Possible hardware failure.

Hi all,

This is my first time using this forum and I hope this is in the right place. Here are my specs:

Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Asus Striker II Extreme
Intel Q9650 @ 3.00 GHz w/ Arctic cooler and mx-2 compound
Coolermaster 1 kW modular PSU
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium
Samsung Spinpoint 750GB

Okay so about two weeks ago, my old HDD failed so I bought a new WD Caviar Black 1TB thinking that was all that was required. However, since I've had the comp running again (on a Samsung Spinpoint now) I have been encountering weird slow down problems in single player games.

They run normally for maybe about an hour or two, it varies, and then eventually they lag and slow down to an absolute crawl - less than 1 frame per second. If it gets left to that stage, all you can do is restart the computer really. Otherwise you'd be looking at fifteen to twenty-five minutes just to get the task manager up and end the process. It is that slow.

I've gotten all the drivers for my gear, even tried older ones. Windows is fully updated running SP2. I've downloaded the latest DirectX 9.0 runtimes, .net frameworks, C++ libraries. I've tried increasing the page file size, making a static page file and letting windows control it. I've tinkered with settings in the nvidia control panel and in-game settings. The games I've tried this with (Mass Effect 1, Far Cry 2, COD: MW3) are all up to date and run through Steam.

I've flashed my bios, replaced my cpu, graphics card and psu with working ones from other comps, disabled my sound card.. I've checked cpu and gpu temps which were respectively: 55C and 85C both on load.

I even ran XP to no avail. Virus scan to no avail. I ran memtest86 which found no errors.

I've been at this everyday for two weeks and after trying each fix above, waiting sometimes four hours for the performance to drop. The only things in terms of hardware that I haven't definitively tested are the RAM and mobo. Unfortunately none of my other comps run DDR3 memory and I don't have any DDR3 compatible mobos floating around either. I tried removing the sticks of ram and placing only one in DIMM1 which gave me terrible instability with both sticks. Freezing right on the desktop sometimes before I could even get into any game. Once I ran them in dual channel again that stopped.

Basically I wondered if you guys think this is more likely to be a RAM problem or a Mobo problem. I know you can't be entirely confident that I've tried everything on the software front, but let's just assume that it is hardware - what would you think?

Thanks for reading, I know it's incoherent and patchy.
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  1. You have tested your RAM if you ran memtest properly. Turn it on and leave it on overnight, make sure it does more than 2 passes. If you get errors it's something with the RAM.

    The fact that your temps aren't increasing after heavy usage and you're getting this degrading performance is a bit baffling. It could also mean that your RAM is the component which is overheating after extended usage. There are possible solutions, cheap RAM cooling fans exist, or you can buy spot fans just to direct some extra air towards the modules.

    Really I'm a bit stumped...

    Hope this helps though.
  2. do a memtest for ram sticks one at the time
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