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Have I messed up my build?

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April 11, 2010 2:15:06 PM

*Warning, somewhat lengthy explanation*

So I built a new PC last week:

Intel i5 650
Gigabyte P55-US3L
XFX ATI 5770
4 GB (2x2) Corsair XMS3 1600Mhz
550 Watt Corsair PSU
Xclio Windtunnel case

Surprisingly, the only thing that went wrong during the build was, due to poor design of the case and/or motherboard, PCI and PCI-e cards don't reach the screwholes on the bays (about half a centimeter short) so I had to use Blu-Tack to secure them in place. It holds them in pretty well.
I kept my old drives to avoid having to reinstall etc - one system drive with Vista Ultimate x64 and one storage drive.

Now, onto the problem: about 4/5 hours after first boot-up, after uninstalling all the old drivers I could find and installing the ones for the new hardare, programs started crashing (just closing down without prompt, not going to "not responding" state). I was flooded with windows error reports, which in turn also crashed. Opening Windows help and support to try and get an error code also crashed. I Rebooted, and got a BSOD whilst loading. Tried to boot to safe mode, got another blue screen. I assumed this was due to some conflict on the old system drive from installing new hardware, so I decided to go buy a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium (the Vista copy was errr... yeah... so I didn't lose any money on it :p ). Before installing Windows 7, I tried booting up vista once more and it worked fine (apart from the crashes), so I managed to back up the data I needed.

So, now I was on a brand new copy of Windows 7, brand new PC, the only thing remaining from the old drives is the data on the storage drive. The program crashes have stopped, but about a day after installing Windows 7 it starts to BSOD randomly and the PC reboots from the BSOD too quickly to see any error messages. This happens every 4-6 hours. Also, the mouse started moving randomly across the screen by itself and jumping when I'm moving it, much too far for it to be vibrations in the desk (tried 3 different mats). Next time I turn the PC on I get a BSOD with one of the boot files missing (think it was NTLDR), causing me to heavily sigh and go do something else because I'm far too annoyed to run startup/windows repair. When I come back the PC boots up fine (didn't think this was possible if NTLDR was actually missing?) yet the other problems continue, so I run a windows repair which did not fix the problem. Later, I get another BSOD whilst booting so I run a startup repair, which didn't help.
Considering everything was new and I couldn't see any suspicious processes I was reluctant to suspect a virus, but the random movements of the mouse prompted me to run a full scan of all drives and operating memory with ESET NOD32. All clean. Scanned again with Malware Bytes just incase... all clean. This lead me to suspect something went wrong during the windows installation, so I wiped the system drive and reinstalled Win7. The BSODs during startup have ceased, yet the random BSODs whilst the PC is running continue, and Firefox is the only program which continues to crash randomly.

So here I am. Something is clearly going wrong somewhere. Is it possible I've messed something up during building, as the only issues which could persist through 2 fresh installs would be hardware related, no? Unless the issue lies with the drivers. The only drivers I have installed since the second wipe are the GFX card drivers (latest ones from XFX's website) and onboard soundcard/network drivers auto-installed by vista.

Any ideas? Worth trying to uninstall the gfx drivers and see if the crashes continue?

Thanks in advance :) 

More about : messed build

April 12, 2010 1:15:19 AM

maybe you have a bad stick of memory. memory sometimes causes bsod's and random restarts.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 12, 2010 5:50:02 AM

Your RAM is rated for 1.6V, but most DDR3 motherboards supply 1.5V by default. If the RAM does not get enough voltage, it will freeze up the system randomly and cause random BSODs. Incorrectly set RAM is probably THE leading cause of random freezing, actually.

Fortunately, it's simple to fix -- just go into the BIOS and there should be some pretty obvious settings to adjust the RAM voltage manually. Set it to 1.6V and you should be good to go. Might want to also double-check that the timings are set correctly as well, but if you're not familiar with that, most motherboards do a pretty good job of figuring that out on their own; it's mainly the voltage that they have trouble with.

Also -- under no circumstances should you set the voltage above 1.65V; that's the maximum for Core i5 and i7 systems or you can damage the CPU. You should be fine at 1.6V though; just don't screw around is all I'm saying.

Related resources
April 12, 2010 4:19:35 PM

Its probably your OS giving you Issues. Reinstall it and see if it runs better then (Preferably format the hdd first, just to get rig of other gunk) Just wondering if grounding could also be an issue?

Good luck :D 
April 12, 2010 5:05:30 PM

Fisshy, you didn't read the whole thing did you? I don't blame you :p 

I'll have a go at changing the voltage later, sooooo nackered from work right now. Thanks for the replies :) 
April 12, 2010 6:02:53 PM

Oh sorry... lazy scrolling.
Didn't piss anyone off? phew.
Do you Think It could Be Program rights or certificates messing you up? any temp issues?

Once again Sorry and Good luck :D 
April 12, 2010 6:08:29 PM

Haha no worries man, I wouldn't want to read my huge post either, but thought I better put as much info in as possible. The thing is I've already done a complete format and reinstall twice now, so the only issues that would persist through that are surely hardware related. Or something I'm doing after installing (such as installing drivers). I'll give the voltage thing a try in a bit and see where to go from there. Thanks for the suggestions though :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
April 12, 2010 7:08:40 PM

Capt_taco is right on point. This type of problem is nearly always related to incorrect RAM settings in the BIOS.
April 15, 2010 8:00:42 AM

Right, upped the DDR voltage to 1.6v yesterday and still getting the same problems.

Not sure what it was in the BIOS, but according to CPU-z, the 'Core Voltage' is hovering between 0.9 and 1.0v. Is this normal?

Any other ideas?

Cheers :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2010 9:35:45 AM

tksd said:
Right, upped the DDR voltage to 1.6v yesterday and still getting the same problems.

Not sure what it was in the BIOS, but according to CPU-z, the 'Core Voltage' is hovering between 0.9 and 1.0v. Is this normal?

Any other ideas?

Cheers :) 


Ive seen people reporting voltages from 1.2 to 1.3, I would say take it up to 1.1 and keep an eye on your temps. I'm not an intel guy so take that with a grain of salt. Maybe someone else with a 650 can share what his voltage is?
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2010 12:44:12 PM

you say your pci's are about > < short of the screw holes on the case? maybe I'm wrong, but you DID put the mobo on the little standoffs when you installed it didnt you? :p  blu-tac ftw tho man, but if mobo is randomly touching the case it could lead to bsod due to it shorting out, ill check back and see how your getting on :) 
April 15, 2010 1:18:51 PM

I fit it it as close to the edge as the screwholes would allow. There was not other way of mounting it that wouldn't be miles away from the expansion slots. I didn't see any stands or anything to fit the mobo onto, just the screwholes?
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2010 3:09:30 PM

You screwed your motherboard directly to your case? No wonder you're having problems. You need to shut down the system immediately and install the standoffs under the motherboard before you fry your system. The standoffs would have come with your case. They're brass and screw into the case. They have threads on the top to screw the motherboard to. The standoffs create a space between the case and motherboard to prevent a short circuit.

http://i42.tinypic.com/fwq1ps.jpg
http://i39.tinypic.com/98a7u0.jpg

You should probably have a look at this checklist too, just in case you missed any other things during the build process.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste...
April 15, 2010 6:09:17 PM

Whoops, just like me to miss something important. I've done two builds before, guess the mounts must have already been on the case as I don't remember doing this. Ah well, they're in now, and the graphics card just about reaches the screwhole (took me about a half hour to get the god damn screw in place though, the ******). Not had any BSOD's yet, will post back if this changes.

Thanks for your help everyone, sorry that it was a boring solution in the end :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2010 6:11:22 PM

tksd said:
Whoops, just like me to miss something important. I've done two builds before, guess the mounts must have already been on the case as I don't remember doing this. Ah well, they're in now, and the graphics card just about reaches the screwhole (took me about a half hour to get the god damn screw in place though, the ******). Not had any BSOD's yet, will post back if this changes.

Thanks for your help everyone, sorry that it was a boring solution in the end :) 


Actually simple funny solutions are pretty cool too. Now I don't have to wonder what will happen if I say "eh, Eff these things, no point to 'um!"

a b B Homebuilt system
April 16, 2010 10:56:59 AM

Glad to see you got sorted man, Im kinda new to building myself and sometimes its a simple thing like that that throws you out, live and learn man, live and learn :) 
!