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Complete Freeze

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October 21, 2009 6:15:41 PM

Not really sure where to put this, but since it's a homebuilt system I'm gonna do it here.

I've had this computer for well over a year and it has run just fine up untill recently (Approx. 2 months back). Whenever I play a demanding game or do many tasks at once (music, browsing, downloading, extracting etc.) it suddenly freezes, like full lock down freeze. My own guess is that it's a memory issue but I don't get why since it's running 4 gigs of DDR3. I don't remember the exact Hz or the CL. I am running Win7 Ultimate x86 on it.

Do any of you have any ideas what could be wrong, or some pointers on how I could learn what's wrong?

More about : complete freeze

a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 6:20:14 PM

list your full specs please
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 6:28:51 PM

My first thought would be memory issues as well. This is a 4GB kit you're running? I would check to make sure the RAM timings match the manufacturer specs in the BIOS. You could even try loosening some of the advanced timings.

If the BIOS looks as it should, I'd then try testing the RAM with memtest86+ for a few hours. If it generates any errors, you have a faulty module.

If the RAM checks out, I'd then probably look at power supply. If you get to that point, you'll have to give more info on your system specs and changes to the system recently (if any).
Related resources
October 21, 2009 6:48:31 PM

Specs

Motherboard: ASUS P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n - http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=cRo5Hpv4T1MXAGCk&...
Graphics Card: ASUS ENGTX280/HTDP/1G - http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=zSxc0FCRvF3ddh5z&...
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad 9450
RAM: OCZ DDR3 PC3-10666 Gold Edition 4GB - http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_ddr3_p...
PSU: Corsair HX 520W - http://corsair.com/products/hx/default.aspx
HDD's: 1x WD Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS + 1x WD Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS
Chasis: NZXT LEXA Classic Series - http://www.nzxt.com/products/lexa/
Optical Drive: 1x NEC ND 3550A

Connected via USB

Mouse: Roccat Kone - http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Mice/ROCCAT-Kone/
Keyboard: Logitech Wave Keyboard

October 21, 2009 6:56:12 PM

You may be maxing out the memory or the cpu. Start up task manager and do something that causes the system to freeze up. If before the freezeup, the Cores are hitting 100%, then you have a CPU bottleneck. You can also see how much memory is being eaten up.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 6:59:48 PM

have you run memtest86+? what are temps like under load?
October 21, 2009 7:06:04 PM

wathman said:
My first thought would be memory issues as well. This is a 4GB kit you're running? I would check to make sure the RAM timings match the manufacturer specs in the BIOS. You could even try loosening some of the advanced timings.

If the BIOS looks as it should, I'd then try testing the RAM with memtest86+ for a few hours. If it generates any errors, you have a faulty module.

If the RAM checks out, I'd then probably look at power supply. If you get to that point, you'll have to give more info on your system specs and changes to the system recently (if any).


This is what the BIOS gives me:

DRAM Timing Control: Auto
1st Information: 7-7-7-20-4-60-10-5
2nd Information: 8-5-6-4-7-4-7

obsidian86 said:
have you run memtest86+? what are temps like under load?


No, I haven't tried it yet. Didn't know of it before wathman mentioned it actually.
I don't know the temps either. What would be the best way to check them?


Tried running Far Cry 2 with maxed out settings, this is what I got when it chrashed:

CPU Usage: 31%
Memory: 1,11GB

Physical Memory
Total: 3327
Cached: 1146
Available: 2185
Free: 1109

Kernel Memory
Paged: 113
Non Paged: 43

System
Handles: 13135
Threads: 561
Processes: 45
Up Time: 00:33:42
Commit (MB): 2370/6652

The temp count on my chasis read 33 degrees celsius at the time, which was with the side cover off. The "feeler" is located near the HDD's..
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 8:07:45 PM

Core temp is a nice little program that doesn't use up too many resources and is good to keep running in the background. It can even log temps while running games to look over later.

Also, just looked up the GTX280's recommended power supply: says 550 Watts. I know that Corsair unit is a good one, and better than no-name 650 Watts, you may be cutting it close with your hardware's total needs. Do you have any friends that have larger, dependable PSUs you could borrow for testing?
October 21, 2009 8:22:38 PM

Have you updated all of the drivers for your hardware to the latest version? I had this problem a while back with an asus mobo that had drivers that were incompatible with my ram. They released a driver update for it.
October 21, 2009 8:53:43 PM

I tried ending the running processes which came after installing drivers for my mouse and sound, and also daemon tools.. I then installed and ran SpeedFan and ran Resource Monitor.. Then started Red Faction Guerilla on maxed out setting in window mode, so I could monitor while playing.. ½ hour later, several of the 4 cores temp had surpassed 50 degrees several times, but no huge swings in either memory usage or cpu usage, and best of all, no crash (Well the game crashed, but the computer didn't)..

Could it be one of the running processes that I closed which makes the computer lock up?

a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 9:00:02 PM

Your RAM settings are not correct. Your RAM is rated at 1333MHz with 9-9-9-20 timings at 1.7v. The data you listed above shows the timings at 7-7-7-20. You should manually set the RAM to 1333MHz with 9-9-9-20 timings at 1.7v and then run Memtest86+ overnight.
October 21, 2009 9:11:20 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Your RAM settings are not correct. Your RAM is rated at 1333MHz with 9-9-9-20 timings at 1.7v. The data you listed above shows the timings at 7-7-7-20. You should manually set the RAM to 1333MHz with 9-9-9-20 timings at 1.7v and then run Memtest86+ overnight.


Allright, I've figured out how to change it and now it gives me this:

1st Information: 9-9-9-20-4-60-10-5
2nd Information: 10-5-5-4-7-4-7

Is that how it is supposed to be? :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 9:13:53 PM

That should be good for the timings, but you also have to change the speed and voltage to the recommended specs.
October 21, 2009 9:17:57 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
That should be good for the timings, but you also have to change the speed and voltage to the recommended specs.


I changed the DRAM Frequency to 1333MHz and the DRAM Voltage to 1.7V.

So now I should try running Memtest86+ ?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2009 9:39:38 PM

Yes
October 22, 2009 6:14:04 AM

shortstuff_mt said:
Yes


I had memtest86+ running over night and it passed 9 times, so I guees the memory wasn't faulty?

Couldn't running processes lock up a computer? The ones I tried ending were "SoundMax Tray" (Audio), 2 processes for the mouse (ROCCAT KONE), Java, Sony Content Transfer and Daemon Tools. If one of them are aren't fully compatible with Win 7?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 22, 2009 12:07:24 PM

Windows 7 compatibility is very good, especially with a 32-bit version. Software caused crashes given Windows 7 stability is pretty unlikely now. If it is a driver issue perhaps, but I'm pretty sure Win7 makes you go through a lot of hoops to install unsigned drivers that might cause an issue. Since the worst of your problems seem to still be occurring near max load, it might be time to investigate your PSU.
October 22, 2009 1:10:01 PM

wathman said:
Windows 7 compatibility is very good, especially with a 32-bit version. Software caused crashes given Windows 7 stability is pretty unlikely now. If it is a driver issue perhaps, but I'm pretty sure Win7 makes you go through a lot of hoops to install unsigned drivers that might cause an issue. Since the worst of your problems seem to still be occurring near max load, it might be time to investigate your PSU.


Yeah allright, I'll try inserting a less demanding graphics card tomorrow (have no time today), and see how that works out.


Thanks for all the help to all of you, by the way :) 
!