Computer freezing while gaming - Help with first build


I recently finished my first build, and I am having some trouble getting it to work. Please forgive me if this is actually a common error: I tried my best to research it beforehand, but my knowledge is somewhat limited in the advanced settings of a PC.

I have been trying out a couple of games on it, ie Skyrim and the original Assassin's Creed. They both have this problem where the computer will freeze entirely, as in it will remain on and the screen will not turn off, but the screen will not update, it does not respond to any input, and no sound comes from the speakers.

I have been trying to look for a solution, but most of the situations I find online are not the same. It seems that most people have the game crash to the desktop, but the computer is still running fine. Mine completely freezes up and I have to cut off the power manually to turn it off.

The worst part is, I cannot find any abnormalities in the functioning of the PC. It will crash at random moments in the game, not particularly active ones or anything. I thought the graphics card might be overheated, but it was at most at 67 degrees Celsius when I last played. Other than that, when the screen last froze up, it showed my CPU at only 22% usage, GPU at 40%, with about 10% of memory used (both RAM and VRAM). My system specs are below:

CPU: Intel i7-3820 @ 3.6 GHz (stock clock)
RAM: 16GB (4x4GB) Corsair Vengeance @1333MHz
Mobo: Asrock Extreme4 X79
Storage: 128GB Crucial M4 SSD
GPU: Zotac GTX 680 2GB (stock clocks)
PSU: Seasonic Platinum 860W

I can give any more info if needed. Thanks in advance for any help!
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More about computer freezing gaming build
  1. Could be a number of reasons, best start by eliminating what you can. Start with memory, you have 16 gig, so remove one stick at a time and see if that makes a diference. Then check out your SSD, don't know of any software for this, but if you have an old HDD temporarily load a basic Windows on it (you don't have to enter Product key) just to see if the fault re-appears.
  2. I can't check the RAM right now, but I'll do that as soon as I can. I was thinking it might just be that, so it seems like a good place to start.

    As for the SSD, I don't have any spare HDD's to work with now. If the error was in the SSD, though, wouldn't it come up when loading levels, and no at random moments in the game? And if it were an SSD problem, what kind of problem could it be? (I'm just trying to learn as much as I can about these problems, sorry for all the questions)
  3. Best answer
    The problem is so random it's difficult to pinpoint a particular area, the main culprits are usually RAM, VRAM SSD etc. RAM is easiest to eliminate, and as you say, if the SSD behaved itself during setup it should be fine. However, during gaming everything is being stretched, temps rise and if there is a marginal problem it occurs then. Other areas are your CPU,perhaps temp sensitive, PSU perhaps not delivering the correct voltages and it's not impossible that there is a problem with your mobo. It's a process of elimination and unfortunately not easy when you don't have lots of spares to play with! Meanwhile start with RAM...
  4. Some monitoring software for you to try
    If possible run a game and monitor at the same time to see if there are any changes.
    I have used the Windows Experience Assessment software to stretrch the system a bit as you can run it without obscuring the CPUID console. Just keep repeating it to see if it generates a freeze...
  5. Would running Prime95 in the mode that focuses on RAM usage give me a good idea if the RAM is the problem?
  6. Would certainly help stress the RAM a bit & perhaps generate a freeze.
  7. I'm just about to take out some of the memory cards to see if that fixes the problem. Before I did that, though, I ran CPU-Z to see if I noticed anything abnormal, and I noticed that the RAM is only running at 800MHz. I was pretty sure I'd set it up yo 1600MHz, though. I just don't know enough about RAM clock speeds to know if this is normal, I thought RAM always ran at the same speed. Should I try figuring out why it's not running at full speed as well?
  8. Varying the RAM speed could be the root of your problem, might be worthwhile investigating further. Perhaps resetting your BIOS to default settings will help...
    Quick glance at your manual, assume you used the UEFI Setup Utility, suspect you should leave the DRAM Frequency to Auto...
    Perhaps a post in the overclockers forum would help,varying clock speeds not my Forte'!
  9. I started playing around with the RAM modules, and after only reconnecting them two of them were already failing on me. So it's definitely a memory issue. I ended up using only two of the modules for an 8GB total and it didn't crash for the few minutes I played. I'll test more later, but at least I know the problem is definitely memory. Now to figure out whether it's the mobo or the modules!

    Thanks for the help!
  10. Best answer selected by Epsilon_0EVP.
  11. It's possible that whatever you did regarding RAM clock speed caused the prob initially, but at least you seem to be on the right track!
  12. Sorry for the necro-posting! I just want to help provide answers for anyone that might google this later.

    As it turns out, the motherboard was the issue. As soon as school was out for Christmas, I bought a small RAM stick from a brand I trust to test the motherboard, and it would still give me the same error. Fortunately, I had bought a replacement plan in my local shop, so I got a replacement for free. This one has not given me any issues for months now, and the RAM I originally bought works perfectly.
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