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Need help detecting a hardware issue

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  • Overclocking
  • Product
Last response: in Overclocking
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June 10, 2009 6:16:14 PM

Hey everyone,

My system has been malfunctioning for a while now. At first I thought it was just Windows 7 being a little buggy, but after a clean install of Vista 64 on a seperate partition, I'm still getting the same errors.

Games will error out before they can even load (Crysis). If I can get a game to start, it will lock up in the middle of playing (even Plants vs Zombies). All games have texture issues.

I've also noticed that there is a stutter in my sound when switching between windows, whether it is coming from Windows Media Player or an online flash player like youtube.

I've run memtest86 and found one of my sticks was producing an error, so I took it out and can now run it without issue.

Can anyone recommend a way to go about isolating the problem?

Thanks in advance!

Motherboard: MSI P35 Platinum
CPU: Pentium Quad Core Q9300 @ 2.5Ghz (333Mhz)
RAM: Corsair cm2x1024 6400C4 (3 @ 1GB each)
Video Card: Saphhire 4870x2 2GB
PSU: CoolMax CUG-950
Monitor: LG L226WT (DVI) (Single Monitor)
Hard drives: 500GB 7200 RPM Seagate
Optical Drives: Sony DVD-RW
Additional PCI cards: Nope
Number of fans present: 2 Intake and 2 Exhaust (No Heating Issues)
Operating System : Windows 7 64-Bit 7100
Video Card Drivers: Latest 9.5 (8.612.0.0)
Motherboard Drivers Used: Updated to latest w/ Live Update

More about : detecting hardware issue

June 10, 2009 8:31:49 PM

I can see your point on the ram, but what's wrong with the power supply? It gets pretty good reviews and has enough power to handle my system.

I'm gonna run the Everest Stability test for a while and get some results posted. What should I be looking for?
Related resources
June 10, 2009 8:39:36 PM

Hmmm, just noticed that my CPU speed is at 2.3337Ghz instead of 2.5Ghz. Should my multiplier be at 7.5 and 333Mhz or 7 and a higher speed?

June 11, 2009 6:26:26 AM

The BIOS may not support the .5 multi, so it is rounded down to 7. That would be my explanation. A cheap power supply can take down your entire system. It's kind of a cheap insurance policy. Coolmax isn't a very popular brand and a brand is usually popular if it either really good of really bad. With that being said, I would take some advice and upgrade that if you like your computer. Also, check your temps with programs such as real temp, as you have a 45nm Yorkfield CPU. Check the temps of all componets such as CPU/GPU.
June 11, 2009 1:12:19 PM

Ran a stress test for 4.5 hours and everything checks out. My max temp was 63 @ 100% CPU load. I'll get a new PSU eventually, but I'm sure it isn't what is causing my current problem. How can I test my videocard? I've already tested out my RAM and CPU, I pray to god it isn't my videocard and maybe my MOBO, but you never know...
June 11, 2009 4:06:13 PM

Virgman10 said:
Ran a stress test for 4.5 hours and everything checks out. My max temp was 63 @ 100% CPU load. I'll get a new PSU eventually, but I'm sure it isn't what is causing my current problem. How can I test my videocard? I've already tested out my RAM and CPU, I pray to god it isn't my videocard and maybe my MOBO, but you never know...


IMO, 4.5 isn't enough to stress test. I tested for 21.5 hours for 3.6GHz and 17.5 hours for 3.7GHz on my current CPU. You may want to run Memtest to check your memory/RAM. Prime95 has a blend option and OCCT also has one as well. My prefered way is to burn the Memtest ISO image to a CD and boot off of it. If you choose this option let it run for several hours.
June 11, 2009 11:49:34 PM

It does sound like you answered the question, it is the RAM. You may either have always had a bad stick, the PSU may be failing and damaged it, or some other reason has caused it to start to fail. First things first, get some new RAM. Then test it and let it burn-in. I won't argue brands or models, you can check HardOCP or here at Toms Hardware for reviews of PSUs and which are really good. I like using MemTest first, then get the OS going and use OCCT to stress test it and give it a good burn-in. If you can get it to work fine in Vista64 but not in Windows 7 x64, then try posting to the official Windows 7 RC Support Forum located here:

http://tinyurl.com/9fhdl5

They usually respond pretty quickly to posts and you can catch Microsoft's eye so that whatever bug you are encountering can be squashed.
June 12, 2009 2:33:25 AM

Thanks for all the responces, but I'm pretty sure it is my video card. I took it out and put in my old 2900xt and I could play everything. After putting my 4870x2 back in I noticed that the fan wasn't speeding up as the card heated up.

So I installed EXPERTool and bumped the fan speed up to 60 percent. Then I could play The Sims 3 perfectly. However, I tried playing Left 4 Dead and it froze on me again. It's like the fifth time I thought I had it figured out and then it still didn't work in the end. I think my video card is fried...
June 12, 2009 4:47:24 AM

Well, that's great you found the problem. Too bad it had to be the most expensive component of your system.
June 12, 2009 12:20:23 PM

Just to make sure, is it possible for a video card to still function and be fried? Like, could it still display an operating system but fail when it comes to high-end 3D graphics?
June 12, 2009 10:38:08 PM

Yes, running at idle on the Windows Desktop hasn't stressed it enough to display the symptoms you are referring to. So, it may work fine while browsing the web and listening to music, but under stress, it obviously doesn't work well.
June 13, 2009 3:03:06 AM

Your PSU might not be enough juice with the 4870x2 in but plenty with the old card. Odds are your PSU is bad not the video card.
June 13, 2009 5:15:07 AM

I agree with daship. A PSU not supplying enough power can cause random reboots for no reason. A CPU may pass a stress test, but under heavy gaming, the system draws more power which can be the reason for the random reboots. I would purchase a new PSU. If you have any questions on which PSU to buy, ask us here.
June 13, 2009 10:47:13 AM

Just saw this review on newegg...

Pros: Advertised 950 watts... Modular too.

Cons: This thing is horrible. I bought this brand new from a retail store and it would randomly turn off my computer. I am using a single GTX 295 video card, a Q6600 cpu with 8GB of Ram and 2 drives... 950 Watts is more than enough to run these. However, randomly my computer turns off about once every 2 days. I removed this power supply and went back to my old BFG 650 Watt power supply and everything works fine. Also, the PSU fan would never increase its RPM speed, it would always stay at its lowest setting.

Other Thoughts: This thing is going back for a full refund. Stick with known brands like Corsair, Antec and BFG. They cost a bit more but will not fail you. If you are running a GTX 295, even a 650W power supply runs perfectly... but only if you do not have a i7 Extreme cpu.

There was another review I saw last night that said the power supply began to fail more and more as the power consumption went up. I'll post it here if I find it again.

Going to Micro Center today to get a new PSU. I will be buying the Corsair 850W.
June 13, 2009 3:41:12 PM

Haha.... well, I went to MicroCenter and got the Corsir 850W PSU. Installed it, went to play Left 4 Dead, and it freezes during the start of gameplay just like it did with the other power supply. Any ideas?
June 13, 2009 4:22:26 PM

Well, it's not your RAM, CPU, or the PSU. The PSU you purchased is a very good one, although a little large for your current setup. The old 2900XT is a power hog as well and that doesn't cause reboots which leads me to believe we can say the video card is the problem. RMA time! :( 
June 15, 2009 12:43:36 AM

Virgman10 said:
Haha.... well, I went to MicroCenter and got the Corsir 850W PSU. Installed it, went to play Left 4 Dead, and it freezes during the start of gameplay just like it did with the other power supply. Any ideas?


ok run Furmark on benchmark is verything is all good at 100% then run tourte test
make sure fans are at 100%!!! also check temps with rivatunner that will log your temps as you run it. Then reply back thanks
!