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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,


Got a very disagreeable problem and sure would like some input.


First off, here's my system:


Asus P4B266-C Intel 845D chipset ATX Motherboard-OEM (no audio, no LAN)

Pentium 4 1.6A GHz 512K Socket 478 Processor 400MHz

Zalman CNPS6500A-ALCU CPU cooler

CRUCIAL MICRON 256MB 32x72 PC 2100 DDR RAM

SDI Silk 100 OEM input card

ATI RADEON 7200 64M SDR AGP Video Card

ENERMAX EG365P-VE (FCA) 350 W power supply

Seagate Barracuda EIDE HARD DRIVE 40GB 7200RPM MODEL

Infrared Wireless Keyboard with Mouse Pointer PS/2 n Serial


I'm running Windows 2K, and supplying an SDI input to a Radeon 7500 card. I'm using DScaler, of course.


Everything ran very well for 10 films or so. As of the last 3 films I have been experiencing progressively frequent reboots of the HTPC as the movie plays. No warning etc. the movie is playing perfectly well and all of a sudden I hear a computer beep and then I'm looking at a blue screen while the computer goes through a reboot. I was overclocking (16 x 133MHz) initially and thought that might be the problem (even though the CPU temp is around 40 degrees C on the hardware monitor and the mobo is running at 27 degrees C). Still, after one of the reboots tonight I went into the BIOS and reset it back down to 16 x 100 Hz and it's still rebooting. Tonight it's been every 10 minutes or so, and it makes it impossible to watch a film. Sometimes the HTPC has even rebooted itself while it's part way through a reboot.


The only thing of note with the installation is that I downloaded beta drivers for the Radeon 7500 (version 5.13.01.6043)in March - following installation and booting up with these drivers I found an error message, saying atiptaxx.exe had generated errors and was being shut down by Windows. A Windows help message follows immediately saying there is not enough memory for this task and that I should quite one or more programs. I can simply click on OK to get rid of both of these error messages. Like I say, everything's worked like a charm for 10 films or so, and now this. This is a dedicated HTPC, and I haven't loaded anything else onto it, nor do I run any other program apart from DScaler when watching a film. The problem would not appear to be anything to do with DScaler, as the HTPC is rebooting itself even if I simply wait long enough after a reboot and do not launch any programs.



Any ideas anybody?
 

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Considering your system is rebooting on its own, it would help to know what's being run at startup. First off, what version of Windows are you running? Next, try booting into safe mode - hopefully that'll keep your system from rebooting itself long enough for us to check the following:


Look at the startup folder in your Start/Programs menu. What's in there? Try removing all non-essential programs from that folder - don't uninstall the programs, just remove the shortcuts from the startup folder. You can always put them back later.


Next, check what's running in your system tray (the icons in the lower right corner, near the clock). Is there anything there that you don't need? Usually, any software that's running in your system tray will have settings that will allow you to choose whether or not it runs at startup. I suggest that you keep the number of programs that automatically load themselves to an absolute bare minimum.


After you've performed these steps, reboot the system normally (not safe mode), and see if your stability has improved. If it runs stably, you should do some soul-searching to determine whether or not you really need whatever flakey software you had bringing your system down, and reinstall it if you must. If you're still unstable, my guess would be that it's a driver issue - most likely the Radeon driver. I'm not sure which version of the Radeon driver you'd want to run with your config, so you might want to do a search for that info.


Keep in mind, all of the above assumes that your hardware is not defective. I'd recommend checking all this out while running at stock speeds. My guess is that once you've isolated the problematic software/driver, you'll be able to overclock back up to 2.1GHz without issue.


Good luck!
 

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Hi


Try and disable the automatic reboot when the systems has a faliure. I think its in the control panel -> System -> Advanced -> Start up and recovery.


Then post the BSOD in here. It could give a hint of where the problem is.


Cheers,

Lennart
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies guys.


Jahesh, as I said I'm running Windows 2000 and there's essentially no programs on the machine apart from the OS, and DScaler (the Radeon driver if you want to count that). Nothing in the system tray except the ATI icon and nothing in the startup folder.


I did a little test last night and reinstalled the same beta Radeon drivers. I still get the two error messages on bootup, but after clicking them away the system stayed stable for half an hour or so before I turned it off for the night. Don't know if that is the fix or not, but it certainly was the longest period the HTPC went without rebooting last night.


I may try and install different drivers for the Radeon 7500. Anyone care to give a URL for where I can find a tried, tested, and stable set of 7500 drivers for Win 2K?


Lenny100, thanks for your suggestion about disabling automatic reboot on system failure. That's worth a try too.


Still looking for suggestions guys,
 

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I run my Windows 2K with ACPI turned off. I find it a lot more stable for HTPC that way. I'm not too keen on the Interupt sharing (all on IRQ 9) with ACPI turned on.
 

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Dave,


Given your hardware list, I see nothing in there (except possibly the Silk card which I am not familiar with) that could cause a problem from a compatibility perspective. Also your software list doesn't seem to have any gotchas either. I suspect that you have a hardware problem on your hands (the one big clue was the fact that your system sometimes reboots in the middle of a reboot). As to which component is defective, that's anyone's guess but I would target the CPU and motherboard first. I had a problem similar to this on one of my systems a while back and methodically replaced every component one at a time (a royal PITA and thank heavens for generous return policies) until I found that the CPU was the culprit. I had never overclocked this CPU or anything but it still failed (luck of the draw I suppose).


The upshot is that your hardware/software combination should be rock solid stable, no ifs ands or buts. If it isn't, then either you have a software problem (which is unlikely for your particular set of software) or one of your hardware components is failing.


Your first step should be to get rid of those beta Radeon drivers. Although I don't think this is the problem, beta software is always the first suspect. There is no reason to be running those Radeon driver when there are WHQL certified 6071 drivers available for download from ATI. To make assurances doubly sure, reinstall the whole system, W2K and all with the WHQL Radeon drivers.


If you're still rebooting, then you're gonna to have to check each piece of hardware one by one until you find the defective component.


On another note, much hoopla has been attached to the supposed problems one encounters running W2K/XP in ACPI mode. In ACPI mode many cards end up sharing the same interrupt which many people jump on as a root cause for failure. All my systems run with ACPI enabled and I have never encountered an issue there. W2K and PCI hardware are designed to run this way. Often you hear of some poor soul having numerous stability problems and laying the blame squarely at the feet of ACPI. In an effort to "cure" this the person completely reinstalls their system in non-ACPI mode and it works perfectly! So ACPI is the problem? No! More likely it is the fact that they reinstalled their system, probably getting rid of flakey beta software in the process and updating to newer drivers, that cured their ills.


Cheers

Lester
 

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FWIW, I'll second Lester's recommendations. Considering you've got nothing running on your system when the rebooting starts, it does sound like you've got a hardware defect on your hands, but first I'd also recommend that you install the latest ATI drivers.


If that doesn't do the trick, make sure all your cards are properly seated in their slots. Failing that, I agree that your problem is most likely with the processor and/or motherboard. Your combo should be a really stable one, regardless of ACPI settings, just as Lester says. You might want to try removing the Silk card (which I'm also unfamiliar with) to see if the rebooting persists without it.


On the bright side: as much of a pain as this is proving to be, by the time it's over you'll be a far better troubleshooter than would have been possible if your computer worked properly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies again guys.


Follow up on Lenny100's suggestion - I disabled the automatic reboot on system failure and still observe the problem. BTW, there is no BSOD - in fact there is no indication whatsoever that anything abnormal is occurring. I can be sitting there watching a film or the Windows desktop and suddenly I hear that dreaded BEEP from the depths of my computer case and the next thing I'm staring at is an empty blue screen and then the P4B266-C splash logo as the computer seamlessly shifts into a reboot.


I have downloaded the 6071 drivers and will do a complete reinstall of the OS, DScaler, and 6071 drivers (along with version 8.1 of DirectX) tonight as per Lester's suggestion. I'll also open up the unit and make sure all the connections are tight. It'll be a real pain if I have to replace the mobo or cpu or something.
 

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Well, all I know is that after installing Windows 2K 4 time fresh with ACPI turned off, and having a miserable time with the ATI DVD application, installing it the 5th time with ACPI turned off worked for me! MB is an Intell MATX with 3 slots - which are filled with a Audigy and an IO Magic. On board video is turned off and a Radeon LE is in the AGP Slot.
 

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Hi Dave,


could be a bad ide-cable. Use only the best material

of shortest possible length and look for a clean, smooth

layout of the cable.


If this doesn't work or to test if this is the problem reduce

IDE-Speed to UDMA-2.


Greetings


Heinz
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi guys,


Thanks for the continued flow of suggestions. Here's a progress report:


Last night I opened up the box and tightened all connections I could. I was then going to do a complete reinstall of Win2K and Direct X 8.1 and the 6071 drivers. However, the system was so unstable (at one point it went through 3 boot/reboot cycles in 30 seconds) that I chickened out of reinstalling the OS.


Instead, I managed to uninstall the old beta ATI drivers and install Direct X 8.1 and the 6071 drivers. This has given me a situation where I experienced no further reboots and in fact could watch a film last night. Still, I had system beeps emanating from the HTPC every 3 minutes or so, so something is not right. Does anyone know where I can look for some kind of a log that would shed some light on what the error could be?


I've had some suggestions on PM as well, one of which is to look for and remove tpkd.sys which I will try later. Now that the machine is (relatively) stable I'll try a complete reinstall and report back.


Thanks again guys, this forum is a lifesaver.
 

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They have moved it in Windows 2K. In the control panel, there is an administraion folder (looks like an applet, but when double clicked it opens like a folder.) One of the items there is the Event Viewer. There are 3 different logs that can be viewed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So yesterday I did a complete reinstall of Win2K, Direct X 8.1, and 6071 drivers. There is no tpkd.sys driver with this software configuration. I left the computer running from around noon to midnight and it did not reboot the entire time. In fact, I watched a film last night as well.


The only indication that there is still something amiss is that I keep getting periodic system beeps coming out of the box. I haven't yet checked the Event Viewer for logs about that (the movie was much more interesting), but if I find anything I will post here.


I still have the feeling that there is a hardware problem. I wonder if the power supply should not also be considered suspect - contrary to my first posting here (which was a copy paste of an old config) the PS is a Zalman power supply.


One thing of note about this is that the P4B266-C mobo comes with both a 4-pin ATX +12V connector and an ASUS 'EZ Plug' connector which fits a standard 4-pin device power connector off a power supply (the mobo also has the standard 20 pin ATXPWR connector of course). The installation instructions say that the EZ Plug connector should be used if you have a power supply that does not have a 4-pin ATX +12V connector. I have both types available to me from the Zalman power supply and I plugged both of these onto the mobo along with the 20 pin connector. Removing the EZ Plug connection hasn't seemed to make any difference, but if people want to make comments on anything in particular I should be checking with the mobo connections feel free to fire away.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dave in gva
.....The installation instructions say that the EZ Plug connector should be used if you have a power supply that does not have a 4-pin ATX +12V connector. I have both types available to me from the Zalman power supply and I plugged both of these onto the mobo along with the 20 pin connector....
This raises a red flag in my mind. Typically these two plugs are mutually exclusive. You should only use one of them as far as I know. Plugging both in may have caused an issue possibly.


If possible get your motherboard swapped for a new one (you can claim that the one you have is faulty, which it very well might be given the beeps). Then with the new board only use one of the plugs and see how things go.



Cheers

Lester
 

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Hi Dave,


Glad to hear that you've made some progress.


Those intermittent beeps are disconcerting, though.


First off (even tho I doubt this is causing any problems), you should only connect the standard (square) extra power connector, and not the EZ-Plug. Since your power supply has the requisite connector, simply use it - the other one is only meant for power supplies that only have standard ATX connectors, rather than the current 2.03 spec.


Next, are you sure that your HSF (heat sink/fan) assembly is properly mounted? It's pretty tough to screw up with these new Intel HSF mounts, IMHO, but it's still possible. Download the most current version of Asus Probe HERE and see if your temps are any higher than they should be. My own 1.6A P4 running at 2.1 generally idles at around 32 to 37 (Celsius), and maxes out at around 45 with heavy utilisation. If you're running hot, I'd recommend that you get yourself a tube of Arctic Silver thermal paste (the silicone thermal paste is fine if that's all that's readily available to you), remove ALL the gunk that's probably currently on your CPU and HSF, smear on a light coating of Arctic Silver or Silicone, reattach it all PROPERLY, and that should remedy the problem if it's heat related. If it's not, then I just typed a whole lot for no good reason. Well, it's not like I've never done that before!


Let us know how you fare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys, I wasn't sure about the use of both plugs. I'll remove the EZ plug, although I seem to remember doing that before and it didn't change anything.


The HS/F is the Zalman 'flower' unit and is attached correctly as far as I can tell. The instructions that came with it are really good. The hardware monitor function in the BIOS tells me that the cpu temp is a constant 40. I've seen somewhere else that somebody thought on this ASUS board that was some kind of a threshold, since the cpu temp never went below that. FWIW the mobo temp is around 27 and those two temps don't really budge even after running the system for 12 hours without load or 3 hours with a film running.


Replacing the mobo as per Lester's suggestion is a wee bit problematic. I'm living in Geneva and a buddy in San Jose officially bought this stuff for me (most of it from Newegg). He then shipped it over to me. I feel like he's already done me a favour and the idea of complicating his life with potentially a string of returns doesn't sound very appealing. I may have to bite the bullet and start replacing things with stuff I can find easily here.
 

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My P4 system was rebooting, as well as my Athlon system. Both had Asus motherboards in them. Apparently the Asus board get a little freaky with 512megs or ram, or more. I had 512 on one, and 768 on another. After just leaving 256 in each, I had not had one reboot since. Don't ask me why, I just know it worked for me.
 

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If possible, swap out your memory dimms.

FWIW, I suggest anyone building an HTPC with DDR, to use dimms rated at faster than pc2100. I have mushkin pc2700 in mine. Also, put as few dimms in as possible. That is, if you're running 512meg, use a 512 dimm, and not 2x256 dimms.


gluck,

-anders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks guys. Using 1 x 256 MB as specified in the first msg where I posted my configuration.
 
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