Mostly during games and at least once during looking at pictures on my computer the computer locks up forcing me to do a hard boot. I had artifacts on boot up and EVGA prodided me with a RMA for my graphics card but currently I have an older 7950GT and Im still gettting the Artifacts on boot up. Also the system finally locked up on this video card. Now Im starting to wonder if its not my PSU or motherboard. I cannot predict when the system will fail/lockup but before it was very common when I played games.
I may have to resubmit this article just because I did not start it like I should have.
<Warning> This is going to be a long winded play by play on my problem and steps taken.
Last Known System Stability
I go to a 5 day training session for my job. I was playing games like WoW, CoD 4, CoD5 all graphics turned up on high settings no problems what so ever.
BTW System Specs
PSU: Corsair 1000W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139007
Mobo: EVGA 780i FTW http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188027
CPU: Intel Q9550 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115041
Video: EVGA GTX260 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130400
Memory: Corsair Dom. DDR2 1066 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145197
HDD: WD Velociraptor 300GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136260
When I get back home from training and start up my machine I notice that BIOS is literally typing out at a snails pace. (Well this cant be good) Fails to boot.
I start breaking down the system to the bare bones bootable. Have (mobo + cpu + video + memory) and boot up. Still same issue. (So Im thinking there must be a short against the case).
Take the mobo out of case boot up. Finally we are getting somewhere stupid thing must have been shorting out. (But how the hell have I been playing for 3 months before I went to this 5 day training and I come back to this.) Oh well moving on, I get all of the system back into case and notice that BIOS still doesnt quite boot up like it should, its like it hangs just long enough (in the milliseconds) that I notice it. At best its aggrevating but when I play games its fine so case closed for now.
Ok I dont know about most of you but I would imagine that like me, because of the issue that I just took care of with the BIOS, I am not fully satisfied with the slightly hanging BIOS at bootup and I cant get out of my head that there is another persisant problem developing and Im just waiting for something else to eventually reveal itself.
Well eventually I start noticing that my video card is having trouble processing WoW graphics despite that they are all on high. (This game is not graphically intense at least not for a 260) I am getting some severe graphics lag that at some points there were slide shows in instances. (for those of you that know, instances do not have many players involved so this takes out my network as the culprit although for at least 2 weeks of this I put it off as server lag because of a recent major update to that game.)
FYI : I am behind a 5 MB connection Cable.
At this point "Issue #2" has been getting progressively worse over approx. 4 week period. Finally I contact EVGA just to ask them if my graphics card could be going out. I get the routine CS help (BTW EVGA CS is awesome guys I do recommend them) They have me run a stability test called Furmark. Well the card passes just fine. I run it a few times over the next few days and still no errors or overheating.
FYI : Nothing on my system is overclocked
So over the next few days I start noticing my computer is hard locking on games and a very annoying loud long beep through my speakers not the cpu speaker (as in memory). (Finally it is revealed g** d*** you)
I recently switched to CoD5 with some friends on those Zombie Maps. At first about every 3-4 games that I hosted it would hard lock forcing me to do a Hard Boot. (ok mildly annoying and I know somethings wrong but I just want to play a f***ing zombie map with my friends so I will continue rebooting like a monkey)
I call EVGA again and call them up. I explain my new issue and they issue me a ticket #. We talk and Im trying to be reasonable with them, "could it be anything else like my sound card because I have read that sound cards can jack with games." They have me update my soundcard drivers (This is for a Creative Xi-Fi card BTW) and FAIL so I strip it and go back to the perfectly fine Onboard HD audio anyways. The only issue this resolves is the loud ringing on the hard lock. But still hard lock.
I have never RMA'd anything. I have been very fortunate I suppose because I have been building systems since 1994 and I have made newegg a lot of money. My point is that I feel bad because my opinion is that there are lot of people who probably abuse RMA's due to OC Fails or something they do to screw up the part and try and get an RMA illegitamately (whatever that may be.) AND I just want to make sure that the video card is in fact the problem so they wont flag me or anything paranoid of me like that.
So they set up the ticket # while I try a few more things including more runs at Furmark. Well a few more days go by and its locking up still and Im noticing red in color banding across the screen on bootup. So I call EVGA back. This time they have me go into safemode and using driver sweeper delete my Nvidia/Display Drivers and reinstall 182.50 the last known good drivers. Well I reboot and for at least 3 good games in CoD 5 no problem. Then for whatever reason I got a hardlock every game I played. Even less instense games like Age of Empires 3. In addition Im noticing Artifacting on the splash screen of Vista from left to right like a smudge of missing pixels.
Somewhere in the middle of all this we (EVGA tech and I) consider memory, and a good place to look while all this is going on. I get memtest and test it initially no errors. Call EVGA back they say it must be the video card. I also run memtest over night while I sleep, wake up and still no issue. So I consider my memory safe. Also for the hell of it I ran my Harddrive through the Windows internal error check and stability test and it passed without errors.
So Evga sets up the RMA and my video card is going to be sent off.
Third Most recent Issue
So Im waiting for my RMA for my GTX260 to be sent off. My friend just turned his system in to me so I can get him upgraded. He has a EVGA 7950GT I gave him a long time ago. I put it in my system and notice that I can play games very well despite the turned down graphics (whew!! so it was only my video card and I am certain now thank god what a f***ing headache : as if from what Im learning - an RMA isnt bad enough despite that your system is messing up)
Well after a few days of playing Age of Empires 3 the system hard locks (revealed it is issue #2) (.............. F**K)
Boot up play again and I dont notice anything wrong. (For some reason at this point Im thinking PSU at this point)
Well the card plays fine for a good day or two before it will lock up but the point it, its still hard locking my system.
I call Corsair and just ask what are the symptoms of a failing PSU though subtle ones (I have already read many forums and sites on failing PSU's and most of them suggest major noticeable issues I have not seen on my system)
The Corsair tech who is a bit odd but nice says that the only real way to tell if I dont have a meter is to get another PSU. Well ok that makes sense but what else can I do to check. (Im not knocking Corsair the tech was nice but I suppose he is right) He does have me look at my PC health status in BIOS menu which is 12.19v for mobo and it never fluctuated from that.
I call EVGA and short and sweet we are now considering the motherboard. (Now EVGA already probably hates me, I see me getting black listed by them already, they must have me pegged as a scammer ect ect.) David from EVGA says that what bothers him is the "artifacting" before windows boots. He says that is not a software issue that is causing the problemit is a hardware issue because drivers have not been loaded yet. and now more then ever when I boot up I get red flashed during bios and the splash screen can barely be seen at times as the missing pixels are smudged really back from left to right. All this with the 7950GT card.
Well they start a ticket # for me on my mobo and asked that I try a voltage read from the PSU like everrest or HWMonitor. I choose HWMonitor because the trial for it lets you see the 12v reading. For almost 2 games and several hours the reading never fluctuated above or below 12.93. In fact the only thing I noticed in the red was my video card @ 78C. Of course again with this new card I am noticing less locks up and of course the system never did.
I call back EVGA and tell them this. I tell them that I have a friend that has a GTX 260 I can use to test. They are more than willing to set up an RMA for the mobo but Im going to go ahead and test one more anyways. EVGA of course agrees that a third card can at least eliminate the older card as a fail and hopefully narrow down that the mobo could be the issue. (They think it could be the PCI-E slot)
So thats were im at Im sure I left some things I did out or important information but hopefully I can get some of you experts out there to give some advice. I just feel that something else could be wrong. When everything starts to go wrong like this and for those who have been through it you know how I am feeling. I would also hate to reformat or I would have checked to see if it wasnt my OS causing these problems. I know my GTX 260 is still corrupted because I tried it again during the fresh install of the Nvidia drivers and it locked up right away.
I also feel that the Card was messed up from what ever else is wrong with my system. Could a failing PCI-E slot mess up a video card?
Any other advice will be helpful while I get this very annoying problem to go away.
Thanks guys and I hope I have not offended anyone I was just gettinginto my mindset at the time.