Athlons wobbly in Windows 2000
Aha! I knew something nasty was up here. I saw over at the 'shack that MS has released a very interesting fix for problems with AMD Athlons and AGP video cards in Windows 2000:
A Windows 2000-based computer may stop responding (hang) when you use an Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) program such as Ziff Davis 3D WinBench 2000. This behavior may occur more frequently depending on the computer's processor, memory, and graphics configuration. This problem is known to occur with Nvidia GeForce 256 and Matrox G400 video adapters on computers with AMD Athlon processors. This issue is not specific to any specific video adapter type.
Quite the revelation in light of my epic struggles with Athlon/KX133/AGP stability
in Windows 2000 not long ago. Microsoft says the problem involves corruption of memory allocated by the video driver. The MS fix involves editing the system Registry, and it may hamper performance:
The following workaround for this issue prevents Memory Manager from using the processor's Page Size Extension feature and may affect the performance of some programs, depending on the paging behavior. This registry value also limits non-paged pool to a maximum of 128 MB instead of 256 MB.
Personally, my magical stability formula
has been exceptionally effective without really draining performance, but if you're still having trouble, this fix just might do the trick for you.