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Freezing PC and Flickering Screen

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 22, 2012 12:10:01 AM

Hello everyone,

My name is Jake and I am a well experienced with computers and fixing them. Saddly I have run into some problems beyond my skill level. I would like to thank everyone who offers help to me.

Now to the specs.

Home Made PC:
AMD Phenom II x4 3.2ghz CPU
MSI NF750-G55 MB
4x4gb dd3 1600 vengeance ram
Rocketfish 900w psu
200gb hard drive w/ OS
750gb hardd rive w/ Old OS
(currently only motherboard 750n for video card)

I do have two main video cards i currently do not have inserted.
Galaxy Nvidia Geforce GTS 250 1gb ddr3
PNY Nvidia Geforce 9800 GTX+ 512mb ddr3

Problems:
Originally about 2 weeks ago my computer was refusing to boot at all. I finally figured out it was a bad ram stick so i preceded to upgrade my self to 16gb of ram from my previous 4gb. This did it allowing me to boot my computer into windows 7. Although shortly after my sucess my computer started freezing while i was using it. This problem had been around in the past although it rarely happened. It continued freezing until faster and faster after boot. So i decided to look into fixing this new development.

Thats were I start having trouble. I have done a cmd chkdsk r/ and on the 4th phase it froze. After a second try it again stopped at 34% on phase 4. So i then tried several different live cds to look into the problem. In the end i decided i would reinstall windows 7 on my 200gb hard drive instead of my 750gb hard drive. The problem was not fixed so I figured its not my hard drive. (Am I right?)

After my test i was led to think it was my video card. At the time I had my Geforce GTS 250 inserted. So i took it out and put in my old Geforce 9800GTX. Saddly for some reason I could not get a picture from my Geforce 9800GTX. So I reverted to internal video card built into my msi Motherboard.

Once i did this the freezing has seemed to stop. Although now i have a new problem. The screen flickers at any resolution higher that 720p roughly. In the past before i had either of my video cards that never happened.

My questions:
What part of my computer is most likly broke? (motherboard or video card)
What programs can i use to test my video cards, motherboard or hard drive?
What your advice as a next step?
Anything i didn't cover or you want to know?
January 22, 2012 12:57:38 AM

For some reason, a part of me wants to blame your PSU. Do you have a spare quality PSU or one you can borrow from a friend to test in your system?

Edit: How old is the PSU?
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January 22, 2012 12:58:19 AM

Okay just froze again. So its not my video card at least.
Maybe my motherboard or cpu? over heating?

Whats a good program to test CPU temp?
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January 22, 2012 1:00:38 AM

PSU is about 1 and 1/2 years old. I have a really old PSU but I know know if it powerful enough to run my pc its only 450w and it came with my case so i dont trust it.
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January 22, 2012 1:16:37 AM

gamemore said:
Okay just froze again. So its not my video card at least.
Maybe my motherboard or cpu? over heating?

Whats a good program to test CPU temp?


I use CPUID's HWMonitor. Speedfan is also one some people use.

Try your best to get another quality PSU to test on your system.

In the meantime, it might be wise to breadboard your system to test the parts.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-262730_13_0.ht...
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January 22, 2012 1:24:32 AM

I think you should also be able to check your temperatures in the BIOS. It could still be the motherboard. I doubt it's overheating. Do you overclock or anything? How's the system look in terms of dust accumulated?

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January 22, 2012 2:52:42 AM

Okay i'll see about getting a new psu tomorrow.

Edit: Clean for the most part on the inside and i dont overclock. I'd rather just buy the power i need instead.
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January 22, 2012 3:02:09 AM

Just to shed more light on the situation, can you check the mobo for bad capacitors?

There is still a chance it is the mobo, but I'm leaning towards the PSU. The best way to test the PSU situation is to get a PSU that is powering a similar system if you somehow are able to borrow one from someone. If you are buying a new PSU, try to get a PSU from a company like Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, etc (a reputable company).

Edit: Just checked on newegg. Quite a bit of negative reviews on this particular mobo.
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January 22, 2012 3:26:25 AM

Yeah at the time i thought my motherboard was going to be great but the down road I found out they did a bad job mixing amd and nvidia. So yeah I've had a lot of hick-ups with mine too. My hybrid sli doesn't work and had problems running my last ram at 1333 speed. So yeah not a favorite Motherboard.

BestBuy may let me exchange my PSU, if so i'll look for the brands you listed. Rocketfish is a BestBuy brand. (didn't know that at the time of purchase)

Edit:
Forgot to say I have checked the motherboard in the past for bad capacitors but didn't see any. (was like 2 weeks ago)
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January 22, 2012 3:41:55 AM

Ah i see. Well, keep us posted. Hopefully a new PSU fixes it.
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January 22, 2012 3:45:45 AM

May I ask why my psu would make my computer freeze rather than making it shutdown?
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January 22, 2012 4:19:12 AM

I wouldn't claim to be an expert on such things, but from what I remember, a dying PSU might supply inconsistent power to parts. I don't have the knowledge to provide a detailed explanation, but my impression is that if parts like the hard drive and graphics card are receiving bad power, it means they may be getting decent power every now and then, which might account for the system not completely shutting off. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong or can provide a detailed explanation. Having said that, things like the hard drive and graphics card still have connections to the motherboard so a bad motherboard can also cause weird things like what you are experiencing.

Edit: I'm guessing your system crashes in safe mode as well? I want to suggest running Memtest but I'm afraid it might freeze as well like it did in chkdsk.
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January 22, 2012 4:21:38 AM

Oh okay that makes since. Well we will see how things turn out tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
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January 22, 2012 9:01:01 PM

Okay in the past i have ran live cds and they didn't freeze. Also yes it has froozen in safe mode. Granted the freezing in chkdsk made a windows boot error and after fixing that safe mode has never frozen. Also my computer ran all last night with out freezing. (no video card in last night) So i'm thinking its the psu because with more psu strain it would make since for it to have more unstable power.

Freezing seems random so sometimes it might now freeze after 2hrs other times it freezes after only 15mins. I've done a memtest and it didn't freeze and came out clear.

I went by BestBuy today and successfully exchanged my rocketfish 900w psu for a Corsair GS700w psu. Best part was i made 16 dollars in this transaction.

I'm currently on break at work. So once i get home in 2 or 3 hours i'll post again with the results of the new PSU.

Edit:
Just put the new PSU into my computer. Computer sounds better honestly, less noise and cleaner hard drive sounds. So after my installing my PSU, I also installed my 250 GTS. I then proceeded to boot into windows 7. After a quick screen resolution switch I got the blue screen of dead and the computer restarted. I think the blue screen was do the the video card addition. After that i havn't had any problems. (only been like 15mins though)

So i'll keep you posted on any problems. If everything works fine until tomorrow, I'll post on here again letting you know.
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January 23, 2012 12:57:31 AM

Okay froze again with the new PSU. (must say i like the new psu better though)

So crap! My guess is mother board but who knows.

Edit:
Sorry for triple posting (if its a rule)
Haven't read the rules yet.
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January 23, 2012 1:49:30 AM

Okay I suppose we have to start testing other parts I guess. Can you try to run your system with one stick of RAM each time? Hopefully we can eliminate some bad RAM as a possibility. I'm starting to think it's the mobo as well. I think triple posting should be fine.
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January 23, 2012 1:58:41 AM

What monitor do you have? I don't think it is the problem, but for the sake of being thorough I think it might be useful to have that information.
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January 23, 2012 2:08:09 AM

Okay quick quality check for the ram. (never know) My monitor is a Samsung SyncMaster 2333HD. I use it for my 360 all the time and its been 100% nice to me.
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January 23, 2012 2:16:21 AM

The RAM might actually be OK, but it is always wise to double check. As for the motherboard, the more I read about it, the more I want to recommend you get another one and just ditch the MSI. Some reviews from unsatisfied customers describe random freezes like the one you are experiencing. Also saw some about their mobos catching on fire :o 

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January 23, 2012 3:14:32 AM

...I need a fire hazard sticker lol

Okay well I tried booting up on 1 stick of ram and its impossible. I tried all four sticks of ram. It possible because I did it like 3 days ago with my old ram stick. So right now i'm testing 2 x 4gb sticks of vengeance. Seems to work fine but we will see.

Edit:
Think the ram is failing because its dual channel ram. Could be wrong dont know much about how dual channel works. I just match colors ;) 
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January 23, 2012 4:01:00 AM

Sorry you are right about the RAM. I wanted to ask about your BIOS version but I doubt that's the problem at all. Anyway, it probably is wise to get a new board sooner rather than later. I looked around on newegg and found some of these boards:

ASUS M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M5A88-V EVO AM3+ AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard $119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Maybe someone can recommend better boards or confirm the viability of these boards. I'm using an ASUS board that supports a FM1 socket so I don't have much experience with a AM3/AM3+ boards. However, I have owned ASUS boards for the most part and they have all been solid. Gigabyte and ASRock are also respected companies as well when it comes to motherboards.
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January 23, 2012 7:04:48 PM

Okay i think i'll invest into a intel board and a new processor just because i want an i7. any ideas on a good board that supports second generation i7 and nvidia?
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January 23, 2012 7:55:01 PM

Sounds like a good plan. If your computer is mostly used for gaming, most people would suggest that a i5 will give you just as much performance and still save you a lot of money.

Edit: This is a good budget board for a i5:

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $121.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also:

ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $124.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 23, 2012 8:25:13 PM

I guess i'll go for the z68 was already looking at that one before you even mentioned it. will it fit into a mid tower atx?
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January 23, 2012 9:01:11 PM

Yeah it will.
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January 23, 2012 9:15:48 PM

hmm just looked at a chart of top processors for gaming and mine is number one for price and performance value. So would it be a good idea to keep my amd and nvidia combo. I keep hearing that its no good.

Plus I priced a new processor and thats a bit more that i was wanting to pay.
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January 23, 2012 9:46:15 PM

I didn't think your Phenom was that bad earlier. Thought you were going to ebay it or something. If anything, you will probably have a better gaming experience if you upgrade your graphics card.
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January 24, 2012 2:53:01 AM

Yeah after some research i came up with an ultimate answer. The motherboard below is what i had in mind getting. What are your thoughts?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yeah i figured the money would be better spent on a new video card. Compared to mine 200 bucks could by a Graphics card that is 3 times better than the one i have. Anyway let me know your thought and if you think its good i'll order it tonight.
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January 24, 2012 4:12:20 AM

That looks like a good board with a lot of solid features. Should be a nice investment :) 
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January 24, 2012 4:50:06 AM

Okay ordered and should be here tomorrow or the next day. Thanks for your help. I'll post on here once tomorrow and then will post when ever i get the motherboard.

Of course i'll post the results.
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January 24, 2012 4:57:48 AM

My pleasure. Looking forward to the results. :) 
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January 25, 2012 5:58:39 AM

Look like i'll be getting my board more around 1/26/2012 so i'll post again after everything is up and running.
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January 25, 2012 6:32:02 AM

Too late, but for a clarity in your issues, a dumb question....
Were all your Ram sticks had same FSB?. I once experienced such problems with two different FSB speeds incompatible with mobo FSB.

All of your symptoms tell much like a bad RAM but you proved it wasn't.

Another possible guess is, like some of the mobo component after warming up looks breaking and ruining its VI characteristics.

Screen Flicker : Are you using any VGA to DVI or such convertor?. I recently had similar effect finally I end up replacing new GPU card which later I found it was the convertor issue not my old GPU issue.

Cheers
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January 25, 2012 9:23:12 PM

Yeah all the ram is the same speed and the screen only flickered when i used the internal video chipset.

I got the new motherboard a day early. So i'll post again with results.

Edit:
I now have everything back into the case and after some minor drive issues my original windows 7 configuration seems to be working great. I havn't tested out everything but so far my computer has not completely frozen. After a full test of everything i'll post on here one last time to confirm everything has been fixed.
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January 26, 2012 3:19:41 AM

Okay i think i've more less tested everything possible and to my delight my computer is now run at 100% again. Thank you hpdeskjet for your help.

So problem solved.
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January 26, 2012 5:46:58 AM

Glad you got it working :) 
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!