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Have money, looking to upgrade PC getting "blue screen of death"

Last response: in Systems
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August 18, 2012 5:37:34 PM

Hello all,

Tom's helped me build this PC quite a few years ago, and it has served me very well since. I have made some upgrades and additions, and it runs well currently - except for sporadic BSOD's. Sometimes I will get several in a week; sometimes I will only get one in several weeks. As far as I can tell they aren't correlated with me doing anything in particular on the PC (e.g. playing a 3D game.)

I will be coming into some money soon, and I would like to upgrade the computer so it no longer gets these. (I would rather not buy a whole new machine since, while do I have something to work with, it's not like money is no object.)

Here are the machine's current spec's:

MB: nVidia nForce 4 series
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620 2.60 GHz
RAM: 4GB
HD's: 3 SATA drives (2 older, one new-ish)
GPU: nVidia GeForce 9800
O/S: Win 7 Professional

The motherboard and CPU I bought ~3 years ago, and the combo was quite cheap. I'm thinking I'll start by replacing the MB, then the CPU.

One of the HD's was added ~4 years ago, the graphics card replaced ~5 years ago, and the rest of the hardware goes back about 7 years. The graphics card will definitely be getting upgraded. The power supply is noisy and will be replaced. The hard drives all seem really slow to start reading from idle, so I will probably buy another one of those.

I'm not sure what else to do to try to address the blue screens (and it is such a sporadic problem, it will be a while before I know for sure whether it worked.) Could the age of my RAM have anything to do with it?

Any advice on where I should start?

Oh, and the blue screen message is ... <something I can't remember>_IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 18, 2012 5:46:25 PM

You say that you want to upgrade yet after reading the post and what you want to upgrade and how old the components are it sounds like a whole new computer is the best way to go. You can keep the OS. Everything else has to go.
What's your budget?
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August 18, 2012 6:13:49 PM

I could go up to maybe $500.

What about re-using the RAM and the recent HD for backup purposes?

If it weren't for the blue screens I would just be looking to get a new video card. And a new power supply.

(Sorry if I gave the wrong impression with "coming into some money". I'm normally quite broke.)
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 18, 2012 6:19:21 PM

I would hate to do a simple upgrade without knowing exactly why you are getting blue screens.

You can keep the case, psu(what brand/model/wattage?),dvd, OS, and hard drives.

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a b B Homebuilt system
August 18, 2012 8:53:00 PM

Intel Core i5-2310 Sandy Bridge 2.9GHz (3.2GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I52310
$179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$119.99 and a $20 rebate makes the final price $99.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$69.99 and a $10 rebate makes the final price $59.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9
$44.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$219.99 and a $30.rebate makes the final price $189.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is what you would need for a good upgrade and you would keep the case and dvd drives if you wanted or you could replace those as well and then it would be a whole new build. This comes to $714.94 and of course is way over your $500 but you would have a computer that would last you another 4 to 5 years.

After reading the description of you present computer and noticeing that you have had some parts quite a while and others sound like they are ready to fall apart. I believe that your issue is related to the hard drive and power supply so if you wanted to just put a bandaid on your Pc and keep it running for a bit more and try to save up for the new build then replace the hard drive and power supply for now and that should take care of the blue screens. Also if you go ahead and do that just use the new hard drive and disconnect all the others.

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August 18, 2012 9:34:05 PM

Thanks a lot for the replies guys. Is it possible for the old drives to cause these errors even while I'm not reading/writing from them?

Also I'm curious as to how a power supply could cause a blue screen? I am not doubting you, just generally curious as I don't think I have a good idea of the power supply's role. I think the one that's in there came with the case and is not more than 400W. I tried to find the brand/wattage but there is nothing printed on any of the sides I can see.

I'll also mention that the computer feels like it runs pretty hot; I don't think I've had proper cooling in the case for a while. I had hooked up some extra fans and stuff but for some reason none of them run any more.

Heh, yeah, the longer I go on the more it sounds like she's ready for retirement.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 18, 2012 10:00:55 PM

That's what I was talking about before because your description of things is really bad and falling apart. The power supply is what supplies power to the components and if it's not doing a good job then the components like the hard drive can cause blue screens.
You do need to clean out the inside of the case and get those fans working because heat is not a good thing for the computer. Every time you talk about your computer you describe something new that is wrong with the computer.
The old drives can cause blue screens just by being pluged in if there is something wrong with the drive. I just had an issue like that and the drive was not being used but was pluged in and I started getting blue screens and when I unpluged it the blue screens stopped.
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August 19, 2012 1:49:47 AM

Ok thanks again inzone (and others) for all the help.
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August 19, 2012 8:43:32 AM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2012 2:43:21 PM

I really doubt that a hard drive is the cause of your blue screens, particularly if you are not accessing them.

The PSU is definitely a possibility. A psu is required to have an attached data plate if it is to meet UL standards. A psu without one, or any other identification is very suspect. Typically, you would see something like that included with a case.
I would plan on replacing it. The PSU supplies conditioned voltage of different kinds for the motherbard and peripherals. A cheap psu will deliver inconsistent, or substandard voltage. In the worst case, it can deliver spikes that may damage anything it is connected to. If you replace the psu, buy only a quality name brand. My short list would include Seasonic, Corsair, Antec,
PC P&C, or XFX.

Heat is not necessarily an awful thing. Graphics cards do run hot, particularly older gen cards like the 9800.
But, both the graphics card and the cpu have protections that will downclock the part to protect itself from damage.

I might think that a likely source of blue screens might be drivers for the motherboard or graphics card.

Another possibility is the ram. Run memtest86+ to check out the ram. You should get NO errors for a couple of full passes.
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