Help with frozen computer

My computer that I just built worked well for a few days and then started producing random freezes that I believe to be a hardware issue given that I installed a fresh OS twice and the same problems occurred within a day of each install. Specifically, I think it's either the CPU or the motherboard. Here's what I have:

MB - XFX 790i ultra
CPU- C2D E8500
RAM - 4 Gigs DDR3 patriot 1600 MHz
Video - 2 x Zogis GEForce 9800 SLI
Power Supply - 850W
Hard Drives - 2x WD 300GB VelociRaptors, 2x WD Green 1TB
ROM Drives - 2 DVD Roms
Audio - SoundBlaster X-Fi Elite Pro
Case - Cosmos S

Here are the symptoms:

I start the computer up and it has usually worked for several hours, but then the screen freezes and is unresponsive to any type of input. I have to hard re-boot. After the first freeze, they occur more frequently until it is powered down for the day. Now the computer just won't start up, although power is going to the motherboard. Having said that, the CPU fan header is not delivering any power to the CPU fan (It's not the fan itself - that spins when I hook it directly to the power supply), and though the MB has a light indicating the CPU is hot, the CPU will not start up - no initial beep, no Bios, no nothing. Aside from the CPU fans, the other fans will spin. I get lights on in my video cards on power up, but the fans in those don't spin. I assume that is because the video card fans spin proportionally to the heat of the VPU and on startup, they don't need to spin.

Moreover, while my computer was running, and I was trying to diagnose the problem, the motherboard monitoring software was giving me some very strange numbers. It said that my CPU was running at around 70C without running any games or other applications. That figure, however, would not budge much even when I was playing games. More puzzling, it said that my CPU had a 73x multiplier and was operating at an obscene core clock of over 43 GHz (333 MHz times the 73 multiplier). I have a hard time believing this possible. Contradicting the motherboard software was the system monitor in BIOS which correctly indicated a 9.5 multiplier and 3.16 GHz for the core clock while indicating that the CPU temps were hovering at a reasonable 30C.

Something is screwed up with the Motherboard/CPU system. My first question is whether the CPU fan only rotates when the CPU is running. My initial assumption after seeing the CPU fan not spinning was that the MB was faulty and the CPU shut down automatically to protect itself without any fan cooling. On further reflection, I realized that the opposite could be true - the fan header is not delivering power because the CPU is not working.

My second question is what to make of the contradiction between the BIOS system monitor and the nVidia monitoring software through Windows. One sayd my CPU temps were fine, the other says they were seriously overheating. Given the freeze issue, I'd be more inclined to believe the latter, but I also think that the BIOS monitor should be more accurate.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to figure out which component I need to replace and return the defective one.
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More about help frozen computer
  1. Either your cpu is over heating or the ram voltage is not powering right. A friend of mine has random crashes as the ram specs are 2v but the board default is supplying 1.8v

    I'd check the CPU - you might want to reseat it. Use coretemp to check your temps (can be downloaded). if your cpu does not work, it shouldn't boot and the fan should be spinining no matter what.
  2. The fan is definitely not spinning and the CPU is not booting the system, even though there is a motherboard red light indicating that the CPU is hot. I recall reading somewhere that CPU fans did not spin when the processor is in sleep mode, so as to save power. What I am wondering, is whether a CPU failure will also result in the fan not spinning.

    My understanding is that when RAM crashes the system just reboots automatically, but I could be wrong on that. My system freezed up until I manually powered down and then rebooted.
  3. I think you're at the brink of frying your cpu already....
  4. Start by removing everything but one GPU, one stick of ram, one hdd (unless you have raid going, I suppose), and nothing else. Ensure that, if it boots, the CPU fan is working, and immediately use a utility to monitor CPU temps. If this boots, post your experiences. If it doesn't, let us know and we can work from there.
  5. Done. Nothing booted. I even alternated the stick of RAM left in the system, but neither the CPU nor the CPU fan did anything using either stick of RAM. I did not switch out the video cards; however, the one video card I did choose to leave in lit up when I powered on, as both did on my previous attempts to boot the whole system.
  6. The initial problem was almost certainly overheating - classic increasing frequency of freezes until left to cool overnight.

    I suspect the problem is much worse now - if nothing is booting at all then unfortunately something has fried - when you press the power button, do you get any noise or BIOS or anything? If not its time to buy some new components.

    Probably your motherboard and/or processor, id find a friend whos board you can test your processor in - DONT test a new processor in your board - if theres a MB problem youll kill the new processor, if theres a processor problem, you're unlikely to kill your mate's motherboard.

    Unless you're unlucky you're unlikely to have killed your gfx cards / memory etc

    Let us know what the problem was when you find out....
  7. The only noises I get are from the fans (except the CPU fan) and a little from the hard drive. There is no initial "beep" that I normally hear right before BIOS starts up. The chipset fan is not going, either. Having said that, the motherboard does show indicator lights, such as the CPU being hot. There is a red, a blue, and a yellow light.

    Also, and this may be the most helpful if anyone knows what the code means, but I just tilted my chassis to see whether the chipset fan was moving, and I noticed a 2-digit LED display saying "FF" when the power is on. My manual says the LED is for a diagnostic code, but as expected, the manual doesn't discuss any particular code at all. (Manuals always seem worthless when they are really needed).
  8. I should also point out that when I say the CPU is "hot" I mean that the light indicates that it is getting juice - it has no bearing on temperature.
  9. Ive been looking through some other forums - try resetting the bios using the jumper on the motherboard.

    Try booting after disconnecting the rest switch header and see if that works....
  10. I know where the reset jumer is to the CMOS memory, but what and where is the rest switch header?
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