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System freezes/blank screen in bios and windows

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January 18, 2012 6:56:51 PM

tl.dr: System freezes i bios and in windows, sometimes only when running 3D?!? Lots of solutions tried.


Alright, So my old system was the following:
Athlon 64 x2 5600+
4x1GB corsair xmp
MSI K9neo AM2
Ati 5770 HD
2x750GB spinpoint F1 in raid 0
250gb HDD as extra
Energon Eps 650W (I know this is basically inter-tech which makes it bad, but I want to hear if you have other suggestions)


I choose to upgrade with this:
i5 2500k
Asrock extreme3 gen3
2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LP

I had a ton of problems, mainly that my dvd drive turned out to have ata connection and thus I had to install windows via other means.
Long story short I got a bootable usb drive with windows 7 now.

Here are some of the odd problems I have had however:
The screen would randomly go blank while looking at the bios, Sometimes the GPU fan would spin to 100% and stay there when the screen went, most times not.
I tried a lot of things (swapping RAM around, reseating heatsink, checking power cables etc.) I tried without my GPU plugged in, and that seemed to do the trick. Later I put it back in, and the problems did not return, so I suspected that it hadn't been seated properly.

I managed to install windows, And checked trough the temperatures of everything, and all temps where quite reasonable (CPU 30C idle 64C full load, GPU 30C idle 45-50C full load)
everything worked as expected right up to the point where I played a 3D game for the first time. 2-3 minutes into the game, that same black screen. Sound would also loop/spass out, and there was no way to shut down the computer other than "hold power button for 4 seconds"
I tried a lot of things, including looking at temperatures alot, and i did a full memtest 87+ to see if the ram was fine (they where).
I tried uninstalling every "not strictly nescesary" driver and underclocked cpu/ram/gpu to see if any of that would help. It did, now it was about 10 minutes before the freeze.

I decided on a fresh windows install, with nothing other than gpu driver, to rule out everything else.
This time the freeze hit while i was downloading the driver. next time, before i could even start the download.
Going back to the bios, it is now as bad as it was to begin with.


Now, the PSU is the one suspect I have a hard time testing, I do not have a spare one available.
I don't see why it would create a problem however, the new system should not use significantly more power than the old one, and any system with a 5770 and not much else should be fine with a 450W power supply, so even if my PSU is cheap it should be plenty!


Suggestions?
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2012 7:06:40 PM

That is the problem with sucky PSUs, the problems can disguise themselves as problems with any other part.

Also, you are putting entirely too much trust in the labeled wattage. There is little to suggest that your 650w PSU can even put out 250w much less 450w.

Generic PSU makers have a habit of lying on the labels. The only labels that I trust to be telling the truth are the ones by Antec, Corsair, or any PSU made with Seasonic as the OEM.

Otherwise, I mostly just assume that they are writing a number that is twice or more of as high of a wattage as it really puts out.

I think you should seriously look into buying a different PSU. At least that would allow you to trust the foundation that everything else is built on.

After all, if you can't trust that then what can you trust?

Two good ones are the Antec EarthWatts 430w and the XFX 450w.
January 18, 2012 7:15:32 PM

I used to run this system with a 7800GTX and later a 9800GTX of an even smaller (500w) cheap psu and never had a problem (though they did die after about 2 years a piece, which is a bit suspicious) I guess that was just blind luck.
Do you think I would have more luck sticking to a single harddrive and avoiding other things that might use power untill I can get another PSU? I definitely cannot afford a good psu this month.

EDIT: I read that the 650w eps is CWT manufactured, I am not sure if that makes things better or worse.

EDIT2: What sort of PSU do you recon I should get in order to be able to go crossfire with another 5770, or perhaps go for a single strong card? (gtx570/580 for instance)

EDIT3: I used the thermaltake calculator here: http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power
And aparently I should be able to run 2x 5770 with 500w (taking into account a future SSD, an overclock of CPU and a possible soundcard) However I would probably need a 600w for a single strong card.
Those 5770's are quite neat performance per watt! (though I am concerned about micro stuttering)
Related resources
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2012 8:07:14 PM

The video card is the single biggest user of power in almost every computer. Many times it uses more power by itself than all the rest of the other parts put together including the processor.

Stuff like a hard drive, a sound card, and stuff like that don't add much of anything to the total.

CWT is one of those PSU makers that will make a PSU with whatever specifications that they are given. They don't turn down making a PSU if it will suck when it is used even if they know that is how its going to turn out.

If they are given a high quality design they will produce a high quality PSU based on it. If they are given a bad design they will produce a bad PSU with it.

Seasonic refuses to make a PSU if it will suck when people try to use it. They only accept high quality designs for production.

An XFX 550w or 650w would do fine for crossfire 5770 or single 580s or less. Maybe even for 2x 580s, though that would likely be greater than 100% of stated wattage on a regular basis.

I don't think it would last a long time like that, but it could probably last long enough to save up for another PSU like that.

The XFX 650w has been tested to reach as high as 900+w in standard conditions for short periods, unlike some 650ws that are tested to work at about 300w in standard conditions.

I do agree that 5770s are good in the performance per watt category. The 6770 moreso and the 7770 will be better still.

That being said, my favorite budget card right now is the 6850.

If you want to sit there with the current PSU in the system you might want to drop back to one of your older cards like the 9800 GTX for long enough to get a new PSU.
January 18, 2012 9:36:17 PM

I hate to correct you when you are helping me, but the 5770 and 6770 is the same chip (only difference is 3D-glasses feature)
I might pop my old motherboard and CPU back in, aparently that is just within what the PSU can manage.
the 9800GTX is long dead sadly, but I suspect it use more power then the 5770 anyway (I never ran it with the current PSU)

I am still a bit surprised that my upgrade managed to tip the balance on the PSU, the difference between the old setup and the new is probably 30 watt at most. (on that calc they land 1W apart)
And then there is the issue with it crashing in bios. Surely the bios should not load things enough for the PSU to become unstable (Earlier I ran Prime95 for quite some time to test the temps, and had no PSU problem)
I'll have to get a proper PSU sooner or later, but I will keep looking for other problems for now.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2012 2:00:46 AM

I could swear the 6770 has better openGL support and better Tesselation performance by a small margin, but I could be wrong.

In any event, I suggested a trustworthy PSU now because it is extremely difficult to isolate a problem if the PSU isn't trustworthy. At best you can narrow anything down to "either THIS or the PSU".

Anyway, if you can freeze in the BIOS, the only thing it can really be is a hardware failure of a core component
1) Processor
2) Motherboard
3) RAM
4) PSU
5) Video card

You sound pretty confident that the RAM isn't the problem after the MemTest86+ results.

The 5770 you were using before the upgrade, so I am going to assume that is good.

If those two things are to be considered ruled out, that leaves PSU, CPU, and motherboard as potential sources of problems.

None of them can be more easily and cheaply tested than the PSU, but if you know someone that has a similar system feel free to try your parts in their system and vice versa.
January 19, 2012 5:33:24 PM

I finally had the grand idea to take my graphics card out of the system again, if the PSU was the problem, that might make the difference.
It did and I have been 3D gaming for a few hours with the intel HD 3000, so unless there are some motherboard problem with PCI-E specifically, it is the PSU as you said.
I am looking at new PSU at the moment, whatever I buy, it will have some form of 80+ rating and a good review from some respected site. I've yet to decide wether to buy one that is fairly cheap, and will do for now. or one that is massive overkill, but will serve me in the future. (ie, a decend 450/500w versus the HX750 or similar)
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2012 5:44:44 PM

The ONLY two sites you should accept a review from are

www.hardwaresecrets.com
and
www.JohnnyGuru.com

No others. Well, there are others, but to keep it simple just stick with those.

Here is a link to every PSU review that HardwareSecrets has done

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/type/2

You can search for the specific maker/model among those to see if they have what you are considering.

If you want to make it even simpler, just get an XFX Pro 650w Core.

Good price after the usual rebates, excellent quality, will handle any 1x video card setup that I am aware of as well as most 2x setups.
January 19, 2012 6:42:38 PM

I have been using this list: http://www.overclock.net/t/738097/psu-review-database#p...
We don't have the "rebate circus" in Denmark, and we have a bit higher hardware prices in general (though its gotten better the last few years I think)
In the cheap end I am considering the OCZ 500W ModXStream Pro
Midprice: Corsair TX650 v2
Expensive: Corsair 750HX (Which is actually gold rating despite them claiming silver, and is good for 900W according to reviews)

The expensive option is more than 2x the price of the cheap one... its a weighing between price and future room for hardware expansion (the mid and expensive one has pretty decend efficiency even at 10%, so that's not a concern)
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2012 6:53:04 PM

I would skip the OCZ, it definitely isn't made by Seasonic.

If the other ones aren't Seasonic, I would skip those too and try to find one that is.
!