DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D 939 NVIDIA nForce4
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo 2.4GHz Socket 939 Dual-Core CPU
Nvidia 8800 GTX
Western Digital Raptor X WD1500AHFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA
OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Had this machine for about a year now and started having problems about 6 months ago which mostly occurred when playing WoW. Random lockups would occur in game with the sound doing the stutter thing and only way out of it was going to the task manager and terminating the process which sometimes would take up to 3 minutes to get to. Other times I would simply be forced to hit the reset button on the machine and reload. These freezes would come in sets and I would sometimes go weeks without them while some days getting them several times. I believed these errors to be RAM related but I don't really know. Recently, however, when I started up my machine, or reset it I would notice a grinding noise that would sound for about 3-5 seconds after I powered it on. The noise would usually end as soon as the POST was finished.
Just the other day I was in WoW when I got another lock up and because I was in an instance, I did not want to wait for the task manager to come up so I hit the reset button. The grinding noise persisted for about 10 seconds longer than usual this time and was much more intense. The machine no longer sends out a video signal and at first I thought it might be related to my video card but it looks like it runs fine and the monitor seems to act like it's got a solid connection to it. I tried removing the motherboard battery for a couple minutes and reinserting it hoping it would resolve it but still the same grinding noise and no POST. So I removed my video card and could clearly tell the noise was coming from the northbridge fan. The design of the mother board has the northbridge setting questionably close to the PCI-E slot and the massive 8800gtx sits directly on top of it possibly restricting airflow or causing an obstruction to the path of the fan.
Are these the symptoms of a failed northbridge or is there something I am missing?
My current plan of action is to buy a newer AM2 motherboard and pick up a cheap AMD cpu, possibly a 6000+, hopefully for all under $300. But since I have no other AMD motherboards that use socket 939 I have no way to diagnose this problem.
Here are some images of the motherboard to give you an idea of where the video card sits in relation to the north bridge.
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