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Random Crashes??

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March 18, 2008 9:00:47 AM

I'm really sorry if there are other threads like this already, I lightly glanced at the front page of motherboard/memory threads to see if there were any and didn't see anything so I'm just going to start my own.

I recently got a combo package (cpu, motherboard, ram) from TigerDirect. Intel Q6600, XFX 680i motherboard, 4GB of OCZ DDR2 RAM. I don't think I've gotten a "normal" shut down on my computer yet. Every single time it shuts down is because it froze over night or when I was watching a movie or playing a game. It will be running everything fine and then suddenly go to black and continue sound for a couple seconds and then just stop everything and turn off. No weird sounds, no warning. My CPU doesn't even need to be doing anything intensive. It just froze right now when I was typing this when firefox was my only open window. I downloaded and burned a copy of the ultimate boot cd and did some diagnostics for hours and hours and nothing showed anything. I did Memtest x86+ 1.7 (i think thats the version) twice. Both sessions were about 5 and a half hours and no errors were found.

Here are my system specs
500W PSU Antec SmartPower (I got it in 2005--Maybe it's old?)
Intel Q6600 2.4ghz
XFX 680i LT
4GB PC6400 DDR2
GeForce 8800GT
Windows Vista x64 Ultimate

I just got these new parts and they are becoming more and more unstable. The temperatures are always within normal areas and I haven't overclocked anything. Also, I'm not sure if this is important, but about a week ago my computer suddenly was without a bootloader...so I tried some stuff and when it didn't work I had to re-install vista. Since then, the nVidia control panel app won't install or work correctly.

Ok, I've tried to provide as much relevant information I could. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

More about : random crashes

March 18, 2008 10:05:09 AM

Power supply, it appears to short circuit from overload.
Especially since you say it just shuts down.
We've had soo many broken antec you wouldn't believe, they're worse than stuff that comes bundled with cases, and some work perfectly fine at near max load.. Very uneven quality crew there..
a c 156 V Motherboard
March 18, 2008 11:26:49 AM

I have had very good success with Antec PSU's. OTOH, I agree with asdasd.

I'd change PSU's, first.

The failure mechanism is probably something like this:
Something inside - probably the 12 volt rail - intermittently craps out because of overload, temperature, sunspots, phase of the moon, whatever. Control circuits inside the PSU force a CPU reset and electronically shutdown the PSU.
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March 18, 2008 12:32:55 PM

You may want to try something like XP 32-bit to see if it's a driver issue.

I'm not sold on it being a PSU issue, though it could be.
You could try increasing your memory voltage ever so slightly or loosening your timings.
a b V Motherboard
March 18, 2008 1:28:19 PM

I would try zens suggestion...btw, what are your voltages...cpu,ram,gpu,etc.
March 18, 2008 8:33:45 PM

wow, first of all thank you all for the replies. I really appreciate it.

I'm hesitant to say it's the PSU because my old set up NEVER crashed. I had an Athlon X2 4200+ (that's the dual core, right?) and 2GB of RAM before. I'm just confused because I have so many variables. My motherboard, proc, ram, and OS all changed. The only thing that stayed the same out of my whole system (I even bought a new case!) is my power supply.

Anyway, here's the voltages. (I'm just going to list off everything in the nVidia Monitor)
CPU: 1.3125V
Memory: 1.8V
FSB: 1.2V
HT(SPP-MCP): 1.2V (I don't know what that is)
PCI-E: 1.25V
nForce: 1.5V
AUX: 1.5V

Everything should be the stock setting.

CPU-Z says different things because my system runs slower when its not under load therefore doesn't use as much power. If you guys are right about the power supply being bad then that explains why my computer crashes every single time I run Sins of a Solar Empire (I haven't gotten to the menu yet) but not why it crashes while writing forum posts. Also, I'm not sure how or what to change my memory timings to. I know that memory timings are what people refer to when you say 4-4-4-4 numbers hyphenated but I don't know how to change it. I was really into computers a while ago and I liked programming in high school so I will be able to understand things you guys explain but I don't know very much because I don't read any computer magazines or keep up with websites anymore.
a b V Motherboard
March 19, 2008 2:44:44 AM

If you're running decent ram then bump your ram voltage up to 2.1 volts and do a reboot..
Most high end or decent ram uses 2.1volt.
as far as timings go you'll have to give us the type of ram you are using and the specs for that ram......
March 19, 2008 10:05:51 PM



i just changed the ram to 1.9 and I haven't had any crashes yet. that might have been it. what a simple solution. I didn't want to put it all the way to 2.1 because that seemed like a pretty big increase and I've heard that over volting is really the only way to damage stuff when overclocking. I realize we weren't overclocking just then but still, .3 volts more is a 16% increase. Seems like a lot to me. if you're sure nothign bad could possibly happen I'll change it. if it won't do any damage could you list scenarios that would be over volting? like if your proc is a 1.3 and it goes to 2.0 that seems like over volting.
March 19, 2008 11:56:26 PM

ok nevermind, it still crashes, i was just getting lucky. nothing has changed except for the voltage of my ram up to 2.1v

maybe I was misleading with my initial post. my computer doesn't turn off, it just goes black and sometimes will reboot itself. i will be doing a normal task and the screen might flicker once or twice but pretty immediately will just turn black and be dead. the power supply keeps running. all fans keep running. nothing changes at all except for my screen going black and the computer just stops doing everything.
a b V Motherboard
March 20, 2008 12:37:18 AM

^ That looks like a GPU or motherboard problem or PSU. Btw, if that was the RAM you got (CPU Z screen) you might have been ripped off. Your OP says it is 4GB PC6400 DDR2. The screen shot shows it as PC5300.

March 20, 2008 1:39:49 AM

Some mobos underclock your ram until you get into bios and set it correctly yourself. I would try kicking the ram up to the required voltage, your not going to void your warranty doing so. Also pull out your sticks, put them in one at a time, and see if one seems to cause failures, i know it sucks, but memtest only goes so far, i had 4 gigs, pulled out both sticks, threw them in one at a time, and found one to be faulty, but when i ran memtest it said they both passed on multiple testing runs. Sometimes the hard way is the only way.
March 20, 2008 8:34:08 AM

ok now I'm really confused about my RAM. I went to the OCZ website to see if it said anything about that particular product line and it said

"In order to boot on some motherboards this product is programmed to 667MHz; to run at 800MHz you will need to manually set the speed to 800MHz and voltage to 1.8V in your BIOS."

Well, I went into my bios and changed it from 667MHz to 800MHz...my system booted up...everything seems fine...but CPU-Z is the same. It still says Max Bandwidth PC2-5300 (333MHz).
March 20, 2008 9:20:11 AM

IMO you should see under memory tab instead of SPD tab (with CPU-Z). The SPD tab will show your memory factory specifications instead of actual speeds :) 

And one more issue: are you 100% that your OCS memory is PC2-6400? I got confused here. See your bill of quantity or receipt or mem box or anything to see the spec ..

For your shutdown and instability issue, I would say I agree with shadow ... After shadow post, normally nothing I can add. He always has good post/input :D 
a b V Motherboard
March 20, 2008 3:22:16 PM

Have you tried a fresh install of windoze?
If not, use only 2 gigs for the install and system drivers, etc.
After it's up and fully updated do a few shut downs to make sure it's working fine.
Then add the next 2 gigs and maybe run memtest just to make sure there are no mem issues.
March 21, 2008 7:24:22 AM

antas -

I typed in the "part number" given from CPU-Z into the OCZ website and it came up as PC2-6400. it just says that it is defaulted to 667 for some reason instead of 800.



does that mean it is functioning at the correct speed?

johnny -
yes when i got all my parts i reformatted and went from xp64 to vista 64. recently my bootloader got deleted some how (I really don't understand, I'm not an idiot, i don't click on random links, i don't download anything, i dont delete random folders.) so i had to reinstall vista about a week ago and since then it has been crashing more and more. since i've changed my memory settings to 800mhz and 2.1v it has been running a lot more steadily but we will see. this has happened before and it just ends up me being lucky and it not crashing.
March 21, 2008 7:46:38 AM

Looks good to me. Yes, this page showing the actual spec, means the configurations that currently runs by your system. And I think you already set your mem according to OCZ recommendations. I don't know why the SPD tab showing it as PC2-5300 instead of PC2-6400. But I guess that's fine.

The most important thing is: "Have you got your system running well?"

If that's so, then it should be OK. I supposed you're running at stock speed now, with 2:3 means you're running at 266MHz bus speed (1066FSB) which is the default FSB for your Q6600.
March 21, 2008 8:01:31 AM

I just recovered from a crash and when I looked at the details of the crash windows said it had to do with my nvidia graphics driver.

....I am very confused now. I got my 8800GT for myself at christmas and it worked REALLY well on xp64. I've read other people saying their 8800GT's work great for them on vista 64. so what exactly is my problem? the hardware clearly isnt broken because i ran it great for 3 months on windows xp64 with no crashes and it seems like the software couldn't be a problem because other people with the same specs work just fine.

maybe my psu could really be it? my 8800gt has two power connectors and maybe my psu can't support the extra power to it? would that cause this kind of error? if so what kind of power supply should i look to in the future?

I want to eventually have an SLI system with an overclocked proc to 3.0ghz and a couple case fans. 650watts? 750? 1000? my employers make me work much more than i need to so i have lots of extra money and i'm trying to get back into computer building so i'm alright with dropping money, but I also still care about being at least a little economic.
March 21, 2008 8:45:26 PM

Take your ram out, put a stick in at a time, and get it to crash, you can run memtest, but i had the same problem with this new build im on, and its passed with flying colors on memtest, when i tried one stick at a time i was able to isolate the problem.
March 23, 2008 3:31:00 AM

@blacksci: Can you share more? What is your problem and how you solve it? Just curious, I think we can use it for future references.

@Justinqq: I don't think it's PSU, however if you have or can borrow another PSU, maybe good idea just to ensure. 500W should be enough. Second thought: what about driver issue? Have you installed the latest forceware for you.

Actually I'm thinking that it caused by your STEAM :)  When it crash, the windows might loss some important files, that's why you had this 'vga' issue. I don't think that it's a hardware issue. Except the memory? Personally I don't really like to use OCZ, but many use it without problems. Maybe somebody else have the same OCZ memory as yours.
March 23, 2008 9:08:17 PM

caused by steam? I haven't installed steam since before I reformatted. i just reinstalled the same forceware i had before to make sure it wasnt some kind of installation problem. i've been using the latest version this whole time. 169.soemthing.

i just took out one of my mem sticks and i'll see if it crashes. if it doesn't for like 2 days then i'll switch the one i have out with the one i left in and see if it crashes.
March 24, 2008 12:14:12 AM

Sure no prob antas

I was getting random blue screens of death, when i would try to play games, sometimes they ran, sometimes they crashed, sometimes they artifacted. This is in xp mind you, when i would boot vista, i would keep getting the nvklmnmn error, telling me the nvidia graphics driver has a unknown error (both os's). So i figured it was video card, but i started by reseating the video card, then i reseated the ram, kept getting errors. Then i figured id better test the ram, ran memtest a few times, both sticks passed everytime. Then i pulled out both sticks, threw one in, and ran aquamark, cuz it always failed, and found that one stick would give me errors all the time, the other was totally stable. When i rma'd it adata said it was a manufacturing defect, and took it back. That was pretty much it, but that is why i always tell people to pull out there ram, memtest just cant test everything, and so i use this story as a example.
March 24, 2008 1:54:31 AM

@blacksci Thanks for the sharing, that's great example. I will keep that in mind (regarding the memtest). Before I believed that if I passed memtest that should be fine, now it's better to go back to the old 'crash n burn' test :) 
March 24, 2008 2:36:50 AM

Technology cant solve everything for us (yet) lol.
!