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Freezing in Windows - Motherboard or CPU issue

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May 22, 2012 7:06:43 PM

Hi! I've been having some trouble with my computer lately and was hoping that someone here might have an idea of how to handle it.

A couple of months ago I had my computer repaired at a local shop, who replaced my motherboard and CPU. After that it hasn't been working quite as intended. The computer starts up just fine, but after between 1-20 minutes in Windows 7 it freezes completely. There is no error message, it just locks up and I have to shut it down using the power button on the front. If there is any sound playing at the same time I can hear that looping at a very high frequency (basically just a high pitch noise). The system does not seem to be overheating, temperatures are around 35c according to HWMonitor.

By using components from my friends' computers to test I've been able to determine that it is either the motherboard or CPU causing it. Problem is, the shop that sold me the components has since gone out of business, so I can't go back to them asking for a refund.

Does anybody here on Tom's know of a way to fix my PC that doesn't involve RMA'ing the hardware directly with Foxconn and Intel?

Computer specs:
- MB: Foxconn FlamingBlade GTI
- CPU: Intel i7-920
- Memory: 2x2GB A-DATA DDR3
- PSU: Corsair TX650W
- HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F1 640GB
- Corsair H50 Water cooling
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May 23, 2012 4:00:12 AM

Freezing on the desktop sounds like a bad CPU to me, but a bad motherboard is possible.

There is really nothing you can do to test this if you don't have access to a processor or motherboard to switch out.

Even if you find out what the problem is, it is not at all likely that you can fix it in any meaningful way. Faulty hardware is not usually ever fixed, just replaced.

Maybe if you had a degree in electrical engineering and a good workshop you could do it, but nobody ever really does that.
May 23, 2012 9:26:57 AM

Thank you Raiddinn, that was pretty much what I thought too.

I don't have access to another socket-1366 mb/cpu, so it's hard to further isolate the problem. Guess I have to take it with the manufacturers.
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May 23, 2012 1:04:57 PM

From what i read, it could be that the shop didn't install the CPU cooler correctly and its not cooling the cpu down well enough.
I'm just saying so because it takes some time to lock up. If it was a faulty cpu/motherboard, wouldn't it be random or perhaps not working at all?
May 23, 2012 1:10:41 PM

I've made sure the cooler is seated properly. I don't think that's the issue because all tools report low CPU temperatures and the freezing can take anything from a minute after a (cold) start-up to almost an hour (although usually it happens after around 10 minutes or so).
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May 23, 2012 1:39:29 PM

It could be that some program you have tries to do something it can't do after 10 minutes of you turning it on.

It could also be that the processor or motherboard is bad. Based on the processor test coming back clean I would assume it is the motherboard at this point, even though the result of the test may not be 100% conclusive.

If anything, Foxconn is generally considered to be about the lowest of the low quality sort of company and your motherboard is made by them.

It could also be the PSU failing since PSU problems can disguise themselves as problems with anything else.

It really matters what you are doing when this happens, though. The last few times it locked up, what things were you doing?
May 23, 2012 1:55:01 PM

I've formatted the drive and it's running on a fresh installation of Windows 7 with only a very few programs installed: essential drivers, HWMonitor, Firefox, Microsoft Security Essentials and now also this Intel diagnostic tool.

It seems to often freeze while downloading something or doing installations / updates (not in any particular program), but that's not always the case. A few times the freezes have occurred while idle or nearly idle.

Also note that the computer did freeze once during the actual installation of W7 so I had to do that over. That initially led me to believe it might be a sign that the HDD or RAM were dying but I've swapped those components out with ones that I know to work, and it still froze.

Same thing with the PSU, I tested with a different one yesterday that is known to work but it didn't help.
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May 23, 2012 2:26:50 PM

Is your BIOS at the newest update?

TBH, the problems sound the most like CPU failures at this point, but the motherboard is also certainly on the table.

RAM would sound pretty likely if you hadn't switched it out and had the same problem. The PSU is probably also not the problem if you switched it out and the same problem remains. I wouldn't guess that this was a HD problem, but its good that you ruled it out anyway.

Anyway, all you can really do to test more is to get access to another motherboard or CPU. Either that or talk someone into putting your processor in their (compatible) motherboard and trying it for a few hours.
May 23, 2012 3:20:09 PM

The BIOS is probably not the newest version no, I'll see if updating it makes any difference. Failing that I suppose you're right, I need to find a way to test it on another motherboard!
May 23, 2012 3:37:41 PM

You probably need to rule out any OS/driver issues first. Could you download a LIVE UBUNTU linux cd. Boot up with it and run a few programs that stress your machine. They are included or can be downloaded. If your machine remains stable, then you need to focus on your installed Windows OS and software/drivers.

Goodluck
-Pinky
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May 23, 2012 3:41:39 PM

Just for kicks look in event viewer for any errors in system or application.

If you have any extra thermal compound, remove and replace the old stuff. This rules out a bad connection between the "liquid cooled" heatsink and the processor. Also, clean the heatsink/fan with compressed air. I have an H40 and H50 (2 PC's) and they lock up if the heatsink isnt nice and clean. Clean it monthly.

Give Ubuntu or another Linux a distro a try for a few days. Since you indicated that you have the ability to reinstall windows (you did it recently in the past) you should just install Linux alongside of or over Windows 7. I would expect you to see the same freezing issue. You can definitively rule out OS as the issue if Linux freezes.

It wouldn't hurt to give Foxconn a call too. You won't want to speak with the level one guy. Hardware support level 2 is usually more competent and speaks better English.
May 23, 2012 4:20:35 PM

Thanks all, you've given me many things to try. I'll report back in a while!

By the way, does anyone happen know if Foxconn has a UK support phone number at all? I couldn't seem to find one.
May 26, 2012 10:29:11 PM

I've tried a few different things now. Updated to the newest BIOS and made sure I had all the newest chipset/etc drivers from Foxconn installed, that didn't help.

Because I'm out of compressed air and don't have any extra thermal compound, I haven't been able to do anything with the cooling system.

I did run from a Ubuntu Live USB stick for a couple of hours and no freezes occurred during that time. Not sure how to interpret that, but ran /sfc scannow in Windows and it reported some issues that it couldn't fix. I've just reformatted the drive and reinstalled Windows again, and after the installation finished successfully it took about 10 seconds to freeze.

I'm confused...
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May 27, 2012 9:53:39 PM

It sounds like a hardware problem that really can't be addressed any other way.

About all you can still try short of RMAing is using a different Windows CD to install Windows with. If it was a flawed CD for whatever reason it could cause freezes.

Short of that, RMAing is probably your best bet.
May 28, 2012 9:22:28 PM

I know this post is long, but please please please bare with me:

I've had similar issues as you, but with multiple computers. I have two ASUS computers: x83v (notebook) that is about 4 years old & 1015PEM (netbook) that is about 1.5 years old (still a baby), both of which are running Windows 7 Ultimate (64- and 32-bit, respectively). The freeze I get seems like it is the operating system since I still have mouse control for a few moments, but I am unable to open any programs nor the task manager; shortly after, the mouse goes down too (the mouse freezes with everything else). The time duration before my computers begin to freeze vary: my notebook is usually after 10 minutes, and my netbook is almost immediately. I began experiencing the complete freeze about 1.5 months ago on both machines. Being a tech-savvy guy, I ruled out hardware issues since both machines experienced the same issues at the same time. I used my netbook only for college, so it didn't have much on it. I began comparing similarities on the two machines: Dropbox, Avast, & Office 2012 Pro+. I uninstalled Dropbox and nothing was fixed. I did not test removing Avast or Office. I decided to back up my important files and format and reinstall Windows 7 on both machines. I imaged them with Acronis, when they only had updates and office 2012 installed (no virus scan). After the imaging process, I added Avast and Dropbox again, as well as Code Blocks for C++ coding (on my notebook); I did not restore my important system files yet since I am trying to zero in on the issue. I am still experiencing the freezing on both machines. Very seldom my netbook will recover from a freeze. Last week, my notebook needed Windows updates so I started them and went to sleep. The next evening, nearly 24 hours later, I noticed my computer was still on: it froze on update 3 of however many. I was very reluctant to shut down the computer in fear of corrupting system files, but I knew it was not going to recover from the freeze since it had been 24 hours already. My brother is 12 and downloads random things frequently and is not very careful. I wondered if he caught a bug and it had spread to my computers. I tried multiple other virus scans on my computers, including McAfee Stinger & Malware Bytes, and everything came back clear. I am seriously stumped.
May 28, 2012 9:37:54 PM

That sounds similar JeffBurt, but not quite the same as in my case everything freezes at once. The mouse doesn't stay alive for a few seconds.

As a quick guess I might say it sounds like some kind of driver issue. Both your computers are ASUS, so maybe there is some driver update that you have installed on both of them (either through Windows Update or manually) before it started crashing?

Raiddinn: It doesn't seem to be the Windows installation CD. The shop which replaced my CPU and motherboard installed W7 for me from their own CD, and I've since reinstalled it several times through a Microsoft deal that my university offers.

Going to try to contact Foxconn support if I can find a number for them. If they can't help I imagine I'll replace it with Ivy Bridge over the summer.
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May 29, 2012 12:22:13 AM

Freezing on the desktop usually means bad CPU or possibly bad RAM in my experience.
June 5, 2012 10:00:02 PM

It ended up being Avast! I looked online and other people agreed. It was even causing my iMac to freeze. Best of luck, vpolden!
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June 6, 2012 1:52:08 AM

Good to know.
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May 17, 2013 6:32:33 PM

vpolden said:
Hi! I've been having some trouble with my computer lately and was hoping that someone here might have an idea of how to handle it.

A couple of months ago I had my computer repaired at a local shop, who replaced my motherboard and CPU. After that it hasn't been working quite as intended. The computer starts up just fine, but after between 1-20 minutes in Windows 7 it freezes completely. There is no error message, it just locks up and I have to shut it down using the power button on the front. If there is any sound playing at the same time I can hear that looping at a very high frequency (basically just a high pitch noise). The system does not seem to be overheating, temperatures are around 35c according to HWMonitor.

By using components from my friends' computers to test I've been able to determine that it is either the motherboard or CPU causing it. Problem is, the shop that sold me the components has since gone out of business, so I can't go back to them asking for a refund.

Does anybody here on Tom's know of a way to fix my PC that doesn't involve RMA'ing the hardware directly with Foxconn and Intel?

Computer specs:
- MB: Foxconn FlamingBlade GTI
- CPU: Intel i7-920
- Memory: 2x2GB A-DATA DDR3
- PSU: Corsair TX650W
- HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F1 640GB
- Corsair H50 Water cooling


A. When these power saver features are enabled, it causes a bunch of problems.
B. Windows shuts down your system to sleep, hibernate, standby, etc..etc...
C. After shutting down system to "save power" the system malfunctions when you try to wake it up again...and locks up, freezes, etc...
It locks the mouse, it locks the keyboard, it shuts off the display, and locks out the hard drive, it shuts off USB devices, etc...etc...
D. This will cause you to pull your hair out, and go to the funny farm...(those nice young men in their pretty white coats)
E. Make it stop, please make it stop.
F. Shut off all these "features" and USE your computer for a change):

Click Start, Click Control Panel,
Look at the top of the window, in the path bar you see “control panel >”
Click on “>” (in the path bar) now click on “all control panel options.”
(This will open up all the hidden controls available)
Click Power Options
click on the arrow to “show other plans”
Check the Box that says "high performance"
Click (in high performance) "change plan settings"
Turn off display: set to NEVER
Put the computer to sleep: set to NEVER
Click: Change advanced plan settings
Scroll down the list: Click on the + signs to expand the choices for each item on the list.
Require a password on wake up: set to NO
Hard disk: turn off the hard disk: set to NEVER
Wireless adapter settings:
Sleep: set to NEVER
Allow Hybrid sleep: set to NEVER
Hibernate after: set to NEVER
Allow wake timers: set to disable
USB settings:
USB selective suspend setting: set to NEVER
Power Buttons and lid:
Power button action: Setting: set to shut down
Sleep Button Action: set to: do nothing
PCI Express:
Link State Power Management, Setting: OFF
Processor Power Management: Minimum state (set to) 7%

System Cooling Policy: setting: Active
Maximum State (set to) 100%
Display
Turn off display after: setting: NEVER (turning off display automatically can cause freezing also)
Turn off the monitor power manually, when you want it off. Don’t use the auto monitor turn off.
Multimedia Settings:
When Sharing Media: Setting: Prevent idling to sleep
When Playing Video: Setting: Optimize Video
Click APPLY
Click OK

Open the bios set up and make sure "cool and quiet" is OFF. (AMD)
If there is a power saver or a "quiet mode" in the bios, shut it off...
There may be a performance setting in the bios setup you have...make sure it's cranked up to max.
in the bios, see that the allocation for video, if available, is maxed.

Now open the hardware manager profiles...
click start
click computer
click system properties
click device manager
double click on mice and other pointing devices
right click on HID compliant mouse
left click on properties
click on the power management tab
UN-check the box that says: "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power." (there is now NO check mark in this box)
click OK

Now repeat this procedure for all mice, monitors, keyboards, and ALL USB ports on the device manager list.

You must open ALL the devices one at a time, as above, and turn off the power saver, for each device.

NOW turn all the security back ON. NOW open your security antivirus. Make sure the antivirus is set to "gaming mode." Or "multimedia mode."
This prevents the security updating from interrupting your game / multimedia priority.
IF the security does not have "gaming mode" or "multimedia mode" get different security.
IF you are using "free" security downloaded from the internet, get rid of it NOW.
Use ONLY professional all in one security. DO NOT load multiple mismatched security programs, which conflict with each other.
DO NOT load free tools into your system such as: "driver sweeper" or any of that "free" goofy stuff.

!