View Full Version : Why Does My New Machine Reboot Randomly?

02-01-2003, 05:51 PM
I have a new machine that I built (on a budget but all parts new). Here's the specs
Duron 1200
256Mb DDR Ram
366A-AV Motherboard (VIA KT266A Chipset)
Winfast Geforce 2 64Mb Graphics Card
Intel 10/100+ Lan Card
40Gb Samsung H/Drive
DVD ROM (on same IDE as H/D)
40x CD Writer
52x CD ROM
Windows 2000 (with SP3) & Direct-X 8.1
Enermax Whisper 350w PSU

Most everything runs fine, but when I try to game, it will randomly reboot. Sometimes it will do it twice in a session, sometimes it won't do it for days. It happens occassionally when playing Quake 3, more often when playing Unreal Tournament, and every time I try to start America's Army. No problems when playing DVD movies or having other applications running.
CPU temp is O.K (66C loaded, 53C idle)
The only odd thing I can find is the -5v rail is at -7.6v, but am assured this isn't critical anyway.

Any thoughts guys would be appreciated

02-01-2003, 07:45 PM
Could it be a problem with your RAM? I bought a few bad sticks in my time, and playing games would cause it to become unstable...


02-01-2003, 08:19 PM
Last time i met that it turned out to be a dodgy power supply, so the 5 year old case got replaced with a bran new flash one with new power supply

Of course as it is an intermittant fault it is almost impossible to track it down short of replacing parts bit by bit till you find what part is spitting the intermittant dummy.
This is all very well if you have a small pool of spare parts, but if you haven't you've got big problems.

See if you could borrow some nasty but reliable RAM of someone, that seems to be a common cause, although i have not met that myself.


03-01-2003, 01:54 AM
It possibly is dodgy RAM since Q3 uses a lot of RAM. I have similar problems and have been trying to figure out the cause of it. I've tried installing more cooling incase it overheats, I've tried different NVidia drivers for my graphics card and still had trouble with it crashing/rebooting.

I haven't replaced the RAM yet as I don't think it is the problem as I play Q3 on Linux and not once has it crashed. It could just be OS related, although I'm running XP Pro.

03-01-2003, 02:07 AM
From past experience with several PC's, with similar problems; the computer would randomly reboot, some times it would happen several times a day and sometimes it wouldn't happen for months, the problem was eventually traced to a faulty capacitor on the mainboard, and the solution was a mobo replacement. Note: In this case the PC would refuse to boot after the event.

Otherwise it could be a RAM problem, does you PC do a Memory test at bootup?



03-01-2003, 06:35 AM
Just a thought WinXP to be helpful (cough) has a default setting to automatically reboot whenever a blue screen of death is encountered (so u don't get confused by the data on the screen) apparently having your machine randomly reboot is supposed to be lesss confusing (cough). I wonder if this is so for Win2K, as I haven't used it and someone more knowledgeable will tell you where to turn it off.

Sorry I can't help you further but search random reboot win 2000 on google should give you something

03-01-2003, 01:48 PM
I would have to agree with .Clueless on this one.

I have just built myself a PC with a 250 Watt PSU (I think its that...) and when playing DVD's, if I try to switch to TV-Out, it resets coz it sucks so much power as it makes the switch, and with the DVD-ROM going, it loses power going to the HDD and other stuff, ending up in a reboot.

Perhaprs your PSU could be faulty? That would be my first thought...

Then, RAM - It could be that the RAM is not all good either. If you have some extra, try that for a few days and see what happens.

Im probably just clutching at straws, but they would seem like the two most likely things to me :-)



03-01-2003, 03:15 PM
To identify a PSU shortage go into your BIOS, in there you will find a setting to tell the computer what to do when it has a shortage, there is an option to keep the computer off, or to restart.
if you change this setting and then witness a change in the behaviour, then you can narrow it down to the PSU.

Personally i think its RAM.
The ram check at startup is not sufficient to test ram. You need to find a ram testing programme.
try sisofts sandra software

03-01-2003, 03:53 PM
hadn't thought of that, and yes u can in W2K as well

03-01-2003, 09:07 PM
I had what sounds to be a very similar problem with my new PC last month. I'm running XP on a VIA motherboard. After upgrading all drivers without success, I took the proverbial bull by the horns, crossed my fingers and reflashed the BIOS. Haven't had a reboot since. I'm still not certain whether the upgraded BIOS fixed the problem or if it was just that doing so reset all the BIOS options to the default settings, but it cured the problem.

19-01-2003, 03:57 PM
This reply may be a bit late for you but for over 2 years I have been battling reboot problems on my own and customers computers and I think I have finally tied it down to INCD. Probably used with your cd writer? INCD seems to clash with Media player and other programmes and will cause random reboots. I swapped to DirectCD last week for trailing and the problem appears to have disappeared although it is too early to be conclusive. This problem is apparent in W2K and W98. I hope you can try this and post the result.

Billy T
19-01-2003, 06:09 PM
I don't know how you measured the -7.6 volts, but a 50% increase is not something I would ignore. It may not have anything to do with your reboot problem but I'd sure as heck check it out and replace the PSU if that voltage is for real.
Disclaimer: Opinion based on 38 years in electronics and still learning.

Billy 8-{) :|