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First off I will start with my system.
Dell Dimension 8400
3.4 Ghz Pentium 4 550 w/HT
Seagate Barricuda 160 GB HD (ST3160023AS)
1 GB Dual Channel PC3200 (2 DIMMs) 400Mhz
NVidia GeForce 6800
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Now when I use this PC, doing things that require a decent amount of load, the computer will start to skip. By skip I mean everything seems to freeze for a brief period about every second or so. If I am running sound at the time of the skipping, I will get some sound distortions like high pitch beeps and clicks that cooridinate with the pausing. The mouse, 3d games and video skips, does not matter what im doing its all affected. Now this problem comes and goes quite often.
Now for what I have tried. I have had the RAM replaced 3 times (Dells reccomendation). Mother board has been replaced. Windows reinstalled twice. Removed audio card. Decrease video acceleration and all the usual windows troubleshooing ideas. I am showing no hardware conflicts.
It seemed to get really bad right after i formatted my hard drive and reinstalled Windows XP. After i worked with the computer on the internet for a while it progressivly got better over a period of 15 min and stopped skipping totally by 20 min.
Any help will be greatly appreciated, cause talking to India for teck support is a joke.

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Last Post by JANINE
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it could be a lack of physical memory space which is common if your running lots of high powered programs all at once. i dont think you've got any hardware issues just dont use too many high powered programs all at once

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I think it might be a heating problem. Can you see how hot the CPU gets? If its gettong too hot, remove the heatsink, clean off the thermal paste on the sink and the processor and apply a thin layer of Arctic Silver on the CPU and re apply the heat sink.
If the RAM chips are getting heated (tho i doubt that) you can install RAM heat sinks too. Also check the graphics card for heating.

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I think it might be a heating problem. Can you see how hot the CPU gets? If its gettong too hot, remove the heatsink, clean off the thermal paste on the sink and the processor and apply a thin layer of Arctic Silver on the CPU and re apply the heat sink.
If the RAM chips are getting heated (tho i doubt that) you can install RAM heat sinks too. Also check the graphics card for heating.

Definately a good possibility and well worth checkin;)

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Hey thanks for the replys. I have looked into most of these ideas already though... I had a feeling from the beginning it was the hard drive. I have seen this problem before with a faulty drive. And it only occoured when the drive was hot. I just finished installing a new drive and have to do some tests to see if it has corrected the problem.

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Not corrected yet, the bug is still hiding somewhere in the processor, video card, or powersupply I guess, these and the CD drives are all I havent replaced yet...

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in that case i would look more toward a possible fault with the graphics card

I don't think the graphics card could bring the system to a crawl. How about the power supply? I've seen when the PSU gives, say 11.6 volts on the 12 volts line, the computer hangs....

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I don't think the graphics card could bring the system to a crawl. How about the power supply? I've seen when the PSU gives, say 11.6 volts on the 12 volts line, the computer hangs....

possible but you cant expect 12 volts all the time. there is supposed to be some fluctuation of 0.5volts either way.

i've known processors to bring the system to a crawl and this would be my second option of fault finding here. try it:)

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possible but you cant expect 12 volts all the time. there is supposed to be some fluctuation of 0.5volts either way.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read somewhere that voltage below 11.6 volts on the 12 volt line can bring the system down. I'd first check the PSU

i've known processors to bring the system to a crawl and this would be my second option of fault finding here. try it:)

I agree. You could try a diff GPU, or if you have onboard graphics, use that.

One way of going about it would be to connect <I>only</I> the devices you absolutely need. This would mean the monitor, keyboard, mouse and the boot HDD. Try using the machine then. If all goes well, re connect the other devices one at a time. Repeat till you locate the problem.

I know this is an obvious suggestion, but we're running out of ideas....;)

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read somewhere that voltage below 11.6 volts on the 12 volt line can bring the system down. I'd first check the PSU

i dont think you're wrong there but if this is the case then there is a problem with the power supply unit. hopefully it wont drop that far


I agree. You could try a diff GPU, or if you have onboard graphics, use that.

One way of going about it would be to connect <I>only</I> the devices you absolutely need. This would mean the monitor, keyboard, mouse and the boot HDD. Try using the machine then. If all goes well, re connect the other devices one at a time. Repeat till you locate the problem.

I know this is an obvious suggestion, but we're running out of ideas....;)

most motherboards now ship with onboard graphics.. take out the graphics card and see if that makes any difference at all. by taking the system back down to barebones (ie monitor, keyboard, mouse and boot hdd) you should be able to locate the problem. it definately sounds like a hardware issue after all:cool:

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hey... i've just spoken to my brother who thinks its the power supply. apparently most Dell machines only ship with a 240 watt power supply and for what you are running you need at least a 500 watt PSU. the clicking and the beeps could signify a powersupply problem. When its doing it next time put your ear up close to the top rear of the PC and listen for any clicks from there. this will tell you that the psu cant cope;)

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