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PC freezes at random interval (hardware problem)

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June 10, 2007 3:16:54 PM

Hello people, I got my PC for over a year now and never had this problem. 2 days ago it started and the random crashes occured. The PC just freezes, nothing reacts anymore (no CTRL + ALT + DEL or anything). If you played any music, that stops aswell. The current picture stays on the monitor and you can just shutdown the hard way.

The freezes occur from anywhere between a few minutes to 1 hour or in rare cases a little longer.

My PC configuration:

Operating System Windows 2000 SP4 and all patches
AMD Athlon FX-57
Motherboard: Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe
2x 512 MB Corsair PC3200 DDR Ram
ATI Radeon 1900 XTX 512 Ram
Power Supply: Levicom 450W
I didnt change anything on the hardware for a long time.

What I tried already:

- It isn't the OS, because the PC can freeze in the BIOS and when using a memory diagnosis bootdisk in DOS aswell.
- I cleaned the PC of all dust and checked CPU temperature. It starts at 37° and goes up to 45° and stays constant there. Note that in 1 year of using the PC I never had any problems with overheating, even when I had it turned on for 2 days on a hot day.
- Removed my 2 Ram blocks and replaced it with a new Ram block (fresh from the shop). Also tried the new one in all ram slots. Didnt help, same freezes again.
- Replaced my graphics card with a graphic card from a friend to check if it was the graphic card thats causing the problems. Didnt help again.

So I would be very grateful if anyone can give me a hint where to go from now. Is it the motherboard? The CPU? Or what should I try next? Thanks for your help, it's greatly appreciated!
June 10, 2007 4:31:19 PM

I'd take a stab at your Power Supply is dying on you, do you have a friend you could swap out a known good one to see if it solves the problem?
June 10, 2007 6:10:39 PM

Thanks for your answer Ryan.

Hm but if it's indeed the power supply that's causing the freezing, why does the last picture still stay on the monitor after the crash? Also all cooler fans are still running after the crash.

Is it even possible that a faulty power supply still keeps the last picture up and the cooler fans running?

If yes then I will try it with a friends power supply.
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June 10, 2007 8:21:15 PM

Failing Power Supplys can mimic a host of symptoms, a dead power supply is pretty easy to diagnose, no fans running literally nothing most of the time, but a failing power supply hasn't completely died yet, so some voltage is getting to its destination and some isn't, or is erratic.

A P/S tester would allow you to test the main M/B connector, but still the individual connectors would need to be tested with a multimeter to see if the delivery voltage is in range, most M/B CMOS setup have a health feature so you could see what the voltage is to the 12v,5v,3v actually is.

If your M/B has that capability, it can be accessed without booting into Windows or whatever OP/SYS you're running, by usually holding down the Delete key on bootup, or whatever is required on the first boot screen to enter setup, once in the CMOS setup look for health, or system health.

Check the voltage readout of the 12, 5, and 3 volt range and post what they are.

It may not be your P/S at all but diagnosing hardware problems is a process of elimination until you find the actual problem, I've known of people here that were sure it was their M/B and changed it out to discover it was the P/S all along.
June 11, 2007 8:27:48 AM

Alright I'm gonna try it tonight with a new power supply and tell you if it worked. But after reading what u said I have a good feeling it is indeed the PSU.

Thanks so far for your help.
June 11, 2007 9:28:55 AM

That the picture stayed on the screen means nothing, except that an inability of PSU to regulate well enough caused a crash. PSU still didn't detect it was outside of it's designer's thresholds to shut off so it continues to run, the entire system continues to run, but is unable to continue on with the software because of a memory or cpu error. That's "IF" It is the PSU to blame.

It is likely, as these Levicoms (at least one I saw) appear to be junk, overrated youngyear psu like the Ultra X-Connect but I think even more overrated so your 450W PSU probably can't even put out a steady 15A of 12V power before it's beyond it's internal parts limits.

FWIW, this is a pretty typical scenario when a marginal PSU is dying young because it couldn't meet it's ratings long term. You probably have a capacitor failure, so after it's been unplugged for awhile you might pop it open, since about $10 worth of capacitors (better to replace several near the output of the PSU, not just some that vented) could put it back in business (hopefully powering something with less current required).
June 11, 2007 10:37:29 AM

Yeah it's most likely my Levicom PSU, I already bought a replacement. A quality PSU this time: Enermax Noise Taker 2.0 485W. I will tell you if it worked out for me.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 11, 2007 11:17:41 AM

You also might want to check the memory for errors with memtest86+ if the problem continues.
June 11, 2007 11:58:09 AM

- Power Supply
- Motherboard

Those are the only two components which I can reasonably assume may be failing. I suspect the power supply over the motherboard, but wouldn't rule either out.


No, if it is NOT the power supply you may want to try this. I have saved countless motrherboards by doing this.

What you will need:
- Dawn Dish Shoap
- An unused sponge
- One gallon of distilled water

Process:
- Disconect all power from motherboard
- Remove all components from motherboard
- Remove CMOS battery
- Pre-heat your oven to about 150F
- Heat distilled water until it is hot to the touch (being VERY careful not to super heat it)
- Use some distilled water to wet down the motherboard
- Use generous amounts of Dawn and your unused sponge to thouroughly wipe down and clean the motherboard
- Use the remaining distilled water to rinse the motherboard, removing all traces of soap
- Place the motherboard in the oven for about 15 minutes
- Remove the motherboard from the oven and let it cool off and sit for a few hours to make sure the rest of the water has evaporated
- Put the motherboard back into your computer
June 12, 2007 10:28:03 AM

So yeah I hit the jackpot, it wasn't the PSU. After building in the new Enermax PSU I still got a crash. I don't blame anyone other than myself though (for not testing the voltages in the BIOS, I just bought a new PSU in the hope it would be fixed).

So anyways today I bought my new motherboard, the same Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe again. It says 3 years warranty so I'm gonna send in the old one and maybe sell the replacement on ebay.

If the new motherboard won't fix it I will throw the PC out of the window 8O.
June 13, 2007 6:18:37 AM

Last night I changed my motherboard, with a new Asus A8N32SLI-Deluxe. And yeah its working now without problems. It was a lot of work of course but at least I've got it running now.
June 13, 2007 7:04:37 AM

Pretty rare that a MB dies after a year. Any sign of overheating or swelled caps? Glad you found the problem, any word from Asus about their "guarantee"?
May 6, 2009 2:43:26 AM

A few years back now I had a similar problem. My system kept freezing, starting when I left my pc on overnight but it got worse and worse until it took a few attempts to even get it booted into windows. Then my motherboard started beeping at me. It was toast :( 
So I went out and got a new motherboard and all went well for a couple of weeks and then I started getting the same problem AGAIN!
To cut a long story short, it turned out the power supply was sending tiny surges down the 12v line. I was just lucky it didn't cause harm to anything but my motherboard.
So FWIW if you havn't put the new psu in I would. Better to be safe than sorry.
!