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December 1, 2011 12:55:18 AM

Herro, Ive got a problem and am pretty lost in trying to deal with it. Occasionally (when theres a heavy load, and for some reason always around spotify) my computer stutters for a second or so. Any noises being produced at that point rapidly repeat, mouse freezes, basically everything locks up for about a second. I never used to have this problem, its only within the last couple months that its begun happening, and I cant think of an event that would have triggered it. Its also happening much more often as of late. Only changes Ive made recently were upgrading to Win7 from XP (March), got 2gb additional ram (March), installed the bluray reader (Octoberish? its about the time the problems started, but I cant imagine that would be causing it) and got a SSD for my operating system to run off of (March). The rest of the system was built in spring 2008.

My system specs:
- Intel Core 2 Q6600 OC @ 3.0 ghz
- Asus P5K (bios was flashed to a P5K-R v0703 to enable AHCI for the SSD)
- 4x 1Gb Corsair DDR2 ram (part CM2X1024-6400C4. just noticed that the new ones dont have the C4 bit in CPU-Z if thats important)
- Asus 8800GT 1GB (latest driver version)
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 120GB <-- OS installed here
- Corsair HX520 (Im wondering if this is enough? Think my old calcuations might have been off a bit)
- Samsung SH-B123L 12x Blu-Ray Reader & Lightscribe DVD Writer
- Edimax EW7728IN 802.11N (draft) wireless card
- Win 7 64-bit

After initially thinking it might be the SSD, I ran some checks using crystaldisk and everything looked normal. So I submit the problem to you good folk, as Im really confused :D . Let me know if Ive forgotten anything, and any and all help would be appreciated!!

Thanks in advance =)

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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2011 1:10:37 AM

Is it possible you could borrow a corsair, antec, seasonic, or XFX PSU of 600w+ to try and put it in there and see if it works?

It sounds most like your PSU is dying to me.
December 1, 2011 1:18:31 AM

Damn, that would make sense as well. A couple months ago there was a weird pop and a faint smell of burning, so Im guessing a capacitor blew =(. Offhand I dont think theres any way I can borrow a PSU, but Im rebuilding my PC when Ivybridge comes out so I could get my power supply a bit early, I doubt they will be updated from now till April (if they are let me know!! Im looking at the Corsair HX850).

Since it would be a fair investment, could it be anything else or is it most likely the PSU? Also thanks a lot for the quick answer :D , really appreciate it!
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2011 1:25:06 AM

It could be other things. There are few guarantees for those who can't just switch out every part 1 at a time until things start working.

I don't think you will need anywhere near an 850w even with your new ivy bridge build unless you are x2ing high end video cards so if you aren't you can probably do just fine with a more reasonable 650w.

If you heard a pop and smelled burning its almost certainly the PSU, though. I would have said 95% likely before, but more like 98% likely after hearing the pop + burn stuff.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2011 1:37:19 AM

It sounds like the PSU, but a Corsair HX520 usually won't give you problems. You could be unlucky though.

You can confirm it's not your Windows install, SSD or HDD by disconnecting one of them and booting to Linux Mint from a CD. Then try to run something that loads your computer hard to see if it freezes.

Have you updated your SSD firmware to the latest? That can help with drive performance, although it's probably not the cause. You'll need another HDD with a windows install though since you can't flash firmware on the OS that's currently running (could do it from Linux). You've got extra HDDs, so that's plausible. Also, did you know the Seagate 7200.11 1TB's have crazy high failure rates? That might not be the case with 7200.11 500GB's, but I'd make sure to update the firmware if I were you.

Caution: Back your stuff up. That's a good practice to always do, but especially important if something might be wrong with your HDDs or PSU.
December 1, 2011 1:40:22 AM

Yeah fair answer lol, pretty much what I was thinking. Also a good point on the 850w.

I was planning on getting a 570 equivelant in the 6xx series when they come out if its worth it, and getting 2x 570 if they arent :D , so just wanted to have the peace of mind of the 850w's extra headroom. It was also influenced by a PSU requirement calculator located god knows where on the internet, so that pushed it up a bit. Ill definitely have a relook at it though, nothings been decided for sure! (I am planning on OCing though :) )

Ill start having a look at sending the unit back for a health inspection, pretty sure its still under manufacturers warranty. Also out of curiousity, from a purely physical standpoint whats causing the computer to stutter? Im guessing the powers dropping below necessary amount or its not being regulated enough, but whats that doing to the parts to cause them to stutter rather than die? And dont be afraid to use big words, I can handle them :D .

Thanks again for all the help bud, I really appreciate it!
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2011 1:50:15 AM

Power problems can manifest themselves a lot of different ways in electronics hardware.

Think about when the battery in your car gets old and it has trouble putting out enough juice.

The way you test if this is happening is by turning on the overhead light in the car (doesn't use much power so it will come on easily) and then turning the key, if the light flickers then your battery is having trouble doing both your overhead light and the engine starter at the same time which means it is getting low.

This same sort of flickering could be happening with your parts and you could be in imminent danger of having your dying PSU take down your motherboard or video card with it.
December 1, 2011 1:51:20 AM

dalauder said:
It sounds like the PSU, but a Corsair HX520 usually won't give you problems. You could be unlucky though.

You can confirm it's not your Windows install, SSD or HDD by disconnecting one of them and booting to Linux Mint from a CD. Then try to run something that loads your computer hard to see if it freezes.

Have you updated your SSD firmware to the latest? That can help with drive performance, although it's probably not the cause. You'll need another HDD with a windows install though since you can't flash firmware on the OS that's currently running (could do it from Linux). You've got extra HDDs, so that's plausible. Also, did you know the Seagate 7200.11 1TB's have crazy high failure rates? That might not be the case with 7200.11 500GB's, but I'd make sure to update the firmware if I were you.

Caution: Back your stuff up. That's a good practice to always do, but especially important if something might be wrong with your HDDs or PSU.


Yeah I got it for that reason, I didnt want to have to worry about unlucky haha :D . Ah well, definitely going to send it to the shop when I get the time.

Ill give the Linux Mint option a shot, thanks for the recommendation. Im pretty sure my stuff isnt massively out of date, but Ill have a check around and update as I can! Didnt know about the failure rates =/, does that apply to the 7200.12 revision as well? The 500GB has been going strong for a couple years now, so Im hoping Ive got a good copy xD.

Again, good advice with the backup lol. I dont think I know anybody that does that enough. I might just dump anything important onto a spare HDD and just keep it unplugged in case the unthinkable happens. Had to remove one when I installed the bluray reader as I didnt have enough SATA slots, so that would be a fairly good solution methinks =).
December 1, 2011 1:57:59 AM

Raiddinn said:
Power problems can manifest themselves a lot of different ways in electronics hardware.

Think about when the battery in your car gets old and it has trouble putting out enough juice.

The way you test if this is happening is by turning on the overhead light in the car (doesn't use much power so it will come on easily) and then turning the key, if the light flickers then your battery is having trouble doing both your overhead light and the engine starter at the same time which means it is getting low.

This same sort of flickering could be happening with your parts and you could be in imminent danger of having your dying PSU take down your motherboard or video card with it.


Ah, well explained :D . I dont have a car, but I understand what youre talking about...and its making me rather worried about the rest of my bits :( . Think I might send it off sooner rather than later
a b B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2011 2:27:49 AM

seaside_hermit said:
Yeah I got it for that reason, I didnt want to have to worry about unlucky haha :D . Ah well, definitely going to send it to the shop when I get the time.

Ill give the Linux Mint option a shot, thanks for the recommendation. Im pretty sure my stuff isnt massively out of date, but Ill have a check around and update as I can! Didnt know about the failure rates =/, does that apply to the 7200.12 revision as well? The 500GB has been going strong for a couple years now, so Im hoping Ive got a good copy xD.

Again, good advice with the backup lol. I dont think I know anybody that does that enough. I might just dump anything important onto a spare HDD and just keep it unplugged in case the unthinkable happens. Had to remove one when I installed the bluray reader as I didnt have enough SATA slots, so that would be a fairly good solution methinks =).
Here's a decent summary of the 7200.11 thing: http://www.geek.com/articles/news/seagate-barracuda-720...

The 7200.12's are fine. And I guess you got a good 7200.11?

If you want, you can attempt to pin down the problem as to whether it's the PSU. Install and run HWMonitor (watch your temps). Install Furmark (or MSI Kombustor). Install LinX ( http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?2016... ). If your computer stutters when running both Furmark and LinX at the same time, it's probably the PSU. Either way, that'll get you up to your maximum power usage. There's a slight chance of everything catching on fire with these tests--so don't blame me if your PSU happens to die suddenly (or anything associated with PSU death).

If you have a Kill-a-Watt or something to monitor your power usage, that would be helpful at this point. They have them at Home Depot for like $20.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2011 2:51:47 AM

NVIDIA recently started putting code in its drivers that automatically detects FurMark and OCCT and throttles the power of the video card way back when they are running.

They did it because of how many warranty replacement requests there were from people that took their brand spankin new GTX cards home and immediately fired up FurMark and blew them on day 1.

Keep in mind that Furmark is more than capable of blowing up video cards when you use it for benchmarking things.

Not just the PSU, but the video cards too and those are much more expensive to replace.
December 5, 2011 12:08:40 AM

Thanks for all the help everybody!! I dont think Ill risk the benchmarking, just going to order a new PSU and send the old one off ASAP. Also thanks jsc for the advice about the firmware lol, ill be careful xD

*bzzzt*

oops
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