Machine restart

Posted on 2005-04-16
Last Modified: 2010-04-26

I'm wondering if someone can help me...not sure if this is the right location to ask, but let's try anyway:

The majority of the time, when I'm using my machine for gaming, I find that it restarts after using it for 5-10 minutes, and I'm really wondering why.  Anytime I play anything that requires an adequate video card (I have a GEForce 4 MX 440), it seems to restart.  I have found in the past that when I blow air on the open side of the machine from a fan (I leave one side of the PC off), the machine doesn't restart while gaming, but even this isn't fullproof, and lately my fan solution hasn't been working either, so I'm wondering what it could be.  I was thinking that perhaps it could be the HDD overheating, but I checked the BIOS and there is nothing activated to let the machine restart automatically when it is overheating.  Ideas?  It's really quite frustrating.

Just for an example of the types of games I play and the machine restarts after 5-10 minutes would be Diablo 2, Half-Life 2, Doom 3, Far Cry, and basically anything that uses a higher-end video card extensively.
Question by:jpve
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    Quite simply, it sounds like your machine is overheating.  I would suggest you check the CPU temp.  And consider getting a better CPU cooler or at least replace the existing one.  
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    1 over heating - take cover off then try-
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    "(I leave one side of the PC off)" - when you leave the side open, usually it cools worse, as the airflow takes the easiest way out instead of along desired channels. Try to get a huge fan for your case, to pull much hot air out or cool air in, this could help. What cpu do you run?

    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    This could be a ram or heat issue.

    If you have two sticks of ram in your computer try taking each one out in seperate runs and see if you have a bad stick.  If you can play fine with only one stick in the machine you have found the problem.

    If you do not have the luxury of two ram sticks download this ram test software and create a boot disk with it so you can test your ram before windows loads.

    If your ram passes you probably are overheating since you mentioned the side of the case coming off helps it cool this is a more likely dilema than the ram (I just want to be sure with the above tests).  What processor (amd, intel) are you running and what model if you know (prescott, clawhammer).  If you built the machine yourself did you apply any thermal paste to the CPU before attaching the heatsink and fan?  A common mistake among first time system builders is not applying the paste correctly or at all.  

    If your system is store bought (retail or online) prebuilt then try and contact the orginal company that built it and see if its a common problem among your model.  Usually big companies take responsibility and will replace bad parts for free.

    Should the system have been properly built then you will need to buy case fans to assist in moving the hot air built up inside your case.

    It isn't your hard drive as an overheating hard drive will slow down or not be read at all it will not cause reboots.

    In the off chance nothing suggested above works you could still have a faulty power supply that is simply on its last legs and it konks out whenever you try to do anything demanding.  If you recently added any hardware or replaced anything within the computer you may want to consider replacing this first as its very inexpensive and beneficial to preventing component damage long term.

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