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Odd problems in new PC build

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Anonymous
October 19, 2009 1:39:06 AM

Hey everyone,

I had another thread where I mentioned that everything was running smoothly. Looks like I spoke a little too soon as I've encountered a couple minor problems that I hope doesn't end up being too big of a deal.

Sometimes when booting the computer up, somewhere in the boot process (before the Windows log-in appears) the screen goes blank. It's just black. Nothing is responsive so I have to manually power off the computer and restart it. This has happened twice.

Other times, when booting the computer up again and during the boot process, instead of the screen going blank - it has some weird color distortion over the entire screen. Looks like a rug pattern or something. Once again nothing is responsive and I have to manually power off and restart it. This has also happened twice.

Something I noticed: This only seems to happen when it's a fresh start up. It hasn't happened yet after a restart. Only after the computer has been shut down for a while. Not sure if that really makes a difference or not.

Anyone have a clue? I've tried reinstalling drivers for the graphics card and that hasn't seemed to help.

Specs: (everything is stock, no OC)
Intel Core i5
Asus Radeon 5850
500gb 7200rpm Samsung Spinpoint
4gb GSkill 12800 RAM
650w Antec True Power New PSU
Vista Home Premium 64 bit

More about : odd problems build

a b B Homebuilt system
October 19, 2009 1:54:39 AM

Bump the voltage on the memory up slightly, that will take of this problem about 50% of the time. 25% of the time I would suspect your PSU, and the last 25% of the time, well we gotta know what motherboard......
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Related resources
October 19, 2009 3:15:19 AM

Anonymous said:
Alright, how do I go about bumping the voltage on my memory? And at what voltage should I bump it to.
Here's a link to the RAM I'm using: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P
Here's a link to the motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thank you, I appreciate the help :) 


Go into the bios and click on M.I.T.
There should be a couple sub menus to choose from.
Go to the advanced memory settings and change the "Performance Enhance" setting to standard if it is not already there.
After that go to the advanced voltage sub menu and change the DRAM voltage setting. Your RAM is supported up to 1.65. You may not need to put it up that high if your not overclocking, but it would be fine at 1.64 or 1.66.
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Anonymous
October 19, 2009 8:22:10 AM

Alright I changed "Performance Enhance" to standard, it was on turbo.

I'm not overclocking. I changed the RAM to 1.64.

Hopefully this does the trick :) 

Thank you for the help guys
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Anonymous
October 19, 2009 3:34:36 PM

Woke up today and had the same problem twice in a row even after changing the voltage. First time it was the color distortion, second time the screen went blank. Had to manually restart both times.

Also, my computer must have randomly shut down in the middle of the night since I left it on downloading a game from Steam. I don't know if Vista's default is set to shut down after a certain length of inactivity though.
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Anonymous
October 19, 2009 7:27:23 PM

I looked in the power options and it was set to go to sleep after an hour of inactivity. What does inactivity constitute as? Would Steam downloading something have prevented it from shutting down or?
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October 19, 2009 10:00:17 PM

Anonymous said:
I looked in the power options and it was set to go to sleep after an hour of inactivity. What does inactivity constitute as? Would Steam downloading something have prevented it from shutting down or?


Inactivity includes moving mouse or typing. Downloads will not keep it from sleeping.
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Anonymous
October 19, 2009 11:04:19 PM

cory1234 said:
Inactivity includes moving mouse or typing. Downloads will not keep it from sleeping.


Alright well that's good to know that it doesn't randomly shut down by itself. I just turned sleeping off. Just ran into the error again when I turned my PC on though. Black screen after the "Windows Loading" with a load bar screen. I manually restarted and then the PC did some kind of "CHKDSK" (or something) scan and had 3 phases. Completed it and restarted fine.
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Anonymous
October 20, 2009 3:26:04 AM

Anyone have any ideas?
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October 20, 2009 9:06:45 AM

chkdsk indicates a problem with your disk drive....

try booting from another drive.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2009 5:36:56 PM

The good news is that I can tell you how to pin down the issue, the bad news is that its gonna take a long time and require some extra parts.

1. You have a few possible issue, most likely is RAM, though it could be PSU.

Dl memtest

http://www.memtest.org/

burn onto a cd and boot. You're gonna want to run this overnight for ~12 hrs. This will tell you if your ram has issues.

2. If memtest indicates your Ram is fine, then DL Samsung's HD diagnostic tool. I haven't actually used this before (I use WD HD's) so you'll have to read the readme and follow instruction there.

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd/support/util...

3. I doubt it's the CPU, but DL and run Prime 95

http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/

Make sure theres 1 running for each core. You're gonna wanna do this for 8 hrs at least.


4. If ram, CPU and HD are fine, then you're gonna have to start getting new parts. First off, borrow if you can, if not find a nearby comp store with a nice return policy :p .

First, get a new PSU and see if your system still has issues. If this doesn't help then

Second, get a new GPU. It can be an old one from a friend or something. If this doesn't work

Third, get a new mobo and install everything onto that.

If all this doesn't work then somewhere along they way, you either replaced a bad part with a bad part, or screwed up cuz you've just tested everything in your comp ^^

edit: If none of these tests fix your issue, you can also check your cables on the extremely (like winning lottery chances) unlikely case that you have a bad cable. Also check for the (more likely) insulation got stripped/damaged cable issue.
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Anonymous
October 20, 2009 11:38:28 PM

Banthracis,

Thank you so much for all of that information, going to definitely test that stuff out.

Real fast first though, I've been googling this a lot over the past few days and it seems Windows has some kind of error called the "Black Screen of Death" (instead of blue) and from the description I read, it sounds like my problem. If this is the case, I assume this is a software error? Does anyone know anything about this?

On another note as well, I just disconnected and reconnected every cable and component attached to the mobo. Also reformatting HDD and reinstalling the OS to see if this fixes it. Going to start running the tests as well. Thank you again! :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 12:14:13 AM

The BlSOD is a pretty rare occurrence with modern PC's, its like a way back to windows 3.0 era issue.

I don't recall the specific details, but in modern pcs the only real way to get it is if you decide to compress the boot drive and compress the OS with it. Basically, you're missing so many essential files you can't even get a BSOD.

Either way, if you are actually having a BlSOD issue you won't be able to boot windows at all, not these intermittent issues you have.

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Anonymous
October 21, 2009 12:17:54 AM

Ahhh, okay. Thank you again :)  Will run the various tests and give an update. I don't know much about these tests, are certain errors in the norm? Or is a single error probably the culprit?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 12:30:02 AM

Well I broke down the tests for you in order of ease of testing/likelihood.

Honestly, I'd say its 70% chance a RAM issue. Intermittent failures like this are usually RAM linked. Memtest is pretty intuitive, just look at the column that says something along the lines of "errors" (forgot exact wording, but it's obvious), and see how many occur each time the program cycles through your RAM.

Each "cycle" is the program testing your 4gb of ram. Like I said earlier you'll want to run this for a long time as I've had cases where RAM error didn't show up till the 6th or 7th pass. Which can take 6-7 hrs to get to.


The next most likely is a PSU issue, but I'd recommend you do testing that doesn't involve obtaining new parts first to save some money.

HD is next, but you said you ran a CHK DISK and it was successful. Usually, if there is a HD issue, the CHK disk will inform you. Still, run the Samsung diagnostic just in case.

CPU very unlikely, due to no overclock and the fact that CPU instability usually means you either don't even POST, or you get failures when stressing the CPU.

If the GPU is dead/dying then you usually see artifacts/tearing first before it dies, or if its dead you straight out get no picture.

Finally, if its a MOBO issue you're usually not even gonna POST, never mind run perfectly fine most of the time.
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Anonymous
October 21, 2009 12:37:30 AM

Sounds good! Here's to praying it's a RAM issue since that is by far the easiest to check and replace.

I really appreciate all the help and information!
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Anonymous
October 22, 2009 6:31:19 AM

Just ran Memtest all day and didn't receive any errors. I was curious though, would I have to run Memtest on the first cold boot startup to show an error? I ask this because the ONLY time I ever get this black screen is on the first boot after the PC has been off for awhile. I have to manually restart it and then it's fine. I've restarted it multiple times after it's been on and never receive the black screen.

Which is also why it's so hard to test or change out new parts. I have to wait for a cold boot before I do anything to even see the black screen. Otherwise the PC seems to be completely normal.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 22, 2009 11:20:57 AM

Memtest forces errors if they are there to be forced in faulty RAM, so cold or warm boot ups won't make a difference.

The PSU is the next likely culprit, theres a chance on a cold startup there could be a tiny break in the power regulation circuit that only rectifies itself when it gets a bit warmer (and thus expands with the heat to touch the other end). This is an expensive thing to do as you either have to buy a new one that isnt DOA or go to a PC repair shop and ask if you can borrow theirs which they'll most likely charge for.

It could be a MB issue, but as Banthracis said, when its a faulty MB you usually get no POST what so ever.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 22, 2009 1:50:32 PM

Hehe Griffolion beat me to it! But yea, if memtest said its fine then start up that samsung diagnostic and then go find a friend with a spare PSU or something like a Best Buy. In the past I've simply picked up a ton of spare parts, tested to see which part was the issue, kept that part and returned the rest. Thank god for their return policy^^

Just beware some places wont accept returns on CPU's and other may charge a restocking fee.
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Anonymous
October 22, 2009 6:17:59 PM

Alright, so I just did memtest on a cold boot only out of curiosity (PC has been off for about 12 hours). I didn't let Windows load once, just went straight to memtest from the post. It's on Test #2 and not even in 2% of this pass and there's already 100,000 errors. It keeps going up by about 1,000 per second, must be failing every single thing.

I don't know what problem this would indicate... bad mobo or PSU since it's almost as if it's not recognizing the RAM since there's so many errors?

Or does not letting Windows load once completely invalidate memtest?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 22, 2009 6:28:26 PM

Replace the PSU.

Think Griffolion hit it on the dot with this being a bad connection that works again once it heats up and expands. There should be no reason that memtest ran fine for 12 hrs and suddenly show errors now. My guess is that your RAM is getting dirty/not enough power until the PSU heats up.


Give it a try, think this ultimately is a PSU problem causing RAM to not work properly.

edit: Completely off topic but the Win 7 digital DL for students sucks. Spent 2 hrs turning the .bin files they give you into a bootable iso and now the product key they sent me is invalid. Fail Microsoft, fail. Half tempted to just acquire a copy by other means >.<
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Anonymous
October 22, 2009 6:41:54 PM

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking as well. Heading out to Best Buy now and picking up another PSU since they have a sweet return policy with no restocking fee.

I hear ya on the Win 7 thing. A free upgrade option came with my Vista 64 and I filled out the order form, but MS said it won't even be shipping until November 4th!!!

Toooooo far away!!!

Edit: The only thing that does concern me about it not being the PSU is I let it run Memtest for like 30 minutes when I was getting all those errors and used the Memtest restart where the computer doesn't actually turn off, I get the black screen from that. The computer has to physically lose all power before it starts up normally. I'm not sure how PSU's exactly work, but I'd think soon as that connection heats up and expands, the RAM would work, but it doesn't until the computer loses all power from a manual restart.
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Anonymous
October 23, 2009 1:15:13 AM

One thing that I haven't mentioned is that my cursor also sometimes randomly gets bigger. Like the cursor itself enlarges to 4-5x its normal size. Only way to get rid of it is to restart. I don't know if this is just some random bug with Vista 64 or if this all pertains to the single issue.
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Anonymous
October 23, 2009 3:09:43 AM

So I bought a new PSU and installed it. No dice :(  It's not the PSU.

I've been getting all kinds of weird things today though... For some reason the system is ridiculously sluggish. Almost as if I had 1GB of RAM or something. Extremely poor performance in video games I tested and just on the desktop in general. Even takes firefox a while to load.

I did a system restore to a night ago since I installed new updates today. I did this because I wasn't getting poor performance last night. It went through and then 30 minutes later I get some error from Windows about my activation key. Now I can't even log into Windows...

Man, I have no idea what's going on =(
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Anonymous
October 23, 2009 5:49:04 PM

Anyone?
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Anonymous
October 24, 2009 2:13:57 AM

Went out and bought a new motherboard tonight... replaced it and set everything back up, did a fresh install of Vista and the problem still isn't fixed.

On top of it, I'm now getting tons of errors as well. "Superfetch stopped working", "Windows Desktop Manager stopped working", "Windows Explorer stopped working", and I'm getting fatal errors and game crashes after testing out games for 10 minutes or so. Firefox crashes etc.

Now also black screens randomly pop up while the computer is on, they stay there for 10 seconds and then the computer restarts itself. Black screens sometimes happen on restarts as well, not only just cold boots.

I really don't know what to do anymore, just starting to regret building instead of buying a prebuilt from cyberpower or something.
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Anonymous
October 24, 2009 5:50:13 PM

Could it still be the RAM even if the RAM passed memtest86 with 0 errors for about 14 hours?

I don't know if the RAM could be faulty on only start up boots.
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Anonymous
October 25, 2009 11:22:10 PM

Tried running it all day with only one stick at a time and switching sticks, did a fresh install with this... No dice.

Went out and bought a new HDD and GPU from Best Buy... no dice for either of them...

Sigh........................
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Anonymous
October 27, 2009 7:25:50 PM

Every part has been replaced or tested... I have no idea what else to do.

Should I just RMA the CPU and RAM? (The two parts that I didn't physically replace, only tested with Prime95 and Memtest)
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Anonymous
October 28, 2009 10:35:12 PM

Bump...
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November 11, 2009 9:24:37 AM

Hey nbender29

I've got the same motherboard, a brand new GA-P55-UD4P with an i7 860 CPU and 4GB (2x2GB) of GSkill RipJaw DDR3-1333 RAM as well as a VelociRapter drive. I get random BSODs and errors. Have tested RAM and HDD with no errors found.

Have been searching the Web tonight and came across this thread as well as this one, which you might be interested in having a look at:



I haven't tried increasing the QPI voltage as suggested in the above thread yet (it's far to late!), maybe tomorrow evening.

Cheers.
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December 2, 2009 1:09:27 AM

i'm having the same exact problem as you nbender. have you found a way out of this?
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!