AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800+
OCZ PS 450w or 500w (can't remember)
Nvidia Geforce 7600GT
Infinity NForce4 Standard Mobo
Creative X-Fi SB Sound Card
...I'll find out the specs on the rest if you need them
For the last several months, my machine has been freezing up randomly in the middle of games and I can't get out of it w/ Ctrl+alt+del; I have to manually turn off or restart the computer with the buttons on the case. Sometimes it will be accompanied by a high pitched beep that's coming from the speakers, and other times it will happen while the sound from the game stutters. I've been reading through these forums for a few weeks and these are the things that I've tried so far:
1. Checked the temps, seem to be fine. (Games will freeze between 60C and 74C GPU temp and the CPU cores are usually around 50C to 54C when it freezes. I even ran FurMark and the temp maxed out at a constant 85C)
2. Dusted out the computer and every part. (After I dusted out the fan case on my 7600GT, the artifacts that were showing up on the screen during games stopped and the temps went down to those previously stated. When the artifacts showed up on games like Trackmania and COD4, they appeared as black rectangles, sometimes with white or pink lines in those rectangles. But now I'm not worried about artifact b/c it seems to be fixed with the dusting... although the games still freeze.
3. Freed up a lot of hard drive space. (about 28GB Free on a SATA 80GB)
4. Checked ram with a windows utility that runs during a system boot. This seemed to be fine.
5. Scanned for viruses/malware. Also defragged and ran diskcheck for the hard drive and this seemed to be fine.
6. All of my drivers are up to date, as far as I know. The video card's drivers are, for sure.
Now I'm at a loss. Maybe it's my sound card b/c a few of the other posters with similar situations had a Creative sound card. But this seems a little far-fetched. The freezes w/ stuttering sound used to occur while I was watching movies--even on youtube. But that hasn't happened in a long time, since before I dusted out my computer. (Although I haven't watched many movies in a while.)
Any advice on potential issues that I've not considered would be greatly appreciated as I'm at my wit's end.
Here are some possibilities based on what I've read and troubleshooted on my own machine that freezes:
-It may be a dying or crappy PSU, but you'd have to check that with a multimeter during heavy load, like games. So far I've tried 4 different PSU's and my problem persists, so I can' guarantee that may be the problem.
-You may try to uninstall your video drivers using driver sweeper and re-installing in safe mode for a maximum safety on the process.
-To check RAM in a safer way you may use memtest and let it run for about 20 passes, with one stick at a time. Also check on your manufacturers site about the recommended voltages and timings of your RAM sticks, and adjust them properly in bios.
-To discard a sound problem you can disable the audio from the bios and play for a while.
-If you dare you can update your bios, some folks out there in the net claim that fixed the freezings and shutdowns.
-Finally for some long shots, check your Windows registry and fix it with something like Ccleaner, try uninstalling Daemon Tools, if you have it, switch from Firefox, if you use it, to Google Chrome, and increase the virtual memory size, again these measures are said to help in some cases.
That's all I can think about for now, I hope you solve your problem soon.
If it's games on steam, you might want to switch off the steam cloud.
I was having problems playing steam games, my pc would just hang, couldn't move the mouse and the keyboard would not work, now that i have disabled stream cloud, i have been able to play games again.
give it a bash, and if it works, let other people know about it.
cheers and good luck.