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I need a computer whiz doctor to help me diagnose.

Last response: in Systems
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March 11, 2010 2:59:35 AM

Hello.

I recently (Nov. '09) built my computer with the following components:

MOBO - eVGA X58 SLI LE
CPU - Intel Core i7 920 (Stock)
Cooler - Cooler Master V8
RAM - 6GB G.Skill DDR3 1600MHz
GPU - 2x eVGA GTX 260 SLI
HDD - WD Caviar Black 750GB
PSU - Corsair TX750
OS - Windows 7 64-bit

I have been having peculiar startup problems that I've been trying to diagnose: I usually shut down my machine when I am at work. When I come back and boot it up, the machine posts and goes to the Windows 7 startup splash screen. Then immediately I get a blue screen. When I do a cold restart and reboot the machine, it boots to windows properly. It's almost as if the computer needs to 'warm up', which led me to believe my Power Supply wasn't providing enough electricity.

I had one instance a couple of weeks ago where the machine didn't boot up to windows no matter how many times I rebooted. I had to boot from the Win7 CD and do a system restore to turn back the clock.

I really think this is a hardware issue and I have suspicions with all the components. I was hoping the geniuses here at Tom's Hardware can help me narrow down my leads:

- PSU: Can the power supply be defective and supplying inadequate voltage/current? (unlikely)

- HDD: Something defective with the hard drive? (likely)

- RAM: My RAM used to register as 4GB useable (out of 6GB installed) on Windows. I had to re-seat all chips to fix it so that the OS reads all 6GB, which led me to think one of the sticks was bad. But would this cause the system to go BSOD on startup?

- GPU: The fans on my twin GTX 260s go full blast (100%) when I press the power button to boot up. Once Windows takes over, the fans go back to normal (40%). Is this normal? (unlikely)

- CPU: Can one of the pins have been bent during installation? So far my i7 has been working like a champ. (unlikely)

- MOBO: I hope it's not the motherboard... but I just have this feeling that maybe my motherboard is the problem. (somewhat likely).

- Software: Can it be a software issue? Maybe something wrong with my BIOS? Arghhh I don't know.

Thanks in advance to anyone reading this. If you have any wisdom you can share with me, please help.
Jacob
a b B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2010 3:58:48 AM

There are a number of posts on this forum every day about BSOD problems. The vast majority of them are related to either incorrect RAM settings in the BIOS or faulty RAM. Which exact RAM kit do you have? All these match your description:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

You should manually set the RAM speed/timings/voltage to their rated specs in the BIOS then perform an overnight run of Memtest86+ to test for RAM errors. You can download Memtest86+ from www.memtest.org and burn the ISO image to a CD. You then boot from the CD and let the RAM test run overnight.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2010 4:28:30 AM

And he said it. Sounds like you've got RAM issues. Check they're all seated properly, at the correct voltage and timings, and run memtest overnight.

A faulty PSU can sometimes lead to BSOD's, but more often restarts under load.

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March 11, 2010 2:12:18 PM

Thanks for the advice. I ran memtest overnight for a good 6 hours. It came up with 0 errors. It got up to like 136% with 0 errors. Does that mean my RAM chips are good?!
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2010 2:32:22 PM

Did you manually set the RAM speed/timings/voltage in the BIOS before running Memtest? If not, you can't rule out the RAM as the problem. Memtest86+ is good at detecting faulty RAM, but often won't fail when the RAM values are not correct. Manually setting the RAM speed/timings/voltage to the correct values is the very first thing to do when you're getting BSOD's or having freezing problems.
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March 12, 2010 7:40:33 PM

Thanks shortstuff. This is my RAM:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have the XMP profile on my BIOS. Is that an acceptable/recommended method of changing RAM settings?

I guess the correct way to do it is to manually punch in this information into the BIOS? Anything else I need to change?

Cas Latency 9
Timing 9-9-9-24
Voltage 1.5V – 1.6V
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2010 7:44:07 PM

The XMP profile may or may not work. I would manually set it to 1600MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings at 1.6v.
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March 12, 2010 7:45:49 PM

Thanks for the quick response!!
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!