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Strange crashing with crackling, please help!

Last response: in Systems
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February 10, 2007 12:13:25 AM

Hi there,

I've got a strange hardware fault. Here's the story.

Recently my pc has been doing the following:

When I actively work on it (anything from word to gaming) it works fine. As soon as I leave it on to download and go to work when I come back the pc is screwed. This is what happens:
First you hear a cracking sound in the speakers, then the desktop turns totally black (ie like monitor is switched off except that it isnt off) and then back to normal desktop and then black again, this goes back and forth for about 20 sec during which time the mouse is only partially responsive. THERE IS NO BLUESCREEN. If i manage to shut down windows upon reboot my primary drive will be corrupted or an hdd that was reading or writing at the time of the crash will be partially corrupted. Sometimes I cannot shut it down and it just freezes or i press reset, result is the same everytime.

Recently this problem has gotten worse so now even when i'm actively using my pc it sometimes does it.

This is what I've done so far:

I have re-installed windows xp on my 74 gig RAPTOR, SATA drive, same problem occured! The drive gets totally corrupted when it crashes

So i installed win xp on my second drive, a 120 gig maxtor IDE drive. Same result there but the IDE drive DOES NOT get corrupted when it crashes. BUT IT STILL CRASHES.


This is why i think its a harware fault: Power supply? Ram? Graphics card (whilst playing games no graphics corruption was seen at all)?

My specs:

Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI
Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (new, 1 week old)
2x 512 mb Corsair XMS CL2 DDR400 dual channel ram :cry: 
74 gig Raptor SATA
36 gig Raptor SATA
120 gig Maxtor IDE
250 gig Maxtor IDE
250 gig WD Caviar Raid edition
MSI geforce 7800GTX
NEC DVD burner

Thanks for the help!
February 11, 2007 2:43:23 PM

Did you install nvidias network access manager aka NAM? Don't ever do it.

BTW, what's the psu brand & model?
February 11, 2007 6:09:54 PM

No I didn't install it!

and I've since changed the PSU to an Enermax Liberty 500W and it turned out that one of the two ram sticks showed faults in MEMTEST so I took that one out as well.
Strangely enough though the crashes STILL keep happening, the newest one with a bluescreen of NV4.dll or something like that!
Related resources
February 11, 2007 6:12:24 PM

That explains it. Faulty ram. After you swaped out the ram, have you memtested it?

What's the 0x000000?? at the nv4.dll bsod?

I forgot to say if ram is pulled out of an nforce mobo with power cord, mobo & cpu power cables plugged in & psu turned off, the ram can be damaged. It's exclusive to uninstalling ram from nforce mobos. The manual may make a small mention of it in the memory section. There's still power on the mobo when the psu is off, as the LED is on on the mobo.
February 11, 2007 6:20:59 PM

NV4.dll is an Nvidia graphics driver, you can try reinstalling the driver, but I doubt that is the problem actually considering you are having the data corruption and RAM problems.

If your motherboard was bad it could cause all of those problems, try the stick of memory that was reported bad in another PC if you can.

I had to RMA my last NForce4 board (DOA) for almost the exact same problems. First I had data corruption problems, then memory problems, then the PCIe interface completely stopped working, all within a couple hours.
February 12, 2007 10:26:17 AM

Thanks for the replys, I've got an update now. I have checked the remaining ram module in MEMTEST and it runs without problems or errors.

I have let the pc run overnight just with the winxp desktop and running azureus (bittorrent downloader).

In the morning - BLUESCREEN!!!! Thats twice in two nights. The other night it was the NV4.dll thing, this morning it was MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION and I assume there was this crackling sound again though I was asleep.

As I said before THIS CRACKLING SOUND WITH CRASH ONLY HAPPENS WHEN I HAVE THE PC ON BUT NOT ACTIVELY DOING ANYTHING ON IT, IE LIKE IN IDLE MODE EXCEPT THAT I HAVE POWER SAVING OPTIONS ALL OFF. If I am using the PC actively (ie with keyboard and mouse) it runs FINE WITHOUT EVER CRASHING!!!!

So I've replaced the ram, the hdd, the PSU, only thing still old in the pc is Soundcard audigy 2, geforce 7800GTX and my Athlon x2 4800+.

heh, please help?

is there any prog i can use to diagnose?
February 12, 2007 10:36:42 AM

It may well be software. Windows isn't the most stable os in the world. My Xp bsod's once in a while. It can run 24/7 for the whole week no problem.

Things I'd do:
run a live Linux such as knoppix for 2 days straight while downloading whatever & idling the pc

reinstall xp, sp2, & stop. anything past sp2 from auto updates may introduce problems. Just make sure you have the latest drivers & mobo bios.

From the sound of it, it seems xp bsod's when the pc idles once a day. It's not uncommon for intruders to buffer-overflow your xp to bsod. Maybe try another download site. Or just let it run idle. No downloading. for 2 days.
February 12, 2007 5:30:40 PM

You sure your PC isn't trying to go to sleep or into hibernation? Check your power settings in Windows and your BIOS again.

Quote:
is there any prog i can use to diagnose?


I wish...
February 12, 2007 11:42:08 PM

Ok guys here's another update:

Today I have let the PC run for 12 hours straight with the following settings:

The one remaining good RAM, new PSU, winxp on the maxtor drive, with the raptor still connected as D: drive, and with azureus downloading BUT the big change now is that I am letting CPU STABILITY TEST 5.0 run and also WINAMP 5.32 with my entire MP3 collection on loop!
This means my CPU usage was at constant 50% throughout the day

THE RESULT: no crash! WinXP didn't crash and the stability test reported no errors either BUT Winamp had stopped for some reason and the speakers were playing the last 2 sec of a song in a loop!!!
So I pressed stop on WINAMP but the loop continues, I closed down winamp(regular closedown, ie no crash here either) but the loop is still playing. Only way to get rid of it is to restart PC which is fine!

SO: what does that mean? When CPU usage is NOT idle it will not crash!
Winamp obviously encountered something in the day but didn't really crash as i could press all the buttons and also play a new song which got overlayed over the 2 sec loop! But the looping music is STRANGE!!! Maybe the soundcard is to blame??? I can't think why?

Does anyone know the solution? I know we're close guys!

In summary: crash with crackling noise and hdd corruption only when CPU is idle for more than 1 hour otherwise it works fine!
Components that are not at fault because they are new or tested ok:
PSU (new)
RAM (tested ok)
CPU (tested ok)
hdd (same crash on 2 different hdds)

Somebody mentioned Power settings... I checked in winxp power settings and everything is OFF! I checked BIOS and there aren't any direct power saving settings.
Even if: which component is faulty here? Is it the mobo???? or the soundcard??? or the graphics card????
February 13, 2007 7:26:33 AM

If you have a screen saver installed you could try without it.
The problem might encounter from the soundcard or its drivers. If you have an extrenal soundcard you could test without it. Or download the newest drivers.
February 13, 2007 8:36:22 AM

try installing and using it for some time without the Audigy card. that you can also see if the sound card is the problem or not.
Edit: during this time you can use on-board sound.
!