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Entire System Freezes When Gaming

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 3, 2011 4:44:13 PM

Hey Community

I decided to post this here as I have a hunch the problem may relate to my GPU. I recently built a system as follows:

- Asus p8p67 LE
- i5 2500K 3.3 GHz/core CPU
- Diamond HD Radeon 6970 2GB GDDR5
- Intel x25 40GB SSD (for boot and system software)
- Western Digital Black Caviar 1TB 6GB/s HDD (for everything else)
- 12 GB Kingston DDR3 1600 MHz RAM
- Thermaltake Black Widow 850W PSU
- Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Here is what is happening, in as much detail as I can recall. The system runs blazingly fast in Windows, while browsing the web and while pretty much doing anything. I have never had an issue with the system outside of gaming itself. I have tested with two different games to ensure it is not a particular game being hokey with my graphics cards. In particular I tested with Starcraft II (an RTS) and Rift (an MMORPG). For both games, I have jacked the graphics up to the max and I am able to play the games for, say, anywhere between 5-30 minutes (This is a very rough estimate. Sometimes the system freezes up almost immediately upon entering the game and other times it takes beyond a half hour to do it but, eventually, it always does). What happens is that the entire system will completely freeze and I'm unable to do anything at all. I have let it sit there for quite a while to see if it recovers but it does not and I always have to hard restart. Here are some other things I've noticed about the system in general:

- Sometimes after a system freeze and a hard restart, it will take me to an American Megatrends splash page prior to loading Windows which has a message of "Overclocking failed! Please enter setup to reconfigure your system". I have not overclocked anything to my knowledge.

- Sometimes when I start up the machine it will start up and, after a few seconds, stop completely (goes completely silent). A few seconds later, it will start up again and proceed through boot and into Windows. Sometimes it will even do this twice in sequence before it proceeds with the boot into Windows.

Here are some of the things I have already tried/verified:

- I have run Memtest to 100% coverage on all three sticks of RAM and there are no errors
- I have monitored the CPU temp both within the BIOS and by using a software utility called Core Temp. The temperature of the CPU, even during the middle of gaming, never goes above 75C and this particular CPU has a max of 98C so no problem there
- I have ensured all cables from the PSU are snuggly inserted into anything that needs power
- I don't know how to test the temperature of the GPU but I do have the side off the case and I have verified that both fans on the card are running and the temperature around the card doesn't feel that hot at all (using my hand nearby)

A couple more things. This is the specific card that I ordered:

However, the card I received looks absolutely nothing like that one. The card I received is much more "open" (it does not have casing completely surrounding it and the casing it does have is a slightly transparent red). It has two fans and it has large copper tubes extending out and over across the top of the card (three of them to be precise). I even took a picture of the inside of the rig so you could get an idea of what it looks like (mainly the graphics card):

You can clearly see the graphics card at the bottom of the case.

First of all, is it common that one would receive a part from newegg, tigerdirect or elsewhere that doesn't look at all like the part they ordered online? Secondly, what do you feel could be the culprit here? I believe I've effectively ruled out CPU, RAM and HDDs (in the middle of a scan of both my 40GB SSD and 1TB HDD atm and thus far no issues to report).

Sorry for the very lengthy post but I wanted to give as much detail as possible. Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to know about the system or if there are any questions you'd like answered.

Thanks so much in advance!

UPDATE: I have now also ruled out GPU temperature as the problem as I found that the Catalyst Control Center offers this monitor along with a couple others related to the GPU.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
April 3, 2011 5:03:24 PM

Now I am not that familiar with Intel systems (been building AMD for the pas 15+ years). But the massage you are getting about OC failing typically means ur memory cant handle given settings.
This doesn't surprise me as you have Kingston ram, and the one time that I sued Kingston ram (a pair value DDR-400 stick many years back) they would not operate at those frequencies and I would BSOD all the time, after I under clocked them to 333 they worked fine.
So I would try to dial ur memory from 1600 to 1333 and run some prime95 (use the setting that punishes memory) and see if you still freeze up. If you dont, than I suggest you send the Kingston back and get yourself some quality ram, like Corsair or my favorite, G.Skill.
Your CPU temps are also kind of high. I guess Intel CPUs can handle higher temps, as 75C would fry my Phenom II dead... Even still you might want to invest in some aftermarket cooling. I suggest Hyper 212 for air and the new Antec 620 for ez water cooling.

Ohh and your GPU is simply a new model with non reference cooling, so it should be np, and ur PSU seem like a solid one as well.

Hope this helps!
April 3, 2011 5:11:34 PM

You know, I did read something about issues with RAM claiming to be able to run at 1600 but needing to be set at 1333. I hadn't considered that in my case but I suppose I should after reading your response. I'll drop the RAM down to 1333 and see if that fixes anything. If it DOES fix the problem then I'm going to send these three 4GB sticks back to newegg and pick myself up the GSkill sticks I wanted to get in the first place before I was roped into a combo deal...
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a b U Graphics card
April 3, 2011 5:18:07 PM

Ohh and it looks like you have the wrong ram kit 12GB (3x4GB) is for Core 9xx cpu with their tri-channel memory. You cant even do dual channel since you have offset ur memory. So no matter what I would send in memory kit for a 8GB (2x4GB kit) so you can run the proper dual channel set up.

So besides dropping memory to 1333, I suggest you also remove the 3rd stick for right now and make sure ur system is running proper dual channel (see ur motherboard manual to see which ram slots you should use)
April 3, 2011 5:27:27 PM

So the manual shows the four RAM slots, from left to right, as follows: DIMM_A1, DIMM_A2, DIMM_B1 and DIMM_B2. Currently I have three 4GB sticks installed with DIMM_A1 being the empty slot. I suppose I should, like you said, remove one of the sticks but I should probably move the remaining two sticks over to A1 and A2 (I would think at least). The manual itself doesn't mention anything about which RAM slots to use based on how many sticks you have (at least not that I could find).

Thanks so much for the quick responses btw!
a b U Graphics card
April 3, 2011 5:50:51 PM

I think with ASUS boards (not 100% sure) A is one channel and B is the other channel (C being the third channel in tri-channel boards, not urs).

So i think you are right on moving the sticks to A1 and A2 and leaving both B's empty. Best of luck!
April 3, 2011 7:29:41 PM

I left the game running while afk for a few hours and came back to it still running strong! This was in a very heavily populated area in the world of Rift where lots of stuff is constantly changing and having to be rendered so I felt it would be a good test. I'm going to actually play now for a bit but it seems like the issue is resolved with moving the RAM frequency down to 1333, removing one of the three sticks and then shuffling them so that slots A1 and A2 are filled.

I can't thank you enough for the help! I'll follow up later to let you know if I ran into any issues while actually playing.

Thanks again!
April 3, 2011 7:30:25 PM

Best answer selected by JoshDBoyle.
April 3, 2011 9:02:08 PM

Isn't his video card in the wrong PCI slot?....I always thought that you placed the video card in the top slot?