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Computer freezes randomly - Need help to find the error

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September 5, 2010 3:05:46 PM

Hi there.

So I upgraded my computer, about 2-3 weeks ago, by replacing some parts. First all worked fine but after a few days I stated to experience some problems. The issue is that the computer freezes randomly and this has occurred more and more often since it started. When it freezes I can still see what was last happening on the screen and all fans are still running, but the computer is unresponsive to any action except rebooting/terminating it the hard way, using the button. When the computer have been rebooted the hard way after a freeze I often have trouble starting it again. It's freezing during the windows is loading process. A system restore/recovery usually fixes this but it will soon freeze again. Last 2 days it freezes every 5 min making the computer completely useless.

Before I tell you what I've done to try to locate the problem I'm gonna tell you the specifics of my computer so you guys know what we are dealing with.

I have:
Motherboard : Asus M4A89GTD Pro USB3 (New part)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4 Ghz (new part)
Graphic: Asus Geforce 240 GT (New part)
Ram: 2 x 2 GB (4gb total) of Corsair XMS3 1600 Mhz DDR3 (New Part)
CPU fan: Noctua NH-U12P running at ULNA-mode (Ultra low noice, 800 rpm) (New part)
Dvd-drive: Noname 16x DVDRW with IDE-cable
Hdd's: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 200 GB IDE
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160 GB SATA (Windows disc)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1 TB SATA
Samsung "I dont know" 250 GB SATA
Power supply: Zalman 600W-HP Silent
Chassi: Antec P183 Miditower
Screen: Mirai 19" Widescreen with VGA-cable


I first thought of this as a possible software error due to some faulty driver or perhaps a virus of some sort. I formated my computer and reinstalled windows but the error remained. I figured it might have something to do with the fact that I, since the upgrade, is running Windows 7 which I never did before, so I formated the computer once again and reinstalled my old Win Xp. The freezing issue remained.

It's not a temperature problem either, at least I don't think that is very likely. The CPU temp is stable at about 30-35 degrees Celsius in idle and goes up to 48-50 during a stress test.

I'm now back with Windows 7 Ultimate and the issues continues. It don't matter if I'm in safe mode, it still freezes.

So i tried to disconnect my graphic card and using only the built in graphic card on the motherboard but it didn't change anything.

I tied to disconnect one of the 2 RAM modules because I thought that that might have been the issue. You see my RAM got an extra "cooling thingy" on the top which makes them really tall. This leads to the problem that i can't use A1 and A2 ram slots on the motherboard as recommended because the CPU fan gets in the way. So I use A2 and B2 (instead of 1st and 3rd slot i use 3rd and 4th). Thought that might be the problem but with only 2 GB of RAM in the A2 port the problem remained.

I've tried disconnecting the hdd's and dvd-drive one by one but it still seem to freeze. The vierd thing is that Windows wont boot not only when the hdd with windows on it is disconnected but also if i disconnect only the Samsung disc. Can anyone explain that? Can there be some boot files or something on that disc that is hidden for me?

I've now moved on to thinking it might be an issue with the power supply. I installed SpeedFan and CPUID hardware monitor to be able to control voltages inside windows. It seem to have given me some useful readings but the problem is that I'm not that good at voltage issues so I would like to request the aid of someone with more knowledge on the subject. So the voltages looks fine when I control them inside the BIOS:

Vcore: 1.368 V
3.3V: 3.312 V
5V: 5.059 V
12 V: 12.429 V

But when I look at the voltages inside windows I get completely different numbers. Hardware monitor gives me:

CPU Vcore: 3.86 V
Vin1: 3.79V
+3.3V: 1.57 V
+5V: 3.71 V
+12V: 6.53 V
-12V: -13.5 V
-5v: -11.58 V
+5V VCCH: 3.82 V
VBAT: 2.27 V

And SpeedFan gives me:

Vcore1: 3.86 V
Vcore2: 3.78 V
+3.3V: 1.78 V
+5V: 3.71 V
+12V: 6.53 V
-12V: 0.39 V
-5V: 0.32 V
+5V (VCCH?): 3.79 V
Vbat: 2.27 V

As you can see there are big differences on the voltages inside windows. The +3.3V, +5V and +12V seem to give me way lower values. Am I on to something here? Can the reason that the computer freezes be that it don't receive enough volt? Also the Vcore value seem to be way higher inside windows then inside the bios. Crazy readings or actual problem? Noticeable is that the PSU is only like 4-5 months old.

I would be so very grateful to anyone that can aid me. It's not fun spending hundreds of Euro on new computer parts and then not be able to use it. Also I need to turn in a paper soon and I hate typing on my laptop. :p 

Thanks guys!
/Penti
September 5, 2010 5:12:56 PM

Ok. Just want to update the information. I now installed Asus own program for monitoring voltage, fan speeds and system temperatures, Pc Probe. It shows about the same voltage values as the BIOS does so hopefully the really low values shown in the other programs are just misreadings, but then I still have no clue what is wrong with the pc. Please help. I'm thinking of running a Linux Live version to see if it crashes in Linux as well.
/Penti
September 5, 2010 10:52:31 PM

Ok, so I got some more info and I'm begging for someone to come to my aid. Seriously losing it on my computer. I tried to run Linux Ubutu from Live cd and can tell that the computer still freezes. Not a Microsoft error then. Also, I've once again tried installing my old XP, with the result that it froze during the installation. I had only one hdd plugged in at the moment to ensure the fault wasn't due to one of the other discs. This indicates a hardware error, right? Please help figure out what is broken.
/Penti
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September 5, 2010 11:42:32 PM

make sure that the slave and master are set up correctly with those two IDE drives. Just set the jumpers to cable select, if they aren't already. Could also mean your boot drive is going bad. I would try installing windows on a separate drive and see if that helps. it also sounds like maybe your CPU is overheating. Check your CPU temperature if you can, and perhaps uninstalling any overclocking or voltage software will solve this (or making sure that the software isn't overclocking or changing the voltage on any of your components).

a note: my common CPU temp. is 41 degrees Celsius with a x4 955.

if all else fails, I would try RMA'ing your mobo. But this is definitely a hardware issue, not a software.
September 5, 2010 11:46:39 PM

WEll, first of all you need the ram in A1 and B1, your lucky it even boots the way you got it.

After you get shorter ram or a different heat sink, try a different PSU.


One of those is 99% likely to be the issue.

You could run memtest86 on the ram for several hours, if you get errors its definitely ram related, if not grab a new PSU.
September 10, 2010 6:07:45 AM

Hi!

First of all, thank you for your inputs guys!

So I finally solved the problem. It was a problem with the ram. My motherboard had not been capable of automatically identify the ram and change the settings to what it needed. I had to activate the "overclock mode" on the mobo and manually set the voltage, frequency and latency to the right values. Nothing strange about my computer freezing with that in mind. The volt for example was previously set to 1.5xx Volt though it should be 1.8 V.

Thanks again and take care!
/Penti
!