PC Hardware experts and PC builders, little help? *long*

This is all for a friend, for the record. He had a crap machine about 5 or 6 years old, and took the leap to try and put together his own after buying up all the parts. He’s never done it before, total novice. Here’s the email he sent me, since I have no idea, and I know there are some people on here that know their stuff. If anyone takes the time to give me an idea to pass along i’d really appreciate it.

"I’ve gotten a really weird graphical error. It happens whenever I play something graphically intensive (ie a video game ^^). Mostly I’ve been playing WoW, so that’s where all my screen shots are from. But I’ve also gotten it in Half Life 2, and Guild Wars. It’s really bizarre, and happens on max, min, and the spectrum inbetween the two extremes. If i change a setting (or press screenshot, or minimize the game and then maximize it back), the problem goes away for a few seconds, and then comes back. In WoW i’ve noticed that if I look at the sky, I can stave off some of the problem, but not fully. I was playing WoW in windowed mode for awhile and that helped. But now it happens in both. And I’ve also noticed that if I spend a bunch of time inside a building, it seems that I don’t get the problem. If I am outside or leave the building too soon, I get the problem. A lot of times I’ll have the problem, then go to an instance (an indoor setting), and then not have the problem for the rest of the time I’m on. Also it doesn’t always seem to do it at a certain point. Sometimes I’ll boot up my machine, log in, and play with no problems, othertimes it’s there as soon as I log in. Conversely, I can play for 4 hours with no problem, leave my machine on overnight, log in and have problems, or I could not have them.

The problem gets really bad, and then my whole screen freezes, and goes into suspend mode, where the only way to fix it seems to be to manually reboot it. Then it’s a crap shoot whether or not my 36 GB drive with my OS on it will be recognized or not. Or windows will load, but my mouse (optical intellimouse by microsoft plugged in via USB port, and to fix it i will have to restart the machine, and normally get the “error loading OS” message again.

 Any thoughts would be appreciated. 


Running Windows XP Pro and encased in a ThermalTake Tsunami Series Aluminum ATX Mid-Tower.

Asus A8V Deluxe VIA Socket 939 ATX Motherboard / AGP 4X/8X / Audio / Gigabit LAN / Serial ATA / RAID / USB 2.0 / Firewire (A455-2110)

AMD Athlon 64 3800+ / 512MB Cache / 2000 MHz FSB / Socket 939 / Processor with Fan (CP1-A64-3800)

CPU cooling:
Thermaltake A1838 Silent Boost / Socket 754/940 / AMD Opteron/Athlon 64 / Ball Bearing / Copper Core / CPU Cooling Fan (T925-1066)

Ultra 1024MB PC3200 DDR 400MHz Memory (ULT31664)

BFG Geforce 6600 GT OC

400W ATX power supply from comp usa (had a problem with my ultra x-connect, and i just needed something to see if it would fix it)

Hard Drives:
Western Digital 10k rpm, 36.4 GB SATA raptor drive (windows is installed here, sometimes during a hard reboot it, the computer seems to forget that the drive is here and it pops up with “Error detecting OS”)

Western Digital 7.6k rpm, 80 IDE drive

Optical Drive:
IDE dvd drive from my old machine because I couldn’t get the dvd-rw [Plextor PX-712SA / 12x4x16x DVD+RW / 8x4x16x DVD-RW / 48x24x48x CD-RW / Black / Roxio Software / White Box DVD Burner] to be recognized, though I’d still rather have the Plextor in my new machine if possible…

And a floppy drive."


video drivers

or bad monitor

or bad vid card

id check the drivers tho

Just out of curiousity, is this computer in an non-air conditioned room. Or a poorly vented location. Overheating can cause this to happen, easiest thing to try would open the side of the case and have a larger fan blow in there directly. I’m thinking this might explain the random boot/freezing issues, and oddball hardware failure

Based on the computers behavior (freezing, dropping to “standby” which most likey is the hardware just ceasing to function) and the fact it only happens in certain games, would definatly not be the monitor.

If that doesn’t solve it try installing newer drivers. www.guru3d.com is a good place to get newest/beta forceware drivers for nvidia cards. And also would have a TON more information on troubleshooting this.

If that doesn’t solve it I’d then say video card. Best way to test would be test it in another computer.


Does the video card have its own fan? if so make sure its spinning. My girl’s laptop does something similiar if she sits it on the bed blocking the fan, silly broad!


The problem with video cards nowadays, is that when you put them in the AGP slot, all of the chip and hardware that heats up faces down, and the little dinky fan(s) on the little dinky heatsinks cannot disperse the heat well enough… because a lot of the heat just kinda sits there.

Tell him to get a PCI fan card or, just open up the side of the computer and point a fan (a big one, like a window fan or desk fan) at it.

Ninja had the same problem, pointed a window fan, and nooooo mo problems

Thanks all, i’ll tell him to get some more air in there and see if that helps.