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Another bad GPU?


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#1
Anomalous

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Would just like this to be verified before I go buying another GPU, last time I had these problems the solution was changing the GPU. I am currently using a Radeon HD 5570.

I run alot of games on this computer. After a full night of running Mass Effect 2 the computer locked up later on the next day. I was forced to shut it down and tried logging back in, but the computer could not even reach the login screen before freezing up.

I waited a week and tried running the computer again, this time I was able to reach the desktop. A few seconds later the computer locked up and the screen had a quick jumble of visual artifacts followed by a blue screen with an error,the computer restarted itself before I could take note of the error.

Seeing how I'm having very similar symptoms to the last time I had to replace my GPU I'm guessing this is the case again, but this GPU did not last nearly as long as my other one.
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#2
Digerati

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Well, it sounds like the graphics is having a problem but that does not mean the graphics card is failing. It could bad power or too much heat. Is the system free of dust? All fans spinning? What are you your temps? Do you have good front to back air flow through the case?
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#3
Anomalous

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I just replaced the GPU and still have the same problems, I was having these problems before on this computer , after replacing the GPU and HD the problems went away until now.

Once my computer reaches the desktop it freezes and resets itself, not sure which device is causing my problem this time.
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#4
Digerati

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Please see my last post.
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#5
Anomalous

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All fans are spinning, temps below 45c checked using speenfan, removed all the dust from my fans.
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#6
Digerati

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If me, I would want to know I had good power first. Here's my canned text on testing PSUs.

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive ripple 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.

Note the required voltage tolerance ranges:

Posted Image
NOTE: Disregard the -5VDC reading. It is no longer used.


Swapping in a known good supply is a tried and true method of troubleshooting used for years, even by pros. If you have access to a suitably sized, spare power supply, carefully remove the suspect supply and replace it with the known good one, 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.

Note the ATX Form Factor standard does not "require" specific color coding for power supply connector wiring. It has recommendations but manufacturers often do not follow them. Sadly, many testing guides or tutorials will refer to wire color only and that can lead to improper testing.

The voltages can be checked in the BIOS Setup Menus of most motherboards but they do not reveal ripple or other anomalies either. And of course, booting into the BIOS Setup Menu requires a working PSU.

As always, before working in the interior of the computer case, take necessary ESD precautions to ensure static buildup in your body does not discharge through and destroy any sensitive devices. Unplug from the wall and touch bare metal of the case before reaching in. 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. If you do not have a tester or a suitable spare to swap in, take the PSU to a qualified technician for testing.


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#7
Anomalous

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Just replaced the PSU,

Same as before, it gets to the desktop and loads for a moment, freezes, the screen gets a bunch of visual artifacts and then I get a blue screen error for a split second before the computer automatically resets itself.
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#8
Digerati

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So you have replaced the power supply, graphics and hard drive. That leaves RAM, motherboard or CPU. You can test 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. 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,
or
Windows 7 users can use the built in Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool.

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.
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#9
Anomalous

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Both sticks of RAM had no problems.

I got it to run in safe mode but it eventually froze again, it seems to freeze faster the more I try to run the computer, if I leave it alone for a while it runs longer but will ultimately freeze again at some point.

Edited by Anomalous, 19 May 2011 - 01:14 PM.

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#10
Digerati

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Well, since barely 2 hours passed from the time I posted about mem testers and you replied they are good, I doubt you allowed the diagnostics to run for several passes or even overnight, as I suggested above.

I am at a loss here. Artifacts generally indicate a problem with graphics. But you have replaced the card and power supply. So at this point, I am leaning towards a bad motherboard. But sadly, there is no real way to test a motherboard.

You could blast a desk fan into the open side of the computer and hope that keeps it from freezing.
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