VC problems that aren't...


Jun 25, 2003
Video cards problems that aren't...

Okay, those of you who are regulars here know what kind of system I run already, but the point of this thread is NOT brand specific.

Three times, in this month of January alone, I have found myself trying to resolve "random" crashes on various systems. I have tried chipset drivers, video card drivers (and VC settings and O/C settings and whatnot) on systems that seemed stable just a few days or weeks ago.

You hear the normal complaints; I started playing so-and-so game, about so-and-so many minutes into it, the system reboots etc., etc., etc.

You reinstall drivers, you reinstall OS's, you reinstall chipset drivers, and so on and so forth.

However, I would like to bring it to everyone's attention that lives in a northern climate, that I have discovered a possible problem that should be looked at first, especially during the colder months.

Household circuit breakers.

The first one took me almost two weeks to figure out; it was insane. Game starts, doesn't even seem to be overheating, and then wham, system reboots in the middle of doing nothing. After changing and reinstalling nearly everything on the system the most un-obvious of problems was discovered purely by chance.

The person had a space-heater with its own tempeture gauge/control, plugged into a socket in a different room and everytime it turned itself on it would drain the entire household's circuit breaker system, causing a minor "brown out" for about a second, but just enough to cause the customers computer to reboot or crash during a game or application.

And now I've seen it three times so I know what to look for.

If you have a problem like this, or you work on computers for other people, look for a space heater during these winter months, it could save you a lot of trouble reinstalling drivers and bios' programs if you just watch when the reboots occur in reference to household power demands...

P.s., if you feel I've saved you hours of labor, feel free to send me a percentage of your savings :D

Top Nurse

Supreme [H]ardness
Nov 4, 2003
Thanks for the info. My parents home in Montana has all those electric strips along the wall that provide heat. I always wondered what would happen when a couple of those things would go off at one time :)

I always tell all my friends and family to get a UPS, but people rarely listen to me. However, after they c/o strange BSD's and random reboots they finally get the picture. Another bad part of the year is from Thanksgiving to just past the New year from dusk till about 2300 when everyone switches on their Christmas lights. When everyone switches on their A/C in a hot summer afternoon you can also watch the whole power grid drop about 15-20 Vac if you have a Smart-UPS :cool:


Jan 17, 2003
man its the worst here in the summer. im glad i invested in a ups. everytime my ac kicks on damn thing beeps. evertime i hear it know i have just avoided a hard restart. ussually when i get a call about intermitent restarts the power is the first thing i check. i once worked on this guys comp for weeks and everytime id give it back to him he said he would have problems again. i went to his house to see if i could reproduce the problem and about an hour into it, his wife kicked on the dryer and all hell broke loose. lol i always check that first now.


Extremely [H]
Oct 11, 2001
Damn fine troubleshooting there, Balderdash. Nice work :)

I never thought about that for many of the systems around here, our power has almost always been pretty clean.


Sep 24, 2001
I've seen vacuum cleaners drop PCs on the same circuit. I imagine a hair dryer would be another common one as well. Bottom line is use an UPS, always.