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New system restarting randomly

Posted on 2004-09-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
A young friend of mine just built a new computer with a little supervision from me. Everything seems to be working great, but now it's randomly restarting when he plays certain games. Last night it restarted during a DVD movie, which it hadn't been doing before. I'm thinking something video related? Here are the specs on his new system:

Motherboard: Asus A7V600.
CPU: AMD Athlon xp 2800
Memory: 512 MB
Hard drive: Samsung 80G 7200 RPM.
Video card: FX5200 128 MB.
Sound card: Onboard
Windows XP Home Edition.

The games it restarts on are: The Sims: Double Deluxe Edition, The Lord Of The Rings:
The Return Of The King, and Galactic Battlegrounds. And the movie Is Jimmy Neutron.

Everything should still be under warranty, but since the local shop will charge him a service fee if there are no problems with the hardware, I want to see if there are any other possible causes. This computer isn't on the internet, by the way.
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Question by:hoody
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chumplet earned 90 total points
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Random reboots are *most often* caused by heat issues.  I had an Athlon system that did the same thing, and it turned that I hadn't clicked the cpu fan/heatsink on all the way.  The system booted and worked just fine MOST of the time, but would randomly reboot -- obviously when the system got warm.  Since reseating the heatsink/fan, the system has been rock solid.  I would look at that first.

As for this being "video related", that's certainly a possibility.  Is the card overclocked at all?  If possible, can you grab another video card and see if it helps?

Let me know.

Chumplet
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by:hoody
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Will definitely have him check the heat issue. The video card shouldn't be overclocked, to the best of my knowledge, but will make sure. Don't know if he can get another card to try, but will ask on that too!
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 80 total points
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You should check if the video card is overheating, not just the cpu.  Make sure both fans are spinning at their rated speed, and that the heatsinks are not hot to the touch.
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by:tosh9iii
tosh9iii earned 80 total points
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Use this to check the temps:

SpeedFan 4.15

http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/985582286/1
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by:hoody
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Thanks for the download link. He got that and has been monitoring the heat, temps run around 70 degrees fahrenheit most of the time.

He downloaded an update for Direct X and that seemed to help for a few days, but then he had another game that caused the computer to restart twice, and a few days later a DVD movie did as well. Naturally, when I was there it worked just fine!

We did check that all fans are turning, and they are. The video card doesn't have a fan, just a heatsink, but the system has 3 fans, maybe four, I can't remember.

I've asked him to keep a very close journal of what happens when, etc., and hope that he will do so. (He's only 12.) The only kind of consistency we can find at all is that it seems to happen more with a newly installed game - after it's been run a few times then they work ok.

I'll let you know when I know more info - any more ideas are sure welcome!
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by:hoody
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My apologies - I've been quite ill, and I haven't heard back from my young friend. He did call this week and ask if I could come help him out, but I cannot go until I am well, as he has new baby brother. I promise I will get back in here within a week and let you know what I find out! Thanks for your patience.
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by:hoody
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Hi folks, I finally had a chance to go look at this system again, and learned a little more. After he updated his DirectX, it seemed to stop the problem - for a while. There are three things for sure that caused a problem while I was there today. One was a game called Stuart Little 2. The first time he tried it, it locked up right after the program started. The second time he tried it, he had just started playing the game and it restarted. The second thing that acted up was while I was doing a search for all 'directx' files, it restarted. The search had been running for quite a while, at least a minute, maybe a bit more, and it was still searching when it just restarted the entire system. The third thing was another game. This one is called Sid Meier's Civilization III, from Infogrames Interactive (same company that produces Stuart Little). In this case, twice in a row he was able to start the game and play for about five minutes, and then it would restart. The third time it played just fine for about 10 minutes, and then we gave up - I had hoped it would recreate the same as the first two instances. I've come to the conclusion that it's best he take the system to the computer shop where he bought all the hardware and have them run some diagnostics on it and see if they can pinpoint the problem, just in case there is a warranty issue involved. I'll be calling him Monday to see what's up. I'm going to split the points, as you've all been helpful - and extremely patient!
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