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random freezes: NOT inadequate hardware. may be failing hardware. don't know where to start

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  • Hardware
  • Computers
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
July 17, 2013 12:10:11 AM

My computer was built 4 mo ago.
It has performed great.
Recently it's been freezing-- a lot, now.

It's totally at random. Might be moving the mouse-- and it'll freeze.
Never bluescreen.
Watching a netflix movie, and the audio will slow down to a crawl, and maybe after a minute it'll recover-- maybe I lose patience and just hold the power button to force a shut down.

It has frozen when logging in-- halfway through typing my password, it stopped mid-word and froze.

When shutting down, it even froze once on the shut down screen.

On the other hand, it has also played some intensive computer games without issue.
When it has frozen, has never, ever had anything to do with inadequate hardware. Not that I ran out of memory, or have too weak a processor to type in my login password or watch netflix!

Memory, cpu usage is fine.
Ran a memory test, and found no errors.
Have an h100 cpu cooler, and speedfan says it's staying healthy.

However, I can't help but worry there's some hardware piece failing.

And I have NO CLUE how to narrow this down further.

Failing new hard drive?
failing power supply?
Right now it's at the end of a 50ft extension cord, so maybe low voltage? But, it froze when it was upstairs and at the end of a 5 ft extension cord, too. Less frequently perhaps.
I've no idea.
It's not overheating (unless speedfan lies blatantly), and it's not the RAM-- that's all I know.
How do I test anything?

Went on one forum and just got a bunch of vague ideas, maybe it's this, my brother had that problem... I can't just warranty everything without cause. I need some way to isolate the cause, and I have no experience in trouble shooting something like this.


I have:
antec 900 case
h100i cpu cooler
corsair hw1000 power supply (5 yrs old)
asrock extreme 4 mobo
3770k cpu
gigabyte 7950 gpu
2 sandisk extreme ssds in raid 0 for the OS and whatever games I play often.
1 tb wd black disk drive with games, movies on it.
16gb 'patriot' brand ram, specifically listed as compatible with the mobo-- and tested good.

More about : random freezes inadequate hardware failing hardware start

July 17, 2013 12:13:40 AM

can you try a hard drive test?
hdtune and scan your hard drive
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July 17, 2013 12:18:34 AM

sure, running one now.

did do virus scans btw and came up clean-- not that a virus could freeze a computer on the login menu, anyway?
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July 17, 2013 12:20:08 AM

it's possible
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July 17, 2013 12:21:16 AM

just checked the bios, and made sure ALL the bios options for overclocking were disabled. I don't know much about overclocking, you see, and asrock has these automatic overclock settings for noobs like me.
However, I later undid those settings a while ago, because for my pedestrian usage patterns the benefits were unclear, and the risks of some dumb automatic overclock equally unclear.

'saving and exiting' out of bios, it did something weird-- the images on the screen broke up, with 2 vertical lines at 1/3 and 2/3 across, and then the computer froze at the bios level.
I think it did this ONCE before, exiting bios after a change in settings.
maybe normal consequence of changing some settings?

Was hoping to find some 'reset to default settings' button in the bios but never found it. I did make sure most things were on 'auto' however

Restarted, and started fine.
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July 17, 2013 12:24:18 AM

how did the hard drive fair in the test?
you might want to reset the bios to factory default settings and flash a newer more stable bios if possible
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July 17, 2013 12:33:31 AM

maybe your raided SSD's are choking because they can't maintain themselves?
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July 17, 2013 12:33:56 AM

I'm only nervous about flashing, because if anything goes wrong, this mobo does not have the ability to recover (I forget what that feature is called-- but the asrock extreme4 lacks it).
I didn't see the option for factory settings.

test is only 1/2 done.
question-- does it just check Segments of the ssd storage-- I'm speaking in ignorance, largely, but I understand that there's nand memory, and then some controller chips and cache. If something is wrong with the controller, will hd tune find that, too? Or it only checks the nand?

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July 17, 2013 12:34:24 AM

what do you mean, swifty morgan?
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July 17, 2013 12:37:50 AM

the ssds in raid 0 are only more suspect because they're a more recent change. I set them up 1.5 months ago. I don't remember when the random freezing began. I only know it's really picked up frequency, to go from the point of forgettable and inconsequential, to genuinely worrisome.

is it worth checking for dust, or loose connections any where?
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July 17, 2013 12:38:32 AM

i believe hdtune only checks the nand but that should be the most common problem i dont think anything is wrong with the controller or cache otherwise you wouldn't be able to boot that far
and i just noticed that you're running a raid 0 swifty_morgan might be right about the raid
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July 17, 2013 12:47:24 AM

ooo.... you might be right.
I never ran across that little detail when I researched setting up the raid.
It would be annoying, but I think I can clone the hard drive onto my terabyte drive, then, reclone back onto the 2 ssds.... If that's what is necessary.

"I am surprised that the article did not mention the biggest performance drawback of RAID0 with SSDs. TRIM is not supported for most RAID0 controllers. Over time, you are going to lose any performance advantage you initially had, at least with MLC. No one should use RAID0 with SSDs unless they can periodically delete everything and reset the drives. If you are using a recent Intel controller you may be ok, but it's worth checking before you invest in it."
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July 17, 2013 12:48:12 AM

There is a battery on the M/B that if you remove and reseat BIOS, CMOS is cleared and everything is reseted to its default setting. But the hard drives might really be the issue here. Put some fresh windows to another drive and see if it crashes too after some usual activity. That way you may be able to isolate the problem.
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July 17, 2013 12:59:02 AM

hd tune just finished; no bad sectors.

i might have to do more research into the raid 0/ ssd question.
I like my raid 0 speed :) 

And it's a huge pain to test the theory. Mainly, by buying at least an inexpensive disk drive to install windows on, so it's $80 to test this :( 
I don't want to wipe any of the hard drives I've got set up now, not yet.

But if that's it... gotta do what I gotta do.
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July 17, 2013 1:05:46 AM

btw, sandisk did have some problems LAST summer with this model-- there was a firmware update issued sometime in the winter, and I did update the firmware before I ever set them up in raid or installed anything.
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July 17, 2013 1:09:42 AM

Random crashes and especially if they are "genuinely worrisome" are always a huge pain. Since you dont have a spare drive then check everything else first. I had some issues with overclocking but it was with BSOD so I isolated the problem. Tweaked the BIOS a bit and solved it. Once that I couldn't I tried a software called WhoCrashed that checks the minidump file of the crash and gives you info. But that was after a BSOD and I found out that it was a gpu issue that time. See how long it will take to crash now that you have default settings in the BIOS. Maybe it wont so you are OK. And overclock manually in the future if you like
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July 17, 2013 8:12:44 PM

well, it's been a day, and no freezes yet.
Doesn't mean much, but cross my fingers.
Disabled the last open option for asrocks automated overclocking, and, found a 6 foot extension cord instead of what was actually a 100ft extension cord, in case voltage drops were an issue.

I'll keep this updated.
Find a hard drive if I need to, if it comes back.
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July 17, 2013 9:18:54 PM

ah well-- froze again.

I'll try resetting the CMOS.

Now that it's freezing consistently, I really do need to just find a hard drive, any hard drive, and try that out for a solid week. Just do a plain vanilla install of windows and see how it holds up-- I don't need to shuffle files around and clone anything or reinstall 50 programs just yet.

In the meantime, while I consider whether I want to buy a hard drive, what other things can I investigate?
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July 17, 2013 9:25:50 PM

reading other posts, of others with random freezes...

how would I test the motherboard? Granted, the 'motherboard' has many, many individual components to it.
how would I test the power supply? Everything else is new-- except the psu, which is 5 yrs old.

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July 17, 2013 9:36:01 PM

Just skimmed through the thread. Some good suggestions so far, and you're asking good questions. Try this:

Connect nothing but the motherboard, ram, cpu, and power supply. Turn on hear for the POST beep, check the motherboard power indicator light is on. One beep is most beautiful sound in a situation like this. More than one, and you have connection or component problem.

Don't assume new = functioning.
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