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Many programs crashing constantly (hardware related?)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by ngraver, Jun 18, 2006.

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  1. ngraver

    ngraver Thread Starter

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    Hi guys. I'm in desperate need of help. Just about every program and game I try to run on my computer crashes constantly. If it doesn't do it now, it'll do it soon. I have installed all the latest drivers for my hardware and installed the latest Windows Updates (Windows XP Home Edition w/ SP2), but I still suspect this might be a hardware problem. I built my computer myself, so here's the specs:

    - BIOSTAR TForce4U-775 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX Intel Motherboard.
    - Intel Pentium 4 640 3.2 GHz Processor (w/ Hyper-Threading).
    - OCZ Gold Series DDR2 667 1 GB (2 x 512MB) Memory.
    - Wester Digital Caviar 250 GB SATA Hard Drive.
    - eVGA Geforce 6800XT 256MB 256-bit DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card.

    And here's the list of programs that will crash constantly and just out of nowhere:

    - Windows Media Player 11
    - Firefox (all versions)
    - F.E.A.R.
    - Half-Life 2
    - Counter-Strike

    Oddly enough, those are the only programs that crash. Internet Explorer, AIM, DivX Player, Steam, and mIRC all seem to work fine. I suspect my video card, but what would cause the Firefox and Windows Media Player crashes?

    I know there could be a hundred possible things wrong, but if anyone has any help to offer, I'd appreciate it very much. I'm willing to try anything.
     
  2. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    As an easy test to see if it is hardware OR software related, restart the system in safe mode. Now run something that will stress the system or a known app that will cause a crash. If it runs fine in safe mode, that points at a driver / software problem. If crashes in safe mode, that points at a hardware issue. Once you find out where to look, the problem becomes easier to find.
     
  3. Rumpo-Stiltskin

    Rumpo-Stiltskin

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    Let us know if you can, the brand / rating and age of the power supply.
    How old the system is and when this started happening also. ;)
     
  4. ngraver

    ngraver Thread Starter

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    The system is only a few days old (got done building it on Thursday). The power supply came with the case, which is an Apex X-115 (standard 300W power supply). It started happening as soon as I could install the programs that are crashing. :\ And thanks crjdriver, I will try that out now and see what happens.
     
  5. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Apex is from the allied family of power supplies; they are pretty much junk. Most of the time a power supply that comes with a case is pretty low quality. A few exceptions are antec or enermax cases. I usually buy a case without a ps then install a quality unit.

    BTW unless it is just the board and one hd, one optical drive and onboard everything else, 300W just will not cut it with a modern system. For the system you listed, it is WAY underpowered.
     
  6. Rumpo-Stiltskin

    Rumpo-Stiltskin

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    Agreed.
    Even if it's not a power related problem now, you'd be crazy to run with that PSU and that hardware configuration.
    It's a ticking time bomb.
     
  7. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    This is about the min power supply I would install on a system like that Coolmax

    Or this Sparkle unit
    BTW that is a 24pin board; you are not using a 20-24pin adapter are you :eek: :eek:
     
  8. ngraver

    ngraver Thread Starter

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    What do you mean 20-24 pin adapter? The power supply actually has the 24-pin power cord.

    Also, I think you guys are right. My computer completely crashed 3 times just trying to load this thread. Just straight re-booted. Crazy. I will definitely invest in a new power supply.
     
  9. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    tAn inexpensive 300 watt psu woulld never be enough for the hardware you have there, so I agree with everyone here.
     
  10. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    There are adapters made to use a 20pin ps with a 24pin board; this is always a bad idea.
     
  11. ngraver

    ngraver Thread Starter

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    Oh, okay. So that Coolmax power supply you showed me should be okay? Because I already ordered it off Newegg a few minutes ago.
     
  12. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Yes, I have used coolmax in many builds. Their higher quality units are fine [like the one I linked to] They also make some low quality / price ones as well. You just have to check the specs.
     
  13. ngraver

    ngraver Thread Starter

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    Bad news, guys. I got the Coolmax power supply today, put it in, tried playing FEAR, and the whole computer crashed on the intro. So far, that's the only crash that has happened, but we'll see.

    Someone suggested that it could be because of bad RAM. Does anyone have a way to check this? I tried Memtest86, but when I tried it, it wouldn't work (it neve got passed the "loading" where numbes fill the left side of the screen). I'm starting to think that may be the problem, but I don't know. Any suggestions?
     
  14. Rumpo-Stiltskin

    Rumpo-Stiltskin

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    It's not really bad news.
    That power supply needed to be changed anyway.
    You've probably saved yourself from potentially worse problems in the future......

    Did you try Memtest on a CD or a Floppy?
    Try the one you haven't.

    There's also a Microsoft RAM diagnostic here that you could try:

    http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp
     
  15. ngraver

    ngraver Thread Starter

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    I tried the Windows Memory Diagnostic, and only 1/3 of the time did a "Success" come up. That and all my games and Firefox are still constantly crashing.

    So now I'm going to have to send my memory back for a new pair. The only problem is, if I did that, I'd be without a computer for over a week (pretty much out of the question). And right now, I don't have the money to just buy a new pair and get a refund later. So I'll just have to wait a couple weeks and see what happens.

    Thanks for all the help guys.
     
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