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Failing psu or faulty pci-e slot?

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December 30, 2011 12:41:41 PM

I built this home theater pc in october, and didn't start having problems until recently. At first I just thought it was my graphics card failing so I RMAd it. My replacement came and I'm still having the same problem. My computer boots up fine, but as soon as I try to log into windows I get a black screen and my computer restarts after about a minute. (It doesn't always restart... sometimes I can hear the windows login sound, and I have to flip the switch on my PSU to restart my computer.)

I'm able to get into windows sometimes. When I try to watch a video or play a game my graphics drivers keep crashing and the screen goes black. Sometimes the drivers recover right away and I'm able to play the game or resume whatever it was I was doing. Other times the drivers wont recover and the screen will remain black until I alt-F4 out of the game.

I'm able to boot into windows without any issues if I don't have any drivers installed for my graphics card. I also don't have any problem using my computer if I use the onboard video.

I've read that a lot of other people have been having this similar issue and they haven't gotten much help. A couple of them said that as soon as they switched to windows 7 64bit they started experiencing this problem.

From what I'm able to tell it's either my PSU is no longer able to handle my graphics card, my pci express slot is faulty, or my os is causing the problem. I'd really like some more opinions before I mess with anything and potentially break it even more. I'm currently typing this on the computer in safe mode using the graphics card.

Specs:
-Windows 7 ultimate 64-bit
-2x2GB Patriot DDR3 1333 RAM
-Nvidia PNY GT 440 GDDR5 1GB
-Asus m5a78l-m lx motherboard
-Coolmax 600w PSU (I know they aren't a very good brand which is leading me to believe that this is causing the problem.)
-AMD athlon II x3 445 (I had it unlocked to a phenom II x4, but to make sure that wasn't the problem I cleared the cmos and set it back to default.)

If you need any additional information please let me know.
December 30, 2011 12:48:46 PM

Is it brand new install? Try to reset the BIOS.

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December 30, 2011 12:54:30 PM

While troubleshooting I cleared the cmos to make sure that wasn't the problem. I've been trying not to reinstall windows quite yet so that I could get some other opinions first since I really hate reinstalling all of my programs. :p 

My drivers are up to date. The only other thing I could think of is updating my bios since I have the very first version of it at the moment. I'm somewhat afraid of doing that since I've never done so before.
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December 30, 2011 1:00:35 PM

Even if it works for what ever reason, but don't u want the top performance out of your PC? Re-install is the only way to have it.

Than back up everything and have no trouble : )

Usually people are happy to upgrade(build a new one), I am one of them.


--------------

There is some old saying, You can do it the wrong way or the right way.
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December 30, 2011 1:01:41 PM

Til The End said:
While troubleshooting I cleared the cmos to make sure that wasn't the problem. I've been trying not to reinstall windows quite yet so that I could get some other opinions first since I really hate reinstalling all of my programs. :p 

My drivers are up to date. The only other thing I could think of is updating my bios since I have the very first version of it at the moment. I'm somewhat afraid of doing that since I've never done so before.

BIOS in your situation is a bit risky, agree with u there.
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December 30, 2011 1:07:27 PM

I'll reinstall windows if I must, but I would really like to avoid building another computer since I barely built his one 3 months ago.

I don't mind losing any data currently on this hard drive. I'll reinstall windows right now, and report back here shortly. :) 

Before I do though... How hard is it to update the bios? I know that if it goes wrong horrible things will happen, and I'm afraid of bricking my motherboard.
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December 30, 2011 1:12:44 PM

Til The End said:
I'll reinstall windows if I must, but I would really like to avoid building another computer since I barely built his one 3 months ago.

I don't mind losing any data currently on this hard drive. I'll reinstall windows right now, and report back here shortly. :) 

Before I do though... How hard is it to update the bios? I know that if it goes wrong horrible things will happen, and I'm afraid of bricking my motherboard.

Its usually no problem and there are utilities to do that.
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December 30, 2011 2:11:51 PM

Oddly enough updating my bios seems to have fixed it. I'm still testing it out, but the one game I tried worked without causing the drivers to crash... I was also able to watch a few youtube videos.

To be honest I was scared to death of updating my bios, but it was really easy and only took a few seconds. I'm going to run a few more tests and run a few benchmarks to make sure that the issue is resolved. (I really hope it is fixed.) If not I'll be back here in a little while asking for some more help. XD
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December 30, 2011 2:13:30 PM

Good luck!
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December 30, 2011 2:20:06 PM

Thanks man :D . I didn't even think about updating the bios until you mentioned updating the drivers. If this fixed it I owe you big time.
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December 30, 2011 2:21:01 PM

No problem, lets hope it will stay that way!
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December 30, 2011 3:59:42 PM

And the problem is back... The good thing is that I'm actually able to get into windows without any crashing now.

At first it was working great. I wanted to be 100% sure that it was working though so I restarted my freaking computer >.<... and I'm not able to play games again without the drivers crashing.

It's partially fixed. I'm just glad I'm making progress in the right direction.

Any ideas at what else I could try, or what it could possibly be?

I'm going to reinstall windows since I haven't done that yet.
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December 30, 2011 5:13:37 PM

Have you looked at your temperatures, and are your PSU Voltages OK (primarily the +5 and +12 V.
To check the Voltages you need either a MB utility (Normally under health) or a 3rd party program such as HWMonitor (just google). You check the voltages at idle, then under load. To load the +12 V I use Prime95 (which also checks memory and CPU) and then I use Furmark to check GPU and again load the +12 V - NOT monitor your temps closely with both of these programs. With furmark also monitor your GPU temp!!.
+5 V -> Min 4.75, Max 5.25
+12V -> Min 11.4 (I use 11.6 for Min) and max is 12.6 V

When all is said and done, do re-install windows. There may be some bad files. If windows locks up before completing a write and you have to do a hard power off - that file will be corrupted.
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December 31, 2011 1:57:30 AM

Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I've been trying to get into windows. HWMonitor was the only program that I was able to use that wouldn't cause my computer to black screen.

Here's a screen shot.
http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/3434/voltages.png

I'm not very good at this side of computers, but from what I can tell it looks like my computer is being underpowered... Please let me know if I'm wrong.

I'll definitely be reinstalling windows after all of this since I don't want to risk it.

If my PSU is bad could you please recommend a good one. I'm really tight on money right now and only have about $60 to spend on one.

My temps are good. My cpu is only at 24c and from what I saw before my computer black screened my graphics card was at 27c...

Edit: I can't get into windows at all now. I just keep getting BSODs.
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December 31, 2011 6:25:29 AM

Program is not reporting voltages correctly, so unknown.
Reason is that if the +5, or +12 were at the value being reported, the computer would not have powered on.
Would need to get a digital voltmeter (about $20 @ walmart), or a known good PSU to try. A corsair 450 watt would be a good choice.
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January 15, 2012 11:01:37 PM

Sorry I took so long to reply.

I've finally been able to test my computer some more. I put my power supply and graphics card in another computer that uses around the same wattage as the one that is having problems. They both worked flawlessly. I was able to play a game without the drivers crashing or any black screens.

I'm on the computer right now with the graphics card in the pcie slot. I'm only getting black screens when I load up something that requires the graphics card like for example using the windows rating thing or loading up a game. I can actually get into windows without any issues now. I did reinstall windows since the last time I posted.

I'm starting to think that it is indeed my pci express slot that is faulty.

Troubleshooting help would be highly appreciated.

I managed to get a voltmeter from a friend and my PSU seems to be fine.
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