Have had a lot of problems with this system. ? at the root of it all is my Antec 300W case that I got for $30 at Best Buy (seemed like a deal). Athlon XP 1700, Epox 8KHA+, 512 of RAM DDR 2100, AOpen MX 200 NVidia GeForce Video card with 32 MB RAM, has on board audio. Win ME and XP (I tried them both, and had problems with both).
Put it all together, but assembly plagued by the fact that the floppy drive wouldn't read, if it was placed in the case. Has one of those built in floppy slots, and if it's pushed in too far, the eject button must exert too much pressure on the floppy eject button, and it won't read. Finally adjusted things, and got it all together and was working pretty well. Closed it up (screwed on the side panels) and put it in my daughter's room, and it just began crashing, freezing and reporting errors. blue screens etc. Wasn't too hot (got 2 fans, and a Volcano 7) and temps on the bios were OK. Finally, if was almost impossible to boot. Windows would hang up , went into safe mode, that would even hang up there. Almost took it apart completely. Then I removed the side panel, and it started to behave normally. Right now, it's working fine, but I can't close the case for fear of return to bad acting.
Does this make sense? Any common problems that might explain this? I've already sent away for an Inwin case (have another that I like a lot). Any insight would help.
Antec usually makes pretty good power supplies and it should have worked fine. Are all the voltages looking pretty good?
It could be something simple like a hard drive cable is bad, loose connections, bad install of OS... It could be that the board is running a little too low a voltage for the CPU.
Make sure you have all the latest drivers (chipset, and video mostly) and BIOS (for motherboard). Up the voltage for the CPU, I/O, RAM... to see if this helps stability.
Also you could try removing the motherboard and putting electrical tape over all the posts the motherboard will mount to and use non conductive washers for the screws when you reattach the motherboard. Some systems are very sensitive to grounding issues.
It still could be a heat issue. The case could be getting too hot or the CPU or graphics card are over heating. Open the side of the case and make sure the heatsink is seated 100%. Then blow a large fan into the side of the case. This should lower the case temp to room temp and help cooling. If the system runs better, then you know it is cooling.
Maybe the memory is crap and you need to set more conservative memory settings in BIOS.
AMD Phenom II x4 945 3Ghz | ASUS M4A77TD | 2X WD 1TB SATA 2 hard drive | 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 | nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS | ATI TV Wonder Theater Pro 550 | Antec P-160 case | Antec 650w Earth Watts | LG Blu-ray Super Drive | LG DVD RW | Windows 7 Pro
it does sound like a heat issue. i just ran into the same thing with a cheap case. the power supply sat only 1/32" from the CPU fan so it wouldnt allow air to flow out of the fan, so i had to take the cover off the PSU. then i was still getting problems when i found that the uncovered PSU whacked the CPU fan and broke it off, leaving the XP2000+ cooled by heatsink alone.
at first boot, the temps in BIOS seem fine, but after a couple minutes in windows, it will freeze whatever you are doing. then it will freeze or give you errors while trying to reboot. make sure the CPU fan has plenty of breathing room, and that any cables are not getting in the way of supplying it with cool air from the outside. the fact that it works fine without the side panel sounds like its holding in too much hot air.