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Troubleshooting new build's random freezing - What to do next?

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  • New Build
  • Systems
  • Product
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December 12, 2010 3:14:00 AM

Hey all

So I ordered all of the parts for my parents' computer. I got them all installed and it booted up and installed Windows 7 Pro x64 nicely.

Here's the build:
Motherboard: MSI 880GM-E43
Processor: AMD Athlon II x4 640 3.0GHz
Memory: 2xWINTEC AMPX 2GB DDR3 1333
HDD: 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA (1 for use, 1 as backup)
Video Card: MSI R5670-PD512 Radeon HD 5670 512MB 128-bit GDDR5
Case/PSU: APEVIA X-QBOII X-QBOII-NW-BK/500 Black SECC Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
DVD burner: LG 22X DVD Burner with Lightscribe

However, it rarely lasts more than about 20-30 minutes before it completely freezes up.
I've more or less ruled out everything but the CPU and Motherboard and
Memory-I ran memtest86+ 64-bit for about 24 hours - no errors, and the system freezes up with either stick in individually
HDDs - I ran some disk checks, along with looking at the SMART test results, no errors there, a few items in the pre-fail stage. Booted off of Hiren's Boot CD, still froze up, and since that doesn't depend on the Hard Drives, it rules them out
Video Card-Pulled out the video card, same freeze-ups

Prime95 test ran for a few hours without error
The freezes happen quite randomly, sometimes when the computer is logging in, some times while browsing the internet using either IE or FF. The only real connection between most of them is that most (not all) happen after some type of user interaction. External peripherals can be ruled out since the only things attached to the computer right now are a power cable and an ethernet cable (the latest bit of testing I have been using RDC).

More about : troubleshooting build random freezing

December 13, 2010 4:30:59 PM

So I removed everything but one hard drive, the RAM, and the CPU. Still had random freezes. So I went into BIOS and adjusted a bunch of settings (Disable Cool n Quite (yes that's how they spell quiet...), adjusted memory timings, underclocked the CPU, etc). It lasted through about 12 hours of run-time including about 2 hours of user interaction. Now I just have to go through and undo everything one step at a time to figure out where the problem is...
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December 13, 2010 4:36:36 PM

Ussually these problems lie with the ram. When I had a similar problem it instantly froze when I ran prime95 with ALL ram filled(you should be able too configure this in the beginning).

Your problem is probably a to high clocked ram stick. especially seeing as that brand isn't too reliable.
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December 13, 2010 7:28:32 PM

Somebody_007 said:
Ussually these problems lie with the ram. When I had a similar problem it instantly froze when I ran prime95 with ALL ram filled(you should be able too configure this in the beginning).

Your problem is probably a to high clocked ram stick. especially seeing as that brand isn't too reliable.


I'm running a prime95 with all but about 10MB of RAM filled (If you fill ALL of your RAM, your computer will almost certainly freeze or at least slow down to the point of unusability thanks to thrashing). It ran for about an hour before I had to leave for work, we'll see if it's still going strong when I get back

It also appears that there might be some issue with the drivers for the graphics card in addition to the other problems. After the tweaks that allowed it to work for an extended period of time, I shut it down, put the video card back in, and booted it back up. The driver it said it installed was the "Radeon HD 5600 Series" driver. After about 2 minutes, the system froze. Reboot into safe mode, change the driver to the standard VGA driver, and no more freezes.

Quite honestly I was a bit iffy about getting this RAM but it was cheap and out of the 45 reviews (90 sticks), 1 stick was DOA, and generally the people with something negative to say tend to say it a bit more often than the people who have something positive to say...
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December 16, 2010 12:27:44 PM

All right. I've finally got the system completely stable. After the steps listed above, I added parts one-by-one to the computer until I had it completely re-assembled. the only part that caused a problem was the video card, as said above. The setting in BIOS which caused the freeze-ups was the 1T/2T Memory Timing setting. As the real-world performance hit is relatively low (2-3%, according to this (relatively old) OC.net forum post) for changing this setting, I'm perfectly happy leaving it like this.

The video card still doesn't work, however, and I plan on testing it on my parents 'old' computer when I get home. I've already gotten the RMA, but I figured that I might as well be extra-sure that the problem does in fact lie with the compatibility of my build and the video card. (the only 2 desktops that I have access to have AGP slots, not PCIEx16)

So, long story short if you build a computer and it doesn't work:
1> Check all connections
2> Either remove all parts except CPU and Memory and a hard drive or try just removing the likely problem parts.
3> If the computer works, you can then add the parts one-by-one until you figure out which part is causing the problems
4> If the computer doesn't work, you can test each stick of RAM individually and test with a known good stick
5> If the computer still doesn't play nice with your RAM, go into BIOS, enter the timings individually, switch from 1T to 2T, and possibly disable cool 'n quiet and other similar technologies
6> If it still doesn't work, you might need to RMA something at this point
7> If it works, undo the BIOS changes 1 by 1 until you find out which one(s) are crucial
8> Now do step 3 if you haven't already done so
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