Mint 7 freeze during streaming

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Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby hoosemon on Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:27 pm

I bought a used P4 2.6Ghz computer with an ABit Mobo.

It has 1.2GB Ram installed and a graphics card (NVidia) that has, I believe 512MB of onboard RAM (not sure without opening it).

I was using the on-board sound, but installed a Creative 7.1 card I had on hand in the course of chasing this problem.

I installed Mint 7, and have been using it very successfully to surf, move files to and from MP3 players and even access shared files on my Windoze machines through my home network.

I found a problem when I started watching streaming shows on HULU.

The sound and picture are fine. No sign of lag, jumping or poor quality, even on full screen mode.

After several minutes of play, however, the sound started oscillating like a machine gun sound, and eventually (1-2 minutes more) the picture will freeze, than even the mouse after another 5-10 minutes.

Reboot will allow me to start over, but it all happens again in about the same amount of time.

I figured I had a bad chip in the on-board sound or something, so I tried a Creative 7.1 board I had laying around. I disabled the on-board sound, and Mint recognized the new card right away.

It sounded great and seemed to work fine, but streaming video did exactly the same thing.

I can play an audio file for 2 hours straight without a hitch, so I'm doubting the sound card.

At this point I'm thinking possibly video card, until I get it to freeze by downloading 22 podcast files simultaneously (forgot to set the limit on GPodder).

So, I try both of these activities again, this time watching the system monitor. In both cases, the CPU usage is between 85% and 100% steadily for 5-6 minutes before lock up. Memory usage never even spikes above 25% during this time.

So...I'm thinking temperature.

I can check the CPU temp if I enter the BIOS on reboot, so I check right after a freeze and it's within a couple degrees of the max listed in the BIOS.

I add a rear case fan and make sure that one and the front fan are both blowing out. I have the CPU fan pulling air in and blowing it onto the heat sink (a big copper unit). It has a hood/tube that's attached to the side cover, so it pulls outside air, not from inside the case. I also removed the sink and scraped off most of the glopped on paste, leaving just a very thin layer as recommended.

This seems to make the unit run cooler (when I check the bios), but I'm able to crash the system again with a big download. Even though the streaming video lasts much longer, it too crashes eventually.

Anyone have any bright ideas where to look next?

As I said, low bandwidth usage seems to be no problem.

Thanks,

Hoosemon
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby Husse on Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:28 pm

It's very hard to say what this combined soft- hardware problem is (at least from a distance)
I see one thing - you write "I add a rear case fan and make sure that one and the front fan are both blowing out"
Nope one should be blowing in and the other out so you get air streaming through the box
I can't tell you what's wrong with streaming video in your case though - I can't watch Hulu to see how it works (US only)
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby richyrich on Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:38 pm

hoosemon, please shut your computer down, . . run down to your local computer store, and buy a little sleeve/tube of thermal paste.

That goop you removed is NEEDED to transfer heat from the CPU to the copper heatsink . . if you don't it will FRY your CPU and your systemboard ! . :shock:

Follow the directions, and be advised that it may take 24-72 hours for the thermal paste to activate and set. Then you should see cooler temps.
Also, if you have fan speed settings in your BIOS, shut them off, and let your cpu fan run at full . . . once things are cooler, then you can re-activate the fan settings.

regards, richy

Edit: Yes, the front fan should suck air in, the rear to blow air out.
Last edited by richyrich on Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby Husse on Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:05 pm

Thanks richy for noticing that
It should be only a very thin layer, but you can't just scrape of the existing into a thin layer
You need to remove all and add new paste
And please take care that you don't hurt your things with static electricity and disconnect the mains - important
The kitchen may be the best place - grab the sink before you enter the internals and preferably use an antistatic bracelet
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby hoosemon on Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:15 am

Thanks to everyone for the helpful info.

I actually left a thin layer of paste when scraping off the original thick gunky layer, and it seemed to be running slightly cooler.

But...I did go out and get a tube of paste and start from scratch with clean surfaces and added nice consistent thin layer of paste.

It goes longer before I get the freeze while streaming, but it still happens.

It also happens with live CD versions of Puppy and PCLinuxOS.

I'm thinking I need to revamp my fan configuration.

I'd like to get a better idea of how hot it's running so I know what's helping the situation.

I used Synaptic to install Computertemp, but can't figure out how to run it.

The instructions on the link http://computertemp.berlios.de/ don't seem to apply for a Synaptic install.

Any idea how I get that to run?

Thanks,

Hoosemon
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby mick55 on Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:39 am

Hi

Check your CPU fan/heatsink carefully.
A lot of folks are not aware the CPU fans for AMD and Intel
processors are different.Also, the way the heatsink is positioned
is extremely important.

The fact the CPU is running so hot sounds like the heatsink is not
making full contact with the CPU.

Close is not good enough when it comes to CPU fans.

If the heatsink can move around or doesn't appear to be an exact fit
you probably have the wrong one.

Some of the really huge heatsink/CPU combos that claim they work
on either Intel or AMD are FOS.

Check the fan for a brand name/product ID and Google it to see what it
was designed for; is it a Socket 775 or a Socket 478?
Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.

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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby Husse on Fri Dec 25, 2009 6:29 pm

Yes heat transmission is utterly important for a CPU
If you start without a heatsink the CPU is roasted and a toast before you can say heatsink :)
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby hoosemon on Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:07 pm

Ok - great info/suggestions - Thanks!

Here's the next update:

The MOBO is an ABit VT7 with a 2.66 P4 - socket 478.

The cooler is a fairly massive CoolerMaster, but must be older because I couldn't find a picture of it on their site. No model name or number anywhere on it, just the brand name.

It definitely makes good contact with the CPU though, and the clips that hold it in place seem to be correct, not something cobbed together.

Here's the really weird part - When I removed the heat sink this time, the layer of paste must have been making good contact, because it lifted the CPU right out of its socket!! With the lever in the lock position!

I'm thinking that the bonehead that sold me this computer didn't insert the CPU correctly, like he didn't know how a ZIF socket works.

When I lifted the lever and re-seated the chip, I couldn't lift it out of the socket.

I'm thinking this may have been my problem all along.

I will re-assemble and see what happens.

Meanwhile, I'm going to buy new case fans to replace the ones I have.

I'll let you know how I make out.

Thanks all,

Hoosemon
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby Husse on Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:20 am

it lifted the CPU right out of its socket!! With the lever in the lock position!

I'm thinking that the bonehead that sold me this computer didn't insert the CPU correctly, like he didn't know how a ZIF socket works.

When I lifted the lever and re-seated the chip, I couldn't lift it out of the socket.

You've found your problem! (or not - you can never be sure)
Improperly seated CPU is something I've experienced and it has it side effects :) (mind you I sold computer parts for about 8 years)
It has not been pushed down in the socket as it should.....
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby hoosemon on Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:23 pm

Well I just watched a full episode of Stargate on Hulu and no freeze...looks good.

Thanks for the help everyone!

Have a great new year!

:D
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Re: Mint 7 freeze during streaming

Postby hoosemon on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:35 am

Nope - spoke too soon. It still does the same thing.

I was listening to a streaming NPR program and playing a game on Pogo and it froze this morning.

I rebooted and checked temperatures through the bios and both CPU and system were nice and cool.

Still trying to get my Computertemp app running so I can watch the temp in real time, but I posted that on a software thread.

I suspect there's some other tweaky component on the motherboard, since I'm rapidly ruling everything out.

So far I've changed sound card, video card, and distros, and the problem persists. I may try swapping memory sticks next.

I love a good puzzle. :wink:

Hoosemon
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