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Need Expert Opinion


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#1
Electricatwork

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I need some experts opinion to confirm what I feel is wrong with my computer. I am not an expert, but I have some experience with troubleshooting computers to a certain extent. This time I am at a loss. Two months ago, I bought a new computer for my home and brought my old computer here to work because it was bigger and better than the one we had. Its a small, family business and I thought I'd help out so they wouldn't have to purchase a new computer. I needed a larger computer for the programs I use here at work and my old computer would work just fine. I swapped it out, adding a zip drive to it from our old work computer and fired it up. It wouldn't start. I checked all the connections and everything seems to be fine. I tried to fire it up again to no avail. I decided to just keep trying and what happened is that it would just go so far and then lock up. I also heard a hissing inside the computer, which I feel originated around the RAM or Video card. I didn't hear any beeps. About the fifth time, the computer started up and would work all day with no problem. I was told to reformat it and did so, reinstalling Windows ME. Had the same problem. I was told to get rid of ME and get XP. Did that, installed it and still had the problem. A friend of mine did a diagnostic on it and found nothing wrong with it and he was puzzled. He advised that I just keep it on all the time until the problem burned itself out or showed itself and then he'd fix it. I've been doing that for over two weeks and now have a problem where it reboots everytime the screen saver goes on (3D) or any time I play a video. :tazz: I put it through the DirectX tests and all was fine. I ran a RAM Memory test and did not get any errors. I found your board (which, BTW, was the best info I've gotten so far) and kept reading that I should check my temperatures because everyone is telling me I have an over heating problem and should change the power supply. I just don't think it's the power supply. Anyway, I got Everest, the program your site suggested and it found several errors, but the temps were ok. I have an AMD Athlon-PECM, 1100 MHz computer with VIA VT8363(A) Apollo KT133(A) Motherboard Chipset, 384 MB (SDRAM) and a BIOS type of (AMI (06/26/01). OS is Windows XP Home Edition which I just installed two weeks ago. When running Everest, it told me the following:

-Temps according to your site are fine. Run from 73 to 84 degrees on Sensor Properties and 73 to 91 degrees on the Motherboard, CPU, AUX and Seagate ST320413 (don't know what that is).
-States SSE is not supported. Upgrade your CPU to speed up applications optimized for SSE. What is this? Tried to find something on your site, but couldn't.
-Suggests I install more memory to optimize applications performance.
-System BIOS & Video BIOS are more than 2 years old. Update if necessary. How do you do that?
-Hardware Transform & Lighting is not supported. Modern 3D games may require it. What does this mean?

I ran it through Virus checker, Pest Patrol and Ad-AwareSE finding nothing, so I don't think it's a virus. I know it's a hardware problem.

I really feel this is a Video Card problem or this computer is not compatible with WindowsXP, but the booting problem came before I installed XP. I got the rebooting problem after I installed XP. So even if XP is the rebooting problem, what is the problem with not being able to reboot until I try it 5-6 times? I used to watch a lot of movies on this computer when I had it at home. Could I have burned out the video card. Or more acurately, could it be starting to go? Is that possible when I still can run a few small 3D games on the internet or run some smaller, tutorial type programs from my computer? And if I can do that, why does it reboot when a 3D screen saver is running or when I play a video, which is whats running usually when it reboots.

Before I chuck this computer and get a new one, I sure could use some suggestions on what to check so I can save the company some money. It was my idea to do this and the old computer is already gone. I feel so responsible. I'd really like to solve the problem. ;)
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#2
bdlt

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I'm no expert, but have one suggestion:

Disconnect the zip drive and see if the rebooting problem goes away. It sounds like that's when your problems started.
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#3
Electricatwork

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Disconnected the zip and that didn't solve the problem. I disconnected all the devices one by one and nothing changed. I reseated the video card and that didn't help. I also reseated the RAM. Nothing seems to help. Sorry...forgot to state that. :tazz:
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#4
bdlt

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It sounds like you've eliminated everything, except the power supply and mother board.
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#5
bdlt

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Sorry, that was a little hasty. It still could be memory or the video card. You might want to run memtest - do a search on this site for the download link.
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#6
Electricatwork

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Do you really think so? Even when temps are OK? I thought of the Motherboard and cringed. But you are not the only one who tells me this and I guess I should try the power supply first. One question...Is there a test for the power supply? Seems there are tests for everything else. Is there a way I can test it before I buy a new one?
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#7
Electricatwork

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As for the memTest, I did that. Ran it all night and there were no errors. That's why I eliminated the RAM problem. I may need more though. (No worrys on being hasty. Thanks for the reply.)
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#8
bdlt

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You might see if one of your friends has a power supply laying around and try it before spending any money. Looks at the WATTS on your supply and the one you are testing. Make sure the new one is rated higher. One possible cause of the lockup during your game is the video card may be loading the power supply past it's limits. You may not see this when measuring the power supply in a static condition.
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#9
Electricatwork

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I'll call my friend after work tonight and see if he's got one. It wouldn't hurt!!! If that doesn't work I guess I just have to do what he said...keep it on until whatever it is goes out on me. I just think it's the video card because I did all the tests this site suggested and some of the errors point to it regarding 3D video or more memory. But I think I'll try the power supply and get that eliminated first. Thanks for your reply. :tazz:
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#10
bdlt

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You are welcome - good luck
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#11
peterm

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1st Test I would try is fritz all the 3D screensavers If you feel you must
run one then pick a simple turn to black or anything that is not 3D and see what happens.
Peterm
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#12
Electricatwork

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I used the 3D screensavers as a test. I got a 3D driver/media player driver error when running a video on my browser news page. I downloaded new driver for Media Player and that didn't help. I thought testing with a 3D screensaver or game would give me more errors to work with, but all it does is freeze for a second and reboot. Otherwise, I don't use screensavers. Only Stand-by. I play a small 3D game on a site I know and it freezes, then reboots. Microsoft keeps telling me its because of a driver problem, but won't tell me what driver. It tells me to remove it and reinstall it, but won't tell me what the driver is!?! :tazz: So, that won't do it. Thanks though. ;)
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#13
Cryptie

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Two questions:
1) Is this a Gateway computer?
2) Are the letters OXN on the back label with the serial number?

If both of the above is true you probably have a bad oxnard motherboard. They have about 6 capactiors that like to blow at about the 3-4 year mark. Replaced 3 of them this week on customers machines. Take a good look with a flashlight as to where that "hissing" sound was coming from. Caps that are blowing/blown can sometimes make that sound. If it is the caps you need to replace the motherboard. You can find a replacement on ebay for relatively cheap, just do a search for "OXNARD" motherboard.
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#14
Doby

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Hi,

You mentioned a hissing sound, look the mobo over very carefully use a magnifiying glass if nesassary, look for bulging or leaking capacitors if it has any it won't last long you would need a new mobo.

Rick
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#15
Doby

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oops sorry Cryptie you got it in before me,

Rick
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