A7N8x Deluxe random freeze problem

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Hans Kuhn, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Hans Kuhn

    Hans Kuhn Guest

    Hi,

    My computer freezes at random times, no response from computer and
    video display goes off. It happens a few seconds to a few minutes from
    boot, or it can happen after using the computer for hours. It happens
    while in Windows, DOS (boot floppy) or even while I'm in the BIOS...
    It can happen 4-5 times in a row and then work fine for hours...
    really annoying!

    specs:
    Asus A7N8X Deluxe
    Athlon 2800+
    1 Gig Crucial PC2700 (2x512 in dual channel)
    Nvidia 4200
    120 Gig WD SATA HD
    CD writer and DVD drive on secondary IDE
    Qtec 400watt PSU

    already checked:
    Heat - not heat related, I've monitored the temps and everything is
    fine, plus it sometimes happens just a few seconds from boot.

    Any ideas?

    TIA
    Hans
     
    Hans Kuhn, Dec 23, 2003
    #1
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  2. Hans Kuhn

    Ben Pope Guest

    Have you confirmed RAM stability using memtest86?

    What OS and chipset drivers are you using?

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Dec 23, 2003
    #2
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  3. Similar behaviour here, only noticed under Win98SE (not intensively tested
    in another OS environment). The video disappears for 1 or 2 seconds then
    recovers.
    You don't say if the computer hangs or just freezes for a short while.
    (I'm still looking for a solution).
     
    Gino Zantafio, Dec 23, 2003
    #3
  4. Hans Kuhn

    Ben Pope Guest

    His computer freezes, as in it needs to be turned off in order to get it
    going again - this is typical of errors in the data thats being worked on,
    often as a result of unstable RAM.

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Dec 23, 2003
    #4
  5. Hans Kuhn

    Hans Kuhn Guest

    Hi Ben,

    I've just run Memtest86 through twice without any problems.

    I'm running Win 2000 Pro.
    The Nforce drivers are version 3.13
    BIOS is version 1007, board Rev 2.0

    As I said before though, it often crashes when not even in windows...

    Anything else you can think I should try?

    Thanks
    Hans
     
    Hans Kuhn, Dec 23, 2003
    #5
  6. Thats correct, only a reset will get it going again.

    The problem appears to be very sporadic too - it worked fine for a week
    from new and then the problems suddenly started. Tonight I'm not having
    any problems either... whereas last night I had to reset about 8 times...

    I thought it might be the mains power that was unstable at certain times
    but I have 4 other computers running here without any problems.

    Regards
    Hans
     
    Hans-Ulrich Kuhn, Dec 23, 2003
    #6
  7. Hans Kuhn

    Ben Pope Guest

    Freezing up is almost always a hardware problem, it can be caused by dodgy
    drivers, but we can safely assume that it's not drivers as you say it occurs
    in DOS.

    Strip the machine of all non required hardware (especially PCI cards) and go
    from there - if it's still freezing then try swapping the Video Card, CPU
    and/or RAM, if not, build the machine up again, verifying each component.

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Dec 23, 2003
    #7
  8. Hans Kuhn

    Tocapet Guest

    CHECK THE POWER SUPPLY!!!!!!!!!!!

     
    Tocapet, Dec 23, 2003
    #8
  9. Hans Kuhn

    Ben Pope Guest

    It's a fair point, but the QTec 400W should be enough.

    They tend to mark their supplies with the maximum power rather then
    continuous.

    lucky, if you use something like MBM5 to monitor voltages and give the
    minimum (after say, 10 minutes or some heavy duty work... gaming etc.) for
    +12, +5 and +3.3V here that might throw some light on the situation.

    Ben
     
    Ben Pope, Dec 23, 2003
    #9
  10. Hans Kuhn

    Arnie Berger Guest

    I had a similar problem with another MOBO. Being a hardware designer I
    naturally assumed that the software was at fault. After much testing
    we finally discovered that the video card was defective. Likely, it
    was a marginal memory chip. In any case, there is no one place to
    look, because there can be many sources of the problem. My best advice
    is to start with a minimum configuration and run memtest86 overnight.
    If it passes, then add something else and repeat.

    Start with the mobo on a table top with CPU with heatsink and fan, one
    memory stick, the video card, the power supply, floppy disk drive, the
    keyboard and the mouse, memtest86 on a bootable floppy. Set the BIOS
    defaults to the safe mode and run the board overnight. If it passes,
    then set the BIOS settings to how you want them to be for the full
    system and repeat. Next, load-up the full memory complement and
    repeat. If all is still looking good. Then mount it in the case and
    repeat. If it starts to fail now, then you might have an intermittent
    short circuit to ground. If it runs in the case, then add your drives.

    What I'm getting at is to approach it systemmatically. If the hardware
    seems stable, then you can start to bring up the software.

    Arnie
     
    Arnie Berger, Dec 23, 2003
    #10
  11. Hans Kuhn

    Tocapet Guest

    Ben, I was running a 500W power supply and getting fluctuations on the 3.3V
    rail. I'm now running a 300W supply I had extra and everything is fine.
    Some power supply mfgs. split the voltages in order to come up with the 5V
    and 3.3V rails. That can make them unstable.
    I'm waiting on a new Antec Truepower 550 that I ordered. Probably overkill,
    since a 430 or 480 would probably do fine. But Antec has dedicated
    circuitry for each voltage output.

    Tocapet
     
    Tocapet, Dec 24, 2003
    #11
  12. Hans Kuhn

    Phil Guest

    If you have the factory AMD fan/heatsink combo it may be
    your problem. I built 2 identical A7N8X Deluxe systems
    with XP2100 cpus and AMD fans and they have both gone
    intermittant. In the last year I have had 6 or more
    unexplained shutdowns, all but once when I was away from
    my office. After a lot of checking and aggravation I
    installed MBM and the logs recorded the culprit, the fans
    were stopping or slowing down and the cpu went over temp
    and shut the system down. The BIOS was set to keep the
    fans on full speed so its not a system problem. I also
    plugged the cpu fan into all 3 different power sockets
    on the mobo with no improvement. I'm no expert but that is
    my story, my new fans and heatsinks arrived today, I'll
    install them tomorrow (Merry Christmas!) and I'll post my
    results. Check yours out.

    Phil

    My Systems:
    Asus A7N8X Deluxe Rev 1.04
    AMD Athlon XP 2100+
    Corsair (2) CMX512-3200C2PT 512MB PC3200
    Western Digital (2) WD400JB with iWill SATA adapters (Raid 1)
    Yamaha CRW-F1ZE 44x24x44 CD-RW
    Asus V9280TD Ti4200-8X AGP 8X 128MB DDR Video
    Antec TruePower 430 ATX Power
    Win2000 Pro SP4
     
    Phil, Dec 25, 2003
    #12
  13. Hans Kuhn

    Phil Guest


    December 25th Update:
    I installed my new Vantec AeroFlow VA4-C7040 coolers today
    and what an instant difference! One system dropped about
    17 degrees C, the other about 20 degrees C. I tested both
    systems with MBM HeatUp and neither system hit 40 degrees
    C! When I removed the original AMD heatsink the heat
    transfer film had actually melted and dripped. I'm thankful
    that I haven't lost a processor to over heating. I'm
    currently running Norton AV and the system is running about
    36 to 38 degrees C, much better then the 50 to 56 it would
    run in the past. The case temoerature is running 24 degrees
    at the moment. BTW, these coolers are as quiet if not
    quieter than the original AMD coolers, highly recommended
    form my initial experience.

    Phil
     
    Phil, Dec 26, 2003
    #13
  14. Hans Kuhn

    Hans Kuhn Guest

    Hi All,

    Thanks for all the useful advice.

    I stripped system components and swapped them out to eventually narrow
    my problem down to the graphics card - either a faulty config in the
    BIOS or a faulty card.

    I first underclocked my card a bit in case I had a marginal GPU or
    memory chip - but still had the same freeze.

    I then went into the BIOS and put the AGP Spread Spectrum on 0.50% and
    so far its been stable! I don't really understand the technical reason
    for this option (see:
    http://www.rojakpot.com/default.aspx?location=8&var1=0&var2=114) - can
    this really be the solution to the problems I'm having or am I just
    experiencing a short period of relief? :)

    Thanks again,

    Regards
    Hans
     
    Hans Kuhn, Dec 31, 2003
    #14
  15. Probably the 'short period of relief'.
    Spread spectrum, should have no positive effect on card reliability.
    Basically, it means the system will continuously change the clock rate used
    to the clock, up/down by this small amount. The reason for this, is that it
    reduces the 'peaks' in the radiated emissions, and therefore allows it to
    meet standards required in some countries. Normally it makes stability
    worse!.
    That having been said, enabling this, will have a tiny effect on some other
    timings to the card, and it is possible that this has 'just' made things
    work....

    Best Wishes
     
    Roger Hamlett, Dec 31, 2003
    #15
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