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Quite possibly the most strange and mind boggling PC problem EVER


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#61
Samm

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I see no reason not to keep using the Zalman cooler. Just make sure, as I'm sure you already know, to clean off the old thermal compound & apply fresh each time you remove & reinstall the heatsink.
Also, in case you don't already do this....it's much easier to fit the heatsink/cooler with the motherboard out of the case. Main reason being is that when fitted in the case, the board is supported by stand-offs. Because heatsinks can require quite a lot force to fit, this can result in the board bending & cracking. When the board is out of the case & placed on a hard flat surface, this won't happen.
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#62
Mitesh

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MOBO CPU AND RAM are being replaced - fault with all of them??? This is nuts. Dabs have yet to receive my graphics card.
No samm I reckon that the Zalman damages the spu and mobo as there are marks on both the heatsinks base and the cpu once I remove it.
Its not worth the risk.
Now im thinking there is a problem with the new PSU warranty replacment - either that or i am damaging everyhting via static electricity even though I touch a radiator.

Any more ideas>?
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#63
Samm

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You're right, it certainly seems unlikely that you would have been sent 3 faulty components - mobo, cpu & ram. It is possible though that one or more of them have since been damaged. Its also possible of course that one of was faulty to begin with. Who knows.

You may also be right to suspect the PSU - power has been an issue that has kept on cropping up here & it's about the only component which is capable of actually damaging other components.

Damaging components yourself via static electricity is of course a possibility although components normally fail over time from static. However, if the room you build the computer in is carpeted, for example, then your own static build up may be greater than in a room without carpeting.

The fact that you've recently replaced many of the components in the system, yet after the upgrade still suffered from similar problems as before, does suggest that the problem may well be with one of the components which hasn't been changed. Where relevant, I would include peripherals devices & cabling in this as well.

...Or there is some external factor causing the problem, e.g electrical supply, environmental issues such as heat/humidity etc, interference from other electronic/electrical appliances. I'm not suggesting any of these are probable, just possible.
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#64
Mitesh

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Ok I am gonna do the following - Put the old Dell PC in my room on the same power supply (240v ac) as my pc is on. Then is that runs 24/7 for 2 days fine with no problems then that eliminates the power.
Then I will try my PSU (I know 600W is gonna be overkill for a 600Mhz celeron (hahahhaha) and seom onboard graphics and what have you) and then see if it runs fine for 1 day 24/7.
If so then that only leaves the LCD screen and the keyboard as I have checked the USB mouse and the optical drives although not for a huge time (So I will test those for a longer amount of time).

There - that will eliminate all possible elements.
Oh and it cant be moisture I have a de-humidifier in my room (a quality one DeLonghi or what have you).
So hey lets see hay?
Oh and the Hard drive has been replaced - again scan found a fault with it (but I was using that HDD b4 I received he new PSU so......)....
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#65
Samm

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Ok, let us know how you get on with the Dell and what happens about the parts you have RMA'd.

Only thing I would point out re. the PSU is this..... IF the problem IS being caused by the PSU, it's just possible that it won't cause a problem with the old Dell. My reasoning behind this is that the Dell won't have any sata drives and sata drives seem more sensitive to power irregularities than IDE ones. Also of course, as you've already pointed out, the Dell won't be putting anywhere near as much load on the PSU as your other system. I could be wrong about this, but thought it may be worth mentioning just in case...
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#66
happyrock

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you say " Oh and it cant be moisture I have a de-humidifier in my room"...

static electricity is formed much better when the air is dry or the humidity is low...for more on it go here...

I killed my A drive on a KAYPRO with static electricity about 20 years ago ...you might want to consider a static mat to touch first before touching the computer or any component connected to it..with that said..I still believe the problem is related to the power coming out of the wall..

Edited by happyrck, 28 April 2007 - 07:35 AM.

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#67
Samm

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Thanks for that happyrck, that was the reason I originally mentioned humidity but forgot to follow up one that point!
I'm glad someone else is still taking an active interest in this thread. Any other thoughts you may have would be gratefully received :whistling:
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#68
Mitesh

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Hmm ok so low humidity equals more static makes sense dont know why I didnt think of that b4.
Only thing is I reckon it is not the power from the wall anymore.
I think the mouse (USB logitech G5) and the keyboard are also not responsible.
Why?
Because I spent 13 hours yesterday with the dell pc plugged into the same surge protector as my own rig is on.
In other words I brang that dell to my room and completed my coursework on it - using my keyboard and mouse.
That leaves optical drives and the LCD screen.
I conclude here that the 240V AC output in my room is fine as the Dell PC ran without a hiccup.
I think that the problem was that the older PSU (the PSU I now have is a warranty replacment) with the loose connections was causing the trouble.
And I reckon the new items were replaced because of a covering document I sent with them which 'pleaded' them to replace the items.
The motherboard I reckon I had damaged when I was installing the Zalman heatsink on.
The hard drvie is being replaced - this was used with the older PSU so that could have damaged it.
So those are my conclusions.
However this should be kept with an open mind I have yet to find out if there was a problem with the graphics card (8800 GTS 640MB.
I reckon it could be the LCD screen that is sending surges from its own internal system.
Possibility?
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#69
Samm

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I think your conclusions are probably correct. However I doubt very much that the screen could be responsible for any of the problems, especially power related ones.
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#70
Mitesh

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You say it cant be the screen right?
A friend of mine told me that his mates pc was broken due to some problem with his LCD which was causing the problem (anyway if I tell my dad that's what is causingthe problem he will give me money to buy a brand spanking new 20 incher!!).
Also could it be something in the case such as fans or other things such as HDD leds etc that could cause these problems?
Also I just found out that the graphics card was tested as not faulty, they (dabs) said they would restock the card and put it back up on the website as a B-grade card. Howvever obviously I didnt want that - I want the card back!! So I used their live chat and they are now sorting it out to send back to me.

Here:
Please Note: the most common reason that products claimed to be faulty
turn out
not faulty is because the product is incompatible with some other
equipment
or software. We would advise that you research manufacturers' websites
and other
sources of technical information to ensure this product is compatible
before
attempting to purchase a replacement.

-Note that they say the most common problem is compatability issues- can my X-Fi PCI cause compatability issues or the motherboard????? This is confusing - it also states the drivers may be incompatibl e- surley not these are not that new so they have more drivers etc that are updated. I am confused........

Edited by Mitesh, 01 May 2007 - 10:30 AM.

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#71
Samm

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Dabs are probably right in general. In my experience, people will often mistakenly assume that a particular piece of hardware is faulty because they cannot get it to work correctly in their system. Often however, the problem actually turns out to be a driver issue or a compatibility issue, or even a software (application or OS) issue.

You have to remember how diverse PCs can be. When you consider custom builds, there is a huge selection to pick from for each type of component (i.e many different video cards/motherboards/memory etc). Think about it - how many people out there do you think have the exact same system as you? Probably not many & even the one's that do may be using different PCB revisions or driver versions for their hardware, not to mention different applications. Therefore, hardware manufacturer's only test on a fairly limited basis for true hardware compatibility.
EG go to any motherboard manufacturers website & select a currently available motherboard. Look for the memory compatibility list for that board (and video card list if there is one). The list will almost certainly be relatively short. Thats not to say that only the memory listed is compatible, it just means that the modules listed are the only ones that they've tested & found to be compatible.

Obviously you're right about updated drivers & firmware - if a manufacturer discovers that a piece of their hardware is frequently having issues with other hardware or software, then they will probably release an updated driver/firmware or patch for it. If the problem is being caused by an issue with a relatively obscure piece of hardware or software, then they may not even realise that a problem exists.
Even when an issue is discovered, there's often a debate over who's 'fault' it is & therefore, who should fix it. i.e hardware manufacturers will often blame software manufacturers for the problem & vice versa.



Re. the X-Fi, in theory it's possible that it could be causing the blue screen errors, slowness, crashing etc etc, but not very likely that it's causing hard drive failure. That said, you did say that you removed the X-Fi for a short while but it made no difference to the problems you were having...
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#72
Mitesh

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Ok scan told me that the hard drive had bad sectors.
From my brief research about that I found out that the cause of bad sectors can be from the following:

Physical damage:
Excessive G-forces
The head touches the platters - (What would cause this? - Fluctuations in power?) (Also I found out that bad sectors get worse the longer you leave them so is it not possible that as I used this drive with the older PSU, that the PSU was causing the head to touch the platter and thus the bad sectors?)
Heat
Overclocked PCI bus speeds

Software:
The Operating System (I am using a .... well lets just say its not a legit copy! but I have been using it since I first buit the PC so it cant be that can it?)

Any ideas here?
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#73
Samm

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Bad sectors are essentially caused by head crashes, i.e when the read/write head actually touches the surface of the disk. Normally the head hovers just above the surface although the gap between the head & the disk surface is tiny.
The reason that a hard knock to the drive while it's in use will often cause bad sectors is because the impact will send the head crashing into the disk platter. Any data stored in the affected sectors will be lost. The sector is rendered unusable but in order the OS to know this, the sector must be marked as bad.

I'm not aware of power issues causing bad sectors. In the old days, this was possible (at least indirectly) because if the power was shut off while the disk was performing a read/write operation, the read/write head would be left over the top of the disk platter which would make it vulnerable to head crashes. Normally the actuator arm (with the read/write head on the end) is parked (i.e not over the top of the platter) when not in use. With modern drives however, the read/write head is automatically parked in the event of a power failure.

A power surge or spike, if severe enough, is more likely to fry the disk's circuitry than damage the actual platter itself.

There may be other environmental factors that can cause bad sectors but like I said, I don't believe power issues is one of them.


Re. your last comment - I'm going to pretend I didn't see that! (but the short answer to that question is no)
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#74
Mitesh

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Well that is mind bogglingly indefinably complex. In that what is causing the HDD to fail all the blood*y time?????
Ok to a certain extent we have eliminated the following:
The PSU: The PSU could still possibly be at fault however more on that in a moment.
The 240V AC power outlet: Could still be surges/spikes so I will take an extension wire from my room to my parent’s room and connect the security PC in there onto that power outlet form my room (it has a surge protector remember I told you I bought a brand new Belkin surge protector?).
As the PC is the business’s security PC (in that it records all the video from the cameras) the HDD head must always be hovering above the surface as the HDD is always recording whatever video data it is being fed.
Then if the PC crashes (lets hope that doesn’t happen otherwise I will be in shi*t!!) then I have found the blood*y problem.
If not then I move onto the power supply using the normal 240V power outlet in my parent’s room (normal in that there are no extension wires etc – however there is a masterplug surge protector). I will then connect my PSU to that PC.

Note the following: The PC specs are from what I can remember as follows:
P4 3.0GHz
Some gigabyte mobo (quite a cheap one I have opened t up and looked at it)
512 MB RAM – I think so DDR most likely Kingston – or maybe its 1GB cant remember
I think an (I know its Nvidia) 7300 LE or something.
2 Camera cards with 8 camera inputs
some cheapo PSU (not that cheap like ‘dabs value 400W only £15!!!’ its more along the lines of ‘some cheap company that produces PSU’s that work stably if not put under too much load’
Some DVD rewriter drive
And I think that’s t – oh and a 500GB HDD (I think its 500GB) IDE I think or it might be SATA Ill check all this when I get home and tell you in detail all the system specs.

The point here is that the recording of the video seems to be rather CPU and GPU intensive, and the GPU I reckon is under slightly more load as it is not only outputting via DVI to VGA adapter and feeding a 15 inch 1024 x whatever t is (you can probably tell I don’t really like this cheap as*s PC as it is seriously shi*t but t does the job and the PSU is probably not as bad as I reckon it is).

So the my 600W PSU wont exactly be under much load so what can I do??
Well this is what I will do:
Connect my PSU to that PC and leave it running for 10 hours. Also run defrag to make the HDD do something HDD intensive.
If no change then connect both my optical drives so that adds to 3 optical drives and put DVD’s in them and play them all, all at the same time- oh and my IDE HDD and make it transfer files to the SATA and the other way round afterwards.
Then run defrag.
No change after a further 2 hours?
Then I will again bring in my rooms 240V AC and connect my PSU to that power (and the screen).
Still no change – then I will conclude there is nothing wrong with the power outlet or the PSU.

However that may be only due to the HDD being IDE (even though I think its sata – in fact I’m pretty dam sure it is). Actually no I’m positive it’s a SATA drive on a molex power cable – I will check when I get home.
So then that leaves the possibility of radiation from the blue cathode which I broke so I cant use t anyway (and the red cathode half broke as when I was sanding down the sides – hang on I have already discussed this in a previous message).
It also leaves the slight possibility of the other IDE drive – somehow.
Or the case – somehow.

Those are what are left to test.

-Also is it possible that the kitchen door to the garden - when shut (which often makes my entire room shudder) can caue the head to go crashing down (it has rubber things where you srew in the srews on the sides so I am guessing this dampens the sound and vibrations to it).
What sort of a knock is required to make the head touch the platters?
How about opening the case and shutting it (it is the thermaltake tsunami)?

So let the testing – begin.

Edited by Mitesh, 04 May 2007 - 03:00 AM.

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#75
Mitesh

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I have completed the following:
I thought there is no point in testing the PSU because it is a brand new warranty replacment so cant be at fault - and as you said Samm, the HDD is unlikel to have failed due to power issues.
However there has recently been a power cut locally - in that the entire town's power went out for 30 mins or so. This was due ot some work going on nearby which has been going on for quite some time now. - Ermm I just thought I would add that in in case in the end it somehow does boil down to the Power. This also shows that none of the PC's (Dell and security PC's) were affected by the power outage so this means it cannot be a power issue.

- I connected the LCD screen to the security PC for 5 hours - nothing happened. I turned it on and off etc and obviously I didnt leave the screen on continously for 5 hours instead I allowed it to turn the screen off after 2 minutes. However I was using the PC to transfer some songs 9alot of songs) over to the Nokia N91, which is a pain on the a*ss the phone loses battery in a couple of hours and it has a VERY slow 8GB hard driove (the phone is my uncles).

Anyway before this I used an extension wire to take my rooms power to the room with the security PC. I left it running on that power overnight - so about 10-13 hours. Nothing has happened to the PC.

So that rules out the screen and the rooms power supply.

I then tried the mouse - nothing after 3 hours of use.

Keyboard - Remember I used it on the Dell PC and nothing happened so that is also ruled out.

Oh and the security PC's HDD is a SATA (Hitachi).

Oh and there is no point in testing the DVD-ROM drives - Im just going to buy new ones.

The IDE drive still needs thourough testing and the soundcard needs to be tested in the security PC.

Thats it.

Samm where are you how comes you havent replied to any of the questions I asked?

''Also is it possible that the kitchen door to the garden - when shut (which often makes my entire room shudder) can caue the head to go crashing down (it has rubber things where you srew in the srews on the sides so I am guessing this dampens the sound and vibrations to it).
What sort of a knock is required to make the head touch the platters?
How about opening the case and shutting it (it is the thermaltake tsunami)?''
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