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System crashing without blue screen, BIOS wont start afterward

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January 12, 2014 2:44:45 PM



I set up a budget gaming computer a few months ago. It worked with no problem. I played quite a few graphic-demanding games with no issues.
Then, this year, I bought a new game (Payday2) known for crashing heavily. It usually crashes software. In my case, it crashed my computer itself. I tried playing it again a couple of times, and it happened again. So I googled this, and found a few solutions proposed. I changed settings, updated the driver. Alas, for each thing I tried, my computer crashed again.
So I gave up playing this game altogether, in order not to threaten my PC anymore. But it was too late, it seems, because my computer began crashing on its own. After some hours turned on, it crashed alone. Then this happened some more times. It was usually triggered by some action, or so it seemed to me, i.e. switch tabs or open an mp3 file.
I thought this was because I had updated the driver on Windows, so I ran Linux for some time without problems and thought I had solved it.
Then Linux crashed exactly in the same way.

Crashes
The crashes usually come after the computer is turned on for a while. They come with no warning, no screen freezing, nothing. All of a sudden, my PC reboots itself. BIOS won't load after reboot. Even if I restart through the power button, it wont work. I had to plug the outlet out and in again in order to be able to get to the BIOS and boot. I say 'had to' because even this wont work anymore. Now I have to unplug it and leave it so for a while for it to work.

Relevant facts
- Windows was able to register "Error 41" (which provides no further detail other than "critical error") for all of these crashes. I believe this rules out PSU and HDD failure.
- 15-20 crashes have taken place. Windows asked me to run chkdsk only once. It only found a few "orphaned files". It ended in 10 minutes.
- I thought it was the GPU, because all of this arose with Payday2. I was already cursing NVidia when I turned on the computer without it and it worked, then it crashed. GPU is innocent.
- I ran Memtest86 for 1h and it pointed nothing. Also, I don't think its RAM because, until it crashes, my computer runs perfectly. While it works, there is no issue at all. This also makes me think it's not a HDD or CPU problem.
- I live in the Southern hemisphere and it's now summer. Could it be CPU overheating? I found out I had applied the thermal paste incorrectly and not properly fixed the fan on it.
- In the morning, when I come to my computer and turn it on, it will always work. The first boot of the day, it works. Then it crashes again and doesn't work again so soon. It seems that resting overnight makes something on the computer go back to normal - either temperature or electric charges.
- After it crashes, the BIOS doesn't load, but all of the fans and the HDD go working. So I left my computer like this for 2h, and it didn't crash. I really dont think its PSU after this.
- While I was testing my NVidia GPU, after I turned the computer on, I realized I had forgotten to connect the power source cable to it, so I did it some seconds after bios booted. Immediate crash.
- Payday2 is not supported by NVidia GPUs. This means most visual work was probably carried by the CPU.
- After a crash, I tried booting without anything but the power cables and the CPU attached to the mobo. It didn't react at all, even so. No beeps that to tell me things were missing.
- It usually works 1-4 hours until it crashes. After it does, and I can start it again, it crashes faster.

Machine specs

CPU i5 3330
RAM 1 slot 8gb DDR3
MoBo Gigabyte D75M-D3H
PSU cheap brand 650W with active PFC


I think this is a hardware problem that was already there, but it was worsened by Payday2. I'll do some more testing. My guess is that it's either
A) CPU overheating; or
B) a motherboard problem.


But I'm not so sure of which. Maybe one of you has also gone through this and knows it's actually something else.
Any help will be very welcome.



Best solution

January 12, 2014 3:25:09 PM

What GPU do you have?

Chances are your PUS is complete junk and can't power your GPU.

What are your CPU and GPU temps under load?
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January 12, 2014 3:39:31 PM

My bad, I didn't say this. It's a NVidia 650GTX Ti.
I've taken the GPU off my computer now, and it goes on crashing.

I wish I could put them on load to tell you what their temp is, but sadly my BIOS won't start. I've left it for quite some time unplugged now, but it won't do. It seems that whatever problem I have is getting worse and worse.

I know their temps when under normal use. They keep around 40ºC (~104ºF).
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January 12, 2014 4:15:28 PM

I would replace the PSU ASAP. This is the most important part of the computer.

get a 500w unit from antec, XFX, Corsair, Seasonic.
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January 12, 2014 4:37:46 PM

This has actually made me remember something. I was hearing a weird noise from my PC, something like a fan behaving badly. So I opened it while it was working. I opened it expecting a HDD issue, but it actually came from the PSU. I think it wasn't being able to cool itself properly.

I will try using another PSU unit and afterwards I'll post here whatever happens. Thanks for your help.
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January 13, 2014 9:15:14 AM

It was indeed the PSU. Great guess.

It reached a point where it was not providing enough power even for the BIOS to run. A 230W source was able to boot my PC.
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