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Random Screen Freezing - Please Help, been troubleshooting for a month...

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July 14, 2013 2:46:02 PM

Hello,

After many, many weeks of running various tests and doing a multitude of Google Searches and potential fixes, my issue has remained unchanged. Overall, the issue is simply freezing of the computer. The symptoms include but are not limited to:


Random Screen freezes where no peripherals will respond and nothing on the screen moves. (This can occur for 3 seconds all the way to indefinitely)
The screen will stop for a few seconds and my mouse icon will change to whatever it was previously (word line edit icon, etc) and stay there until reboot.
Sometimes my mouse icon will disappear altogether until a reboot.

Now here is where the really annoying part begins. I can run all high end games on Ultra High with my specs (listed below) for hours on end, even overnight and not have a single issue. And randomly I’ll have mini freezes in game rarely. I can even browse Reddit and the internet for hours, but if I leave for an hour with my machine on and come back, it’ll freeze indefinitely when I click on anything.

As for which things I have tested/troubleshoot:



I have run multiple Hard Drive tests, all come back completely fine.
I have run 3 passes of a Video Memory check and 0 errors were produced.
I ran MemTest 86 for my RAM and got 0 errors.
I have re-seated each Memory stick as well as re-sealed the Video Card in multiple slots.
I have updated fully with all software as well as uninstalled and re-installed multiple things.
I cleaned out every inch of the computer including PSU/Video Card/CPU Fan, etc.

So now my biggest dilemma comes into play. I have no funds to buy or afford new/old Computer Parts to troubleshoot the hardware. I have enough funds to buy 1 thing MAYBE and test it. So I need help determining what the issue would be BEFORE I buy any hardware and test it.

Computer Specs:
4+ year old Gaming computer.
Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit SP1
AMD FX-8120 Zambezi (8-core processor) – 19 Degrees Celsius Average
8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 668Mhz
AsusTek Computer Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard – 38 Degrees Celsius Average
Asus VS247 Monitor (Primary)
Asus VE228 Monitor (Secondary)
1024MB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti (MSI) – 39 Degrees Celsius Average
1TB Samsung HD103SJ Hard Drive

Other noted information I have discovered is that I can hear clicking sounds coming from my video card, but that might be from me cleaning it fairly soon, although this issue has been happening for a month now.
July 14, 2013 3:40:26 PM

Difficult with zero funds or spare parts. Have you tried looking at the even viewer to see if there are any errors? I believe your motherboard has 2 x16 pci-e slots, have you tried the gpu in both. One way that generally identifies if it's hardware or software related, is to do a full wipe and reinstall (a pain, yes, but in the absence of spare parts, very useful). Your cpu temp is very low, is this definitely correct? Is the heating and fan mounted properly? That's below ambient temp, do you have watercooling? You could also try underclocking your gpu.
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July 14, 2013 3:52:18 PM

Barritio said:
Difficult with zero funds or spare parts. Have you tried looking at the even viewer to see if there are any errors? I believe your motherboard has 2 x16 pci-e slots, have you tried the gpu in both. One way that generally identifies if it's hardware or software related, is to do a full wipe and reinstall (a pain, yes, but in the absence of spare parts, very useful). Your cpu temp is very low, is this definitely correct? Is the heating and fan mounted properly? That's below ambient temp, do you have watercooling? You could also try underclocking your gpu.


I have seen MANY different event viewer errors from Hard Disk to Video Drivers to MSE Software, etc. It usually is 1 minute after the freezes though, so they are not the core issues as I have troubleshooted each of them. As for re-installing, I've done that 3 times. Heating and Fan has been mounted correctly since the machine was built, the low temp is normal as I have a heavy duty cpu fan. I might have someone available to lend me an older machine with some hardware.

If I can troubleshoot hardware, how should I go about it? Should I remove one RAM stick at a time and see if it improves my issue before trying new pieces of hardware? Also, if the RAM doesn't change a thing, should I first try and put in new/other RAM before I try to test my graphics card, or does it not matter which route I take?
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July 14, 2013 4:05:52 PM

As far as I'm aware, even a heavy duty air cooling system can't reduce temperatures to below ambient. It is after all limited by the temperature of the air around it. I'd still suggest reseating the cpu hsf, as thermal paste can deteriorate over time, especially if it's not quite seated correctly. Of course it may well not be the issue, but it's something cheap to rule out (free if you already have a decent thermal paste). In terms of next steps, yes, try one stick at a time. If you get the same issues with 2 separate sticks in 2 different slots, it's probably unlikely to be a memory issue. If able to get hold of any parts, test gpu high on your list. I assume when you did your reinstalls, you did a full format of your hard disk (not quick)?
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July 14, 2013 5:08:30 PM

Hmmmm, odd because it's always been around 20 degree celsius while idle. I keep my system very cool on purpose. I'll definitely re-seat it when I go buy some thermal paste soon. I'll take all of my Memory out and start my system using 1 at a time to see if I can find the faulty Memory Stick, as well as use the spare RAM I found. Then I'll go ahead and swap out my 560 Ti for the older video card being lend to me to see if that changes anything. And when I did my re-installs I just used the normal Format option that comes with Windows 7 installation.

Also below I linked my Video Test and Core temp


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July 14, 2013 9:24:21 PM

From core temps website:

Why is the temperature of my FX, Phenom, Athlon based processor lower than the ambient temperature?Starting with the Phenoms, AMD's digital sensor no longer reports an absolute temperature value anymore, but a reading with a certain offset, which is unknown. It is estimated that this offset is between 10 - 20c.

That explains that then.
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July 14, 2013 9:33:51 PM

Barritio said:
From core temps website:

Why is the temperature of my FX, Phenom, Athlon based processor lower than the ambient temperature?Starting with the Phenoms, AMD's digital sensor no longer reports an absolute temperature value anymore, but a reading with a certain offset, which is unknown. It is estimated that this offset is between 10 - 20c.

That explains that then.


Very cool info, thanks!

UPDATE***

I swapped my GeForce 560TI for an older Geforce 9600 and everything is running fine so far, not a single hick-up. I am 99% sure at this point it was the video card, as before only the video froze, but sound continued to work as well.

Only question, could it be my PSU as well since this video card much less wattage? I mean, my PSU isn't a low end PSU at all, it is a 750Watt and I have an extra 100-200 watts before max...

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July 14, 2013 10:00:13 PM

Theoretically, it could be, though I would lean to gpu first. As per my previous suggestion, you could try underclocking your gpu. What model psu is it, as wattage doesn't necessarily reflect quality / reliability.
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July 14, 2013 10:24:50 PM

Barritio said:
Theoretically, it could be, though I would lean to gpu first. As per my previous suggestion, you could try underclocking your gpu. What model psu is it, as wattage doesn't necessarily reflect quality / reliability.


Corsair TX750W
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000X2677A


I have a friend willing to loan me money for a new Graphics Card. I think I might go with that after a few more tests, would you agree?
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July 14, 2013 10:37:29 PM

Nice friend! It would certainly point in that direction. I would however buy from a dealer where it would be easy to return (just in case).
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July 14, 2013 10:40:24 PM

Barritio said:
Nice friend! It would certainly point in that direction. I would however buy from a dealer where it would be easy to return (just in case).


That was my thought as well. Interesting thing however, the older video card only had 1 DVI slot, so I wanted to re-create the machine specs, so I only have 1 of my 2 monitors plugged in and so far everything is smooth. If It crashes again I'll knows it's the video card, if it doesn't crash again, might it be the Monitor?
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!