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Old 02-24-2005, 10:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Built Computer lock-up (Help)

OK, so I recently built a computer from old parts. Installed WinXP. Sometimes it loads windows, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, the system just locks leaving whatever was on the screen immobile. Sometimes windows will load and work for a while and then just lock up. The cursor is unresponsive. Also, often the hard drive light will remain lit (according to the netfinity manual this indicates the processor has stopped). What's strange is usually after locking, if I let the power remain on for a while (20 minutes) and then reboot, windows works fine. Does this mean that it only works when the system heats up a bit? Also I should note that WinXp runs fine and can run several programs when it is in fact working (point being there appears to be enough processing power to run XP).

The following is how i built it and what I've tried to fix it. I haven't built a comp since the pentiumI days so forgive me if my nomenclature or understanding of certain elements are wrong.

I got a working mobo from someone who wasn't using it (an old netfinity3000/IBM300PL(type8692 i think) - don't have the FRU on me at the moment but can get it later if necessary). I took a 30Gb 7200 rpm IDE hard disk out of my other computer (not sure of ATA rating, but It is from a 2000 IBM PC if that helps) and hooked it up. Formatted drive and installed win xp. Made sure bios was latest version (only 2001). Processor is PentIII-500mHz (the kind that is soldered to a small board that goes into a slot - not the kind that fits onto the mobo itself - don't remeber what you call those slots). My board I believe will support 750Mhz. stuck in 3 128 mB SDRam chips. Also attached a CD-rom and 3.5 floppy drive. That's all that's hooked up to it.

So WinXP installs fine. I formatted the hard drive (tried both Fat and NTFS file systems - both times fully formatting). I made sure the cpu jumper settings were set to 500 mHz (though I have read that processors above 450 set their own internal speed rendering the jumpers irrelevant). I initially thought maybe it was an OS problem so I hooked the computer up to the net 9during one of the times it was working) and fully updated to SP2. Still same problem. I have re-seated all ram chips/processor/IDEs and everything else I could also to no avail.

So any ideas on anything else I haven't thought of? Do I just have incompatible parts? Or is one of my components just crap? Thanks for any help you folks can give me, and forgive my ignorance of technical details.

Irradiatus is offline  
Old 02-24-2005, 02:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 296

putting old parts together to make a new computer is almost always a failure. its really hard to do because of incompatibility issues. there might be something wrong with one of the components and there is no way to test for it. you work on something for hours and hours and its not even fast enough to play a simple game.

most likely you have incompatible parts. and that cpu you have is called a slot 1 processor. i had the AMD version which is Slot A. those cpu's run really really hot.


AMD Athlon 64 3200+ \"Venice\"
ASRock 939Dual-SATA2
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ANTEC 430watt TruePower 2.0
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Old 02-24-2005, 02:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2004
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You can rule out RAM problems by downloading in wring to a floppy MemTest86. It is unlikely that the hard disk is the problem. Beyond that, I can't really help you.
EDIT: Be sure to give memtest a solid 12 hours before declaring the RAM to be error-free. Make sure you trun off your monitor during the test too
AGP won\'t fit in PCI-E... unless you use a really good hammer. ~Trotter
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Old 02-24-2005, 02:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Thanks for your help digitaloracle. I will definitely check that tonight. I'm a freakin moron, however. I have 3 dimms on this board and I never thought to check them and just try them 1 at a time (they are each 128 Mb so they should at least run XP). As new as I am to this, the RAM should still have been one of the first things I checked in to.

Would bad RAM cause freezing? I guess I just assumed that if the RAM was bad it wouldn't POST.

I still think it's wierd that once the system has had power for a while, it will sometimes boot and I can even surf the web and use my audio recording software (that is the purpose of this little computer - to have a little machine that can record raw audio at my bands practice studio - we've got another machine for doing mixing/editing)
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