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Appeal for Help

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July 12, 2011 7:14:02 PM

Dear Tom's,

I've come to you as a last resort to the difficult last 7 months that I've struggled with my first build. I've repeatedly searched around through the internet looking for answers. Since a large portion of other people's problems are resolved here, I figured I would come to you guys with my problems. I will try and be as descriptive as possible when about everything including the multiple problems my tower has.

I purchased the parts in November of last year. Here is a list of the parts:
ASUS 24x CD Burner
Seasonic 520W Bronze ATX 12V Power Supply
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM HDD
G Skill Ripjaws 4GB 1333 DDR3 RAM
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Case
Gigabyte Geforce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768mb GDDR5 Video Card
AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0 ghz 125W Quad Core Processor
ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

I started with an MSI 770-G45 Motherboard and hated that since it SKIPPED the POST screen which made it extremely hard to install the OS. Not to mention the manual was borderline funny due to the broken English. Also the computer started crashing at this point and wouldn't make it past the BIOS most of the time. So I replaced that with an ASRock board which fixed the problems for a week or so. Then I started having more crashes, freezes, BSOD's, and memory failures. Well then I started reseating the RAM because of the memory failures.

So I decide the RAM is the problem. I replaced it from Geil Value Plus 4GB 1333 DDR3 to G. Skill Ripjaws 4GB 1333 DDR3. This also fixed some problems for around a week. Then the crashes returned although I will say I haven't had a memory failure.

As of now I have a computer that boots only when I reseat the processor. It will power up and run all the fans without reseating, but won't boot. Anytime I move it or it crashes I most always have to reseat the processor. I've tried a different video card. Which started working for awhile (around 4 hours) then the computer started BSODing and freezing (It should also be noted it will just restart, which I believe is a very quick BSOD).

The amount of processing done has no effect on the problems. Such as: I can run every program on my computer and it won't necessarily crash. It will sometimes, but it will just as easily crash when I leave it running. I've run multiple virus/malware scans to no avail. I've run hard drive diagnostics and checks (corrected a few corrupted clusters the first time, but never anymore). Memory diagnostics turn up showing no faults... I've basically run out of ideas besides replacing the processor, however that's expensive and as you can see I've already invested enough money into incorrect replacements. I'd like to be correct and fix it once and for all. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

More about : appeal

July 12, 2011 8:29:13 PM

The only thing there that is different is the OS install which was due to the previous mobo having problems. However, this is very clearly a hardware issue. All the connections are very secure I even made sure the SATA cords weren't bent. It will boot sometimes. Its just a very unstable build.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 12, 2011 9:00:37 PM

Gunny, I really don't get this re-seating the CPU thing. It makes no sense to me at all. Why would you even consider that in the first place? Was there something that occurred during installation that made you think it was an issue?

You seem to keep trying new things and it seems to help for a while. What do all those things have in common? Probably they all involve unplugging the PSU from the wall for a time, and opening the case.
They also involve stresses on the board... changing stresses as the parts are moved/replaced.

Finally, re-using a Windows installation on a new MB is asking for trouble. There is a layer of the OS that is configured on installation... it's deeper than drivers, and involves the basic way the OS interacts with the hardware.

Unless your CPU socket is pumping just a bit too much voltage and scorching contacts slightly, I can't see why re-seating itself would do anything at all. Perhaps foriegn particles or thermal paste in the socket might do something... but I very much doubt that any such condition would cause the exact symptoms you describe. Far more likely that the improvement you are seeing has no actual relationship to the CPU.

Now, if unplugging your PSU from the wall for an hour always causes improvement, you have your solution.

If breadboarding as described in the linked thread fixes your issue, you are also much closer to resolution.
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July 12, 2011 9:25:30 PM

The CPU reseating came from a LOT of trial and error. Such as I'd try reseating the RAM and that wouldn't work so then I'd reseat the video card. Finally, when I reseated the CPU it worked and I could replicate it working (I was doing all this thinking something had been knocked loose).

I can leave my tower unplugged for 2 weeks then turn it on and it won't boot. Then when I reseat the CPU bam boots, hangs on for a little bit, then bam crash (then usually won't fully boot again).

I'm sure I've stressed my mobo to hell by now and the windows installation is a bit complicated. My school gives a free copy of 7 to us in the form of an online download. I used my download and the CD became corrupted. Either way I believe I'm a few steps away from worrying about the OS.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 12, 2011 9:54:35 PM

Try running the rig on its side for a few days, see if that helps
Moto
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July 12, 2011 11:53:39 PM

First should verify what are the messages showing when a BSOD happens. You can check these messages with one of theses softwares:

AppCrashView 1.11:
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/appcrashview.zip

BlueScreenView 1.35:
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/bluescreenview.zip


Then compare against these messages and what they mean:

DIVIDE_BY_ZERO_ERROR

This error is caused by an application trying to divide by zero. If you receive this error and don't know which application caused it, you might try examining the memory dump.

IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL

The IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error is caused by a buggy device driver or an actual hardware conflict. If you've recently added new hardware to your system, try removing it and see if the error goes away. Likewise, if you've recently loaded a new device driver, you might try using ERD Commander Professional Edition, by Winternals Software, to temporarily disable the new driver and see if the problem goes away.

Also it is the most common BSOD of them all. It could be caused by too wild/incorrect overclock or voltages, damaged hardware (usually it's memory or power supply related, or even a windows corruption that happened), even a short-circuit could cause these errors. To eliminate short-circuits from the equation, remove any USB connector plugged onto the board and onto the back (these have been short-circuiting boards in pre-windows XP SP2 times, so better be safe than sorry) Also you could remove all the components inside your case and plug them all on a table and turn it on to see if it gets better. If it is, then it was the case that was short-circuiting that thing.

KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED

An incorrectly configured device driver usually causes this type of error. As I'll explain later, you can use another section of the blue screen to figure out which driver is causing the problem.

REGISTRY_ERROR

Such an error indicates a catastrophic failure in the system's registry. However, this error can sometimes be caused by failure to read the registry from the hard disk rather than because the registry itself is corrupt. Most of the time though, if you get this error, you'll have to restore from backup.

INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE

Just as the name implies, this error indicates that Windows NT is having trouble reading from the hard disk. This error can be caused by a faulty device driver or a bad small computer systems interface (SCSI) terminator. If you've checked for these problems, but are still receiving the error, check to make sure that a virus hasn't destroyed your boot sector.

UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP

This error message is almost always caused by your computer's memory. If you receive this error, check to make sure that all of your single inline memory modules (SIMMs) are the same type and speed. You should also check to make sure that your computer's Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) is set for the correct amount of RAM. If all of these suggestions check out, try replacing the memory in the computer.

BAD_POOL_HEADER

This is, perhaps, the most obscure error message. In most cases, if you receive this error, it's related to the most recent change you've made on your system. Try undoing the change to get rid of the error.

NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM

An NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM error indicates hard disk corruption. If your system is bootable, run CHKDSK /F on all of your partitions immediately. If your system isn't bootable, try installing a new copy of Windows NT in a different directory. You can use that copy to run the CHKDSK program. When you're done with the second copy, you can edit your BOOT.INI file to make your computer start your original copy of Windows NT.

KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR

This error indicates that Windows NT wasn't able to read a page of kernel data from the page file. Bad memory, a bad processor, incorrectly terminated SCSI devices, or a corrupt PAGEFILE.SYS file may cause this situation. The first step in correcting such an error is to recreate the PAGEFILE.SYS file and see if you can bring your system back online.

NMI_HARDWARE_FAILURE

This is a generic error message in which the hardware abstraction layer can't report on the true cause of the error. In such a situation, Microsoft recommends calling the hardware vendor. This error can sometimes be caused by mixing parity and non-parity SIMMs, or by bad SIMMs.

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Ok first go check in the BIOS if your cpu is overclocked by default (yes sometimes it does, either cause it's revision is unsupported by the motherboard, on manufacturers that sell them overclocked right out of the box, which the latter should not happen nowadays).

If you are seeing a lot of different errors, then you probably have a defect hardware AND you must reinstall Windows cause it is now corrupted.

Start with that and tell us what are the error dump messages you're getting.

Also it wouldn't hurt if you could double-check the wired connections inside the case such as the 2x2 pins connector that must be correctly plugged in where it should (it it is stuck with the 20 pins connector then it goes in a 24 pin slot, if it is alone then it is for the motherboard and cpu +12V needs. Also double-check that the 6+2 pins connector is correctly plugged in the graphic card. Huh double check all the cables just to be sure ^^
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July 18, 2011 8:00:03 PM

I apologize for the delayed response.

As of now the computer won't even boot to safe mode. The farthest I got it was when the safe mode .dll's were loading and it froze towards the end of the load. I previously had my CPU underclocked and the settings should've held. My motherboard didn't include a speaker so I can't breadboard it. I'm currently working on buying a speaker to remedy this.

My attempts were to get it to a point where I could run from disc and reformat. However, the computer froze once I pulled the boot menu up. I kept trying my normal fixes to make it run, but now those don't work AND the computer won't shut off unless I pull the plug. All wires are correctly connected. I even went back and reconnected the power and reset switch. Every power socket is SECURELY filled.

Ideas? The inability to breadboard makes this even more complicated.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2011 8:23:03 PM

By breadboard we mean take the board out of the case. Set it on cardboard. The idea is to eliminate the case and any shorts it might be causing from the picture. This is covered towards the end of the checklist.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste...

I would say though that your situation is deteriorating. Checking those PSU rails for correct voltage would be a good idea.
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July 20, 2011 12:49:25 AM

All right so I've got it completely out of the case. I pulled out a stick of RAM and it booted for the first time in 3 days.

I grabbed an extra hard drive from work and I'm currently installing XP onto it. I've gotten one blue screen which was 0x0000007e. Probably because the hard drive had a copy of XP already installed and I didn't change the boot sequence. It shut down once while installing XP, I chose the quick install. Now I'm going with the slow and as I type this it's at 28%.

Still not in the clear, but removing that 1 stick of RAM made all the difference?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 20, 2011 2:43:56 AM

Keep us updated.
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August 1, 2011 4:57:21 PM

After my last post I removed the XP hard drive and put the Win7 hard drive back in. I had it boot several times correctly and even played Portal 2 for an entire night with no crashes/freezes. I turned it off went to sleep and came back the next day to it not booting... again.

I finally got XP installed onto a different hard drive. I had it booting successfully, but after moving my computer to the office, it no longer boots. It started with a blinking cursor. I reseated the single RAM stick I'm using and got it to POST then it went to a black screen and froze. Now when I boot I just get a black screen. I guess the hard drive isn't the problem, but I'm slightly clueless where to go from here since I can't get a stable boot up.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 1, 2011 8:31:34 PM

Do you have the latest BIOS for the board?

Other than that, you will need to swap out parts. RMA the board.

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August 1, 2011 8:48:34 PM

Yeah the BIOS is up to date. Or was as of December last year. I'm just going to take it to a shop. I have a feeling they'll just charge me and I'll get nothing accomplished, but I'm out of ideas.
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