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My system randomly reboots. Prime suspects: graphic drivers / card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 25, 2012 10:04:20 AM

Hi everyone,

for some time now, I've had trouble with my computer rebooting at seemingly random occasions. Most of the time reboots occur when I try to play videos or games. The screen freezes for about 4 secs and then the computer restarts. I've had this problem for about 4 months but it wasn't until recently, when restarts became unbearably frequent. It's worth metioning, that the computer ran smoothly for more than a year, before this started to happen.

So far, I've tried scanning the computer for viruses (none found), re-installing system and format C, cleaning the computer from dust, unplugging any non-essential hardware, switching RAMs and putting them into different slots, but none of this helped. Overheating is not an issue, I checked.

Yesterday I found out that it runs just fine when I uninstall graphic drivers, but thats obviously not a very good solution. Newest drivers won't even let windows to start, second newest will, but it makes the system very unstable. When I use even older drivers, it seems a bit more stable and sometimes I'm able to run videos. I even got it to run a game for several minutes. Is it possible, that my graphic card is done for?

So if anyone has any similiar experience, advice or recommendation, your replies would be much appreciated, I'm all out of ideas.

SYSTEM SPECS
motherboard ASUS M4A77TD
CPU AMD Phenom II X4 945 Processor 3.00 GHz
GPU Gainward GeForce GTX 460 768MB GDDR5
2x2GB DDR3 RAM
550W PSU
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (SP1)

Oh, and please excuse my 10-year-old-child English, it's not my native language.
a b U Graphics card
February 25, 2012 10:29:20 AM

Its possible. Could also be your PSU. Im betting since you didnt name it, you dont know who made it. Thats a bad sign. Id try another quality PSU in it first. Then your vid card. Good PSUs are available from Corsair, XFX, Antec, Seasonsic. Try one of those of the 500w variety and see if it works.
a b U Graphics card
February 25, 2012 12:43:12 PM

Quote:
550W PSU



Since you failed to mention the make and model, I'm going to assume that's the likely problem.
Related resources
February 25, 2012 1:11:10 PM

So if I understand that correctly, the absence of graphic driver somehow lowers the power demand of my graphic card and therefore the system can run smoothly even with half-broken PSU? To be honest, I saved some money by buying cheaper PSU, so it makes sense that it would be the first component to go wrong.
a b U Graphics card
February 25, 2012 1:44:08 PM

Well its the difference between the PSU running your system, and your PSU running your system under load. 2 totally different things. By you removing the driver it acts like a standard VGA adapter. So it wont show anything spectacular, it also doesnt pull the power cause its on desktop or in IE or whatever.
a b U Graphics card
February 26, 2012 1:30:05 PM

Keep in mind a generic 500w psu may only put out an actual 300w. A quality 500w psu will put out 500w.
February 26, 2012 3:18:52 PM

geekapproved said:
Keep in mind a generic 500w psu may only put out an actual 300w. A quality 500w psu will put out 500w.

Yes, I realise that. That's why I ordered 600w Corsair PSU now. It's probably bit of an overkill considering my computer specs, but at least it will be ready for eventual upgrade of other components.
Now I can only hope that faulty PSU is really the cause of my problems.
a b U Graphics card
February 27, 2012 2:02:48 PM

I hope it fixes your problem.
February 27, 2012 9:51:37 PM

Ok, it didn't fix the problem. I'm still experiencing random reboots, but for some reason they are a lot less frequent. Well at least my problem has now moved from unbearable category to just annoying. Guess I'll have to live with it until I make some decent money to do something about it. I don't regret buying new PSU though, it was relatively cheap and at least I don't have to use that loud crappy old one now.
I'll probably continue to test other components when I can get my hands on some from my friends or such.
a b U Graphics card
February 28, 2012 1:49:23 PM

I would look at the memory. Check the sticker on your dimms and make sure that's what the bios settings are.

If the voltage, speed and timings are set correctly, then I would run memtest86 on the memory to check for errors.
February 28, 2012 2:07:54 PM

I troubleshooted for over a year with random reboots during games. Long story short...I bought a second graphics card to run in SLI for more demanding games off eBay, but the card turned out to be faulty.

Turns out it'd run fine just surfing the internet, but in high demanding games it would randomly cause my system to restart. I too thought it was a power supply issue or overheating and sunk money into overkill high quality PSU and better ventilation for my system. But still suffered from the reboots.

Finally tested the card by itself and not in SLI and still experienced reboots. Swapped the eBay card out for my original card and haven't rebooted since. Not sure what the problem with card was, but the play time would vary between 1 hour to 4 hours + of game play. Guess it was hitting a bad memory sector and crashing?

If you can get your hands on a second graphics card, I'd start testing that next. Try borrowing one from a friend and playing the same game and see if it crashes your system. Test the new card over several days even a week to confirm your current card is bad.

Best of luck.
February 29, 2012 8:26:30 AM

I got thinking about what geekapproved said about checking my memory and decided it was worth the shot. Well now I know that it definitelly was. I'm not really very skilled when it comes to working with BIOS so only thing I knew how to do was to change RAM frequency. When i changed it from auto to 1600MHz like it says on the sticker, it didn't really help. But from boredom and lack of other ideas, I decided to try out other frequencies as well and what do you know...the computer stopped rebooting when i set the frequency to 1000 and something.
Now I know that half day of smooth running doesn't guarantee that the problem won't come back, but this is longest session without reboot I've had in a month. Also I probably just suppressed the symptom and the cause remains unresolved since the memory isn't originally supposed to run od this frequency. But restarts stopping is good enough if you ask me.
Anyway, thanks a lot all you guys who took time to read through this thread and reply, I really appreciate it.
a b U Graphics card
February 29, 2012 1:47:22 PM

You don't just set the speed, you need to check the timings and voltage too.

What make and model is your memory? With AMD systems you can only run 1600mhz by overclocking. Otherwise you should be running at 1333mhz.
February 29, 2012 2:11:59 PM

geekapproved said:
You don't just set the speed, you need to check the timings and voltage too.

What make and model is your memory? With AMD systems you can only run 1600mhz by overclocking. Otherwise you should be running at 1333mhz.


Everything was set on auto, I just changed the frequency. And it was set this way for more than a year when everything worked just fine, so I don't think that the source of the problem is there. BTW few minutes ago it restarted again, so the solution wasn't as permanent as I hoped it would be.
About the memory, i found the order form and it says: RAM Kingston 2x2HB DDR3 1600 MHz HyperX CL9 (KHX1600C9D3BK2/4G)
a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 4:41:40 PM

That's my point, if your memory is 1.8v and your bios defaults to 1.5v, your going to have problems running at 1600mhz, it will probably default to 1333.

And just cause it WAS working fine, doesn't mean it didn't change itself, it happens, sometimes bios changes itself even after it worked fine for years. Could be something as simple as an abrupt power surge, restart or failed overclock attempt.
a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 4:46:59 PM

I am unable to find that part number on Kingston's website, so you have to look at the sticker to find the voltage requirements.
!