough voltage like 1/4 of what it is supposed to have.
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by:Dragonmen
ID: 11803439
My opinion is that you have bad communication with hard disk. :)
I know this differ much with above comment, but the formatting the disk has nothing to do with cpu overheating (why 19%?).
I think that when computer tries to read/write some allocations on disk you get thing froze becouse it cannot be read and maybe loose connection.
Problem may be bad cable. I had sucha case where only some region cannot be readed/writed. Probalby some addressing lines aren't working fine.
Other problem may be HD. This had a pretty much of the causes. Bad electronics, wrongly set mechanics, etc... you can try SMART diagnostic test to see if anything is wrong.

In other words, try to replace hd and cable and install it again.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11803722
Ashura, the computer will sometimes freeze during post, which means it can't be a windows issue.

Dynamic, I know that these processors run hot. But as i said MULTIPLE times above, i know for a FACT that overheating is not the issue.  Lets just assume i have Liquid N2 drip on my processor, and that it runs at -102F.  If overheating were really my issue then letting the computer sit for a few hours and coming back would let it last longer than normal while it's going through its boot sequence.  This is not the case.  There is no hot spot on the processor, the thermal pad is in perfect contact with the processor and there is no scarring on the pad.  It looks EXACTLY how a thermal pad that is attached to a processor that has NOT overheated should look.  I'm no second-rate computer noob.  This is probably around 40-50 for me.  I've had many problems in the past with computers, but just never one like this.  I've seen processors overheat and what their thermal pads look like.  I can tell when the processor is in contact with the pad, and when it is not.  I am wholly convinved that this processor is not a victim of overheating.  

Gigabyte's cpu temps are known to be so far off because their latest bios release with the K8NS-Pro's has been known to read INCREDIBLY high CPU temps (70C or higher right off the bat).  This was remedied in the latest bios release which I immediately flashed.  I feel quite strongly that my temperature reading is accurate within a few degrees C.

My processor is running much cooler than yours because this computer has not been left on for a very long time.  It has spent most of its life being turned on and then quickly back off.  Let your computer sit overnight, and then turn on your computer and check the bios temp right away..  You'll see its under 30C.  This computer is barely making it into windows, and is not coming up with the overheating beep.

Plus, overheating would in no way explain the computer not posting at all.  
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 11804262
i think you're in for a new mobo; if the old one is still in warranty, return it.
 You could try testing the memory and HDD if you feel like it, here some links  :

http://www.memtest.org/                              memtest86+

 http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm            Maxtor/Quantum
 http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic      Fujitsu
 http://www.samsungelectronics.com/hdd/support/utilities/utilities_index.html       Samsung
http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html            Seagate
http://support.wdc.com/download/                        Western Digital
www.westerndigital.com
http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT             IBM and Hitachi

nobus
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by:Jeff Rodgers
ID: 11804460
Well seeing as you have replaced the ram and are confident it is not overheating,  I would test the hard drive on another PC...do a complete install using the hard drive on a different system... if the hard drive freezes at 19 % that would tell you alot wouldn't it.... conversely if it allows the install then you can rule out the hard disk.  

Make sure you test the Power Supply next... how much power does it offer for what you want it to do... i.e. 300 watts is sufficient for a HDD, CDBURNER, and Floppy... but if you are running 2 HDs, Floppy, 2 CD's you would want more right... Unplug everything except the HD,MOBO and CD and test with just those components... does it help?
Once you rule out Power issues... naturally you need to look at the MOBO... can you test the CPU on another board with a similar setup?  If it all works on a different MOBO ... you just found your problem.

Also don't discount heat as a source of the problems.... an improperly mounted heat sink and fan won't conduct the heat away from the CPU, and may only feel warm to the touch.  The provided "pads" of conductive material are generally very inefficient, and can sometimes mask where the problems may be.  I would replace the "pad" with a small dab of Artic Silver just to be sure... a couple of $$$ of artic silver is worth the peace of mind of knowing you don't have to replace the CPU prematurely.

Good Luck... As much as you want to rip out your hair, it usually is just the stupid simple things in the end...


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by:LimeSMJ
ID: 11804572
Your problem does not sound like an overheating issue.  It is most likely due to a bad IDE controller on your motherboard and/or a bad hard drive.

I agree with Dragonmen with his explaination.  In addition, if you experience a freeze during a cold boot after the RAM check, one of your IDE drives is faulty - your computer is polling all the drives and if your hard drive is shot, it will take a while to time out.

There are several ways to check for a bad hard drive.  Unplug the hard drive and boot off a DOS floppy disk.  If you get to the command prompt without freezing up in POST or anywhere else, your machine is not freezing due to overheating.  In fact, leave it on for a while and do a DIR on the floppy to see if anything freezes.  Next, check the Windows Event Logs -> System.  If you see any errors in there regarding storage, you definitely have a hard drive/controller issue.

Simply put, get a new hard drive.  If it solves your problem then great... otherwise, post some Event Log errors if you got any.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11805020
Booted to a DOS floppy, with no HD plugged in.
it froze as soon as i hit enter after typing "dir".


Also, it often will freeze when the HD is plugged in while counting down from 30 at the "Windows did not start properly last time" screen.  It stops most of the time on 28.

It seems as if it won't even post some of the time, and the only way i can get it to post is to open the drives that have disks in em and remove them.  THe past two times it didn't post, i left it on (when it doesn't post, the fans still run and the lights stay on) and opened the CD drive to take out the windows XP cd, and closed it.  Next time i turned it on, it posted fine.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11805049
It has never frozen while in the BIOS, it boots fine with only video + ram + cpu in.  I attach a hard drive, and it freezes around 28 on that countdown (Windows did not start properly last time).  If i attach a CD rom drive, it freezes right around when it reads the disc to check if its a boot disc.  If i attach a floppy, it freezes after booting when i issued the DIR command.

It really bothers me that it freezes no matter where the devices are plugged in.  There are 4 sata slots, and none of them work with the hard drive.  There are 4 IDE channels, and none of them work with the CD.  There's only one floppy channel, but it freezes too.

What does that tell you guys?  It seems to me like half the motherboard is fried.
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by:Callandor
ID: 11805185
Try replacing the power supply, if it is hanging every time a disk access is attempted.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11805547
already replaced the power supply.  Bought a nice one that was pre-tested and everything.  Didn't help.

I've gotten it to stay pretty stable up until windows goes through the format process during windows XP installation.  I'm going to see if maybe setting up a very small partition and quick formatting it will help.

Maybe its just a bad hard drive.
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by:Callandor
ID: 11805604
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11805638
But that still woulnd't explain how it crashes during windows setup even when the hard drive isn't plugged in.

I really think its either the CPU or the motherboard... Can anyone help me to determine which?
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11805684
Tried the WD HDD test stuff, it doesn't even make it past "loading caldera dr-dos" before halting.

I noticed that the no-post problem can be resolved by turning off the power supply for about 10 seconds and then turning it back on and booting.  This power supply DOES work and works well.  Something tells me that all of these problems are pointing to the mobo.  I'd get a beep code if there were a CPU problem, wouldn't I?  Also, what's the recommended VCore for a Ath64 Processor?  Mine says its running at 1.5V and i sorta thought it was supposed to be 1.75 or something like that.. Just thoought I'd mention it.  

I'm completely lost as to a solution.
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by:Callandor
ID: 11805713
Voltage should be 1.5v.

You might as well eliminate other possible sources that are less expensive to fix - check the memory with www.memtest86.com and see if it fails.  Passing may be a false positive.  

The only way I know to conclusively test a cpu is in another working system.
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by:LimeSMJ
ID: 11805847
Anything in your Windows Event Logs??  (If you can actually get that far into the operating system.)
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by:prifre
ID: 11805868
Hi,

I am no hw expert, but after I have read the info, I feel it might be something on the motherbord - and the obvious thing is the BIOS... Might the BIOS be somehow corrupted so that loading/startup/control of external devices does not work?
Perhaps you should try to reinstall/upgrade/reset the BIOS?
If it is the motherboard, it would of course be something hw-wise that controls external devices.
(Initially I thought the harddisk would be the fault, since I had similar problems with a bad HD in my computer once. But if you encounter the problems with just a diskett and no HD attached, I guess that rules the HD out... ;-)

There is an interesting paper on your kind of problem on: http://cliffy.org/Job/Ramon-Devil.html

with a smile
/prifre

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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11806104
I just flashed the bios to the latest version.  

It didn't help :(
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by:nobus
ID: 11807452
count your dollars and get anew mobo; try ASUS. I have some hundred of ASUS boards running, they do not come in for problems.
And Callandor, why do you repeat my post? no hard feelings though

nobus

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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11809781
I got a gigabyte because I intend to move my 160gb IDE raid array over to my new motherboard sometime, and i'd like to not lose the data, and my old motherboard is a gigabyte with gigaRAID.
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11809860
I'm RMA'ing the old motherboard, and essentially cross-shipping.  I bought a new one (at newegg) and i'm shipping back the old one for a refund with the original vendor.  I'll take the 15% restock fee as a point never to buy from that vendor again.  
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11809880
Oh and i got it into the WD test utility long enough to test that the hard drive was in fact good (well, i only ran the quick test but i think that anything that wouldn't pick up wouldn't affect my computer this drastically).
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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11840147
I RMA'ed the motherboard.

The new one worked fine.

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by:EvilAardvark
ID: 11840157
So, as i said (i do know quite a bit about computers), it was not a heat issue.

Thanks for the help, though.

Points to nobus as he was the first one to suggest replacing the motherboard.
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by:nobus
ID: 11840241
it did not help much, sorry
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