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I have a LOT of troubles on my main machine - not only Linux Problems. Linux freezes sometimes just in the middle of nowhere, Win98 freezes all the time, Linux doesn't like my GeForce3 (my nvidia+sax2=freeze thread), win games often crash with the soundloop problem well known when using Via based motherboards with Creative Live or Audigy cards.
Suddenly, I was thinking, that some of the troubles might happen because of a bad or too weak power supply. I have a 230V Power-supply and the periferals I have are:
Distribution: RedHat 7.2, Vector Linux 1.8, Mandrake 8.2
Lockups, Shutdowns, Smoke, A completely dead system (no lights or fans or anything) are all sign of a failing or failed powersupply. However, lockups can be due to alot of things (software, hardware conflicts, etc.), since this is happening in both OSes then it probably is hardware related. My suggestion is to try to find out how many Watts (W) does each CD drive, Harddrive, etc. use add all these numbers together for a total Wattage if it is close to 230 W (what you have installed now), then most definitely replace the powersupply. I personally don't build any new systems with no less then a 300W powersupply. Also you may that you are not close to maxxing out the P/S but it may be on the way to failing.
Lastly you said that you had a 230v powersupply, now not trying to be mean or anything but powersupply are bought by WATTS or WATTAGE (W) this is how you buy electricity also known as power, (V)=VOLTS this is like pressure ex.=120v, 240v, etc., (A)=AMPS or AMPERES this is the rate at which electricity flows, (R)=RESISTANCE this is how much the device limits the flow of electricity measured in ohms.
In my experience, with what you are running on that PS, you are lucky to be booting up at all with 230 watts. I don't know the specifics about your board, but some boards are very picky about the 3v and 5v lines being up to par. Even 300watts might be problematic, IF the 3v and 5v are not putting out the full amount as rated. The problem is, many PS's don't put out the full 5v and 3v, and certain boards are notorious about being sensitive to this, notably my own Shuttle AK31A. If you have booting problems, this is the likely cause. Your other problems may or may not be related to the PS. Get MotherboardMonitor (free) for win98, and check your voltages, or if you have linux lmsensors working (not always easy!), check with GKrellM.
Well, I just figured that I had to look for Wats and not for the Voltage - but the PS doesn't have more than 250. I switched the PS with another I have at home, also 250w but from another manufacturer. The system showed a much different behaviour than before - Linux would freeze while loading the GUI almost every time, and Windows would work for a few Minutes until crashing
On another Messageboard, I read that people wouldn't use 300 but 400W, but I'm not sure whether I want to spend so much money on a PS...
The Computer does shut down properly in Linux and Windows (If I ever happen of beeing able to shut it down without a freeze, but this might be due to the VIA/Creative conflict, which I haven't been able to solve yet)
I just bought a great AMD/P4 approver420watt PS plus free shipping for $35. It has 28A on the 3v line, and 40A on the 5v lin (up from 20A and 30A on the 300watter. I can send you the link if you like. I'm happy so far with it- no problems at all. I had a 300watt which was giving me a few problems.
OK- I'm up to speed on your board. It's a pretty decent KT133, except that the bios has no voltage tweaking at all. You problem could be that the cpu and/or the board I/O's are not getting quite enough voltage, and causing the random problems you describe. This is pretty common, and adding a few mv in the bios can sometimes fix it. Here's what one review site says:
"Although there were lots of discussions about this board way before it was released regardnig it's multiplier unlocking feature. It is a bit of disappointment that QDI made somewhat a crippled board because there is no voltage tweaking at all. I think QDI should seriously think about having this feature built into it's BIOS with every tweak done within the BIOS."
If there is a bios flash upgrade that perhaps adds a voltage tweaking setting, that might be worth a shot.
Another thought is you didn't mention your cpu or board temps. If you don't have good cooling with Athlons, that will cause these sorts of problems too. anything over 45-48C. cpu, and 35C. board, and I would start wondering.
Well, I had the utility from QDI installed, which monitored the temperature. It is some time ago, but the temperature seemed to be stable...
Since I am a newbie, is there a prog in Linux which I can measure the temperature with?
I am using the default cooler where I bought the computer. This store has got a good reputation but you never know....
Download.com has an interesting hardware monitor for Linux here and it looks like it's freeware to boot. If you're in the market for a new power supply, noise level might be something you want to consider. I ordered a 300w power supply a couple years ago that ended up being noisier than my proc fan.
You can check temps by rebooting and going into the bios- most have something called PC Health status, or similar. The two linux progs I have used are GKrellM, and xsensors. However, they both, (and any linux temp readouts) require you have lmsensors and i2c compiled in the kernel or as modules, and running. I had a terrible time getting mine working- took 3 weeks even with the Mandrake Expert "Linux-Phased" helping me figure it out with countless emails and forum posts. If you are using a dual boot win98, just grab Motherboard Probe, or something similar off the net for free- much easier.
When you reboot, notice what bios is listed- a bios update may help you if you have an older one, as they correct and/or add things causing problems. But if you flash the bios, you really need to know what you are doing. Really read and re-read all instructions, and understand what you are doing thoroughly. A mistake is a big disaster, but it's not hard if you study it carefully.
Your problem may be something else, like too many progs in background of win98, or too many unneeded services running in linux (same thing basically). Could also be weird prog conflicts, or weird ACPI bios settings. I'ts hard to be sure without more precise info from you.
Quick thoughts- if you have your video AGP set at 4x in the bios, resetting it to 2x has sometimes resolved weid problems like yours with via chipsets. Performance loss is essentially unnoticable. You might also investigate your bios ram timing settings. Try a google groups search for your board and video card- there's lots of info out there if you look around.
Cought.... Thanks for the links and the many help wrc...
I didn't find this bios update site before. I must have checked wrong websites....
Well, I have acpi disabled, since I heared that it causes many troubles.
I have once tried settint AGP 2x. I couldn't test win, but Linux didn't crash at this time yet. This problems started to come in slowly (Linux), while they were around all the time in Win.
One thing that I heard of (and to look after) are the problems with Logitech mouses and Win$ (Ok, a win problem). I think they caused similar problems. Unfortunatelly, the newest mouseware didn't help. Since I have booted now, I am going to check the temp once rebooted - i'll repost the results.
BTW.... crashes in Linux are by now VERY rare, if they haven't disappeared...