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Old 05-07-2005, 07:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Possible RAM Problem

Hey all, I put a system together around Christmas time and I was really happy with it until about a month later. I began playing Half-Life 2, a fairly graphical game as most of you know but it wasn't anything my set-up couldn't handle, I played the game for about a week or so at max settings without even a stutter. Eventually something happened and my computer rebooted while I was playing it, I just went along, thought I could have had a power failure or what not but the problem has persisted ever since. I can play some not so graphical games, such as World of Warcraft with very little problems, but most newer games, especially Half-Life 2, make my system reboot or go into standby mode then reboot after about 5-10 minutes of play time. I found in my BIOS that my CPU was on Auto Overclock, along with this my case came with very little cooling so I turned this setting off and have since added some extra cooling hardware to my case but the problems persist. I have heard that this can either be a problem with my RAM or my Power Supply, both of which could be possible but I don't really know what to do about it. My buddy said it might be overheating but I'm not sure if that's the case either. My average CPU temp is around 38-40 C. Any advice or expertise would be appreciated.

My system specs are:

AMD Athlon 64 3500+
160 Gb Western Digital SATA Hard Drive
512x2 Kingston Dual Channel PC3200 RAM
ATI 9800 All-In-Wonder 128MB
Basic case with 420W Power Supply, Vantec Stealth SF8025L 80mm fan and Vantec HDC-502A HDD Cooler
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is the 38-40 at idle? Or under full load?

Check for spyware or malware. You may have some processes running that shouldnt be running, therefore sucking up some of your ram. Enough to take down your computer while half life play.
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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wtf??? a 9800 can run HL2 fine, my friend has a 9800p and he gets 100+fps in CS:S on all high/reflect

nope, none of that is his problem

the problem lies in your psu

the psu is the most important part of your system, and it looks like you have a ****ty one (generic 420W)

you need a new power supply any everything will be back to normal

get an Antec truepower above 450W or thermaltake silent purepower 480W
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well like Him asked, is that CPU temp idle or full load? No you don't have to get a new graphics card, yeesh, lets atleast try some other things first Him.

Download and run memtest86+

You need to put it on a bootable floppy or CD and make sure that drive is first in the boot order. Memtest86+ boots itself before you even get into windows and starts testing the RAM, let it sit a couple hours so it can do a few loops and see if there are any errors.

If there are indeed some errors then yeah, chances are your RAM is skimping out on you.

Also download prime95 and on top of that make sure you are using a program like speedfan or motherboard monitor 5 unless you of course already have monitoring software. You need to be able to look and watch your +12v, +3.3v and +5v rails specifically.

Run prime95's torture test, specifically the Large in place FFT's for a few mins and watch your voltages.

If your +12v line is hitting like 11.5 or the +3.3 is hitting 3 or less or the +5v is hitting 4.75 or less, then your PSU is crapping out on you and isn't enough to power your system.

I'd suggest you probably need a PSU with atleast 18a rated on the +12v rail I'm gonna take a guess and assume yours is 15a....you can find that info on a sticker on the PSU in most cases
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks alot for the advice, I'll try all that out as soon as I can. That temperature I posted is at idle, it seems that even when I'm not doing anything my CPU temp still fluctuates around the 38-40 area. I originally thought the problem was my graphics card, but most people I've asked have told me to look at my PS and RAM. So anyways, thanks again guys, I'll check that stuff out and post my results when I get them.

EDIT: By the way, Nubius, I just checked my monitor (ASUS Probe 2, got it with ASUS A8V Deluxe MB) and it says my +12V is at 11.49, my +5V is actually going over 5V (between 5.0 and 5.1) and my 3.3V is at 3.26V.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i know asus probe isn't exactly accurate, but 11.49@12V???

that's really bad
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah I don't think it is that accurate either, conisdering it's telling me I have no chassis or power supply fan...but I do. But I'm guessing it would give me a good idea at where I'm at.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, my first guess is definitely the PSU....especially since you said it was just a generic one in the case you bought.

Look into getting the Thermaltake 480w PurePower like diablo suggested, it's a great power supply and is rather cheap I believe
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I let the Prim95 Large stress test go for about 15 minutes, I got no errors or warnings and my 12+ voltage stayed around 11.43, pretty much where it was before. I'm guessing a new power supply would be a good idea so, come tomorrow, I'll head out and look for a new PS. Thanks again guys.
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Old 05-11-2005, 09:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ok, so today I went and got my new PSU, the Thermaltake Silent Purepower 480W. I was really impressed with it right from the beginning, and as I ended up playing Half-Life 2 for a good 30-40 minutes, I thought my problem had been solved. My computer rebooted again while playing Half-Life 2, the PSU didn't completely solve the problem, I'd say it's overheating but my temperatures have dropped about 5 degrees C (35 C at idle)since I installed the thing. Now that I have a proper exhaust it has cooled my machine down a lot, my CPU temperature would reach 50 C before I had the PSU, now I was playing at 38-40 at full load. This is obviously not the coolest of temperatures but it's the best I can do until I get my new fans, and a drop in 10 or so degrees at full load seems like it would be enough, but it did last longer before crapping out this time around.

Is this cooling or is this RAM? I have read things that talked about similar problems and I recall reading something about the RAM having to be in ports 2 and 4, and I'm fairly sure mine are in 1 and 3. I have no clue if that has anything to do with this, I doubt it is, just thought I'd disclose that information just in case it can help. I'll leave prime95 running tonight while I sleep, I didn't really leave it on very long last time but I got no errors after a few tests. Any more help would be greatly appreciated.
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