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Haunted Homebuit System????

Last response: in Systems
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June 17, 2012 5:43:52 PM

Ok. First, you should grab your favorite reading beverage because this is an interesting and long tale. I may need some major help or it could be something super simple. I think it is going to be major.

I'll try to keep this as short as possible while getting all the details to you. I have been a Ubuntu linux user for about 6 years and I love it. I would never go back to Microsoft windows. While I am not all that technical, I can hack and slash my way through a problem by trying bunches of solutions I find on forums until the problem fixes, or it does not. In which case, a few months later I notice that the problem fixed itself. That is what I love about linux in general, it just mostly works. Now I don't know if this problem has to do with the os itself. I have switched from 10.04 LTS to 12.04 LTS and the problem still continues.

What is the problem you ask? Well, the quick and dirty answer is that my computer randomly freezes. Please wait to hear the whole story before you begin to diagnose, there is a bit of history to this one. I have had this problem for about 4 years. Let's begin at the beginning.

I received a broken computer from a friend a few years back and although I forget exactly how or why it was a broken system. I eventually erased the two 120 GB HDDs and installed Ubuntu. I believe, that the computer still did not work correctly so I replaced the MoBo, memory and the PSU and this is when the random freezing started. The random freezing would happen every few days. Or it would go for weeks not happening and then happen three times in a row within minutes.

The second setup I had then was an AMD based system with 2GB of ram, no video card, (2) 120GB HDD, 700w PSU. It should have been a stable system. It was not a power house by any means. When this system would crash, first the mouse would freeze, and then about 5 seconds later the screen would either blank out or have a bunch of small, horizontal purple and white lines. It would not look good. If music was playing, it would skip like a broken record. At first I thought the problem was with the video output.

Actually that reminds me of the original problem with the original system. Sometimes it would power up and I could use the system. Other times, it sounded like it powered up, but I did not get any video. And it was a random event each time I turned it on. So I figured if I switched out the MoBo and memory, I should be good to go! And that is why the modded system was better than the original; while it turned on every time, it would randomly freeze. So I figured I did not put much money into the system better to just live with it.

Anyways, I first thought the problem was with the video output but that turned up nothing. I called the MoBo people to help me but they were not very helpful. I put postings on the Ubuntu forum, only to run into dead ends. Like I said before, I just lived with it; it was very annoying.

So fast forward, four years later to now, 2012. I have since replaced the case, the MoBo (Asus P8Z77-V LX), CPU (i5-3570K), 8GB Ram (Corsair XMS3), new 600 watt PSU (Diablotek), 60GB SSD, a new optical drive, even a nice Cooler master CPU cooler, and the OS to a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04. This is the bitchenest computer I have ever built! And this was the same theory as last time, if I change out the components, the problem should go away! This theory proved to be false a second time.

I originally replaced the MoBo and memory and added the SSD to the mix. I got a freeze. I then started thinking, it must be one of the components, tied to the first original system that is making the computer freeze. There was a firewire/usb card that I did not use, so I removed that; freeze. Replaced the wifi card; freeze. Maybe the case is shorting something out? Replaced the case; freeze. I just replaced the PSU, had the computer running for about 18 hours yesterday to test it and this morning... yup!; freeze. I should also note that with this third setup, when the freeze would come on, the only thing to happen is the mouse and keyboard freeze/ become non-responsive and the only way to shut off the computer is by a long press the power button. The screen would not blank out or get jumbled this time around. Progress! Right?

Well anyway, that is where I am today. I've replaced a whole system to fix a problem and the problem still follows it. That's why my wife thinks the computer is haunted. The only thing that is still from the first and original system are the two 120 GB HDDs. Is it possible the HDDs were the culprit the whole time? Seems unlikely as the OS is on the SSD and the two 120s are for storage. I was so sure yesterday that it had the be a faulty PSU all these years. Then the freeze happened this morning and my heart sank a little. I am so frustrated with this issue that I want to end it very soonly. Thanks for reading this. I hope you found it mildly entertaining and may have some suggestions for me on how to isolate and troubleshoot this nagging issue I have been living with for the past 4 years. Please let me know if you need any other information. Thanks!
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 5:53:30 PM

One other component that carried forward is Ubuntu.
I would suspect that first.
Can you borrow a windows 7 dvd and install it, but don't try to activate. You will have 30 days to see how it does.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 6:12:49 PM

the kyeboard+mouse are the only things that got recycled off the first machine right? might want to check that out with a replacement. I had a delux gaming mouse that made my rig freeze ever so often. gave it a kick to the bin - and my problem was solved.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 6:24:35 PM

From your symptoms I would suggest power supply. Diablotec is one of the worst power supplys you can buy.
link for power supply ratings. Diablotec is in the do not buy, replace as soon as possible category.
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

The second culprit would be the power coming into the house.
A friend of mine lives on the end of the power line . We had to install whole house supressors in the power panel and a UPS to keep it from killing his computer every few months. He constantly had power surges and brownouts.
Haunted? probably not but it is most likely in your power circuitry.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 6:29:10 PM

^ hmm interesting.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 7:33:02 PM

first off if it the same cpu...the cpu could have some bad cache in the cpu or a bent pin. on the new mb did you update the bios..new z77 and x68 have new cpu code and memory. for the ram did you check that it was on the mb qul list or it was tested by the vendor for z77 mb? did you check that the asus mb has set the ram speed and timing up right?? saw this on another forum..look like it a chipset issue and gpu issue with mb and your software.
http://askubuntu.com/questions/146131/intel-ivy-bridge-...
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June 18, 2012 3:48:03 AM

geofelt said:
One other component that carried forward is Ubuntu.
I would suspect that first.
Can you borrow a windows 7 dvd and install it, but don't try to activate. You will have 30 days to see how it does.


That is not a bad idea, however I have used maybe three different ubuntu os's over the past four years and the problem remains. I will try this out, but I don't really hold any hope as there have been three different os's and two completely different hardware setups.
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June 18, 2012 3:51:41 AM

Lutfij said:
the kyeboard+mouse are the only things that got recycled off the first machine right? might want to check that out with a replacement. I had a delux gaming mouse that made my rig freeze ever so often. gave it a kick to the bin - and my problem was solved.


Well I've had the keyboard and mouse before the problem started. So if it is the keyboard and mouse, the problem should have showed up before now. I could try it as a long shot.
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June 18, 2012 3:58:59 AM

Unolocogringo said:
From your symptoms I would suggest power supply. Diablotec is one of the worst power supplys you can buy.
link for power supply ratings. Diablotec is in the do not buy, replace as soon as possible category.
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

The second culprit would be the power coming into the house.
A friend of mine lives on the end of the power line . We had to install whole house supressors in the power panel and a UPS to keep it from killing his computer every few months. He constantly had power surges and brownouts.
Haunted? probably not but it is most likely in your power circuitry.



Thanks for the link. That is very useful! The first PSU was an OCZ 700 watt ModXstream which is listed at tier three. The freezes happened with it. That is why I replaced it with the Diablotek. I may have to change it out later with a more expensive one if the cheaper fixes do not work.

As far as the power coming into the house, I think we can rule that out as I have an HTPC that runs with no problems and we have moved within the past four years.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2012 4:27:05 AM

if its regarding the mains...I'd try to be sure that the wiring and the power in your house is clean. many times out of ... 10 its the wiring+power that wreaks havoc on people with grounding issues/freezes or even static on the speakers.
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June 19, 2012 10:29:37 PM

Lutfij said:
if its regarding the mains...I'd try to be sure that the wiring and the power in your house is clean. many times out of ... 10 its the wiring+power that wreaks havoc on people with grounding issues/freezes or even static on the speakers.



I'm pretty sure it is not the power because we have moved from one house to another and the problem still happens. Plus we have a HTPC that works fine like wine. Must be the HDs.....
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June 30, 2012 1:15:46 PM

Just wanted to give an update. I updated the kernel following the instruction below (only for ivy bridge processors) and so far so good. I have not had any freezes in the past week. I did have a partial freeze like the day after the kernel update but nothing since. *knocks on wood*

http://partiallysanedeveloper.blogspot.com/2012/05/ivy-...
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 30, 2012 10:04:55 PM

Glad you are getting it narrowed down to a fix.
We have a Linux forum , you may want to check in that section also.
I ruled OS out as you stated you had upgraded kernels with no change. But I am not knowledgeable enough to help with kernel problems.
Every one has their specialties and mostly stays in the forums they are most helpful in.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-50.html
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2012 4:15:13 AM

wow, have missed quite alot. Glad to see you've knocked up onto a a solution! :) 
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