Please help: hardware feinds needed - very mystifying.

(mrmunkily) #1

Try this out, you hardware experts:

I’ve got a big problem: My computer keeps locking up. The pattern for lockups seems to be very odd.

Here are the very odd symptoms.

  1. Computer hard locks in all OSes: WinME, Win2K, and Linux Mandrake.

  2. Sometimes, after locking, I reboot, and all the drives whirr to life but the computer does not POST or boot at all. The Bios does not show.[/list]

  3. The computer sometimes will stay on for hours, but some other times stays on for only seconds before jamming. Sometimes it will boot right back up, other times it will refuse to boot for hours.

  4. The jams happen slightly more often at night than in the daytime.

  5. When the computer jams, I can hear the RPM’s of the fans go up slightly, as if something had stopped working and freed up some current for the fans.

What I know is not the problem: BIOS, Mobo, CPU and memory are OK. it is not a loose card or cable. It isn’t bad power, I’ve got a great setup here to keep continuity and voltage. It is NOT an overheat. I do not overclock and it’s not even an issue. My temperature stays below 40C at all times. It’s not a software problem. hell, it even jams in old dos.

Here’s my Config:

Stock Compaq 5005CL box:
1.1 Ghz Athlon Classic
2 HD’s one was upgraded, this problem occured some time after the upgrade.
256 MB ram, major brand
crummy assed proprietary mobo based on VIA
tnt2 m64
some other slight junk that escapes me at the moment.

Sorry for the long message, but I really hope some poeple can help me with this so I can get stability again and get back to blending without frustration.
over and out.


(acasto) #2

Well, it shouldn’t be any components (except graphics card) causing it if it locks before the post. Have you tried updating your bios? Have you changed anything, jumpers, graphics card, etc…, from what is was when you bought it? The gaphics card is detected before the post so it may be an issue? Also, since it runs sometimes and not other this may point more in that direction. I read somehwere were there could be problems with glitche between the athlon and agp, it may have been driving strength, but I’m not sure.

Also possible culprit is power supply. The stock one they put in those machines is basically crap. And that would explain a power fluctuation. Because in a good power supply, the three DC channels is equally regulated, so a drop in current draw in one shouldn’t cause a noticable rise in the other. Also, because how the computer transmits data is based on it’s notion of voltage and no voltage, a buggy powersupply could make it lose track of what is a 1 and what is a 0.

I would look at the power supply or graphics card as main probable cause. For grpahics card, I had one do something like that, so I shut it down, pulled the card out for a few minutes, then put it back in and it was ok. Don’t ask me why that worked, I have no idea. (maybe capacitance or something)

(mrmunkily) #3

hmm. thanks for he quick reply. I think it’s the power supply too. maybe the addition of that 7200 rpm HD really pushed it past the limit. I’ve been wanting to “splurge” on a good 300-400 Watt PSU but my parents (who are the final word on any purchases) needed me to check out every possible alternative. Meanwhile, I have become very versed in hardware tech and how to rip stuff apart and not break it.

By the way, my computer has no jumpers… and the AGP card was never a problem beore about 2 months ago. I’ve had this setup for 6 months, and the computer with the same card for a year and 2 months.

(acasto) #4

If you ever look into getting a new computer, I would think of two options.

  1. build you own
  2. get one that is easily upgradable (ie: dell)

I have found for graphics and such, I’m constantly wanting more power…any one know what I mean… 8) . When you build you own, you know it better most anything else. So you rip it apart, and really do anything. Mine started as a normal 800mhz athlon I built, with a ati all-in-wonder. Now it’s running at 1000mhz (overclocked no problem) with a geforce2 mx400 I picked up off e-bay.

I have worked on Dells before and they are really easy to add whatever too. With compaq and HP, the cases are usually pretty small, the power supplies weak, and the motherboard limited with everything built into it, the cooling is another issue. Everything is constructed to be ‘just enough’, so when you need more power, they want you to have to buy a new one from them. I had an HP once, but I had to draw the line when I had to take all of it apart (literally) just to get to the ram slots… :o

(mrmunkily) #5

thanks man, I’lm going to try to replace to PSU. I can always return the thing if it doesn’t help…

As far as building my next machine goes, I doubt I’ll be able to, thouh I don’t doubt that I could. It seems that the parts are cheaper when bought inside another machine than they are bought individually. I don’t have too much of a “budget” either but I’ll figure out a way to get some parts together…

(acasto) #6

Just watch the market, then watch places like privates sales and e-bay. Although becareful if you get electronics off ebay, I bought my motherboard, an abit kt7-raid for like $100 on ebay, and all I had to do was replace the battery which is like $3 and it’s been doing great. I wouldn’t buy a hard drive off it though.

For instance, when they released the geforce 3, everyone rushed to sell there geforce2 on ebay, I picked up a gf2 mx400 for like $35, it worked fine. You can get a gf3 now since the gf4 just came out for pretty decent price. Just watch and make sure deal and seller is credible. Other than that, you can get some pretty good buys. I’ve even seen some whole systems for crazy prices, like a few hundred under what I could get the prices for. I read of this one company, that gets rid of all their systems every 6 months and buys totally new ones. Find stuff like this, you can usually get great deals.

(mrmunkily) #7

Got’s me’self a 300W PSU, hoping to the almighty bob that life will be good now. I’m going to leave it on for a couple of days now to test… in linux I think so that I know the OS won’t crash by itself.

(Timothy) #8


Via kt133 chipset <==> AGP version of a TNT or geforce card.
they don’t make a nice combo,… I have the same thing,… and have finally decided to buy a new motherboard.

Now if this is the case you’ll find that if you enlarge the AGP apature size to half your system memory (so 128mb) your system will already run alot more stable.
Also upgrading the bios of your motherboard will most likely improve stability.

(Vidigiani) #9

I used to have similar problems with my system… to the point I would try to turn on the machine sometimes and nothing would happen, no spin up on fans or drives. I went out and bought a power supply, tried it out and the same problem.

I went through basically every piece and finally discovered it was my CPU that was flaking out on me. Hope the power supply works in your case!

(acasto) #10

I also have a kt133 with agp geforce, but haven’t had no problems. Turning up the agp drivin force will also help

(Timothy) #11

acasto,… it’s strange it only happens in some cases apparently,… perhaps there was a bug in some kind of first version of the kt133

Anyways,… I’m picking up my new mobo and new CPU today :smiley:

(acasto) #12

Have fun, I know I’m always excited when I’m getting new parts… :smiley: My girlfriend got mad because I was more enthusiastic about getting a new mobo than her a pre-engagement ring… 8) but hey…you can’t overclock a ring. And what about girls and flowers…flowers are soo illogical, I mean they die in a week…why not get her some RAM!! That’s a gift that keeps giving.

(K-Rich) #13

…Power Supply!


(mrmunkily) #14

nope, power supply didn’t help… How to I change the AGP arpeture or whatever. remember I have a stock motherboard with no jumpers and no bios controls… and my parents won’t let me get a new one.

(acasto) #15

I don’t know if there is any type of thrid-party software to do it from the OS. Normally you change the AGP settings from the bios.

(Timothy) #16

First of all what kind of BIOS do you have?

pick one of the following:

  1. Award
  2. Ami
  3. Phoenix
  4. other

In cases 1 and 2, there is a big chance you can find out which motherboard you have on this page: by checking your unique BIOS id (the page explains it properly). If you know your motherboard type,… you will probably be able to update to the latest BIOS version, which might already be enough to get rid of your problems.
If not the updated BIOS may have more functions available for setting AGP apature size etc.

Hope this helps,
Timothy Kanters

(mrmunkily) #17


No Mobo jumpers.
Propreitary bios. No freaking useful options.

it’s Not the hds
not the card.
not the os
not the cpu - it works fine most of the time : can a cpu be heat damaged once and then kind of work later? can it jam up becuase of past damage? can running ram tha’s too fast for my fsb be damaging? I have a 128mb dimm pc133 and my mobo takes pc100. it works fine though, and it stll ajms without it, but I just wanted to know if that sort of thing can cause problems.

(Vidigiani) #18

Yeah when my CPU got flaky it was off and on, like you’re describing. Your board only supports PC100? That is really dated.

(acasto) #19

Most pc133 ram now days is bachwards compatible with pc100, so that shouldn’t be the problem. If you once damaged you cpu though, that could very well be the cause.

(mrmunkily) #20

well, I’m off to buy me’self a new CPU - anyone have a reason to beleive that a 1.4 ghz 200mhz fsb wouldn’t work in my socket…? I think it would; all the voltages are the same and everything.