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Thread: That wasn't a waste of money! PC issues.

  1. #1
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    That wasn't a waste of money! PC issues.

    Been having random rebooting issues with my now prehistoric PC, of about 7years.

    Athlon XP3200 with 2Gig of some PC<value> ram(ie. not DDR of any kind).
    Lots of fans to keep things cool, and regular vacuum of the internals of the box for efficient airflow. Pretty cool Antec case with Antec PSU(with tons of power in reserve for this low power system) so the PSU shouldn't be over stressed.

    But I get random rebooting problems.
    I suppose it's about time I updated this box as it's so old, but it (used to) runs so well.
    Would love to have a new uber fast CPU and all that to cut processing times down by 0.0045s or so, but I don't mind the glacial pace of this system.

    First thing I thought of was the PSU may be dying, as the random rebooting is preceded by a faint click sound, as though the system is powering down for a micro second. I hear this faint click regularly, and I'm assuming that sometimes the 'power failure' isn't long enough to cause the PC to reboot, as it doesn't always reboot with the faint click sound.
    But when it does reboot, the faint click is definitely heard the moment before the reboot, There is a very quick slow down of the fans.. heard but not seen.

    This rebooting can happen anywhere from approx 1hour intervals(noted) to longer(not noted) as the PC can be just left standing with no windows open, and not doing any processing, and I come back to find the login prompt(ie. it's rebooted).

    I'm 99.9% sure it's not software related.. and now with the 3times more powerful PSU than the system needs(measuring current not just absolute power of the PSU) I had it sitting and then working and then sitting again, and after it;s first two hours of operation on the new PSU it rebooted again, with the same faint click sound and the microsecond slowing down of fans just before reboot. No BSOD, just a restart. never any hdd errors or windows coming back and asking to boot into safe mode.. just a straight up reboot.

    I'm now stuck for ideas. Mainboard may have a fault(how to test/check) all system parameters as displayed by the BIOS and MBM5 look ok.

    I'm fairly sure than this is not software related.. if it was how to check. Found some error log files, that don't list any errors for this issue, and the last set of entries are for ViewNX a few weeks back which wouldn't work on my system due to some dll error.. back in Feb.

    The rebooting was almost predictable at every hour for a while, and then changed it's mind to maybe every 1.5 hours of operation.. could run for up to and beyond 3-4hours at total idle with just the desktop displaying at which point I gave up counting the interval... so it's random.. but predicatble on in that I know it can happen at any point.

    makes backing up HDD's images and so forth hard to do, as the last thing I want is possible corruption to data.

    Processing images and keeping the CPU under load for any length of time makes no difference to the rebooting either. Just did a batch job of some images with the CPU at full load and no reboot.

    I think it's definitely power issues somewhere.. but where?

    Maybe a new motherboard, CPU and ram is the way to go now.

    Wasting of money isn't an issue, as all the parts I'm getting(or will get) will go to a new PC system in the long run.
    (which begs a new question... AMD or Intel).
    Intel seems to have a slight speed advantage, but the more than $200 saving in going with the AMD hardware makes for a very compelling argument


    other thoughts?
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Hi Arthurking
    "How to check?" Well, just some prelim thoughts...

    What is the power supply like from the powerpoint? If you strongly suspect a power supply interruption, have you tried running it with a clean and constant power source from a UPS? If you already use a UPS (and have eliminated it from the problem), then it may be the Power Supply (PS) in the case. If it is the case unit then a new PS could be the solution.

    Is there a "reset" button in the unit? Check its connection. If you suspect it at all then disconnect it altogether from the MB and see how the unit runs. You could always then leave it unhooked.

    But, if you haven't got a UPS a 300W unit costs about $100. Decide what you need to run off it and buy one that's strong enough to do the job.

    Ultimately, a new Core I7 (or AMD equivalent) would do the trick. In any case, I'd be running anything important through a UPS.
    Am...

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    A royal pain in the bum!
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    New PC Power Supply unit was tried, and still rebooted.

    Never thought to disconnect the reset switch. Good idea

    thanks.

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    Serial Truant.... phild's Avatar
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    Arthur, the capacitors often dry out on Motherboards and can cause problems, might be worth giving them an eyeball, look for leakage around the bases and bulging tops. I wouldn't discount the HDD, data is swapped back & forth by the CPU almost continuously, even when the CPU is supposedly idle and a faulty HDD can cause crashes.
    Phil

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    A royal pain in the bum!
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    Caps were the first suspect in the list.
    Having had problems with years ago, and replacing them I visually checked them all and can see no obvious problems, and the symptoms are similar to the one I had with that motherboard where 3 or 5 caps had swollen and were causing the same issue.
    Could be a cap, and only time can tell as they all look good(ATM)

    When I have the system on idle, I have Task manager running on the other screen(dual screens) and see the fluctuation in CPU usage.
    I just went into the BIOS and enabled CPU temp warning and set it to a highish value.

    Auto shutdown has been disabled(I think.. I'll make sure again).

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    Hey Arthur.
    Two things I would look at from very recent experience of similar problem.
    1. HDD. The click you speak of could be a commonly referred to "Click of Death" known to be a symptom of one HDD manufacturer. If the drive is over 3 years old this could be a quick option.
    2. Bios. Recently had a system on my desk that would reboot whenever it liked. It eventually turned out to be a BIOS that all it needed was to be re-flashed.
    Peter.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    AK, have a look at this article, and scroll down, on the bottom right they have an audio of an HDD click of death (granted the audio is of a complete read head failure) but if yours sounds similar, it could very well be your HDD is dying a slow painful death: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_of_death
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    I fix PC's for a living and swear by Spin Rite
    http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

    If a hard drive has an issue it will soon find it.

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    A royal pain in the bum!
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    Thanks for the replies.
    Give me more options to explore.

    never thought of a BIOS reflash.. will try as a 'last resort' Gigabyte boards have dual bios systems, so that's hard to stuff up nowadays.

    I have a copy of spin rite.
    I can hear the click, and then the whirring down.. then up of the HDD(or HDD's) I have four HDD's installed in this box and only one external connected. Lots of power for all even with the Antec 380W PSU.. this new PSU is rated at 680W and lots more amps per channel. System been running as is for 7years without an issue(till this one, which started last week) and no new devices have been installed, and no new software either.

    I'll have a listen to that 'click of death' sound. And do some disk checking and so forth as well...


    thanks for the replies again

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    Could it be an overheating issue? Although the fact that the PC restarts straight away would probably discount this.

    The click sounds like it hardware related. However if you have background software (AV, backup, defrag. etc) running it can cause problems. I have some registry scanning software which does a full registry scan periodically and seems to cause BSOD at some stage of the scan (although I'm yet to confirm that this is the root cause).

    If you haven't already tried it, it might be worth disconnecting any non-essential peripherals and seeing if this makes any difference. (I recently had a problem where the system would hang when booting up. I initially thought it was the HDD starting to fail but turned out to be a problem with an external HDD).



    Good luck...
    Phil.

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    A royal pain in the bum!
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    99.99999% sure it's not heat related, as I've had heat related issues, where the PC made an alarm sound to the tune of eeeeeeh-orrrrrrrr, eeeeeeh-orrrrrrrrr. then shut down.

    This problem is similar to pressing the reset switch.

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    If you decide to get a new computer. don't replace parts in your old one, it is not worth it, it is better to get a whole new tower.

    With getting a new tower you will find you will get windows 7.
    You will need to see what is out there and also depends on what you do on your computer too. If you just do photo's and normal paperwork stuff then that will be cheaper, if you play games then the graphics card will cost a little bit.

    I have a good friend that builds computers and well for things I do on mine, play games watch movies, photo's and alot more, my new tower is going to cost me just over $2000.

    It is not worth paying $500 for a tower it will be useless. For a decent tower I would expect to pay about $1500 at least. They are not cheap they are as expensive as a camera.

  13. #13
    A royal pain in the bum!
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    Yeah. New PC 'parts' will not be as replacements parts for this current PC. The type of motherboard and CPU probably aren't sold any more.. being so old.

    New PC parts will probably go into the PC case as I have a ton of other parts like HDD's and CD's and now PSU's lying about. All I really need is a mainboard CPU and RAM(for this case) and if I can get this PC to run without rebooting I can build my kids a playbox or run some LINUX distro on it.. or whatever.

    I'm keen to solve the issue as a matter for satisfying my curious nature, but I'm not thinking that a new mainboard/CPU/RAM may be the 'easy way' out(for now).

    Can solve the issue once it's reinstated as a play thing.

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