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Bad Luck Build Causing Crashes

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February 27, 2013 1:47:38 PM

A few years back I bought a pre-built computer from New Egg on Black Friday for 3 or $400, swearing off laptops and hoping to eventually upgrade it to gaming computer status. Although I've got no real knowledge about computers I thought I could learn as I upgraded; I'm beginning to regret it. Throughout my time this particular site has helped me learn quite a bit but now I'm at a loss, so I decided to join and get the help of the community.

And now an awful timeline:
Video Card is laughable and doesn't support HDMI; computer is connected to a TV
Upgraded - Nvidia Zotac GTX GeForce 550Ti
Can't figure out why but I get vertical Red Lines on Dark Burgundy
Finals Week of my second term.....It appears I've fried either my Mobo or my CPU
Upgraded Both - Asus M5A97, AMD FX4100 Also bought 8gb of Corsair XMS3 RAM
Vertical Red Lines a gone, everything seems fine
Less than a month later: Pre-Ordered Diablo 3....Less than 5 minutes of game-play PSU gives out
Upgraded - Cooler Master GX 750w
Diablo 3 runs without any problems, I finish the campaign
Case Upgrade
Good Deal on an SSD. Now running OS and games, kept HDD
Added It - OCZ Vertex3 120gb
Buy a new pre-built computer for a start-up business.
Humble THC Bundle offers great games for cheap and problems ensue; I install the game 'Darksiders' which can be run (mostly) without problems for about 5 minutes before display cuts out for 3-5 seconds>game comes back (usually without sound)>Screen cuts out several more times in about 30 second intervals before the game crashes all together.
The game runs without any problems whatsoever on my Work Computer
Buy Guild Wars 2; nervous but optimistic

Monday: I've gotten several blue screens caused by 'Memory_Management' while attempting to Run Darksiders, hoping that firmware and driver updates have fixed my problems. For the first time I see the blue screen without running the game
I decide to test each stick of RAM - One of the new sticks is bad (damn)
Replaced with older ram - Darksiders still crashes but no bluescreen.

I've since installed Guild Wars 2 - Ran a 5 hour gaming session flawlessly yesterday morning. Booted up the game last night computer switches off - CPU overheated

So I decided to apply fresh thermal compound (it needed it!) and give the tower some room to breathe. I've also moved the video card down a slot to allow the side fan to blow air above it. Now that I've done that starting Guild Wars 2 causes the screen to cut out (as with Darksiders) almost instantly> Screen comes back for a few seconds>Computer completely crashes.

Long Story Short...Please Help I don't know what's going on!!!

Mobo: ASUS M5A97
CPU: AMD Fx 4100
VC: Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti
RAM: 4Gb DDR3 1333Hz
February 27, 2013 2:16:31 PM

From reading my mobo's manual It looks like putting the card in the second slot was a no-no x16 vs x4. So GW2 is running fine for the moment but Darksiders 2 is still a mess
February 27, 2013 2:28:37 PM

I'm sorry but I have to ask this.

Is your name Brian?
Related resources
February 27, 2013 2:48:49 PM

It is not, but after Googling "bad luck brian" I've discovered that it may as well be, poor kid
a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2013 2:52:02 PM


Are your RAMs on the Asus QVL list ?

February 27, 2013 3:19:51 PM

To be honest the RAM I'm using now came in the original pre-built and I can't even find a manufacturer's name on it. I do, however have (4X8Gb) of approved RAM (Corsair Vengeance) on the way from Newegg, but i'm only going to use 2 sticks because, honestly who needs 32Gb of memory?
February 27, 2013 3:32:51 PM

Ugh, I just looked at the list again and I may have made a stupid mistake I hope my board will support 8gb sticks...I'm an idiot
February 27, 2013 5:34:41 PM



Nope, your RAMs are not on the list.




Pun aside, the fact that it is no on the list (the 8GB version at least), does not matter much. It probably hadn't even been released by the time the board was, so it wasn't tested.
February 27, 2013 5:54:55 PM

Haha, Not only was that a great pun but your display picture is Dungeon Master!

Looks like it should arrive tomorrow so we'll see if my computer is friendly with 8gb sticks!

Is it possible incompatible RAM could be the Root of my 'Darksiders' game problem?

Guild Wars 2 seems to be running fine again (for 30 minutes a least), However Darksiders remains my White Whale, who woulda thought I'd be able to run 2 games that came out within the last year but one that's 3 years old?
February 27, 2013 6:14:31 PM

RiotBricker said:
Haha, Not only was that a great pun but your display picture is Dungeon Master!

Looks like it should arrive tomorrow so we'll see if my computer is friendly with 8gb sticks!

Is it possible incompatible RAM could be the Root of my 'Darksiders' game problem?

Guild Wars 2 seems to be running fine again (for 30 minutes a least), However Darksiders remains my White Whale, who woulda thought I'd be able to run 2 games that came out within the last year but one that's 3 years old?


It is possible, but since you tried swaping your RAM sticks with different ones with no success, i find that hard to believe. Also, faulty RAM tends to either makes the PC unusable or crash only when a certain bank is accessed, which makes the crashes random in nature too. That is also not your case.

The whole "screen going black then reappearing without losing sound" is the very description of a VGA fault. When the VGA fails for some reason, the graphics driver resets, just as described. The fact that they happen in sequence before a crash suggests that it is indeed a hardware fault.

Try using MSI afterburner to set the VGA clocks lower for a while, just to see if the problem goes away. If it does, you have a bad VGA. You can also run furmark to stress test the VGA.

After some light research, I found that the Memory_Management BSOD can be related to driver issues, which agrees with the VGA thesis since the driver keeps restarting.
February 27, 2013 6:32:41 PM

Ugh, that's what I was afraid of from the start. On the original board it would display bright Red Vertical lines on a really particular color of reddish brown; that went away after I got a new Mobo.

Installed the original Neverwinter Nights and I a select few doors and tiles wouldn't load no matter what I did.

Then the Darksiders thing started happening; although the sound does cut out your hypothesis still seems to be the most likely scenario considering that my sound travels via HDMI.

That was really the thing I didn't want it to be...ugh. The RAM is still under warranty (but I can't find the damned receipt) but I'm thinking I may be boned as far as the VGA goes. I'll see if I can run those things you suggested.

Thanks for the help
February 27, 2013 6:43:08 PM

Lol, Furmark crashed within 30 seconds.

Is it at all possible that I could have a software issue (corrupted driver or something) or am I sitting on a piece of trash?

Not sure if it's possible to delete everything Video Card related to start all over again or not
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2013 6:57:31 PM

Your PSU may be adequate, but you should be aware that it is a poor choice. This is the review from Gabriel Torres at Hardware Secrets:

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-GX...

Quote:
Cooler Master GX 750 W looks like a good option for users looking for a mainstream 750 W power supply, however it has a major flaw that prevents us from recommending it: noise level at +3.3 V and +5VSB outputs were above the maximum allowed when we pulled 600 W and above from this unit. High noise levels overload and can even damage components on your computer.


Now, you never came close to 400w, and probably never broke 300W. Still, a PSU with that kind of trouble needs to be avoided. Poor PSUs may be the largest single cause of PC hardware failures. See the PSU guide linked in my sig.
February 27, 2013 7:35:52 PM

God you guys are scaring me more than I had expected. It's like Scared straight for the technologically inept.

If I do replace the PSU it'll come after the video card though. Any suggestions as far as that goes? The Warranty on the one I have is a joke. I installed the drivers again and the problems are exactly the same, so this one's headed for the trash.

I'd really like to go cheap but performance is more important, I really wish there were a way to salvage this one or sell it to someone who could do a refurb but I don't even know if that's a thing.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2013 8:06:09 PM

Have you tested that card on another computer? Bad power can cause all sorts of symptoms.

Also check all temps.

HWMonitor will check a variety of temps including GPU

GPU-Z will give you all sorts of readings from the sensors on the card that might help.
February 28, 2013 10:58:16 AM

I don't want to bear bad news, but its really likely that your VGA has a hardware problem. If it is a cooling problem, you might be able to fix it. As suggested by Proximon, I would use GPU-Z to read the temperatures and see if they are within acceptible range.

Other than that, you could test it on another setup. Cleaning up old drivers is never a sure shot. An alterantive would be booting a live image, just to test the VGA.
March 1, 2013 12:12:54 AM

I've tried a clean driver install, and deep cleaning the unit (which is now shiny, but still useless). I'll go look for that GPU-Z program and run it real quick then I'll give it a go in my other computer.

I've got no clue how to boot a live image.

Is it possible that my PSU isn't getting adequate power to the GPU if so is there any way to test that or monitor that?
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
March 1, 2013 9:28:53 AM

It's possible. You could check the 12V rail while the PSU is under a normal load... HWMonitor will give you a result, but it may not be accurate. The only way to be sure is to use an actual multimeter.

Any reading +11.40 V to +12.60 V would be considered in spec. Either of those two extremes would be very poor though and probably indicate an issue (because you would not be testing at the rated 750W of the PSU).

It is not TOO hard to test a rail with a meter. As long as you read up on it and stay safe.
March 3, 2013 7:31:54 PM

This is what I ended up with, the PSU on my other computer wasn't able to help me test the card on my other rig so I've got my finger's crossed that my power supply isn't the problem. I'm also downgrading to 4x2gb AMD performance edition 1600 RAM, should give me all the umph I need and I can sell what I've got now on ebay.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

let me know what you think
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
March 3, 2013 7:37:07 PM

Sounds fine. That 550ti should be under warranty though? Or has it been that long already?
March 3, 2013 7:57:18 PM

It was a Zotac so, according to the paperwork that came with it it only had a warranty if I registered it within 14 days of purchasing it, which is possibly the worst warranty I've ever come across. It was purchased at the end of 2011 and I suspect that it's had problems since I pulled it out of the box.

I made sure the new one had a lifetime warranty and I'll be sure to look over the paperwork
!