Hokay, so my girlfriend has had this Gateway computer for the longest time that has been working fine running XP, but for the past couple of months it has been freezing/locking up nonstop. She had me format it a while back and it fixed it for about an hour and now its even worse!
Its a P4 1.6Ghz socket 478 with 256 MB of DDR 266 ram.
As crappy as that is, I recently decided that I would get to the bottom of this problem for her because she needs a computer.
First thing we played around with it and watched it crash a couple of times and attempted to format it with Linux but it wouldn’t even let us get to the first screen haha.
Next we cleaned out all of the dust in the computer, fans, heat sink, etc. still didn’t help.
Then we took a stop at a local computer store to buy a new faster CPU for it. We got a P4 2.0 Ghz. (Not much faster but it would eliminate the possibility of it being a CPU problem and gain some speed in the process.. Plus it was cheap) then we took a stop at another store to pick up a stick of DDR 266 512 MB ram. (also not much more but still eliminates if it may be freezing due to lack of ram)
So we installed everything and blablabla. I would like to point out that getting the CPU off of the heatsink was a serious pain. I think gateway used thermal glue instead of grease? I really have no idea. I used a screw driver and ended up prying off the bottom half of the CPU. So now I have the top half of the cpu glued to this stupid metal heat sink. I literally had no choice but to use a tile grout scraper and use all of my strength just to remove it. Afterwords the leftover thermal stuff wouldn’t come off with rubbing alcohol so I had to scrape it some more with the tile scraper.
After replacing it and adding the ram we turned it on, gave it another format, this time into the XFCE version of Linux Mint 6, (simply because of the amazingly low amount of CPU and RAM it requires to run the OS)
It worked for a while (longer than before) then yet again froze. I then, hoping it could be true, decided to grab a new power supply from my sisters Alienware and switch them out because I heard in rare cases power supply’s could, after a lot of use, cause freezing. still froze after a little bit of use.
I even went in and disabled everything that was not in use and unplugged the floppy drive and USBs and removed the 56k modem that was not in use to make sure nothing was interfering. Still froze.
So basically it is narrowed down the either the hard drive, video card (which is a really old Nvidia Geforce 2 or something like that (I know it has a 2 in it), or the motherboard.
I dont think it is the hard drive because it doesnt really crash when I am transferring files or anything like that, and plus it locked up once when I was in the live CD version of Linux which had nothing to do with the hard drive, and it even locked up in the Bios once when I was disabling stuff. Just to make sure I ran the long test with Seagate Seatools and it crashed in the middle of it so I decided to take the hard drive out and run the test from my computer. It ran the entire test without any problems and passed. I then took out the hard drive from my computer that I know works and put it in her computer. My goal was to see it crash with a hard drive that I know works to hopefully eliminate that possibility. It did crash. I do not know if that’s a good enough test to eliminate the hard drive possibility but it seems pretty logical to me.
I’m not sure, but I doubt it is the video card. I guess it is possible? Can it cause freezes?
So I think the mobo must have something wrong with it. I looked at it, up and down to see if any capacitors might be blown or leaking and I don’t see anything. Either way it just seems like the only logical answer to me so I looked up the motherboard to see what kind of price we are looking at.
Its the one on the top. Do you think it would be the right choice to purchase that or is there a better one? Also, do you think it could be the video card or the hard drive? Or even something else?
I mean, I don’t want to replace the motherboard for nothing.. I want to see if there are any other possibilities.
No, we are not buying a new computer. We are already this far in fixing this one and refuse to give up. These computer parts are really cheap anyway..
Also, how common is it for the CPUs to be that hard to remove from the heat sink?
PLEASE HELP I love my girlfriend!