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Computer freezes randomly
itsdoh Jul-08-02 02:40 PM
I'm having a problem with my computer. It seems to be hanging randomly. At some point my CDR drive will stop functioning (the tray doesn't respond) while the other components seem to work, and within about 10 seconds the system will hang. The system can hang even if I dont touch the CDR so I can't imagine its a power draw from it causing it. Anyways here are the specs as best as I can remember them:

AMD XP 1700+
Asus A7V277 motherboard
1GB Atlas Precision PC2100 DDR
120GB Maxtor 5400RPM IDE
Toshiba 16x DVD
Lite-On 32x16x40x CD/RW
SoundBlaster Live 5.1
Linksys NIC
GeForce4 Ti4600

if you have any ideas what I should check please let me know. I'm debating replacing the power supply with something stronger (300W now, considering going to 350/400) and using another fan (currently 2 fans aren't connected since the system wasnt running hot).

1. RE: Computer freezes randomly
sirgeez Jul-08-02 03:53 PM
In response to message 0
Do you have a heatsink and cpu fan installed, and if you do is the cpu fan running?? You should be able to hear it without leaving the case open.

2. RE: Computer freezes randomly
itsdoh Jul-08-02 10:48 PM
In response to message 1
yes I've had the system working for months, its a relatively infrequent problem. If the heatsink wasn't installed I'd be complaining of smoke coming from my case, not freezing

3. RE: Computer freezes randomly
DJ Net2Infinity Jul-08-02 11:09 PM
In response to message 2
What OS?

4. RE: Computer freezes randomly
itsdoh Jul-08-02 11:37 PM
In response to message 3
windows 2000 pro

5. RE: Computer freezes randomly
lbyard Jul-09-02 12:16 PM
In response to message 0
The specs for the display adapter call for a larger power supply, don't they? And you have a lot of memory installed. You are not overclocking, are you? The NIC and Soundblaster Live could have a conflict. They should not be sharing an IRQ. Larry

6. RE: Computer freezes randomly
itsdoh Jul-09-02 10:19 PM
In response to message 5
A number of devices claim to be sharing IRQ 9. They include the soundblaster card, the NIC, the scsi controller, the USB controller, and video adapter, along with anything I missed. All claim to have no conflicts and I dont seem to have the option to change any of them.

I dont know about the gef4ti line's power requirements honestly. I do however have a 350W supply on the way already so we can see if that does it. On a side note, since I posted this the computer hasn't frozen once. Hate non-reproducable issues.

8. RE: Computer freezes randomly
lbyard Jul-10-02 01:33 AM
In response to message 6
If the network adapter and a soundblaster Live are on the same IRQ, you will have problems. Suggest moving some boards around and turning off motherboard resources you don't need. If that SCSI adapter is really a RAID controller and you do not have drives on the RAID controller, turn-it-off in the CMOS Setup. I have seen problems caused by them. If you aren't using USB, turn it off (usually in two places in the CMOS Setup). Rule: if you aren't using it, don't use it. Always try to avoid plugging a board into the PCI slot next to the AGP slot. They usually share the same interrupt. The CMOS Setup may allow assigning specific IRQs to specific PCI/AGP slots, depending on the motherboard/BIOS. Try it with less memory. Larry

9. RE: Computer freezes randomly
Zeno Jul-10-02 02:23 AM
In response to message 8
It's normal for WIN2K PRO to assign a lot of devices to IRQ 9 because IRQ 9 talks directly to IRQ 2. If WIN2K says there's no conflicts, you can bet it's most likely true. So resource conflicts probably aren't an issue. And if you DID have a resource conflict in WIN2K you should be able to spot it almost instantly in your event logs.

To the point: Infrequent random lockups on AMD systems are more likely to be the result of heat-related problems, especially in the CPU, than power supply problems. (And, yes, I like AMD CPUs.) Last January I had a nearly identical problem on an ASUS A7V133A board with a 1.33Ghz T-Bird. The PC would randomly lock up about once a week, always after running fine for at least 45 to 90 min, and usually while playing a high-end video game or a DVD.

After *much* tinkering, (I'll spare your the details) I finally solved the random lock-up problem by:

(1) reseating the CPU and GF3 video card

(2) removing the remnants of the old HSF thermal pad on the CPU with alcohol + Q-tip

(3) installing a new and more efficient HSF with

(4) a generous, but not too generous application of Arctic Ice thermal compound.

Some combination of the above definitely solved my problem, though I can't point to the exact item that did the trick.

Although most thermal pads seem to work fine, it's not uncommon to see them slightly misaligned on the HSF. In other cases, the thermal pad can be deformed or driven out of alignment during HSF installation. It might be worth a try to reinstall your HSF with new thermal compound, if your 350 watt PSU doesn't solve the problem. Make sure you use a thermal compound the actually works. Some of the junk brands are just the same zinc-oxide nose-guard you can buy at any drug store. More case fans could help too.

Best Wishes...

12. RE: Computer freezes randomly
lbyard Jul-10-02 11:20 AM
In response to message 9
Thank you. We all live and learn... To elaborate:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q252420, General Description of IRQ Sharing in Windows 2000 (Q252420)

"In Windows, some or all of the devices on your ACPI motherboard may be listed when you view the resources in Device Manager as using the same IRQ (IRQ 9) (to view the list of resources click either Resources by type , or Resources by connection on the View menu). You cannot change the IRQ setting because the setting is unavailable. This occurs because Windows takes advantage of the ACPI features of the motherboard, including advanced PCI sharing. IRQ 9 is used by the PCI bus for IRQ steering. This feature lets you add more devices without generating IRQ conflicts.

Note that Windows 2000 does not have the ability to rebalance resources in the same way that Microsoft Windows 98 does. After PCI resources are set, they generally cannot be changed. If you change to an invalid IRQ setting or I/O range for the bus that a device is on, Windows 2000 cannot rebalance the resource it assigned to that bus to compensate. Windows 2000 does not have this ability because of the more complex hardware schemas it is designed to support. Windows 98 does not have to support IOAPICs, multiple root PCI buses, multiple-processor systems, and so on. Rebalancing becomes risky when you are dealing with these hardware schemas, and will not be implemented in Windows 2000 except for very specific scenarios. However, PCI devices are required to be able to share IRQs. The ability to share IRQs should not prevent any hardware from working in general."

If you think I believe all of this, think again. That is, I do not believe Microsoft has made Windows 2K Plug 'n Play anything more than what it has always been: Plug 'n Prey. My Windows 2000 Pro server has no devices on IRQ9. Of course my server, does not have as many devices as one will find in a fully-loaded computer. The network adapter is on 10. The server is on 24/7 and has never locked-up. Larry

18. IRQs
lbyard Jul-10-02 11:37 AM
In response to message 12
I wrote this earlier, so I might as well post it for whatever it is worth. Larry..
The equivalent of the old (circa 1978) 8259 interrupt controller INT pin in the Southbridge chip on most motherboards does interrupt controller cascade function (http://duxcw.com/faq/irq/irq.htm). IRQ9 on the second (higher) of the two 8259's uses the same pin as IRQ2 on the first controller (lower IRQs). So, the higher-numbered interrupts request lines have a higher priority than the ones above 2 on the primary interrupt controller. IRQ2 on the first chip ties to INT on the second one. IRQ2 is not normally used for other functions. For that reason, most drivers written since the IBM AT Computer (i80286 processor) do not directly use IRQ2. And I try to avoid 9. My experience, which is mainly, in recent years, with Windows 9x/Me, because there are more computers running that operating system, is that when a Soundblaster Live and network adapter share the same IRQ, there will be problems. And often no conflict is reported by Windows. In fact sharing any interrupt with the network adapter and the two used for the sound card will usually cause problems with most computers. Sharing the mouse IRQ, usually 12 for PS/2 will also cause problems. Plug ‘n Play is really Plug ‘n Prey, more an art than a science. End lecture…

22. RE: IRQs
itsdoh Jul-10-02 12:43 PM
In response to message 18
This is all really useful information. I'll check my board placement when I get home from work and see if I can get either the sound or the NIC off of IRQ9.

21. RE: Computer freezes randomly
lbyard Jul-10-02 12:20 PM
In response to message 9
Was the processor overclocked? I have had very few heat problems with AMD CPUs and have been building computers with them since "dirt was invented." I have had no heat problems with any Athlon I have installed, none. Of course, when a fan fails, we have a heat problem. Larry

23. RE: Computer freezes randomly
lbyard Jul-11-02 03:51 PM
In response to message 9

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