networkgeek - I thought about that. I initially suspected the HDD, but i did a drive fitness test that came out OK. I do have a new killer SCSI set that i just installed XP on and i'm slowly transferring my junk over. I'll see how it behaves there.
FlashDude - i was not aware that Nvidia has tools which i could monitor the temp. Is that the standard tools that come with the drivers?
I'm also suspecting my MOBO - i do have a spare, but not the spare time to gut it all out.
The reason i suspect the mobo is that when i boot up i get a warning "your computer is in overclock mode, disable to prevent performance issues" or something like that.. ofcourse i have to F1 to continue. I've reset the factory defaults before, messed with the settings but the problem just comes back. Even replaced the battery. Once i boot up past the error, i can reset the box and it will not halt during POST. Only if i shut it down completely, will the warning come back. Even a full powerdown doesn't always generate this warning. This makes it kinda tough to diagnose after making BIOS changes. As a matter of fact, when i tweaked some settings it seems like the game goes on longer without a lock up.
Sigh... I just wish i had all the hardware like i do at work
Then i'd just swap parts and bam!