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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:26 PM   #16
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I have a bizarre problem where enabling hyperthreading would cause random reboots while my computer was overclocked. This didn't seem to lead to any general system instability (prime95's toture test found no errors). Anyways, that's really bizarre and probably not that common.

Tim, to troubleshoot your problem, here's what I'd try:
Download Motherboard Monitor, CPUBurn, and Prime95.
http://mbm.livewiredev.com/download.html
http://users.ev1.net/~redelm/
http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm
Motherboard Monitor is for checking the temperatures + voltages your motherboard is reporting. The voltages on the 3.3V, 5V, and 12V lines should be within 5-10% of those values.

CPUBurn and Prime95 are for stressing your computer. Prime95 also checks your CPU to see if it's producing errors. Run both at the same time, with prime95 in torture test mode.

This should find problems with your power supply, CPU, RAM, and overheating problems. Running the aforementioned programs don't stress your power supply as much as possible. If your voltages look iffy then try playing a CD and copying files on your hard drive to itself (get every part of your computer consuming as much energy as possible).

Next thing I would try is to see if maybe software is causing it (seems unlikely since the problem is accelerating). Viruses, adware/spyware, bad drivers can cause random reboots. You can open up task manager and run all the program names (i.e. blah.exe) through Google to see if you have a virus or adware/spyware. I don't know how to quickly spot bad drivers. Some PCI cards if not functioning correctly can also cause reboots.

Another thing to try is to stop windows from rebooting when it hits an error.
Go start --> control panel --> system --> advanced tab --> startup and recovery settings --> uncheck automatically restart.

If you BSOD (blue screen of death), try copying down the error and running that through google. You might want to collect a few error codes first to see if they are the same each time. If you are not BSODing I would suspect power-related failure.

Let me know if that works!

2- Other possible causes (guessing wildly here):
bad power? You might have a problem somewhat that's getting worse and worse, causing power fluctuations.
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Old May 13th, 2004, 07:26 AM   #17
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Tim,

I did finally overcome the stability issue, but as it turned out, it had more to do with Bios settings than an update.

If your problem is similar to the one I experienced, check your BIOS and confirm that everything that can be set manually is set with the parameters you want. My system remained unstable anytime I allowing the computer to make changes to itself (ex. processor voltage, memory strap, memory timings...). The only two things that I had to avoid was overheating my processor (with too high a FSB/voltage jump) and creating a memory strap between my processor and memory where my memory could not function.

I don't overclock anymore, my memory timings are set as aggressively as possible, and the system has run for nearly a year without any problems.

In summation - DO NOT LET YOUR COMPUTER AUTOMATICALLY CONFIGURE ANYTHING IN THE BIOS! If you leave things for the computer to automatically configure, it can make significant system changes anytime.

Brad
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Old May 13th, 2004, 09:32 AM   #18
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Thanks for the feedback, but. . .

. . . I don't know the first thing about setting voltages, RAM timing, etc., nor do I have the time to experiment and troubleshoot futher, which is why I took the computer back to the PC Club store and let them sort it out. They *should* know more than I do, and I'll trust they can solve the problem. If they can't, I'll be advertising a lot of month-old computer parts for sale here; very little use :)

This was never an issue with my 486 and Pentium III systems, so why is the Pentium 4 platform so picky? I don't consider this progress. This sort of stuff needs to be transparent to end-users like me who don't care about modding and overclocking and just need a modern computer that works normally. I'll leave beating benchmarks to the folks who have time to screw around with it.

Thanks for all the feedback. As of last night, the PC Club technician has supposedly fixed my system. I'll print this thread and give it to him today when I find out what the cause was and if it was related to Brad's problem.

Next time, I'll pay an extra $500 and buy from a builder who specializes in NLE systems.

Peace,

tjb
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Old May 13th, 2004, 09:34 AM   #19
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Tim,

I've given some more thought to your problem, and I never did receive any "serious problem/error" messages from Windows on reboot during my days of instability (referring to the computer).

However, I have experienced many problems with Windows which have all been resolved with a reinstallation from their CD. If you have a Windows installation disk, I would highly recommend that you reinstall Windows. I have never lost any data by doing so, and it has resolved a variety of computer conflicts.

As far as the diagnosed memory hardware failure, you could try using some other memory and being sure you have set up a "virtual memory" paging file through Control Panel > System Properties > Advanced > Advanced > Change "Virtual Memory". Any memory problems you may have are often relayed by Windows in an error message, but it doesn't mean that the diagnosis is incorrect. However, it could just be an easy out by their tech guy.

Brad
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Old May 13th, 2004, 09:40 AM   #20
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Tim,

I read your thread just after posting the one above. I agree - technology can be a real pain in the ass! The main reason I don't overclock my present system is that I don't want to have to build another one (and tweak it).

Let me know if I can be of any assistance in the future,

Brad
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Old May 13th, 2004, 01:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
In summation - DO NOT LET YOUR COMPUTER AUTOMATICALLY CONFIGURE ANYTHING IN THE BIOS! If you leave things for the computer to automatically configure, it can make significant system changes anytime.
What motherboard are you running? Most BIOSes are very conservative and use conservative settings. Some motherboards may identify your CPU incorrectly. With the wrong settings your motherboard/BIOS will effectively be trying to overclock your CPU. The same thing can happen with RAM.
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Old May 13th, 2004, 04:05 PM   #22
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Hey Glenn,

I'm running an Abit IC7. I'm really pleased with the performance, and it didn't cost me much. Between this and Vegas, I have as good an editor as I should ever need (until HD becomes common place).

Brad
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Old May 14th, 2004, 01:33 AM   #23
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Did you use the automatic overclocking feature on the Abit board? That would explain things.
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Old May 14th, 2004, 07:36 AM   #24
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No, I actually did not really try to overclock until after the stability issues were overcome. The ABIT BIOS for the IC7 in default settings allowed the motherboard to adjust to the userís demands. I think it was ambitious for ABIT to try this concept, and it was ambitious for me to buy one less than a month from its release date. I listed some of the automatic adjustments the BIOS would make way back in this thread, and now that I have taken away its liberty, itís an awesome MB!
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Old May 14th, 2004, 11:23 AM   #25
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Defective RAM was to blame!

I picked up my computer yesterday. The technician ran memtest86 on it and quickly found the bad chips. That's what I get for buying cheap JetRam memory :)

The machine's been running stably and smoothly for about 14 hours. I even captured three hours of video without a single error, so tonight I'll resume editing and try to catch up on this project.

My fingers are still crossed, but I think any problem would have surfaced by now. I'm hopeful that video editing will be fun again.

I want to thank everyone who posted in response to my problem. I appreciate your experience and willingness to help.
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Old May 15th, 2004, 08:22 AM   #26
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Also don't forget that sudden reboots could also be due to things
like Virusses etc.! Looks like you found your problem, but I still
wanted to point this out.
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Old May 19th, 2004, 01:25 PM   #27
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No viruses

This computer's a standalone machine and has never touched an Internet connection. The only files I put on it have come from my office PC which is protected against viruses and scanned regularly. I don't worry.

The PC's still running great. I'm about ready to wrap up a wedding project :)
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Old May 19th, 2004, 10:31 PM   #28
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I broke down and purchased a new Systemax computer from Tiger Direct. It's a P4 3.2, 512mb ram. Projects that were taking me anywhere from 5 to 25+ hours to render in Vegas 4.0 (and my old Athlon 900) now takes only an hour or two with my new computer and Vegas 5.0.
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