First System Build - Random Crashes

Hi guys,

I finished my first homebuilt system about 2 weeks ago, and have been having all sorts of problems. Most of the programs I use, including Firefox, Team Fortress 2 and Windows Media Player, crash frequently. I've put off trying to do something about these problems, since I considered them manageable, but today things have gotten worse. I was trying to troubleshoot a problem I've been having playing DVDs in Windows Media Player and outputting them to my TV. I tried to uninstalland reinstall my graphics card drivers, since my Catalyst Control Center kept crashing and I wasn't sure if I installed the correct version for Windows 7 64-bit initially. Since then, I've gotten 2 blue screens of death, once when I was trying to uninstall the drivers, and a second time when I was trying to reinstall them. (they uninstalled successfully the second time, and appear to have reinstalled successfully despite my troubles, but this makes me worried) Then my computer just restarted for no reason a few minutes ago when I tried to join a server in Team Fortress. So far I haven't had boot issues or anything, but I'm pretty troubled by these problems.

FYI, here's a link to my build: I'm currently running Windows 7 64-bit OEM, which I initially had some troubles installing (got a blue screen of death mid-install, but the install went smoothly the second time I tried) but which seemed to run ok aside from these random crashes. I have a copy of 32-bit OEN too (ordered it by mistake), but I haven't installed it yet.

As I said, this is my first homebuilt system, as well as my first new computer in ~7 years. If these problems are "normal homebuilt system problems" or "normal Windows 7 64-bit problems" I'm happy to just deal with them. I'm concerned that "something is very wrong" though, and if that's the case I need to take some action.

So I'm not sure what to do at this point. Should I wipe my hard drive and start over? Should I chalk it all up to 64-bit Windows 7, make a hard drive partition, and install my 32-bit version? Are there some diagnostic tests I could run? Is there more information that I could provide that would be helpful? Please let me know!

Thanks in advance,
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first system build random crashes
  1. Why not download the latest version of memtest86 and test your memory for several hours?
  2. Have you looked in Event Viewer or examined dmp files to see what is causing the crashes ?
  3. Ok, a few new developments:

    I ran memtest for 6+hours on each stick and didn't have any errors. I did, however, notice that something seems to be off with my timings. My RAM timings are 8-8-8-21, but my comp runs them at 9-9-9-24 when I set them auto. If I change them to 8-8-8-21, the system seems to be even less stable than usual. I memtested them on both 8-8-8-21 and 9-9-9-24 and didn't have any errors on either setting, though, so I'm sort of confused why they're crashing when I actually try to operate them at the 8-8-8-21 timing.

    I've also been going through my Administrative Event logs. My most recent error was "The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck" which I got while I was trying to run on 8-8-8-21. Other recent errors include "The Windows Search service terminated unexpectedly" and "Fatal Execution Engine Error" and "Faulting application name: SearchIndexer.exe". I'm not sure what exactly I was doing when I got these, but I'll be keeping better track of things from now on.

    Based on what little research I've been able to do, it sounds like I have some memory problems that aren't being picked up by memtest. For now I'm going to just keep trying to run my computer as normal and take better notes on what I'm doing when I get these crashes so I link the event reports to what I was doing at the time. But based on what I've said, does it sounds like it's a RAM problem?
  4. The RAM that you linked ( should run at 9-9-9-24 and 1.65V when installing 2 modules. Because you bought modules that require 1.65V (the recommended maximum for your CPU), you can't increase voltage. If you install 4 modules, then you'll have to loosen the timings a bit until the system is stable.
  5. Ugh, sorry. I ended up getting these:

    Not the Corsairs.
  6. Are you running them at 1333 Mhz? What do CPU-Z memory and SPD tabs show?
  7. I've been running them at 666Mhz (my mobo default)
  8. A 666 MHz clock is the same as DDR (Double Data Rate) 1333 MHz.

    What do CPU-Z memory and SPD tabs show? I still want that info.
  9. Memory Tab:
    Type - DDR3
    Size - 4096MBytes
    Channels # - Dual
    DC Mode - Unganged
    NB Frequency - 2000MHz (+-0.1)

    DRAM Frequency - 667MHz
    FSB:DRAM - 3:10
    CL - 9.0 clocks
    tRCD - 9.0 clocks
    tRP - 9.0 clocks
    tRAS - 24 clocks
    tRC - 33 clocks
    CR - 1T

    and from SPD

    Slot 1: DDR3
    Module Size: 2048MBytes
    Max Bandwidth: PC3-10700H (667MHz)
    Manufacturer: G.Skill
    Part Number: F3-10700CL8-2GBHK
    Frequency 518MHz/592MHz/666MHz/667MHz
    CAS# Latency 7.0/8.0/9.0/8.0
    RAS# to CAS# 7/8/9/8
    RAS# Precharge 7/8/9/8
    tRAS 19/22/24/21
    tRC 26/30/33/35
    Command Rate / / / 2T
    Voltage 1.5V/1.5V/1.5V/1.500V

    Values are identical for slots #1 and #2, with no data for empty slots #3 and #4

    Thanks for your help GhislainG, I really appreciate it. Let me know if you need any more info.
  10. Best answer
    The speed is correct. I'd try them at 9-9-9-24 and tRC 33. If they are not stable, bump up the voltage a bit at a time, but don't exceed 1.65V.
  11. Alright, I'll give that a try. I should note that since I stopped trying to mess with drivers and such my system has been running with much more stability, although now I'm getting other completely different problems. (periodic CPU usage spikes, probably from antivirus software or something though. I'll let you know how things turn out.
  12. Best answer selected by pcarroll0813.
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