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PC Shuts down while playing CMAK, CMBB...


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Greetings all.

I am experiencing a new problem. My PC will just shut off while I'm playing Combat Mission. It doesn't blue screen or throw any sort of message, it just goes down.

Last night I started to experience this problem and I popped the case to make sure all of the fans were spinning. I suspected that it was overheating. All of the fans were running so I decided to kick off a few turns in CM and see if the LED readout on the motherboard threw an error code or I could detect some sort of problem before it shut off. To my surprise, with the case open, the problem stopped!

I wanted to get some opinions from the folks on the Tech Support forum on my PC's sudden propensity to shut off.

There are two things that are new in the machine. Another stick of RAM, same exact type and size as the two that were already in the PC, and a new video card. I upgraded from a GeForce Ti4600 128MB 4xAGP to a Nvidia 6800GT 256MB 8xAGP. The card is a BFG brand. They brag that the card is overclocked out of the box. I wonder if the manufacturers overclocking could cause a problem?

My PC's specs:

AMD Athlon XP 3200+

Abit Motherboard

1.5Gb Kingston Hyper-X Ram DDR400

BFG Nvidia 6800GT 256MB AGP card

Two 80GB Western Digital 7200RPM IDE drives 8MB cache

Creative Labs Soundblaster Gamer soundcard

Enough interior cooling fans to make it sound like a vacuum when it's on.

Thanks.

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So with the case cover off you don't get any problems with the computer shutting down ? If it does run without shutting down, then it definitely sounds like an overheating issue.

I'd guess that the interior case temperature has gone up and the warm air inside the case isn't moving out to take the heat with it. Thus the fans are blowing 'warm' air onto the heatsinks which isn't providing the cooling effect that it needs to. With your case cover off that warm/hot air can escape out of the case and cooler air is drawn in with the heatsink fans to cool them off.

It's quite possible that the GeForce 6800GT is the most responsible component for the upswing in case temperatures. I'm not sure what the temperature difference is between a Ti4600 and the 6800GT (the later does need a much larger heatsink).

You may want to check that the fans in the front of the case (assuming that there are some there) are blowing air in, while fans on the rear of the case are blowing air out. That's typically one of the more common air-flow solutions for case fans.

Another thing to check is any BIOS-related heat settings. Some of them will shut down the computer if a certain temperature is reached. While that is generally a good idea, it's possible that the temperature may be set too low and you may bump into that 'shut down temp' too often.

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Thanks for the advice Schrullenhaft. I did a few things today. I had added some sound insulation to the case interior and found that a vent had been blocked with the padding. I corrected that today by removing the padding from the blocked vent. I also checked to make sure that the additional fans I installed were blowing in the right directions.

As for the 6800GT, I pulled off the stock fan and heatsink that came with the card and installed an Arctic Cooling fan (some big aftermarket fan & heatsink). Hopefully, this will help any overheating problem that the video card may be experiencing.

A quick question. I have two case fans installed on the case's side. They are currenly blowing inside air out. Is this the correct direction for case fans that are installed on the case's side?

Thanks again.

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Scratch that last post with the side case fans. They are blowing outside air into the case. But I don't think the fans have anything to do with it.

After I did all of that, my machine continued to shut off. It got so bad this evening that at one point, I re-booted it and it asked me to activate Windows XP as if it were a brand new installation of the OS???

I did "re-activate" Windows XP and then it booted up ok but still had a shut off problem.

I ended up taking a bunch of the sound dampening padding out of the case, re-seating the processor and adding a bit of arctic silver paste in the process. I also re-seated all of the memory.

Ever since I did that it hasn't shut down. I played both CMBB and CMAK for about an hour with no problems. I ordered an additional case fan for an open 5 1/4 inch bay in the front. I'm hoping that re-seating the processor/RAM solves the problem.

Could Arctic Silver work that good?

So far ,so good.

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Jack Carr - I have a similar rig (eMachines Athlon 3200 with GeForce 6600) and have seen similar problems, over several months. Running with the case off has mostly solved them for CM, but I can still occasionally hit snags.

In addition, Total War regularly crashes, even with the case off, to the point where I play it on my laptop instead (despite a much smaller screen), just to be able to finish a battle.

It is clearly video related, system does everything except a few 3D graphics intense games with 100% stability.

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Thanks for the reply JasonC. If it's a weakness with this processor and video card combo I'll be disappointed. My rig isn't state-of-the-art, but it's no slouch and I paid too much for it to be shutting off at random.

I've been playing CMAK all night long since re-seating everything and adding the Arctic Silver and haven't had a shutdown yet. I'll let everyone know how I make out.

I too found that the PC shutdown while playing CM, but tonight it occured when listening to music, Windows Media Player, or word processing, Microsoft Word. So now I can't even say that it's only graphics intensive applications that cause the problem.

I'm determined to find the cause and make it work.

Good luck with your PC. Your machine is too nice to give up the fight!

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HI Jack Carr!

While Im not a regular poster, I m a regular reader and I had similar problems with my machine too.

First of all, download Speedfan if you havent already. http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

It is a programm that reads out the temperatures from your board etc.

Now run your system with whatever caused you trouble and keep a look at the temps.

Similar, take off the case and repeat the procedure. Compare the results.

For casecooling, Schrullenhaft already mentioned it, one fan should be near the bottom at the front, blowing cool air "in", one should be at the back, located just below the PSU, blowing hot air "out".

This is a working air circulation.(cool air is closer to the bottom etc)

For the sound isolation, just take it off. I know very well how annoyingly loud modern computers are, but this isolation is probably part of your problem, as it tends to hold warm air inside the case, hindering airflow etc. If it solves your problem, you can think about adding another set of fans to your rig, modern miditowers usually support 2 fans at the front and at the back and then add the isolation again.

On the graphicscard, mine (PCIX 6800GT) heats up to around 62°C if used in heavy 3d applications, adding up to the temperature inside the case. If yours is overclocked by the manufacturer, the cooling device that came with it should already be enough. BTW, Combat Mission is NOT a 3d heavy application, its mainly about CPU-usage.

Now for your 5 1/4 cooler, I assume you mean one that is placed vertically inside a drive slot? Forget them, they cant do a thing beside whirling the already hot air around. Usually they are sandwitched between 2 drives etc. Get regular 8mm fans for the front and the back.

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Originally posted by Jack Carr:

I upgraded from a GeForce Ti4600 128MB 4xAGP to a Nvidia 6800GT 256MB 8xAGP. The card is a BFG brand. They brag that the card is overclocked out of the box. I wonder if the manufacturers overclocking could cause a problem?

My PC's specs:

AMD Athlon XP 3200+

Abit Motherboard

1.5Gb Kingston Hyper-X Ram DDR400

BFG Nvidia 6800GT 256MB AGP card

Two 80GB Western Digital 7200RPM IDE drives 8MB cache

Creative Labs Soundblaster Gamer soundcard

PSU?

What kind of and how many exhaust fans in the case? Photo?

Obviously the 6800 is the cultrit here, the 6xx0 series of NVidia cards is very power-consuming, unfortunately.

Enough interior cooling fans to make it sound like a vacuum when it's on.

Doesn't matter. Stirring up the warm air inside the case does nothing, the wattage of the componment still adds up.

You absolutely need case exhaust fans other than the PSU fan for this setup.

Alternatively you can look into a "NV Silencer" which is a fan/heatsink construction for your GeForce which leads the air from the video card directly outside. The general exhaust fan is the better solution, though.

24.jpg

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Hi Redwolf,

That's the fan I installed on my video card! I'm glad you suggested that. It's sort of an affirmation that I did something in the right direction.

Whoops! Sorry. I forgot to answer your question about the PSU. It's a Vantec 520W Stealth.

My PC hasn't shut down since re-seating the processor and RAM last night. I've been beating on it, playing CM and other things but it hasn't gone down yet.

I'll keep everyone posted over the next few days.

Thanks to everyone who replied.

[ April 23, 2006, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: Jack Carr ]

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Originally posted by Redwolf:

Who-ho!

How is the noise from the NV Silencer for you?

Runs like a blower, eats like a grinder! VoiVod!

It's not as bad as you would think. It looks huge, but it isn't all that loud. When I first got it, I decided not to put it on. I was intimidated by the instructions. One of the steps looked a little too involved. But after I looked at my card, I realized that I didn't have to do that tough step because my card's stock heatsink/fan wasn't attached using the method that the instructions had indicated.

It turned out to be very easy to put on.

It seems to be working fine.

The only thing you have to be careful of is that you have an open slot next to the video card, because installing this fan almost doubles the space required for the card.

Just re-reading your reply, Redwolf. Do you have one installed on your video card?

[ April 26, 2006, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Jack Carr ]

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Originally posted by Jack Carr:

Just re-reading your reply, Redwolf. Do you have one installed on your video card? [/qb]

I had a NV Silcener on my 5900XT.

I found it was fine in 2D but too loud in 3D mode and kicked it out. Since I have a whole lot of exhaust fans anyway I could mount a Zalman VF-700 which is a conventional quiet fan.

I asked because lots of people tell me the Silencers are quiet and I think they are just full of it. I am glad yours seems to sound exactly like mine did.

It should be quieter in 2D mode, if it isn't you probably have it on the wrong fan connector.

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I have noticed that all of the CM games do tend to make the computer put out more heat than any other games I play. I have not had any problems, but it is soemthng I've noticed. About a 4-5 degree F difference between CM and others.

I am guessing it has to do with the amount of bmp files the games uses?

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