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Graphics/Sound Failure - HD's Stay Active?


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#1
drpandemic

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Hey geeks,

This problem is very new, less than a week old (no major internal changes since leading to it or anything). When I'm casually using the computer (Word, design programs, internet, even Minecraft [simple game]) it runs fine.

However as soon as I start up a newer game, ranging from Evil Genius (2004) to the new Medal of Honor Beta (2010), I can play for about 10-60 minutes (it varies) at which point my sound crackles or starts repeating and my monitor loses signal. The reason I know the HD is active is that I'm typically on Ventrilo and my friends say I'm still logged in when the problem occurs. Occasionally the sound doesn't crap out and it's just the video.

At this point the reset button doesn't work either, I have to do a hard shut down to get a successful reboot.

Friends have suggested bad PSU (but I've run Burnit twice and it finished both times) and bad MoBo, but I'm at a loss for what this is. The only way to replicate it is to play a game and just wait, and there's no way I know of to get an error report (nothing in the Windows event log either, I don't think).

Any ideas?
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#2
jmckeeco84

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It sounds like it could be a driver problem, depending on what sound card you use I would install up to date drivers. My sound card is Realtek so I installed realtek HD audio drivers and haven't had an issue since. If you're using Creative than I'd suggest making sure your drivers are current with them.

Edited by jmckeeco84, 06 October 2010 - 11:38 PM.

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#3
phillpower2

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Hi drpandemic :D sorry to hear you are having this issue.
It is possible it is the psu (can you provide the make and model) but it could also be due to heat, when was the last time the inside was cleaned out, have you checked that the BFG card fan is working and that both of the cards connections are secure? Are you comfortable doing this, power cord removed, taking anti static precautions etc! when you check this remove the card and blow out the slot and re-seat the card securely, do the same with the RAM.
You can use this for stress testing your gfx card http://www.ozone3d.n...s/fur/#techdata
and this for fine tuning your fan speed on the gfx card http://www.nvidia.co...5.54.00_uk.html
Hope this helps get you sorted and let us know how it works out.
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#4
Troy

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At this point the reset button doesn't work either, I have to do a hard shut down to get a successful reboot.

I agree with your friends, most likely mobo but possibly PSU - I've seen both cause this issue. This quote tells me you have hardware issues because the reset button should always work.
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#5
drpandemic

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Thanks for the replies! I'm trying out drivers first as their the easiest thing to test; doing a uninstall/reinstall of my GPU drivers and I'll look for my MoBo's built in sound drivers (I moved my GPU away from my PSU which left no room for the sound card).

I have re-seated the RAM, GPU, and all 'accessory' cards and that didn't fix the problem (that was my first solution). Also cleaned all the components and checked to make sure the fans were all working.

I've heard from two other friends it may be my mobo/PSU (my PSU is a few years old, but the mobo is pretty much brand new). I've struggled to remember but I believe my PSU is only about 650W and my friend suggested upping that to the 750-850 range with my current setup and allowing for upgrades. The mobo I dished out $200 for and I'm just hoping that it's not the issue, but if it is, what are you gonna do? :D I don't have the cash (at all) to go about replacing either at the moment so I might just be out of luck until about December. Are there any tests out there to see if it's the mobo/PSU?
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#6
phillpower2

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Cheapest and easiest option at the moment if you can, is try and loan another psu to try in your system, if not try and find a local comp store who have the equipment to test your psu correctly, and free of charge if possible.
A quality brand of 650W psu would be adequate to run your computer, but I wouldn`t trust a 1000W unknown brand psu in anything, they are just too unpredictable.
What is the brand name of your psu?
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#7
drpandemic

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I'm running an Antec PSU at the moment, but I've had issues with them (replaced my PSU 2-3 times in the last 5 years). Sparkle comes highly recommended by a techie friend and I have a Corsair I've been looking at as well. PSU's are one area of computing I have minimal knowledge in, so finding a good one is tough for me, have to rely on recommendations of others.

At school there are no local stores that I'd trust but I'm taking it home for fall break and might take it to a MicroCenter or something.

I updated my drivers and played some Bad Company 2 this morning and it worked fine. I'll keep testing it in between work to make sure, but hopefully it was just drivers -crosses fingers-

EDIT - Played about an hour of MoH Beta with my pal just now and it crashed again. Looks like a hardware issue. :D

Edited by drpandemic, 07 October 2010 - 11:13 AM.

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#8
phillpower2

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I would look at the psu options first as it easier to swap out a psu and/or to get it tested than to take out the MB first only to find it is not the issue.
To help you choosing a new psu should it be required http://www.jonnyguru...read.php?t=1036
Sparkle or Corsair, Corsair for me due to their proven track record but Sparkle has had some good reviews also although time will tell; http://www.thinkcomp...-supply-review/
http://www.overclock...w-power-supply/
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#9
Troy

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Have you run a Memory Diagnostic?
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#10
drpandemic

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Thanks for all the help so far! I'm going to do a MemTest when I get a chance tonight or tomorrow (have to crank out some homework first) and will be taking the computer home over my upcoming long weekend in hopes of taking it to a place that can test the PSU/Mobo.

I will report back when I have new information for you! Thanks!
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#11
phillpower2

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Ok we will await an update when you are ready.
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#12
drpandemic

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Small update. I didn't get a chance to get the computer to the repair place but I did want to do some maintenance. So I pulled in a can of dust and dusted it all off and took off the CPU cooler to better clean it out. When I did I found out that the thermal paste was burnt looking (not good) but the CPU looked good still (no burns on it or cracks). So I did a thorough cleaning of the existing paste, re-tinted it, and re-applied and it's worked fine since (Friday night).

Evil Genius still crashes the computer the same way so I'm just assuming it's a compatibility issue on that front. My other games seem to be running fine though. Sound like that could have been the issue?
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#13
phillpower2

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Fingers crossed things continue to run ok for you and thanks for the update.
With what you described with the thermal paste on the CPU it sounds like you
could have had a near miss with the CPU nearly getting fried.
Never heard of "Evil Genius" so I will have a look and see if I can find any
info on people with a similar or same issue and let you know.
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#14
drpandemic

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The sigh of relief when I saw my CPU was alright was epic. It's no big deal if EG doesn't work, it was more of a nostalgia trip and not something I need to run. The last time I booted it it only took about 5 minutes to crash my computer so I figured it wasn't worth figuring out.

Other games such as Bad Company, the new Medal of Honor, and L4D2 are running fine so far, so I'm a happy gamer. =]
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#15
Troy

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If it is now just the one game crashing, perhaps it was multiple issues. By that I mean you may have bad sectors on the hard drive directly where the game is located or something.

Try running a hard drive diagnostic and also "chkdsk /r" from the command prompt (you will need to reboot for it to run, and it is a long scan).
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