View Full Version : Computer malfunctioned, advice requested

01-11-2005, 07:34 AM
This is going to be a kinda lengthy post. I had a serious computer malfunction, to the point where I think it's dead. I have a suspicion what is wrong, but I'd like some suggestions. Please, I'm looking for advice from people who really know what they are talking about.

For starters, I'm running Windows XP Pro with SP2. I'll list the system specs at the end. Here's what happened, as well as I can remember it. Monday evening, I was in one of those "blah" moods, where I really didn't feel like doing anything I could think of. I'd just recently finished reading a novel set partially during the Vietnam war, and decided to reinstall Vietcong and play that for a bit. I got it all installed and patched, and started playing.

The game locked up during a level transition early on. I didn't think anything of it, since that had happened before playing VC, so I rebooted and continued. The game played fine, but shortly thereafter the computer crashed during the game. I thought it was just a crash to desktop, but it continued into a BSOD (I once thought you weren't supposed to get those in XP). There was no specific error mentioned, just a memory address that I didn't write down.

I should mention, that this has happened a few times in the last month or two. It's not every night, or even every week, but I've seen three or four since around the start of December. Every time it's happened, I rebooted the computer, and it worked fine. This time, however, when I rebooted, I got a BSOD during the boot up sequence. It told me my BIOS wasn't ACPI compliant, which is untrue, but something went wrong during the start up. Attempted rebooting again produced the same error. Thinking that perhaps something had overheated, I checked all the fans (all working fine), then turned the computer off and let it sit for about half an hour. I rebooted, it started up fine, and ran without problems for the hour or so until I turned it off and went to bed.

Last night, when I got home, it started up a bit slowly (more on that to come), but booted up fine. I checked my email and started a bit of surfing. Perhaps 15 minutes later, I got a BSOD, "Page file error in non-paged area" message. When I tried to reboot, I got the ACPI error again. After some more attempts, I did get the computer to boot, got another page file BSOD, got another ACPI when rebooting, and started really getting worried.

My boot up sequence is fairly fast. Normally, I get the BIOS info, the detection of IDE devices, one screen that really flashes up too fast to read, and down near the bottom of the screen I get something that reads "Verifying DMI" or something similar. Normally, that's only on the screen for an instant. Now, it's hanging there for a good 30+ seconds before moving on. DMA stands for Direct Memory Access, so I figured DMI means something similar. After an attempted system restore to last week's settings, I can get the computer to boot, but it locks up within a minute, no matter what I am doing. The combination of errors made me suspect a memory problem.

I've got some older memory that I upgraded last year, so I started switching out memory sticks. No matter what memory I have in it, I get the lock ups. I can boot the computer into safe mode without it locking up, but it's very choppy. I even switched in an old hard drive and booted into Windows 98 SE, and got an almost instant lockup there.

Given all that, I am convinced the problem is hardware related, and I suspect it's the motherboard. Does anyone have any other ideas, or do you think I'm on the right track here? There are no viruses that the most up to date version of AVG can detect.

System specs ---- everything is running at stock speeds, there is no overclocking here

Abit KG7 motherboard, up to date Hyperion drivers
Athlon XP 2000+ processor, Thoroughbred B core
Alpha PAL8045 heatsink with Sunon 50 CFM fan (no heat problems here)
Normal memory configuration is 1 512 meg stick of OCZ PC3200 DDR (running at PC2100 speeds) and 1 256 meg stick of Crucial PC2100 DDR ram. As I said, I ran it with just one stick, the other stick, or the old stick, and got the same problems.
Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro video card
Creative Audigy 2 sound card
Generic 10/100 Ethernet card
Lite-On 52x CD-ROM drive
Plextor PlexCombo 40/20/10-12 CD/CD-R/CD-RW/DVD drive
WD Caviar Special Edition 120 gig hard drive (master)
IBM Deskstar 60 40 gig hard drive (slave)

01-11-2005, 07:56 AM
im no expert but how about F9 at boot up and when in bios reset the pc to factory setting,this helped me with problems i had

01-11-2005, 12:13 PM
I think you and VPC are SC members who knows the most about PC's (I got that impression) so I dont think that someone will figure out how could they help you, and that you allready havent done it.
Try to ask on some forums that are related with computers.

If you want I can post your problem on one croatian site (herd for PCekspert?)which have some members who really kow much about IT.

01-11-2005, 12:39 PM
oh man, sorry to hear about your problem, quillan.

you're one of the most knowledgable ppl i inow of about PCs so i'm sure it isn't a spyware, virus, or such. I think your assumption that it is hardware related is good being that you ran it under a different OS.

if it is your mobo at least you can have a good reason to upgrade to a socket 939 board and chip....http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

01-11-2005, 12:43 PM
I definetly think it is a hardware related problem. Possibly mobo, or CPU. Most likely your mobo isn't reading one of the devices right, which is causing an error.

01-11-2005, 12:50 PM
I appreciate the support. I'm not ready to upgrade to the Socket 939, just yet. I am sorta holding out. I am hoping that someone will make a board that has both a PCI-e x16 slot and an AGP 8X slot for graphics cards, so I won't have to buy a new card. They already have this configuration for the Prescott Socket 775 Pentiums. If they do, then I can continue to use my 9800 Pro until I need to replace it, and then snag a PCI-e card from there on.

In the meantime, everything I can find says "hardware related". In the Microsoft Knowledge Base article related to the error message, "Page Fault in non-paged area" means that the computer went to look for something that was supposed to be in memory, and didn't find it. It's listed as being caused by a hardware problem, either memory, motherboard, or processor. I think I've eliminated the memory since I get the same problem even with other memory in it. I ordered a replacement motherboard today. It's a fairly cheap Chaintech, and it's cheaper to check it by replacing the board than the processor. I'll let you know if it works.

01-11-2005, 12:57 PM
Yea, I think it has to be the mobo or CPU. Either way, good luck!

01-11-2005, 12:59 PM
Ehh. I dont know how do you call it but isnt there something called "bridge" that you attach on PCI-E so you could could insert AGP graphic card? Or is that only on graphic card.

01-11-2005, 01:04 PM
quillan, i've essentially decided the same thing about the PCI-e and AGP slots. hopefully one will come out soon with the socket 754 interface

01-11-2005, 01:07 PM
Socket 754 is a dead platform. It's going to be discontinued this year.

01-11-2005, 01:17 PM
awww boooo that.

socket 939 it is then...

any thoughts on when those mobos might come out? the PCI-e/AGP ones?

01-11-2005, 03:55 PM
No clue at all. I'm hoping soon, but I have seen very few PCI-e boards for Athlon 64 at all yet. The Nforce 4 boards are just coming out.

01-11-2005, 06:21 PM
try booting your comp with only your master HD..

i.e. dicconect slave Hd, and all cd or dvd roms drives...

that way... if things fail you'll know its something wrong with your mobo... or CPU (which i doubt.... faulty CPU mean comp wont turn on)

if not....repeat and continue adding one component at a time to see which one fails !!!

thats what I did with my bro's comp... I found out it was just a faulty Dvd drive that was stuffing the comp up !!!

01-12-2005, 07:12 AM
This is probably stupid, but have you checked for viruses? Boot up to safe mode to see if everything is working properly and then run a scan. I don't think this is a hardware problem, it really sounds like you've got something nasty.

About the 754 thing, yeah, I got mine almost a year ago, and it's still awsome, the reason I didn't go with 939 was because there were no AMD 64 chips avaliable at the time, there was just the FX 51 line. I'm about to upgrade to the X800 XT, as a matter of fact, I'm going to be ordering in the next hour.

Good luck with your comp.

01-12-2005, 07:30 AM
I did both of those. I've got the current version of AVG, and it didn't find anything. I had to leave the video card in it (obviously), but I got the same problem regardless of what hardware was or wasn't attached to the computer, and under two different operating systems. We'll see tonight, since I had the new mobo shipped NDA.

And as for as sockets go, one manufacturer (I've forgotten who, now) has a board that has one 754 socket and one 939 socket on it, so if you planned on upgrading in the future you can drop a new processor in the other socket and move your heat sink over.

01-12-2005, 07:30 AM
When you go into Safe mode, how long have you stayed in on Safe mode? Do you get the BSOD at any stage in SM?

The main thing is, if you get problems normally but not in Safe mode, then 9.9 times out of 10 the problem is software related.

If it was hardware, eventually you will get the same error in SM.

It's is still possibly HW, but I'm more inclined to think it is software. I take it you haven't tried a System Restore to before installing the game, and I also assume that option is no longer available.

You could try and in place upgrade, which will re-install XP but leave all settings and apps in place. After which you reload SP2 and finalise updates.

That is the in place upgrade procedure. If that fails, then your last option to determine if it is in fact hardware is to wipe your drive (C: or whichever drive is system drive) and re-install from scratch reloading all drivers and patches.

If that works fine, then software error, if you still get BSOD's then hardware. Normally memory is to blame for BSOD's but could be a whole host of things.

Sorry but BSOD's are not an exact science and elimation is what you need to try.

01-12-2005, 07:53 AM
Yeah, I agree with Skulls, I really don't think this is a hardware problem. It's possible something with your OS just simply screwed up.

I've never heard of this board you speak of, I think I'm going to look that one up...I don't really care though, I'm not going to upgrade my processor for at least another year or so, well at least until I get out of college next May.

01-12-2005, 08:42 AM
I did a system restore, to a week before I installed the game, and it still locked up. I stayed in safe mode for about 10 minutes, looking for conflicts. The thing about safe mode is, I don't really know what the differences are between it and normal mode. If the problem is, say, related to the memory controller, and the memory controller isn't used in safe mode, then the problem won't show up there. That's why I was asking if anyone really knows what's going on. The new motherboard comes in today, so if I have the same problem with it, I'll just be out a few bucks. I'll be reformatting and reinstalling anyway, so if it's software related that should catch it.

The motherboard I mentioned is by ASRock. Here's the link: http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=13-157-035&depa=1

I've never heard of the manufacturer, so I don't know much about it. I think the idea is interesting, but I wouldn't recommend buying one unless you were going to Socket 754 now and want to insure upgradability later.

01-12-2005, 09:43 AM
Yeah, I wouldn't trust that brand, it looks like an Asus rip off...I don't really like the idea of having 2 different sockets when you can only use one at once...

01-12-2005, 12:47 PM
Well, this'll teach me to pay more attention to the pictures. I got the new motherboard in, and the heatsink won't mount. I was so concerned that the motherboard had to have the mounting holes for the standoffs, that I didn't pay attention to everything else. There's a capacitor in the way.http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif Oh well, I get to go buy another heatsink this evening.

01-12-2005, 01:17 PM
Yeah, you have to be very, very careful about that stuff. If I remember correctly, Asus and Abit are the only 2 manufactors that still put holes in that area. A good cpu cooler is the Areoflow by Vantec. I used to have that one cooling a 2800+.

01-12-2005, 01:29 PM
Oh the holes are there on this Chaintech (SKT600), but the heatsink is so ****ed big (80x80x45 mm thick) that it needs space around the socket. In this case, there's a capacitor blocking one corner, and I can't bend it over far enough to mount the heatsink without breaking it off.

01-13-2005, 07:18 AM
<insert Yosemite Sam cursing here>

Great. Just great. Brand new, out of the box motherboard is DOA. Gotta love this.

01-13-2005, 07:33 AM
ouch!!! sorry to here than man...

we had a few problems with our computer right before christmas ( and we were gonna upgrade it right after christmas too... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif )

we had to replace the mother board, cpu and power supply

01-13-2005, 09:18 PM
ARGGGH! This just doesn't end! Grabbed a new power supply, just to check. It makes no difference with the new motherboard, but I tried it with the old one, and it hasn't locked up yet. The problem is, NOW I think my video card is shot!


01-13-2005, 09:20 PM
Wow. That sucks.

01-13-2005, 09:21 PM
yep video card is gone !!!!!!!!!

kill it !!!

01-13-2005, 10:26 PM
Well, the computer has been running steadily for over 2 hours now, without a lockup or a page fault error of any type, on the original Abit motherboard, processor, memory et al, with the new power supply. I suppose it was that all along. I'm slightly irked that I bought a motherboard and heat sink I probably don't need, but looking at it another way, I would have paid just as much to have taken the computer to a shop and have it checked. I would still have had to pay for a power supply, and this way I've got spare stuff in case. The new motherboard can be sent back for a replacement, and hopefully the video card can too. I just don't want to wait. Oh well.

01-14-2005, 06:40 AM
cool my thread is on top in that screen shot.

sucks about the card, quillan. r u getting the 9800 pro again?

01-14-2005, 07:10 AM
Q, if you're video card is shot, I'll sell you my 9800 Pro with ramsinks. I have a X800 XT on the way. I'll drop it on you for say, $150 US.

01-14-2005, 07:21 AM
If Sapphire disallows the warranty on the card, I'll take you up on that, G. I'm waiting to hear from them. And NSA, if I have to buy a new video card, why would I spend $198 on a 9800 Pro when I can get a 6600GT with an AGP interface for $214?

01-14-2005, 08:17 AM
because you don't want an nVidia card....lol j/k

01-14-2005, 08:23 AM
ATI should die. In the rain.


01-14-2005, 08:31 AM
I'm not a fanboy. I buy based on quality and performance, along with price. The 6600GT will give better performance than a 9800 Pro did. This last generation of video cards is amazingly powerful. If ATI had an AGP version of its midrange card I'd look at it, but I can't find one. I think it's in PCI-e only.

01-14-2005, 06:52 PM

Guess what I'm running on at the moment? My 6 year old Diamond Viper V770 Ultra, 32 meg card with the TNT2 Ultra chip. This thing can't even manage Hardware T&L, but at least I'm not getting eye strain from trying to read the screen. I won't be able to play any modern games on it, but it'll get me through until the 9800 Pro gets to Sapphire and back. They sent me the RMA form, so I think the warranty will cover it.