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Start up / Stability problem

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January 5, 2011 10:28:16 PM

First off, sorry if this is posted in incorrect forum.

Ok, so last night I got out of the shower and turned off my screen saver on my pc, immediately after I got a blue screen that only flashed across the screen for a fraction of a second, so I was unable to read it. After when I tried to restart the pc all I saw on the screen was a blinking _ . After letting it rest for 5 minutes I would get the boot up screen for my motherbaord, but then it would keep reseting and I would see this over and over. With a 20 - 30 minute rest, it would start to load into windows before locking up, and then reseting. So, I opened the pc up and checked all my connections and to make sure everything was plugged in well.

This morning the PC made it into windows before locking up and reseting with a green and white checkered like screen. I was able to get into BIOS this morning and nothing seemed out of place there. My CPU was getting up to 32 degree, but that seems like its perfectly ok. No beep errors. There are 4 phase lights on the motherboard and the top one is red and the one below is red while it does the repeat boot screen.

So far, I am thinking a problem with either the PSU or graphics card. What do you guys think?

By the way, a month and a half ago I upgraded my graphics card, and a month ago I upgraded my CPU, and to top it off my baby was born 2 days ago, so I'm a little stressed out.

Specs:
Gigabyte P45-DS3L
Intel Q9650 @ stock
Powercolor HD 5850 @ stock
4 x 1 gb OCZ DDR2 800mhz memory
500 gb WD hdd
640 gb WD hdd
1 tb WD hdd
1 tb seagate hdd
OCZ Gamexstream 600W PSU
January 5, 2011 10:29:38 PM

OS is windows 7, but I think this is independent of OS.
January 6, 2011 10:21:15 AM

Right now the PC is running longer than it has since it crashed. To get this far I first unplugged all my drives except the boot up drive. That didn't work. After that, I left the drives unplugged and pulled out two sticks of memory. That seems to have bought me some more stability. I think that next I will plug back in the memory, to see if it crashes predictably again. After that I will plug all the drives back in and see if I am still stable.

If it is just the memory I will be relieved. I think no matter what I need to get the PSU tested just in case.

Related resources
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
January 6, 2011 11:08:31 AM

First you need to get it to boot all of the time.

Work systematically through our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...
I mean work through, not just read over it. We spent a lot of time on this. It should find most of the problems.

If not, continue.

I have tested the following beep patterns on Gigabyte, eVGA, and ECS motherboards. Other BIOS' may be different, but they all use a single short beep for a successful POST.

Breadboard - that will help isolate any kind of case problem you might have.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/262730-31-breadboardi...

Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU.

Make sure you plug the CPU power cable in. The system will not boot without it.

I always breadboard a new build. It takes only a few minutes, and you know you are putting good parts in the case once you are finished.

You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU. Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.

If no beeps:
Running fans and drives and motherboard LED's do not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In the absence of a single short beep, they also do not indicate that the system is booting.

At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.

The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.

You can turn on the PSU by completely disconnecting the PSU and using a paperclip or jumper wire to short the green wire to one of the neighboring black wires.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWXgQSokF4&feature=yout...

A way that might be easier is to use the main power plug. Working from the back of the plug where the wires come out, use a bare paperclip to short between the green wire and one of the neighboring black wires. That will do the same thing with an installed PSU. It is also an easy way to bypass a questionable case power switch.

This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.

If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card.

Silence, long single beeps, or series of short beeps indicate a problem with the memory. If you get short beeps verify that the memory is in the appropriate motherboard slots.

Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST.
At this point, if the system doesn't work, it's either the video card or an inadequate PSU. Or rarely - the motherboard's PCIe interface.

Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.
January 6, 2011 11:52:33 AM

Thanks for the reply jsc.

I started simple to trouble shoot. I especially want to put off major hassles since I'm extremely busy (work 6 days a week and my wife just gave birth 2 days ago).

I took out the set of memory sticks, like I said and the problem went away. Put them back in, and same problem occurred. Took them out and plugged back in all drives. No problems. Waited an hour, then I turned off the PC and changed the slots of my memory. Seems to be working as of now.

I would have liked to check for beep codes, but I don't seem to have a case speaker. When I was having the problem, if the computer was rested it would pass post and start loading windows (sometimes load and immediately crash), if not it would loop at bios screen.

Hopefully on Monday I will have some time to take my PSU to be tested. I don't have multimeter, so I can't test it at home to see if the current is stable etc. Also, I can't swap out components, I just sold my old parts, and it's hard enough finding English speaking friends in country side Japan, without having to look for computer savy friends.

Well, hopefully I found the problem.
!