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PC Freezing - Unable to Find Solution

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December 29, 2009 1:59:00 AM

This is probably by far my most difficult PC problem in all the years I've worked with computers. Simply put, my computer freezes during any 3D video game. The most obvious of solutions come into mind: too hot, bad drivers, file corruption, etc. The freezing happens mostly in video games and (if I have the sound card installed) will loop the last 1 second while the screen is frozen with the last thing it was displaying. No BSoD, ever. Here are the linear solutions I've tried to get the freezing from stopping.

1) I cleaned the system of any dust. And gave it better ventilation (new fans, etc).
Still freezing.
2) I updated all hardware drivers.
Still freezing.
3) Scanned all drives for viruses.
Still freezing.
4) Uninstalled & Reinstalled all suspect software.
Still freezing.
5) I upgraded from XP to Vista, installed new drivers and updates, etc.
Still freezing.
6) I buy new video card, get latest drivers.
Still freezing.
7) I removed sound card.
Still freezing.
8)I buy new motherboard, memory and CPU, get latest drivers.
Still freezing.
9)I replace hard drive with another I already have.
Still freezing.
10) I upgraded from Vista to 7, installed new drivers and updates, etc.
Still freezing.
11) BIOS settings set at default.
Still freezing.
12) Unplugged all non-essencial components (DVD drive, sound card, extra hard drives, chassis fans).
Still freezing.
13) Bought new heatsink/fan for CPU.
Still freezing.


All I'm left with, other than getting a new computer in the whole process, is to believe that I'm infected with a virus of some sort. The freezing happens very randomly anywhere between 15 minutes to 5 hours. I really don't know anymore. All I'm left with is replacing the chassis or purchasing a new PSU.

Specs:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83Ghz
EVGA 790i SLI Ultra motherboard
EVGA Geforce 280 GTX
OCZ memory, 1 gig sticks, max 4 sticks.
Thermaltake 750w PSU.
Seagate Barracuda 160gig 7200 rpm.
Sound Blaster X-fi
Some DVD-burner drive
And a very large heatsink on the CPU.
December 29, 2009 2:25:32 AM

The monitor was bought this past summer, and it has a new DVI cable - also bought this year. Watching movies isn't a problem.

I'm actually talking to you right now on this PC.
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December 29, 2009 3:07:28 AM

i had the same issue for a while... then i changed my HD and it stopped.... A PSU could cause freezing if something isn't getting the right voltage.. Buy a new PSU..
December 29, 2009 3:36:43 AM

+1 for PSU
December 29, 2009 4:01:02 AM

try a fresh install of XP from a new hard drive. You upgraded so many times with so many drivers, your registry got confused!
December 29, 2009 4:29:25 AM

U changed all but PSU. In these days people don't appreciate the real impact that a PSU have on a system, good or bad. Get a new PSU , never get TT,Cooler Master. 500-700-900 watt for these brands are not real and clean 500- 700-900 watt. They are bad PSU brands. Always get a good quality PSU for a high system. Corsair, Enermax, Seasonic, Gigabyte, on top of the list.
What are u thinking people when u buy a EVGA board, a QC 9550,and good stuff WITH a Thermalthake PSU????
And do a clean reinstall of the OS.
December 29, 2009 4:47:25 AM

technuttso said:
U changed all but PSU. In these days people don't appreciate the real impact that a PSU have on a system, good or bad. Get a new PSU , never get TT,Cooler Master. 500-700-900 watt for these brands are not real and clean 500- 700-900 watt. They are bad PSU brands. Always get a good quality PSU for a high system. Corsair, Enermax, Seasonic, Gigabyte, on top of the list.
What are u thinking people when u buy a EVGA board, a QC 9550,and good stuff WITH a Thermalthake PSU????
And do a clean reinstall of the OS.


Thanks for the advice, but not for the insult. The OS installations are done on wiped hard drives.
December 29, 2009 4:55:41 AM

My apologies if u get this as an insult, it wasn't meant to be such thing.. i was just a bit tough because i see that u have potential, u build a good system alone but u are a bit down with the research with PSU, and is not good. Consider a negative vote, not an insult. Good luck with your system.
December 29, 2009 1:39:38 PM

technuttso said:
My apologies if u get this as an insult, it wasn't meant to be such thing.. i was just a bit tough because i see that u have potential, u build a good system alone but u are a bit down with the research with PSU, and is not good. Consider a negative vote, not an insult. Good luck with your system.


Thanks, I appreciate it. Not many people apologize over the Internet because of the benefit of anonymity.

So far, I'm going to say that it just might be the PSU. The virus theory doesn't seem to hold up for me, and the freezing is so random that it seems more like it's a hardware problem.

When I do replace the PSU, I will be posting here with my results for everyone's future reference.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2009 4:04:40 PM

Always, always check the RAM voltage. Too low of a voltage is probably the biggest cause of random freezing, period. Some low-intensity programs (like a Web browser) might work, but the problem really shows up once you do anything demanding.

If your RAM's recommended voltage is anything other than 1.5V (for DDR3) or 1.8V (for DDR2), you'll likely have to set it yourself manually in the BIOS. Not sure which specific kind you have, but if I remember correctly, OCZ is almost always something other than the standard voltage.

Also, with all four sticks installed, you'll need to bump the voltage another 0.1V or so above the listed specs. This also usually keeps any autodetect function on the motherboard from working correctly, so if it worked with two sticks but not four, that's why.

If neither of those fixes work, then yes, my next guess is a power supply issue. Although from that, I'd usually expect a reboot or a black screen, not freezing. Look into the memory first, though, because that fix is free.
December 30, 2009 9:50:51 PM

capt_taco said:
Always, always check the RAM voltage. Too low of a voltage is probably the biggest cause of random freezing, period. Some low-intensity programs (like a Web browser) might work, but the problem really shows up once you do anything demanding.

If your RAM's recommended voltage is anything other than 1.5V (for DDR3) or 1.8V (for DDR2), you'll likely have to set it yourself manually in the BIOS. Not sure which specific kind you have, but if I remember correctly, OCZ is almost always something other than the standard voltage.

Also, with all four sticks installed, you'll need to bump the voltage another 0.1V or so above the listed specs. This also usually keeps any autodetect function on the motherboard from working correctly, so if it worked with two sticks but not four, that's why.

If neither of those fixes work, then yes, my next guess is a power supply issue. Although from that, I'd usually expect a reboot or a black screen, not freezing. Look into the memory first, though, because that fix is free.


Right on the stick itself says 1.8v and it was running at stock value of 1.5v. So I've already put it up to 1.9v since all banks are full. Interesting point you make because the freezing was also happening before I upgraded the mobo/CPU/ram. I'll have to check what kind of RAM I had previously before I upgraded the mobo/CPU/ram to see if it was the same issue.

Either way, I already bought a new PSU, so along with the voltage changes and the new hardware, I will test things out for the coming days and will report back here for everyone's future reference.

January 3, 2010 6:56:49 PM

After some days of testing, it was the low voltage on the RAM. I had only one freeze at 1.9v and zero freezes running them at 1.8v as of yet.
May 19, 2010 1:17:03 AM

Yo,
This might be a little later But I came across the same Issue as far as the freezing and did all the same things that you went through and I feel your Pain, So this is what I found and you wont believe it, " A F@#$ing Bad Hard drive," My set up was a raid 0 , How I found it, Go to the Raid menu and unraid the Hard drives from each other, then when reinstalling the OS system you will get to the part of which drive or Partition you would like to install your OS system, reformat each of the hard drives when you get to that part of the install of the OS system, if it fails to reformat then you know its that hard drive, You have to do this to each one of the hard drives,
Vista Sucks by the way, By Now you should Get Windows 7 64 bit Pro no less, It runs with less stress on your hardware, and more compatible software,,,,

Good Luck,,,,
!