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BSOD - Hardware Failure, can't pinpoint

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May 25, 2009 12:38:19 AM

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I've got a BSOD issue in Vista 32-bit that I can't figure out. The BCCode is 124/9C, Windows Debug Tools says it's probably caused by hardware. The crash seems to happen under CPU and/or video card load, but I have no idea which it is or what to start replacing. I don't want to go build a new system when I can just replace the faulty component, but I have no idea which component is failing.

My system is self-built, around a year and a half old:
450W Power Supply
Intel DP35DP Motherboard
Intel Core2 E6850
GeForce 8800 GTS
2 500MB hard drives (1 Maxtor, 1 Seagate)

I can reproduce a BSOD by simply loading up Half-Life Lost Coast and starting the Video Stress Test - the blue happens 30-90 seconds into it every time. With that, I was convinced it was strictly a video card issue, but then I loaded up MAME and fired up Gauntlet Legends, with all the load on the CPU instead of the GPU, and things went blue about 60 seconds into it.

SpeedFan doesn't show anything out of the ordinary - before the crashes, both the CPU and GPU were in the 60s, but nothing scorching. I tried several CPU stress tests with no problems - all three on the Ultimate Boot CD - and memtest86 passed with no problems. Dusting it out and adding a new fan dropped the temps, but didn't prolong the time to BS. A quick visual inspection of the mainboard shows no bulging capacitors, all the fans are running just fine, 450W should be more than enough to power all of this... I'm stumped.

I plan to run a few more stress tests, and I'll see if I can scavenge a video card from an older system, but is there any way to determine exactly which piece of hardware is failing?
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
May 25, 2009 12:47:26 AM


What 450W PSU? A poor one could be an issue here with an 8800GTS. The wattage on the PSU is not the most important factor.
I would consider an old design or cheap PSU at a rated 450W to be inadequate for that card. Certainly a poorly regulated PSU can crash a system even under light non-3D loads.

Lost Coast, as I recall, has some very demanding elements they were experimenting with at the time. They might have been processor items, I don't recall now.
May 25, 2009 12:58:28 AM

Proximon said:
What 450W PSU? A poor one could be an issue here with an 8800GTS. The wattage on the PSU is not the most important factor.
I would consider an old design or cheap PSU at a rated 450W to be inadequate for that card. Certainly a poorly regulated PSU can crash a system even under light non-3D loads.


The PSU is a RaidMax RX-450K - not top-of-the-line, but it's worked fine for the past 18 months.

I just finished running a CPU stress test in Windows for 10 minutes - 100% CPU, 66C, no problems.
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May 25, 2009 1:27:21 AM

I ran FurMark for 20 minutes - 10 on "normal", 10 on "destroy my card", with no problems. GPU temp got up to 82C, but no crashes.

So, I threw Lost Coast at it, and it ran to completion for the first time in two weeks.

I have no idea at this point. The only thing I did in between that could have possibly helped out here was taking the spray duster to the PSU fan, because it still looked a little grimy. I plan to run FurMark for another half hour to see if I can stress the GPU to death, but if it lives, I may take the PSU out and give it a thorough cleaning.

Can a dirty PSU really cause system crashes?

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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
May 25, 2009 3:22:26 AM
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You didn't list RAM. Did you verify in the BIOS that it's running at the correct voltage and timings?

On the PSU, sorry but it's quite suspect. Very old and cheap design. 21A on the single 12V rail and 34A on the 5V. I would never put that into a computer I valued.

You'll find several links to highly respected sites and experts on the subject in my guide, linked in my sig.

As to dirt in the PSU, yes. The "tutorial" that's linked in my guide will explain how cheap parts can't hold adequate voltage when hot... here's a link to the exact page:

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/181/8
May 25, 2009 6:50:58 AM

Yep, RAM is good, but after blowing dust out of the PSU, I managed to get in my first full night of gaming without a crash in two weeks. I had no idea that the PSU could cause that level of problems, and I'll probably invest in a better one, since I plan to keep this build for another few years yet.

Thanks for the advice - much appreciated.
September 13, 2011 1:31:02 AM

I have the same issue with my dell xps 720 dual core.the blue screen comes somethimes after 2min or 20 min after windows loads up.i noticed that it will cause blue screen with code 124 quicker if i will use internet or try play games.another notice is that in safe mode it work fine (i think).can someone help me with this issue as im not pc expert and trying to fix it by myself for months now reinstaling different windows,changeing video cards.
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