PDA

View Full Version : Need fix-it help


Lurker the Second
14-06-2005, 16:17:25
About a year ago a lightening surge did something to my brand new, home built computer. The video just goes black if you use it for too long. "Too long" seems to vary depending on the graphics demands of the application in use, e.g., BF 1942 won't go for too long while business apps will sometimes go for days. This also seems to happen faster when the room is hotter.

I'm assuming it's either a video card or motherboard problem, but is there some way to diagnose which without simply exchanging the existing components for new ones and seeing if one or the other corrects the problem? Or should I rule out other things also?

Cruddy
14-06-2005, 17:03:10
SOmething simple to check - is the fan turning on the graphics card?

Is your computer full of dust blocking the fans?

Give it a vacuum clean as best you can.

Could save a lot of messing around.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
14-06-2005, 17:06:43
Exchanging the parts would seem to be by far the easiest solution. Well, actually, buying a whole new computer from, say, Dell, would be easier, but probably more expensive.

I would be tempted to take the video card out and check all the heat sinks on it. My first suspicion is that it's getting too hot too quickly, which means whatever heat reduction technique it's using isn't performing at full efficiency.

I would tend to put motherboard problem down the list a bit as a suspected cause, as it would more than likely cause other problems as well, unless it was a very specific and localised problem.

Cruddy
14-06-2005, 17:26:03
Oh yeah, geting an anti-surge device on the mains should stop lighting screwing with your computer in the future too.

What sort of mobo and graphics card have you got? I regularly surf on another tech forum to sort out crap like this, so I certainly wouldn't mind doing it for you Lurker.

Could be a naturally occuring clash, or could be a BIOS fix, voltage tweak...

It's very easy to blame the lighting but maybe that just brought it to your attention.

Lurker the Second
14-06-2005, 18:07:20
Video card is a Radeon 9800 Pro. Once I had gotten the tweaks done, it had worked flawlessly for about 6 months before the storm. I'm virtually certain a surge did something b/c it even fucked up various settings. I have one of those cheap surge protectors that you just plug stuff into, and I understand that probably wasn't much help.

I need to check the fans to make sure they're working. I didn't do that yet. How do you "check" heat sinks?

Lady_of_Chicken
15-06-2005, 02:40:22
Pull them. If they come off, they're broken :)

Inspect them to make sure they're seated firmly, and there's no gap between the bottom of the sink and the chip it's supposed to be attached to. If they wiggle too much then it's probably not on right. What it would take to stick it on again is beyond me - you'd have to check with tech support I suppose.

Cruddy
15-06-2005, 03:16:14
Originally posted by Lurker the Second
Video card is a Radeon 9800 Pro. Once I had gotten the tweaks done, it had worked flawlessly for about 6 months before the storm. I'm virtually certain a surge did something b/c it even fucked up various settings.



It does sound like it. ATI chipset on the motherboard?

If you're not sure of motherboard make and model then CPU-Z (http://www.cpuid.org/) or Everest Home Edition (http://www.lavalys.com/products/overview.php?pid=1&lang=en) can tell you without taking the lid off.

Originally posted by Lurker the Second

I have one of those cheap surge protectors that you just plug stuff into, and I understand that probably wasn't much help.

Better than nothing - at least you saved the PSU from catching fire!

Originally posted by Lurker the Second

I need to check the fans to make sure they're working. I didn't do that yet. How do you "check" heat sinks?

Like I said, fans get dusty over time. Which slows them down and also traps heat. Vacuuming them once a year can help.

Most PC cases come with the holes for case fans, yet most of the time, they aren't fitted. Look for a circular range of holes drilled in the back of the case, also the front lower down.

Fitting an inlet fan at the bottom-front (to suck in cool air) and an outlet fan at the back-top (to blow out the hot air) help a lot. And they don't cost much. If you're willing to tweak them down they can also be pretty quiet.

As for checking heatsinks, the above poster is right - it's so instinctive for me I didn't even think about telling you how.

Should be a good firm physical connection - they also tend to get very dusty, trapping yet more heat.

Sounds like a component is running just a bit hotter than it likes and fails after a while - I would guess probably the RAM chips or GPU on the graphics card. So take it out and give it a through dusting with the hose on a vacuum cleaner.

A can of compressed air makes a good substitute if you haven't got a vacuum cleaner handy.

Lurker the Second
15-06-2005, 14:56:44
I have an Athlon 64 processor. I don't remember whether I bought an ASUS or ABIT motherboard, but I think it is an ASUS. If I get home in time tonight and am reasonably sober, I'll check all the things you have suggested.

No longer Trippin
16-06-2005, 04:23:36
ATi doesn't make AMD chipsets on a large basis at all yet - and they are still having issues with taping out a real southbridge for either platform - they are using a ULi (ALi) southbridge (at tiawans behest), so it isn't the motherboard. Doubt it is the PSU as well - what do your rails read at though?

Voltage spikes don't create dust, living in cardboard boxes under sawmills does that.

R350/R360 cores don't take kindly to voltage (I lost one that way) unless you have some stupid means to keep them cool, power spikes I'd imagine would be far worse given the piss poor regulator they included on the card. I'd say it the surge fried your card a tad - live with it or buy a new one. Might download ATiTool and declock it a bit on the core, see if it works, if not, then try the memory as well... if it works then, try to up the core again. Since it seems to be heat related, look for an Artic Silencer ATi 2 (IIRC is what fits 9800's, I could be wrong, it has been a long while.) Some ramsinks if it is the ram, but don't expect to get it back to stable stock speeds, but you should get something better than before.

Lurker the Second
16-06-2005, 18:53:06
Trip, I sincerely appreciate the advice, but you've apparently forgotten that you're talking to a technological buffoon. Just about the only thing I understood was the second paragraph.

Cruddy
16-06-2005, 19:16:45
In a nutsell, he was asking what all the current voltages are in your mobo.

Either note them from BIOS or from either of the 2 utils I posted (prefer Everest myself).

Now, before you tell him, how about please telling me what motherboard you have? Would make it a lot easier to trawl for problems/answers.

Lurker the Second
16-06-2005, 21:00:09
Originally posted by Lurker the Second
If I get home in time tonight and am reasonably sober, I'll check all the things you have suggested.

The contingency was not met. ;)

I doubt I'll get to it until the weekend now b/c of other commitments, but I shall report back promptly once I do. I do appreciate the help. Thanks.

No longer Trippin
17-06-2005, 01:29:19
You should just go into your BIOS, you'll eventually find voltage readouts. If that is too much download MBM 5.0 or Speedfan - just google and you'll find it. It'll report the voltages on the desktop.

They should be within 15% of 12, -12, etc.

Lurker the Second
28-06-2005, 04:56:47
Well, I finally got around to this project tonight. (The call of BF2 is strong.)

First thing I had to do was install a wireless router so I could even get on the internet with said computer. Seems to work fine.

In doing so, I noticed that the case fan wasn't working. Power supply, video and cpu fans are working. I detached the fan from the case and cleaned it, but it was very resistant to turning, even manually. Then while I was trying to figure out what I would need to do to replace it, it started working. Since it's plastic, I assumed something was twisted or slightly misshapen and somehow my fooling with it got it to work. Only it quit again after a little while. This problem exacerbates the cooling needs in two ways. First, it doesn't do the obvious, whch is expel heat from the case. But also the fan motor gets quite warm when it's not working, which just adds more heat to the case.

Bottom line, I need a new case fan. Hopefully that will take care of the problem.

As far as voltages go, this is the only information I could find using the EVEREST utility:

CPU Properties:
CPU Type AMD Athlon 64, 2000 MHz (10 x 200) 3200+
CPU Alias ClawHammer S754
CPU Stepping SH-C0
Instruction Set x86, x86-64, MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2
Min / Max CPU Multiplier 4x / 10x
L1 Code Cache 64 KB (Parity)
L1 Data Cache 64 KB (ECC)
L2 Cache 1 MB (On-Die, ECC, Full-Speed)

CPU Physical Info:
Package Type 754 Pin uOPGA
Package Size 4.00 cm x 4.00 cm
Transistors 105.9 million
Process Technology 9Mi, 0.13 um, CMOS, Cu, SOI
Die Size 193 mm2
Core Voltage 1.50 V
I/O Voltage 1.2 V + 2.5 V
Maximum Power 89.0 W

It doesn't appear that's what you're looking for, though.

Cruddy
28-06-2005, 14:59:38
My money's on the case fan. Sounds like a bearing wore out.

Lurker the Second
06-07-2005, 02:05:50
Turns out the fan isn't the problem (or at least not the sole cause of the problem). I installed a new case fan plus I added an intake fan. I can play BF2 for about a half an hour and the whole damn video signal just quits. The motherboard is a Gigabyte K8NXP. I don't really understand what I'm looking for when I run MBM, but the dashboard screen shows +12 volt as being between 12.9 and 12.15. The -12 volt is at zero. Suggestions?

No longer Trippin
06-07-2005, 03:24:30
Replace the cooler on the card - Look into an Artic Silencer, your temps should be about 10C lower using it for the chip (which is huge for under load).

Look for which card is yours and match it. You'll have to find a dealer in your area online for it (if you can't find one, let me know, I can check for a dealer that will ship there), but it is a great cooler and worth the money as it is cheaper than the alternative which is replacement.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=Go&DEPA=0&type=&description=artic+silencer&Category=0&minPrice=&maxPrice=&Go.x=0&Go.y=0

It may work fine, it might not because you said it sometimes crashes while idling. If it was just under intense load you'd have a better chance. But I'd give it a try. The 9800 XT cooler is different than the 9800 Pro one mind you. So double check before you order if you can find a place. It should come with some thermal paste as well, both of mine did.