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Really difficult to pinpoint problem

Last response: in Systems
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December 4, 2010 12:52:56 PM

Ok i think i have tried anything i can possibly do to fix this problem and it doesnt go away so bare with me.
PSU : ARCTIC 500W 2x +12v 20A.
M/B : Gigabyte m52l-s3p
CPU: Athlon X3 440
RAM: Kingston 2gb DDR2 800MHz
Hard Drive : 2x SATA WD 2500JS
GPU: Gainward Ati 4850 512mb
Case : Thermaltake Armor
Monitor: Philips 223E
OS: Windows 7 32bit Pro

One day as i boot the pc and suddenly notice some artifacts( in the form of horizontal lines) on the desktop. I restart the pc they go away. So i fire up Battlefield 2 , and i got alot of artifacts in game with spikes or jagged picture and a weird electrical kind of noise from the speakers(I will leave the noise testing at the end).

So first i think it is temperatures. I check the temperatures they were perfectly normal.
So next i think its my GPU going bad. So i get an Nvidia 250gs, clean format the system, and im still getting the artifacts. I must say on some boots the artifacts dont appear and the system is running stock speeds. So after a couple of reboots and clean formats and different driver versions i go buy a new PSU.

So i bought a Coolermaster GX650W +12V 52A. Clean format again, again the same problems.
Next is the ram. I run Memtest for over a night with no errors what so ever. I even give some more power to the ram(1.9V) just to be sure.

I started then banging my head on the wall, and i realise maybe the board is going bad, so i return the board to the shop and they give me a new MSI NF520T-C35. Again i setup everything with the new PSU and the new GPU and the new MotherBoard, clean format and still the same problems.

After some more banging of my head i decide to buy a new hard drive, so i get a WD Caviar 500gb and resetup the system/clean format. Same thing...

Next i decide to check for ground issues, so i take everything out of the box and put them on a table with plastic antistatic covering, still giving me the same problem.

Also checked with another monitor, both DVI/VGA and different cables as well as with a different power outlet.
As for the sound i checked with headphones and the noise continued and also that noise was with games,movies,mp3 with both the old and the new motherboard

So to sum up.

Temperatures
Voltages
New MB
New GPU
New PSU
New Harddrive
Memory tested fine
Numerous formats with both Windows 7 and XP

and the problem still persists.
If any1 has anything to suggest i would be happy to test it.

Thank you and sorry for the wall of text

Ps the artifacting does not happen on bios, i dont have any crashes or reboots, it only happens on games and futuremark and occp
a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2010 6:37:07 PM

Wow. You've essentially rebuilt your PC, and still no luck.

Assuming you're running at all stock clocks?
December 4, 2010 6:41:27 PM

Yes im running at stock/auto everything.. tried increasing the voltages a notch with no luck...
One thing i just noticed though is that i tried to run Prime95 and instantly fails on the second core. Could it be the cpu is faulty?
Could i do something from the bios?

CPUZ report
Corespeed 3013
Multiplier x15
Bus Speed 200.9
HT Link 803
Memory: 1:2 401MHz 6/6/6/18/24/2T unganged(64bit)
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2010 6:50:30 PM

That's where I was going. It's technically possible that a failing CPU would cause artifacts. BIOS only uses one core, so I guess it is possible that your issue is coming from a faulty core. In your BIOS, you can force single thread operation, I'd give that a go.
December 4, 2010 6:54:38 PM

Unfortunately i havent seen such an option in the bios...
I only get the typical
Cpu FSB freq
CPU Ratio
CPU-NB Ratio
DRAM Configuration
HT Link Control
PCI-E Freq
Voltages
and Spread Spectrum
a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2010 7:09:43 PM

It should be in there somewhere, it won't be in a logical location or make much sense. I'll dig around google and see what I can find.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2010 7:16:11 PM

Hmm, you might be right! Looks like that board doesn't let you do much. If you only get artifacts in games, try to start a game and set processor affinity to just core0. It will use just one core, but could help you determine if that bad core is causing issues.
December 4, 2010 7:27:39 PM

I did the trick with the affinity on both prime and superpi and are both running stable... im now installing a game and 3dmark to check to see and i will report back.
December 4, 2010 7:34:31 PM

Good news on one hand bad news on the other..
Good news is that the culprit is finally identified and everything 3d is running smoothly bad news is that iam one core down...

Any suggestions on how to revive that core or iam stuck with dual core from now on? :p  Thank for the help jack_attack
a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2010 7:42:57 PM

Once they go, they're gone I'm afraid. Not a huge deal, Phenom II's are cheap :) 
December 4, 2010 7:48:51 PM

Thats true but im tapped out atm with all those changes :p  Anyhow, now i need to see how to completly disable the second core from windows, so i dont have to set affinity everytime till i get another chip
a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2010 7:50:29 PM

Control Panel, Device Manager, Processors? I've never tried that, but it might work ;) 
December 4, 2010 8:00:45 PM

nah... cant disable 1 processor... however i found a method of inputing /NUMPROC=2 into the boot.in file in xp so it boots with 2/3 processors... however mine is the second faulty so i dont know if this will work.. will give it a shot
!