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I have a custom-built PC with the following hardware:

  • Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (Socket 939)
  • 2 GB PC3200 DDR1 memory
  • MSI MS-7125 motherboard (nForce 4 MCP)
  • Geforce 7600GT PCI-express graphics card
  • Windows XP SP3

I have had the computer since fall 2006, never encountering any problems until Summer 2009, when it started to freeze up sporadically. This only seems to happen while playing games, as I have successfully played a few hours of streaming video (Hulu) without any problems. I have also booted it in Linux, and tried running some benchmarks for a while to see if the problem appears there as well, but I haven't yet had it crash. I have also run Memtest86+ v2.11 from the Ubuntu boot CD for a while (10 minutes just now), and it didn't find anything.

The crashes/freezes do not occur at any fixed amount of time after starting playing, but I haven't gotten more than about 20 minutes of play before it freezes; sometimes as little as a minute.

When it crashes, the screen simply freezes, but no BSOD occurs. Sound output stops, and I am no longer able to ping the computer over the network. Checking the system temperature after the reboot shows that it is not a problem of overheating. I also don't have it overclocked or anything.

I recently replaced the power supply, which had been faulty and wasn't able to boot the computer at all (pressing the power button had no effect whatsoever).

Any ideas as to what it might be?

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, the old power supply was 420 Watts and the new one is 500, so it's probably not a problem with insufficient power. I've also updated my graphics drivers to the latest version from NVidia. Also, I have a Zalman CPU fan, like this one, so I'm pretty sure the CPU is being cooled well.

I'll check out the GPU temps.

UPDATE 2: I reinstalled Windows, updated to SP2 with all updates applied, installed the latest NVidia drivers, and installed SpeedFan 4.40 to check the temperature of various components. The GPU is sitting at a steady 41 degrees Celsius, even during gaming, and it still freezes. I got an extra 80mm fan and pointed it directly at the GPU, but the problem persists.

Again, this problem occurred under both the old and new PSU, even though the new one has a higher wattage. I am also not overclocking anything at all. Could the graphics card just be dead?

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Check: Screen card fan, CPU fan, motherboard (north and south bridge) fans and cooling ... AMDs had poor cooling when they first came out. – user3463 Jan 11 '10 at 9:28

The first thing I would check is cooling because this sounds a lot like an overheating problem. You mention that you checked the system temp after rebooting, but did you check the GPU temp?

I experienced something exactly like this a few weeks ago and it ended up being a flaky GPU fan... it looked like it was spinning, but when I actually pulled the card out and spun the fan with my finger there was way too much physical resistance.

Even before you crack the case you could use something like RivaTuner to monitor fan speeds and temps.

Can you get a hold of another graphics card you can try? That would help you narrow down the variables.

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You could try the drivers from NGO, they have some bugfixes which the original NVidia-Drivers do not have.

Edit: If you haven't done so already, please update your graphiccards drivers to the latest.

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I would definitely try updating the graphics card drivers first. – Iain Jan 11 '10 at 12:23
@lain: Damn it...I thought he wrote that he already tried newer and older drivers, I'll edit my answer. Thank you. – Bobby Jan 11 '10 at 13:11

Is your new power supply rated lower that your previous one? What is the wattage? Note that the quality (and price) also affect a PSU's ability to deliver (it's never 100%). Above 400 watts should be fine though.

I had the same problem when running a 200watt GTX260 on a 430watt power supply (never had a problem with a 7900GT). I realize a 7600GT will not nearly take that much wattage (around 50watts in 3D), but it could be a sign that your PSU is borderline or poorly builded. My old PSU emittied a slight whining sound whenever it was in 3D mode, showing it was being put to the limit.

Try disabling any overclocking as well.

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