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Invading the BIOS

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Xander, Sep 19, 2003.

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  1. Xander

    Xander Thread Starter

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    The people who made my computer are sending me a new motherboard and hard drive to hopefully solve this problem I've been toiling with for a couple days now:

    http://forums.techguy.org/t165808/s.html

    Since they've already sent me new RAM and a new video card, I'm running out of things to blame for the problem...I've read on some places that lowering/tweaking the BIOS settings for the RAM speed sometimes stabilizes the system and stops the problems I've been having.

    Problem is, not only have I never fiddled with BIOS settings before, I don't even know how to access it(this is a dangerous combination, I know...but I'm a good fiddler...and there's not much data I can possibly lose). Any guidance on how I can access it, and maybe some general tips on how I can avoid making things worse would of course be much appreciated.

    Don't know if any of this matters for this, but I'm running an AMD XP 2700+, Asus A7V8X-X motherboard, two Elixir PC 3200 512 MB RAM sticks, an Apollo Bloody Monster 3 GeForce FX 5600 card, and Windows XP Home Edition.

    Danke guys(and apologies for being such a pest with this problem...damn thing keeps shifting on what the "likely" issue is, though. Messed it up good, I did :p)
     
  2. compilerxp

    compilerxp

    Joined:
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    Didn't they send you a manual with the motherboard? Accessing the BIOS is on the first page of the chapter...

    Press DELETE key upong power up.


    - Sorry missed your last post...

    I seriously doubt its a mobo or the HD... your not getting random crashes nor HD errors, right?

    Sounds more like a video card failure... like you said, they might have replaced the fan - but if that is the part that has failed, the GPU on the card might have been damaged. Perhaps try another video card... borrow one if you can.

    When a game drops out after a few minutes, it usually means the video card has overheated.

    (A friend was getting video glitches on his system, but it was the mobo, so yes - not all video problems means its the video card, but yours sounds like the video card)...

    Theres also a chance it could be the power supply, being generic... it maybe a 180watt PSU in reality.
     
  3. Xander

    Xander Thread Starter

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    They neglected to send me a manual with all my drivers for the motherboard, unfortunately.

    On the video card thing...I guess it's possible, but I just can't see it at this point...I had this problem when I first got the system back from repairs, so they sent me a brand new video card. Different brand, different heat sinks(the first one didn't even HAVE a heatsink) and a bigger fan on top of the video card's processor(this card looks *much* nicer), everything. But I'm having the exact same problems as with the other video card since I got it back in terms of games. I think this tower had adequate ventilation, so all should be well on that front.


    I dunno, this is all so frustrating. I swear if I could afford to shell out a grand on a system and still cover my rent next month, I'd probably do it just to be rid of the whole situation.

    EDIT: Was thinking about that power thing...this supply is a 350W Raidmax...never really heard of them. So I disconnected the two vent fans and took the side cover off the tower to prevent overheating in the case itself...will see if that makes any difference.
     
  4. Xander

    Xander Thread Starter

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    Well, I think I may have tracked down the issue. I disconnected 2 vent fans and took off a sidewall of my tower, and loaded up Neverwinter Nights(a particularly graphically demanding game).

    It worked for about 20 minutes...and then crashed. But it worked for 20 minutes! It's crashed within the first couple minutes up until now.

    It stuttered some during play...froze up for 10 or 15 seconds before advancing frames at times. I've placed my hand on the side of the video card without the heat sink and fan...it's very, very warm. I don't know if it's supposed to be. If it's not, not sure what else I can do to cool it down.

    So do you think my problem would be that I'm not drawing enough power, as I got this little breakthrough after disconnecting two fans(I'd test this, but there's no decent way for me to hook the fans up while leaving the side of the case off to see if it's the power that's giving me the extra time, or a heating issue(with the side of the case being off, it having much better ventilation, obviously...but still not enough to keep the video card cool)?
     
  5. rockinmale

    rockinmale

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    Messages:
    728
    hmmmm the first thing i would ask......
    Are the case fans blowing in the right direction?
    Is the front fan blowing into the case and if there is one on the backside blowing out of the case?

    You can check this by putting your hand in front of the fan while the system is running.

    Here's a pic that show the correct and the wrong way in case cooling.

    http://www.heatsink-guide.com/airflow.gif

    See if that might be your problem?

    I hope this helps......
    Good luck
    rockinmale:cool:
     
  6. Xander

    Xander Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    It appears my optimism wasn't well founded...it's back to doing things just like they were, even after I allowed the card to cool. Guess that 20 minutes was a fluke.

    Both of the fans in the case are on the same side of the tower. Both were blowing outwards, right below the plexiglass window. The other side of the case had a vent for air to come in through.

    Anyhow, back to square one. Neverwinter errors out after a minute or so, Madden 2004 crashes to desktop after a couple minutes. Ugh.

    I swear, I should just go on an anti-Quadigy campaign. What a lemon.
     
  7. EmanResu

    EmanResu

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1
    Here is a link to Asus' tech support site. You can d/l a manual for your MB from here.

    http://www.asus.com.tw/mb/socketa/a7v8x/overview.htm

    The problem you are describing sounds like the CPU may possibly be flakey. I have seen this behavior when overclocking a CPU. Where the PC would work fine on non taxing programs like an Internet browser surfing the net or word processor but freeze up while playing Quake Arena or UT.
    On the small chance the system ram is the cause, since you have two ram cards you might want to remove one then test. If it still fails. Remove the other and replace with the one you previously removed.

    Good Luck,
    EmanResu
     
  8. Xander

    Xander Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    Thanks :).

    Do you know of any programs out there I can download to test to make sure the CPU is up to snuff, sorta like I did with my RAM sticks?
     
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