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New build instability issues

Last response: in Systems
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April 4, 2008 5:47:03 AM

Hey everyone, this is the first time I've tried to build my own computer, and so far its been hit and miss. Here are the specs:

ASUS P5N32E SLI
E4500
Stock cooler
XFX 8800GT @ 625MHz
1 GB Ballistix Tracer PC2-8500 (had to RMA the other stick, will have 2 GB soon)
150GB Raptor
1TB WD for storage
Ultra X3 1000 watt PSU
Antec 900

Now I freely admit that I have never had this kind of experience building a computer from scratch/having to mess around in the BIOS. So any specific pointers would be appreciated.

So basically whats happening is that the system is extremely unstable. Initially the mainboard was undervolting the memory, which from what I hear is a common problem. It was at 1.8ish, so I upped it to 2.1 Volts. That fixed that issue, but now that I have everything installed, the system remains unpredictable and unstable.

For instance, maybe 1 out of 3 times I start it up, I get blue screen right after the desktop finishes loading (Windows has detected an error and has been shut down to prevent...etc.). Other times it'll be fine for a couple minutes and then I'll get the blue screen. Maybe about 50% of the time, I can actually use the thing (email, internet, itunes, etc.). I've tried several stress tests (prime95, sandra, memtest) but except for memtest, which says my one stick of memory is fine, the system always fails (freezes, or blue screen). I've tried running Oblivion, but after about 5-6minutes, it freezes (never a blue screen, just freezes, but I can still hear whatever sound was playing at the time).

So there's my issues. My first thought is that since the RAM was undervolted, maybe the cpu/nb/pci-e are also. Does this sound like it might be a possibility? Has anyone else with this board experience something similar?

Any advise/help/pointers would be awesome. Thanks in advance.
April 4, 2008 6:32:13 AM

Sounds like you didnt get the heatsink on good and its overheating. Try reseating the heatsink.
April 4, 2008 7:21:07 AM

Sorry, I forgot to mention that. The BIOS always says I'm at around 32 degrees (at idle, i know). Same with CoreTemp. For some reason HWMonitor (isn't it the same company as CoreTemp?) always reads 12-15 degrees higher than CoreTemp. Also, during the couple of times I've gotten Prime95 to run for more than an hour, CoreTemp reads 55 degrees, and HWMonitor reads 70 degrees. I didn't think these were too unreasonable (besides the fact that they are so far apart). Is 70 too hot, even for a stock cooler?

Does anyone know why these two programs have such different readings? I wouldn't be concerned if they were <5 dgrees apart, but 15!

Thanks for any input on the matter.
April 6, 2008 7:35:20 AM

OK, so I finally got the thing stable last night, ran prime95 for about 6 hours, no errors. However, I was hoping to get a little more out of the processor, but everytime i try to change the FSB, the board automatically resets it to the default (800) FSB. I set the AI Tuning thing to Manual, and I've tried linked and unlinked FSB:RAM ratio, but no matter what i do, the changes aren't saved into CMOS (everything else is, like voltages, boot sequence, any of the other options i've changed) Has anyone else experienced this? Am I forgetting to change some option in the BIOS that will allow me to change the FSB?
!