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PC Restarts When Playing Warcraft

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October 19, 2009 2:29:23 PM

Hello there,

I believe my problem has been mentioned on these forums before (and also posted it on Blizzard's forums) but I thought I’d share my story and check if there is any solution or suggestion.

Basically, my PC restarts when I’m playing WoW – no blue screens, just a sudden restart. I had a 5 year old PC (upgraded memory, hdd, graphics card) which had the same problem – I thought it was overheating so I lived with it. My brand new PC arrived yesterday and to my surprise it started again! Random restarts after 15 – 20 mins of game play. It’s probably worth mentioning that the only common hardware between the old and new PC is my Creative X-Fi Gamer sound card.

Here’s the spec (running windows XP Pro at the moment):

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 8Mb Cache
I7 - Asus P6T SE Crossfire 6400FSB DD
500GB SATA Hard Drive
896Mb GTX275 PCI Express Nvidia DDR
4GB Corsair Memory DDR3 1333 (2 x 2g
Creative X-Fi Gamer 7.1 Sound Card
EZ cool 650 Watt PSU

I don’t think my system overheats as with 5 fans and 5% CPU usage that’s quite unlikely… I’m tempted to assume that it’s the sound card as it’s the only common hardware between my old and new pc. Did anyone else have problems with Creative sound cards / drivers?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated as to be honest it’s quite a shock getting a brand new system and noticing that my pc keeps on restarting.

Many thanks.
October 19, 2009 2:38:55 PM

Have you tried uninstalling creative's drivers and removing the card to see the problem persists? I have the same card and have never experienced such a problem before. However, I did suffer from lengthy shutdown times and overall slowdowns caused by a creative process. So I went into msconfig and disabled every creative process at startup, there was an exact process called ctxhe.exe or something. I can check once I get back home later today.
October 19, 2009 2:56:21 PM

Hi ominous prime and thanks for the prompt response. That's what i'm planning to spend my evening on actually...

I really hope it's the sound card as i will be quite devastated if a brand new system is overheating after 10 mins of playing wow :) 
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October 19, 2009 4:22:53 PM

Have you checked your temps while the system is under stress? Maybe download realtemp or coretemp or speedfan, to monitor temperature, then use prime95 to stress your system.

I doubt it would be overheating as well, so it's more than likely bad drivers on the sound card, did you install them from the disk, or the creative website?
October 19, 2009 4:26:29 PM

Also, disabling ctxfihlp.exe stopped my painfully slow shutdown times. Apparently from what I've read all it does is switch between speakers and headphone settings automatically. But it never worked when switching anyways, and slowed me down tremendously. But you aren't experiencing slow shutdown times I imagine, with your pc rebooting on the fly. I'd still go ahead and try disabling it though, just to see.

Also, are you using XP pro 32bit or 64bit?
October 19, 2009 4:31:53 PM

thanks again...

the driver i'm using now is the one from the disk (decided to keep the old driver for at least one day before i rule this out)... so the plan now is
a) install new sound driver,
b) if this fails remove card
c) check for overheating
d) replace power lead and... keep my fingers crossed.

Will update the thread later tonigt - thx again.

October 19, 2009 4:32:15 PM

+1 to checking your temps. You should also manually set the RAM speed/timings/voltage to the manufacturer's specs in the BIOS.

"EZ cool 650 Watt PSU" - that's the most probable cause of your problems. Using a cheap PSU is a guaranteed way to create an unstable system.
October 19, 2009 4:37:50 PM

Ah very true Shortstuff_mt. I overlooked that because I had problems with that creative card myself. But if turns out not to be the sound card, definitely take a look at that power supply.

You didn't by chance use that power supply in the old system that had the restart problem d_tale?
October 19, 2009 4:39:46 PM

If removing the sound card doesnt work give these follow things a try:

1.What kind of temps are you getting on your GPU? Overheating GPU's will trigger automatic restarts.

2. What kind of temps are you getting on your CPU? Did you build the rig yourself? If so, it's entirely possibly your HS/F is not properly placed and CPU is overheating. %core usual doesn't actually matter, as an idling CPU can overheat if the HS/F is improperly seated.

3. Try running another resource intensive game, Crysis for example, and see if you also get these random restarts.

4. Do you use any GPU fan speed control programs? I've had my Riva Tuner have profile issues before, resulting in it not changing fan speeds and causing GPU to overheat and therfore restart my computer.




My best guess is that if it's not giving you a BSOD, then its a overheating issue. Also, if you are overclocking, it could be an unstable OC.



If you don't have any temp monitoring programs, I recommend Speed Fan or Core Temp for CPU. For GPU, i don't know if NVIDIA drivers includes one (I know ATI CCC has one), but RivaTuner works great and if you take the time to set it up, it gives you great control over fan speeds.
October 19, 2009 8:07:38 PM

Thank you all for the responses...

I've installed the latest audio drivers and also installed temp monitor software... nothing surprising there really... GTX 275 went from 41C when idle to 61C after 30 minutes of gameplay, the CPU was much cooler at 40C-42C however it still restarted when i was checking the log and wow was running on the background...

The cheap PSU is a very good point shortstuff_mt. My previous system had a same brand 450w one and i was having the same problems. I guess there are two things to do now - totally remove the sound card and see what happens and if the problem persists, replace the PSU.

Banthracis - it is a custom built system but i did not build it myself. it hasn't been oc'ed or anything so i was expecting a smooth play with an i7... Nvidia also have their EXPERTool which lets you set the fan speed / or leave it on dynamic.

The more i try the more confused i get but the sound card removal test is next...
October 19, 2009 8:11:17 PM

Well, let us know how that goes. If it persists, I'd recommend trying prime 95 to test stability. But it could very well be the PSU.
October 19, 2009 9:49:03 PM

Right, still early to tell but i was re-installing wow and it crashed again (which i guess means it's definitely not overheating as i was only running the wow web-installer).

It restarted at something like 20% of the installation and i noticed that the installer was playing the wow music in the background. I unistalled the drivers and removed the X-fi, enabled the on board sound, installed Realtek drivers and re-started the installation.

It's now at 99% (downloaded 7gb in 45 mins thanks to virgin...) without any problems. Fingers crossed I will have to play and test it but so far so good...I've arleady researching for the Asus Xonar D2X which looks promising. Will let you know..

thx all
October 19, 2009 10:15:20 PM

Well I'll keep my fingers crossed for you d_tale. Did you ever try the drivers off Creative's website? Although it could just be a faulty card. That's quite a shame though, maybe try and contact Creative for a replacement?
October 20, 2009 1:22:51 AM

thanks ominous prime... not good news and I'm getting quite tired after spending all evening on trying to sort this out... it restarts randomly not only when playing WoW... it happened twice when I was sorting folder structures...

It seems there is a problem with the PSU or the ram settings as shortstuff_mt mentioned - I'm quite new to this area so not much i can say. SpeedFan reports the following:

Vcore: 0.92V
+12V: 11.19V
AVcc: 3.33V

After some research, I've tried CPU-Z to check my ram timings but to be honest it's all new to me so not sure what check and change (the BIOS has all settings to auto)...

the only positive thing is that my X-Fi is probably not faulty.
October 20, 2009 1:59:06 AM

Do you have another power supply you can test? Also, have you tried running prime95? With the random restarts I'm more inclined to think it's the power supply rather than bad ram timings. Do you have the make and model number of your ram?
October 20, 2009 7:58:02 AM

Unfortunately I don't. I was going to buy a new decent one but feel cheated given that the PC was delivered a couple of days ago so I will speak with the IT support of the company who built it, who will probably ask me to send it back which is a pain...oh well!

The memory is the corsair XMS3 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
October 20, 2009 8:22:03 AM

Edit - Corsair have a good tutorial about changing RAM settings in the BIOS (here). Good news is that this is exactly the same Bios as mine so it's pretty straight forward to change the RAM settings...

easier said than done though as I'm not familiar with advanced BIOS configuration and don't want to risk it...
October 20, 2009 9:01:48 AM

Edit 2 - I've also noticed that the QPI/DRAM core voltage is set to 1.65. Isn't this too high?
October 20, 2009 2:51:38 PM

The DRAM voltage should be 1.65v. That's what your RAM is rated at. You should also manually set the speed to 1600MHz and the timings to 9-9-9-24 according to Corsair's specs.

I still suspect your cheap PSU as the cause of your problems, though.
October 20, 2009 2:56:09 PM

No that voltage seems alright, that's what the voltage says on the newegg page. And since the timings are right in bios, I doubt it's the ram.

The more than likely culprit now is that power supply. Since you had an EZ cool PSU in your last rig, and it restarted like this, correct?

EZ Cool probably just makes crap products. And if you contact the support for the company who built it I'm sure you'll have to send it in, which is always a pain :cry: 

October 20, 2009 8:51:14 PM

Thank you both - Ominous Prime, the previous pc restarted like this using the same PSU brand but at least it lasted for a couple of years and it was happening almost only during gaming.

This one restarts generally even when i try to install a programme or change my folder view (the interesting thing is that it only restarts when i try let's say to maximize a window or change my hidden files view options, never when idle). Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with the spec (i.e. maybe high spec GPU and chip and not so good ventilation, mobo etc) and I will always have problems.

I spoke to the company who built it and I will almost certainly need to send it in... I wouldnt mind buying a new PSU and installing it myself but it feels like a waste of money as it's still within warranty and I can still get my money back for the next 30 days... :??: 
October 20, 2009 9:14:28 PM

I definitely wouldn't purchase a new PSU, it's their fault it's broken so they need to fix it. Although waiting for the turn around certainly sucks :cry: 

Were you able to check your GPU temps, so we're certain it isn't overheating and causing the restart?

And I have to wonder, why didn't you build it yourself?
October 21, 2009 8:28:40 AM

Yeah, I've checked the temps and the Speedfan log - GTX 275 goes from 41C when idle to 61C after 30 minutes of gameplay, the CPU is much cooler at 45C-46C during gameplay...

I'm also wondering the same now Ominous Prime... I was thinking of building it myself but I wasn't particularly confident as I've nener done it before and they were quite cheap (£900 with monitor)... lesson learnt though :sarcastic: 
October 21, 2009 4:27:48 PM

Well, I'd go ahead and send it in. Hopefully it'll be all set when it gets back, and that you won't have to wait too long. My vote goes for a poor quality power supply. But I imagine they'll merely replace it with another of the same brand - hopefully the next one will work.

Next time I'd recommend building though d_tale, it's really quite simple and you have everyone on the forums at your disposal if you hit a road block.
October 21, 2009 8:06:55 PM

It's stable for the last 10 hours and I haven't made any changes (only put the x-fi back) but I will speak to them again tomorrow and send it back... thanks all for your useful advice and guidance.

Ominous Prime I can still ask for my money back if the problem persists and this time I will build it myself :) 
October 21, 2009 8:46:41 PM

Glad you got it working had the same issue last year changed out PSU and it fixed the problem only happened in one game but it was kind of newish and pulled lots of juice.
October 21, 2009 9:37:09 PM

Glad you're still sending it in, I know a few people who would just keep it. You never know if the problem could arise again, and it's more likely to than not. Hope it gets fixed for you d_tale.

And if the problem persists, though I hope it doesn't. Everyone here will help you get through the build. :) 
October 22, 2009 8:44:27 AM

Thanks again - I will open a new thread with my new suggested system spec. I'm almost certain I will return the PC and ask for my money back as I'm particularly unimpressed with this unstable build... :( 

Edit - Good news - spoke to them and they will send me a brand new same spec pc (although i consider paying that extra bit for better PSU)...
October 22, 2009 2:10:12 PM

Good to hear they'll live up to their warranty, and I'd probably pay the extra bit for a quality power supply. I wouldn't risk a cheap power supply in my system, if it goes bad, it could take everything in the system out with it.
!