View Full Version : CPU vs. Motherboard

07-28-2005, 08:32 PM
One of the computers in our office has been freezing alot lately, and I am trying to lock down where the problem is before I start buying a ton of parts for it.

So, the thing usually freezes when it is under mild-ish stress from running several programs at once. We also have a tablet input device, and I can only use that for a small while before the computer locks up and I have to unplug it. I think I have the problem narrowed down to 2 items: either the processor (which was recently replaced) or the motherboard.

It is not:

RAM (did RAM testing diagnostics program in DOS)
Hard Drive (did manufacturers diagnostic tools and reavealed no errors)
Windows XP Pro (well it might be, but I reinstalled it and the thing still freezes, it even froze a few times during install).

SO that leaves me to believe it either the CPU or motherboard. But now I need to ask WHICH ONE IS IT!? Is there any way to tell, or do I just buy a new MoBo, and if that doesnt work then buy a new CPU?

I know you can't really know without being able to access the computer itself, but if anyone has any hints to which hardware peice it is, please help me!


07-28-2005, 08:59 PM
Well firstly, I know you said you have tested it, but the RAM *could* be dodgy, so testing it in another machine would be a wise choice even though you've tested it. What cooling does the system have? I have seen cases before where poor cooling has made systems freeze and bugger around..

07-28-2005, 09:29 PM
I doubt the CPU is malfunctioning because a) due to how they have to be made, their DOA rate is very, very low b) it would typically work or it wouldn't

Now the motherboard is a whole different story, it is the component most likely to be bad or go bad in a computer. I'm not saying it is in this instance but it is a strong possibility, then again some bad RAM could cause it too.

07-29-2005, 01:13 AM
Thanks for doubling my doubt on the CPU itself, makes me feel a little better :D

Ok, so lets say I want to test the RAM on a different machine. All of the other machines in our office are set up differently from the broken one as far as RAM goes. The busted one has 2 sticks of 256 PC2100 DDR SDRAM, and the closest i can find is a machine with 1 stick of 512 of the same brand name. In order to swap the 1 stick for 2 of the possibly bad ones, don't I have to flash the BIOS or something? Or wait, maybe thats only on processors...I forget. Is there anything special I have to do or do I just slap the sticks in the MoBo and fire it up?

07-29-2005, 01:22 AM
Ram you can just slap around if the MoBo can handle it. The Bios will reconfigure...

07-29-2005, 01:48 AM
Ram you can just slap around if the MoBo can handle it. The Bios will reconfigure...

Rad. I'll do that tomorrow or sat and let you guys know my remaining questions. :thumbsup:

07-29-2005, 08:38 PM
So once upon a time it wasn't the RAM that was the problem. I replaced it with another systems RAM of the same type, and it still freezes. Hurray. Ok, here's the lowdown:

Opened up the case to replace RAM modules, and felt around to see temps (for heating issue possibilities). The video card and the WiFi card (which were right next to eachother) were pretty hot, so I seperated them a few slots from eachother to decrease heat sharing.

With that in mind, it is now narrowed down to the CPU (highly doubt it tho...), the MoBo, and the Video Card. However, once I started it right up, the thing froze as soon as i logged on. How can I tell if it is the Video Card without hot-swapping it like I did the RAM?

I really think its the mobo, what are your thoughts? :confused:

EDIT: So its not the Video card...when it freezes the orange HDD light on the tower stays on and wont go off which = not video card problem. So...Mobo?

07-29-2005, 09:02 PM
Usually is the mobo... they are cheap though dont worry about it...

07-29-2005, 09:28 PM
Motherboards are weird things....I rebooted my home file/webserver the other day (running 2k server) after a week or so of uptime, and the system went totally dead...RAM, VGA card, etc is fine so either the CPU (which I doubt) or mobo is dead - I reset the BIOS but it's still dead (no vga output or anything... :confused: )

07-30-2005, 04:49 AM
Hmm...I'm not really a Wiz in these kinds of things
but have you checked if your motherboard is compatible with your
RAM and/or CPU
usually a motherboard is designed for a certain model of a RAM or CPU
i.e Gigabit is usually compatible with AMD
ASUS is usually compatible with Pentium 4 and Celeron D

never really tried to put uncompatible parts together, but most likely the results would be unpleasant like freezing, crashes, etc.

If I'm wrong about my compatibility theory, please don't flame me yet, I'm still new :D

07-30-2005, 05:10 AM
How can I tell if it is the Video Card without hot-swapping it like I did the RAM?

You changed out the RAM while the system was powered on? :eek:

08-01-2005, 07:52 PM
You changed out the RAM while the system was powered on? :eek:

Yeah, is that a problem? :confused:

Nah of course I didn't. I guess I did just use "hot swap" in the wrong context. Ok...how about I just plain old swapped the RAM? :D

Edit: Welcome to CF there Doubtless, but yeah all my parts are compatible with one another. I built the systems at our office years ago, and each one is starting to go downhill slowly (replaced 2 processors and 2 Mobo's within the last year, now this is the 3rd mobo to go). I guess its just time wearing down on the things....

08-01-2005, 09:08 PM
Have you got the correct chipset drivers installed and at the latest version?

08-01-2005, 10:54 PM
Have you got the correct chipset drivers installed and at the latest version?

Yup, that was one of the first things my mind went to. I always would rather replace a software peice of a computer than fronting the money for a peice of hardware, so I try to eliminate all software problem possibilities first. I just ordered a new Mobo from TigerDirect.com, and it should be here in a day or two. I'll post again once I install the thing to let you guys know if that was the correct peice to replace. Thanks for all your help on this one :thumbsup:

08-01-2005, 11:25 PM
ok, hope it works out ok :)