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PC Acting wierd, where to start trubleshooting?

Last response: in Systems
a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 3:09:16 AM

Hi there, I got more and more truble with my computer lately, and it have gotten to a point where it's not just to google for answers anymore.

The wierd thing is, it's diffrent components that halts to work all the time for the wierdest resons.

Anyway, my specs are:
Windows 7 OEM 64 bit
Mobo: Asus Rampage extreme II
Cpu: I7 950
Ram: 6 GB 1600
FX: 2x Asus 4890 in Crossfire
PSU: Odin 850W
Monitor: Samsung Syncmaster 22"

Well thats the general stuff.... Now for the multiple problems I cant Figure out of anymore.

My biggest problem is my Grapic cards Dying on me those days, I smelled a problem a few months ago when my Screen whent black untill I got Direct X updated, Now im betting a a BSOD if I update to the latest ati Driver, and my framerate is basicly dead :( 
In Any case im about to update my cards, but im starting to wonder if that wont help me.....

The fact is I kind of got a Xmas tree of a computer, I got about 12 fans installed, with led in diffrent sizes, a G19 keyboard, a Roccat Kone Mouse, and a internal water cooled CPU, all on the same PSU and computer.

Now for the funny stuff..... Well some days my Keyboard shorts out, the LCD screen on it wont work, Or my saved Light Color is reset, Other days I have to physically Unplug and replug My Mouse to get it to work.. you know all the small stuff you can live with once in a week, hoping for newer drivers..... But it really been a lot of it lately and more frequently.

As I mentioned before, My monitor shorted out for a while aswell. But got stable with a DirectX update.

Now my Grapic cards are Dying, They really wont Run anything with DX10 features anymore without Dropping Framerate a lot 10-16 FPS, or not work at all... And they are getting Hotter than ever, Not unusal for me to see them up at 70-90C, Eaven at low settings :( , yeah I know they are usaly hot, thats why I got the Dual Fan Cards, and installed a extra external intake fan close by for that purpose, and no they are not OC.

So after googeling similar problems, i kind of end up with a million sulutions thats not related to mine ofcause.

I kind of suspect my PSU (2-3 years old), but in Bios it shows wery stable Values. Then agen I have no idea how to test it under load.

And I suspect Driver issues, But to be honest I havent done any driver or IrQ testing since Windows 98....

So Any suggestion where to start testing, because i doubt just updating my GFX will solve all my problems.

Any help and ideas is aprichiated, and sorry for the bad English, im Norwegian with a wery bad case of dyslexia :D 

a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 3:30:26 AM

Power would be my first guess, Start with the things you can check. Unplug all the extra stuff you don't need and see if the problem persist. I'd include turning off any overclocks you have and run it as bare as you can. One GPU at a time. I'm always leery though of running on a suspect PSU. If you can get a hold of another and operate in its rated power, that might be a little safer.

If problems still persist, try it with only one stick of ram in. If the issues go away, try the others one at a time until you find a bad stick. Running mem test might not hurt either.

I doubt cooling is your problem unless you've stalled all the air in the case and its not actually moving inside. Pull the side of the case off and run with it open.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 9:54:58 AM

Thanks for the reply.
I can try that, but the thing is 90% of the time the computer runs normal so it's hard to tell if the issues are gone or not... Exept for my Dying 4890s

The wierd thing is Both Cards are Dying, I tried to Switch them around and run only on one card at a time without any inprovement, So it wonder if there is any tests I can do before I upgrade to 5xxx and maybe kill some brand new cards aswell.

Why I suspect the PSU, is basicly because im wery afraid it will stop giving power to the water pump one day, that would get pretty expensive. And the fact that it could kill any new components I install. So is there any way to test the PSU under load?

On A sidenote I constantly run into "Driver" problems with my keyboard, mouse, remote control. Could this really interfare with ATI Catalyst? Or eaven be possible to kill Grapic cards because of it?

BTW: For the obius question, have I ever overclocked my cards. Yeah, I overclocked them to run a few Benchmarks, but With Summer coming I didnt like the Temprature they ran on OC'd, So I clocked them to Normal Speeds loong before my problems started.

I tried about everything to "Fix" the cards, but have to admidt they are simply Dying both of them. Asus Own Drivers, or any catalyst, fact is they have been giving me Worse preformance on every update the last 5-6 months. And Now I get BSOD if I uptate the drivers further.

Well bottom line is, How can I figure out for shure what killed my GFX cards, so I dont repeat the mistake when I buy some new ones. I will most likely be buying a new PSU with them, but is there anything else I should look for aswell?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 2:57:57 PM

Are you sure the GPUs are dead? Though it may be tough to part with, I'd give one at a time to your friend, let him run them, and see if the problem follows the card. I'd really limit just how much testing you do with your PSU as it is. And there's no easy way to test those under load. It takes specialized expensive equipment to load test PSUs.,...

Whats the warranty on that PSU?

The other major component that can't be ruled out is the mobo. With the breadth of problems you have, everything is suspect.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 3:09:18 PM

Sometimes the simplest solutions are right in front of you but you cant see them? :D 

Eaven though I really belive my GPU's are dying you might be right, I'll install them in my Sons Computer tomorrow morning and See what happens, Will take some Driver reinstalling and time. I'll get back to you if I find out anything more.

Thanks For the Advice :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 4:11:06 PM

First sorry for the Duble post, i'm not allowed to edit it seems.

I got no chance buying that psu test equipment, obeusly it would be cheaper just to buy another PSU, as im only building computers for myself and my family on rare occations.

But Worth mentioning is that my Mobo do got Plobelt Connectors (Also for voltages to my PCI-E ports), So I could read the Voltages on a multimeter during for example a Benchmark, or I could have them Shown From Bios on my LCD poster.

Obeusly im unable to read off the direct power to the Cards.
And Honestly I got No idea where to start to find out whats an acceptable power drop etc.

In any case, is this somthing that could be worth checking out?
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2010 4:29:44 PM

The good news is that modern CPU's will thermally shutdown if they lose cooling (water pump or air fan dies).

Like skora says, if you have another computer available, use it to test as much hardware as you can.

The best way to test a PSU is to replace it with a known good one of similar power capacity. Brand new, out of the box, untested does not count as a known good PSU.

Next best thing is to get (or borrow) a digital multimeter and check the PSU. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.

The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.

You can turn on the PSU by completely disconnecting the PSU and using a paperclip or jumper wire to short the green wire to one of the neighboring black wires.

This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU. You can carefully probe the pins from the back of the main power connector.

And to edit your posts, look in the lower right corner. See the three icons right above the "|> Add a reply" button? The center one (grey sheet of paper with lightning bolt) is the "quick edit" icon.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2010 10:43:58 AM

Thanks for all the help folks :D  I know this comes a little late, but testing took time.

What I figured out was My Grapic cards still act funny on other computers, Not that they dont work, but they are really not preforming as they should (It's a long story with Shader problems, Odd Colors on fullscreen etc), Anyway those are getting updated soon, So it's not a big concern for me.

I still have to deal with the heat issue I got on my Crossfire setup whith new cards in mind, as the 2x16 slots on the mobo is placed far to close to eachother, works fine the first months, but as soon as some dust pass the dustfiters etc it's not healthy on the cards. So before I upgrade to the 5XXX series I will reaserch some water cooling posibilities. Any tips here would be welcome.

For My PSU, I did some testing (Thank you JSC), and in idel is seems to be ok, all Voltages almost -3 to -5% though, exept for 12V that was Spot on. Anyway, I did some reserch on all my added Coponents (Like Fans and power hungry USB devices), and I should really have a 1000W PSU, Not a 850W..... So maybe this is a Part of my problem aswell. (PSU recomandations would be welcome, I admidt I like Flashy stuff with led lights :p , but ofc stability comes first).

I must admidt it still bugs me that im not shure what broke my GPU's, and the strange fact that both cards act wierd. But I'll start with the upgrade and see what happens at the end of the summer.

Agen Thanks for the replies, you been a lot of help for me :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2010 11:07:12 AM

Btw: worth mentioning is that im not overjoyed about my NB and SB tempraturs keeping in mind I got a internal radiator exausting the air. 50-60C on hot days, Would it be vise of me to buy a full set of Blocks for my Rampage E II if I decide to cool down the new Grapic cards with Water cooling?

*Sorry still not allowed to edit, eaven after registering? (Can click edit but cant reapply the post)