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random computer lockups/freeze


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#1
sgreene

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A while back, I did some replacement of components on my computer. Specifically, the Hard Drive, video card, and more RAM. All was well for some time, but a few months back it started locking up when running games. The heavier the graphics, the more it seems to happen. I'm fairly certain this means a video card problem, but as I don't have spare components laying around the house to test this with, I thought I'd get a second opinion before spending the money on something I may not need, as I've heard this problem could be related to any one piece of hardware in the system.

Running XP Service Pack 2
160GB HD
Pentium 4 2.0Ghz
1.0 GB RAM
Radeon X1600 Video Card

Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks
Steve G
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#2
Chryseus

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Sounds like a thermal problem to me.
Check the temp of the CPU and GPU while running, clean fans, check connections, etc
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#3
sgreene

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Will do, as soon as I can figure out how to do that. :)
Thanks for the response, hopefully I can find out how to check that and get it taken care of!

Steve
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#4
sgreene

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I've been unable to find a way to check temperature, but I did do a thorough cleaning and while it is better now, I still have problems. Now it lasts about 20 minutes or so in a graphics-intensive game.

Just to clarify, when it "crashes", I get one of the following problems.

1) The system reboots.
2) The system freezes. ie: The screen displays the same image, but no sound comes out, and the mouse and keyboard are un-responsive.
3) The screen goes black, and the lights on my moniter all start flashing.

I've tried doing some research, and the best I can tell is that my power supply may need upgrading, but again I don't have the money to randomly replace components to see if it helps. Does anyone have any other thoughts?
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#5
Samm

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Hi Steve

Download Speedfan and use that to check your temperatures with. It may not give you temperatures for everything but it should at least report the CPU temperature. Remember to check the temperatures at several different points (i.e before playing a game, during a game etc).

Speedfan

To get the video card temperature, try this:
right click anywhere on the desktop, then select ATI Catalyst control centre from the drop down menu.
You might find the GPU temperature reported in there somewhere...
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#6
sgreene

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Downloaded, and trying to understand it. Does it only monitor HD temperature? Having a hard time figuring out how to monitor more, if it's possible.
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#7
Samm

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It should monitor everything that has a temperature sensor. This is typically the cpu, hard disk and the system/motherboard.

Is your computer a laptop or a desktop? If it's a laptop, then you need to use something like hmonitor (free trial version available):
Hmonitor

If it's a desktop, then I would normally expect speedfan to be able to read the cpu temperature at least.
If it is a desktop, then is it a branded one? e.g HP, Dell, Gateway etc. If so, which is brand is it & whats the model name/number?
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#8
sgreene

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Desktop, Dell Dimension 4500

So far it shows me CPU usage, fan1 speed, fan2 speed, and HD temp.
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#9
Samm

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Ok, try hmonitor anyway in that case.
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#10
sgreene

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I don't get anything else useful with hmonitor, unfortunately.
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#11
Samm

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Really? That's strange. I've never known hmonitor fail to get a cpu temperature reading before. Oh well.

In that case, just check inside the case for dust, especially around the cpu fan & heatsink. Do not remove the heatsink at this stage as you'll need to replace the thermal compound if you do this. You may want to remove the fan though in order to clean the dust underneath it. (cpu fan is usually held in place by 4 screws)

Is there any pattern to the freezing/rebooting? i.e does it only happen in certain applications? Does it only happen after the system has been on for a while or during a period of heavy load?

Can you also check the event logs for any recurrent errors? You find these in control panel->administrative tools->event viewer.
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#12
sgreene

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It tends to happen while playing games like the new Warhammer. Non-graphics heavy games don't phase it much, and it will usually last 20 minutes to 45 minutes regardless of whether it was just turned on or not.

i've gone through cleaning it once. It used to happen after about 10 minutes, until after that. I'll try cleaning it out again, being even more thorough, and see if that helps.

Thanks for all the help, it may be a while before I get time to do this though.
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#13
Samm

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Ok, let us know how you get on when you round to it. I suggest you also pay attention to the heatsink and fan on the video card. Check it for dust but also make sure the fan (if there is one) is working
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