Damn lockups!

Ok, I got a new vid card (radeon 9800 pro) and I can play CoH now! Yay! However, after a bit, the game tends to lock up. The sound goes on a short loop (a few notes over and over) the mouse freezes and I have to restart the computer.

I am running XP with SP2, I installed the latest ATI drivers. I have installed my via 4-1 drivers, but not since I installed the new card (should that matter?) I also have not installed DX9.0c again since the new card. However, I am not sure it is card related, to be honest. I have no idea anymore.

Any thoughts? Does anyone else xp such lockups?

I had a similar frustration with my old ATI Radeon 9600 Pro; notably, Dark Age of Camelot would just totally lock up on me. Turning the FastWrite feature off (found under the SMARTGART setting of the ATI control panel) stopped the problem for me.

It was off by default. But I will play with those settings. Maybe switching to 2X agp will help.

One other thing I forgot to mention. Often, when the computer starts up, the whole screen goes black for just a second and then returns, as things are loading up. What’s that about?

Here’s a thread I had bookmarked where folks suggested a bunch of fixes for a ATI card with a VIA chipset motherboard. Even though I had an Intel chipset, I had a similar problem, and this is where I got the suggestion to disable FastWrite.

ATI Radeon lockup suggestions

Hopefully something here will work for you.

Thanks for the link. I will try some of those things, although my bios don’t seem to have an option for changing the AGP voltage. I can up my core voltage (by a percentage), but not the AGP voltage. I also think there might be a heating problem. There is nothing in the PCI slot beneath the card, but there is one in the next one down, which isn’t much space. Any ideas on how I can cool it down in that area? It’s an ethernet card. Can I just move it down a slot without having to reinstall the card?

To test whether your problem is overheating, try removing your computers side panel and pointing a box fan at the video card. If that stops the lockups then you are having a heat related problem.

Yeah if the AGP fastwrites thing doesn’t work, then it sounds like a heat issue.

I was over at a friend’s place yesterday to look at his randomly crashing
computer (which I built), and found that he’s having overheating issues.
If there isn’t a measurement anywhere for the graphics card’s temperature,
check the case temperature. You’ll normally have temperature mesaurements
for CPU, socket and case/motherboard. 45 degrees Celsius is a warning
temperature for the latter. Dunno what a sane temperature is, though.

Where do you get those temp measurements? Is there a built in sensor somewhere or do you just use a thermometer?

Well, I just got done playing CoH for about an hour or more without lockups. My previous best was 10-15 minutes. The difference? My case is open and a fan is blowing on my card.

Now, how can I cool this sucker down in a better way?

Buy a graphics card heat sink/fan combo? I saw them hanging all over the wall at Fry’s yesterday…

Congrats on narrowing down the problem; figuring out what the hell is wrong is usually more frustrating to me than the actual fix.


  1. you should be able to move that ethernet card to any lower slot with no problem; I’ve never had an issue with XP losing a piece of hardware just because I moved slots.
  2. Best Buy used to sell exhaust blowers that could be installed in one of the PCI slots. Installing one under the graphics card might help. I’ll leave to the engineers to tell us which would produce more cooling: the slot directly under the card, or the second slot (where your ethernet card is now).

If you’re a noise-phobic sucker like me, get one of the new copper heat pipe things they’re selling for video cards.

Thanks guys. I’ll look into all those options and see which works best for me. The card has a fan on it, so I think the first thing to try is moving the ethernet card. That might not give it enough space though. I might also take out the metal strip in the slot below, to give it some space to blow the heat out. I don’t think there is an exhaust on the side. The card and fan point down instead of up, so the heat is likely going right back up into the card. Not a good arrangement really.