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Looking for advice on diagnosing stability issues

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June 2, 2009 2:10:44 AM

Hi Everyone

I'm looking for some help or advice, having a heap of stability issues with a new system build.

I've just built the pc from components and it has been working nicely for about a week, but since then it has been really unstable, BSOD, locking up, failing to boot, you name it.

I did some work over the weekend on it trying to work out what was wrong. Ran memtest86+ for four or five passes on all the memory (not tried individual sticks yet) and all ok. I reseated the cpu, heatsink and fan and reapplied a real good amount of thermal compound. Finally got a clean install of vista on it, and ran up core temp and linx and ran a full test, which worked fine. So I thought all my troubles were over. Installed the rest of my apps, and the crashing has started all over again.

Last night I reset the bios to it's defaults (just to make sure, as I haven't changed any of the overclock settings, just disabled the floppy drive and set up the storage and boot priority etc), clean install vista again, and install linx, cpu-z and core temp. The machine wouldnt run a full test of linx without crashing. Core temps on idle are around 35, and under load at around 65 going up to a max of about 71. I left the machine on overnight idling, and it must have reset itself about 3 or 4 times looking at the event log.

The machine is an i7 975, rampage II extreme motherboard, corsair TR3X6G2000C8GTF 6gb ram, corsair hx-1000 psu, and a zalman CNPS9700 NT cpu cooler, and a gigabyte gtx 295 gfx card.

I'm not overclocking, just looking to have the pc run stable at the moment, new to overclocking but was going to look at increasing the memory frequency etc, but definitely wont be touching anything until I have a stable system.

I'm looking for advice on what to do next to get my system running stable? I was thinking of taking out all unnecessary components (which amounts to one of the HDs and 2 of the memory sticks and the sound card that came with the mobo)

Would you recommend I investgate the crash dumps that are being saved with each crash? Should I start to look at trying to find replacements to see if any of the parts are faulty? Can anyone offer advice on which part is most likely to be at fault, so I can look to change that first?

Also are those core temps reasonable for saying I am not overclocking the cpu?

Any suggestions of what to try next would be much appreciated

Thanks

Matt
June 2, 2009 4:12:26 PM

djmatty said:
Hi Everyone

I'm looking for some help or advice, having a heap of stability issues with a new system build.

I've just built the pc from components and it has been working nicely for about a week, but since then it has been really unstable, BSOD, locking up, failing to boot, you name it.

I did some work over the weekend on it trying to work out what was wrong. Ran memtest86+ for four or five passes on all the memory (not tried individual sticks yet) and all ok. I reseated the cpu, heatsink and fan and reapplied a real good amount of thermal compound. Finally got a clean install of vista on it, and ran up core temp and linx and ran a full test, which worked fine. So I thought all my troubles were over. Installed the rest of my apps, and the crashing has started all over again.

Last night I reset the bios to it's defaults (just to make sure, as I haven't changed any of the overclock settings, just disabled the floppy drive and set up the storage and boot priority etc), clean install vista again, and install linx, cpu-z and core temp. The machine wouldnt run a full test of linx without crashing. Core temps on idle are around 35, and under load at around 65 going up to a max of about 71. I left the machine on overnight idling, and it must have reset itself about 3 or 4 times looking at the event log.

The machine is an i7 975, rampage II extreme motherboard, corsair TR3X6G2000C8GTF 6gb ram, corsair hx-1000 psu, and a zalman CNPS9700 NT cpu cooler, and a gigabyte gtx 295 gfx card.

I'm not overclocking, just looking to have the pc run stable at the moment, new to overclocking but was going to look at increasing the memory frequency etc, but definitely wont be touching anything until I have a stable system.

I'm looking for advice on what to do next to get my system running stable? I was thinking of taking out all unnecessary components (which amounts to one of the HDs and 2 of the memory sticks and the sound card that came with the mobo)

Would you recommend I investgate the crash dumps that are being saved with each crash? Should I start to look at trying to find replacements to see if any of the parts are faulty? Can anyone offer advice on which part is most likely to be at fault, so I can look to change that first?

Also are those core temps reasonable for saying I am not overclocking the cpu?

Any suggestions of what to try next would be much appreciated

Thanks

Matt


I'm not familiar with that particular chip, but those temps seem rather high. Make sure your heatsink it has a flat surface, as well as your CPU, and that you used high quality thermal paste. What about the airflow in your case, do you have enough fans, etc?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 2, 2009 9:07:33 PM

Drunknmunkys is right, those temps are looking pretty high, even for I7.

You said 'real good amount' of thermal paste, that isnt nesecarily a good thing, too much can be as thermally inefficient as too little.

The zalman you mentioned isn't specified for socket 1366 (I7) cpu's anywhere i look, try getting one meant for the power of an I7 and this could help the heat.

Check out your case, is it a good, well known one or is it something you got for cheap? Have you got fans where you need them and are they blowing the right way? Airflow is critical through the system or it will stagnate and build heat.

If you want to maybe upgrade your case, you wont go wrong with this if you're on a budget: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Sharkoon-Rebel-9-Value-B...(No-PSU)

My suggestion is cool that CPU and ensure you have optimal airflow through the case before you go looking to replace components or whatever.

You want air sucking in through the front/side of the case and expelling at the back/top of the case. No matter what your case is, you should at least have an 80mm fan bay on the side panel and 92mm bay on the back above the I/O's. Your PSU should have a fan too which counts as an expeller. Also, if your case manufacturer makes the right brackets, try installing a 120mm intake fan on the front of the case in place of empty 5.25" bays.

Oh, just for the record, my Phenom 9950 is modestly overclocked to 3.0Ghz and my cooler sits it at 33-35 idle and 42 max out; not saying this should be you but 71 is way too high, thats GPU territory, not CPU.

Download GPU-Z and check the temps of the GPU, if they idle over 55 for your 295, download Rivatuner and manually set the fan speed to about 70% (from stock 40%) to keep it constantly cool.

The high temps in your CPU could be causing errors in the processing, 1's processed as 0's etc. Cooling it will settle the electrons down that are running through it. Sorry if im saying things you already know, but make sure all this is in place before you consider more things.
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June 2, 2009 9:42:14 PM

Thanks for the replies!

The Heatsink and fan has an additional bracket for LGA1366 applications, although after your comments I have thought I might upgrade it to a thermalright true 120 which seems to be a good HS for i7. Also I was using the thermal compound that came with the zalman HS, but a tube of arctic silver is on it's way. I will see if that makes a difference. From what I have been reading the temps I have been experiencing are withing operating temp of the cpu, but cooler is better... My case is a Coolermaster Cosmos S, and there are 3 120mm fans in the case, plus a 20mm fan on the side panel. All are connected, and there seems to be good airflow, the zalman cooler flows almost directly to one of the case fans on the back panel.

I did some more testing last night with memtest. Set the motherboard bios profile to xmp2000, this set the voltage to 1.65v and the timings to 8-8-8-24 and the clock speed to 2000 for the memory, then ran memtest on each DIMM on it's own in each of the blue slots. 2 passes and no errors.

However I then put all the sticks back in and ran memtest again, and it failed with a heap of errors on pass 2. Also memtest fails when the bios is set back to defaults, single dimm in each slot or when all the dimms are in the blue slots.

I am still not certain if this indicates motherboard or ram failure...

Still scratching my head here, so any opinions on whether the motherboard or memory is faulty would be appreciated! :) 

Matt
a b B Homebuilt system
June 2, 2009 9:53:20 PM

Hmm that is strange indeed. It could be your CPU actually (sorry to go back to it again) but the memory controller may be failing..

I suggest you do the RAM testing in the same format you mentioned but using the windows memory testing app, accessible on the installation dvd you will use to install vista. If the windows test throws errors in the same way too, at least you know it isn't memtest being funny.

Try testing on 4GB, 2 x 2 gig sticks and see if it crashes on that setup too.

The last thing i'd suggest is maybe go to a local PC shop and ask them to look at it for you, they will go over it with trial and error tactics and are better equiped to figure out the problem. It may cost, but its worth it for the sake of your investment.
June 2, 2009 11:48:06 PM

Thanks Griffolion

Yeah thats a good point about the possibility of the cpu being faulty too. I'll try the vista memtest tool and also try 2 sticks of ram in the different slot combinations to see what results I get with that.

I guess short of getting spare hardware to trial and error with it I might be best doing what you suggest and taking it to a pc shop.

Matt
June 3, 2009 12:56:56 PM

After more testing, I have reset the bios settings, and set the DRAM voltage to 1.65v and QPI voltage to 1.6, and the CAS timings to 8-8-8-24. Disabled turbo and speedstep, and c1e, and with only 2 sticks of ram installed the machine boots into vista and seems to be stable. I have run LinX linpack cpu stress test successfully 3 times with no crashes or bsods. The cpu is running at 3325 and the memory at 1333.

If I install the 3rd ram stick, it loses stability, won't boot into vista, or crashes almost immediately when i run linx, with page fault in non paged area BSODs.

I am starting to wonder if it is bios setting related instability rather than faulty components...
June 15, 2009 5:37:26 AM

Umm, i am seeing a few of these issue now relating to this type of ram and motherboard, also seen a similar thing on youtube with the x58 classified and this RAM.

It might be a good idea to talk to Corsair and ASUS, don't stop till you get an answer as Corsair from what i have seen are no answering about this RAM and motherboard.

I was thinking of buying the same board and RAM but i will have to research more
June 15, 2009 5:40:25 AM

Umm, i am seeing a few of these issue now relating to this type of ram and motherboard, also seen a similar thing on youtube with the x58 classified and this RAM.

It might be a good idea to talk to Corsair and ASUS, don't stop till you get an answer as Corsair from what i have seen are no answering about this RAM and motherboard.

I was thinking of buying the same board and RAM but i will have to research more
June 15, 2009 5:42:28 AM

sorry for the double post, google chrome playing up
!