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Dell XPS 710 hangs...

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December 6, 2009 4:28:18 AM

I bought a Dell XPS 710 from ebay. It was maked "as-is" it was supposed to include ram but did not, so the ram installed is known good ram from my main system.

Other specs :

CPU : QX6700 @ stock speeds
GPU : 8600gts right now, it came w\ a pair of 8800gtx's but i have the 8600 in there now to see if they were the issue


So, the system booted fine once I got the power cord i had to special order. The cpu shows up fine. Everything looked fine. I installed windows 7 and I loaded up everest to see where the temperatures were at.

At some point, the system just hung. I thought it was driver related and pulled out one of the 2 8800gtx cards. the system still hangs. A couple times, there will be no signal at all. the computer is still on and running, but not sending a signal to the screen. Other times, it just locks up and keeps displaying whatever is on the screen.

Earlier I updated the bios to the more recent one dell has and then I tried installing XP to see if maybe it was a driver issue w\ windows 7, but the system hangs rather quickly. Sometimes it'll last 10-15 minutes before hanging, but just now for instance I went in bios twice and it froze while i was in bios.

Since the system does boot and even lets me load an OS... I'm really not sure where to go from there. I'm assuming the CPU is working fine, I've never had a flaky cpu. Can't really isolate the power supply because the motherboard and psu are proprietary and i'd have to get another...

has anybody had similar issues? I probably won't spend much more time on the system if it's not going to work right.

More about : dell xps 710 hangs

December 6, 2009 5:42:26 PM

Was it shipped from hong kong?
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December 6, 2009 10:01:16 PM

Since you have trouble with the BIOS, my first thought would be a RAM issue. You said it was good RAM - but is it the right RAM for the system? Does it meet specs? Maybe a timing issue?

First I would try it with one stick of memory and see if that makes any difference, if you have not.

Is your Windows 32 or 64 bit? Do you have any idea if that matches what the Dell originally had? Where are you getting drivers for the Dell mobo?

I suggest treating it like a new build and disconnecting everything but video card, display, keyboard and one stick of memory (inlcuding disconnect the HD and any other USB devices) and seeing if it will go to BIOS. If not that narrows down the issue. If you can get to BIOS, then I would test memory with memtest.

If you get by that, then start adding in components one at a time to see if they create issues.
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December 6, 2009 10:07:35 PM

Another thought = maybe you would be ahead just to return it.

If it was supposed to include memory, then the contract was violated and you can demand a return and refund.

What is the seller's rating and have you provided feedback yet? That may provide additional leverage.

Additionally, while sold "as-is" was there any indication that it might not work? Any item sold automatically includes a "warranty" that it will work for the purpose sold. If sold as a working computer, even if sold "as is" you may have a common low warranty as to fitness and a claim if it does not work.
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December 7, 2009 1:01:05 AM

I grabbed a dell diagnostics cd and booted it. I went through CPU test, and motherboard test.

Both of those passed all tests, which is good...

But then Came the hard drive test. System hung on the hard drive test. I rebooted and tried mem test, and again system hangs. I swapped out the memory and put another set of known working ram and it hangs again on the mem test.


as far as returning it... I'm not going to do that. It would cost $40-50 to ship it, and the QX6700 is good, and the 2 8800GTX's is good. If I cant get it to work I'm goign to just part it out for more than I paid for it... but I'd like it to work.



I just looked up the documentation and it says DDR2-4300 / or 5300... All i have at home is DDR2-800. I have some ram in my office, both 4200 and 5300 so I'm going to see if it helps...

Pretty weird though, because the motherboard passed the diagnostics, and it was booting w\ the ddr2-800 and even let me install windows.
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December 7, 2009 2:05:24 AM

Did you run the memtest while in BIOS so it would not be affected by questionable HD?

Did you try it with a single chip instead of a pair? Sometimes one will work when two or more will not - a indicator it might be a timing issue just requiring adjustment.
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December 7, 2009 3:18:33 AM

I don't think there are any sort of timing settings in the bios since it's a dell system. There are a couple overclocking settings but only for the cpu speed.

I had 2 sticks in at first, and installed windows 7 with no problem. It got through the entire installation w\ no issues but then i came back and there was no video and the system was hung up. I thought it was graphics related, so i pulled out one of the 2 8800gtx's and the system still hung after that.

I loaded xp professional and installed all drivers and the system will hang shortly after windows loads. Kinda weird, because windows xp installation generally takes 20-30 minutes and it didn't hang at all during the install.

I'll post again tomorrow after I try some DDR2-4200
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December 7, 2009 4:45:13 AM

Sure sounds like a driver issue to me, although if you have not run an 8 hour memtest, you cannot completely rule out memory either.

So how are you dealing with the issue of Dell drivers and, apparently, non-Dell Windows installation with both XP and 7? Do you have the Dell drivers for the mobo? Are they different for the two O/S?
Does the Dell BIOs allow using non-Dell drivers for other hardware or are you still using Dell drivers for the HD, optical drive, etc.?
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December 7, 2009 11:41:41 AM

Well, I installed Windows 7 at first... and I was thinking that there may be a driver conflict, so I went to XP Professional w\ a dell xp disk since the system does have an XP Pro COA, and all the drivers on dells site..

I'm thinking the memory speed is a good possibility, if the documentation says 4200 or 5300 ram. But why was it booting the ddr2-800 ?

I'm going to test later today w\ some ddr2-4200 and ddr2-5300.
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December 7, 2009 3:17:08 PM

The RAM can downclock itself. Essentially, your DDR2 800 RAM turned itself into DDR2 667.

It will work, but you may need to adjust timings/voltages.
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December 7, 2009 5:30:49 PM

it was running stock @400mhz when i had it running.

I put in some ddr2-667 and windows locks up within 2-3 minutes of being up. Booted to the dell diagnostics cd and everything passes.

could the ram ports possibly be bad? I left it on running the diagnostics x 10 and will see if it's frozen or not when i get home in a few hours.
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December 7, 2009 5:59:36 PM

Have you tried reapplying thermal paste? Running it without the side on? Heat could case it to lock up in the BIOS.

It's possible all the RAM is bad, but not likely.
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December 7, 2009 6:04:25 PM

nah, i tried to 2 sets of known working ram.

I cleaned the cpu and cooler and applied fresh arctic silver. Haven't tried pulling the battery yet.... im not sure that will help anything since the system does boot. The only time that helps in my experience is when the system wont post.
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December 7, 2009 6:26:10 PM

Try removing the side of the tower, and pointing a box fan at it. That'll rule out a heat issue.
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December 7, 2009 6:39:48 PM

Have you tried it with a single stick of RAM yet? Sometimes when there are timing issues you can run one stick but not more. Try both sticks one at a time in different slots - that should also rule out slot issues as the problem.

Again I suggest running memtest to check memory and suggest doing it off a bootable CD to entirely avoid OS issues.

If none of this works - then I still think you need to go back to square one and approach it like a new build, as suggested above.

Or you could just place some crystals behind the motherboard, blow some special smoke over the CPU, and wave a bald eagle's tale feather over the box while chanting a special mantra. I have all four I can sell you for a single low price of $69.99 AR with FREE shipping. Sorry no warranty or money back guarantee but I can write some testimonials to send you if you need more persuasion.
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December 8, 2009 1:27:07 AM

ok... I reseated everything and then the system still hangs... I was burning some insense while doing this per rockyjohn's suggestion...

Then I just had an idea... I unplugged the pump for the H2C cooler... Then, I headed off to class.

3 hours later I get home... and OMG! it's still running! I already knocked on my wood floor before running a stress test for the last 30 minutes. It's probably around 65 degrees room temperature... idle cpu temps are @ 30c and during the 30 minutes of stress testing the highest they went was 55.

Idk if the power for the pump was pulling too much electricity or what... but that is the only change I made after having it lock up on me a few times trying to test the ram. Currently i have 2x2gb ddr2-6400 installed which is supported w\ the bios version i have.

I'm going to shut it down in a minute and put both of the 8800gtx's in it and maybe even hook it up and try to play some team fortress.

I'll post later w\ results. Thanks for the suggestions and input guys.
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December 8, 2009 3:55:36 AM

So you are running it without the water cooler working and have not heat issues?
That seems very odd.

Before putting everything back in, I would hook the water cooler back up and see if it dies again - just to confirm that is the issue since you think you have it isolated.

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December 8, 2009 11:29:55 AM

I spoke too soon...

Woke up this morning and the system was locked up :( 
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