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PC Problems

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September 7, 2010 7:09:20 PM

I built this computer back in 2007 going for a bang for buck and its lasted me very well, however it has been having great difficulty this last month and is slowly getting worse. I am very opposed to the idea of buying a new PC if i can help it, so i want to see if there is anything i can do to keep this one going. Before I explain the problems I will give you the specs.

Windows 7 64bit
Intel core duo E6550 2.33GHZ
2gb ddr2 ram
ATI Radeon HD3850
600w psu
and one 233gb hdd

So whats happening is its randomly freezing every now and again frequently for a couple of minutes at a time whether I am playing games or just browsing the internet, although its more extreme when I'm (trying to)playing games usually leading to blue screen of death and at one point i couldn't even switch it back on. So i thought it was a hardware problem and I ran the BurnIn Test and it hasn't found any problems with my hardware EVEN when it froze during the test. I under-clocked my graphics card to increase the stability as i thought that might be the problem but it didn't help. One time it came up with a black bios like screen on start up saying "American Megatrends ect etc your cpu settings are running too high..." or something so i set them all to default(although they already were) but im not sure about playing around with clock speeds on the cpu so i tried to stay out of that. Also sometimes after its had a freezing fit it sometimes goes super sluggish, argh. I think thats all the information i can think of atm, if anyone could help it would be massively appreciated. When it works it works fine runs games fine so I'm very reluctant to splash out on a new PC. Thanks in advance.

More about : problems

September 7, 2010 10:03:34 PM

Could be the graphics card. Can you try another graphics card? When did you install Windows 7 64bit and did you do a fresh install of Windows 7 or just overwrote your last OS?
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September 7, 2010 10:30:04 PM

I dont unfortuneatly have another gfx card to try :(  I think i possibly overwrote my Vista but i cant rly remember
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 7, 2010 11:03:27 PM

Quote:
and at one point i couldn't even switch it back on.


This points to it being a faulty power supply, substitution is the only test. Failing power supplies often give the symptoms you describe.
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September 7, 2010 11:42:29 PM

I'd also check for viruses & spyware...



JD
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 7, 2010 11:45:13 PM

Remove the side of the case, and blow a box fan at it. You may have a heat issue.

Once you get into windows, check the event viewer to see if any of the errors have been logged.
start-->run-->eventvwr.msc-->look at the application and system logs.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2010 12:13:52 AM

Although blue screens could be memory. If possible test it a stick at a time with memtest86. Also download speedfan and post the temps. If memory serves, it also reads voltages. But I have heard of PSU's getting weak over time. So if memory tests good, and temps look ok, I'd say grab another PSU and check it out. Especially with your card, I would definitely mark the PSU as a possible suspect.
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September 8, 2010 12:47:27 AM

Cheers for the reply s, ill tell you the results tommorow. :) 
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September 8, 2010 9:46:47 PM

I think after looking around today that is something to do with heat/graphics card, as firstly i didn't play games until this evening and Ive had no problems untill i did so I under-clocked my GPU and pointed a fan in it and that brought the idle temperature of the GPU from 60 to around 46 but made my frame rates choppy and irritating. when I'm using it at normalish settings it goes up to maybe 80-90 degrees when in use but nothing too dramatic i wouldn't have thought, however it obviously takes its toll because it goes into the freezing fits and screen goes black every now and again when the graphics malfunction. So maybe the graphics card is starting to struggle? or it needs some super cooling on it?
I actualy forgot to mention some information, at first the problem came about when i was playing starcraft2 this was when it wouldn't switch back on then it came up with a boot screen saying i needed to reinstall windows rah rah but my father in all his wisdom checked the cable sinside and he said the hdd wassnt in properly, and voila it started again no porblems i could play starcraft2 no worries, then it started again a few days later! this time no cable were at fault, at which point I under-clocked the gpu after looking at loads of diff things, this solved the problem again and now the problem seems to be with other games possible more demanding games like team fortress 2 but the other games I play suffer at lower clock speeds and cant cope with higher ones.. that was grammaticaly awful but i hope you get what I'm trying to say.
@pjmelect I'm less inclined to believe that its a psu problem because my misinformation said i couldnt switch it back on i actualy ment it wouldnt boot, my bad that was misleading. but im still not rulling it out yet untill i can try another psu.
@aford10 Was there anything i was ment to look for in particular in the event viewer? i found numerous random errors one of interest was "The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Ide\IdePort5." which apparently might be to do with the hdd, maybe that cable thing?

anyways I think Ive said everything again, thanks again in advance you guys have already been great!
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September 8, 2010 9:48:22 PM

Also as graphics cards get older o they become more prone to heat issues like the ones Ive described?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2010 11:51:57 PM

The event viewer is particularly helpful if you can pinpoint the time stamp on the error message, with the time you're getting the BSOD and/or freezing.

Did it get any better when you removed the side of the case? Do you have a box fan to blow at it? If it's a heat issue, you should see the problem subside.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 9, 2010 3:26:22 PM

Well good news is that graphics cards are very reasonable for something that should kill your 3850. Meantime, might consider a pci slot cooling fan under your card to help exhaust heat. Also, maybe use rivatuner or a similar app to increase fan speed. Also clean fan on the gpu with compressed air if youve not done that already.
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September 16, 2010 2:01:25 PM

I should have replied alooot sooner, but since i took the side off and set up a fan the pc has become usable again so maybe it was a heat issue. Thanks everyone for your advice and opinions!
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 16, 2010 2:15:01 PM

Ok, since it's likely a heat issue, you can add some better cooling to the case, so you don't have to keep the side off, using a box fan. That's more for a test than a permanent fix, though it would work if you're fine with it.

You can unmount the HSF, clean the old thermal paste off, and apply new. Make sure the HSF gets put back on snugly.

You could get an aftermarket CPU cooler.

You can add in extra case fans.

You can get a PCI cooling fan.

You can get aftermarket graphic card fans.

You can get HDD fans.

There are lots of ways to cool down the case.
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September 17, 2010 7:43:19 PM

It also helps to clean out the inside of your PC with compressed air (with the system turned off) to get rid of dust bunnies. I try to do it every 6 months or so....
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!