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Mysterious Computer Crash Issue

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Last response: in CPUs
December 21, 2009 1:22:53 PM

I have been having a mysterious kind of computer crash issue...
Essentially, no matter what I am doing, the computer will sometimes just blink and all of a sudden, I lose the video feed.
The screen just says "no signal", the mouse and keyboard are unresponsive. The processor fan runs at max.
If I hit the 'restart' button, all that happens is that i can hear the fans slow down, but the video does not return.
The only way for me to 'reset' at this point is to force shut down.

I have ruled out core temps and Video card temps, and I have updated my video drivers.

I thought I could have been a PSU issue, because I have a 650W PSU. But I've been using to calculate how much power my computer needs, so far, it has been under 650W.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on?

What I was running when it happened the first time...
Antec 900 Case with stock 650W PSU
2 Gigs Corsair DDR3 RAM
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2 GHz
VisionTek ATI Radeon HD 4870
Samsung DVD burner
Samsung 1TB 7200 rpm
Thermaltake XCONTROLLER 5.25"

What I have recently added
4 Gigs G-Skill Ripjaw series DDR3 RAM
Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB


More about : mysterious computer crash issue

December 21, 2009 2:50:08 PM

You say you have enough PSU power, but its quite possible that your PSU is dead.

If I were you, the first thing I would do is try and find a spare or replacement PSU (ideally, the same as your previous one), and test it out.

Now this isn't really ethical, but what you can do is go out and buy your new testing PSU, and then return it for cash back once your testing is done.
December 21, 2009 6:38:11 PM

Could you elaborate on what it means for the PSU to be dead?
I am on the computer right now, and it still works... It did crash again since I last posted, but it starts up fine, and I can do my typical things with it...
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December 21, 2009 7:17:57 PM

YOu have a stock PSU, so we can deduce unreliability from that, remove the PSU and test it on a different system. I have exactly the same system, with a 650W which is enough power as it seems
December 21, 2009 8:27:58 PM

I'm just going to use my laptop until i get a new PSU
December 21, 2009 8:28:50 PM

Thanks everyone!
December 22, 2009 1:23:39 AM

What is that "stock" PSU that you have?

I don't think it's a PSU problem yet. Have you tried returning the previously installed RAM?
December 22, 2009 12:24:58 PM

There is nothing wrong with the RAM... I have used the 2 Gigs of RAM just fine for over 6 months... i have this PSU:

The video will short out, but all the fans stay running, the mouse and keyboard are unresponsive... the processor fan goes into overdrive... I am going to request a new PSU from Antec, because I am still under warranty...
December 22, 2009 2:14:33 PM

I have that exact same PSU, its been running perfectly fine for since August, so I dont see what your problems are
a b à CPUs
December 22, 2009 3:40:17 PM

I doubt that it is the power supply. Sounds more like motherboard issues.

a b à CPUs
December 22, 2009 4:29:19 PM

I agree with mobo issue. Your CPU fan is controlled by your motherboard. If the fan goes 100% and you drop video, that means your "motherboard" just locked up.

The few times I've seen issues like this, a BIOS flash to a different version fixed it, but this can be risky and may not work in your situation.
December 22, 2009 10:35:37 PM

Soooooo... any suggestions? should i attempt this BIOS flash anyway? would that hurt my components any more than all the force shut downs might have already? and how can i test if it is indeed the Mobo issue?

My friend wanted me to hotwire my PSU just in case... and see if it randomly turns off...

I just really want to be sure... I spent a summer's earning on this computer... and i don't have much to spare... so i want to be sure, instead of getting a part, and still not actually having fixed the problem...
a b à CPUs
December 22, 2009 10:57:33 PM

If this started soon after you went from 2gigs of ram to 6 or whatever change, I would change back for a day. Unless you did, you can't rule out the new ram.
December 22, 2009 10:59:50 PM

No no, it started crashing after a few months when i still was using just the 2 gigs of ram... maybe i should have explained it better...
it was crashing when i only had 2 gigs of ram... then once i came back from college, i added another 4 gigs into the computer... so i am just saying i have 6 gigs total now...
December 22, 2009 11:00:24 PM

thanks tho... yea i would switch it out in a heart beat if it would solve my problem...
December 22, 2009 11:56:15 PM

To those who believe it is the MOBO... I still have the disk that came with it... is it even worth it to turn it on and use the disk? or is it just time to say i need a new mobo?
December 23, 2009 12:59:33 AM

aznbigk said:
There is nothing wrong with the RAM... I have used the 2 Gigs of RAM just fine for over 6 months...

Are you daft? Remove the recently installed RAM (4gb gskill ram) and try to use only the previous one (2gb corsair) and check whether it would boot properly. If it won't then you can cross out the RAM problem but if it does then you know what it means.
December 23, 2009 1:22:38 AM

When I made the recommendation about the psu, I was under the false impression that it wouldn't turn o nat all. Now knowing what your actual problem, I would agree that it sounds like a problem with your RAM, or you mobo. Try switching out any RAM that you have recently added, even if it was a few months ago. If that still doesn't work, start testing your mobo.

P.S. it is always a good idea, that before you actually ship back an item, to swap it with a new one, so you know exactly that it is your problem.
December 23, 2009 1:40:02 AM

I'm sorry that I didn't make it clear...

basically, run time varies... from 1/2 hour to a few hours...
Usually, however, the computer crashes when i put more load on the computer...

I will change out the RAM, test once with just the 2 gig sticks... i will run my virus scan to test, and then i will test the 4 gig sticks... I will attempt this tomorrow morning...

Any tips on testing the mobo? when i have more time, I will just google "how to test a mobo if it works or not"?
December 23, 2009 2:32:00 AM

first and foremost, check out the bottom of the mobo for any spots of black, or heavy discoloration, like how it shows in this picture. If you find a spot like this, it means you have short circuited, or fried your mobo.

There are tons of people who wonder the same thing every day, so if you just Google, fried motherboard, you'll find some good tips.
December 23, 2009 10:45:07 AM

lol thanks ckaz... I guess i should have taken apart my computer last night... :/ 

oh well... i'll test it all out sometime... im going to CA tmrw morning... I won't be able to work on the computer until about a week later... Thanks alot guys!
December 23, 2009 9:10:21 PM

I already tried both removing both types of RAM and letting it go... the 4 gigs lasted about 2 hours... It is possible, the mobo locked up... because, right after I removed the 4 gigs, and installed the 2 gigs... and that lasted maybe 15-20 minutes... i doubt that the RAM is an issue...

I am about to take apart the computer finally... So i can get a look at the back of the computer...
a b à CPUs
December 23, 2009 10:10:55 PM

9 times out of 10 you wont see any damage on a defective motherboard. I would check for scorch marks, and blown capacitors.
January 2, 2010 9:22:09 PM

Hello all, I am back from vacation... and I purchased and installed the ASUS M4A79XTD EVO mobo...

I thought it solved the problem (the computer stayed on for over 16+ hours)
but, just 5 minutes ago, I was playing a game when it crashed again.
January 3, 2010 2:04:29 PM

I'm going to bump this again, because I found out 2 different things...
I am currently using 2 different kinds of RAM, both with different voltages. Could this cause it?

A friend of mine told me to double check that it was the CPU fan or the GPU fan... it turns out, it was the GPU fan going to max...
a b à CPUs
January 3, 2010 2:18:58 PM

try only one set of ram at a time, run memtest86 for at least an hour.

I never mix and match ram.
January 3, 2010 2:34:45 PM

Thanks BadTrip
I'll give that a shot too, but I start to suspect a video card issue, usually, nothing happens when I am doing something cpu intensive...
Usually, it crashes when i am watching a movie, playing a game... actually, i tried playing crysis (the 2nd one) and i got this really really wierd lighting issue, where the lighting was SUPER bright, and the trees in the distance would flicker a magenta, red color.

I submitted a warranty request on the VisionTek website... They apparently, are on vacation until tomorrow... so they might respond to me after a few more days... :( 
a b à CPUs
January 3, 2010 3:53:22 PM

I have never delt with visionTek before. Good Luck.
January 3, 2010 4:46:35 PM

BadTrip said:
I have never delt with visionTek before. Good Luck.

I'll update otherwise...

I tried to boot up my system it didn't get to the windows log in screen... so im going to leave it alone for awhile...
January 3, 2010 5:18:05 PM

Hey aznbigk :) 
Had the same problem, its the stupidest problem you can have.
You run a game, play for 5-10 mins, PC Monitor Shuts Off but PC is still running under full load, then you must force Shut Down.
After that you can't even play a video file in Full Screen and in the end It won't even let you see the Login Screen, LOL
And more to that, you can't even reinstall an OS, because everytime it gets to a point where you have to configure, the monitor shuts off again and you have to force shut down...

Well your problem is the graphic card :)  There you go. Go to your manufactuer with your guarante list and have it replaced.
If you have some other PC in your house get that Graphic Card and put it on your PC see if it starts just to be sure it's the graphic card. It's the graphic card 90% tho, because the graphic card actualy shuts off and it doesn't give signal to the Monitor.

Hope this helped :) 

PS: BTW i sticked with this problem for almost 2 years, i suspected the graphic card from the first moment but the problem didn't bother me untill it got to the moment when i couldn't get to the Logon Screen.

January 3, 2010 10:26:10 PM

lol thank you traxix...
I'll remember this issue of mine too... what do you think actually causes the issue? lol

January 3, 2010 10:35:08 PM

Yea help as many people as you can man, i see 100s of people having the same problem and other guys tell them its the PSU and Mobo and RAM, and stay around with the problem for too long...

I believe the problem is because of a missbuilt serries by the brand you bought from. Every now and then a brand makes a mistake in some VGA serries so people have this problem...
The graphic card is overheating, but no cooling will help, it's like Internal bleeding(overheating) lol.
So you have to replace..
Replacing it fixed my problem :) 

January 4, 2010 1:05:55 AM

Well, I was gonna say test the memory with MemTest86, but the problem was found to be your GPU eh?

Just like PSU's, only buy GPUs from big mainstream brand, like sapphire or XFX.
January 4, 2010 2:59:19 AM

raybob95 said:
Well, I was gonna say test the memory with MemTest86, but the problem was found to be your GPU eh?

Just like PSU's, only buy GPUs from big mainstream brand, like sapphire or XFX.

Actually, Visiontek is rated pretty high on Newegg... I didn't think it was going to be a bad choice... someone already told me about running memtest86... i do admit that i am running 2 different ram modules right now... and one is .1V higher than the other... but i don't think it really had much of an effect...
January 4, 2010 10:24:57 AM

Nah man, don't waste your time like that, i wasted alot of my time testing other stuff except GPU...
And XFX have made a mistake in the 4890 serries, but i think now they've fixed it. If you want a brand go get EVGA :) 
Hope you have a guarantee on that 4870 :) 
January 4, 2010 7:11:51 PM

aznbigk said:
Actually, Visiontek is rated pretty high on Newegg... I didn't think it was going to be a bad choice... someone already told me about running memtest86... i do admit that i am running 2 different ram modules right now... and one is .1V higher than the other... but i don't think it really had much of an effect...

NEVER mix and match RAM and NEVER trust Newegg reviews.