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Unstable system, narrowed down possibilities to Motherboard or Memory

Last response: in Motherboards
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December 17, 2011 3:56:16 AM

I've been experiencing some issues with my system over the last week or so, the system is about 5 months old. My system has randomly (I can't reliably trigger it) freezing. It'll either drop video output, then freeze a few seconds later (this is what usually happens), or freeze with video output still working (this is less common).

Initially, I assumed it was an issue related to the display driver/GPU, but the problem persisted even after changing drivers, reseating the GPU, and removing the GPU and using the mobo for video output. I then began to think it might be an issue with my core windows system files so I ran a registry clean up, but the problem persisted and while playing around with things I had the computer freeze while in the bios screen before windows was launched multiple times. I tried running memtest86+ but I can't get more than halfway through a pass without the computer freezing. I've swapped the Dimm slots the ram is inserted into and tried running the cpu with either ram in the first dimm and it continues to freeze. I've also tried reseating the CPU. All system temperature is also normal.

At this point, I figured the problem must be the motherboard, so I tried updating the Bios and going back to default settings. The system still continued to freeze. I then looked up the POST beep codes for AMI BIOS and found that all of the beep codes I had been hearing recently (1 beep and 3 beeps) were related to memory.

I have no spare good memory to test the system with (this is my first PC build). Do you think this problem is related to the Mobo or Memory, and what should I do?



AMI BIOS Beep Codes:
http://www.ami.com/support/doc/AMIBIOS8_Checkpoint_and_...

My System:
Motherboard MSI H61M-P21 (B3)
CPU Intel Core i3 2100
GPU Zotac GeForce GTX 460
Memory Patriot 8GB (2X4GB) DDR3-1333
HDD WD 1.5 TB HDD 5400 RPM
PSU Powercolor Gaming 600W Powersupply

Best solution

December 17, 2011 7:42:27 AM

If there is problems with RAM, usually memtest will show them. My rule of thumb is if memtest freezes, check the CPU (this would not rule-out MB). If some memory errors appear, then you can include the RAM. But just freezes every single try is definately from CPU. So my advice:
1. check CPU power connection from PSU (2x2 or 2x4 pin cable, if plugged in MB)
2. try a different PSU (if you can get one without buying would be great, as a PSU filtering issue would already show RAM errors)
If these 2 steps don't eliminate freezings, then the CPU or the MB have problems. Which one is hard to tell.

Regarding the BIOS memory beeps, the BIOs does not now what's wrong. It just tells you that memory initialization has some problems. It does not tell you that RAM is the culprit.
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a c 82 V Motherboard
December 17, 2011 8:28:21 AM

Were you using the VLC player when the Video problems occur?
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December 24, 2011 4:32:54 PM

Quote:
1. check CPU power connection from PSU (2x2 or 2x4 pin cable, if plugged in MB)
2. try a different PSU (if you can get one without buying would be great, as a PSU filtering issue would already show RAM errors)
If these 2 steps don't eliminate freezings, then the CPU or the MB have problems. Which one is hard to tell.


I made sure all the connections to the were secure when I started to suspect that was the problem. I don't have a different PSU to test with, I'd prefer to avoid buying another CPU until I'm 100% sure that's the cause of the issue.

Quote:
Were you using the VLC player when the Video problems occur?


The problems don't seem linked to any piece of software, it's occured on the Bios screen, during windows startup, on the windows login screen, on the desktop, while browsing the web, while watching videos, etc.



I've been reading online about the Motherboard and the Ram. The Mobo doesn't seem to have any widespread problems associated with it. The Ram, on the other hand, apparently can't run stably at it's rated timings (9-9-9-24). I've lowered it's timings to 8-8-8-20 and it's seems to be stable so far, I won't have access to the system for another week or so, but hopefully this solves the problem. I'll report back once I get to spend some more time with the system.
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February 12, 2012 3:45:20 PM

Best answer selected by tailsnake.
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February 12, 2012 3:45:59 PM

Just popping in to update things. The problem turned out to be the motherboard, replaced it and the system was stable again.
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a c 328 V Motherboard
February 12, 2012 3:49:25 PM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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