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PC crashing while playing games. Could be a driver error but unsure!

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September 21, 2008 5:12:35 PM

For quite awhile now my pc has been shutting itself down completely when playing games. It can be a really old game like Diablo II or a new demanding game like Crysis. I thought it had to do with my graphicscard getting to warm but BFG assured me that my 8800gts should be able to handle temps over 80c and the card never became warmer than 78c in games.

Last night I crashed in any game after playing for just 5 minutes. So this morning I decided to test out what could be wrong. I ran memtest86+ and made through 3 passes without errors before I decided that it couldn't be the RAM.

I ran RTHDRIBL for two hours in fullscreen and my graphics card was on 78c during the entire time but the pc never crashed.

I then ran Prime95 and tested my q6600 for a few hours without any errors. I tried stressing two cores at once leaving the others two unstressed and then i stressed all four at the same time without errors.

I googled alittle and found this thread here on toms hardware http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/237556-34-nvidia-driver-crashing-issue-8800gt

It seemed sort of like the problem I was having.

I was planning on opening my chassi and checking that everything looks fine and that all the cables are wired before I uninstall this driver.

I just wanted to post this here and ask you if you think it could be the nvidia 177.83 driver that has been crashing my system?

My speccs:

Windows vista x64 ultimate
q6600 (not overclocked)
4GB RAM
BFG Geforce 8800gts 512mb factory OC
Asus P5K Premium MoBo
Corsair PowerSupply 620W HX ATX

None of the parts are older than six months. Again im just wondering if you think it could be the drivers causing this (didnt know a driver could cause a full system crash like that) and how I should go about uninstalling the drivers to really make sure nothing is left that could make me crash again.

Sorry for the textwall and thanks in advance for any help!
September 21, 2008 6:22:54 PM

Try getting another PSU if you have a close person that can lend you one. I think when you try to get the juice from it, it can't handle the load. Could be defective, that's my point :p 

And since you already did the stress tests, i can't think of another thingy, 'cept for Vista being culprint, lol.

Esop!

EDIT: Added thingy.
September 21, 2008 6:39:27 PM

Ah that could be it. I just checked inside the chassi and dusted it out abit.. everything seemed fine so I booted up again, started crysis warhead and less than a minute in-game the pc shut off.

But doesn't the PSU need to provide the juice when I do those tests on my graphicscard or is it different from when actually running a game?

In any case I think your right but other suggesstions are welcome until I figure this out.
Related resources
a b Î Nvidia
September 21, 2008 6:53:02 PM

I don't think it is the PSU, as the problem is limited to games, not other things that are at least as demanding for juice.
Check your sound drivers also. If you turn off sound in any of these games, does it still crash?
a b Î Nvidia
September 21, 2008 6:53:08 PM

Well when running memtest or prime95, your video card isn't being stressed. When your video card is under load it uses more power. That power supply should be more than enough to handle it, but if you got a slightly defective unit then it would crap out under load. Before you go swapping PSUs though uninstall your drivers and try a different version. Could be a driver somewhere just isn't playing nice. Really a video card driver failure is not suppose to cause a system crash under Vista, but it still happens :p  .
September 21, 2008 6:57:49 PM

Yep, maybe that stress test can't make the 8800GTS squeeze all the AMPs from the PSU. Run a test from 3D Mark or something that can use all the 8800GTS tech for that matter.

Esop!
September 21, 2008 7:28:48 PM

well,,,i tried those 177.83 drivers with XP and had similar results,did not qiute crash,but, did not run that well either,,got rid of them..Yeeeuuuck!!
try and get your hands on Your Uninstaller any version from 2006 up it is way better than the sick add remove crap it actually gets the leftover crap that is left behind to infest your registry and it also has an auto fix for cleaning up bad uninstalls,dunno how i got along without it,,really..and 620w should be more that sufficent,hell i'm only running 600w with my 8800gt, +2g ram ,+amd 5000+ BE,,,had the same psu on a q6600 slacr no problems at all:) 
September 21, 2008 9:10:01 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. I tried the latest nvidia driver that was available from nvidia.com and I got the same crash after just a few seconds in-game.

Tomorrow ill try checking if the sound is the thing causing it and ill also try and stress my gpu with 3D Mark as suggested :)  Thanks!
September 22, 2008 9:05:39 AM

I don't think its the sound drivers thats causing it. Im still stumped to what's causing this.

After I posted my last message last night the pc has been shut off for about 10 hours. I started it about an hour ago and ran crysis warhead just fine without crashing once (everything except shadows on enthusiast highest setting).

So now it all seems fine and now when I think about it the crashes usually happen later in the day when the pc has been on for quite awhile and I can seem to run any program for hours no matter the strain it puts on the cpu and graphics card.

I also tried stressing the pc with 3DMark Vantage and that ran fine aswell (I did 2 runs).

Here is the temperatures after about an hour in crysis warhead: printscreen of temps

They don't look that bad. So can it really be the PSU that's the problem? It seems to send enough juice under load fine now atleast.

Im clueless as to what can be wrong yet again :/  Any ideas?
a b Î Nvidia
September 22, 2008 12:21:25 PM

Hmmm, that points back to heat, possibly of something not clearly measured. How is the chipset? After one crash, take the side of your case off and blow a common fan into your PC, then see if it crashes again.
Does your case have good airflow, with intake and exhaust fairly well balanced? Remember the PSU is an exhaust.
September 22, 2008 3:35:27 PM

Onus said:
Hmmm, that points back to heat, possibly of something not clearly measured. How is the chipset? After one crash, take the side of your case off and blow a common fan into your PC, then see if it crashes again.
Does your case have good airflow, with intake and exhaust fairly well balanced? Remember the PSU is an exhaust.


I don't have any fan to try that with :/ 

My case has small airholes everywhere to not make the heat stay inside the case. There is more exhaust than intake though.

Anyways the pc has been on all day today and not one crash so far :/ 

Will try and stress it some more with 3Dmark and just fiddle around and see if I find anything. Thanks for the support guys!
a b Î Nvidia
September 22, 2008 4:56:25 PM

A little more exhaust than intake is good, but too much more and the PSU will be struggling to pull air through itself for cooling. Make sure you have at least one good intake, preferably in the front.
September 22, 2008 6:04:11 PM

Onus said:
A little more exhaust than intake is good, but too much more and the PSU will be struggling to pull air through itself for cooling. Make sure you have at least one good intake, preferably in the front.


Yeah I got one good intake in the front.

Anyhow. About two hours ago I ran an hour long stress test on the pc. I ran four instances of prime95 stressing each of my four cpu cores to the max and at the same time I ran rthdribl and stressed the graphics card aswell. I ran the rthdribl in fullscreen mode with some really demanding settings. It ran completely fine the whole hour without errors or crashes. I then let my computer rest for about an hour while I had dinner. When I got back I started up crysis warhead and played fine for about five minutes before the pc shut itself off :/ 

It seems so damn weird that it just crashes under heavy game load and nothing else. So that brings me back to thinking its not a heat issue or am I wrong here?

Any ideas on what I can test next? Only thing I can think of is trying to get ahold of another psu + graphics card and trying them out to see if that removes the problem.

Any other ideas are welcome! :) 
September 22, 2008 7:54:39 PM

I got an advice from sweclockers.com (swedish hardware forums) from a guy telling me to do a CHKDSK C: F and then check for errors (no errors found) and then also reinstall the game I played the most at the moment which is crysis warhead. I did just that and it ran just now for about an hour but then it crashed again.

So that was weird. All of the sudden it lasted alot longer but it didnt solve the problem :/ 
September 23, 2008 1:40:22 AM

I just remembered, once on my old P3, that I ran into "mysterious freezes" like you mention. After hours of looking what could be the problem, the answer was found... Weird, but found, lol.

It turned out to be the molex to my HDD! From time to time, the metal thingy that was soldered badly, barely made contact. So, from time to time, it made my PC freeze. I wish your problem would be an "easy fixable" one like that, but if you don't find any defective molex, then it could be heating indeed.

I still insist in the "defective PSU" thingy, but according to the test suit you made, looks like it ain't the PSU like i thought.

That brings the question: "why do PCs freeze?" And the 3 main answers: heat, power, defective part.

If i think of anything else, i'll post it right on, but on the mean time, i'm kinda out of ideas, dude =/

Esop!
September 23, 2008 8:07:26 AM

Looks like im going to have to try and switch parts and test for defectivness etc :)  Thanks for the help ill post if I solve the problem.
September 23, 2008 1:38:42 PM

Just wanted to write that I finished crysis warhead after playing it for 3 hours straight just now. This is like magic... the pc only crashes during the eveningtime and then it can crash after like 5 minutes in-game. Weirdest. problem. ever.
a b Î Nvidia
September 23, 2008 9:58:27 PM

Hmmm, could you you be having power problems? Does your PC share a circuit with anything, like a major appliance?
September 24, 2008 6:42:11 AM

Onus said:
Hmmm, could you you be having power problems? Does your PC share a circuit with anything, like a major appliance?


I have quite a new Belkin SurgeMaster and the only thing connected to it is my monitor, pc and modem.

Other stuff connected in my room are just a few lamps and a laptop :/ 

I was also thinking about power problems but don't know much about that. If you turn on more things at night in the entire house and not just in my room could that affect my pc?

a b Î Nvidia
September 24, 2008 10:22:57 AM

Yes, if they share a circuit with your bedroom. Is your house or apartment really old? Are your outlets grounded?
September 25, 2008 8:03:36 AM

Onus said:
Yes, if they share a circuit with your bedroom. Is your house or apartment really old? Are your outlets grounded?


No idea how I check if my outlets are grounded but ill ask someone. Gonna have to ask if they share a circuit since I dont know how to check that either (I suck at electricity stuff :p )

The apartment I live in is very old I think yeah :/ 
a b Î Nvidia
September 25, 2008 9:37:02 AM

Do the outlets have three holes, or just two?
A third hole is for a ground pin; assuming of course that it is wired correctly. There are testers available for $12-$15 that will tell you if your outlets are properly wired.
September 25, 2008 6:02:07 PM

Yeah everything is grounded. Im going to try and turn everything on in the house later and see if it crashes me :/ 
October 2, 2008 3:56:33 PM

Tested if it was an electricity problem quite thoroughly now and that doesn't seem to be the case at all. Im starting to doubt ill ever figure this out :/ 
October 2, 2008 5:08:33 PM

I got another idea of what might be the issue... Check the North bridge's temperature by hand. Some times the board sensors screw up and don't tell the true.

Touch every single component and if you can measure them with something, it would be more accurate. Carefull though, u might get burned, so get your finger close very slowly to the CPU HSF (and carefull with the fan, lol), Video card (on the back side) and the MoBo chipset.

Random freezes are a pain in the butt, but we can always find them and fix them. Keep trying and we'll find it :D 

Esop!

PS: The North bridge is the MoBo's "big processor", it's very easy to find and usually is near the CPU/RAM.
October 3, 2008 4:56:13 PM

I started up crysis warhead yet again (it's the best I can think of to really push the system) and checked temperatures. I only checked them by hand but I might be able to check with a tool later.

I have a Asus P5K premium and since Im not sure what is what i marked what I touched with the numbers 1, 2 3 and 4 so you can easily understand which part im talking about :p 


my MoBo

Number 1: This part was very hot. But I could put my finger on it and keep it there without burning myself. My graphics card was 80c according to the Nvidia Monitor and I couldn't put my finger on it for more than a few seconds before it really hurt.

Number 2, 3 & 4: All these parts were quite cool.

I have a Thermalright - Ultra-120 eXtreme on my cpu and it's quite large and I could touch the sides of the cpu and it wasn't hot at all.

The RAM & my main harddrive was almost as hot as the graphics card :/  The other harddrives weren't close to as hot as the main harddrive (the one with my OS).

The PSU was not hot at all.

So the graphics card and the number 1 part were the only really hot items. But the graphics card should handle it according to the manufacturer but I don't know about that number 1 part.

a b Î Nvidia
October 3, 2008 9:48:12 PM

Anything you can do to cool your hard drive?
October 4, 2008 10:41:38 AM

Onus said:
Anything you can do to cool your hard drive?


Im actually getting a new samsung spinpoint 1tb harddrive today that im going to use instead of the ones I currently have (they are crappy IDE hdd's) So ill know pretty soon if thats the problem :) 
a b Î Nvidia
October 4, 2008 1:17:42 PM

Cool beans. Let us know.
October 4, 2008 5:59:59 PM

The RAM shouldn't be so hot either... Do they have a cooling solution on them?

Well, could be cause it's near the video card. I know this is going to be a pain, but can you take a picture of your side's case with everything plugged? Just to see how's air flow among the HDD, RAM, South Bridge (nº1) and Video card.

Esop!
October 5, 2008 7:50:06 AM

Yuka said:
The RAM shouldn't be so hot either... Do they have a cooling solution on them?

Well, could be cause it's near the video card. I know this is going to be a pain, but can you take a picture of your side's case with everything plugged? Just to see how's air flow among the HDD, RAM, South Bridge (nº1) and Video card.

Esop!


I have no cooling solution for the RAM :/  Everything seems alittle cooler now though even the RAM now that I have taken out the 5 hdd's and replaced them with the one samsung spinpoint. Ill take a picture tonight!
a b Î Nvidia
October 5, 2008 3:36:54 PM

Is it more stable now as well?
October 5, 2008 10:25:12 PM

Onus said:
Is it more stable now as well?


Nope it seems fine during the day like before but tonight it crashed again after just a few minutes in crysis. After I had rebooted I crashed before crysis had loaded my game completely (at like 80% it crashed). My harddrive is much cooler now and so is the cpu and the cores but the RAM is still pretty much the same and the motherboards soutbridge is really hot still.

So it wasn't the harddrives. Also worth mentioning is that I reinstalled vista on my new harddrive.

Anyways I took two pictures of the inside of the case. Hope they are good enough.

inside of the case 1

inside of the case 2

So maybe it's one of those parts on the motherboard (still unsure what those things are called that I marked on the picture a few posts above this one) or the RAM that's to hot?
October 6, 2008 2:57:14 AM

Spaghetti cables case, lol.

If you get problems on the loading screens and not in the gameplay now, it could be that the South Bridge is indeed too hot (nº1 on the previous pictures). That chip handles the hard drives, USB, PCIe and other things, so you should put a fan on it or something to lower it's temp.

My North Bridge fan burned literally on my MoBo, so i had to change it cause my system was hanging a lot (that's how i noticed, lol). Now, i don't know if you can change it looking at your MoBo, since it's piped to the big heat sink solution from Asus, but give it a try. I'm sure there's a way to get a fan working over that thing.

Also, try to make some order inside the case. Those cables might be sofocating your Rig XD

Esop!
October 6, 2008 8:50:06 AM

Yuka said:
Spaghetti cables case, lol.

If you get problems on the loading screens and not in the gameplay now, it could be that the South Bridge is indeed too hot (nº1 on the previous pictures). That chip handles the hard drives, USB, PCIe and other things, so you should put a fan on it or something to lower it's temp.

My North Bridge fan burned literally on my MoBo, so i had to change it cause my system was hanging a lot (that's how i noticed, lol). Now, i don't know if you can change it looking at your MoBo, since it's piped to the big heat sink solution from Asus, but give it a try. I'm sure there's a way to get a fan working over that thing.

Also, try to make some order inside the case. Those cables might be sofocating your Rig XD

Esop!



Hehe :p  Will try to manage those cables abit better. I don't know if I can cool the south bridge. My graphics card is sitting just above almost half of the southbridge so how im supposed to cool that thing is going to be a problem.
October 8, 2008 2:24:29 PM

So I worked alittle with the cables and also put in a new dvd burner since the old one was dying. This one is connected with a sata cable so no more big ugly ide cables. Now the chassi is really spacey but I still crash if the pc has been on for a long time and I decide to do some gaming.

Im pretty sure it must be the south bridge by now since that's like the only thing that seems to heat up enough to cause a thing like this.

So the questions are: How do I cool it since it's under the graphics card and is the motherboard getting old or something already since I didn't have this problem when I bought the MoBo a few months ago.
October 8, 2008 7:50:00 PM

Well, if it's still under warranty, then you could just send it back and wait.

Or you could get another MoBo and sell/burn that one. Or even more, you could take the cooling solution off the board and see if there is anything wrong with the pipe. That would avoid warranty though, so i'd say it's a no no XD

Hope it is the south bridge my friend and you can game all you want once it's fixed.

Esop!
October 8, 2008 8:05:45 PM

Ah, check this pic out:



That's my old (and burnt) chipset cooling fan. And like you can see there, it was being blocked by my video card. That's an old picture, taken with the PC running so it could be noted that the fan was dead, lol. It burned out cause there was nothing protecting the fan itself, so i think the Video Card pushed it some how and caused it to burn.

Anyway, i replaced it with this:



I don't have a newer picture of my case, sorry XD

But my point is this: you can put a fan on it as long as it has a power connector near it. Even if it's "under" the Video Card or blocked in some way.

Esop!
October 9, 2008 8:57:15 PM

Hm I doubt I could put a fan there. It's just inches from touching the graphics card :p 

I have the warranty left so ill try to send it back :) 
October 10, 2008 12:15:24 AM

Hate to change the subject, but to be clear: when you say your computer crashed, you mean that it instantly shut completely off?

If that's the case, I doubt that the southbridge heat would be an issue, as you'd probably experience some data corruption before it would get to the point of actually shutting off.

I lived in an old apartment where my computer would sometimes shut off without warning. After I moved, problem never reocurred. Why don't you try going over to someone's house one night and see how your computer acts over there?
October 10, 2008 9:07:25 PM

@Viper5030 that's a good idea. Ill try that :) 

And yeah I mean it instantly shuts completely off.
October 11, 2008 2:59:41 AM

Hi
I have the same setup as you except 32bit vista. I was having the same problems, and when i say the same literally identical.
I normally never post messages because my knowledge is average. But i have to let my excitement out cos i fixed this problem with my system.
PSU; that was my cause. i disconnected a fan and some l.e.d crap on my case and it has never crashed since.

dont know if it will work for you.

worth a try.
October 11, 2008 10:45:02 AM

Yeah definately worth a try. Thanks for the info.
October 18, 2008 2:24:27 PM

Hello again.

I went to my dad's place to try to see if the problem was an electrical/power problem and it crashed here aswell. He also had a big table fan and we removed one of the chassi walls and put the table fan so it blew right into the chassi on the maximum speed setting. Every single part in the pc was super cool. The southbridge was cool aswell but after less than two hours in crysis warhead the whole pc just shut itself of.

So now all thats left is to try with another PSU. Im pretty sure it is the PSU now or what do you guys think?
October 21, 2008 12:47:54 PM

Well, you have tried out almost every possible single fix we can think of, so you might as well change the PSU for a new one.

Esop!
November 7, 2008 10:19:18 PM

Ended up getting a radeon hd 4870 1gb and a corsair 750w PSU (the 620 one was almost as cheap so i figured why not buy the stronger one...)

Changed both parts at the same time so I don't know which one was causing the crashes :p  Im guessing the PSU. It's not crashing anymore though :D 

Sent the old gfx card back for a new one and will try it later to see if it was the gfx card.
!