#1. warn other 1st time builders (like myself) of the potential problems with this build.
#2. try to get help diagnosing & trouble-shooting the problem(s).
#3. document my progress & post updates to help others
The video display stopped working on my old computer: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX 500Mb, Asus P5N-E SLI lga 775 board, Intel Dual Core 6400 @ 2.13GHz, 4 GB RAM
Originally, i had bought a cheapy Nvidia card from Amazon for about $60, but that didn't work, so either they sent me a bad card, or the PCI-e slot on the motherboard was bad ?
The 8800 GTX had a lifetime warranty from BFG Tech, but they went out of business.
So... i thought it was time for a new computer anyways, so i did my build on PCPartpicker.com... i decided to change my RAM & board last second: different RAM to save a little money... and i changed from an ASRock Extreme (4 or 6, don't remember) to the Gigabyte Z77X-D3H in case i wanted to try out Mac OS X (Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion), because i read on TonyMac that Gigabyte motherboards have the best compatibility.
I had also planned to install Linux Mint 14... Actually, i really wanted to ONLY go with Linux for my new computer, but the deciding factor was that i don't know enough Linux to be able to determine if all the parts are working as they should be. (Mainly, i wouldn't be able to tell if the Graphics Card was working as-intended).
Error Code 0xC0000005
Error Code 0x80070570
During Windows installation... but i think updating the BIOS from F15 to F16 solved this problem ? But i think changing BIOS settings from AHCI to IDE was a work-around eventho the board doesn't physically have IDE connectors... Gigabyte says that IDE is "normal mode" and AHCI makes the drives hot-swappable while the computer is turned on... Their website has a couple of pre-installation drivers, but dude on the phone said you only use those if Windows doesn't reconize your hard drives... Which, it saw one... but didn't see the other... Luckily, i was able to use my Linux CD and format with gparted to get Windows to "see" the 2nd WD Blue.
Also, i had to take the 550 ti card out in order to install Windows... i used the integrated HD 4000 graphics to install windows... Gigabyte says that you don't need to disable integrated graphics because i'm using an Express slot (PCI-e)... and you only disable integrated graphics for a regular pci slot (i guess).
Anyways, i ran the computer on the integrated graphics for a couple of days to make sure it was stable before trying the GTX 550 ti card again... Well, it seemed to be 100% prefectly okay, so i decided to install the the graphics card...
i had problems whether i used the CD driver or the lastest 310.90 version... At 1st, it would continually tell me that Windows Explorer has stopped working... Basically, windows was NOT usable... Firefox also crashed. Internet Explorer also crashed... And i had the BSOD (Blue Screen Stop Error).
Some tutorials said that i could diagnosis Blue Screens with a debugger that came with Microsoft Development(or Driver) Kit... But the Kit/debugger wouldn't install in Safe Mode.
So... i figure i just restore the computer using the system image on the 3rd hard drive (250 GB, one from my old computer). HUGE MISTAKE... Basically, the Backup & Restore Windows utility looked like it was doing it's job fine... but when it restarted, there was some kind of hard drive error...
Pointing the finger
So basically, we can't point the finger at
#2. physical motherboard (or its BIOS settings/version)
#3. graphics card (physically or driver)
#4. hard drive(s)
#5. power supply
But Gigabyte said it's unlikely that it's the hard drives (since i tried both... And i guess having two BAD hard drives is unlikely... i also ran check disk to confirm)... i really thought it was the graphics card, BUT i finally did get a BSOD w/o using the graphics card.
Actually, the 1st thing i did when i started to encounter problems was run memtest86+ for over two hours, and two passes (had no errors)... It said that it tested the whole 16GB (two sticks that are 8 GB each)... Gigabyte said to test with only one stick at a time... but i thought you only do this if you get errors... And testing with one stick at a time is supposed to determine which stick is the cause ?
The temp in the BIOS starts at about 36 degrees Celcius... and maxes out at about 41 C... In Windows, with CoreTemp, it averages about 33 C with no load... Max reading is about 50 C altho with Prime95, it goes over 70 C... So i do know that i need better cooling... but i was scared to buy a really large heat-sink and have it block off parts of the motherboard (like RAM slots or PCI-e slot).
i think the next step is to retest the RAM... But after that, i'm kinda at a loss... Who should i call for help ? Gigabyte ? PNY ? Microsoft ? Should i just spend money to have a local computer store fix it ?
Actually, one of the thoughts that i had... was to take the GTX 550 and put it in someone else's computer: if it's fine, then by process of elimination we can rule that out as the problem... BUT if it causes a Blue Screen Stop Error in the 2nd computer, (one with known working parts + drivers), then we can pretty much conclusively identify a problem with the graphics card: whether it's physical or driver related, who knows ?
Or, put someone's known working graphics card into this new build and see if that fixes the problem ? either way...
Same thing could probably be done with other parts too, like memory... I just gotta find someone willing to temporarily swap parts with me... in order to help diagnose the problem (in this manner).
in the above link to NewEgg Feedback... that guy claimed that "The Intel RAPID Storage Technology and GIGABYTE On-Off Switch drivers were the main causes of random BSODs after several reinstalls."
So i was careful to avoid those... And got it stable... altho on my lastest re-installation... when i skipped those two... i think skipping some others may have caused instability...
And for some of the drivers, i wasn't completely sure what they were for... I'll have to call up Gigabyte tomorrow and ask them... I was gonna list them, but the setup.exe doesn't wanna run in safe mode i guess.
As it stand right now, it looks like imma have to RMA the GTX 550 ti back to NewEgg and look for a different graphics card...
i tested the power supply with a multimeter... i tested the 24-pin, the 4-pin (eventho i don't use it), the 8-pin, and all the Molex wires... The only thing i didn't test were the SATA power cables (because those pins are so small)...
Everything tested good... the only thing that was cause for concern was pin #14 of the 24-pin connector... it tested -11.12... lower than the -12V that it should be... but according to Tim Fischer, the tolerance on the negative ones are plus or minus 10%... so it can go as low as -10.800 VDC.