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An Intresting Yet Sad Story. Any Ideas Please?

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March 11, 2011 9:12:15 PM

Hi there. I'd keep the intro and cut to the point.


System #1
Built 2008 fall:

LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL LC8850 V2.2 (850W)
ASUS P5E64-WS EVO (Intel X48 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0802 (2009/JAN/04)
Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz)
2x 2GB Kingmax DDR3 SDRAM 1333 MHz
ATI 4870 X2
Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro (left from a previous system)
Compaq 21" Trinitron CRT
Seagate Barracuda 500GB
Samsung Spinpoint 640GB
Vista Ultimate SP1 x64 / XP Pro SP3

Mainly used for gaming. Basicly ever since purchase there has been problems with it. Significantly less frequently in the begining, with time it became worse. CTDs, BSODs, artifacting, random reboots, ingame freezes, black flickering screen, see the pics and taken videos below. Main suspect was the VGA, and in the end since it was unable to pass its own test in CCC, the retailer its been purchased at replaced it for a 5970 (with add money). This took place 2010 fall. It hasnt been in the box for long and it crashed as if it was still the 4870. This 5970 passes the CCC test (yet). The box behaved basicly the same from this point on. See pics and vids for similarities / differences.

(Audigy 2 was replaced by a SB X-Fi Titanium card 2009 december (due to being outdated, not because any specific problems with it))



System #2 (current one)
2010 december, new system is built around the 5970

The PSU is the the same item as above
ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0405 (2010/OCT/04)
Intel i7 930 (2.80GHz) + Scythe Mugen 2
3x 2GB Corsair DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
SB X-Fi Titanium (from Sys #1)
WD Caviar Black 500GB
WD Caviar Black 1000GB
IBM 21" Trinitron CRT
Win7 Ultimate x64 / XP Pro SP3

...And the problem presists. Again, pics and vids below for comparison between the systems.

There were no overclockings on this cpu/ram yet. The VGA have been underclocked once for a brief period of time to see if games react to this change as part of troubleshooting. They do react (see 'resolution change' issue below).

The PSU been tested with a multimeter in this current setup and showed supprisingly good readings. All 24 cabels of the ATX mobo / 8pin mobo connector, and PCI-E connectors were tested (even the molexes) and it showed no defects, it gave 12 / 5 / 3 volts everywhere correctly. About 5 tenths more or less.

Tools that were used for troubleshooting:
Prime 95
MemTest86+ v4.10
Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool
MemScope 1.10
ATI Tool
Video Card Stability Test
WD HDD Diagnostics

Ran overnight or more like over day and night, no flaws...

Some temperatures while browsing net and running winamp (in celsius degrees):
CPU: 36 (fan at ~700rpm (60%))
GPU: 53 (fan at 1300rpm (30%))
HDDs: 31

Games that ran (and were failing) on either this or the previous sys include but are not limited to titles like:
Alien vs Predator (2010)
Crysis
Far Cry 2
Borderlands
GTA4
Unreal Tournament 3
The Witcher
STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl
NFS Pro Street
Doom 3
Half Life 2
GTA San Andreas
Halo (2003)
Return To Castle Wolfenstein

Different engines, different DX versions, and games as old as 10 years.

There currently is a phenomena present where games "dont react" to resolution change. As in frame rate is lets say 30-40 in said game in a certain area at 1920x1440 and if its changed to 640x480, FPS stays in that margin. Also if the camera is pointed on a particular static surface of a game (a wall or the ground) and is not moved, the FPS is constantly - say - 80 at 1920x1440 reso, change it to 640x480 and its exactly 80 regardless. Using different third party FPS measuring tools or the built in measuring of a game, its the same theres no misstaking.

Games do react to changes in graphics quality (to some extent) like setting textures or shadows high/low quality.

Also games tend to run at laughable frame rates. SplinterCell Conviction wont go above ~40FPS in most areas (and remember it wont increase even if played at 640x480). Where that ~40FPS is more like ~30 in Borderlands around the DLC4 areas of the game (quite sad).

Talk about Borderlands. In that game (so far) while playing at 30FPS, there is quite noticable tearing as well. Which occurs when the game is runing at much higher FPS than the refresh rate of the display if im correct, and should be resolved by turning on VSync. It is not in this case.

Another issue is that in some games the refresh rate of the display changes to 60Hz from the normal 85Hz at 1600x1200 resolution which is used in both windows and all games (1920x1440 was used only for testing as that is the highest possible). It is noticable because 1: the screen is flickering / 'vibrating' in a way that is quite unmisstakablely exclusive to running a CRT monitor at low refresh rate (in lack of lingual knowledge to describe more precisely) 2: if VSync is turned on, FPS tops at exactly 60. Also this was the case with 2 other monitors (both CRT (no test was undertaken with LCD display so far)). CCC refresh rate override wont do squat either. This issue is appearently not present in games where there is an option to set the refresh rate manualy (so far).

And then one more thing related. Here is another system:
Enermax EG465P-VE (460 Watt)
Gigabyte GA-8I955X Pro (Intel i955x Chipset)
Latest BIOS version F4 (2005/APR/28)
Intel P4 551 (Prescott (3400MHz))
2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 SDRAM
ATI 3870
Either display from the 2 above
Samsung Spinpoint 160GB
XP Pro SP3

No extensive testing were going on on this one, but listen to this one aspect. Fresh XP install on it, latest drivers and DX. Doom 3 ran on it and exhibited both the 'resolution change' and 'refresh rate' issues mentioned above. Two Worlds ran on it, that one "only" showed lack of reaction to reso change. True enough this ATI 3870 was quite sick in the past too. Showed massive artifacting. In game the image was 'fallin apart' so to speak. Plus the bios of the mobo is appearently not flashable to a new version... I cant provide anything else on this box. Thats about confessions but still, this is a mystery (and misery) that 3 different systems are spitting fundamentally the same crap in people's faces.


Some thoughts about System #2. Needless to say OSes have been reinstalled several times, no changes failing-wise. Most always the latest drivers are used on the box. However its all the same with drivers from the CDs/DVDs coming with the hardware component boundles.

The HDDs are flawless according to WD Diagnostics, nevertheless the system disk has been zeroed out once and a fresh Win7 install were issued onto it (the other disk been removed beforehand). With literaly only the latest mobo / VGA drivers on it (put from a dvd). No win updates were done. The box wasnt connected to the internet while undertaking this scenario. The sound card was removed from the PCI-E slot durring this. Also changed the peripherials to simple corded USB mouse and keyboard (hell..). No other devices were connected to the box durring this. Devil May Cry 4 was used to test if the problem presisted. It didnt react to resolution change (the refresh rate issue is not present in this game anyway) and even produced a black flickering screen after a while.

VPU recover / "Ati driver stoped and recovered" occured durring watching a film in windows and editing videos in Sony Vegas. Its not regular.



So here are the pics and vids of certain occurances:

System #1

Vid taken durring Far Cry 2.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b5Ur_sWe4k

A part of the same vid played in BS Player from windows.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_w2DB_dS_Y

The infamous Flickering Black Screen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57tXVieXm8s

NFSS / GTA4 / AssaCreed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLIlvbae4Jo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBnAmtC9Oro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEtLe1H572Q

This one shows the CCC test (in a new way..).
http://img600.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash09.jpg/

http://img46.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash08.jpg/
http://img651.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash07.jpg/
http://img62.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash06.jpg/
http://img833.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash04.jpg/
http://img854.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash03.jpg/
http://img848.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash02.jpg/
http://img683.imageshack.us/i/shift04.jpg/
http://img69.imageshack.us/i/shift03.jpg/
http://img16.imageshack.us/i/shift02.jpg/


System #1 with 5970 in it instead of 4870 x2

No comment on these, let them speak.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps5Zag6_-qs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3rXd67h18g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRmIU3oH4sY
http://img233.imageshack.us/i/bsod05.jpg/
http://img20.imageshack.us/i/bsod04.jpg/
http://img9.imageshack.us/i/bsod03.jpg/
http://img849.imageshack.us/i/bsod02.jpg/
http://img845.imageshack.us/i/bsod01.jpg/
http://img806.imageshack.us/i/crash04.jpg/
http://img15.imageshack.us/i/crash03.jpg/
http://img228.imageshack.us/i/crash02.jpg/
http://img851.imageshack.us/i/shiftb.jpg/
http://img688.imageshack.us/i/shiftam.jpg/
http://img849.imageshack.us/i/avpq.jpg/


System #2

http://img863.imageshack.us/i/reliabilitymonitor02.jpg/
http://img638.imageshack.us/i/reliabilitymonitor01.jpg/
http://img863.imageshack.us/i/eventviewer.jpg/
http://img855.imageshack.us/i/atikmpag.jpg/
http://img638.imageshack.us/i/ati2dvag.jpg/


Wish I could provide more info on this shyt...



Its almost certain that not all relevant things have been dissected here. Point out any short-comings at any area, do ask questions, and tell your opinion (let alone any ideas regarding a potential resolution). I may post an edit if i gather a couple of thoughts that come about my mind worth discussing.

Also, please tell where else would it be a good move to post this if you have any site in mind.



Better luck with your systems
Xandrino
March 11, 2011 9:44:37 PM

Please try another power supply. There is no way you can properly test it with just a multimeter. You could have some other problem like AC noise or an intermittent over or under voltage problem which would not show up with a simple DC voltage test.

Whenever I experience problems like yours I first test the memory and then swap the power supply.

Good luck!
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
March 11, 2011 10:07:17 PM

I suspect a power problem.
Your psu might have a defect; it does happen, even to the best .

A quality psu can correct for some power issues from the source, which may very well be the genesis of your problems.
My short list of quality units would include Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, PC P&C, and XFX. There are others.

Also, you might try running through a good ups. Some designs use the wall power to keep the battery charged, and the ups runs normally from the battery.
I don't know if this approach is necessary, as most quality units will condition the power anyway.
APC is a good brand.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2011 1:13:38 PM

I agree its most likely a bad PSU.
recommend a Corsair 650W or bigger HX, TX, or Professional series, stay away from the builder series.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2011 1:54:26 PM

what brand is your psu?
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2011 2:57:58 PM

obsidian86 said:
what brand is your psu?



at the top of his post it says:

LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL LC8850 V2.2 (850W)

and this looks to be the only carry over component in each of the builds
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2011 3:13:40 PM

jerreddredd said:
at the top of his post it says:

LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL LC8850 V2.2 (850W)

and this looks to be the only carry over component in each of the builds



its a 725 watt psu 850 is peak value not continues value

3 pci-e cables ?? [:isamuelson]
a b B Homebuilt system
March 12, 2011 5:44:55 PM

I think I read that you are using the drivers off the cd/dvd that comes with the hardware. if this is true you need to download the latest drivers before replacing the PSU. especially for the for ATI cards.

I'm pretty sure the PSU is just failing to hold the load the GPU.

On your last system it could be drivers or the PSU.


or like someone said try an ups to condition the ac power coming in. it could be line noise.
March 12, 2011 6:45:49 PM

Aight, thanks for the replies. Will sort a new PSU / UPS, or try to borrow one for starters to see if it helps.

The name of PSU brand is "LC Power". Yes it has 3 PCI-E connectors (8 / 6+2 pin).

Quote:
PhilFrisbie:
You could have some other problem like AC noise or an intermittent over or under voltage problem which would not show up with a simple DC voltage test.


What causes noise in the current, how to ID it / come about it (if at all possible without an expert)? If you have any info in this area please say a few words.

If the PSU gives higher/lower voltage for a short period of time, does that mean then that the PSU is defected or it could very well be a missbehaving AC on this one too?

Quote:
geofelt:
A quality psu can correct for some power issues from the source, which may very well be the genesis of your problems.


The idea sounds similar to what Phil says. I understand a good psu may correct the bad AC flow, but what would you do if you had to "correct" the AC without the help of the PSU?

Quote:
jerreddredd:
I think I read that you are using the drivers off the cd/dvd that comes with the hardware.


Im always using the latest drivers. I wrote that I 'even' tried the ones that came with the hardware as troubleshooting (everything was the same with those too).

Quote:
jerreddredd:
I'm pretty sure the PSU is just failing to hold the load the GPU.


What do you think the reason for this to be? I could guess too but I dont want to place the answare in your hands.

Quote:
jerreddredd:
or like someone said try an ups to condition the ac power coming in. it could be line noise.


Would you say that I shouldn't count on a nonUPS power supply correcting the AC issue (if thats the case)?

Should the PSU/UPS be unable to deal with it (or just for the sake of curiousity), do you have any idea what to do with current noise?


Thanks for the comments again.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2011 2:03:31 PM



Quote:
jerreddredd:
I think I read that you are using the drivers off the cd/dvd that comes with the hardware.


Quote:
Xandrino:
Im always using the latest drivers. I wrote that I 'even' tried the ones that came with the hardware as troubleshooting (everything was the same with those too).


Ok, thanks for clearing that up.

Quote:
jerreddredd:
I'm pretty sure the PSU is just failing to hold the load the GPU.


Quote:
Xandrino:
What do you think the reason for this to be? I could guess too but I dont want to place the answare in your hands.


most likely a P/N Junction breaking down on one of the Power Transistors. The issue could also be cause by a leaking or blown Capacitor, this would cause a ripple on the DC output in this case +12V.

Quote:
jerreddredd:
or like someone said try an ups to condition the ac power coming in. it could be line noise.


Quote:
Xandrino:
Would you say that I shouldn't count on a nonUPS power supply correcting the AC issue (if thats the case)?

A UPS should clean up the AC.

I always run my computer's PSU thru an UPS. APC is a great brand, look for a 1200-1500 VA on on sale for ~$100. The Batteries should last 3-5 years maybe more (I'm on the 5th year on mine). I run all my electronics that I value thru UPS's LED TV, DVR etc...

Quote:
Xandrino:
Should the PSU/UPS be unable to deal with it (or just for the sake of curiousity), do you have any idea what to do with current noise?


A good UPS should totally condition the power out of the "Battey Backed Up" outlets, the bypass ones just run through the filters. If its not enough, google 'ac line noise filter conditioner' and should see some hits. APC makes a good one used for audio equipment. you might have to narrow the search by adding the voltage to the search 110v or 220v.

this one might be a little over kill 2400W, but it will show you what I am talking about.


TRY A GOOD UPS FIRST you should have one to protect your system anyway.
after that buy a new PSU. I would get a new one any way the one you have has weak 12V rails compared to medium to high end GPU's on the market today.

March 14, 2011 12:10:36 AM

Quote:
jerreddredd:
most likely a P/N Junction breaking down on one of the Power Transistors. The issue could also be cause by a leaking or blown Capacitor, this would cause a ripple on the DC output in this case +12V.


Solid description. Quite the type of stuff one could dive in for as long as that much time he wish he had.

Quote:
jerreddredd:
this one might be a little over kill 2400W, but it will show you what I am talking about.
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?s...]


Sophisticated piece of equipment! Its a last resort though, hope it wouldnt come down to this. Anyway..


Thanks for the info / advice regarding the UPS, perhaps this really is pointing me to where the resolution lies.

a b B Homebuilt system
March 14, 2011 12:41:03 AM

Being that the PSU is the only component carried over, and that it has the potential to affect all systems, it's the most likely culprit.

Also with what you're describing it sounds like a power issue. The 5970 is unable to draw enough power, or stable power, and it is most likely downclocking. This could also be why the 4870x2 failed the CCC test.
March 15, 2011 11:47:38 PM

@cmcghee358
Ye I tend to agree that the PSU at least has something to with it esspecially that it turns out it wasnt so hot even anew from what I read recently.

Power issue been poping up on other forums too. What is your opinion on dealing with it?

Yes 'downclocking' is descriptive. Though its also completly unresponsive to resolution change.

The 4870 was taken back by the retailer due to being found as defected so I guess it didnt fail that test only in my hands. However it could be a 'bad' AC that demaged it in the first place. Which is pretty grim to think about...
a b B Homebuilt system
March 16, 2011 2:50:38 AM

If the resolution is lowered, making it less demanding on the card, but the card still lacks to power to perform, then regardless of the resolution the card will falter.

And yes, the 4870 very well could've been affected by the PSU.

I recommend a decent but inexpensive PSU. Like the XFX 650W or Corsair CX series.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 16, 2011 3:54:07 AM

Frankly I would stop running it until I had a new non-explody-potentially-damaging PSU in it.

After that I'd buy a UPS just to have it. I didn't have one on my computer for a long time, but when I finally had a bunch of extra cash I dropped $200 on a good one. It can run my entire setup (comp, monitor, speakers) for about 30 minutes with no power. Obviously most power outages don't last that long, so I never have a problem with it shutting off anymore. (not that it was excessively common, but still)
a b B Homebuilt system
March 16, 2011 4:53:26 AM

Let us know when you replace the PSU and if it solved the issue.

Thanks
March 16, 2011 8:07:13 PM

Quote:
cmcghee358
I recommend a decent but inexpensive PSU. Like the XFX 650W or Corsair CX series.


Mhm. Ive looked at a good bit of possibilities, Ive got one contender so far without major negative points according to reputable reviewers. That be Corsair's TX850. Everything is solid on it and it aint 'covered in gold' to pay extra for. Just throwin up to expose it to some more thoughts perhaps. ...If I say its got noise of 90mV on the 12v rail under worst conditions, whats your opinion? Anyone.

Quote:

False_Dmitry_
Frankly I would stop running it until I had a new non-explody-potentially-damaging PSU in it.


You got a point ye. Writing from laptop atm, though I guess parts in the box had time galore to get damaged.


Quote:
jerreddredd
Let us know when you replace the PSU and if it solved the issue.


Will do.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 5:12:29 AM

The TX850 is a good PSU, I didn't know your budget so recommended good ones that were cheaper. But I think newegg is having some good deals on PSUs atm.
April 22, 2011 7:33:11 PM


So! Things happen when they do now dont they?

A test was conducted with a different AC power source (bout 200 kilometers away from previous one), plus this time a 24' LCD display is in place of the CRTs just in case. No change. System is trippin, wouldnt react to resolution change.

The PSU been finaly sacked as well. New one is a Corsair TX850 V2. Which is nice but guess what! Yep, the heap of shhh... is still on the carpet. Still no change, problems presist.

For now Mobo, CPU, RAM, VGA been returned for troubleshooting. Wish I could at least belive they'll be back cured.
!