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4 Month Stable System- Quirky Boot Problem

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  • Homebuilt
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
October 15, 2010 6:44:31 AM

Hey guys, I know there are tons of these out there and I'm generally not one to post aimlessly on forums. But recently some strange things have been happening. I have a few ideas, but I'd rather delegate it to more experienced people than I.

I have a P55 based system (Gigabyte P55A-UD4P) on a Corsair CMPSU-650TX. It's been perfectly stable for 4 months, but about a two weeks ago something interesting happens.

PROBLEM
When I boot up my computer, it goes through POST and Windows loads fine. Right at the login screen, however, the computer immediately restarts. Then it POSTs again, ending up with the "Windows did not shut down properly"... blah blah. This will loop over and over if you let it. (It will always restart after the Windows login screen shows up for 3-4 seconds. Never before.)

TEMPORARY SOLUTION
I find that if I:

1) Turn off the computer
2) Reach behind the case to turn off the power supply.
3) Press the power button on the case (to drain excess off- does this do anything by the way?)
4) Switch the power supply back on

Everything will be normal again once I turn on the computer.

DETAILS
Cooler Master Storm Scout
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Corsair CMPSU-650TX
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P
Intel Core i5 750 (@3.8GHz- 20x190blck)
8GB (4x2GB) G.SKILL Ripjaws 1600 DDR3 (@1520MHz, 7-7-7-20-1T, 1.5V)
Gigabyte GTX 460 1GB (@ 815MHz/ 1630MHz)
ASUS Xonar DX

I do hear a click when I boot up. I'm not sure what this noise is, but it happens when the bootup is normal as well.
Recent hardware changes (~1 month)- Added Xonar DX, GTX 460, 2x2GB RAM.

I know it's alot to take in. Just hoping someone can help nudge me in the right direction. Or if this is a sign of impeding doom. :o 

I appreciate it! :wahoo: 

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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2010 9:12:43 AM

There are two areas I would look at first:

1) There is a bad sector in your RAM, and every time Windows gets to a certain point in the loading process, it hits that bad sector and crashes. If you can still get your system to run normally, run memtest86+ (found at www.memtest.org) and see if it produces any errors. If it does, removing the bad stick should fix the problem.

1a) It could also be RAM voltage issue, for two reasons. First, a lot of those G.Skill sets you describe take 1.6V, and most DDR3 motherboards default to 1.5V. If it's not getting enough voltage, the RAM can cause the system to freeze or crash for no apparent reason, in essentially the same fashion as above. It's also been known to happen that a system will run fine this way for a few weeks or months and then start the freezing thing. This can be fixed by simply going into the BIOS and setting the RAM voltage to the recommended spec for your set.

1b) Since you have four sticks of RAM, if 1a doesn't work, try bumping the voltage by another 0.02-0.05V above the recomended spec (but do not go above 1.65V with an i5/i7, as you can damage the CPU). When you have four sticks, often times it requires a little extra voltage above spec to be stable. This could also apply if you have standard 1.5V RAM but four sticks -- you'd need more like 1.52-1.54V to run the 1.5V RAM. Alternatively, you can remove two of the RAM sticks and go back to 4GB. Having more than 4GB on a system will do you no good at all right now unless you're using it for heavy-duty photo/video editing, heavy-duty multitasking, or something along those lines where you're working with big files or having several big programs running at once.

2) You could be having power supply issues -- at that same certain point in the windows load process, it puts a load on the CPU and takes too much power for your PSU to handle, and the system flashes. In your case, your PSU is more than adequate to power your system, so it would have to mean the PSU itself is defective. Corsair is one of the best for reliability, so I'd put this possibility as a distant second.

Look at the RAM first. That's what causes 90% of unexplained reboot/BSOD issues, and you have a few red flags in your configuration that leave you open to RAM problems.

Also, the click at startup is nothing -- probably either a fan starting up, or the hard drive, depending on how loud it is.
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October 15, 2010 10:49:41 AM

First of all, thanks alot for your reply capt_taco. I was expecting alot of "i dont know call geek squad" or some other funny [unhelpful] responses.

capt_taco said:

1a) It could also be RAM voltage issue, for two reasons. First, a lot of those G.Skill sets you describe take 1.6V, and most DDR3 motherboards default to 1.5V. If it's not getting enough voltage, the RAM can cause the system to freeze or crash for no apparent reason, in essentially the same fashion as above. It's also been known to happen that a system will run fine this way for a few weeks or months and then start the freezing thing. This can be fixed by simply going into the BIOS and setting the RAM voltage to the recommended spec for your set.


the RAM is rated to run at 1.5V, but since theres 4 DIMMS...

capt_taco said:

1b) Since you have four sticks of RAM, if 1a doesn't work, try bumping the voltage by another 0.02-0.05V above the recomended spec (but do not go above 1.65V with an i5/i7, as you can damage the CPU). When you have four sticks, often times it requires a little extra voltage above spec to be stable. This could also apply if you have standard 1.5V RAM but four sticks -- you'd need more like 1.52-1.54V to run the 1.5V RAM. Alternatively, you can remove two of the RAM sticks and go back to 4GB. Having more than 4GB on a system will do you no good at all right now unless you're using it for heavy-duty photo/video editing, heavy-duty multitasking, or something along those lines where you're working with big files or having several big programs running at once.


so my understanding is: bump up the VID of the CPU correct? (by 0.02-0.05V) and bump up the voltage of each individual DIMM by 0.2-0.4V.

i'm not sure, but i do believe that the problem started AFTER installing the other 4GB. i'm not 100% sure, but it is very possible. the main reason i have the other 4gb in was simply when playing SC2, alt-tabbing out is very slow as i assume there is some swap going on... with the 8gb it actually does move faster (although i've never been a sucker for big numbers.)

memtest sounds good. man, if this set has errors, then that would make every pair i got has had at least 1 defective stick.... oh boy. i will definitely go ahead and do that. thanks! i'll get back to you when i do!

thanks again!
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October 15, 2010 11:34:16 AM

I had a very similar experience and was extremely frustrated. My solution was similar to what capt_taco suggests: I manually set my RAM voltage as the motherboard BIOS was auto to the wrong setting, and had to manually set the RAM timing.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 16, 2010 4:34:26 AM

vincilicious said:
so my understanding is: bump up the VID of the CPU correct? (by 0.02-0.05V) and bump up the voltage of each individual DIMM by 0.2-0.4V.


You definitely DON'T want to mess with any voltage settings for the CPU unless you're trying to overclock and you know what you're doing. VID is completely separate from the RAM voltage -- it's the voltage that your CPU requires to start.

Basically, just tune the RAM voltage up slightly and leave everything else alone.

For what it's worth, a lot of people were complaining about the alt-tab problem with SC2, and I don't think it's a RAM issue. Most of the discussions I've seen on the subject seem to indicate it's an issue with video card drivers and display settings.
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October 16, 2010 8:47:08 PM

capt_taco said:
You definitely DON'T want to mess with any voltage settings for the CPU unless you're trying to overclock and you know what you're doing. VID is completely separate from the RAM voltage -- it's the voltage that your CPU requires to start.

Basically, just tune the RAM voltage up slightly and leave everything else alone.


i went ahead and ran memtest86+ v2.11 [bundled with Ubuntu 9.10] for about 8 hours [8 passes?] with all 4 DIMMS in (adjusted voltage to 1.56... maybe a little high. BIOS didnt have any smaller increments, but i will enter manually next time].

it came up all clean, no errors. nor have i noticed the quirky startup. it would be great if it left as suddenly as it came :lol: 

capt_taco said:

For what it's worth, a lot of people were complaining about the alt-tab problem with SC2, and I don't think it's a RAM issue. Most of the discussions I've seen on the subject seem to indicate it's an issue with video card drivers and display settings.


you are correct, the alt-tab is indeed a video card driver bug/thing. what i meant to say was alt-tabbing out was much faster. sometimes SC2 can really hog memory (easily over 1,700,000 KB) and the extra RAM did help some. going back in is largely unaffected.

jfby said:
I had a very similar experience and was extremely frustrated. My solution was similar to what capt_taco suggests: I manually set my RAM voltage as the motherboard BIOS was auto to the wrong setting, and had to manually set the RAM timing.


you had a login loop thing as well? well. my ram is 1600 / cl9 / 1.5V, i turned the clock down (due to running with an i5), and made the timings 7-7-7-20-1. I have since overclocked the CPU to 3.8 (20 x 190BLCK). the RAM now runs at 1520MHz, luckily enough I didn't have to touch the VID nor the DIMM voltage (well not until now :sarcastic:  )

well thanks for all your responses. RAM definitely is alot more trouble than the installation process suggests, eh?

i will update if anything goes awry again!
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 17, 2010 12:24:54 AM

vincilicious said:
well thanks for all your responses. RAM definitely is alot more trouble than the installation process suggests, eh?


I really wish they would put a little sticker or an insert in to the package with RAM that says "Notice: This RAM takes more than the standard 1.5V; you have to set it yourself in the BIOS" and "Note: If you have all four slots filled, you may need to add a tiny bit of extra voltage." Those two things are probably responsible for 90% of the random freezing and crashing that people get, and until you've been through it once, it's not an obvious fix and you will drive yourself NUTS trying to figure it out.
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October 18, 2010 5:07:09 AM

capt_taco said:
I really wish they would put a little sticker or an insert in to the package with RAM that says "Notice: This RAM takes more than the standard 1.5V; you have to set it yourself in the BIOS" and "Note: If you have all four slots filled, you may need to add a tiny bit of extra voltage." Those two things are probably responsible for 90% of the random freezing and crashing that people get, and until you've been through it once, it's not an obvious fix and you will drive yourself NUTS trying to figure it out.


I hear ya. I wonder why companies dont? It would save them alot of trouble with their customer service / RMA / quality assurance departments. Not to mention words of wisdom such as these make the world a better place.

I wouldn't be surprised if tech-induced rage became a driving hazard one of these days...

NOTE: My BIOs would not let me increment 0.02V for RAM (even for manual input). So I put it up the closest it could which is 1.56V. Hopefully my RAM doesn't break!
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October 25, 2010 2:03:03 AM

Best answer selected by vincilicious.
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February 23, 2012 1:29:46 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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