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Core i7 pc, random reboots

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March 15, 2010 7:35:11 PM

Here's my pc spec:

Gigabyte GA-EX58-UDR3 mobo
Corsair xms 2gig ddr3 1600 ram * 3 (TR3X3G1600C9)
Western digital green 1tb HD
Zalman 750-hp psu
XFX GTX-275
Core i7 920

Nothing overclocked, case is well ventilated and uncluttered.

I've been having trouble with this system since pretty much day one. The problem manifested itself as random shutdowns/reboots. I originally had this system made up with the old Hyper 580w psu from my previous machine. I swapped that out for a zalman 750 hp. The first zalman was faulty, so I RMA-ed it and got a replacement. But I was still getting the reboots, which makes me think it was not the psu (or I was unlucky enough to have a bad hyper and zalman psu). So the reboots continued unabated, although it happened infrequently enough for me to tolerate it. Strangely, it almost never happened when I was gaming. It would quite often happen when I was simply browing the web, or if I ran defragger. Quite random, really.

I initially managed to have this machine as dual boot, with xp pro and vista home 32 bit. I then decided to upgrade to Windows 7, installing over the vista partition. We're talking February of this year, and I built the machine in June 2009. Each time, Windows 7 would get some way into the installation routine and the machine would shutdown, killing the installation.

I gave up on windows 7, but I now discovered that my xp partition was behaving strangely too. For instance, I could no longer install new games. I recently bought Battlefield Bad Company 2, and whenever I tried to install it my machine would crash. No BSOD, just a reboot. No error messages displayed.

I suspected my WD green hard drive had become corrupted, so I formatted the drive and attempted a fresh installation of xp pro. THis time, even XP crashed during installation.

I swapped out the green hard drive and put in an older WD drive. Exactly the same problem. The WD green drive proceeded to run perfectly in my other pc with a fresh installation of XP pro. That rules out the hard drive.

I've managed to get XP running on the new machine, but only after several attempts to install. Now xp does not recognise my usb drives and says they are plugged into "slow" usb ports. All of the ports should be USB 2.0. When I try to install service pack 2, the computer restarts soon after the installation begins. Again I reformatted and reinstalled Xp, but I get exactly the same problems - no usb drives recognised, SP2 crashes during installation.


Sorry for the long post, but I've tried to explain my problem in as much detail as possible.

My suspicions point to either the motherboard, the RAM or the PSU. I've run memtest on the RAM (at least 7 passes, one stick at a time) and it returned no errors, but I'm not sure how reliable they are.

More about : core random reboots

March 17, 2010 4:48:32 PM

Anyone?
a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2010 5:08:48 PM

7 passes of memtest should be enough for some confidence that it's not the memory.

The power supply should be enough to power your system, but I'm not an expert on PSUs.

I'd lean towards motherboard/processor or (less likely) heat issues. Have you tried monitoring your temperatures (good info on how to do that the building a new computer thread). If the temperatures look normal, you could try getting someone to loan you an i7-920 to see if their processor works in your system. If it works fine, then it's likely your CPU. If you still see the problems, it's likely the motherbaord.

Of course, what's most likely is that you don't know anyone with a 920 you can borrow. In that case, I'd recommend contacting Gigabyte and see if they can do anything for you.
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March 17, 2010 9:51:39 PM

Thanks for your advice. There have been further developments since my first post.

I tried installing Vista 32 bit, which had previously been installed on the same machine, and it failed during the installation just like win 7. Today, I tried again, but this time I swapped out the Corsair ram and stuck in a 1 gb stick of generic, cheap ram I'd bought from ebay. And it installed without a hitch!

Bizarrely, Win 7 failed to install with the cheap ram (might have been because it was only 1 gb). I then put one 2gb stick of Corsair in and set it at 1066, and Win 7 eventually managed to install. It's still not very stable and not acceptable, but an improvement over where I was before.

I've seen other people on this forum and elsewhere who have had problems with the Gigabyte ex58 mobos and 1600 ram. Perhaps my problem is BIOS setting related?

Or is it just a faulty mobo?
a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2010 9:59:27 PM

Have you manually set the RAM to its rated values of 1600MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings and 1.65v? If not, that could well be the problem. Memtest86+ is great at detecting faulty RAM, but will not likely fail if your BIOS settings aren't set correctly. The fact that changing some RAM values and trying different RAM caused different results backs up the suspicion that the RAM is to blame.
March 17, 2010 10:15:55 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Have you manually set the RAM to its rated values of 1600MHz with 9-9-9-24 timings and 1.65v? If not, that could well be the problem. Memtest86+ is great at detecting faulty RAM, but will not likely fail if your BIOS settings aren't set correctly. The fact that changing some RAM values and trying different RAM caused different results backs up the suspicion that the RAM is to blame.


I tried that last night with limited success. The BIOS lets you choose "profile 1" for the RAM which automatically sets it at 1600mhz, but I then had to manually change the voltage to 1.66 (the next lowest was 1.64). I also upped the QPI voltage to 1.35. THose settings allowed me to install XP pro without a hitch, although I still found that I couldn't install SP2 (that could be a totally unrelated problem though).

The one thing I haven't tried yet is installing Win 7 with those revised RAM settings. So far, I've managed to install it only with default RAM settings of 1066.

I should add that my BIOS is version F9, and the latest is F11.
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