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Thread: WinXP random 'skips' problem. I'm stumped.




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
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    Well, this problem of mine has been going on since I installed XP (yea a long time, I know), and I never had any problems in 98se which is what I used right up to XP.

    The problem:
    At random intervals, (once every 3 minutes average) the system will ‘choke’ for far less than one second, somewhere in the vicinity of a fifth of a second in my estimation. During the choke, the mouse pauses and then jumps ahead to where I expected it to be, and anything playing, (audio, video, etc) skips as well. It happens completely randomly, whether I am doing something demanding, or just making circles with the cursor. Or not touching the computer at all. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the problem was.

    The main reason I have allowed this to go on for so long, is that I had an aureal vortex sound card, and the win2k drivers (no xp drivers) have a known issue with my chipset. So it would play stuff, but not flawlessly, so I lived with it. For the longest time I just thought it was just this issue with my chipset.

    I recently got a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, and the problem continued (which i totally did not expect). Since, I have spent the last two months trouble shooting this problem in my spare time.

    Here is what I have tried:
    I have swapped in and out a total of 4 different sticks of ram, 2 Crucial, and 2 PNY, and since this ram has never caused me any problems before, I don’t think it is the ram.

    I have moved IRQ’s all over the place and physically re-arranged cards. I have had multiple configurations with no conflicts, with no effect.

    I have re-installed XP twice since getting the Santa Cruz and noticing the problem. I have two XP copies, and I have installed XP version without service pack 1, and disks WITH service pack 1 included. All 100% legal. No effect.

    I have tried to recreate the problem in XP even before installing ANY sound card, and yes, it happens. So it is not sound related. And yes, on board sound is disabled, and when enabled and installed also falls victim to the ‘skip’

    I have tried all kinds of detonators. XP selects and installs 29.42, I have tried the most recent WHQL dets, as well as the drivers included with my vid card. No help.

    I have swapped network cards, tried no network card, no other cards of any kind (apart from my vid card)

    I have installed DX9, nothing

    I’ve had the most recent BIOS through all of this.

    Just a short while before getting my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, I upgraded from a 1.4 T-Bird to my current 2400+ So if you consider that my old sound card issues might have existed, right up to the install of my new Turtle Beach, which was after I upgraded the Processor, this COULD be a processor issue. Has anyone heard of these symptoms before being caused by the processor? (I doubt it for reasons I am about to tell you, keep reading)

    My temps are not anything unusual. 39C idle, 43 C Max sustained load.

    ---

    So I think at least I have narrowed it down to a problem with the 4 in 1’s? I have tried installing the ones on the mobo CD, as well as the most recent VIA 4 in 1’s. The only other thought I have is that maybe something with my GF2 is conflicting with XP???

    I have even spent at least an hour trying to ‘catch’ the skip in the act, with the task manager open, processes tab, and taking screenshots when the problem occurs, but the fastest refresh of the task manager is still only twice per second, so it doesn’t often give me relevant info. What I have ‘caught in the act of a skip’ are just random processes that register as using 5, 10, or 15 percent of the processor. Like svchost, or explorer, or taskmgr, and I don’t think that these are the cause, but more likely a victim of the ‘skip’ It even happens with All other programs off, and a completely empty system tray. So it is not occurring thanks to some software I installed, but possibly something native to XP.


    Antec PLUS 860, w/330 Antec Trupower PSu
    Epox 8KHA+
    Athlon XP T-Bred 2400+
    1 GB of ram 512 Crucial, (2) 256 PNY
    Elsa Gladiac GF2 GTS 32 MB DDR
    Turtle Beach Santa Cruz
    WD2000JB
    WD400BB
    Netgear FA310TX


    I’ve tried everything I can imagine, the next step is to yank everything, and install 98se, on a 2 GB HD, with a 4 MB ATI RAGE vid card, and see if it still happens, if that works, proceed with XP.

    And here is the STRANGEST THING, it DOES NOT HAPPEN IN GAMES, which really frustrates me, because I can’t even nail down the tinyest detail about this problem. Let me clarify. It does not happen in ANY OpenGL games, it does happen in Direct3D games. ODD.

    I will accept any and all suggestions, maybe I’m overlooking something really dumb, I don’t know. Everything is 100% functional, just with the skips, which are very minor, but bug the hell out of me, and anyone listening to my music.

    Please Help, I have waited this long to ask this question (because I thought I could solve it), but now I am desperate for new ideas.
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

  2. #2
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    So I think I have nailed it down to one of these things at fault....

    1.) Software native to XP conflicting with something I have (mobo?), somehow?

    2.) My processor is flawed?

    3.) My vid card is too old and conflicting with something somehow?

    4.) Detonator problem?
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

  3. #3
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    I am kinda due for a new vid card, but I hate to get one before D3 comes out, if its not going to fix my problem.

    i hate to do anything that wastes more time if it doesn't fix the problem.

    Other courses of action would be to Install 98SE and see what happens, if its gone, this rules out a processor flaw.

    Then I would install XP with a 4 meg AGP vid card, and NOTHING else, this might signify whether or not its a conflict with MY vid card.

    ----------

    so those are my couses of action, each fairly extensive. I spose I could pop the 4 meg AGP card in right now and see what happens.... thoughts?
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

  4. #4

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    This sounds like a video card problem. The skip in the audio is just because of a short system hang which is causing everything to hang.

    Have you tried adjusting the resolution? Have you tried to change the refresh rate? I think the best thing to do in this situation is to swap out video cards.

    Oh, I have the same 4in1 on my motherboard, and i've never installed seperate drivers for them. XP takes care of that on its own and installing the drivers on the manufacturer's CD (which are pre-windows XP) has only given me problems in past installs of XP.

    Let me know if this helps.
    <Font size=2>"The demand to restrict technology is the demand to restrict man's mind" -- Ayn Rand
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  5. #5
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    Well, I spose I should have swapped out the vid card sooner, but I have had it for 2 years now, and it has never been overclocked, and has always performed flawlessly. I have never had an issue with it, and so I'm doubting that is the problem, but I will give that a shot right now.
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

  6. #6
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    Nope, Just as I thought, the ATI Rage 4MB card had no effect. Still one skip every 3 to 4 minutes on average.

    Let me also point out one other strange aspect to this problem, I cannot recreate the problem on my own... It just happens, but I cannot induce it no matter how hard I try.

    For example, i took a 10 Megapixel image and violently moved it around the screen (with the 4 MB card) This maxes out the processor as it attempts to compensate, but the whole time I do this, it doesn't skip, music plays perfectly, and the cursor moves without skipping. But two minutes later the system will be sitting idle and SKIP.

    And no amount of hard drive activity can cause this to happen, either... Multiple program opening all at once doesn't do it. Copying from drive to drive at 25+ MB/sec doesn't do it.

    Like I said, I am stumped.
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

  7. #7

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    This is a skip of the whole system, not just the music, since you said the mouse freezes and jumps as well. You said this doesn't occur during games, but does this occur outside of games when you're not playing MP3s?

    Are you using the same music player everytime this happens?

    You said this still occured when the sound was shut off, but I wondered if you were running the music player at the time.

    Have you thought of uninstalling those via chip drivers and letting XP use what it has by default for it?

    When you yanked all your cards to determine if they were causing the problem, did you change your drives at all? Did you try using a different hard drive? Perhaps this is hard drive related. Most 3D games would put little demand on the hard drive outside of loading levels, but MP3 playing puts demand on the hard drive every time a song is over, so that may be something to look into.

    Did this problem happen before you switched over from the 1400 to the 2600+? I didn't really understand what you were trying to say in that paragraph.

    I would think that a system freeze then jump as your describing, what I would call a stutter, rather than a jump, would be caused by something at the core of the system, like a hard drive, a processor, RAM, a video card, or a chipset. Hopefully your 2400+ is not the problem, because that would be costly. The RAM and video card seem to be guilt free, so I think the potential culprits, aside from the processor, are the hard drive and the chipset. Try not using the VIA drivers included with your Epox 8KHA+, they could be causing you problems, I don’t use them because they messed with my system and I have 8KHA.

    Have you tried running 98SE on this machine again? If the problem was solved at that point you could probably dismiss all notions that hardware is to blame and point the finger at the drivers for the chipset or some other software problem.

    Well, hope some of that helped.
    <Font size=2>"The demand to restrict technology is the demand to restrict man's mind" -- Ayn Rand
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    <font color=blue><font face="Century Gothic" size="6">My Web Site</a></font>

  8. #8
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    Does the Event Viewer have any probs logged there that are as repetitive? :?:

  9. #9
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    I think you found something Wiggo...

    What do you make of this? If you look at the times, this screenshot centers around a 12 minute chunk that I had turned my computer on to check some things last night. It also includes the very end of the previous boot, and the first part of this mornings boot.

    Going back through the log, though, it is not always a consistant two errors... some days, 3, some days 1, some days none. But Let me tell you this, that I have never noticed this problem 'not' happen. But then again, its hard to know if you would notice such a thing.
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

  10. #10
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    "but does this occur outside of games when you're not playing MP3s?"

    from my first post : "I have tried to recreate the problem in XP even before installing ANY sound card, and yes, it happens."

    --------

    "Have you thought of uninstalling those via chip drivers and letting XP use what it has by default for it?"

    I am beginning to this this is a very likely cause. I do install them immediatly after XP, mainly because VIA claims they are very beneficial, as does everyone here.

    --------

    "Perhaps this is hard drive related. ..... but MP3 playing puts demand on the hard drive every time a song is over, so that may be something to look into."

    from a previous post : "And no amount of hard drive activity can cause this to happen, either... Multiple program opening all at once doesn't do it. Copying from drive to drive at 25+ MB/sec doesn't do it."

    --------

    "Did this problem happen before you switched over from the 1400 to the 2600+? I didn't really understand what you were trying to say in that paragraph."

    No it did not happen when I was using 98se. When I upgraded to XP, I immediatly had the other issue with my old sound card. (aureal vortex, VIA KT266+, XP) I thought that was the problem, until I upgraded to a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, (which was immediatly after going to the 2400+)

    My point is, I do not know if I ever had this problem, while I had XP running on my 1.4 T-Bird. I do not know, because the other issue would have 'masked' the problem. (You know, its like having a broken leg, and not knowing you have a cut on your arm)

    -----------

    "Have you tried running 98SE on this machine again?"

    Not yet, but that appears next in line of things to try.
    "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellectual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of mankind." - Edsger Dijkstra

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