Freezing PC
December 10, 2004 7:38 PM   Subscribe

My PC is having intermittent freezes. More inside.

Now, before you say "check the RAM!" I did. 768MB DDR333, Nforce 2 mobo, 9600 pro, new 450 watt power supply, 2800+ AMD.

It is definately the motherboard. I had a KT400 board with the exact same setup and it would not freeze. I would assume as much there is nothing I can do, but I tweaked with it and found out this much:
Freezes predominately during Hard Disk transfer. Uninstalled NVIDIA SW IDE driver, slightly helped.

USB seems to trigger it as well. Disabled performance mode in BIOS and reinstalled SP2. Noticable difference.

Ran Memtest for 8 hours with no hiccups.

Freeze up will send audio into loop, and image will freeze on screen. Windows always loads to completion.

What could it be?
posted by Keyser Soze to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I'd guess its your IDE controller.
posted by ChasFile at 7:46 PM on December 10, 2004

Assuming the drive has been eliminated as a suspect -- you did swap it for another one, right? -- then it sounds like the northbridge is starting to go.
posted by majick at 8:36 PM on December 10, 2004

Check performance on an install without 3rd party software (in other words, do a clean install of windows. no drivers for the disks or for USB ports -- let XP handle them). Check for freezes. If they still happen, RMA the board. If not, it looks like software.

When it's software, you're often screwed. I wish that wasn't the case, but unless you finagle a customer service representative, they often won't give you a RMA if software is bad. Some people (ahem) have been know to lie in this situation if the software is provided by the hardware manufacturer.

Also, how did you check the RAM?

[Not related: verbing an acronym? Language is curious.]
posted by amery at 8:40 PM on December 10, 2004

Response by poster: Using Memtest.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:12 AM on December 11, 2004

you don't have a fan on the mobo chipset that's failed, do you? that happened to me once...
posted by andrew cooke at 5:45 AM on December 11, 2004

I had similar problems on an older mobo recently (see here). It seems the capacitors on the old board had blown and were causing the problems. Check yours to see if they are the problem (they are the pop can shaped items on the board, with an x scored on the top. If it seems like they are bulging out your SOL).
posted by smcniven at 9:17 AM on December 11, 2004

Response by poster: Onboard audio is disabled, using SB Audigy 2 Platinum and made sure to give every device a different IRQ.

You know, I did paint the caps with glow in the dark water based neon paint. Maybe I fucked the board up?
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:13 PM on December 11, 2004

Set the BIOS to "Performance Defaults" (or possibly, "high performance defaults"). My nForce2 locked up repeatedly during the initial OS install until I changed from fail-safe defaults to performance defaults.
posted by krisjohn at 10:48 PM on December 11, 2004

Check your ram.

Seriously (sorry), you've got 3 sticks (3x 256 or 1x256+1x512)? Pull them all, stick one back in. See if you still have problems. If not, stick another one in. If you do, take it out, replace it with another. It's too bad you don't have a replicable error, but an intermittent one. More painful to troubleshoot.

Memtest is the best software diag, but that's not saying a lot.

Also, check to see if you have system recover (recover?) or automatic updates turned on, or the SP2 firewall. Try turning them off. Try a virus scan if nothing else works. If you have an adequate powersupply lying around, try swapping it in.

If all else fails, pull every card and power connector you feel comfortable pulling, and put them back in (I've seen something similar with the power supply not properly plugged into a HD - the change in weather can magnify minor connection problems).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:48 PM on December 11, 2004

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