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Computer died, and is repeating strange problem. Is it RAM or Mobo?

Last response: in Motherboards
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January 29, 2011 2:52:48 PM

System specs:
Asus Sabertooth X58
XFX 850W PSU
Kingston HyperX 12GB (2GB x 6) DDR3 1600mhz 9-9-9-24
Intel 920 2.6Ghz CPU with Coolermaster V8 CPU cooler
Crucial 128GB Sata III SSD
& 4 1TB RE2 WD's in RAID 0 (windwos raid)
Windows 7 64-bit edition


I was running an Asus P6T Deluxe, OCZ Obsidium RAM, 1600Mhz 9-9-9-27 & 2 WD Raptors in hardware RAID 0. I needed 12GB of RAM so I bought HyperX at nearly same settings to the OCZ. Installed, all worked fine for about 2 weeks. Then one day, while doing nothing, the computer shutdown, as though a power failure, and would not recognise the OS HD's. The RAID controller recognised them fine, but no OS detected. So I took them out of RAID, put them back in, reinstalled windows and it ran fine, for about 24hrs. Same thing, around same time of day. So I took the HD's out of RAID, and one HD I can't access at all, it appears to be dead, so I think I've got my problem solved and run one HD and reinstall windows. Next day same thing. I order a new motherboard, new SSD, and in that process discover that the motherboard I have, the P6T deluxe can't take more than 4dimms of RAM running at 1600Mhz or higher. So I assume the RAM is fine, and remove 3 modules, everything works peachy, although somewhat clunky and slow, but at least it works over the weekend. Middle of next week, new mobo & SSD arrive, so I proceed to install it with the 12GB of RAM, and I'm thrilled out how well my PC runs, till 24hrs later, same system, computer shuts off like power went out and on reboot no OS. So I pull out my SSD and have a world of trouble trying to format it, but finally do. Suspecting that the RAM is for sure to fault, I remove it, and put in the old RAM which to date has always worked, 24hrs later, same problem. Funny thing is, it always crashes between 5-6pm, usually within 10 miutes of 5pm, reguarless of when I start running it. Its like a have a 5 o'clock virus or something.

So here are my questions, is it possible that the old mobo, limited to 4dimms of RAM, while I was running 6, overheated and could it possibly do circuit damage to the motherboard & HD? (Since both the WD & SSD had the exact same issues after shut down\crash)? And if so, could it also damage the memory itself so that when I got a new mobo & new HD, that the now damaged RAM could damage the new mobo and new HD?

Is there a virus that could cause this? (as I pointed out before it almost always crashwa around 5pm, that kind of consistency doesn't seem to match with hardware failure).

I have always left my ASUS mobo on "auto" overclock, could it have overclocked something into failure?

Could it be a PSU issue? How would one test a bad PSU?

Oh, and if I let it sit overnight it will load up the windows screen, but freeze there (Rather than not seeing the OS at all). It did this on both the P6T deluxe - WD raptors - 12GB HyperX RAM & the Sabortooth - SSD - OCZ combinations). Also strange, it won't recognise the HD at all after the failure, even in the windows setup, it says windows cannot create a partition on this disk (despite countless deletes, formats, new partitions etc). I remove the drive, format it via USB housing, and presto, everything is recognised as being just fine. So wierd. (And tha issue occured with both old & new combinations)

Could a graphics card cause such a failure? I do recall installing a later version of a graphics card driver recently. I have yet to go back to legacy drivers.

Any other suggestions?

Thank you so much in advanced,

The man with no computer
a c 78 V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 9:30:11 PM

You have many components. I think I would start troubleshooting by checking the BIOS settings to make sure the settings are those you intended (that the BIOS did not revert to its default settings). If the BIOS settings are correct you could then try disconnecting all the HDDs and SSds without the OS (leave whatever has the OS on it), pull out five of the 6 RAM sticks and run memtest86+. The bootable files for floppy, CD, and USB stick are about 1/2-way down the page. You'll have to boo to the device after POST. First, prepare the memtest86+ bootable media.

Then:
-- Set the BIOS to the advertised speed of the OCZ and the Kingston RAM, use the lower speed, if they are not the same.
-- Set the latencies to the higher numbers of the two sets of sticks if they are not the same.
-- Increase the NB voltage (or equivalent) one or two bumps (because you have populated all the RAM DIMMs.

If that stick passes, run memtest86+ on the second RAM stick, do that for each stick. If they all pass, and you increased the NB voltage, you may have solved your problem. If one (or more stick(s)) did not pass, return it (them) for replacement. Test the new sticks before you try to use them.

Post your results, and any other "odd" things you found, so we can decide the next step.
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a c 221 V Motherboard
January 29, 2011 11:38:56 PM

One thing you don't mention ..... you did wipe the Windows install and do a fresh clean install with the new hardware, correct ? Unless those two MoBos have all the same component chipsets for RAID etc and all your old installed driver aren't matching your new hardware.
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January 31, 2011 12:11:46 PM

Hey guys,
Thanks for the help. I have been testing over the past couple of days, and I'm almost positive its software problem, namely because it started happening on my laptop, and because if I set the computer's clock to 4:45 pm, it will crash in 15 minutes.

So given that it crashes based on my computer's clock, and that the exact same thing is happening on my laptop, it can't possibly be the hardware right?

So is there any kind of crash virus that could cause such a thing? And why 5PM? Remember, its not like normal "shut down procedures", its like I yanked the power plug out of the wall (but only on the tower).

Thanks again for all your advice, I'm going to test the RAM as soon as I have a chance
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a c 78 V Motherboard
January 31, 2011 3:34:56 PM

OK, update your antivirus definitions, and scan the entire computer. If you cannot download the update, just scan with what you have. Re-scan until there are no threats. Then try to update your anti-virus software definitions, and scan again; some AV programs can scan in safe mode, which means the offending script/virus MAY not load, making it easier to find and delete.

This sounds like it could be a rootkit. About 1/2 down the wiki page, under Dectection, you may find some useful programs for detecting and cleaning rootkits. It might be quicker to backup your data files, re-install the OS, and then copy your files to the new installation. If you have programs or other software that are not legitimate, or otherwise questionable - do not re-install them.
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