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Gaming computer always BSOD's when running games.

For months now I have been trying to fix a friend's gaming computer to no avail. I have tried RMA'ing and the problem still persists. It has exhausted my expertise and I would be most appreciative of this forum's help in solving the issue.

The problem is this: during normal usage (browsing the internet, typing a document) there is a periodic crash where the screen freezes, goes black, and then sometimes recovers saying: "display driver has stopped working and has recovered". Also, when I try to run a game and it gets to the point of rendering video it will inevitably blue screen. The blue screen cites atikmdag.sys as causing the problem.

I have rebuilt the machine several times and I am finally close (there were many issues with windows update before but I've gotten past them). These were the steps I took:

Quote:
Installed Windows from USB. OK
Installed Network Driver. OK
Windows Update Needed to update itself. OK
Restart.
Windows Update: (97 Important updates selected: mostly security but also IE 10, .NET 3.5.1, and MSRT) Resulted in Not needed: 97 updates.
Restart.
Windows Update: 97 updates recommended. (96 succeeded. 1 failed. Error code 80200053)
Restart.
Windows Update: 2 important selected (IE10, Security Update), Successfully installed.
Restart.
Windows Update: Selected 45 updates (ignored radeon HD driver. rest were mostly just updates for Win7 incl. .NET 4.5.1) Success
Restart.
Windows Update: (IE 11, Security Update, General Update) for a total of three updates. Success.
Restart.
Windows Update: IE11 cumulative security patch, other small windows updates. Success.
Restart.
AMD Graphics Drivers (used the driver auto-detect executable instead of picking the driver myself). Installed Successfully.
Restart.


Here is a portion of the system summary from PC Wizard:

Quote:
PC Wizard 2013 Version 2.12
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Owner: Cameron
User: Cameron
Computer Name: AMANDABYNES
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium Home Edition Media Center 6.01.7601 Service Pack 1
Report Date: Tuesday 17 December 2013 at 13:10

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


<<< System Summary >>>

> Mainboard : Gigabyte GA-970A-D3

> Chipset : ATI RD9x0

> Processor : AMD Phenom II X6 1100T @ 3400 MHz (max : 3718.5)

> Physical Memory : 12288 MB DDR3-SDRAM

> Hard Disk : Seagate ST1500DL003-9VT16L ATA Device (1500GB)

> DVD-Rom Drive : ATAPI iHAS124 B

> Network Card : Realtek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

> Operating System : Windows 7 Home Premium Home Edition Media Center 6.01.7601 Service Pack 1 (64-bit)

> DirectX : Version 11.00
Help : Example of usage


I can provide any report or information anyone needs and will do so promptly. I've probably over-shared already so I'll just turn it over to you guys and will answer whatever you ask.

Thanks in advance!
29 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about gaming computer bsod running games
  1. Have you tried fully uninstalling the display drivers and installing the newest ones?, also what are the GPU temps like?
  2. bluehowell said:
    Have you tried fully uninstalling the display drivers and installing the newest ones?, also what are the GPU temps like?


    Over the course of several rebuilds from scratch (reinstalling windows) I have tried a host of different driver versions. They are currently the most recent stable drivers.

    I just turned on the computer in question to check the GPU temps and when I got into GPU-Z and went to the tab that shows the temperature the computer screen went black and the fan on the top (read:higher up) graphics card went to full speed. It is very loud.

    The video cards are AMD Radeon 6800 HD's by the way (XFX brand).
  3. Are you running crossfire? If so, try each card in the system by it's self and see if you still get the same problems.
  4. If could also be due to failing RAM, an overheating CPU or insufficient power from the PSU. Try to test each part individually by removing all unnecessary components and seeing if the crashes persist.
  5. bluehowell said:
    Are you running crossfire? If so, try each card in the system by it's self and see if you still get the same problems.


    Yes crossfire is running. I'll give that approach a go now. In the meanwhile I was able to get screenshots of GPU-Z:





    Before it crashed again I was able to save a PC Wizard Full Report:
    http://pastebin.com/Dabe8qYT
  6. Go single card testing first. Check your RAM next, one stick at a time (memtest). How many games have you tried?
  7. Those idle temps are fine, could you try and get some temps when under load if possible.
  8. @ohyouknow: I will do the single card testing first. I've done a RAM check, but yes when I did the test all four sticks of ram were there. I'll try that if I don't get any joy with single card testing. I have tried three different games, same result.

    @bluehowell: I'll see what I can do but getting it into a game is virtually impossible at this time. I'll start with the single card testing.

    To be clear, I'm looking to see that the system is able to play games and not crash with just one card installed?
  9. Yes, see if it crashes with one card in at a time and try both cards.
  10. bluehowell said:
    Yes, see if it crashes with one card in at a time and try both cards.


    Just tried card "A". This is the card that was closer to the CPU which I left in. I removed card "B" (the lower one from the top of the case).

    I tried running Crysis and after getting through about two minutes of the intro video the fans sped up and then a BSOD happened.

    Now on to card B

    Update:
    Well that was a short test. I can barely operate in Windows without it crashing. It seems to freeze when Windows is animating a window opening. Picture for clarity:


    The BIOS lists the current CPU temperature at 38 degrees Celsius
  11. What is the power supply model and wattage?
  12. bluehowell said:
    What is the power supply model and wattage?


    750W
  13. It's not a good power supply manufacturer so that may be the issue. Do you have any other graphics card you could use or try using the motherboard graphics and see if you still get crashes.

    Review of a zumax power supply http://www.overclock.net/t/1310456/phaedrus-zumax-400w-psu-review
  14. Also that motherboard is not great for crossfire, only one of the pci-e slots is at 16x bandwidth, the other is at 4x which is too low for a graphics card. If nothing else works you could try updating the motherboard bios: http://uk.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3908#bios , however this can be risky. Has this computer ever worked?
  15. bluehowell said:
    It's not a good power supply manufacturer so that may be the issue. Do you have any other graphics card you could use or try using the motherboard graphics and see if you still get crashes.

    Review of a zumax power supply http://www.overclock.net/t/1310456/phaedrus-zumax-400w-psu-review


    Frankly, I'm not surprised that they skimped on the power supply. My friend bought this computer two summers ago for ~$1500 from iBuyPower and it seems like it was too good to be true. I don't have another graphics card to try unfortunately. As far as I can tell there isn't a onboard video. The system is stable when I am in start mode.

    If we can get it to play games, even if it isn't fully exploiting its potential, I would be content. Crossfire is pretty low on the list of things I want to get working at this point. When the computer initially arrived this blue screen issue happened pretty consistently. Then it wouldn't boot so we RMA'ed it. When it came back it had windows installed but the BSOD issue persisted.

    I have updated the BIOS to the penultimate non-beta release so it is fairly current. I have also flashed the BIOSes of both graphic cards.

    Really appreciate all the thoughtful help I'm getting here.
  16. You are right about there be no onboard video, just looked at a picture of the mb. "The system is stable when I am in start mode." do you mean safe mode? not "start" mode.
  17. bluehowell said:
    You are right about there be no onboard video, just looked at a picture of the mb. "The system is stable when I am in start mode." do you mean safe mode? not "start" mode.


    Haha oops. Yes, I meant safe mode.
  18. Best answer
    If it is stable in safe mode it means it is a software, most likely a driver issue causing the problems. Boot into safe mode and uninstall the graphics drivers using this method http://www.overclock.net/t/988215/how-to-properly-uninstall-ati-amd-software-drivers-for-graphics-cards. Once that is done boot up normally and see if it is stable with no graphics drivers. If it all works normally install the 13.12 drivers from the top of this page http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows%207%20-%2064. For the rest of the testing I advice you use only 1 gpu in the 16x slot (the slot nearest the cpu) to minimise any other possible issues. Please follow all these steps exactly even if you think you have done it before, it will give me a clearer idea of where to go next if this doesn't work. Sorry for the essay :)
  19. bluehowell said:
    Boot into safe mode and uninstall the graphics drivers using this method http://www.overclock.net/t/988215/how-to-properly-uninstall-ati-amd-software-drivers-for-graphics-cards.


    Per the guide:
    Quote:
    Do not use this guide if you have an AMD CPU/Motherboard as you may destroy required chipset files


    The processor in the machine is an "AMD Phenom(tm) II X6 1100T". Is it still safe to proceed?
  20. I've done it before and it hasn't caused me any problems so it should be fine
  21. bluehowell said:
    I've done it before and it hasn't caused me any problems so it should be fine


    Thanks for all your help bluehowell. I'm sorry it took a couple months for me to resume troubleshooting, I got distracted by life. Anyways, I followed the advice you gave me with on card in the x16 pci express slot, and it still is having issues.

    I removed all drivers per the instructions, installed the recommended drivers, and started a game. As soon as the game loaded the screen went black and the fans on the gfx card went into what I assume is their highest setting.

    Any ideas on next steps?
  22. Hmmm, we've exhausted most of the possibilities. The only other things I can think of are to reinstall windows , try the graphics card in a different computer and try a different graphics card in this computer . If you try all of those things it could help shed some more light on the situation. Sorry if that advice seems a bit useless its a tough issue
  23. Not useless at all! I've been able to fix problems of this general nature without problem for years--this is something very tricky. I'll try using the other graphics card in the machine instead and see if that works better. Do you recommend I do anything other than swap the card while the machine is off?
  24. If you are swapping graphics cards around make sure you have the matching driver installed
  25. Using the other card, which is identical make and model, causes the machine to run even the Windows graphics unstably. Are there any alternatives?
  26. It is very unlikely that you have got two broken cards which means it must be something else in the system, I think it is most likely that power supply as all the other components are from reliable companies. The only other thing I can suggest is to try a better PSU which I know is difficult as we dont all have a box of PSU's in the house and is expensive if you can't borrow one from a friend.
  27. As I will have to ship this computer to a friend (it is his computer in the first place) is there any way I can make sure it isn't something else?
  28. I have put alot of thought into this and gone through everything it could be that we could test. Sorry i couldn't have been of more service.
  29. No need to apologize bluehowell! You have gone above and beyond and I am very grateful. I'll pass on your advice and tell him to try swapping out the power supply. Thank you so much.
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