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Advice on strange issues with my previously working build.

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  • Homebuilt
  • CPUs
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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January 22, 2010 3:38:10 PM

hey guys,
first things first, here's my system:

cpu: Phenom II 965 125w 3.4ghz
Cpu heatsink: OCZ vendetta 2
mobo: Asus M3A79-T Deluxe
Gpu: 2 x 4850's in crossfire.
Ram: 4gb (2x2gb) OCZ reaper DDR2 800mhz
Hdd: 2 x WD caviar blacks 640gb in RAID 0
Psu: Tagan Pipe rock 900w
Case: Antec 902
OS: Windows Vista premium 64-bit.

I originally had an old athlon x2 7750 when i built this almost exactly a year ago. It was, and still is, my first build, and has worked perfectly since then. However, at xmas I got a new Phenom II 965 and the issues started a few weeks later. Now, I had to reapply the thermal grease because it wasn't working well enough (I followed artic silver's advice of just applying a blob in the middle of the cpu heatspreader. I figured as specialists they would know what they were talking about. it doesn't work. so i took the heatsink off, cleaned it, and did it again the old fashioned way, spreading it very thin over the whole cpu.) now this worked well, temps dropped about 4~6C as i was hoping and all was dandy.
Then the next day, i turn my pc on, and for the first time i remember, it froze. This occured about 4 minutes after windows loaded. The fans and lights were all still whirring away, the picture was still on the screen, but absolutely nothing would work and i had to just turn it off. I rebooted and tried again. it froze again after roughly four minutes.
So i took the side off, reseated the ram, and the gpu's, and tried again. this time it didn't freeze, and worked fine for hours, through gaming and all usual usage.

However, the next day, it again froze the first four or so times i tried to use it (again a few minutes after windows loaded.) I put the pc on its side with the side off to have a look in, still couldn't see any reason why it shouldn't work, so ran windows in safe mode. worked fine, and i ran a full avg scan in safe mode, which found nothing, not even a mild cookie warning. so i rebooted, and again, its now working fine as i type this. I have no idea if it would still work without freezing tho if i restart.

One thing i managed to notice during the crashing, was an oddity in AMD Overdrive (which i had open to ensure it wasnt the cpu temps.) if i opened it and some of the values were greyed out, i could literally sit there and count the minutes until it froze, eg:
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/af225/lord_flay/not...
yet, if i turn it on and the four boxes at the bottom are coloured in, it will work flawlessly and not freeze, eg:
http://i1010.photobucket.com/albums/af225/lord_flay/wor...

any thoughts at all guys, im completely at wits end! its not the temps, as u can see on the screenshot they are fine.


one final point of note, about two weeks after i installed my phenom II (but still before i reseated it with new thermal paste), i started getting "cpu fan not working turn off system immediately" messages. however, the fan IS working, and the temps dont increase. if i just click ok it just carries on as normal. However, i have also had asus' PC Probe open to try and give me some more readings, and it occasionally beeps very angrily to tell me my 3.3V reading has moved beyond acceptable parameters. this lasts for about 1~2 seconds, then it just stops beeping and it carries on as normal. I'm kinda worried by this as i have a pretty expensive and high level PSU thatbreally shouldn't be doing that. These warnings occured before the reseating of the cpu, and i have noticed no side effects from them (other than extreme annoyance and confusion), but thought i should mention them in case they could be relevant. Oh, and i havn't installed any new drivers or programs recently either.

Thanks in advance for any help and for reading through this rather lengthy post!

More about : advice strange issues previously working build

January 22, 2010 3:50:37 PM

Have you updated your BIOS?
January 22, 2010 3:51:21 PM

Pc Probe just beeped angrily for about a second cos a cpu temp warning...... its at 38C. I am so very confused :( 
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January 22, 2010 3:55:23 PM

hobbes_tx said:
Have you updated your BIOS?


Hey, thanks for the reply. yeh i updated to the lastest one i could when i installed the cpu to ensure the mobo recognised it. it was version 1402, released on 27th Nov 2009.
January 22, 2010 4:03:59 PM

I just checked and there is a new one 1501. I would try that one and see if it helps.
January 22, 2010 4:10:00 PM

okies, I'l give that a go and report back (Assuming I can get it to load again without freezing! lol) PC Probe just gave me some more 1 second warnings before they went again. this time it was for the 5V reading, and mobo temp. I don't know about the voltages, bu the mobo temp is fine. Either pc probe is being twitchy, or my sensors are squiffy.
January 22, 2010 4:31:55 PM

flashed, and restarted, checked overdrive and the values are greyed out and missing, so im probs about to freeze, just wanted to post this before that happened!
bios wasn't the issue it seems.
January 22, 2010 4:40:09 PM

^ Yeh, it froze. Though this time the values are there again, so previous experience suggests it should be fine. You know what's crazy, the only thing thats been different is that I've had a side intake fan not plugged in when it has started ok, because the side has been off. could that really be the cause? oh, warning that my cpu fan isn't working, fantastic.
January 22, 2010 5:56:14 PM

You are using default settings in the BIOS, correct? You may try unistalling any overclocking software and see if that helps. If you try putting your old CPU back in and the problems go away, there may be something wrong with the new CPU. Maybe someone else might have some insight?
January 22, 2010 8:24:39 PM

Using all default settings except for the ram which i manually changed to manufacturers spec. I dont use any overclocking software, overdrive is not altering anything i was literally just using it to check temps.

I may put the old cpu back in as a last resort, though that would be a huge effort as its already in another computer! I really hope its not the cpu, and would be surprised if it is, cos surely it would either just work all the time or not? and when it does freeze, there's no bsod, it just calmly stops. Thanks for your help though hobbes :) 

anyone else got any suggestions......please?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 22, 2010 8:45:57 PM

What happens when you let the motherboard auto-detect the RAM?
January 22, 2010 9:16:25 PM

coldsleep said:
What happens when you let the motherboard auto-detect the RAM?


Hey, thanks for your reply.
it only gives it 1.8v as default, whereas its sposed to have 2.1v, and it relaxes the timings to 5-5-5-15, whereas its rated at 4-4-4-15. Those are just the standard settings I've had the ram at since I built the thing a year ago.

That being said, i havn't actually tried leaving it as auto since I've updated the bios, but really, would that be better for it than running it at what its supposed to be at? (obviously i could relax the timings if that was an issue, but surely depriving it of the voltage its rated at won't improve stability?)
January 22, 2010 9:49:36 PM

I'm incline to think that this is a power supply problem. (the 3.3v issue) What is your power supply ratting? Is it a name brand ps? Is it full of dust? Have you entered the bios and checked all voltages, not just the cpu. All should be within 5% of rattings. Is the cpu voltage set too high or too low?

Is that Phenom's current draw too high for the motherboard? I just saw someone who was trying to run a 120w 6000 x2 on a motherboard that is only rated for 95w or less cpus.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 79 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 11:14:47 PM

Manually set the ram to run at the voltage it's supposed to run at. Also check ASUS site for motherboard updates....not bios but motherboard. Go to AMD's site and look for processor updates. Open the device manager and look to see if anything needs updating... you can also open things up and right click/update drivers from there also. Takes 10 minutes or less to open everything and see if anything needs driver updates. EVERYTHING.... Have you tried Windows Update ? There may be things missing that will come up there.
The thing with the heat sink........ if it's slightly off kilter it'll allow the processor to get hot. has to be flush.
January 23, 2010 1:05:39 PM

rsmith13 said:
I'm incline to think that this is a power supply problem. (the 3.3v issue) What is your power supply ratting? Is it a name brand ps? Is it full of dust? Have you entered the bios and checked all voltages, not just the cpu. All should be within 5% of rattings. Is the cpu voltage set too high or too low?

Is that Phenom's current draw too high for the motherboard? I just saw someone who was trying to run a 120w 6000 x2 on a motherboard that is only rated for 95w or less cpus.


Thanks for the replies, sorry I've been a bit delayed in responding, I'm quite ill atm!
My psu is a Tagan Piperock 900w, so its plenty powerful and it had very good reviews hence my choosing it. Here's an example of one:
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...
I keep my pc pretty clean, I don't think its dusty in there but I'll double check later when I have a chance. The bios voltages are:
3.3v = 3.296v
5v = 5.026v
12v = 12.032v they're ok aren't they? As I said, with the pc probe warnings, they literally only happen for a second.

As for the cpu, nope, I checked that before I bought it. my mobo is rated for amd's 140w cpu's, but this 965 is the new 125w version anyways.

On a side note, it took me two tries to boot this morning without a freeze, but when it did work, for some reason my internet wouldn't?!?!? (others in the house were still connected so it wasn't the router.) I rebooted, the net worked fine again, but the values in AMD Overdrive were greyed out again so i knew it was gonna freeze so i just tried to restart it before it did. However, the computer only half powered down, it kinda went into a limbo where windows shut but it stayed on with all the fans etc. whirring. so i had to hold down the power button to turn it off properly.

I'm gonna try swifty morgan's suggestions now, I'll report back after that!

January 23, 2010 1:50:37 PM

swifty_morgan said:
Manually set the ram to run at the voltage it's supposed to run at. Also check ASUS site for motherboard updates....not bios but motherboard. Go to AMD's site and look for processor updates. Open the device manager and look to see if anything needs updating... you can also open things up and right click/update drivers from there also. Takes 10 minutes or less to open everything and see if anything needs driver updates. EVERYTHING.... Have you tried Windows Update ? There may be things missing that will come up there.
The thing with the heat sink........ if it's slightly off kilter it'll allow the processor to get hot. has to be flush.



I went through device manager and windows just said 'windows has determined i have the most suitable driver' for everything. Also, i checked amd, they dont have any downloads for my cpu as far as i could see? and asus' website didnt have any mobo updates, just bios and utilities. and windows update is up-to-date. I'm fairly sure the heatsink is flush, did it very carefully, and i've done it quite a few times before. also, surely the temps would reflect if it wasn't flush? thanks for your advice tho :) 
January 23, 2010 2:46:57 PM

Has anyone got any idea why sometimes AMD overdrive would be able to read the settings of my PCI, ram etc. and other times not be able to. Seeing as this is an indicator of whether its going to freeze, it must be related, but there seems to be absolutely no rhyme or reason as to whether its going to work or not. I just have to keep rebooting until the values are there. Could it be a fault with my mobo, not correctly registering the slots? but surely, it just wouldn't boot at all if that was the case? Anyone got any other suggestions I could try?
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 79 à CPUs
January 23, 2010 3:47:57 PM

Short somewhere. Pull board re-seat. Possibly in the power switch ? Pull all wiring start over. Try starting with screw flat tip driver..... jump terminals to bypass switch.
January 23, 2010 5:21:29 PM

swifty_morgan said:
Short somewhere. Pull board re-seat. Possibly in the power switch ? Pull all wiring start over. Try starting with screw flat tip driver..... jump terminals to bypass switch.


thanks swifty, that sounds like a plausable reason, it would perhaps also explain the occasionally voltage warnings if the short is happening while the pc is on. I won't have time to take my pc apart in the next few days unfortunately, but when i do, i'll report back! Thanks for your help everyone, and if you have any more suggestions in the meantime, do let me know!
January 26, 2010 7:05:17 PM

swifty_morgan said:
Short somewhere. Pull board re-seat. Possibly in the power switch ? Pull all wiring start over. Try starting with screw flat tip driver..... jump terminals to bypass switch.


got back from from london, and finally had a chance to pull out my mobo and reseat EVERYTHING. took me awhile, buts its all done now. I did a few boot ups with my system in pieces on the desk and when they all worked fine I stuck it all back in the case. This is the first boot up and its working perfectly so far. However, I have had a cpu fan not working warning, which is still confusing me, cos it is 100% definitely working. I also pulled out the heatsink and re-cleaned, thermal greased and seated it, just in case.

Thanks for all the advice guys, it appears it was a short somewhere, assuming my pc keeps up this good behaviour. Now I just have to work out why it keeps giving me the cpu fan warnings!
January 27, 2010 9:32:54 AM

despite my earlier optimism, all the problems have returned :(  I've given up and taken it to a pc shop for diagnostics!
!