Random Blue Screens of Death

I built my system about a year ago and around January starting having issues. I got some new ram for the holidays and after installing it I started having issues. Even after removing the ram, the issues would persist. The odd thing is that my computer will be fine for a month or so and then it will start having issues. I RMA'd my mobo, and they tested it and said it was fine. I'm not convinced of this because often it will not recognize all 4 cores of my CPU when posting, occasionally not be able to read my CPU temp (using core temp) and I no longer have access to the overclocker utility on my desktop. Sometimes I will hear the post beep, then the screen is black with a cursor in the upper left. Also, occsionally I will get a message after post that says overclock failed and it will ask if I want to run setup (F1) or run defaults (F2).

The BSOD I get are bugcode usb driver and system service exception. When my computer crashes the screen freezes in a crazy color pattern before the BSOD.

I think it is a hardware issue as I have formatted/reinstalled Win 7 multiple times to no avail. I guess my question is which component is the likely suspect. MOBO? RAM? CPU? Video card? PSU? At this point I think I just need to replace whatever is causing this issue. My components are below. Thanks in advance.

RAM- 2 gigs installed
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314)

MOBO- returned and tested by ASUS- running BIOS 1005
ASUS M4A87TD EVO AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131647)

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103808)

-coretmep whille writing this is 36C Freq#2 is around 30-40% load, Freq#3 around 10-20, #1-2 around 0-5%

OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341018)

Video Card
XFX HD585XZAFC Radeon HD 5850 Video Card - 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual DVI, Display Port, HDMI
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  1. It sounds like you have a bad PSU to me.

    PSU problems can disguise themselves as problems with any other kind of device and it sounds like there is a good chance of that happening here.

    When you have a complete freeze in a game after X amount of time of playing and the graphics get crazy it is often because heat in the PSU rose to a level where the PSU became unable to handle the strain.

    Cool PSU components deliver maximum power, for every 1c the temperature increases inside the PSU the maximum power it can put out is reduced. As soon as the computer asks for 1w more than the power it can produce it will freeze up.

    Most of the time this happens in games because they work the video card very hard and that means the video card is pulling maximum power and the heat coming off the video card is very high. Sometimes that additional heat makes it into PSUs and "tag teams" the PSU, doubling the strain.

    Tell me, is your case one of the ones with the PSU on the top?
  2. Thanks Raiddinn.

    MY PSU is on the bottom and sucking in air from outside the case. My case resides in a desk with a cpu housing kinda like this (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Orion-Computer-Desk-With-Hutch-Oak-Black/9854984)

    Any way to tell if it needs to be replaced, or is just overheating? Any suggestions on getting more airflow to cool it down? I have room to put it ontop of my desk.

    My case is a COOLER MASTER HAF 912. I have 2 fans in front putting in, two on top pushing out, and 1 on the back pushing out. I had a fan on the side but it seemd to increase my cpu temp when.

  3. It is weird that a side fan would increase your CPU heat.

    Usually the side fan is the best thing you can do to combat high temperatures. Proven so. If you could only use one case fan you would want it on the side.

    In particular, the side fan loves to blow down onto the motherboard chipset, a thing that gets very little love for people without dispersal CPU fans.

    The dispersal CPU fans ( the ones that blow downwards) do double duty by pushing air sideways over the chipset whereas the heavy duty coolers like the Hyper 212 have all the airflow situated many inches over the top of the chipset which is too far to matter.

    If someone is going to have something like the Hyper 212 or something with water cooling, I would say it is absolutely imperative to have side fans. The more the merrier.

    Indeed I use a basic Intel boxed dispersal fan AND both my side fan slots are occupied. I don't play around with chipset temps. One of the biggest dangers to most massive OCers is from chipset temps, like those on the voltage regulators.

    Anyway, the HAF 912 is great and I suggest it to everybody. As long as you load it up with fans its beautiful in its design and functionality. I don't see any reason to worry about much of anything with that case. It has the back rear perforation and everything. In a desk the feet give enough clearance to allow proper intake through the bottom.

    There should be no need to worry about stuff dripping into a PSU in that case.

    A good idea is to situate the PC as close to the floor as possible without being on the floor. Cold air goes down and hot air rises, so if all the air you intake is basically from floor level your components are going to be maximally frosty at all times.

    The only thing I would be worried about is just not having enough fans or big enough fans. If a slot can hold a 120mm or a 200mm fan you want the 200. It will be quieter and push more air. It would definitely be better to have a 120 mm than a 0mm though, if the 120s are all you happen to have on hand.

    That all being said, OCZ is just not a company that makes me happy in terms of build quality. In fact they recently had to completely pull out of the RAM business because their RAM quality was so horrible that it made Corsair look great. Corsair is already at 5x the failure rates of real quality brands like Kingston and Crucial as it is, so with the fact that OCZ made Corsair look good that really should tell you how bad OCZ is.

    For that matter, OCZ RAM has higher DOA rates on average than any maker of any other part that I am aware of.

    Their PSUs impress me about as much as their RAM does. I would never suggest one of their PSUs to anyone unless cheap modular was the one single requirement that there was.

    OCZ almost never gets the mention from me because "Cheap Modular" is almost always somewhere south of "Doesn't blow up my components" on the priority list.

    If the OCZ one is on the bottom, properly mounted, and all that jazz and there are still problems, it may just need to be replaced. I am not just saying it because OCZ makes me angry in general either.

    There is really very little you can do to test this sort of thing short of replacing your current PSU with a borrowed one of similar capabilities from somebody/somewhere.

    I guess you could mount a thermometer on the back of the case behind the PSU, but you would really not have that much to compare the result to. It would be nice to have the raw result, but the result would be less valuable without comparison results.

    Still, if you saw the fear exhaust was at like 50c or so, you could infer from that that your PSU was feeling a hell of a strain being that it is OCZ and all. Some PSUs I could see handling 50c ok, but not OCZ. Maybe some of the OCZs can, but I wouldn't trust them to.

    Even then, the OCZs might still feel the strain at 40c or even lower, depending on how old they are.

    As I mentioned before, I really think it sounds like PSU to me. I would seriously try to borrow one from somewhere and try it. If the problems go away I would just replace it.

    If you can't manage to source a PSU for free, I would start to think about making a new PSU purchase decision as the next step. The XFX Pro 650w Core is a huge value in the mid range (the same reason I got it) and they usually have a pretty massive rebate (that they do pay, I have 2 XFX PSUs and both got paid no fuss) attached.

    I can't recommend any similar wattage PSU more highly than the XFX Pro 650w Core.

    The lack of modular isn't a huge deal. My favorite thing to do is to zip tie all the extra cords along the case wall up the side of the motherboard and shove the ends into an empty CD Drive bay. Next to no disruption to airflow this way.
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