PC problems. . .

Not really FIRST related, but I could use some help anyway if anybody is willing.

System specs:
AMD Athlon XP 3000+ cpu
512MB PC3200 DDR ram
Mach Speed V600DAP motherboard
Connect3d 256mb ATI Radeon 9600 video
Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM 2MBcache ATA-133 Primary HD
Western Digital 80GB Secondary HD
BenQ DW1620 DVD±RW, DVD+R DL, CD-RW Optical Drive
300Watt PSU
Windows 2000pro SP4 OS

PC has all of the newest drivers and Windows updates, except for the newest ATI video drivers which seem to make the D3D induced crashing worse. It also has the newest version of DirectX 9.0c

Problems do not lie with the PSU; as it has already been replaced once to see if it was the cause of the random crashes.


Direct3d Applications crash, and sometimes cause the pc to reboot, at random.

PC crashes/reboots at random times.

PC makes clicking noises (possibly one of the HDs?), including when the pc reboots (not on a manual reboot, only when the PC crashes), and at random times.

Any suggestions?

Are all of the fans spinning properly, especially the fan over the heatsink on your processor?

Yes, I should’ve mentioned cooling should not be an issue as I have 3 case fans and a pci bay fan. My pc also tells me it’s temp when I start up, and the cpu is usually at about 40 degress celcius (after a restart/crash when I’ve been doing stuff that would heat it up), and the system itself a few degrees cooler than that. My cpu should function at temperatures up to 83 degress celcius, so my cpu isn’t overheating.

Is it stable in safe mode?

It’s usually pretty stable (outside safe mode) except when running a D3D application. The random crashes I spoke of outside of those programs only happen about once a month, so I’ve never stayed in safe mode long enough to tell. I just got a little aggrivated when it crashed near the end of a 20 hour 3dsmax render earlier today.

The random crashes in windows aren’t too much of a concern (well, actually I’m pretty concerned because I don’t know why they are happening, but they don’t happen often). The clicking is annoying too, but if one of my HDs fail, oh well. I keep my system backed up, and I do have two of them.

It’s the D3D stuff that’s really bugging me. I can’t play the games I got for Christmas! Plus, I have to run 3dsmax in OpenGL or softeware mode (not a big deal, but still).

Well, I solved my problems.

I did a full system restore, unplugged my secondary HD, and was very careful to keep track of everything I installed and periodically try the game to see if it crashed. The HD was apparently causing the random full system crashes, while a peice of software, openoffice.org, was causing the software crashes.