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Really tough problem with home-built system

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February 28, 2013 11:30:30 AM

I'm really stuck and an online forum may be the only place where the expertise is high enough to really help me.

I'm not a newbie. I've built several computers over the years, but my current problem has me stumped.

In 2011, I built a system for video processing. It's an Asus P8P67 Deluxe board (B3 version), i2600k processor, 2x8GB Patriot DIMMs, and originally an OCZ 120GB SSD and two WD 2 TB HDs. The original system also had an ATI 5770 1 GB video card. At times, the system has supported two or three monitors (all Dell 24" 1920 x 1200).

Since it was built two years ago, my system has suffered from random freeze-ups. Mostly these mean that the mouse and keyboard lock up, but on occasion there is also screechy noise from the audio when this happens. The screen freezes when this happens (e.g., the second hand on the clock does not move). When the system locks up, it locks up my router (Netgear WNDR 4000) and will not allow other computers on my home network (or Wi-Fi) to access the internet.

When it first started locking up, Windows 7 would forget the SSD and cause huge delays in getting the system running again, so I put a WD 1 TB in as the C: drive. It didn't eliminate the freeze-ups, but allows me to just reboot. Since the original build, I've replaced the ATI 5770 with an Nvidia 660 GTX 2 GB.

The computer has been extensively stress-tested at a local computer shop. No anomalies in the memory, processor, or video. The computer shop can't get it to lock up but they don't actually use it and I don't think they attach it to their network.

When the computer locks up, there is no associated error or warning in the logs. The logs say that the computer was restarted without proper shutdown, but that's from me pressing the reset button. I've updated the BIOS to the most recent version and run things like PC Pitstop, which declares it to have no problems with drivers or anything else.

I've switched out keyboard and mouse. I've tried running it with nothing attached to USB except the keyboard and mouse.

I've searched online for info about problems with my router but found nothing that really points to router problems as being able to lock up a system. In any case, when I reboot my computer, it releases its lock on the network and everything goes back to working normally on it and other devices.

The problem seems to occur when heavy video processing (I often produce lengthy 1920 x 1080 video in various formats) has occurred but seems not to lock up directly related to those activities.

So now I'm considering getting another motherboard. Before I go down the path of spending even more money and trying to recertify my OEM version of Windows for a new mobo, I thought I'd ask if you folks have any ideas about how to solve this problem.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 94 V Motherboard
February 28, 2013 11:50:00 AM

1) Does the SSD have the latest firmware update?

2) Are you running the latest UEFI version for the motherboard?

3) Do you have any IRST drivers installed? If so are they the latest version?


-Raja
March 1, 2013 11:05:31 AM

raja@asus said:
1) Does the SSD have the latest firmware update?

2) Are you running the latest UEFI version for the motherboard?

3) Do you have any IRST drivers installed? If so are they the latest version?


-Raja


1. The SSD is not currently installed. These problems are occurring with a regular hard drive.

2. I need a clarification. I've updated the bios using the Asus utility that came with the mobo. From your comment I'm assuming that updating UEFI is a separate process. Is this correct?

3. No IRST drivers installed. Board is not overclocked or modified from basic configuration in any other way.

Thanks.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 94 V Motherboard
March 1, 2013 12:08:26 PM

drthuppy said:


2. I need a clarification. I've updated the bios using the Asus utility that came with the mobo. From your comment I'm assuming that updating UEFI is a separate process. Is this correct?



Thanks.



2. No, same thing. UEFI just replaced legacy BIOS. You can read up on UEFI here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Extensible_Firmwar...



If there are no error logs then this is more likely a hardware related issue than a software related problem.


Do those memory modules have an XMP profile? If so enable it. If that makes no difference to the frequency of the lock ups, power down the system and remove one memory module. Power back up, and set the memory frequency manually to DDR3-1066 (again using the XMP profile). Run the system like that for a few days and see if you get as many lock ups.

-Raja
March 3, 2013 12:48:15 PM

I'll check on the XMP profile. If that makes no difference, I'll try the changes with memory, and I'll report back within a week of what happened.

Thanks for your help.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 94 V Motherboard
March 4, 2013 5:04:11 AM

No probs. Let me know how it goes.
March 16, 2013 8:59:10 AM

Changing the UEFI setting to WMP helped to cut down on the lockups. I'm still sometimes having problems with very heavy video processing in Adobe Premier Pro and Encore. You mentioned removing one of the memory modules and reducing the frequency to 1000. Why is it necessary to remove one of the memory modules? Is it possible to reduce the frequency without first removing one of the modules. Thanks for your help.
March 16, 2013 8:59:52 AM

Reduce frequency to 1066, not 1000.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 94 V Motherboard
March 18, 2013 11:23:32 AM

drthuppy said:
Changing the UEFI setting to WMP helped to cut down on the lockups. I'm still sometimes having problems with very heavy video processing in Adobe Premier Pro and Encore. You mentioned removing one of the memory modules and reducing the frequency to 1000. Why is it necessary to remove one of the memory modules? Is it possible to reduce the frequency without first removing one of the modules. Thanks for your help.



Hi,

Running one module is easier on the memory controller. If one module is stable on its own, it either means the other is faulty, or that the memory timings/frequency needs to be relaxed to get the kit stable.

-Raja
March 26, 2013 5:51:02 AM

My system has 4 modules of 4 GB each. Rather than removing three and lowering the total memory too much, I went in and lowered the frequency while keeping all four in place. I'll report on the results when using Adobe to produce Blu-Ray discs.

I also have a problem with USB 3 connections on the motherboard. How should I pursue that with Asus?

Thanks.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 94 V Motherboard
March 27, 2013 12:46:18 AM

drthuppy said:
My system has 4 modules of 4 GB each. Rather than removing three and lowering the total memory too much, I went in and lowered the frequency while keeping all four in place. I'll report on the results when using Adobe to produce Blu-Ray discs.

I also have a problem with USB 3 connections on the motherboard. How should I pursue that with Asus?

Thanks.



1) Reducing the DRAM frequency will help provided, the timings are suitably relaxed and reduce the IO to the capabilities of the memory controller and ICs on the DIMMs. Is that a single memory kit or have you combined two kits? If you have combined kits, that can make things tricky because both the SPD and XMP rpfile of the kit will be configured for single kit density, and not to kits operating in tandem. If it's a single kit, setting the XMP profile is a good place to start. Your initial post said you had 2X8GB module and not 4X4GB... Something tells me your problem lies within this area somewhere. Either the kit needs timings relaxing, or more than one kit has been combined.

The fact that the XMP profile helped somewhat tells me it is a timing issue. I'm just not sure based on the info you have provided me, how many kits you've combined to make 4X4GB modules. If it's a single kit, we'll have an easier time getting the kit stable. If it's more, then running a lower frequency may not be enough.

As a debug I usually run the system on a signle module for a few days and see if it impacts and of the freezing issues. If it does not, I know the issue lies elsewhere. If it does, then I know I'm dealing with a timing and possibly voltage issue. It's just an easy debug method -it does not mean you have to run the system that way ALL the time. Once you've determined where a problem lies, you can go about working it out of the system.

2) Depends on what the issues with the USB 3.0 ports are. If not working with certain devices or not working at all. The former would likely be a firmware/driver issue - either the USB 3.0 controller, or the device being used.

-Raja
April 6, 2013 6:24:38 AM

Thanks to everyone who responded. The lock-up problem has, based on recent performance, been resolved. I also have not had crashes of Premiere Pro, though I admit I have not stress-tested it by producing an hour-long 1920 x 1080 avi file. I'll get around to doing that soon just to make sure that it is all stable now.

My apologies for originally mis-reporting the number of memory modules. I truly thought that there were two 8 gb modules in there until I opened the case and saw 4 4gb modules. If I have further problems, I will remove three and try various stress-tests on just one 4 gb module.

Thanks for improving the quality of my life by helping me to solve this problem.
!