Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

Random System shut-downs (not heat)


  • Please log in to reply

#1
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Hello everyone. Recently, my old motherboard died at about the same time that my 8800GTX's fan died, so I wound up getting a new motherboard, RAM, processor, and GPU. I use this computer for gaming, and for the most part, everything works fine. However, ever since I bought the new parts, I have been having trouble with my computer randomly cutting the power during gaming and restarting (It has never happened when I wasn't playing a game). My first thought was that it must have been heat-related since I was using Intel's awful stock heat sink (my old one wouldn't fit the 1156 socket) and the CPU was running hot. So, I bought a nice new heat sink and it works really well. Even while gaming, all four of the CPU cores stay lower than 33C, and my motherboard and GPU sensors hover around 34C and 41C, respectively. However, the problem persisted. Sometimes I can play for hours at a time with no restarts; other times it will cut the power 2-3 times in one night. I have tried a few things to try to research and troubleshoot the issue, but I've gotten to the point where I'm stumped and seeking expert help!

It should be noted that I have never had this issue prior to buying the new parts, so I am assuming that the problem lies with one of the recent additions posted below.

Here is a list of the things I have tried:
1.) I updated all drivers
2.) I tried having the system create a small (64k) minidump file, but when there is a power cut, it does not write a dump file.
3.) I tried checking the event logs, but again, no log is written for the crashes.

Thank you for your time.

Edit: So you don't have to go digging around in my profile for my computer specs, here are the new components:
MSI NGTX 275 Lightning
Intel Core i5 750
6 GB Crucial DDR3-1333 CAS 9
Asus P7P55D Evo

Old parts:
Western Digital 74GB Raptor
Western Digital 500GB Caviar (WD500AAKS-00YGA 500GB 16MB Cache)
Sound Blaster X-Fi
1150W PSU

Edited by Blindspy, 27 November 2009 - 04:46 PM.

  • 0

Advertisements


#2
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
Well, heat would be my first guess, but it does appear your temps are good - very good, actually. A failing or stressed PSU can give similar problems. Although yours certainly has plenty of horsepower, it's voltages may not be stable, or may be slightly out of tolarance. You might try another if you have one to swap in for awhile.

I would also test your RAM using one of the following programs. Both require you to create and boot to a bootable floppy disk or CD to run the diagnostics. Using the floppy method is generally easier (and another reason to include floppy drives in new builds). However, the CD method is just as effective at detecting RAM problems. Allow the diagnostics to run for several passes or even overnight. You should have no reported errors.

Windows Memory Diagnostic - see the easy to follow instructions under Quick Start Information.
or
MemTest86+ (for more advanced users) - an excellent how-to guide is available here.

Alternatively, you could install a single RAM module and try running with that to see if it fails. Repeat process with remaining modules, hopefully identifying the bad stick through a process of elimination.
  • 0

#3
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Thanks for the response. You caught me just as I was headed out the door for some Black Friday fun, but I will try that out and get back to you later tonight.
  • 0

#4
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic. I did two passes of the standard 6 tests and one pass of the extended 11 tests. There were no errors. One thing that I should note is that when I first started the diagnostic there was a message on the screen warning me that I had too much RAM for the tests and not all of it would be tested. I know that I have too much RAM to be fully utilized by Windows XP at the moment, but I was planning on upgrading to Windows 7 soon. Is it possible that the errors could be occurring on the RAM that was not tested in the Diagnostic, or does Windows XP always use the same chunk of RAM that the Windows Memory Diagnostic checks?
  • 0

#5
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
I don't see how too much RAM would cause errors. But certainly you could pull a couple sticks and run the tests again.
  • 0

#6
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Hm, I did the standard tests on each stick and came back error-free. I don't have a spare PSU unfortunately. Is there a way to diagnose possible PSU problems without having to buy a new one by chance?

Edited by Blindspy, 28 November 2009 - 02:23 AM.

  • 0

#7
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP

Is there a way to diagnose possible PSU problems without having to buy a new one by chance?

Not without certainty - unless you have access to professional diagnostic equipment. See my canned text below on testing PSUs.

While those RAM tests are good, they too are not conclusive. RAM sticks can test well, but still be at fault, or just not play well together. I would suggest running with just 2 sticks for awhile and see if it holds. If it fails, swap one stick and run it again for awhile.

If you are overclocking, reset everything back to the defaults until this is resolved.

While your CPU and GPU temps are good, heat could be causing problems elsewhere - the chipset, RAM, or some other device. You might try opening up the side and blasting a desk fan in there while in use and see if it holds.

***

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(electrical)""]ripple[/url] and other anomalies. This is done by a qualified technician using an oscilloscope or power analyzer - sophisticated (and expensive) electronic test equipment requiring special training to operate, and a basic knowledge of electronics theory to understand the results. Therefore, conclusively testing a power supply is done in properly equipped electronic repair facilities.

Fortunately, there are other options that are almost as good. I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply to swap in. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you have a better chance of detecting a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified ATX Form Factor Standard tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, it is not a true load or suitable for conclusive testing.

As mentioned, swapping in a known good supply is a tried and trued method of troubleshooting used for years, even by pros. Remove the "suspect" part and replace with a "known good" part and see if the problem goes away.

I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This requires poking (with some considerable force) two hard and sharp, highly conductive meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering most multimeters, like plug-in testers, do not measure, or reveal any unwanted and potentially disruptive AC components to the DC voltages.

And remember, anything that plugs into the wall can kill. Do not open the power supply's case unless you are a qualified electronics technician. There are NO user serviceable parts inside a power supply.
  • 0

#8
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Bleh, fan didn't seem to work. I'd hate to drop more money on a new PSU if I'm not even sure it's the problem, but unless some other idea pops up it looks like I have little choice.
  • 0

#9
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
I would hate that too, because it could be something else failing. No trusting friends to swap with?
  • 0

#10
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
Actually there is one new thing that I noticed as well, and I hadn't thought of it until now. Whenever I play a game, the hard drive that runs the game makes a very odd, kind of loud, high-pitched buzzing sound. Both of my hard drives do this (I have games installed on both of them), and I don't recall either of them making the noise before I got the new motherboard. Is it possible that I may have set them up improperly, or need to update their firmware?

Edited by Blindspy, 29 November 2009 - 04:31 PM.

  • 0

#11
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
HD firmware is not updated, and if setup wrong, they would not be recognized - assuming these are internal drives.

High pitched buzzing from drives normally means the motor bearings. It would be very odd if both went at the same time, unless they were both fed abnormal voltages.

Did you put all this in a new case at the same time? If so, then the acoustics would be different.
  • 0

#12
Blindspy

Blindspy

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
No I did not, but I suppose the acoustics are different because I removed the old water cooling system and went back to air cooling. The old pump may have blocked out the sound. I just found it weird that they only make the buzzing noises while running games, and not while loading other programs or defragmenting or anything like that. This is kind of unrelated to the main topic, but am I in danger of losing the hard drives, or is that not something to really worry about?
  • 0

#13
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP

but am I in danger of losing the hard drives

I don't know, but if my drives did not sound normal, I would be backing up my data immediately, then running diagnostics on them.

See Hard Drive Diagnostics - listed by maker
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP