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Various Problems w/ Computer (pinstripe/black screen, hanging startup)

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December 22, 2011 7:55:55 PM

Hello. Just about a year ago I built a computer with:
Asrock 890gx Mobo
Sapphire HD5870 1gb
Phenom II x4 960
Samsung 1tb drive
8gb GSkill memory
cd drive
powersupply...

I use my computer to game/browse/netflix. Since I don't have television service I hook my computer via hdmi up to my surround sound system which connects via hdmi to my television. I tested all my components the best I know how when I originally bought them. I had no errors to speak of for the first 4 months or so. Then one day while gaming my screen went black and then pinstriped. The computer was on and everything seemingly functional, but image on the monitor was just vertical black and white pinstripes. At this point I wasn't so worried. I thought something weird must have happened, and the computer restarted fine. However, this continued to happen about once a month, and not often enough for me to figure out what was causing the problem. This error would occur when in the middle of netflix, a game, when I'm launching a web browser, when I'm loading my facebook page, but never when I let the computer sit idle. When the error occurs the screen kind of blanks out and then refreshes to the pinstripes, and there is a loud noise for a second like you just plugged some audio device in like "uhhhhh". A few times I think the screen went blue even instead of pinstripes. Lately this has been happening more often. For instance it happened 3 times two days ago when browsing and using netflix, but hasn't happened at all since then and I've browsed and used netflix since.... All my temperatures in my computer read seemingly normal, during browsing and netflix my cpu hardly exceeds 30C and my vga sits around 30-40C. I have not been able to replicate this error by force in order to find out whether it is a hardware/software issue and which component is responsible. The last time it shut off windows did show me a brief message "display adapter is not working correctly." However, after restarting everything works find and under the device manager everything claims to be working correctly. Originally I had thought this was a driver issue and have been staying up to date with drivers for the past year but the problem persists. Lastly, this morning I booted my computer and it hung during the start up on the screen where it displays the motherboard logo. And then later today I was able to start it just fine.... None of the components are over a year old and I was thinking about just replacing several of them under warranty, but if I can figure out which particular piece of hardware is responsible that would make my life easier.
December 22, 2011 8:23:26 PM

have you connected to monitor or other HDTV to rule out TV error? Make sure u use different cables also to rule it out also.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2011 8:34:11 PM

funlicker said:

powersupply...


Any time I see something like this, I automatically think that the PSU is the problem child.

The assumption chain goes something like this:

powersupply....

Assumptions

Doesn't know what they have

leads to

Probably doesn't appreciate how important a PSU is in terms of the overall working of the computer

leads to

Probably has a brand that lies about wattage on the label, probably a 700w on the label that is really a 300w in hardware

leads to

The PSU is probably getting overloaded by the parts and this is causing general hard to diagnose computer errors as it usually happens.



Anyway, please provide more details about your maker, model, part number, wattage, and approximate age of the PSU in order to help me confirm my hypotheses.
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December 22, 2011 9:50:03 PM

Sorry that wasn't the case at all.... just didn't believe the problem had anything to do with the power supply. I was under the impression if there was a problem with the power supply the computer wouldn't turn on or would crash completely via no power? Likewise, I don't think the problem has anything to do with the cd drive.

Sorry I gave you that impression. It's a 700w OCZ ModXStream Pro. It's under a year old, bought/built at the same time as the other parts. If a power can be a common source of irregular computer errors perhaps it's important that I mention that I'm in college and the housing for rent here is oooooooold. I've lived in two different places with this pc, both old, but the first place where the problem originated but was less frequent I lived alone, and I share the new place with 4 other roommates who use computers/laptops fairly often.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2011 8:21:09 AM

PSU problems can disguise themselves as problems with pretty much anything else.

You might be surprised where problems lie too. For many years now I have tolerated very slow boot times and I thought it was my DVR hard drive that nobody ever intended land inside a computer case that gives errors on every startup, but it turned out that wasn't the problem at all.

I got a new case and moved everything to it and I forgot to connect the CD Drive and the computer booted up in like 30 seconds instead of 10 minutes. I looked in the case and saw that the only thing not connected was the CD Drive. I plugged in the CD Drive and it again took 10 minutes to boot. Disconnected again and back to 30 seconds.

Before I accidentally "tested" this, I never had an inkling of a thought that the CD Drive was the problem.

Sometimes that is just how it goes. Now I just leave it disconnected unless I need it while I am working on getting a new one.

The point is, the whole computer is a big interconnected system and its easy for a problem with one thing to masquerade as a problem with another thing. It is especially easy for a PSU to hide as a problem with something else.

It is not impossible even for a CD Drive to be a significant cause of problems, though.

I doubt the CD Drive is the cause of your problems, but it indeed isn't impossible.

Feel free to disconnect it for a while and see if the problem persists.


Also, do you have your computer parts plugged into a Surge Protector? Not just a power strip that allows you to plug multiple cables into it, but one that actually prevents power spikes from damaging your parts?

If you don't, I would highly suggest you get one. Indeed if you are worried that the electrical wiring in your residence might not be up to par then it would be wise for you to have both a surge protector and an UPS.

If you do get both, configure it like this:

Wall --> UPS --> Surge Protector --> Computer

The UPS and the Surge Protector are designed to limit damage from inadequate power delivery. For $70ish you can insure your $700ish computer with these things and its a good idea to do so if you have even an inkling that your building's power may not be in tip top condition.

That being said, if you indeed have 4 other roommates is it possible they would let you borrow a few components from their computers so you can test what is wrong with yours? If you could borrow a similar PSU from them for a bit and give them yours it would help dramatically in determining if your problem is one of those hard to diagnose PSU problems.
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December 23, 2011 3:57:10 PM

I could attempt to test certain hardware by replacing it with known functional hardware, however, the problem is so irregular that it seems impossible to test this way without borrowing components for several months at a time and even after that still be unsure. I'm thinking it may just be better to replace the mobo/vga/cpu via warranty now that i still have warranty and see if that fixes anything with all new parts, but the psu also now seems like a possible problem. What I can do at this point is get a surge protector and ups like you said and see if that helps fix the problem since I should probably own these things anyway. I wish i could just plug my computer in at a different home for several months and see if it could be the buildings power issues... Is the 700w adequate enough to run these parts effectively though? I had thought it was.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2011 4:09:50 PM

A good 700w should have no problems with that setup.

How long do you have left on your warranties?

Generally, it is better for everybody if invoking warranty replacement coverage is only done after the problem part has been narrowed down.
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December 23, 2011 6:32:08 PM

At this point It's been a 11 months to a year...getting pretty close to that year mark since i bought the parts. I know my graphics cards has a 2 year manufacturer warranty and i've already talked to them and they seem willing to replace the part if necessary. The asrock mobo seems to have a 1 year manufacturer warranty, and the amd processor seems to be covered by warranty as long as there is no visible damage on the users part (heating, cracking, bending). I don't even know which parts I'm supposed to consider replacing. At this point what could be the source of the problem? VGA, CPU, PSU, and/or MOBO? Is there any tests I could run for each piece of hardware that could effectively prove it's functional/disfunctional? Do you think there is a chance that simply the power from the house/outlet is the problem and that the reason why the problems are so irregular is because sometimes I have sufficient power and other times lack sufficient power? Would a surge protector and ups solve this problem?

My best guess is that it is the video card because windows did say that my display adapter malfunctioned just before the pinstriped screen, and because the video is the only thing that seems to be effected right now. However there was that case of the hanging start up which has only happened once and has yet to happen again, which cold have been a result of some sort of irregular shut down?

I'm still afraid that I'll replace the card and nothing will change though.... that's why I decided to post here, but it seems like the only possible way for me to know what is wrong "for sure" is to replace each component with another functioning component 1 at a time and test out the computer for a month per component and hope that in that months time that I simply didn't get lucky and avoid an incident by chance.....

So I had thought if I couldn't narrow down the problem with a few short tests that because I'm running out of time for warranty on certain parts, I should just have everything replaced to be safe? Be it does seem like a big hassle. I'm not even positive that anything is broken at this point since the computer functions normal most of the time.... frustrating =s
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
December 23, 2011 7:05:51 PM

You can torture test your CPU and Video Card.

3dMark06 should be free and should punish both parts.

You could also do MemText86 to test the RAM. It wouldn't hurt although the RAM is unlikely to be the issue. The RAM test can be left on while you are sleeping tonight and it wouldn't consume many waking minutes of your time.

While you are running 3dMark you could have HWMonitor going in the background to record your temps throughout the exercise.

I do agree that such problems can be frustrating, but perhaps you could bear with me a little bit longer?
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December 24, 2011 3:47:23 PM

Ya I can go ahead and run 3dMark06 and I can run Memtest86 just to be safe too. Right now I'm at my parents place for Christmas but I'll be able to run these tests Tuesday and overnight Tuesday and can get back to you by Wednesday =). Thanks, you've been a lot of help so far.
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December 27, 2011 8:44:29 PM

Well I ran the Memtest86 and everything was fine. I ran the 3dMark06 and it says that my scores are comparable to similar systems so that my hardware is functioning normally. There wasnt any pinstripe stuff during the test or at all since I started this thread, but like I said it usually happens irregularly once or twice a month and usually if it happens more than once it happens multiple times in the same day and not spread out. Hwmonitor said that my cpu temps never exceeded 37C and my graphics never exceeds 60C. I scored like 70-100fps during the graphics tests and only 1.5-2.5fps during the cpu tests I don't know if that is normal... Lastly I should mention that during the test i had switched my video output to my ps3 so that i could watch netflix or something. Both my pc and ps3 are connected to my tv through a surround system. When I started to write this message to report my test results (about 30mins to and hour since the completion of the test) my pc screen flashed black while typing and then went to "mode not supported" and then when i switched outputs back and forth and returned to the pc output it said "no signal". I have just restarted my pc and everything started up fine, but again when I returned to this page to continue writing this message it flashed black but then returned to normal and windows said that my "amd display driver failed and recovered". Than again as I was writing this soon after I got that message it did end up going to the pinstripe screen. During the first two errors my ps3 was still on, but I turned it off before the computer screen went all pinstripy. The ps3, pc, tv, and surround system are plugged into the same powerstick and outlet.

So the test went fine. I actually watched it once and it went fine and then ran it again because i forgot to launch hwmonitor (that is when I went on my ps3). My pc apparently tests normal and everything functioned well through the stress. Afterward however stuff started to fail. I don't know what the cause would be what's your diagnosis?

Also, it went to the pinstripe screen yet again before I could finish. This all happened within probably 5-10mins. I'm just going to submit before it screws up again lol.
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December 29, 2011 4:56:11 PM

no ideas?
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