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Newly built PC Locks Up

Last response: in Systems
December 15, 2008 11:47:17 PM

I built a system a few months ago and it's locking up on me. I spent weeks trying to fix it and just ended up giving up on it. I have a Mac to fall back on. Well, now I am ready to try again. Below is everything I tried so far and the system specs. If anybody can help me I'd appreciate it.

Here are the specs.

Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 2.4GHz
Gigabyte EP43-DS3L
2 GB DDR2 800 RAM
EVGA e-GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB

I got everything put together OK and was doing fine and then Vista started to lock up on me. Hard freeze, no mouse, nothing but reboot works. It started happening after I installed the software for my logitech keyboard, so I assumed that the keyboard must be the culprit. But, Vista got caught in an endless BSOD loop when I tried to uninstall the keyboard. I had to start over with a fresh install of windows. Major hassle when your stuck with a dial-up connection and have to DL the drivers manually. (To top it off, the motherboard driver DVD is unreadable) Anyway, I finally get everything up and running, all the latest drivers installed, and I am using my old PS2 Keyboard, but the lockups came back.

Now I don't know everything about computers, but I am pretty good at searching the web for the answers and here's what I've done and discovered.

1) The computer locks up at random. Its locked up on me in the Windows login. Its locked up after hours of web surfing and everywhere in between. I've had it lock up several times in a row and then run fine for hours. It locks up when I am using the mouse or typing and it locks up if I leave it sit. In other words, there is no pattern. I can't make it lock up, it just does.

2) It does not lock up in safe mode.

3) After many days (thanks to dial-up and many lockups) I finally got all of Vista's updates loaded and I have loaded all the latest drivers for all hardware. (Still at this point, I had not narrowed it down to any specific peace of hardware.)

4) My temps are fine. CPU at 29C and system at 40C. At this point I haven't even bothered with overclocking.

5) I ran memtest all night and found no errors.

6) I tried every diagnostic tool I could find. Windows Event Viewer only shows unexpected shutdowns. It didn't give me any other errors related to the lockups except one time. It gave me a hint the problem may be related to the video drivers. Out of maybe 50 or so lock ups, this was my only clue.

7) I tried several versions of video drivers. I tried the driver that came with the card, I DL'd the latest from nVidia and I tried one from Dec 2007 because someone stated it worked for him.

8) I downloaded Rivatuner and set my GPU fan to 80%

9) I've been to countless forums searching for an answer, and nothing I have read has worked for me, but I notice an alarming trend. A large number of people experiencing freezes like mine have two common simularities. Vista and a nVidia Series 8 GPU. Many have 8800's like me, but it seems like nobody puts two and two together. They are all focused on temps and memory.

10) Now I have disabled the driver for my 8800 GT and not a single lockup since. The computer has been on all day.

11) Through someone's advice I upgraded my card to a 9800 GTX. The freezes continue.

I am at wits end. I've built at least 10 systems in my lifetime and never had as much trouble as this. I am wondering could it be heat? My temps look good as far as I can see, but maybe I aint seeing everything. I just dont have the equipment to diagnose the problem. Suggestiuons will be appreciated.

More about : newly built locks

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2008 12:14:26 AM

I have not seen any quality reviews of your PSU, but it's clearly a low grade unit that would be quite likely to produce random crashes.

Here, read a quality review of a decent PSU:

The other possible culprit would be the motherboard, and for actually similar reasons. Voltage regulation.

So my recommendations would be:
-replace the PSU with a quality one. If it doesn't solve your problems you really won't be out anything, because you needed to any way.
-replace the motherboard.
December 16, 2008 12:18:19 AM

My guess would be the power supply. With the video driver disabled, the gpu would only do 2d mode, using much less power. With it enabled, the crappy psu can't handle the power needed. Try replacing it with a good brand like Corsair.
Related resources
December 16, 2008 2:46:55 AM

I guess you could of tried a system restore back to before you installed the keyboard drivers and software.
December 16, 2008 2:59:25 AM

Are your RAM set at the right Voltage? Basic DDR2 Jedec is 1.8v but some ram run at 2.1 or even 2.2. It could surprisingly run memtest but still cause random system crashes.

Anyways it's probably not that so next options are :

Go to the shop and buy a good 500 Watt PSU, antec or whatever. If it works, keep it and try to get a refund for the other one, if it doesn't, just go back to the shop and get a refund for the 500 watt psu. Just say it didn't fit or whatever, you wont have a problem getting a refund.

If it's not the PSU, it's the MB. RMA.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2008 3:27:05 AM

I doubt its the power supply . If it was overheating it would turn off hard , not cause a windows lock up .

I would try rolling back drivers for the gfx card as far back as you can go . Id find the folder where the Nvidia drivers are stored and I'd delete the entire contents .
Then I'd install the latest directX from the disc and then try the latest nVidia driver again .
December 16, 2008 8:07:17 AM

A dodgy PSU usually causes random instant reboots so the symptoms don't really match that. It's workwhile writing down the info on the blue screens as they can be quite telling sometimes, especially if it says the file causing it.
December 16, 2008 11:26:26 AM

test it with a copy of windows xp (doesnt need to be activated as we are just testing so borrow a disk from a friend), at least that way you can eliminate vista from the problem list.
December 16, 2008 11:45:36 AM

It could be the PSU, but i'm not totaly sold that it is. I do agree with proximon that you should get a better quality power supply anyways. The reason why I'm leaning towards its not the power supply is because it locks up on the windows login screen. Call me crazy but the times of the lock ups do not add up to it being a bad psu. *shrugs shoulders*, just a hunch.

I'm wondering if its possibly a bad hard drive? Probally not if you were able to run your graphics card in 2d mode though succuesfuly.
Here is a tutorial for testing your hard drive:

It could be heat related. An easy way to test for heat is to open the case and touch each of the heat sink (ground yourself first!!). They should be a bit warm but not scorching hot. If they are ice cold, then maybe you need to reseat the sink. In otherwords it was not installed properly. Items that might be overheating are cpu, nb, sb, and gpu. Also when you have your case off try to hear if anything sounds funny or even smells funny. These can be great indicators of issues you may be having. Check your cabling make sure everything is nice and snuggly pressed in.

I deffiantly agree with montyuk with trying to get a xp disk. Most likely this will not fix the problem but it does elimanate a few items.