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Where do I go from here? What would you do? (Crash/freeze/restarts)

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Hi all. :)

Before I get going on my problem, let me just list my computer's hardware etc.

MS Windows XP Professional SP2

CPU: Intel Core 2 6420 @ 2.13ghz


Harddrive: 320GB

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 7100 GS

Sound: Listed as 'Realtek High Definition Audio'

Motherboard, according to Belarc adviser, listed as:
Board: NF570_SLIT-A
Bus Clock: 266 megahertz
BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG 11/01/2006

Optical: Optiarc DVD RW AD-5170A

Other stuff: VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller, and a memory card reader

Right, I'm going to try to keep it as short as possible as this problem has completely exhausted me and I'll start ranting. I'll try to be as concise as possible.

I bought this PC, supposedly brand new, in May 2007. My old PC was old and rackety, so I decided it was time for an upgrade. Other than surfing/MS Office work, the only other thing I wanted to do was capture footage from my mini DV camera, convert it to a DVD file and burn it to DVD. No editing or anything, just capture and burn.

Got it home and set it up, and started to capture the footage straight away. I ran into problems from the off. The PC would freeze during the capture process. Given it was brand new, I thought it might be the software. So over the next few days I would try several different types of software, all with the same result.

Naturally I tried to contact the company I bought it from, but for the next month I just couldn't get hold of them. Eventually I found out the company went under....so I was stuck with this PC.... :)

I stopped trying to capture as it was a lost cause. I put that on hold for now because I was still angry about the system. Over the next few months I realised the computer had other problems as well. It would randomly restart. Or the screen would stop displaying stuff, and a sign stating 'no input signal' would appear. Or the same thing would happen but with an 'out of scan range' message instead. Or it would crash, and a blue screen would display (not a BSOD, more a sky blue, fuzzy image).

All of this during general use. Any of this could occur at any time. I could turn it on, and as soon as it finished booting it could restart. Or it could happen two-three hours into use. It was totally random.

Another thing guaranteed to make it crash in some way was video conversion. I have tried to convert a few videos for use on my PSP, but each and everytime, no matter if it was one minute into conversion, or one minute from completion, it would crash in some way (as listed above.)

(My PC just crashed and restarted itself just now, luckily I was copying each sentence into notepad and saving as I go along!)

In the meantime, the only thing I have altered is doing a clean install of XP, because it was gettnig cluttered and slow, but still the same problems remained.

This week I took it to a PC repair shop, as I'd had enough. The guy there said he tested several things and converted a few videos as a test to see if his work had stopped the problem. Not once did the problems stop.

He removed the old firewire card and put in a new one. No change. He did the same thing with the RAM, graphics card, PSU....there was never any change.

He phoned me today to tell me he couldn't work it out and the next step was to test the either the motherboard, processor or harddrive. But he said this is where it could get tricky, as all would require extensive and expensive work.

He said his shop only did AMD processors and motherboards, so to remove and replace my Intel ones to test them, he would have to order them in and there was still no guarantee they would fix the problem. He then said I would have to pay extra for parts and labour. In relation to testing the harddrive, he said a similar thing in as much as he would have to do a clean install and I would have to pay for a few more hours labour.

So I paid him for his work thus far, took my computer home with no repair OR diagnosis.

Now given I paid out for a supposedly brand new computer, that has given me problems since day one and have now paid a repairman and am still none the better, I am really fuming now and am at a loss as to what to do now.

So out of all the things he didn't test, he said if had to guess, he would say the motherboard was the problem. But he couldn't be sure. He also said sometimes you spend so long and so much money trying to find an answer and eventually don't get it, that it is better to call it quits and buy a new PC. But as true as that may be, I find that really galling, so I have come to ask for your opinion.

If you were in my shoes, given everything that has happened and you have not got any value out of the machine let alone getting what you wanted out of it (video capture), how would you approach the problem? How do I get a diagnosis? I could buy a new motherboard, have it installed, pay for parts and labour and still potentially be left with the same problems. How do I get to the root of the problem? Surely there must be a way of finding out?

Sorry for the long post, really appreciate you reading it and really hope you guys can help/advise in some way.

Many thanks.

Edited by DjFonti, 04 December 2008 - 01:07 PM.

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Well, if I had to guess, I would think the ECS motherboard is the problem. ECS = yuck, in my opinion... no wonder the company you bought from went out of business!

Since the ram, psu, vid card, firewire card have all been changed, not to mention the OS has been redone, there isn't much left to do. I don't know how hardware savy you are, but one thing you might do is to pull the motherboard out to make sure nothing is shorting between the motherboard and computer chassis. If you can't do this yourself, you will have to get someone to do it for you.

By the way, when it comes down to the culprit being the motherboard or processor, there is no way to isolate without having a spare of one or the other.


Edited by makai, 05 December 2008 - 06:53 AM.

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I tend to agree with makai on this one.
The board could be shorting on the case, or the mounting screws touching a trace on the board because they added washers.
And you can't check the board or processor without having another.

The hard drive can be tested by you using the manufacturers diagnostics (link in my signature). You will need to know who makes your drive. We can help with that if needed.
I doubt the drive is the issue, but wouldn't hurt to test.
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Makai and 123Runner, many thanks for your replies. I will look into your suggestions and report back.

Thanks again.

Edited by DjFonti, 06 December 2008 - 08:37 AM.

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