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Strange PC Behaviour

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July 9, 2010 6:27:30 PM

My self built PC has started behaving quite strangely, most of the times when I play a game (it doesn't matter which one) at random my sceen will blank out and display a no signal message and my fans speed up considerably, At this point I have no choice but to shut down with the power button.

Unless I leave it alone for 3-4 minutes, booting it up turns on the PC (LEDs light up, keyboard lights etc) but will have the no signal message on the monitor.

My guess is that it's an overheating issue, although I'm not sure how to monitor temperatures whilst ingame (advice would be helpfull). Additionally this has not happened when trying Prime95 or 3DMark06. I have done no overclocking on the pc

Most of my PC is about 4 years old and the problem only started when i got new RAM and a HDD, 3-4 weeks ago. For reference i've posted a list of hardware and its approximate age:

Core 2 Duo E6600 - 4 years
Intel 914 mATX Mobo - 4 years
EVGA GTS 250 - 2 years
Mushkin 4GB DDR2-800 - 3 weeks
WD Caviar Black 1 TB - 3 weeks
KM-88 Chassis - 4 years. Fan's were replaced two months ago.

I've been very regular with cleaning, done every year or so.

Also would like to point out that in 3 months i'm going to be replacing the chassis, motherboard and cpu

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July 10, 2010 10:15:33 PM

I would re-check all the cables and power leads to make sure they are firmly and properly seated, you may have bumped or loosened the connectors moving stuff in and out.

You may want to consider removing the CPU heatsink (HSF) and replacing the thermal paste with some fresh (like Arctic Silver 5, or another brand you like). This would also give you the chance to blow out any dust from the fins. Then re-seat the HSF and re-connect the power lead.
July 10, 2010 10:29:32 PM

Download "Everest Home Edition". It's free. Start it and let it run while your playing a game. Then hit "alt and tab" at the same time to toggle between screens and check on your cpu and gpu temps. Really very simple and and Everest has a lot of useful info about your computer also.
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July 10, 2010 11:39:25 PM

rreeder said:
Download "Everest Home Edition". It's free. Start it and let it run while your playing a game. Then hit "alt and tab" at the same time to toggle between screens and check on your cpu and gpu temps. Really very simple and and Everest has a lot of useful info about your computer also.


Alt-Tab'ing out will instantly lower temps though, so even if it hits...say 70C in game, the second you minimize it may drop to 60-65C. The easiest way is to look at temp history. I'm not sure if Everest has this or not, but programs like RealTemp, MSI Afterburner, HWMonitor, all display the max temp reached.
July 11, 2010 12:52:31 PM

redechelon said:
Alt-Tab'ing out will instantly lower temps though, so even if it hits...say 70C in game, the second you minimize it may drop to 60-65C. The easiest way is to look at temp history. I'm not sure if Everest has this or not, but programs like RealTemp, MSI Afterburner, HWMonitor, all display the max temp reached.


Thanks, will give HWMonitor a download and recheck the cabling / fans soon. I suppose it doesn't help that my room's temperature is currently around 30C :p  That's summer in the Middle East for you

-E-

Okay left HWMon running and triggered the behaviour. Not sure if the max / min resets when restarting though as my max values were

CPU: 64C
GTS 250: 53C
HDD: 37C

I very, very much doubt that this is actually the temp it was at ingame. Anywho will get to checking cabling next
July 11, 2010 5:02:14 PM

Yeah, if the computer restarts, the values will reset... You're going to have to push it to it's limits and check before it crashes I guess.


To rule 2 things out:

Test your video card. You could get a furmark program and see if that crashes it, and see if there are any artifacts (odd shapes and/or little dots).

I wanted to say RAM in the first place... especially since you just bought RAM. But Prime95 doesn't crash? You run it under blend? Try running Prime95 under the Large FFT setting to test your RAM.
July 12, 2010 4:09:29 AM

I use RivaTuner for NVidia GPU that has temp history and overclock capabillities for your Graphics Card if you want to have a history of temps. You can also set alarms for heat with it. It also is a free download.
July 14, 2010 2:34:10 PM

I went ahead and rechecked the wiring and the problem seems to be resolved. No artifacts on Furmark and redid a Prime95 test that came clean too

Thanks for the advice :) 
July 19, 2010 12:09:59 AM

hopefully that did fix it.. but it sounds like its a video card issue..
August 10, 2010 6:43:51 PM

jesman1985 said:
hopefully that did fix it.. but it sounds like its a video card issue..


Unfortunately the same issue has now reappeared. I did a Furmark stability test and about 15 minutes in the GTS 250 hit 89C and that triggered the same behaviour, thus it seems pretty obvious that its a video card issue - my guess an overheating one.

In September i'm moving to Toronto (currently I live in the Middle East) and so i'm hoping that the combination of a much better chasis (Antec Mini p180 instead of my bargain basement Mercury KM 88) and the far lower air temperatures (summers will be 20C instead of 50C) might help out here. I need to check up on the status of the warranty as i really can't afford to buy a new card

Best solution

August 12, 2010 2:47:03 AM
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this might sound stupid.. but the next time your computer start acting funny and see's artifacts.. tap your video card.. or lift it just a little.. sometimes the video cards weight might pull it down a little making it off level.. mine does that sometimes.. if thats it goto newegg and look at this thing called a "powerjack" powercolor makes it.. its like 15 bucks.. but if thats not the case i would rma the card.. tell em to send you a new one..
August 16, 2010 6:07:05 AM

Contacted EVGA Tech Support and since 89C is well within the temperature threshold and I have not noticed any artificats they suggested that it was an issue with my PSU.

Borrowed a friends unit and and that fixed the problem, quite pleased with this - a new PSU is a lot cheaper than a new GFX card :) 
August 16, 2010 1:32:03 PM

renegadenukes said:
Contacted EVGA Tech Support and since 89C is well within the temperature threshold and I have not noticed any artificats they suggested that it was an issue with my PSU.

Borrowed a friends unit and and that fixed the problem, quite pleased with this - a new PSU is a lot cheaper than a new GFX card :) 


good good .. your right.. id rather get a new psu over a gpu anyday.. glad it worked out bud. :) 
August 17, 2010 12:37:51 AM

Best answer selected by RenegadeNukes.
August 17, 2010 12:38:11 AM

I'd say the only thing i'm bugged about is that i'm ordering the psu in 2-3 weeks with the rest of my upgrades and that means 2-3 WEEKS WITHOUT GAMING :p 

Oh noes!
August 17, 2010 12:57:44 AM

renegadenukes said:
I'd say the only thing i'm bugged about is that i'm ordering the psu in 2-3 weeks with the rest of my upgrades and that means 2-3 WEEKS WITHOUT GAMING :p 

Oh noes!


Thank ya for the best answer :) ) .. i know what ya mean im about to hop on battlefield bad company 2 now.. when my video card died.. weeewww.. noo fun.. but i had to turn even that more ninja when i got my card back.. lol :) 
!