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System Instability

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December 16, 2007 2:43:04 PM

I finished building my new system a couple of days ago, q6600, 2gb corsair dominator ram, gigabyte ga-p35-ds3l motherboard, corsaid hx620w, and I put my 7900gs from my old pc in. I had everything set up fine and installed doom 3 and played for a few hours. During that day I had NO problems whatsoever. The next day I installed STALKER, played for a few hours, once again NO problems at all, perfect stability all the time. The next day, during the evening I installed the crysis sp demo, after about 20mins of play the system rebooted all of a sudden, I tried again a few times and got one BSOD and a few crashes to dektop with error message. Thinking it was just crysis overtaxing my system, today I played doom 3 again and now I'm getting the same problems, crashes to desktop, a couple of spontaneous reboots and a couple of BSODs, I noticed one referenced usb(somethingorother).sys. :pt1cable: 
Thought it might be overheating at first, checked my gfx card temps during crysis, it reached 90c, which sounds high, but I'm not convinced that the card can't handle it. I had not gotten round to putting on the side of the case, so I put it on (thermaltake armor with 25cm fan) and it seemed to lower temps slightly, but stability was no better. Never had these problems with my old system using the same card and it idled at higher temps on my old pc. I really don't think that overheating can be causing it, because doom 3 and stalker ran perfectly for hours just a few days ago without the side of the case on.
The one cause that I can think of is my bios. Why? Because the day I started getting problems is the day I updated my bios from f4 I think it was, to f7. I honestly can't remember if I updated AFTER playing the crysis demo, or BEFORE but I reckon it was before and I reckon that it was the cause of all this. But I really don't understand why. I did update it for a reason, with f4 the system would switch on for a mere half second then switch off then after a few seconds back on again when I tried to cold boot. f7 fixed that.

Could the bios update cause the instability? If so, what can I do about it?

More about : system instability

December 16, 2007 2:59:23 PM

I suppose BIOS settings could cause it. Mainly memory timings/voltages or CPU settings. I would find out what the stock speeds of both your memory and CPU are and verify that the BIOS is set that way. It's possible that they could have been detected wrong.

It also could be a corrupt driver. I would download and install the latest video card driver. If you have the latest installed, then reinstall it.

You could also download and run Memtest86. Let it run all night and check for errors in the morning.

What about temps on your CPU?
December 16, 2007 3:15:24 PM

cpu temps seemed to be fine, checking in the bios they never exceeded 40. In windows, using gigabytes easytune software they seemed to be considerably less than in the bios. :S But I've no reason to believe that the cpu temps are too high, I've disabled the smart fan control and I have the cooler running at full speed constantly along with my 25cm case side fan and 2 120mm case fans going too. That and the it's winter. I've also set the bios to sound the alarm if the cpu reaches 60c or above. It has yet to make a noise. cpu temp cannot be to blame imo. Sorry I'm typing so much I like to be thorough.

memtest I will run, but I cannot run it all night, I have to sleep in this room and can't sleep with the sound of the fans going, so that's a no can do. I'll run it for half an hour and see what happens.

As for corrupt drivers, I've been using the same drivers for the past few days, they worked fine before. Doubt it's them, but I'll reinstall them if memtest works.

As for the memory speeds, they all looked in order, the timings are at 5-5-5-18, and the ram is meant to run at 5-5-5-15, so that can't be a problem can it? It's running at1066mhz as it's supposed to, all looks fine to me.
Related resources
December 16, 2007 3:28:12 PM

Just ran memtest for windows, it instructed me to run 2 lots of the program at the same time at 826mb each, so I did. The first instance gave me 10 errors quite soon then calmed down, the second went fine untile about 25% then it threw up 263 errors then the errors stopped. I only ran it until they got to 30% each. I think that already tells us that's somethings very wrong indeed. I'll go look at my cpu/ram bios settings, note them all down and then post them here for scrutiny.
December 16, 2007 3:42:46 PM

OK, here's a bunch of stuff. I took down as much as possible just in case.

Robust Graphics Booster - Auto
CPU Clock Ratio - 9X
CPU Frequency - 2.4ghz (266X9)
CPU Host Clock Control - Disabled
CPU Host Frequency - 266
C.I.A.2 - Disabled
Performance Enhancer - Turbo
System Memory Multiplier (SPD) - Auto
Memory Frequency - 1066
DRAM Timing (SPD) - Auto
Standard Timing Control - 5-5-5-18
Advanced Timing Control - 3-3-6-42-3-0
vcore - 1.23750v
ddr 18v - 2.112v

Anything out of the ordinary there? Is 2.112v normal? All the timings ok? 42 seems odd to me, but I don't really know anything about timings.
December 16, 2007 7:05:25 PM

Still need help here.
December 16, 2007 9:18:05 PM

You need to look up the specs on your RAM and verify that 2.11 volts is correct. I'm not sure if incorrect settings will give you errors or not, but if you know your settings are correct, then chances are, one (or both) of the sticks are bad.

Do you have 1 or 2 sticks of RAM? If it's 2, take one out and run Memtest. Then run it with the other one to see which one is giving you trouble.
December 17, 2007 1:15:15 PM

I have two sticks of ram: Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5D

I ran memtest 86 from cd, with both sticks in, and then I tried each stick on it's own in slot one on the mobo.

Each time the test ran for about 20 seconds and then gave me results. Does the test keep running until it finds errors?

Here's the results that it gave me for both sticks.

test errors
0 56
1 24
2 40
3 56
4 72
5 88
6 104
7 120
8 136
9 152
10 168

I'm pretty sure the above values were exactly the same when I tried the sticks on their own too.

Here's the rest of what it said when both sticks were in, if anyone can tell me if it's saying anything useful because it doesn't mean much to me, sounds like my memory is total screwed to me, but I don't believe that it is.

Error Confidence Value:
Lowest Error Address: 00000000000 - 0.0mb
Highest Error Address: 000ffffffff - 4095.9mb (this confuses me, I only have 2 gigs, like I said, I don't understand what these results mean, but it looks like it's saying that there are errors from 0 to 4095mb of my ram, despite me having only 2048. Maybe someone can explain this to me)
Bits in Error Mask: 0001fffc
Bits in Error - Total: 15 min: max: 14 Avg: 8 7
Max Contiguous Errors: 2
ECC Correctable Errors:
Errors Per Memory Slot: 84208028
2:0
3:0 538982199


That's all it gave me. Is it possible/safe to flash my bios back to an earlier version, because as mad as it seems to me, I swear updating to f7 caused the problem. I can't go back to f4 though(which the mobo came installed with), because it's not listed on the gigabyte site for some reason, I'll have to try f3 or f5 I guess.


December 17, 2007 3:18:33 PM

I loaded optimized defaults in my bios and then ran memtest 86, and got the exact same results indicating that nothing had changed. But then I ran memtest for windows and got 0 errors, I ran two instances at 825mb each as per it's instruction and left it to reach 200%. Then I tried it again and left it to reach 50% then I tried just one instance and left it to reach 50%. I didn't get a single error. Contrast that with the results I got from running memtest for windows yesterday (where I received hundreds of errors) and it would appear that something has changed. But why am I getting totally different results between the two memtest programs? :S I shall spend a few hours on a game and see if it crashes or not.
December 17, 2007 8:16:07 PM

Just spent 5 hours solid on Doom 3. Not a single crash. Loading defauls seems to have done the trick.
December 18, 2007 1:43:58 AM

I wish I had the answer for you on why such different results.

I'm glad you solved it, and thanks for posting your results. Did you notice which BIOS settings changed by chance?
December 18, 2007 11:40:04 AM

I didn't change any BIOS settings really. All I did was load the optimized defaults and then set everything back up exactly as it was before. But whatever I did, it seems to have worked. Thanks for all your suggestions and advice, dmroeder.
December 19, 2007 9:53:50 AM

Well I thought I'd sorted things and yes, it's much more stable than it was. But I still got two bsods yesterday and I just turned the pc on this morning and got another almost as soon as I got into windows. In fact, two of those three bsods occured while I was running just firefox and winamp. The other occured while running half life 2. This is just unnacceptable. I'm not sure what to do about this.
December 19, 2007 11:24:38 AM

omfg said:
Well I thought I'd sorted things and yes, it's much more stable than it was. But I still got two bsods yesterday and I just turned the pc on this morning and got another almost as soon as I got into windows. In fact, two of those three bsods occured while I was running just firefox and winamp. The other occured while running half life 2. This is just unnacceptable. I'm not sure what to do about this.



Ok first everything is running great, then you update your BIOS and everything gets unstable. Flash back to your older BIOS. It sounds like a BIOS issue because an unstable system will give you random errors, meaning there may be a certain amount of time (playing Doom 3 for 3 hours) before you get your next error.

All this started after you updated your BIOS right? Then...
December 19, 2007 6:31:17 PM

Systemlord, I can't flash back to my older bios(the one the mobo came with), (which was f4) because it's not available for download from the site. It all seemed to start after I updated the bios yes, but I had only been using the pc for 2 days prior to this, so I didn't exactly test things thoroughly, but I had no problems at all for those two days.

night_wolf_in, mine is this one and on the page for that you can see f7:

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/BIOS_Mod...

the one you linked to was GA-P35-S3L (rev. 2.0) mine is GA-P35-DS3L (rev. 1.0) note the 'D'
December 19, 2007 8:21:20 PM

omfg said:
Systemlord, I can't flash back to my older bios(the one the mobo came with), (which was f4) because it's not available for download from the site. It all seemed to start after I updated the bios yes, but I had only been using the pc for 2 days prior to this, so I didn't exactly test things thoroughly, but I had no problems at all for those two days.

night_wolf_in, mine is this one and on the page for that you can see f7:

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/BIOS_Mod...

the one you linked to was GA-P35-S3L (rev. 2.0) mine is GA-P35-DS3L (rev. 1.0) note the 'D'


Seems like you traded one problem for another, have you called Gigabyte about maybe somehow getting your stock F4 BIOS back?
December 19, 2007 9:51:19 PM

I guess I could do that. Good idea.
December 19, 2007 11:01:13 PM

Or just try bios version F5
December 20, 2007 2:14:08 PM

Just tried f5, it didn't help. :(  Played company of heroes twice since I switched to f5, once it crashed to desktop after about 20 minutes of play, the next time the pc restarted itself after about 5 minutes. Doom 3 however stays perfectly perfectly solid, played that for about 12 hours since I loaded optimized defaults and it hasn't crashed once since then. Confusing. I guess I'll try some slightly older display drivers as was suggested to me on the corsair support site.
December 20, 2007 6:54:52 PM

December 20, 2007 6:58:33 PM

My last post didn't seem to work. It won't let me edit it though :(  So I'll post this without the log instead...

I used coretemp to monitor my cpu temps and played an 8 way skirmish on company of heroes. At the time it crashed, the log reports temps of around 45-55c. 55c was the highest any of the cores reached. Do you think that 55 is too high and could be causing problems, or should the cpu be able to easily deal with that?
December 20, 2007 7:10:47 PM

My last post didn't seem to work. It won't let me edit it though :(  So I'll post this without the log instead...

I used coretemp to monitor my cpu temps and played an 8 way skirmish on company of heroes. At the time it crashed, the log reports temps of around 45-55c. 55c was the highest any of the cores reached. Do you think that 55 is too high and could be causing problems, or should the cpu be able to easily deal with that?
December 21, 2007 2:48:40 AM

omfg said:
My last post didn't seem to work. It won't let me edit it though :(  So I'll post this without the log instead...

I used coretemp to monitor my cpu temps and played an 8 way skirmish on company of heroes. At the time it crashed, the log reports temps of around 45-55c. 55c was the highest any of the cores reached. Do you think that 55 is too high and could be causing problems, or should the cpu be able to easily deal with that?



Those temps are fine, you can hit 60.1C and still be alright as 60.1C is the max you should ever go and you still well below that. If you can't get it stable soon here I would RMA the mobo back to where you bought it. Try changing the Dram voltage and timings to 5-5-5-15 with 2.1 volts, my mobo didn't like 5-5-5-18 very much.
December 21, 2007 3:28:45 AM

Initial guesstimate: You didn't clear the CMOS after updating the BIOS. Loading the optimized defaults must have had a similar effect and reloaded correct values that were wrong before you loaded them. You skipped a few BIOS versions, so it is likely significant changes happened since. That is why it is recommended you clear the CMOS after you update the BIOS, especially if you have problems.
December 21, 2007 4:51:53 AM

randomizer said:
Initial guesstimate: You didn't clear the CMOS after updating the BIOS. Loading the optimized defaults must have had a similar effect and reloaded correct values that were wrong before you loaded them. You skipped a few BIOS versions, so it is likely significant changes happened since. That is why it is recommended you clear the CMOS after you update the BIOS, especially if you have problems.



Please explain why clearing the CMOS is recommended, I am new to updating the BIOS. Maybe the last setting before updating are still in affect? Thanks
December 21, 2007 10:08:49 AM

Yes, please explain. I've never heard that clearing the cmos is necessary. I'll chnge my timings from 5-5-5-18 to 5-5-5-15 and see what happens. I'm also going to install vista today (running xp at the moment) to dual boot and see if the problems persist on that. Also, I've ordered a new graphics card that should arrive today, I doubt that installing that will fix anything, but you never know.
December 21, 2007 1:17:19 PM

Tried installing vista, tested company of heroes again, got a bsod. Installed my new 8800gt, happy with the performance, but the problems still persist, so it didn't help there. I didn't bother installing any drivers or apps in vista, I just installed the game straight after installing windows and got that bsod. So from that, I really don't think it's a software or driver problem. Must either be my motherboard, ram or hard drives I reckon. I'm thinking about taking the damn thing to a repair shop, maybe they'll have some different ram to test things with. It's either that or sending components back for replacement, but that could take ages.
December 21, 2007 2:15:09 PM

Memtest x86 gave you a ton of errors and Corsair RAM has been having problems as of late. I would try different RAM, or even try raising the DRAM to 2.2v. The only thing the Computer Repair shop will do is test the RAM and tell you its bad, given all the error your recieving from the tests.

Just get some cheap ADATA RAM or whatever just to test in MEmtest to see if the same exact errors come up again. If they do, then I would suspect something else like Mobo.

Also read the Newegg review on this RAM, lots of DOAs and stick going bad after a few days.




a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2007 2:22:03 PM

What are your exact BIOS settings? I have this exact motherboard and would be able to help you with the correct settings.
December 21, 2007 3:45:56 PM

I posted my bios settings some posts above:

Robust Graphics Booster - Auto
CPU Clock Ratio - 9X
CPU Frequency - 2.4ghz (266X9)
CPU Host Clock Control - Disabled
CPU Host Frequency - 266
C.I.A.2 - Disabled
Performance Enhancer - Turbo
System Memory Multiplier (SPD) - Auto
Memory Frequency - 1066
DRAM Timing (SPD) - Auto
Standard Timing Control - 5-5-5-18
Advanced Timing Control - 3-3-6-42-3-0
vcore - 1.23750v
ddr 18v - 2.112v

Except since then I've changed my timings to 5-5-5-15 which made no difference to anything. If there are any other specific settings you need to know then I'll find them out. Yes I did flash via windows, I used @bios. Why should that cause a problem? Can I put the bios on a cd-r? I don't have a floppy drive connected at the moment.
December 21, 2007 5:14:34 PM

I just spent about an hour fitting a floppy drive to my pc, still didn't manage to actually screw it in, stupid akward case. Tried to flash the bios to f7 using qflash. It appeared to work until the pc restarted then it said 'auto recovering bios' or something like that. checked @bios once it booted up and it seems to be back to f5. ffs. does nothing work? I take it that I shouldn't have used qflash either? I don't understand why it failed. :S
December 22, 2007 4:52:27 AM

omfg said:
I just spent about an hour fitting a floppy drive to my pc, still didn't manage to actually screw it in, stupid akward case. Tried to flash the bios to f7 using qflash. It appeared to work until the pc restarted then it said 'auto recovering bios' or something like that. checked @bios once it booted up and it seems to be back to f5. ffs. does nothing work? I take it that I shouldn't have used qflash either? I don't understand why it failed. :S


The problem is either the mobo or Ram, I suspect the mobo's BIOS.
December 22, 2007 12:28:39 PM

I think maybe you're right. I went to a pc repair shop today and got the modules tested in another pc, they only ran the test for about 5 minutes, but the results were very different compared to running it on my machine.

They tried each module separately, let them reach about 10%pass in memtest86 and neither gave errors. On my pc of course, as I've already stated, I can't even get to 1%pass without the test stopping and it showing the memory dump. Though memtest for windows on my machien gives no errors whatsoever.

The guy at the shop suggested that the processor may be the problem, is that at all likely?

Getting back to the bios, qflash didn't work, should I keep trying it? I tried to create a floppy to flash the bios through dos without using quflash, but 1.44mb isn't big enough to fit both the flash utility and the bios on at the same time, lol.

Any more suggestions?
December 22, 2007 12:33:24 PM

Oh and now my floppy disk drive seems fuxxored. :(  No idea why, but it says 'the drive cannot find the sector requested' it worked just yesterday, now all of a sudden, it won't work at all. I tried using a different disk, so I don't think it's the disk. sigh.
December 22, 2007 3:37:44 PM

Could be, but I would think the mobo would be the culprit before the CPU. If you can, I would take a look at the event logger in Windows to se what happens before it crashes. That may shed some light on the issue.
December 22, 2007 3:41:46 PM

I managed to flash to f7 using qflash, hurrah! (tried yet another floppy disk and that one worked) Didn't work the first time, but it worked the second. Now I've just got to test things and see if it's made a difference.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2007 4:50:19 PM

omfg said:
I posted my bios settings some posts above:

Robust Graphics Booster - Auto
CPU Clock Ratio - 9X
CPU Frequency - 2.4ghz (266X9)
CPU Host Clock Control - Disabled
CPU Host Frequency - 266
C.I.A.2 - Disabled
Performance Enhancer - Turbo
System Memory Multiplier (SPD) - Auto
Memory Frequency - 1066
DRAM Timing (SPD) - Auto
Standard Timing Control - 5-5-5-18
Advanced Timing Control - 3-3-6-42-3-0
vcore - 1.23750v
ddr 18v - 2.112v

Except since then I've changed my timings to 5-5-5-15 which made no difference to anything. If there are any other specific settings you need to know then I'll find them out. Yes I did flash via windows, I used @bios. Why should that cause a problem? Can I put the bios on a cd-r? I don't have a floppy drive connected at the moment.


The bolded setting is your problem. Set this to Standard. Set the SPD so that the RAM Frequency is equal or lower than the rated speed. (For example if the RAM is rated at DDR2 800 then set the SPD so that the RAM Frequency is equal to 800)
December 22, 2007 4:58:09 PM

mattman5170 said:
Could be, but I would think the mobo would be the culprit before the CPU. If you can, I would take a look at the event logger in Windows to se what happens before it crashes. That may shed some light on the issue.


I agree, the CPU is the number one most reliable PC component in your hole system, its very rare that a CPU is defective. I can't believe that the guy at the computer shop pointed to the CPU before pointing to the mobo.
December 22, 2007 5:23:33 PM

Well, flashing the bios in dos didn't work. I thought it did to start with, spent quite a while on company of heroes with no problems, then I restart the pc to try memtest 86, same old results, I tried half life 2, it locked up, then I tried company of heroes and that crashed to desktop. :(  So it didn't work after all.

I'll set the performance enhancer to standard and see if that works, but turbo was enabled by default. The rated speed for my ram is 1066 btw.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2007 5:44:52 PM

^So set the SPD so that it equals 1066. Try a lower speed too and see what happens
December 22, 2007 5:55:06 PM

I turned performance enhancer to standard. My ram timings and everything were set to auto and it automatically ghanced them from 5-5-5-18 to 5-7-7-24.
Of course it made no difference, still no change. I guess I'll switch 1066 to 800 and see what happens.
December 23, 2007 11:45:23 AM

I changed to 800mhz, memtest86 still fails for some unknown reason, but the crashes has most definitely stopped entirely. Shame that I had to lower my ram's speed though, it's impacted performance slightly, but I guess I'll have to put up with it. Anyone know why it works in 800, but not 1066? Would that be the motherboard's fault? The specifications state that it does support 1066, so is my board dodgy, or does this particular memory just have issues with the board? I've not heard anyone else having problems with these two together though. Should I think about switching motherboard? To a p5k or something, or am I likely to get the same problem? Or maybe I should e-mail gigabyte about it? Glad it's stable though, thanks for all the help everyone! Couldn't have done it without you lot.
December 23, 2007 12:02:39 PM

it is possible you have counterfeit ram. contact corsair, describe all the markings on the ram, and ask them if there is a way to find out if you have 800 that has been flashed to report that it is (falsely) 1066.

Here is an excerpt from Tom's:

Another problem that rears its ugly head is remarked RAM. These are modules that are advertised as being capable of operating at a higher speed than that for which their chips have been validated. In the most severe cases, chips have had their IDs scrubbed off and remarked, and are then sold as higher speed versions. Even easier for counterfeiters is RAM that's simply relabeled with a sticker.

Counterfeit RAM? Unfortunately, it happens. Counterfeit memory most often enters the market through discount vendors in fly-by-night operations. Warranties offer buyers some assurance, but how much is a warranty worth when the company backing it disappears?
December 23, 2007 12:26:18 PM

No chance. I bought it from dabs.com, I can't imagine how they could possibly sell counterfeit products. Wouldn't I be able to tell it's counterfeit just by looking at it? From the packaging and the modules themselves, imo there is no indication that they are counterfeit.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2007 12:40:48 PM

Did you try increasing the voltage for the RAM? Try this and run Memtest86+ on 800Mhz. Also try a new copy of Memtest86. (I have seen this happen ONLY ONCE, but some times when you run a new copy of a benchmark/test it doesn't give any problems, my bet is that something got messed up while burning the CD, this has happened on a SeaTools disk that I have used)
December 23, 2007 1:30:17 PM

Good idea, I'll burn another memtest disc and give it a try.
December 23, 2007 1:49:08 PM

I made a new memtest cd, but it didn't change anything. Doesn't even reach 1% pass. I think it says 'moving inversions' or something like that, when it fails, that part reached 21% I think. If my memory serves me correctly. Dunno if that tells you anything. Doesn't mean **** to me, I've no idea what inversions are. I set the ddr2 mem voltage to +0.2v, it made no difference to the test results either. I get exactly the same results no matter what.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2007 1:55:44 PM

Try testing each RAM DIMM separately and see which one is bad. Also if possible test the RAM on another motherboard/PC.
!