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Need Some Expert Diagnostic Exp

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  • Asus
  • Motherboards
Last response: in Motherboards
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December 9, 2009 8:00:03 PM

Hey Everyone, I hope somebody can offer some guidance :) 

Issue: Random freezes at idle, random BSODs, random soft reboots. I'm not an overclocker and have left all the AI Tweaker settings at Auto

System:
Brand: iBUYPOWER
Model: Battle Gear X3
Mobo: Asus P5Q3 (non-deluxe)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300(2.50GHz)
Memory: 8GB DDR3 1333 (Kingston KVR1333D3N9/2G)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT 1GB Video Card
OS: Vista 64/Win7

Diagnostic History:

minidumps (45 of them over a 4 month period) produced little info. The probable causes seemed totally random (dxgkrnl.dll, nwifi.sys, srtsp64.sys, atapport.sys, NTkrnlmp.exe just to name a few):

Drivers?
- flashed BIOS to most recent
- installed updated Intel chipset drivers
- updated Nvidia drivers
- updated Delta 44 audio drivers
- ran system file checker which came up with nothing

HDD?
- ran a disc-checker on the C: and the drive is in good health with no bad sectors at all

PSU?
- physically metered the voltage. 12v was solid at 11.95 - 11.99, all the other readings looked good

Memory?
- memtest+ each stick for 2 passes
- memtest+ 2 sticks at a time for 2 passes
- memtest+ all 4 sticks overnight for 8 passes

CPU?
- Prime95 stress test for a couple of hours, no errors at all.

OS?
- reformatted and re-installed Vista 64
- reformatted and installed Windows 7

The only thing I haven't done is remove my Delta 44 card and see if that was the problem. I got an RMA from ibuypower but I'd really like to know what the problem is before I send it back. It can go over a day sometimes without any crashes whatsoever. My best guess is that there is some faulty mobo component but that's really just from a process of elimination.

Does anyone have any idea of what else I can do to accurately identify what this issue is? Again, the last thing I want to do is send this back to ibuypower, have them not find anything and send it back. Any help would be greatly appreciated :) 

More about : expert diagnostic exp

a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 435 V Motherboard
December 10, 2009 5:31:00 PM

If you can go a whole day, then heat buildup may be a problem, or a cheap power supply that slowly overheats. It's winter where I live, so heat isn't an issue this time of year. You've already done alot of troubleshooting; next try is a new power supply or motherboard; and I mean new. Insist on a brand new board, not a refurb. Same for the power supply. You can upgrade your ps to a corsair 400w for $49.99 at newegg, plus you get a $15 rebate and free shipping. Corsair is a quality brand, well worth it. Just don't tell ibuypower. Get the new motherboard first if they will accept an rma. And whine about it. If you don't get it back within 10 days, get on the phone and speak to someone to expedite it, or you could wait awhile.
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a b V Motherboard
December 10, 2009 6:30:56 PM

Sounds to like you having the exact same problem I am having.
Refer to a couple of threads just lower "inconsistent reboots".

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Related resources
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 150 V Motherboard
December 10, 2009 7:16:48 PM

iBuyPower, among other potential sins, probably used a fecal PSU in your system. It should not stress a competent 400W PSU. Although probably not helpful, it would not hurt to check for the possibility of heat buildup. Use a pressure duster rather than a vacuum cleaner to clean dust out of fans and heat sinks, as vacuum cleaners can generate destructive static. Since this was shipped to you, make sure all connectors are properly in place.
A meter is not a reliable way to confirm that a PSU is good, since it doesn't apply a load nor show how good the output waveform is.
If the PSU has a little red voltage switch on it, at best it is an older, inefficient design, and likely the same thing you'd get back after a RMA. If so, after doing nothing more than testing the new one, to avoid likely future problems you may wish to replace the PSU. Choose one with full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and 80+ certification. Five hundred Watts is sufficient for a system with a single video card. Better brands include Antec, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, and Enermax.
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December 10, 2009 8:03:07 PM

Thanks for the info guys. This PSU says it's 680 watts (PSU-HUSH680) but it does have the red voltage switch. If the PSU is the culprit then it's just a bad unit. There should be now way 680 watts is not enough power right?

As far as heat goes, I ran Everest, Speed Fan and Sensors View and there was no heat issues at all to speak of. If it is a heat issue it's something that those apps are not sensing.

I think I may have fixed the BSODs (and Wizard, if you have a P5Q / Intel combo then check out this thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/253406-30-build-issue... ). I did everything that Failsafe said in his post at the bottom and I haven't had a BS yet. (disable C1E Support, disable Speed Step, set CPU Margin Enhancement to "Performance").

Other people I'm taking to are not ruling out bad RAM yet. I've been diagnosing that and this is what I've come up with:

I have 4 Dimms and 4 slots. I had 1-2-3-4 in A1-A2-B1-B2. This is the default configuration. I start by removing 1 and 3 as follows:

1. -----/ 2-A2 /------/ 4-B2 = Bad (immediate frequent restarts)
2. -----/ 1-A2 /------/ 3-B2 = Good (this suggests the slots are fine and it's RAM)
3. -----/ 2-A2 /------------ = Good (this suggests stick 2 is ok and 4 is bad)
4. ------------------ / 4-B2 = Good (this doesn't make sense)
5. ------------------/ 2-B2 = Good (this suggests stick 2 and B2 is ok)
6. Just to make sure I go back to Config 1 and it's back to frequent restarts
7. -----/ 4-A2 /------------ = Good (unfreakinbelievable)

I've read some posts from people who claim that it's possible for some RAM to not get along with a particular slot, but I'm suspicious of that.

Could bad RAM cause soft reboots and not BSODs?

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December 11, 2009 1:31:51 AM

OK after experimenting with all sorts of RAM configurations I think you are right jtt283. This is almost certainly a PSU issue. I'll RMA it and see if it solves the problem.
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December 11, 2009 7:44:52 PM

I called to RMA the PSU and the tech had other ideas once he learned I have a P5Q3 mobo. They're sending out a new mobo and some new Corsair RAM.

If the restarts continue then we can DEFINITELY say it's the psu. At that point, after they've sent out a new mobo and RAM, I think I'll just buy a psu and spare the RAM trouble.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 150 V Motherboard
December 11, 2009 8:14:04 PM

Well, their dime, your time. Probably worthwhile though. if what they send doesn't fix it, you'll end up with all new parts anyway.
If what they send DOES fix it, I'd still consider replacing the PSU just to avoid any sudden unpleasant surprises. After all, bad waveforms from the existing PSU may have damaged your current mobo or RAM in the first place.
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January 17, 2010 4:46:46 AM

Did you ever figure out what was causing your lock-ups?

I have the same motherboard with corsair memory, etc. and I get the same lock-ups. Sometimes it will go a day or 2. Sometimes its within 2 minutes of turning on the computer. It seems random.

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Mike...
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January 20, 2010 9:27:49 PM

Sorry I just saw this 4 days later ;) 

They sent out a new motherboard and new RAM and it fixed my problem. Through my many many hours of diagnostics I'm almost certain it was a motherboard issue, not a memory issue.

That Corsair is on the vendor list so it's not a compatibility issue and if it was bad RAM then the Memtest would almost certainly find it. I even used 1 stick at a time to eliminate bad RAM as a culprit.

The motherboard however had some bad manufacturing runs and there are bad motherboards out there.

Are you still under warranty?


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January 21, 2010 2:47:28 AM

Yes. I just bought the motherboard about 8 months ago. I reloaded my bios fresh, opened up my case, and put in a clean hard drive. I'm currently testing it and it hasn't locked up yet but I haven't left it on very long yet.

I'm going to burn it in for a while and then close up my case if everything is running smooth. I'm switching between my original hard drive and a newly formatted one to see if that makes a difference.

Hopefully all goes well.

Mike...
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!