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How to identify damaged hardware?

Last response: in Systems
December 11, 2009 12:21:03 PM

My computer has recently started freezing during a variety of games. The screen goes black the keyboard doesn't respond and if there is sound playing when it freezes the speakers make a horrible noise. I have tried pretty much everything I could from updating driver to clearing my hardrive and reinstalling windows but nothing has helped. I think there must be something wrong with some of my hardware. How do i go about trying to diagnose which piece and whats wrong? I cant even replace it since i have no idea whats failing..
December 11, 2009 12:28:44 PM

Hunt around online for a tool called memtest86 or memtest86+ and then burn the tool onto a rewritable CD. Then boot the CD into memtest and let the test run for as many hours as you can bare (at least twelve is recommended). You should get zero errors. If errors do show up then you have a problem.

The bad news is that the only real way to identify which component is at fault is to swap each piece out for a known-working piece, until the machine behaves itself, at which point you've isolated the culprit. Bear in mind the problem you describe could be caused by bad RAM, a faulty PSU, motherboard faults, or a bad CPU.

Of course, you should first check that it's not a software problem. Check you have the latest drivers for all of your components, and try using older/newer graphics card drivers to see whether that is the problem.
December 11, 2009 5:47:19 PM

Ubuntu has that memtest on it. You just need to choose it when you get to the menu.

As for other hardware, just as TegGhola said, you will have to parts swap. That is one of the main reasons why I only buy Nvidia video cards. I can swap them out for parts swapping without having to install new divers or worrie about two sets of divers conflicting and causing new problems.
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December 11, 2009 6:07:22 PM

While it could be a lot of things with those symptons, it sounds like a heat or electrical problem if it is affecting mobo (crashes), monitor, and sound.

I suggest starting by monitoring temperatures to see how hot the case - and especially the CPU - get. If you find that is a problem we can try to isolate the cause.

How large is your PSU and what equipment is it driving? Pease list make and model for all components.

Have you made any recent hardware or software changes?

Any other symptoms when it freezes?
Do you hear fans still going?
Does computer actuall shut itself all the way off?
When you restart do you applications asking if you want to revert to configuration before the freeze?
December 11, 2009 6:28:49 PM

I do monitor the temp using core temp. It never breaks 50c under load. the temp i get from bios is usually 5-10 degrees cooler then core temps readings.

Video card: XFX PVT95GZAFG GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Video Card

Mother board: ASUS M4A79 Deluxe AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX

Ram: OCZ Platinum Edition 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Quad Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P8008GQ

PSU: PC Power and Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

I have purchased another video card in hopes that will resolve it.
December 11, 2009 7:21:45 PM

Well there go my initial thoughts. A cold computer with PC Power and Cooling PSU that is probably twice the size he needs.