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My PC has the blues (Gaming Rig suffers from BSOD)

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  • Gaming
  • Blue Screen
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Last response: in Systems
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June 28, 2012 10:45:18 AM

Well guys, I finally got the sick gaming rig I always wanted. Things were sailing along so smoothly; I managed to play a few games at max settings for a good few hours before wrapping it up and calling it a night until... *CRASH* Suddenly out of the blue, that screen of death prompted me with trouble and frustration: A Blue Screen of Death. Please, I'm in dire need of your help in this call to action. Time to get serious.

Specifications:
Mobo: Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H - with the GC-WB300D Wifi network card, currently in use
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770k Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz - Stock/not OC'd - Temps range from 28c-65c max/full load
Deemed to NOT be the culprit -> GPU: ASUS DCII Top GeForce GTX 670
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB(2 x 8GB) Low-profile model
PSU: Corsair HX Professional Series 850w
OS: Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) - currently in trial version
I'd like to state that all of my components are at stock speeds since I've had this rig running.

Throughout the time I had been testing this build I've been halted by several BSODs(blue screens). The first few BSODs seemed to have occurred after some light gaming(30mins max). As far as I can decipher from what BlueScreenView has told me, these first BSODs were all caused by the same problem. They all read as "124" errors which apparently is a hardware problem.

From what I've read of other users experiences, I assumed it was my graphics card, the Asus 670 DirectCU II TOP(factory OC'd), which has had allot of RMA's (despite it's positive reviews), so I swapped it out with my ATI Radeon 5550(which has been reliable to me). After swapping the GPU I was still prompted with blue screens so I had decided to perform some stress tests on my components to find the real culprit.

I started with a blend test in prime95 and BSOD'd after about 30mins(I walked away for a moment, but the test did run for a bit before crashing). So I figured it could be either the CPU, RAM or maybe even the motherboard. I followed up with a test in Memtest to check my RAM. I ran Memtest for 12½hrs with 38 passes and no errors (should I have ran it longer?), so I can rule out the RAM.

I then focused strictly on the CPU in prime95 with a "Small FFTs" test and have received 3 BSODs for each test. So, to my evaluation I believe it's most likely the CPU at fault or it could be the motherboard. My biggest question is, how can I determine whether the CPU or motherboard is at fault. As far as I know, the "Small FFTs" test in Prime95 stresses both the CPU and Mobo, so from my results I believe I can narrow it down to these two.

Are there any other variables or possible cause to this problem I should consider. I believe by the end of this I will be issuing an RMA, but I'm still not sure which component is faulty, so I don't want to send the wrong product back. Maybe I did something wrong whilst building the PC(could be physical damage) or installing drivers/software. I'm really not sure.

I'll try to provided as much info as I can:

Here's the HTML report from BlueScreenViewer:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/63718540/report.html

Here is the 8-page stress test/troubleshooting hardware guide I've been following:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/how-to-stress-test-y...;siu-container

Here's a tutorial on Memtest I've followed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaHL9usaM4Q

A tutorial on Prime95 I followed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJx8NPjzOuA

A small photo album of my detailed specifications, tests, and error reports:
http://imgur.com/a/aO2Av/all

Sorry for the massive post but I'd really appreciate any help.

More about : blues gaming rig suffers bsod

June 28, 2012 10:57:04 AM

Now would be a good time for me to state I originally didn't have a genuine Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit OS running in the beginning. I can assure you that I own a license to this particular OS (there is a rule here I must abide to), as it was issued to me by my college. However, I relied far to much on the college distribution website to hold my license key for me(I never copied it from the page) and before it was too late I realized my account was deactivated for the summer break(just the time I began purchasing these PC parts). I will be able to have my key back by the next semester, but until then I won't be able to access it. I'm only left with my Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit key provided from my college (used in a recent class project), but 32-bit surely wouldn't suffice for this particularly powerful build of mine. Soon after I began troubleshooting/stress testing I reverted the "fake" license back to a trial version. I really didn't want to turn to such a desperate measure, but please understand my reasoning. For the sake of avoiding any errors, I'm currently in the process of buying another license (gotta love the Microsoft's college deals).

I didn't think this would be too noteworthy, but it could be something to consider with my current problem.
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June 28, 2012 11:05:42 AM

Firstly, just check that you have updated your OS to the most recent. There are a lot of bug-fixes/ reliability issues that have been dealt with since the launch of win 7.

Lot's of these may be in the "optional updates" as opposed to the important ones

Also what is your storage like? I know one specific issue with hard disks >2TB have had problems with win 7.
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Related resources
June 28, 2012 11:19:29 AM

Well I've updated everything possible(except for a ton of language packs) just a few hours ago, but I still see two updates available. I'll get on that immediately.

As for storage, I'm using a Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120GB SSD for my OS and a Samsung Spinpoint 1TB HDD for storage. I'm aware of the 2tb problem, but I'm not near that range.

I ran another prime95 "Small FFTs" test just a little while ago and got another BSOD, but this one displays a different "Bug Check String" & "Bug Check Code" compared to the 8 other BSODs my PC encountered. I'm going to upload the updated HTML report in a bit.
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June 28, 2012 11:25:52 AM

Windows 7 - Stop 0x124 - what it means and what to try

That error could mean all kinds of things one thing that can cause this is overclocking or wrong settings for cpu try and see if there is a bios update.

*Take a look at this: HOW TO: Debug Memory Dumps (Figure out what is causing a BSOD)
Have you surfed the web on that machine there is a rootkit that can cause this problem on x64 machines, to check this make sure lan is connected download kaspersky rescue cd burn it boot to it update virus defs and scan.
Kaspersky Rescue Disk 10
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June 28, 2012 11:34:15 AM

I'm gonna give that page a good read in a moment, techguy. However, I'm not overclocking any components or have yet to do so. I have updated the BIOS on my mobo but I wouldn't know what settings to change for the CPU.

I've now noticed a different "Bug Check Code" in my recent BSOD, a "9c" code it seems.
Check it out:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/63718540/report.html

This just confuses me even more. Crap!

edit: Looks like I haven't updated my mobo BIOS yet. I'll get on this RIGHT NOW!
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June 28, 2012 3:08:32 PM

I've seen a lot of people having this problem when they have the Mobo or Bios settings for power usage not matching the OS. For example having BIOS settings that turn on the Green options, but then the OS trying to Overlock.

Another problem I've seen is the Win 7 hibernate/sleep having problems with the deep hibernate options in the new intel boards. Even though you're playing a game Win 7 thinks you've been inactive after XX minutes and tries to hibernate/sleep your PC and boom BSOD. So go to the Power Plan settings and turn off hibernate, and sleep if you haven't already.




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June 29, 2012 1:43:24 AM

So I updated all available Windows updates and still BSOD'd during a "Small FFTs" test in prime95. I then updated to my Mobo's latest BIOS (F8), hoping this would work.... still BSOD'd from the same test. Finally, I disabled hibernation through the command prompt(I couldn't find an option on my BIOS) and was still given a BSOD with that test. This is driving me insane!

So, I followed this guide: HOW TO: Debug Memory Dumps (Figure out what is causing a BSOD) (Thanks techguy911!) and read all the BSOD minidumps I have. All of them read "GenuineIntel" is the problem, according to the guide. Sounds like the Motherboard is having problems with the CPU.

I honestly don't know what else to do from here aside from more Google research (what a headache). My last resort is to create a fresh OS install with no updated drivers and minimal software, then run the "Small FFTs" stress test and see if I pass (My goal is over 24 hours). I'll wait on any input from you very helpful users before I do so.

Here's some more info with recent tests:

I've updated the HTML report from BlueScreenView with my recent BSOD since making this thread:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/63718540/report.html

Here are the Debugged Memory Dumps (minidumps?):
http://pastebin.com/u/cashBandicoochie
The HTML report can be used as a map for each dump.

I updated that small album with a pic of my HDD & SSD specs:
http://imgur.com/a/aO2Av

And a list of every component inside of my PC at the moment
Specifications:
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Network Card (came with Mobo): http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD (OS installed): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD (storage): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Optical Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And just in-case, the Peripherals I'm using:
Mouse: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Programmable-Laser-Gamin...
Keyboard: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-920-002530-Gaming-Keyboa...
My Logitech g510 did not work with my mobo's BIOS so I swapped with this:
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-G15-Gaming-Keyboard-Blac...
USB Soundcard: http://www.amazon.com/SteelSeries-Siberia-Sound-Card-bl...

All drivers for components and peripherals have been updated.

Thanks for the fast responses guys. I greatly appreciate your willingness to help! Cheers!

Edit: Just to notify, I have been using this build to browse the internet and perform tasks as any other PC since first firing it up. It's only unstable at full use of stock CPU usage. I'm not sure if anything is OC'd without my intention and not sure how to check so (like voltages and whatnot). I'll look into this in the meantime.
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June 30, 2012 5:20:32 PM

cpu-z will tell you volts and clocks in real time...
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June 30, 2012 5:40:06 PM

I knew that much, but I wasn't sure what the stock/default voltages for my CPU would be. I see I'm not the only one.

So I ran a driver verification test with windows "verifier" and BSOD'd from one of the dozen drivers I had. It was a different bug code from the CPU-related BSOD I got from prime95 but at this point, any knot is worth untieing since I'm running out of ideas. I did a fresh install of Windows 7 and install each needed driver, one at a time and run the verifier for each. I went down the list of every driver I need listed on my Mobo's download page and found that the WLAN Driver for my Wifi/Bluetooth card. That surely wasn't the cause of my CPU-related BSOD because prime95 still BSOD'd.

This is so confusing. Just trying to solve one problem I end up discovering another. Back to the drawing board I go.
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Best solution

July 2, 2012 6:50:22 AM

OK here is a thought, You are using a Ivy Bridge CPU...

It is known that these have some relatively dodgy TIM between the metal heat spreader and cores. A total change to how they packaged CPUs previously.

I Hypothosise that maybe the tim is not spread on properly under the heat spreader and if even 1 of the cores has it missing from even a small corner of its surface then under a heavy load that tiny corner is overheating locally.

The average temperature across the entire CPU block will be within thermal limits but maybe the one core is overheating and causing you BSOD.

I would RMA the processor. To test this hypothesis you can get a different CPU and run all the stress tests on it. If the rest of the platform is stable you should not get any BSOD's and that tells you it is a problem with the actual specific CPU.

It doesn't 100% validate the hypothesis but would be building evidence.
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July 2, 2012 8:43:50 AM

That sees very likely. Actually, it should've been obvious to me. derp

I knew of this problem before I bought the i7 as Intel had halted production for a short period to address the TIM problem. When Micro Center FINALLY restocked, I had made sure to ask if that issue had been resolved with the new batch and the sales rep assured me it has... probably a load of BS!

This makes allot more sense than the "insufficient CPU voltage" diagnoses I've been receiving elsewhere. Despite how many CPU tweaks I've made in the BIOS and changing of system power settings, every "Small FFTs" stress test in prime95 lasted around an hour. Any BIOS changes didn't make difference. It's probably that one of the less active cores has some bad TIM spread over it.

Now it that's true, I guess may have caused some damage to my CPU...

Luckily, I can return it to the store and get a replacement immediately. However, I just hope I'd don't get another bad CPU.

I've heard a few comments on an purchasing i7 as playing the "silicon lottery," in terms of temperatures (same with my GPU, I can't wait to stress test that <.<) So, is there a way to determine when or where my CPU was manufactured? I've noticed a few people label their i7 with a "manufactured batch" list. How they found that out is beyond me??

Thanks for the tip, I'll get on that ASAP!
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July 9, 2012 1:21:40 AM

Best answer selected by Talic.
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