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Total freezes during stress w/ black screen and skipping audio

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March 13, 2013 12:01:17 PM

Hello guys.

I have a custom built computer here which I have upgraded several times. Sometimes when playing games with decent graphics, my computer completely freezes, and my screens go black. Audio is stuck on annoying loop, and the computer just stays there. The only solution is to simply reboot. There is absolutely nothing on my event viewer, except the ordinary critical error about not booting correctly. I have minidumps enabled, but can't seem to have those either. This often happens after about 30 minutes of playing, while sometimes I can play all night long without crashing once.

I've kept SpeedFan on while playing to monitor heat, and this doesn't seem to be a heat issue. Also, I've used 3DMark and Prime95 to stress test my hardware, but I haven't had any errors. On top of this, I ran a few passes of memtest with no errors. I have tried to update my BIOS to the latest, and the crashes still occured. I downgraded back due to unrelated issues.

Games that these crashes occur on mostly are Dota 2, BattleField 3, Diablo 3 and various single player games like Skyrim and Dead Space 3 - basically any graphical game that requires some decent specs.

Some of my hardware:

ASRock 970 Extreme4 Motherboard
AMD Athlon II X4 640 Processor
Radeon 7870 GPU (Sapphire)
8GB RAM (2x4GB 1600Mhz)
750W PSU

128GB SSD (Kingston)
2x1TB HDD (Samsung & Seagate)

Asus Xonar DG Audio card


I would really much appreciate any help to solve this issue. I have considered that this might be a power shortage problem, but 750W is a lot, and my computer doesn't actually power off. I'm not that aware of computer behavior with faulty hardware, so I wouldn't know.

Thanks in advance,
- Delyso
March 13, 2013 12:24:15 PM

Im having the same problem. At first it would give me the drivers have crashed excuse but now there are artifacts all over the place when its under load. Replaced the PSU with a quality corsair thinking it would fix the issue but here i am stuck with a faulty 9600gso when i could've just bought a HD6570 -.- wasted the money on the PSU :(  sorry had to release the tension somewhere. Anyways you should try removing all drivers and re-installing them. Hopefully its just the onboard gpu drivers conflicting with the dedicated. Just pray to God its not the GPU (I've heard a lot of people complaining about the HD7870s in the past week with the same problem. I hope your RMA doesn't take long. Btw what brand of PSU is it? The 7870s quite the powerhog
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March 13, 2013 12:29:05 PM

Thanks for the post, haider95.

The freezes started occuring more than a year ago though. They haven't bothered me too much, but recently they have gotten worse. The hardware I have upgraded after the crashes started occuring are the RAM, Motherboard and GPU. Therefore, I doubt my GPU is the problem. Also, I have had Windows 7 and 8 (been hopping between time to time) and the crashes occur no matter what. This is why it's probably not a problem with drivers either.
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March 14, 2013 5:05:51 AM

You HAVE to run memtestx86 and get back at us. the ram timings might have changd. have you reset bios configuration?
do it now
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March 16, 2013 3:14:50 AM

I don't know if you read my posts, but I have already successfully run memtest on both my new memory and the old ones. The crashes started occuring with my old memory and my old motherboard. Changing these had no effect. I have upgraded and downgraded the BIOS on my new motherboard many times, and reset the BIOS configuration on each time, so that'll be no use.

The only parts that have been there ever since the crashes started are my PSU, CPU and audio card.
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March 17, 2013 2:35:37 AM

Oh sorry, What i meant was run memtest on a bootable disk so that all parts of the memory are scanned for errors and let it run for at least 5 cycles. Download a gpu testing utility like GPUTool and test for stability. let that run for at least 1 hour i can't believe i haven't asked you this yet but what brand of power supply are you using?
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March 18, 2013 10:12:36 AM

I've run memtest from a bootable disk already, on both my new and old memories and motherboard. I doubt this is a problem with my memory. As for PSU, I was wrong. I really thought it was 750W, but it's actually 600W. Could this then be a power shortage problem? The only thing that then jumps out to me is that why does my computer not turn off when the freeze happens, and even more, why does this not happen earlier or at least everytime when running intensive applications?

PSU: Zalman ZM600-HP
Memories: Corsair XMS3 (2x4GB)

Thanks for your help thus far. I had my memories inserted in wrong slots at least (I thought the pair would logically go next to each other, but the 4 slots are blue, black, blue and black. I moved my second stick from slot 2 to slot 3. I doubt this affects the problem in any way.
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March 18, 2013 12:49:38 PM

Like i mentioned before. I'm having the exact same problem but with me it's definitely not a PSU issue i don't think its a PSU issue in your case either. Unfortunately, both our cards are slowly dying. For some reason i was able to play devil may cry for 1-2 hours on my GPU today until it started acting up again. Screen went green and i got 10 passes on memtest with it. I hope this is not the case but pretty soon you'll be seeing artifacts when the games freeze but i hope that doesn't happen to you. Rma the card oh and the PSU should be enough. Your system shouldn't consume more than 500w in total but you can still try and replace the PSU with a spare one and see how that goes. I wouldn't bother doing that if your PSU is 80+ efficient. Let me run a check on it
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March 18, 2013 12:56:44 PM

K the PSU checks out http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Zalman-ZM600-HP-...
Argh! im probably coming across as a noob right now but even the experts on T.H would say that sometimes things just happen and we can't do anything about them. This is one of those problems! it could be anything. Our motherboards our drivers even our HDD :(  You should re-install windows and install some older drivers so we can cross the driver issue off the list. That's the only way you can do it i guess since drivers always leave some of their stuff behind and only a clean format can fix that. Just so you know i re-installed windows and the monitor black screening went away. All i was left with was the total freezes and the sound looping
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March 18, 2013 1:40:37 PM

Actually, you know what? ASUS power consumption calculator tells me the suggested minimum is 650W. When I found out that my PSU is just 600W, the obvious first popped in my mind. My GPU consumes quite a bit, and I've got a lot of other stuff, like 2x HDD, SSD and audio card.

I'm quite an software nerd to be honest; I've re-installed my Windows probably over 10 times last year, and I've had Linux as well. The crashes occur in any case. Therefore, I will again have to tell you re-installing Windows will most likely not have an effect. The first thing I'll be trying (unless given a better suggestion) is buying a new PSU, probably 750W one.

Thanks.
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