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Old 06-17-04, 11:31 AM   #1
tobert
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Default odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

I have a relatively new AMD 3000+/nForce 2 Ultra 400 (A7N8X-X) system that only crashes when NOT under a heavy load.

Running cpu burn or Final Fantasy XI (the only thing I really use it for), it work flawlessly. Leave the system idle at the desktop with nothing running, it'll blue screen with some trash about IRQs (I forgot to write it down) and do a physical memory dump.

Windows 2000
Athlon XP 3000 (OEM)
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduc...103-394&depa=0
Asus A7N8X Ultra 400
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduc...131-455&depa=0
Corsair Twinx 3200CP 2x256MB
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProduc...145-452&depa=0
Sapphire Radeon 9600 XT 256MB (Omega and ATI drivers)
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...102-335&depa=0
Antec TruePower 430 Watt PSU (recently added to try to fix this)
Maxtor 20GB drive DMA 100 I think, Asus rounded cables.

With CPU burn the temperature, according to the Asus utility, caps out at 50 degrees Celcius.

The voltage rails don't have much variation at runtime, but they do read below what they should (i.e. 4.852 volts on the 5v rail). I'm wondering if maybe the motherboard is at fault but not really sure how to troubleshoot this one.

Like I said, the weird thing is I can play FF XI with all the settings cranked up for hours without a hiccup, but a minute or two after I shut the game down, the system tanks. I'm thinking maybe IDE drivers (I'm using the nVidia ones), or some other drivers. Unfortunately, Asus hasn't released a new BIOS for this board since November or so last year.

Any ideas on where to look next?
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Old 06-17-04, 12:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

Probably IRQ_not_less_than BSOD. That means either bad memory sticks or a bad memory controller on your motherboard. Download memtest86 and run that for a while. If it passes, you might have to return the motherboard.
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Old 06-17-04, 01:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

or you could have an incompatiblity with an app. that runs when your idle...like a screen saver or virus scan.
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Old 06-17-04, 01:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaiN
or you could have an incompatiblity with an app. that runs when your idle...like a screen saver or virus scan.
Try uninstalling and reinstalling device drivers. I once had a problem with my USB subsystem. Some how two different drivers were trying to use/access the same IRQ.

Windows Xp is supposed to handle interrupts automatically but it’s still windows so

I finally had to remove cards and disable services serial/com ports etc. After messing with it for a while the problem went away.
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Old 06-17-04, 02:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

Like the others alluded to, sounds like either bad ram or corrupt drv of some sort. Quick ques though, do you remember what was installed right before this started happening?
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Old 06-17-04, 03:33 PM   #6
tobert
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

Hmm it was a while ago since I installed all the drivers. I've changed the video drivers a couple times suspecting those (with no change). Probably the last thing I did was install the IDE drivers. Those are going to go, since I've seen other stuff on the web while googling about referring to faulty IDE drivers (or bad combinations of drives/drivers/cables/controllers) causing weird stuff.

I'll run memtest86 for a couple hours this evening. A friend of mine has a damn near identical system that occasionally throws the same error, so I'm leaning (optimistically) toward software problems. We ran memtest86 on it after resetting memory timings to the corsair recommended ones up through 20 iterations with 0 errors.

For those asking about other applications - there are none. I have no virus scan or firewalls installed on this machine - it runs ONE application, Final Fantasy XI, and is behind a rather strong firewall for my home network.

So, what I'll be trying next: memtest86, remove IDE drivers (revert to windows default), Linux+gcc+kernel loop.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 06-17-04, 03:34 PM   #7
tobert
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnotaku
Probably IRQ_not_less_than BSOD. That means either bad memory sticks or a bad memory controller on your motherboard. Download memtest86 and run that for a while. If it passes, you might have to return the motherboard.
Yes, that's the one. IRQ_NOT_LESS_THAN
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Old 06-18-04, 10:49 PM   #8
tobert
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Default Re: odd problem ... crash when NOT under load

memtest86 ran for 2 or 3 hours with full tests with 0 errors. I also reduced the FSB to 180Mhz and still got the crash, IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.

I think I'll probably end up RMAing the motherboard ... *sigh*.

Another interesting thing I've found is that turning APIC mode off causes W2k to not get past the first text-mode progress bar - it fills up then just hangs.

Piece of junk.
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