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Need help stopping random lock-ups

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  • Memory
Last response: in Memory
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November 14, 2010 3:30:45 AM

Some of the information ahead may not be of importance, but I figure I'll say everything to be informative in finding a solution.

One night my computer underwent a Windows Automatic Update (~a week ago) and then would not boot past the 2nd BIOS Screen. Unplugging my printer fixed that, but now since then I've been having random lock-ups. It appears to only happen while I'm gaming, so maybe only when a certain amount of RAM is used?

Anyways, I've tried testing it myself a little bit but the crashes still keep happening.

My system specs:

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
XFX nForce 790i Ultra 3-Way SLI Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q8400 ~2.7GHz Processor
Wintec AmpX DDR3 RAM (3AXC1600C8WS6GT) 2GB x 3
I believe my Power Supply is around 800 watts, has never been a problem in the past. If this is a possibility I'll look more into it.

What I've tried:

Unplugging all RAM from motherboard, then plugging stick A and B into slots 1 and 2, then when the crash happened, replacing stick A with stick C, then once again, i put stick C into slot 2, replacing stick B. Still crashes

I tried all pieces of RAM individually, although not extensively.

I recently just increased my Memory speed to 1600, up from 1333. I changed the timings from 9-9-9-26(?) to 8-8-8-24, and changed the voltage to 1.9. I kept the FSB at 1333, which I am also curious as to if I should increase it to 1600 or not. (I am currently testing this, gonna keep WoW open all night and see if it crashes)

So, my questions are:

1. Does anyone know a direct solution to my problem?

2. What else can I try to figure out what my problem is?

3. Is there any more information that would help you figure out what my problem is?

4. If increasing my memory to 1600 was a good move, should I increase the FSB to 1600 as well? The motherboard is a 1600 but the processor is a 1333.


Thanks in advance for any help you guys offer. I have looked all over google and Tom's Hardware already to try and find a solution before posting but I couldn't find any. I am a fairly novice computer builder but this is so frustrating and I'd REALLY like to get it fixed :) 

More about : stopping random lock ups

a b } Memory
November 14, 2010 4:53:26 AM

Clear CMOS** and restore motherboard defaults. IOW, undo all you have done to BIOS.

If the lockups go away, you have learned the cause. If not, come back and we'll go through the testig drill.

** Pull plug, remove mobo battery, press case power button several times, wait 5 minutes, restore battery, plug into wall. Boot directly into BIOS setup, load defualts, save and exit.
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November 14, 2010 12:23:49 PM

Twoboxer said:
Clear CMOS** and restore motherboard defaults. IOW, undo all you have done to BIOS.

If the lockups go away, you have learned the cause. If not, come back and we'll go through the testig drill.

** Pull plug, remove mobo battery, press case power button several times, wait 5 minutes, restore battery, plug into wall. Boot directly into BIOS setup, load defualts, save and exit.




I've tried pulling the battery out for so long.. can't figure it out. The motherboard manual says I have to remove a jumper and connect it to Pins 1 and 2, then back to Pins 2 and 3 to CLEAR CMOS. Is this the same thing?
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a b } Memory
November 15, 2010 1:08:16 AM

Yes. You pull the battery, and when you move the jumper to Pins 1-3 you are actually draining all backup power very quickly. This erases CMOS memory and you can put the jumper, battery, and plug back in immediately after.
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November 15, 2010 4:21:20 AM

Okay, cleared CMOS. Gonna try to test it out and hope for the best. Will reply if it's still freezing.
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November 16, 2010 1:38:53 AM

Computer locked up last night with nothing open when I was sleeping. Testing drill? :) 
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a b } Memory
November 16, 2010 2:04:09 AM

Download/run Prime95 and use CPUID Hardware Monitor to watch temps. Run for at least an hour - if it runs that long - but don't let core temps exceed 75C for too long.

If you stop it because of temps, we need to cool down the cpu.

If it fails with a rounding error or says "hardware error", rerun 3 times using a different single stick of memory in the mobo on each run.

If it succeeds . . . Download/run Furmark using HWM to monitor temps. Do not let gpu temps exceed 95C for too long.

Let us know what happens.

Also please post the make/model/age of the psu.

I'm leaving for about a week, so someone else will have to pick up the trail. If no one responds quickly here, please start a new thread posting your config, a brief description of your original problem, and that you cleared CMOS, installed defaults, and got however far on the stress tests.
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November 16, 2010 3:00:30 AM

Prime95 says all 4 workers ran tests and all passed. No big fluctuation in temperatures or voltages at all. Highest temperatures are cores sitting at around 60 Celsius. I have a heatsink for my processor so that overheating shouldn't be an issue. Gonna run FurMark now...
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a b } Memory
November 16, 2010 4:28:31 AM

Prime95 does more than generate heat. If you clear Furmark as well, you've pretty much cleared hardware as being the issue.

Which could be either good news, or bad lol.
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November 16, 2010 2:24:33 PM

After around 8 minutes of running FurMark, it is already at 95 Celsius, but is staying at exactly 95. I'm not sure if FurMark ends on its' own or tells me if I've passed anything or not but I'm gonna let it run for around an hour if it doesnt go above 95. I'm hoping FurMark makes my PC crash because then that means I need a new video card right?
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November 16, 2010 3:16:02 PM

After an hour of FurMark, it ended at 97 Celsius. From 0 - ~10 minutes, it beelined from 60 to 95. Then from 10 - 60, it slowly rose from 95 - 98, then dropped to 97 before an hour ended.

No lock-up though, which I'm assuming is what I was testing?

So ATM I'm leaning towards Video Card because it got this hot, but still I'm not positive as to the causes of the lock-ups.

Anyone else wanna offer any suggestions?
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a b } Memory
November 21, 2010 12:45:10 AM

Let me make sure we're at the same place. You've cleared cmos and restored defaults, eliminating all overclocking, etc. You've stressed the cpu and memory for an hour - no crashes and reasonable core temps. Furmark ran a bit hot but stable at 95C, which is probably where your fan is set to go into max.

That usually indicates that the hardware (cpu, gpu, memory, psu, temps, mobo) is fine (except for the HDs which are untested), and the issue is more likely software related.

If you can restore your system back to a point in time before that update, this would be a good time to do that. If you can't do that, I'd try cleaning out the vid card drivers and then installing a fresh download before doing a Windows repair or a fresh installation.
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