PC freezes and/or reboots while playing games.

Posted on 2005-05-05
Last Modified: 2010-04-26

I recently built this system:

3.0 P4 800 FSB socket 478
9600 SE ATI
1.5G 3200 DDR - Corsair
Soyo Dragon MB

When doing normal desktop activity, I experience no problems.

However, when I run any graphical intensive application, I'll encounter this. Usually after 15-20 minutes of play.

What's been done:

- memtest86+ successful on 100 passes.
- Uninstalled SP2, installed SP (didn't work, so I re-installed SP2).
- Switched out the stock heatsink for some highly-reviewed heatsink.
- Tested video card in my other system, running the same applications.
- Tested RAM in my other system, running the same applications.

I'm pretty much stumped at this point in time.

Question by:Whah
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    I'd suspect overheating of your graphics card.  Verify the cooling fan on your graphics card is plugged in and working properly.  If it's not spinning while the machine is powered up, that's probably it right there.  Also, see if you can reposition your other cards & cables around to give the graphics card more breathing room.  Changing flat ribbon cable to round may help with your case cooling.   I've heard of people running machines with the case open, but I won't recommend anything dangerous like that.   If you're able to decrease heat buildup/improve your case cooling and it results in longer gaming time before a lockup, you can take a look at upgrading your case cooling by adding another fan or liquid cooling system.

    Author Comment

    The 9600SE has no built-in fan.

    Something interesting just happened that further leads me to the over-heated graphics card theory:

    My monitor shut off. The CPU, as well as the harddrive, was still spinning - all LED's were glowing.

    I suppose it's time to upgrade.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    maybe a pci slot fan is in order?  I have the same problem with my ti4600 sometimes when trying to play newer games like doom3 or farcry.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Are you overclocking your video card? Like others have said, the problem may lie there. I would bet that the video card has at least a heat sink, and that should do for most needs.

    You may also be having bad airflow within your case.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Also, have you installed the latest drivers for your graphics card? That may help solve the problem.

    Author Comment

    Not overclocking my card.

    There is a small heatsink on the video card, yes.

    Newest drivers are installed.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Try uninstalling the drivers using a program like DriverCleaner (to get rid of the driver completely) then reinstall. If it still doesn't work, you may want to try a custom Radeon driver such as Omega's drivers (

    I am also thinking that your DirectX installation might be causing the problem, since you mentioned that you installed, uninstalled, and reinstalled SP2. Some games lock up with the wrong DirectX configuration. I would suggest that you create an SP2 slipstreamed Windows XP CD and reformat using that to start fresh.
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Try checking your power requirements against this:

    Author Comment

    It was the card.

    I had two extra 80MM fans, so I rigged a cooling system on the heatsink; one directly on the heatsink, and the other blowing the air out of the case.

    Seems to work for the moment.

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