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My computer is restarting 1-3 hours into gaming sessions. Can't determine cause. Does not restart during stress tests or reg

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March 12, 2014 1:06:51 AM

For the last month or so my PC has been randomly restarting while gaming, without any apparent cause.

My build:
Intel i7 2600k
ASUS Sabertooth P67 B3
Galaxy GTX 680 2GB
Samsung 840 SSD
Corsair 750W PSU
16GB PC1333 CL9 Kingston RAM

My PSU, CPU and Mobo are about 3 years old, the rest is 1-2 years younger.

The power loss always occurs suddenly, and exclusively after gaming for 1-3 hours. Reboot is always automatic. I never have any freezing, BSOD or difficulty booting. Windows Event Viewer also never shows any events tied to the reset. The only not it makes of it is generic "Your computer powered down unexpectedly" error messages.

This has led me to tentatively rule out a RAM issue, as there has been no BSOD or freezing or other issues associated with RAM failure.

I've also ruled out temperature related resets. I purchased a CoolerMaster EVO 212 to resolve the issue, as my CPU was running hot (old thermal paste), as well as upping my fan speeds. While this has resulted in much better temps, it hasn't resolved the reset issue.

I've stress tested my CPU and GPU extensively, with FurMark and Prime95. Temperatures and voltages are both optimal even after several hours of testing. Stress testing with FurMark and Prime95, separately and at the same time, have so far failed to replicate the resetting issue. My PC runs competently even while under heavy load from both of these tests running simultaneously for multiple hours.

Specifically, while gaming consistently causes resets in 1-3 hours (usually around 1 hour), stress testing for several hours or more has not caused resets at all. Resets also never occur during non-gaming use, even after multiple days of continual activity.

I really don't know what to make of this. If my PSU was failing under load, then the stress testing should have replicated the same failure. Ditto if there was something wrong with most of my other components. Nevertheless, my PC stands resilient and stable in the face of significant punishment, but resets after relatively short periods of significantly less taxing gaming.

I haven't conclusively ruled anything out yet, but a solution is far from obvious and so far the evidence doesn't conform neatly to any common causes that I've found for this issue.

I've even rolled back my nVidia drivers to March 2013's 314.22 (without 3D vision or GeForce experience) under reports that later drivers have been causing issues and damaging hardware.

At this point I have no idea what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas for further avenues of investigation? I'm completely stumped.

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a b 4 Gaming
a c 116 ) Power supply
March 12, 2014 1:31:23 AM

I have heard that IBT is faster to find faults and more stressful than P95, though P95 should be plenty if it's an actual crash.

The fact that it only crashes in games indicates it's some form of software fault, with the possibly exception of something in the GPU that's used by games but not furmark - unlikely, but possibly PCIe or something. Very unlikely, though.

Have you tried a reinstall?
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a b 4 Gaming
a b ) Power supply
March 12, 2014 1:31:45 AM

Run a furmark at the same time as prime 95 and see if it fails. (leave it for about 6 hours)
Also check the logs in event viewer (Right click "Computer" in the start menu -> Manage -> Event Viewer -> system.
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March 12, 2014 10:59:33 AM

I tried that stuff already, see the OP.

I checked Event Viewer. No errors or related messages beyond "Your computer restarted unexpectedly" stuff that you get on reboot.

I also ran multiple simultaneous Prime95 and FurMark tests, with the FurMark test being on very demanding settings. The resets always happen when gaming, and almost always within 90 minutes. These tests where both 2-3 hours without any issues. I don't see why games (even older less demanding games) would cause a reset within 90 minutes, but the computer is rock-solid after 3 hours of extreme stress testing.

@SomeoneSomewhere: That's the best conclusion I've drawn so far. I uninstalled some software who's installation date vaguely correlated to the restarts kicking in. I also ran CHKDSK and some other repair tools, which resolved a couple other less significant issues. I didn't get a chance to test of resets happened again 'cause it was all rather late last night. We'll see. It's quite peculiar.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2014 3:05:16 AM

Frontspac said:
I tried that stuff already, see the OP.

I checked Event Viewer. No errors or related messages beyond "Your computer restarted unexpectedly" stuff that you get on reboot.

I also ran multiple simultaneous Prime95 and FurMark tests, with the FurMark test being on very demanding settings. The resets always happen when gaming, and almost always within 90 minutes. These tests where both 2-3 hours without any issues. I don't see why games (even older less demanding games) would cause a reset within 90 minutes, but the computer is rock-solid after 3 hours of extreme stress testing.

@SomeoneSomewhere: That's the best conclusion I've drawn so far. I uninstalled some software who's installation date vaguely correlated to the restarts kicking in. I also ran CHKDSK and some other repair tools, which resolved a couple other less significant issues. I didn't get a chance to test of resets happened again 'cause it was all rather late last night. We'll see. It's quite peculiar.


Keep us updated. To confirm you have the latest drivers for all of your hardware?
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March 13, 2014 3:10:46 PM

I rolled back the nVidia drivers deliberately in an attempt to solve the issue.

Beyond that I've been pretty thorough about driver updates. Everything seems to be ship-shape, including MoBo BIOS. Haven't had a chance to test an actual game yet, but will post results after tonight when I do.
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March 13, 2014 4:29:43 PM

It sounds like your motherboard is overheating and it has some overtemperature protection turned on. My ITX system used to turn itself off all of a sudden before I optimised the fans. Try improving the fans, airflow, or set the fans up for negative pressure to remove as much hotter as possible. Three hours of gaming can create a lot of heating system.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 116 ) Power supply
March 13, 2014 6:29:09 PM

Yeah, check the temperature of the chipset. It's possible that gaming puts load on the storage controller, or something.
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March 13, 2014 10:16:32 PM

What is there that would stress out and cause over-heating on one very specific part of my motherboard that would only crop up during gaming, but not during multiple simultaneous CPU, GPU and memory stress tests?

Also confirmed issue is unresolved. Civ V caused a reset after only half an hour, and this is after I re-updated to the latest nVidia drivers.

I'm baffled. I can't think of anything a game would do to my computer that a combination of Prime95 and FurMark wouldn't, unless it's some weird hyper-specific software problem.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 116 ) Power supply
March 13, 2014 10:22:33 PM

Potentially a storage controller, or something else in the chipset. In modern boards, it's really only a southbridge - used for SATA, USB, and video. It's possible that the games thrash the HDD or something, or something like that.
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March 13, 2014 11:16:10 PM

I was recording my temps during the last reset. Nothing was spiking or higher than normal. I'm going to try MemTest and maybe a complete clean install.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 116 ) Power supply
March 14, 2014 12:10:08 AM

Most programs only record the CPU and GPU, not the chipset or drives.
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March 14, 2014 3:53:21 AM

Frontspac said:
What is there that would stress out and cause over-heating on one very specific part of my motherboard that would only crop up during gaming, but not during multiple simultaneous CPU, GPU and memory stress tests?

Also confirmed issue is unresolved. Civ V caused a reset after only half an hour, and this is after I re-updated to the latest nVidia drivers.

I'm baffled. I can't think of anything a game would do to my computer that a combination of Prime95 and FurMark wouldn't, unless it's some weird hyper-specific software problem.


Stress tests only tend to stress the CPU or the GPU. Very rarely together. If you can, run prime95 and Unigiene heaven benchmark windowed next to each other. This is a far more realistic gaming benchmark as far as heat goes as both components are working hared and outputting heat. In a game, there is also alot of of data transferred through the motherboard between the CPU and GPU. This creates added heat and does not tend to be simulated in benchmarks.
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March 14, 2014 8:47:35 AM

It was showing temps for Mobo, SATA, and other things I couldn't immediately identify, but none of them spiked. Memtest ran for 7+ hours without error so far, it's still running now. I'm going to try a clean install next, I think. Is there a better way to check my south-bridge temps?

@David Dewis: I've done that with Prime95 and FurMark.

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March 14, 2014 8:57:20 AM

what are you monitoring temps with. If your using hwmonitor (which you should) then please run prime 95 and download unigiene heaven bechmark (its free and better than furmark at maxing gpu) post the results on here
i would be more than happy to help you, but i need this info
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March 14, 2014 9:05:38 PM

I run Prime95 and Unigine Heaven. Same results as Prime95+FurMark. After several hours there was no reset or crash or freeze, performance was great and temperatures where great. Rock solid.

As I said before, games almost always cause a reset within an hour-ish. These stress tests have all been, separately and together, for several hours at a time or more. Not one issue.

I also ran Memtest86+ for about 16 hours with absolutely no errors.

I'm going to run a stress test specifically on my SDD, to see if it's related to my Southbridge specifically. Might do a Windows re-install/repair install. If that doesn't work, might try for a wipe and totally clean install.

Thanks for all the help guys, by the way. I know no one has a solution yet but I'm grateful for to you all for helping me whittle down the possibilities.
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March 15, 2014 9:03:54 PM

I did a re-install of Windows. Not a clean install admittedly, but just a re-install of the OS itself. Did not resolve the issue. Might try a complete wipe and clean install when I have the time, but in the short term I'm pretty stumped as to what the cause might be. None of this makes any sense.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b ) Power supply
March 17, 2014 4:21:32 AM

I would have to say that the GPU might have an internal VRM issue? (Try another GPU E.G a 610)
Still could be the PSU buckling when the CPU, GPU and HDD are active though I don't see why that would happen.
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March 18, 2014 7:53:20 PM

I did a full wipe and clean Windows 7 install. It's early on, but I've had several hours of successive gaming on games that previously caused restarts within 60-90 minutes. I'm guessing it was some kind of software issue.
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