Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Tech Talk
Reload this Page >

a really weird PC problem .. can anyone identify ???

Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

a really weird PC problem .. can anyone identify ???

Old 08-15-01, 08:37 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Friggin Fiji
Posts: 1,503
a really weird PC problem .. can anyone identify ???

Ok .. i am running out of ideas ... so .. i thought I asked the night shift, maybe someone has an idea what is wrong here

the machine is a custommade p3 600 from alienware.com (and about 20 months old, thus I am not bugging them at all) ... until today I have never opened it .. so it is still the original config ..

after a lot of trials and tribulations I did the format C thing last week and started rebuilding the machine ... and i still run into the same weird problems ... which makes me wonder if either the (nvidia geforce) vid card is gone to heaven or the mother board ****ed up ...

most of the times when I start up windows 98 complains that it cannot find the display device drivers .. though I have downloaded the latest and installed a bazillion times ... and since one out of 5 times it starts up just fine, means that those drivers must be working .. somehow ..

then .. well .. even when that works, it is very prone to crash (mind you .. a just rebuilt machine) ... and it loves to give me screen like those




does anyone have ANY idea ?? my next step would be trying another vid card .. but before i spend 100 here and 100 there to find out what is wrong .. maybe it is time for a new machine ???

thanks and good night

P
caipirina is offline  
Old 08-15-01, 09:11 PM
  #2  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Columbia SC, US
Posts: 201
Wow, that's pretty weird. ummm, The only time I have ever gotten something like that was when I was overclocking my system to far. I know Alienware is a gaming system, do they overclock there system?? If anything I would say that the memory is bad. It could be video memory, but I am betting on system memory. I would check the CAS (Latency)setting in the bios, if it is set to 2, I would put it at 3. also make sure the AGP divder is set to 2/3 and the PCI bus is set to 1/4. Turn off all Fast-writes and any other agp enhancements in the bios.

What type of motherboard is it? It might need a bios upgrade. Also, unplug game controllers, usb devices, printers, scanners. Just have the basic stuff connected.

And, check the temp. on the CPU. I would open the case and check to make sure the fans are running.

Hope this helps
Bigbot is offline  
Old 08-15-01, 09:14 PM
  #3  
X
Administrator
 
X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1987
Location: AA-
Posts: 10,730
Interesting that the bad letters are one off from the correct one. First I would scan for viruses, perhaps in DOS. Have you tried booting to DOS to see how the display looks?

Then see if you can borrow a video card to try out. It could be RAM too. Is your system overclocked or overheating? Do you have a fan on the video card and is it running?
X is offline  
Old 08-15-01, 09:21 PM
  #4  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Columbia SC, US
Posts: 201
Hey X, I like the way you think
Bigbot is offline  
Old 08-15-01, 11:40 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
gcribbs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Sacramento,Ca,USA member #2634
Posts: 11,964
I agree with the ideas so far. alienware often overclocks the video card and sometimes the cpu i think.

boot with the case off. boot into the bios and move them to default settings. slow everything down a bit even. you can always speed them back up after troubleshooting things.

lower ram to cas 3
slow down the cpu even (lower the fsb some if it lets you)
are the fans all moving??
any not moving?

exit and save from the bios and reinstall the drivers as necessary in windows.

when you say you rebuilt this computer what did you change?
gcribbs is offline  
Old 08-15-01, 11:49 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Friggin Fiji
Posts: 1,503
wow .. great answers .. i never even thought about overclocking (and i have no idea how that works) .. but maybe this is how alienware gets their great benchmark numbers ..

i also have considered the temperature thing (we were close to 100 in NYC recently) .. so that may be a thing ..

some of the advice i got i did not even understand .. but i will ask savvy friends to translate ...

i wonder if i will ever find out what it is ..

to be honest, the machine had already small troubles the week i got it (e.g. shut down would not completely shut down)

oh ..and the rebuild was a format C, having a win 98 boot disk ready and just but win 98 on a fresh clear HD ..

i had a virus scanner on all the time .. i doubt it is a virus ..

keep em coming .. great stuff so far !!!

P
caipirina is offline  
Old 08-16-01, 12:00 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
gcribbs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Sacramento,Ca,USA member #2634
Posts: 11,964
Originally posted by caipirina


to be honest, the machine had already small troubles the week i got it (e.g. shut down would not completely shut down)

oh ..and the rebuild was a format C, having a win 98 boot disk ready and just but win 98 on a fresh clear HD ..

i had a virus scanner on all the time .. i doubt it is a virus ..

keep em coming .. great stuff so far !!!

P
how did you have a virus scanner running while doing your format and reinstallation??

or do you mean after the win 98 installation.

actually windows shutdown problems are common

are you using the drivers provided by alienware or new drivers?
gcribbs is offline  
Old 08-16-01, 12:13 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Friggin Fiji
Posts: 1,503
i had a virus scanner running for all the time that this machine was "alive" .. and i like to beleive that in general i am very cautious about "downloading stuff" ..

i downloaded most recent drivers from the manufacturers websites ..

and thanks to whoever moved the thread to "computer" .. pardon my ignorance ..
P
caipirina is offline  
Old 08-16-01, 12:22 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
gcribbs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Sacramento,Ca,USA member #2634
Posts: 11,964
Originally posted by caipirina
i had a virus scanner running for all the time that this machine was "alive" .. and i like to beleive that in general i am very cautious about "downloading stuff" ..

i downloaded most recent drivers from the manufacturers websites ..

and thanks to whoever moved the thread to "computer" .. pardon my ignorance ..
P
then try this. reformat. reinstall windows and reinstall the original drivers and see how it works

It is possible one of the drivers is creating the problem- the display driver comes to mind.

since i am positive the video card was overclocked by alienware. I am not sure if they hardware overclock it somehow or use the software. I lean towards hardware. so your new drivers may be causing a problem.
gcribbs is offline  
Old 08-17-01, 05:27 PM
  #10  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Columbia SC, US
Posts: 201
Hey, I couldnt believe it but I was building a new system today and came across the exact same problem. It turned out to be the IDE cable. After I changed the cable I copied the CAB files to the HDD and everything worked great.

So, I would say it's a bad IDE cable
Bigbot is offline  
Old 08-18-01, 08:12 AM
  #11  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 57
try to get the latest firmware for the BIOS. that could solve your problem.




Darno
stingbandel is offline  
Old 08-25-01, 09:00 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Friggin Fiji
Posts: 1,503
just to let all you helpful guys know:

I bought a new videocard, since I though that a shot video memory theory made most sense ...

and since then all my PC troubles are gone

could be that the overclocking from alienware fried the original vid card

thanls again
caipirina is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.