Computer locks up at random times.

This problem has been existing for about a year but seems to be getting more frequent lately (3-5 times a day). The system simply freezes. Picture freezes, no sound, no input response, nadda. Only option is a hard reset.

I don't think it's a heat issue because there is no telling when it will do it. It happens often while gaming, but also happens often while surfing the web or typing in word, and happens at least a couple times a week in middle of night when the computer isn't being touched or used apart from utorrent running.

Furthermore, I can't duplicate the problem to save my life. I can literally play battlefield with prime 95 running in the background and sure it's choppy, but no freeze!

I have almost no doubt it's hardware related because the problem existed on a previous WinXP build and persisted after a complete format and fresh install of Win7 64bit.

I've checked the Mobo for leaking / bulging caps and didn't see any. I'm _hoping_ it's a PSU issue because that would be pretty simple and easy to replace (and cheap -- can't afford a new build for at least another year or so). It's my understanding that failing PSUs would cause shutdowns, restarts, and blue screens, not lockups, though? It also doesn't make sense to me that a PSU would cause it to do this when the computer is not being touched?

The PSU is def. stressed and I know I'm pushing it (don't laugh) it's a five year old Enermax 535w. I imagine this is laughably tiny for what I'm running on it. It was plenty when I built this rig with an e6850 and single 8800 gts, though.

Would insufficient power cause these symptoms? Again, I thought insufficient power would cause shutdowns and blue screens, not lock ups. Also, is the fact that it freezes in middle of the night when no one is touching it consistent with a PSU issue? I guess that doesn't make sense to me.

Thanks peeps!!

Don't know why my image isn't show up. HWMON screen:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/524381_441207332562967_436554202_n.jpg


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  1. LiquidArrogance said:
    Would insufficient power cause these symptoms?

    You say your computer locks up even when idle and can also work fine while gaiming with Prime95. If the PSU was having a hard time, it would most likely be at full load since idle should be well within the PSU's comfort zone even with degraded capacitors. You might want to check up on the PSU's caps just in case.

    You are right about PSU problems usually causing shutdowns/restarts. The reason for it is that inadequate aging/leaking output caps or slow line/load regulation response cause voltage undershoots/overshoots that trigger the PSU's under/over-voltage protections. Since boards/devices have their own board-level decoupling capacitors, most sensitive components have their own point-of-load (PoL) voltage regulators and decoupling capacitors for local 0.9-1.8V with associated under/over-voltage lock-outs, the noise would need slip between the PoL regulators' and the bulk PSU's protections to cause subtle problems.

    If you happen to have a spare PSU, you can try a swap-out. If you don't, I would start with memtest86 overnight.
  2. No spare PSU unfortunately. I'll give memtest a shot. I _think_ I've done an overnight run with it before to see if RAM was the problem and it was fine. I know for a fact that I let it go for a solid four hours or so with no problems. Will report back.

    Thanks again for the response.
  3. Another side-reason for suggesting memtest86 is if your computer still locks up with no OS loaded, at least you know it isn't an OS/driver problem or a driver locking up due to a flaky device.

    HDDs going bad can also cause lock-ups but both BIOSes and newer Windows versions usually start bugging people when SMART reports problems so if you didn't see anything, that's probably not it either but still worth checking.
  4. LiquidArrogance said:
    This problem has been existing for about a year but seems to be getting more frequent lately (3-5 times a day). The system simply freezes. Picture freezes, no sound, no input response, nadda. Only option is a hard reset.

    I don't think it's a heat issue because there is no telling when it will do it. It happens often while gaming, but also happens often while surfing the web or typing in word, and happens at least a couple times a week in middle of night when the computer isn't being touched or used apart from utorrent running.

    Furthermore, I can't duplicate the problem to save my life. I can literally play battlefield with prime 95 running in the background and sure it's choppy, but no freeze!

    I have almost no doubt it's hardware related because the problem existed on a previous WinXP build and persisted after a complete format and fresh install of Win7 64bit.

    I've checked the Mobo for leaking / bulging caps and didn't see any. I'm _hoping_ it's a PSU issue because that would be pretty simple and easy to replace (and cheap -- can't afford a new build for at least another year or so). It's my understanding that failing PSUs would cause shutdowns, restarts, and blue screens, not lockups, though? It also doesn't make sense to me that a PSU would cause it to do this when the computer is not being touched?

    The PSU is def. stressed and I know I'm pushing it (don't laugh) it's a five year old Enermax 535w. I imagine this is laughably tiny for what I'm running on it. It was plenty when I built this rig with an e6850 and single 8800 gts, though.

    Would insufficient power cause these symptoms? Again, I thought insufficient power would cause shutdowns and blue screens, not lock ups. Also, is the fact that it freezes in middle of the night when no one is touching it consistent with a PSU issue? I guess that doesn't make sense to me.

    Thanks peeps!!

    Don't know why my image isn't show up. HWMON screen:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/524381_441207332562967_436554202_n.jpg




    Your issues are the exact same ones I am getting with my new build.

    Computer freezes at random times and my only choice is a hard reset. I swapped out my PSU with another one and it still is freezing. Ran different Graphics card, RAM and HDD's and still the same issue.

    I did find the computer was freezing most of the time when Nvidia's PhyX got involved the PC froze so I changed the configuration so the CPU would handle PhyX... it only prolonged the freezing. It all points towards the MB but I don't want to buy a new one to find the freezing still happens

    I have done complete reinstalls of drivers and Windows.

    Let me know if you discover anything!
  5. I seem to have found my solution from the folks over at overclockers.com!

    I had no overclock and all my voltages set to auto. Apparently my board just wasn't feeding my CPU enough power to make it happy.

    Try this:

    Identify your CPU's VID. I used CoreTemp for this.

    Now put the CPU under full load (I used Prime 95) and see what your actual Core Voltage reports as under load (I used CPU-Z to monitor this).

    If your reported Core Voltage under load is lower than your VID, you may have the problem I had...

    If so, go into BIOS and play with your voltage settings until you get your Core Voltage while running Prime 95 as close to your VID as possible. The guys at overclockers.com recommended I play with Vcore, LLC. amd Vdroop settings.

    My mobo is pretty old so my only option in BIOs was vcore. I had to bump it all the way up to 1.46250 to get my Core Voltage in the right range.

    Since making the change I've had no lock ups what-so-ever. Hoping and praying it's gone for good!!

    JUST REMEMBERED: While in the BIOS I also enabled S.M.A.R.T. which I previously had disabled. No idea if this setting is what actually fixed my problem but you might give a shot first since it is far less time consuming than the above process . . . lol.

    Best wishes. Hope this works for you. Let me know!
  6. LiquidArrogance said:
    JUST REMEMBERED: While in the BIOS I also enabled S.M.A.R.T. which I previously had disabled. No idea if this setting is what actually fixed my problem but you might give a shot first since it is far less time consuming than the above process . . . lol.

    SMART has nothing to do with the CPU, it stands for "Self-Monitoring And Reporting Technology" which is used by HDDs to report potential impending drive failures to give people more chances to backup their data before a drive fails completely.
  7. LiquidArrogance said:
    I seem to have found my solution from the folks over at overclockers.com!

    I had no overclock and all my voltages set to auto. Apparently my board just wasn't feeding my CPU enough power to make it happy.

    Try this:

    Identify your CPU's VID. I used CoreTemp for this.

    Now put the CPU under full load (I used Prime 95) and see what your actual Core Voltage reports as under load (I used CPU-Z to monitor this).

    If your reported Core Voltage under load is lower than your VID, you may have the problem I had...

    If so, go into BIOS and play with your voltage settings until you get your Core Voltage while running Prime 95 as close to your VID as possible. The guys at overclockers.com recommended I play with Vcore, LLC. amd Vdroop settings.

    My mobo is pretty old so my only option in BIOs was vcore. I had to bump it all the way up to 1.46250 to get my Core Voltage in the right range.

    Since making the change I've had no lock ups what-so-ever. Hoping and praying it's gone for good!!

    JUST REMEMBERED: While in the BIOS I also enabled S.M.A.R.T. which I previously had disabled. No idea if this setting is what actually fixed my problem but you might give a shot first since it is far less time consuming than the above process . . . lol.

    Best wishes. Hope this works for you. Let me know!


    Thanks a lot for your reply!

    I did discover my Core Voltage was below my Core VID when under 100% load so I did as you said to get it at the right range.

    I'll put the computer through some stress tests, play some Bf3 and use 3ds Max to see how we go.

    I'll Report back if tomorrow for results!
  8. After tweaking around with my Vcore for hours to try and find the right amount of voltage I had no luck.

    Computer locked up at random times and even when left idle it still locked up.

    Anything else you can recommend or even just point me in the right direction?

    Cheers!
  9. Unfortunately that's all I tried and it worked for me :-( Wish I could help . . . I know how maddening it is.
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