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System Freezing randomly, changed PSU, CPU, RAM and still...

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June 28, 2010 9:44:20 PM

Situation Overview

Well, I've had this PC for about a year and only a week after I unpacked it, this weird problem began to manifest. The first week I used the PC with only the integrated video chipset HD 3200 and there were no problems. Then it began, the first time I plugged my Nvidia GTS 250 I was palying Gears of War when the sound went into a loop, the PC froze completely and I had to hard restart. After that, no problems for 24 hours. Two days later it happened again, hard restart and the PC worked fine.

Ever since then I've been haunted by this random nightmare, since the PC can work fine for about a week and then begin to restart up to 3 times in less than 30 minutes. I've sent the PC over the warranties department of the store where I bought it already two times, the guys over there have come up with many "solutions" but so far nothing works.

First they found nothing and returned the PC to me with a new PSU since the old one was making rattling noises, this took about 3 weeks of waiting. The problem returned and I went personally to ramble and curse. This second time they said the chinese Pixxo PSU wasn't good enough, and so I bought a 700 watt Thermaltake Purepower PSU, with a discount for the crap PSU they sold me. A week later I received a mail saying the RAM sticks were of different frecuency, 800 and 667, and that could cause problems, then I bought another 2GB 800 mhz Kingston stick to match the first one. After that they sent another mail saying that the Phenom II X3 710 CPU was causing the random errors, so they swapped it for a 720 BE, and sent the whole thing back to me.

Immediatly after it arrived I put it through heavy gaming for 3 whole days, and it didn't even cough, left it overnight and on for 48 hours with no problems, used 3ds max, made some rendering and nothing. Then today I was using Firefox and MSN and it froze, sound loop, black screen and restarted two times.

The Issue

On with the problem. The thing locks up with a sound loop and it restarts or forces me to hard restart, this can happen a few times in a row or once in a day, but not always in a daily basis, it can be twice or once in a week. Most of the times it happens when gaming, a few minutes after launching a game it freezes, but sometimes I can play for hours without problems. Sometimes it just happens when I'm surfing or even when MSN is starting, this has a range of 3 to 40 minutes of use before it freezes.

Temperatures are fine I suppose, this is a hot country and the GPU idles at 55-60 celsius, and it tops at 80-90 when on full load, I've already set the fans to 100 when gaming to avoid overheating and not a single time I've seen artifacts or anything weird onscreen, if the PC works I can play for 8 hours straight at solid 60fps on almost any game.

CPU temps are always between 40-50 celsius. This new PSU gives a stable 12.03 on the 12vrail, and as the RAM is now of the same brand and speed I think it should cause no problem. Event viewer in Windows only give a Kernel Power issue with and ID of 41, which only means the PC was hard restarted.

I've already update bios, GPU drivers, ran antivirus full scan, disc defrag and even Ccleaner, installed three different Windows 7 and one Windows Vista ultimate, this last Windows 7 is updated and I haven't overclocked anything.

I'm literally desperate, new PSU, CPU, RAM and still the same thing, so please if you have any idea of what could be causing this problem let me know.

Thanks in advance

PC Specs:

MoBo: Gigabyte GA-MA780G-UD3H
CPU: Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition @ 2.8 no OC
RAM: 2x 2GB Kingston DDR2 800 mhz PC2-6400 CL6
GPU: Nvidia GTS 250 1GB DDR3 256 bit no OC
PSU: Thermaltake PurePower 80 PLUS, 700W
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64 (Updated)
Case: Cooler Master Centurion Black, ATX, 3 120mm Fans

.C.
July 1, 2010 2:29:40 AM

It seems that you basically built yourself a new computer with all those parts you bought!

Why don't you try this-
1- Since you say that the problem started after you got your video card, use your PC without the GPU and just use integrated graphics. Then run some stress tests to get your system working. While you're doing this be sure to download something like SIW to check the temperatures on everything. If nothing happens then you've narrowed down your problem. Move to step two.

2- plug in your GPU again, and run stress tests while monitoring temps. It could be that the GPU is causing things around it to overheat or something. If temperatures seem fine then keep running stress tests until something happens. If you notice something different about the system when it crashes take note. If it just crashes under normal conditions then I'm tempted to say that you either 1- have a bad motherboard PCIe slot that is causing issues or 2- you got really unlucky and got two bad GPUs.

Personally I would strip the system down to the bare minimum and run tests. Then keep adding stuff until you encounter the problem.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 1, 2010 3:08:16 AM

I'll just post without reading iedgar's post, perhaps we have different takes.


Quote:
This new PSU gives a stable 12.03 on the 12vrail, and as the RAM is now of the same brand and speed I think it should cause no problem


Unless you are measuring with a multi-meter from a rail that is properly loaded than the measurement is not too useful. BIOS readings mean nothing, also any software that might give voltages mean nothing... unless you happen to see a rail fluctuating a lot. Just the fluctuations, not the actual numbers, can be a sign. Voltage stability is only one factor in PSU power. Minor fluctuations called ripple and also de-stabilize a PSU and can only be measured with an oscilloscope.

I can't say too much about your PSU. If this is a W0317, it's made by HEC and is likely not too good, perhaps even poor. A bad PSU can cause many strange issues, although I am not saying this is your problem.

Another thing to try is using power from a different part of the house or another location entirely. Fluctuations in the supply at the wall can destabilize a PSU, especially an inferior one.

Have you verified in the BIOS that the RAM is getting the voltage it requires, and is running in spec? Not all RAM can be relied on to be PnP.

Is your MB mounted properly, with no extra standoffs in places they should not be?
Related resources
July 4, 2010 4:49:26 PM

Hello and thanks for your replies.

I used the onboard HD 3200 GPU for Gears of Wars, and got to the middle of the game with no issues at all. I also used have been playing GTA IV with the GTS 250 and finished it last night, the last game session lasted for about 6 straight hours and GPU temps toped at 86 celsius with no issues.

Voltages fluctuate from 12.03 to 11.78 while gaming, and can go as low as 5.78 when the PC is inactive. This PSU was by far the best I could get in this area, they have no Corsair, only Cooler Master and Thermaltake, it says to deliver 60 amps and I thought it would be more than enough for my system since I don't even have a quadcore or a high-end GPU.

The MoBo is mounted properly, it fits nicely in the case, also everything else is firmly connected, I've checked recently.

Here's a screenshot of the voltages shown in HWmonitor Pro:

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff186/cefthecef/hwmo...

I read somewhere this could be caused by RAM being under powered or by having it's timings not set properly. Could that be the problem?

Also PC has been up for 24 hours with no issues.

.C.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2010 6:12:49 PM

Some TT and CM PSUs are good. I almost never recommend them because I don't want people to get confident about the brands. You have to be very careful when choosing either of them to get the specific model number that is good.

Thanks for the HWMonitor SS. I think it's hard to say based on that... what I meant earlier was visible fluctuations under a steady load. Ideally you could just swap out the PSU for something else and see if the issue goes away.

DRAM voltage issues are less common on AMD builds, but you should check. CPU-Z has an SPD tab that will give you the manufacturers suggested timings and voltages.

You'll find a link to that in the troubleshooting guide linked in my sig, as well as the PSU guide linked in my sig that may point out some PSU options you didn't realize you had. Many companies sell good PSUs.
July 4, 2010 10:52:53 PM

The thing is that the PC has already been running under 4 different PSU's, 2 Pixxos and 2 Thermaltake Purepower, one of 600 and this one of 700. I can't swap another PSU since almost nobody in this city has a gaming PC, and PC shops here only handle common office rigs.

The last option would be to buy a CM Real Power pro of 1000 watts at 200 bucks, and I don't have the money. I live in México, so options for building PC's are very restricted. No newegg :( .

Anyway, thanks for all the help and may I say your posts and guides are a really useful resource for troubleshoot and information.

This is what CPUZ says about my RAM, what options should I check in the bios?

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff186/cefthecef/cpuz...

Thanks a lot again

.C.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2010 11:26:21 PM

It's good, low voltage ram. If you like, post the main and memory tabs, but I suspect all you need to do is verify in the BIOS that it's running at 1.8V. If it is you can nudge it up slightly, say to 1.82 or 1.84V. This may require taking the DRAM voltage off "auto".

Oh, and do check both sticks of RAM. Look at your SPD tab in the corner where it says "slot one" and change it to slot two, if they are identical then that's fine, if not that is your problem. (but we may be able to work around it).
July 4, 2010 11:45:06 PM

did u install the nvidia drivers and remove the ati ones?
July 5, 2010 2:40:47 AM

@ Proximon

Ok, will check the RAM voltages next time I restart, or it restarts by itself, whatever happens first. Both sticks are identical, only dates and serial numbers change.

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff186/cefthecef/cpuz...

@ubernoobie

Yeah, I installed the nvidia drivers after a clean formating, I have done it about 4 times and even in Vista.

Thanks

.C.
July 11, 2010 9:29:34 PM

Well it seems RAM has a voltage of 1.9, is it wrong? I couldn't find any option to lower or to increase the voltage, at least none I could understand... CPU voltage is 140 watts or so, again the 12vrail reads 12.12 on bios.

The thing crashed again about 2 hours ago, it was up for 3 hours and I was just listening to music, chatting, surfing and opening a software dictionary. Two weeks passed since the last crash and I thought I was safe but no.

Please help, I'm pulling my beard off out of despair!

.C.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 11, 2010 10:46:31 PM

Your RAM does seem to be over-volted, which I suppose could cause issues if it was heating up. It's more an indication that the board isn't dealing with it well, and perhaps some of the other settings are off also.

Your descriptions and continuing problems really make me suspect that there is something wrong with the motherboard itself, which in turn is damaging your CPU/RAM resulting in eventual failure.
July 12, 2010 12:33:21 AM

Now that you mention it, I use onboard audio and sometimes the speakers give a humming sound, could that be motherboard related?

Should I undervolt the RAM then until it hits 1.8v?

Maybe I should send the thing back to warranties for the third time... yet another month without PC.

Thanks again for your support man

.C.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 12, 2010 6:34:31 AM

CefVil said:
Now that you mention it, I use onboard audio and sometimes the speakers give a humming sound, could that be motherboard related?


Yes, but could also be a ground issue or PSU issue... or heavy interference from some other device. That reminds me that I was going to request that you disable sound in the BIOS as a test also.



Quote:
Should I undervolt the RAM then until it hits 1.8v?

Start backing it down slowly see if it improves.

You are welcome. I do wish it were more straight forward though, I hate these hard ones ;) 
August 15, 2010 5:40:42 AM

*Bump*

Well after a month with no input I've decided to bump my thread since I still have a crash or two once every four days.

The last troubleshooting I did was running memtest for abour 15 hours and 21 passes, which my RAM passed with no errors.

So what could it be? The GPU can take a full load for over 4 or 5 hours of gaming, the CPU has passed hours of Prime95, the RAM is fine as far as memtest is concerned, and the whole rig can work for days straight if the damn astrological conditions prevent the mistery crash from happening.

I'm trying to find more symptoms and I've seen the PC having problems with a Kingston USB 4GB drive, which loads very slowly and sometimes takes ages to copy files. So could it be the motherboard?

.C.
May 28, 2011 5:28:29 PM

hi! i have the same kind of problem with my new game rig. crash with looping sound even i dont use the sound when the pc crash.The graphical remains the same and only hard reset(button) can solve this. initially i was thought its my sound card and i have returned to shop for tests but i saw later same issue ocurres even with my onboard audio card.
What i noticed is the fact that my pc crash only in internet explorer when scrooling down the mouse ... more test will come...

what i tryed until now with no results:fresh win 7 install/windows update with full criticals,latest drivers, chaged psu power cord, checked all the temperatures (all ok)even in prime or memtest... changed a little in bios -llc set voltage to fixed level 2 // c1e,c3,c6 disabled nothing works ....

the results :1 crash maybe 2 on one day and some times the pc can survive with no errors for 2-3days...

in game the pc is stable (played 6-8h of badcompany 2 for many times with no issues)
my system: asrockp67 extreme 4, cpu i5 2500k (not overclocked!), 4g dd3 a-data 1600
,geforce asus gtx560 ti cu II and psu A-data hm

after reading some pc crash related topics ,i decided to buy another psu so i ordered a corsair tx650 v2 and should arrive in 4-5 days.
ill tell you if ill find a fix for my pc, it might work for you too.

i made a elimination plan: first psu/second memorys/ and lastly the mainboard.

my other old pc have a cheap chinesse psu and still run perfectly not a single crash on 6 mouth...
May 29, 2011 10:14:47 AM

do you mind me asking what kind of antivirus your running? i myself have experienced hard freezes but not as bad as yours. i did Ram checks(voltages and timings) bios updates, GPU driver updates, and PSU replacement, registry scans and repairs with CCCleaner, prime95.

but i had avast and avg antivirus, once i took it out and replaced it with microsoft security essentials, didnt freeze on anything i did for the past 3 days..
yesterday night i saw that my Raidmax 630w PSU was only giving me 20amps on the 12v+ rail.. not much for my gtx560ti sc which needed 30amps... so i decided to replace it too..
try replacing your antivirus with microsoft security essentials or norton... if its anything like AVG or AVAST.. take it out and see if you still have hard freezes...



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