HP Pavilion 524w's hang ups/lock ups.


P

pavilion.524w

 
Will be much indebted if a good techie/soul could give me useful
insights as to these endless hang ups/lock ups from my HP Pavilion
524w ... because I just can't function; PC is my CentCom.  Believe or
not, have been putting up with this crap for nearly three (3) months
now.  Argh! 
 
 
SYMPTOMS 

» The first sign of future hang ups --though these may still be hours
ahead-- is that after each boot up, the mouse pointer is jerky the
very first time one moves it.  It jumps anywhere from 1/4" to 2" or so
from its initial position (from wherever it landed after boot up) to
whatever direction I'm pointing it to.  Note it only does this one
time initially at the beginning of the session until the next boot
up.  From then onwards during any given session, the mouse is as
smooth as expected at all times.  This behavior occurs regardless of
the mouse used, either a Microsoft PS3 or a Microsoft wireless USB. 

» Freezings occur when using any software that needs to scan.  The
worst are antivirus online scanning but lock ups also ocurr when
copying large files say, above, 50 MBs. 

» Just as successful in freezing the machine is any software that
gets in the registry, such as various either online or installed
cleaning utilities.  Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool sure
does it, for example. 

» Anything that uses ActiveX and/or web-rize bloated sites with Flash
this, Schockwave that, etc., like Huffington Post or eBay, for
example, can easily cause lock ups. 

» When lock ups get bad enough, sometimes there are checksum errors
on boot up in which case the default BIOS configuration is reloaded. 

» After repeated and increasing crashes, the behavior of disk
scanning when rebooting changes even in this semi-DOS environment. 
This is when running disk scanning from Start -> Run -> chkdsk c: /f
-- the bootup drive on the primary master, and chkdsk e: /f --a
logical drive on the same HD.  First one gets the standard full 10
seconds to escape if one wants, then suddenly it starts giving me only
5 sec., then ... no option to escape no matter how much the [Esc] key
is tapped on.  The text allowing the user to escape is dropped
altogether, gone, and repeatedly pressing the [Esc] key doesn't abort
it. 

» After repeated and increasing crashes, another example of changes
of behaviors is the sequencing of these check disks pass the BIOS
screen and about the time Windows itself begins to load. 

» The only way out from these hang ups is to turn the machine off,
patiently wait for a minute, then restart it.  After repeated and
increasing crashes, another example of changing processes is that the
machine restarting by itself, anywhere from a couple to 10 secs, to 30
to 40 secs later than powering it off.  When it happens repeatedly,
the only way to stop it from restarting all alone is power it off
after the lock up, then quickly unplug the power cord from the surge
protector.  My new power supply doesn't have an on/off button. 

» For short periods of time, PROBLEMS SEEM NON-EXISTENT (i.e.,
machine seemingly works regularly, even flies) after re-installing XP
Pro, which I have done twice already.  Soon enough, anywhere from 5
hrs to as much as 30 hrs later, freezings begin to ocurr and, from
that point onwards, things get worse at an increasing rate.  It is not
only the frequency of lock ups, but also how bad the machine
crashes. 

» ONE THING MAYBE POINTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IS FOOLING
AROUND WITH THE MEMORY MODULES though, by now, don't think it's got
anything to do w/ the modules themselves.  About 3 1/2 yrs ago
replaced the original 256 MB single module with 2 x 1 GB modules, also
PC2100 ... and this puppy took off, literally, right there and then. 
Modules worked fine ever since. 

» THE LAST OTHER THING MAYBE ... is fresh Win XP reinstalls.  See
also possible solutions below. 

» But the one telling bitty, every time around, is that jerky mouse
only at the beginning of each session until, in time, hang ups begin
all over again. 

   
BIT OF HARDWARE BACKGROUND 

» For reference, about a couple of months problems started,
successfully changed the power supply from the original paltry 200
watts to some 350 W, may a tad more, and the heatsink/fan cooler
assembly. 

» Moreover, when the lock ups first began, the original 57 GB Samsung
SV0602H hard disk drive was only reading and writing at half its specs
but, even then, appreciated HP putting in there.  It would simply not
quit, allowing more than enough time to research and get a
replacement. Equally importantly, it also allowed me to save all my
data intact on a logical drive on my current HD, a 115 GB Maxtor
6L120P0. 

Is it possible that not replacing it right away could have caused
these lock ups (or spoiled something at a very low level or upstream,
if you will)?  Because the state of the old hard disk was so bad, at
the time I blamed it all to the drive.  It never occurred to me that,
simultaneously, the lock ups were due to something else. 

   
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS?/Other already tried ... 

The following 2 bullet points should narrow down whereabouts the
problem is but I'm unable to pin it down myself since I'm no techie; 

» First, whenever re-installing Win XP anew, things go very smoothly
for a a while. 

» Second, fooling around with the memory modules is another that
seems to take good care of things.  For a while, PC can't run any
better.  From about 2 1/2 months ago trying to narrow down these hang
ups, lately I pulled out the modules and then put them back in place. 
Also tried swapping them around, or taking of one or another and
leaving the other memory bank empty.  Just to make sure these two (2)
1 GB PC2100 were not the problem, replaced them both with the one
original HP 256 MB module.  Every time I fooled around with the
memory, the machine behaved as if there no problems at all, again even
flies, but only holds anywhere from 5 hrs to as much as 30 hrs.  All
three (3) modules passed Microsoft's Windows Memory Diagnostic test
tool with flying colors.  In the off the wall case problesh have
anything to do with memory timming specs differences, this week
changed to a new pair of 1 GB PC 3200 Samsung modules. 


OTHER SOFTWARE; 

» Already tried Microsoft's Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset. 
Problem is it relies on dump files it needs for analysis ... but my
system hasn't got any!  This is, when the machine hang ups, it just
hangs up, right there and then.  Have yet to see a single blue screen
of death.  Wish that was on the way down so, maybe, there'd be dump
archives around. 

» Independently, Dr. Watson informs me all is swimmingly well
whenever I run it. 
 
Machine was working fine indeed with old software when the lock ups
began.  Still, in the search for solutions updated some HP and VIA
software as follows (not being all inclusive here; there's a lot more
I have done); 

» The old BIOS was Phoenix Technologies version AM37307 but was
replaced with the package from HP and now is the AM37320 (08-01-23)
Phoenix Technologies.  When booting up it reads BIOS core revision
V6.0, BIOS revision 3.20 08/01/2003, system BIOS supplier: Award. 
The update no difference at all, not an iota, as to the freezings and
was sorry to run it because functionality to end users is even more
constrained than the old one.  For example, cannot turn off the video
shadowing. 

» Installed and run a couple of times the IDE Tool
VIA_IDE_MPD_V320b.zip found at; 
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1180&SubCatID=115 
and apparently the same package posted at; 
http://www.whitebunny.net/hardware/chipset_via.html 
leading to actual download page at; 
http://www.whitebunny.net/download?file=mbd_via_ide_3.20b.zip 
Not sure why they call it the VIA IDE Miniport Driver but in any event
this IDE Tool allowed me to run the primary and secondary drives on
the max PIO modes my hardware allows.  When doing so, the drives would
be listed as SCSI in the Device Manager.  Other than running
perceptibly slower, it made no difference again so, presently, I'm
back on the max DMA modes my drives are capable of.  By the way, the
front side bus jumper on the motherboard is properly placed at FSB
133. 

» Installed the Retro Chipset VIA 4in1 drivers VIA_4in1_443v.zip
package found at; 
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1070 
Turns out that "retro" bit on the title is no mis-name.  Drivers were
older than a good many already in my system!  I guess it served to
prove that none of the newer drives I happen to have in my system --
via Microsoft updates beginning with XP SP2, I suppose-- were causing
the hang ups because ... they continued unabated.  Aargh!  Same
package can also be downloaded at; 
http://www.whitebunny.net/hardware/chipset_via.html 
leading to actual download page at; 
http://www.whitebunny.net/download?file=mbd_via_4in1_4.43v.zip 
the version recommended for my PC.  There is also a newer version
named mbd_via_4in1_4.55vp1.zip 

» Though my old Iomega ZIP 250 drive (still there for legacy
compatibility) has been disconnected for a good many months given all
these problems, I installed the VIA Latency Patch
mbd_via_ide_3.20b.zip listed at; 
http://www.whitebunny.net/hardware/chipset_via.html 
leading to actual download page at; 
http://www.whitebunny.net/download?file=mbd_via_ide_3.20b.zip 
You know the drill by now.  Made no difference ... 

» The last update package to be installed was the VIA Hyperion Pro
Driver Package via_hyperionpro_v515a.zip downloaded from; 
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1070 
Somehow, even intuitively, it seemed to have the machine running
smoothly but, all previous, ...  Grrr!, short of voodoo, don't know
what else to resort to, honest. 
 
 
MACHINE SPECS 

From the back sticker; 
HP Pavillion 500 
HW BOM 05+1211 
SW BOM NA92 
System number: DB280A 
Serial # MX25026882 
windows XP Home Ed. (currently XP Pro SP2, build 2600) 
Product Key: HCTVC-2HFXF-PBQGP-FPJV3-G2G6M 

System Info 
Model: HP/Compaq Pavilion 524w 
Chassis Type: Desktop 
Processor 
Number Of Processors: 1 
Type: AMD Athlon XP 2100+ 
Processors Bus Speed: 267 MHz 
Package: Socket A (AMD A/462 the same as Athlon 64?) 
Manufacturer Codename: Palomino 
Clock Speed: 1732 MHz 
Clock Multiplier: 13.0 
Front Side Bus (FSB) Speed: 267 MHz 
L2 Cache Size: 256 KBytes Stepping : A5 
Trace Width: 0.18 
Microcode: Not Available 
Instruction Sets: MMX, Extended MMX, 3DNow!, Extended 3DNow!, SSE 

Motherboard 
Motherboard reads VIA AM37 
HP/Compaq name: Salsa 
Motherboard Supplier: FIC (me: VIA Arena ... Albatron?) 
Motherboard Name: AM37 
Form Factor: uATX
Processor Brand: AMD
Processor Socket Type: socket-A (PGA462)
--------- 

Chipset Name: VIA KM266, or VIA P4M266/KM266 (North Bridge: VT8375),
rev. 00 
Chipset North Bridge: VT8375, Revision/stepping A1 
Chipset South Bridge: VT8235
Super I/O: ITE-IT8705F 
OLD BIOS manufacturer: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 
Bios Version : AM37307 
Flash BIOS Device: Xbus 2 Mbit 
--------- 

NEW, UPDATED version: AM37320 (08-01-23) Phoenix Technologies, LTD 
or another way to state it, apparently, when booting up; 
BIOS core rev. V6.0 
BIOS revision: 3.20 08/01/2003 
System BIOS Supplier: Award
 
Memory 
Total RAM Installed : 2048 MB 
Type : DDR DIMM PC2100 
Used RAM Slots: 2 of 2 
Memory Bus Frequency: 133 MHz 
Memory Timings: 2.5-2-2-6 
Memory Speed: PC2100/PC1600 
Memory Sockets: 2 DIMM
Maximum Memory: 2 GB
Ethernet 10/100 LAN, supplier: Realtek RTL8100L
Ethernet Configuration: PCI, Down
IDE UDMA Modes: ATA-100/66/33 
Expansion Slots (AGP/PCI/Exten): AGP, 3 PCI
USB Ports: 6 USB 2.0 
USB Front/Back Options: 2F+4B 
 
Peripherals 
USB Version : 2.0 
 
Graphics 
Model: S3 AGP S3 Graphics ProSavageDDR 
AGP Speed: Not Available 
Brand: 1509 
Slot: AGP 
GPU Core: Not Available 
GPU Speed: Not Available 
Video Ram Size: 29 MB 
Video Ram Type: Not Available 
Video Ram Speed: Not Available 
Driver Version: 6.14.10.25 
DirectX Installed: Version 9.0c 
Available Slot: AGP 2.0 
--------- 

Graphics Supplier: VIA 
Graphics Configuration: Down, In Chipset
Onboard Graphics Memory: UMA 64 MB 
Graphics Connector (AGP): AGP 4X (1.5V only) 
TV-Out Device: No 
TV-Out Configuration: N/A 
Audio: AC'97 Down 
AC'97 CODEC Device: Realtek ALC201 
Audio Jacks (Mic,Line-In,Line-Out,Spkr,MIDI/Game): M,LI,LO,SO 
M: Microphone
LI: Line In
LO: Line out 
SO: Speaker 
M/G: Midi/Game 
--------- 

See more specs from HP at; 
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...941&lc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=296667&dlc=en 
including picture and map from the motherboard, and more. 
 
If you kept reading this far down, bless your patience. 
 
 
H. 
 
Amsterdam 
Netherlands 
 
 
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P

Paul

Will be much indebted if a good techie/soul could give me useful
insights as to these endless hang ups/lock ups from my HP Pavilion
524w ... because I just can't function; PC is my CentCom. Believe or
not, have been putting up with this crap for nearly three (3) months
now. Argh!


SYMPTOMS

» The first sign of future hang ups --though these may still be hours
ahead-- is that after each boot up, the mouse pointer is jerky the
very first time one moves it. It jumps anywhere from 1/4" to 2" or so
from its initial position (from wherever it landed after boot up) to
whatever direction I'm pointing it to. Note it only does this one
time initially at the beginning of the session until the next boot
up. From then onwards during any given session, the mouse is as
smooth as expected at all times. This behavior occurs regardless of
the mouse used, either a Microsoft PS3 or a Microsoft wireless USB.

» Freezings occur when using any software that needs to scan. The
worst are antivirus online scanning but lock ups also ocurr when
copying large files say, above, 50 MBs.

» Just as successful in freezing the machine is any software that
gets in the registry, such as various either online or installed
cleaning utilities. Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool sure
does it, for example.

» Anything that uses ActiveX and/or web-rize bloated sites with Flash
this, Schockwave that, etc., like Huffington Post or eBay, for
example, can easily cause lock ups.

» When lock ups get bad enough, sometimes there are checksum errors
on boot up in which case the default BIOS configuration is reloaded.

» After repeated and increasing crashes, the behavior of disk
scanning when rebooting changes even in this semi-DOS environment.
This is when running disk scanning from Start -> Run -> chkdsk c: /f
-- the bootup drive on the primary master, and chkdsk e: /f --a
logical drive on the same HD. First one gets the standard full 10
seconds to escape if one wants, then suddenly it starts giving me only
5 sec., then ... no option to escape no matter how much the [Esc] key
is tapped on. The text allowing the user to escape is dropped
altogether, gone, and repeatedly pressing the [Esc] key doesn't abort
it.

» After repeated and increasing crashes, another example of changes
of behaviors is the sequencing of these check disks pass the BIOS
screen and about the time Windows itself begins to load.

» The only way out from these hang ups is to turn the machine off,
patiently wait for a minute, then restart it. After repeated and
increasing crashes, another example of changing processes is that the
machine restarting by itself, anywhere from a couple to 10 secs, to 30
to 40 secs later than powering it off. When it happens repeatedly,
the only way to stop it from restarting all alone is power it off
after the lock up, then quickly unplug the power cord from the surge
protector. My new power supply doesn't have an on/off button.

» For short periods of time, PROBLEMS SEEM NON-EXISTENT (i.e.,
machine seemingly works regularly, even flies) after re-installing XP
Pro, which I have done twice already. Soon enough, anywhere from 5
hrs to as much as 30 hrs later, freezings begin to ocurr and, from
that point onwards, things get worse at an increasing rate. It is not
only the frequency of lock ups, but also how bad the machine
crashes.

» ONE THING MAYBE POINTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IS FOOLING
AROUND WITH THE MEMORY MODULES though, by now, don't think it's got
anything to do w/ the modules themselves. About 3 1/2 yrs ago
replaced the original 256 MB single module with 2 x 1 GB modules, also
PC2100 ... and this puppy took off, literally, right there and then.
Modules worked fine ever since.

» THE LAST OTHER THING MAYBE ... is fresh Win XP reinstalls. See
also possible solutions below.

» But the one telling bitty, every time around, is that jerky mouse
only at the beginning of each session until, in time, hang ups begin
all over again.


BIT OF HARDWARE BACKGROUND

» For reference, about a couple of months problems started,
successfully changed the power supply from the original paltry 200
watts to some 350 W, may a tad more, and the heatsink/fan cooler
assembly.

» Moreover, when the lock ups first began, the original 57 GB Samsung
SV0602H hard disk drive was only reading and writing at half its specs
but, even then, appreciated HP putting in there. It would simply not
quit, allowing more than enough time to research and get a
replacement. Equally importantly, it also allowed me to save all my
data intact on a logical drive on my current HD, a 115 GB Maxtor
6L120P0.

Is it possible that not replacing it right away could have caused
these lock ups (or spoiled something at a very low level or upstream,
if you will)? Because the state of the old hard disk was so bad, at
the time I blamed it all to the drive. It never occurred to me that,
simultaneously, the lock ups were due to something else.


POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS?/Other already tried ...

The following 2 bullet points should narrow down whereabouts the
problem is but I'm unable to pin it down myself since I'm no techie;

» First, whenever re-installing Win XP anew, things go very smoothly
for a a while.

» Second, fooling around with the memory modules is another that
seems to take good care of things. For a while, PC can't run any
better. From about 2 1/2 months ago trying to narrow down these hang
ups, lately I pulled out the modules and then put them back in place.
Also tried swapping them around, or taking of one or another and
leaving the other memory bank empty. Just to make sure these two (2)
1 GB PC2100 were not the problem, replaced them both with the one
original HP 256 MB module. Every time I fooled around with the
memory, the machine behaved as if there no problems at all, again even
flies, but only holds anywhere from 5 hrs to as much as 30 hrs. All
three (3) modules passed Microsoft's Windows Memory Diagnostic test
tool with flying colors. In the off the wall case problesh have
anything to do with memory timming specs differences, this week
changed to a new pair of 1 GB PC 3200 Samsung modules.


OTHER SOFTWARE;

» Already tried Microsoft's Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset.
Problem is it relies on dump files it needs for analysis ... but my
system hasn't got any! This is, when the machine hang ups, it just
hangs up, right there and then. Have yet to see a single blue screen
of death. Wish that was on the way down so, maybe, there'd be dump
archives around.

» Independently, Dr. Watson informs me all is swimmingly well
whenever I run it.

Machine was working fine indeed with old software when the lock ups
began. Still, in the search for solutions updated some HP and VIA
software as follows (not being all inclusive here; there's a lot more
I have done);

» The old BIOS was Phoenix Technologies version AM37307 but was
replaced with the package from HP and now is the AM37320 (08-01-23)
Phoenix Technologies. When booting up it reads BIOS core revision
V6.0, BIOS revision 3.20 08/01/2003, system BIOS supplier: Award.
The update no difference at all, not an iota, as to the freezings and
was sorry to run it because functionality to end users is even more
constrained than the old one. For example, cannot turn off the video
shadowing.

» Installed and run a couple of times the IDE Tool
VIA_IDE_MPD_V320b.zip found at;
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1180&SubCatID=115
and apparently the same package posted at;
http://www.whitebunny.net/hardware/chipset_via.html
leading to actual download page at;
http://www.whitebunny.net/download?file=mbd_via_ide_3.20b.zip
Not sure why they call it the VIA IDE Miniport Driver but in any event
this IDE Tool allowed me to run the primary and secondary drives on
the max PIO modes my hardware allows. When doing so, the drives would
be listed as SCSI in the Device Manager. Other than running
perceptibly slower, it made no difference again so, presently, I'm
back on the max DMA modes my drives are capable of. By the way, the
front side bus jumper on the motherboard is properly placed at FSB
133.

» Installed the Retro Chipset VIA 4in1 drivers VIA_4in1_443v.zip
package found at;
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1070
Turns out that "retro" bit on the title is no mis-name. Drivers were
older than a good many already in my system! I guess it served to
prove that none of the newer drives I happen to have in my system --
via Microsoft updates beginning with XP SP2, I suppose-- were causing
the hang ups because ... they continued unabated. Aargh! Same
package can also be downloaded at;
http://www.whitebunny.net/hardware/chipset_via.html
leading to actual download page at;
http://www.whitebunny.net/download?file=mbd_via_4in1_4.43v.zip
the version recommended for my PC. There is also a newer version
named mbd_via_4in1_4.55vp1.zip

» Though my old Iomega ZIP 250 drive (still there for legacy
compatibility) has been disconnected for a good many months given all
these problems, I installed the VIA Latency Patch
mbd_via_ide_3.20b.zip listed at;
http://www.whitebunny.net/hardware/chipset_via.html
leading to actual download page at;
http://www.whitebunny.net/download?file=mbd_via_ide_3.20b.zip
You know the drill by now. Made no difference ...

» The last update package to be installed was the VIA Hyperion Pro
Driver Package via_hyperionpro_v515a.zip downloaded from;
http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=420&OSID=1&CatID=1070
Somehow, even intuitively, it seemed to have the machine running
smoothly but, all previous, ... Grrr!, short of voodoo, don't know
what else to resort to, honest.


MACHINE SPECS

From the back sticker;
HP Pavillion 500
HW BOM 05+1211
SW BOM NA92
System number: DB280A
Serial #
windows XP Home Ed. (currently XP Pro SP2, build 2600)
Product Key:

System Info
Model: HP/Compaq Pavilion 524w
Chassis Type: Desktop
Processor
Number Of Processors: 1
Type: AMD Athlon XP 2100+
Processors Bus Speed: 267 MHz
Package: Socket A (AMD A/462 the same as Athlon 64?)
Manufacturer Codename: Palomino
Clock Speed: 1732 MHz
Clock Multiplier: 13.0
Front Side Bus (FSB) Speed: 267 MHz
L2 Cache Size: 256 KBytes Stepping : A5
Trace Width: 0.18
Microcode: Not Available
Instruction Sets: MMX, Extended MMX, 3DNow!, Extended 3DNow!, SSE

Motherboard
Motherboard reads VIA AM37
HP/Compaq name: Salsa
Motherboard Supplier: FIC (me: VIA Arena ... Albatron?)
Motherboard Name: AM37
Form Factor: uATX
Processor Brand: AMD
Processor Socket Type: socket-A (PGA462)
---------

Chipset Name: VIA KM266, or VIA P4M266/KM266 (North Bridge: VT8375),
rev. 00
Chipset North Bridge: VT8375, Revision/stepping A1
Chipset South Bridge: VT8235
Super I/O: ITE-IT8705F
OLD BIOS manufacturer: Phoenix Technologies, LTD
Bios Version : AM37307
Flash BIOS Device: Xbus 2 Mbit
---------

NEW, UPDATED version: AM37320 (08-01-23) Phoenix Technologies, LTD
or another way to state it, apparently, when booting up;
BIOS core rev. V6.0
BIOS revision: 3.20 08/01/2003
System BIOS Supplier: Award

Memory
Total RAM Installed : 2048 MB
Type : DDR DIMM PC2100
Used RAM Slots: 2 of 2
Memory Bus Frequency: 133 MHz
Memory Timings: 2.5-2-2-6
Memory Speed: PC2100/PC1600
Memory Sockets: 2 DIMM
Maximum Memory: 2 GB
Ethernet 10/100 LAN, supplier: Realtek RTL8100L
Ethernet Configuration: PCI, Down
IDE UDMA Modes: ATA-100/66/33
Expansion Slots (AGP/PCI/Exten): AGP, 3 PCI
USB Ports: 6 USB 2.0
USB Front/Back Options: 2F+4B

Peripherals
USB Version : 2.0

Graphics
Model: S3 AGP S3 Graphics ProSavageDDR
AGP Speed: Not Available
Brand: 1509
Slot: AGP
GPU Core: Not Available
GPU Speed: Not Available
Video Ram Size: 29 MB
Video Ram Type: Not Available
Video Ram Speed: Not Available
Driver Version: 6.14.10.25
DirectX Installed: Version 9.0c
Available Slot: AGP 2.0
---------

Graphics Supplier: VIA
Graphics Configuration: Down, In Chipset
Onboard Graphics Memory: UMA 64 MB
Graphics Connector (AGP): AGP 4X (1.5V only)
TV-Out Device: No
TV-Out Configuration: N/A
Audio: AC'97 Down
AC'97 CODEC Device: Realtek ALC201
Audio Jacks (Mic,Line-In,Line-Out,Spkr,MIDI/Game): M,LI,LO,SO
M: Microphone
LI: Line In
LO: Line out
SO: Speaker
M/G: Midi/Game
---------

See more specs from HP at;
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...941&lc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=296667&dlc=en
including picture and map from the motherboard, and more.

If you kept reading this far down, bless your patience.


H.

Amsterdam
Netherlands

1) Check Northbridge temperature. I see a heatsink in the motherboard picture,
and the manual for the motherboard notes there is provision for a fan,
which apparently they don't use. To check Northbridge temperature, put your
finger on the Northbridge while the system is running. If you burn yourself,
it is too hot. If it is hot, but you can still hold your finger on it,
then it is probably OK as is.

2) Is the CPU cooler dust free ? Use an application like Speedfan and try and get
a temperature for the CPU. Speedfan can be downloaded from almico.com .
The CPU temperature should stay below 65C. If you don't want to be
bothered with that, at least check that the CPU cooler runs properly and
blows cool air over the CPU, and that the CPU cooler looks like it
is still in place properly. If the computer has been dropped, occasionally
the heatsink clamp will break the tabs that hold it in place.

3) In Google, I see no mention of leaking capacitors for this motherboard.
Examine the capacitors around the CPU socket. The tops should be perfectly
flat. If there is a brown stain, where a fluid dried near the base of the
capacitor, that could mean it has already leaked. There is a picture
here, of some bad capacitors.

http://www.badcaps.net/images/caps/kt7/image004.png (830028 bytes)

4) Remove one stick of RAM. Run with a single 1GB stick, leaving the
stick in the slot furthest from the processor. If still unstable,
then try the other slot.

5) If still not stable, use the FSB jumper. The FSB jumper can be set to
133MHz or 100MHz. It is currently at 133MHz. Reducing it to 100MHz, could
reduce the operating temperature of everything a bit.

6) For stability testing, use Prime95. It does a math calculation with a
known answer. It stops on the first error it finds. The test is called
the "Torture Test". It is a lot more sensitive to unstable computing,
than the way you're testing right now. It tests the CPU, Northbridge,
and memory, and does not test video or hard drives etc. So it is not
intended to test the whole computer. But it tests the computing core.
If the computer is healthy, there should be no errors, even if the
program runs for hours and hours. If Prime95 runs error free, then you'd
start looking at the video card (if an optional one was added, instead
of using KM266 built-in graphics), or you'd look at the hard drive etc.

Mersenne.org is the main site for Prime95. I use this version, as it is
ready to test up to a quad core machine, but it should work with yours
as well.

http://www.mersenne.org/gimps/p95v255a.zip (926532 bytes)

Unzip the program. Run the EXE. When it prompts to "Join GIMPS", answer
that you just want to run the Torture Test. A custom dialog will pop
up. For your first run, use the default values. Say OK and it should
be running at that point. If you need to do some other work on the
machine, there is a "Stop" and an "Exit" item in the left-most menu.

Run for at least 4 hours. If you get an error in seconds, then your
search for stability is not over. The program stops when it gets the
first error. Stability is proportional to how long it runs without an
error. 10 seconds is quite unstable (like when I was overclocking my
AthlonXP).

The purpose of Prime95, is to evaluate whether you've fixed the problem
or not. I suspect your disk problems are a side effect of the freezing
and what it is messing up in the file system (i.e. why it runs cleaner
right after WinXP is reinstalled).

Pre-built computers do not have full featured BIOS in them, as a rule.
There are probably not a lot of settings you can actually play with. The
FIC manual for example, would document how the retail Award BIOS works,
while the HP version of the BIOS could have fewer features. And that
is why I haven't added a lot more to the answer above. Changing the
FSB jumper, is the easiest fix I know of, if there is not a lot to
expect from the BIOS setup screens.

ftp://ftp.fic.com.tw/motherboard/manual/socketa/am37/am37_a0_eng.zip (~1.8MB)

Paul
 

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