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Random freezes, crash and restart on bios.

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August 29, 2011 7:28:29 AM

Hi guys.
Recently had the pleasure of hand destroying a hp laptop that had just failed epically on me, so I set about building a new computer from scratch. Its the first time I'd done this... so. Stats.

Cpu: i5 2500k
Gfx: crossfired 2x Sapphire HD 6870
Mobo: Asus p8p67 deluxe
Mem: Corsair Vengeance 2x 4g (8g total)
HDD: 2x samsung 1t in Raid 1
Psu: Silverstone ST85F-P (850watt)
Cooling: 4 case fans and a noctua psu air cooler
OS: Win7

The problem:
Well, Ive had a few. Firstly, plugging in both gfx cards causes what seems like power issues. Both cards require 2x 6pin connectors. So on the first I use both 6 pin connectors, on the second I use 2x 6+2 pins, obviously with the +2 ground pins hanging loose. Any combination of this works, however if all 4 are connected (2-3 works) fans loose noticeable rpm's audibly, and the system occasionally bsod's me during operation (though, both cards are found in the device display)

The second thing I've noticed is that the system tends to require a couple of attempts at startup. That is, power is switched on, fans rev, system beeps once (which according to the asus mobo booklet, is a good thing) and then insta power down. The system then self attempts to run again. It may do this up to 3 times before it solidly gets into bios, and begins to load windows.

Up until recently, that was it. Once it had loaded it was stable. Could play games, run movies, w/e without fault and quite quickly too (what a fresh change =]). However just as of today, the computer has taken to its third and possibly most frustrating fault. Now, it randomly freezes during any activity, under any load, and with no warning. When it preforms this freeze the display is frozen, keyboard doesn't respond and the mouse icon is frozen. At one point it froze as a scroll over pop-up from windows was fading in, and it froze mid fade. Restarting it after one of these freezes leads to the second problem, but now it requires far more than 2 restarts and on many of the successful starts, keyboard is not detected forcing me to restart yet again.

Things I have tried....

Disabled all the case fans + boot drives + peripherals to see if that changed the cpu fan rev speed with both gfx cards full powered (no change noticed)
Swapped the gfx cards (no change)
Swapped out the Psu for a replacement (no change)
Having an electrician check the house circuitry (in progress...)
Going to test the system on a different circuit (also in progress...)
Switched the 6pin and the 6+2pin configuration around endlessly (no change)
Yelled at it a few times, hit random inanimate objects (not the pc, no change... damn it)

So... sorry about the wall of text, but I figured I'd just get detail outa the way =]
Any ideas? Thanks.
August 29, 2011 8:14:58 AM

Try to reseat the RAM and try to use only one module on different slots.
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Best solution

August 29, 2011 8:33:49 AM

Normally with such random issues it's one of three things...

bad PSU, (you said you've already tried another PSU)
bad RAM,
bad motherboard.

Having an electrician check your house power seems a bit extreme at this point... unless you're having "tons-o-electrical" item problems (TVs going funny, PCs acting strange, microwave not working correctly, etc) you're house is probably not the problem. A better investment for a PC would be a UPS (battery backup) box... this will help with funny power, brown outs, etc and give you a chance to save work when a sudden power outage happens.

With that said....

First thing to do is to remove everything possible from your PC and start from zero... Try running the PC with just the following:
PSU, motherboard, one stick of RAM, one video card, CPU & Heatsink/fan, and your Windows HDD. (note, in extreme cases... remove the motherboard from the tower/case and place it on a cardboard box or something similar and then install the basic items and run the PC "naked". This can help ID a situation where a short between the motherboard and metal case is the cause of a problem)

IF the system is still NOT stable, try swapping out one item at time... try another stick of RAM (again, only one is allowed to be installed at any given time... be sure to try the same RAM in other RAM slots as well)... and then another video card... and then another hard drive... and then a new HDD cable (yes cable, these can be bad too). If possible even try another CPU and heatsink/fan (I assume this won't be possible).

If none of that works, then you'll have to assume you've got a bad motherboard. You can attempt a BIOS update just to make sure that's not the issue, but you'll most likely end up doing a wonderful RMA. The reason I don't recomend updating the BIOS any sooner is that it's a bit risky on an unstable system like yours.

Another way to test you're hardware and pinpoint the motherboard is by trying you're hardware in another computer and seeing if that stays stable.... friends come in handy on this one (assuming they have similary hardware/motherboard).


Now then... IF... the system becomes STABLE aftering going to the least number of components... now you can slowly add one item at a time until the system becomes unstable. Once that happens, remove the said item and see if your system is stable again. If the system is suddenly fixed again then keep that item out and try adding some more parts. If they system becomes unstable again after adding any further parts then it could be a bad motherboard with some power issues (again, follow above directions for BIOS or mobo RMA).

If everything works but that one part you can go one step further and break down the PC again and try just adding that part and seeing what happens, but I'd most likely just RMA that signle item.


As a final tip, be sure to try other brands of RAM, video cards, etc (if you have them at home or if friend will let you borrow for a test). Sometimes one brand of RAM won't run well on a certain motherboard while another brand with the same specs runs perfectly fine. The same can be said for nVidia vs AMD, etc, etc. Sucks, but sometimes that's the way it is.


Oh, and YES, unplug extra fans from motheboard/case (only CPU/PSU/Video card fans are allowed) and YES try running computer without RAID.

hope that helps.
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August 29, 2011 11:47:45 AM

Hehe, forgot to mention, the electrician is my father, so thats a freebie. Did that, and everything came up solid. Problems in the box... somewhere.

Im gona devote tomorow to breaking the system down and running it + one piece at a time. Its gona be hard to tell though, because sometimes (like right now) it runs just fine. Others (like the hour and a half before now) its crash followed by crash followed by not even getting past the windows login.

Ive noticed some other things too. When it does that crash before bios, the mobo's lcd displays the code 79, which is apparently a reference for CSM initialization. Whatever that is... Also, its not finding the keyboard on boot about 50% of the time, and the last time it crashed, I had the audio on (not playing any sound) and when it hung, it played weird sounds and pops. On top of that, the crossfire was acutaly powering correctly. I mistook the sound of the single gfx cards heat sink spinning at 3k rpm as the cpu fan. Turns out, when you power the second card, for some reason, both fans become regulated, only spinning at high rpm under load.


Edited for spelling and updates.
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September 5, 2011 5:48:53 AM

Turns out (if anyone see's this thread again lol) that the problem was with some oc settings I dont recall implementing. Mobo was trying to run the cpu at a bad frequency, causing instability. Bios reset, problem solved. Also, the blue screens were later atributed to a bad stick of ram. The second stick repeatedly failed memtest. Returned, replaced, and now the machine thats been named Titanic is cruzing smoothly. Thanks for the reply's guys. The support was much apreciated =]
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September 8, 2011 1:32:44 PM

Best answer selected by exothermic.
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September 9, 2011 11:58:57 PM

glad you got it figured out, sucks having two problems as that can slow the solving process a lot... OC settings in the BIOS wasn't even on my radar due to how new the system was. I figured you hadn't even tried to OC yet.

hmmmm.... but I have seen some BIOS' detect things incorrectly and/or have "bad" settings on first boot.

I'll have to remember to add a note to "reset BIOS to defaults or safe settings" next time I respond to a post like this.

As for the RAM I'm not surprised by that. I always run Memtest on any new RAM I purchase and it always amazes me just how often I get "bad" sticks.
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