I recently built a computer from the ground up for the first time. Before I had always upgraded my systems, but a friend did the initial spec out and build. So this time I built it myself for the "learning experience".
First here is my system specs, next I will get to the stability issue:
Antec mid-tower w/ 500W Earthwatts supply
ASUS P5K-E (all settings running at default in BIOS) No Overclocking...except that default 'Ai overclock tuner' is set to [AUTO].
Intel Core2 Duo 3.0GHz (e8400 45nm)
(2) Corsair Xtreme 1Gb RAM DDR2-800
XFX Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT
36Gb Western Digital Raptor 10,000rpm (Boot in SATA2)
500Gb WD Caviar 7200rpm (Slave in SATA4)
Sony DVD (SATA5)
3.5 floppy (because it was cheap)
OS is WinXP Pro (updated to SP3)
Now to the stability. The system will randomly Blue Screen on me. There is no pattern that I can see which causes it. It has happened running all types of software, but never while running Doom3 which is weird and maybe relevent. It happened once while typing this message post!
Here are a couple of the Blue Screen messages that repeat fairly often:
Many times there is not message, just all the address info.
Any of the above updates to hardware or OS were added after I was already getting the crashes. They were attempts at fixing the problem.
What I tried so far:
1... Ran a Repair on XP because during the initial install it locked up on me and I had to reinstall (This was not a Blue Screen of Death). I did this because thought it may be an OS issue.
2... Ran Microsoft's RAM test and then MEMTEST overnight with no errors.
3... Ran Western Digital Diagnostic on both drives with no errors.
I am to the point of trying to wipe the boot drive and reinstall to completely rule out OS. And then strip the system down and reassemble component at a time. Before I take these steps I wanted to make sure there was not a compatibility or setting issue that I may have with the components I selected. I also wanted to check to see if anyone had similar problems or suggestions to try.
I have also updated the BIOS to the latest each time a new version comes out. I have not updated the motherboard drivers though. Indulge me a little also in my lack of knowledge here. Is the motherboard driver installed in windows or is it flashed onto a ROM on the MOBO?
I do not know. I will have to check the specs on the RAM. If that was the case then would it no have crashed during the MEMtest? MEMtest is from a boot disk so it is not running WinXP. The blue screen is a windows feature I am assuming.
I went to ASUS site and got the Chipset driver but my computer did not recognize the files. I then went to Intel and download the chipset P35 from them and in did install. Per their readme, I installed the drivers for 'PCI standard ISA bridge'. After rebooting this seemed to be the driver for USB.
Should I target any of the other items in the 'PCI Bus' area of Device Manager?
I also did run some heat test and burn in test and the temp never went over 50°C. There was never a crash during any of this either.
When I went to the SATA driver, I only saw drivers for the RAID setup, which I am not running a RAID at the moment.
I replied last night but I do not see my post here. Sorry if this is a repeat.
I did have may BIOS at 1013 alread. I was still crashing with the BIOS.
However, I have not had a crash since I undated the chipset. I will give it several days to see if it stays stable and then post the results.
I do have another issue. There is a clicking sound emitting from my speakers. It is about a click per second, like a clock counter. What would that be? I am using the integrated sound card and updated the sound card drivers also. It is odd and annoying.
It could be any number of things, but you say it doesn't change, about 1 second intervals?
Sounds like external interference, or possibly static discharge from somewhere. Do you have a pair of headphones you can check with? If still present with headphones I would lean towards something like your PSU.
Even though it was possible to post, work was being done on the forums and they got rolled back more than once.
You say you did a heat test... I need to know if you used Realtemp or not. If you get 50c from your ASUS PC Probe utility, which only measures Tcase, that could be too hot. We need to know what individual core temps are.
I wanted to post the solution to the problem I was having. It turned out to be one of the Corsair RAM sticks. They both passed MEMTEST with no errors. The passed together and individually. I narrowed it down by removing one stick and after no more crashes I swapped them. The second stick began to crash again. Corsair quickly RMA'd the bad stick and no problems since.
Thanks Corsair and everyone who lended their expertise.