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Mystery system error, great minds assemble


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#1
MrTeachwell

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Hi, this is my first post and I'll do my best to contribute (not only ask for help) as I have a fair amount of fixing errors experience (as most pc builders get).

My present problem has been really tricky to pin down, so here's my system and I'll try my best to describe the problem. Hopefully someone can shed some experience on the situation.

Motherboard - Asus P8P67 Deluxe Rev. B3 Bios 3207(04/02/2012)
PSU - Antec neo eco 620 watt
CPU - intel i5 2500k (oc @ 4200)
RAM - G-skill DDR3 1600 (2x4gb + 2x4gb - I bought one lot first then upgraded later so the 4 sticks aren't of the same batch)
HDD - WD 1tb Caviar green
Video - gigabyte 1gb AMD 6850
Cooler - Coolermaster Hyper 212+
Additional cards - T-link wifi pci card and 1 case fan
OS - Win7 x 64

Mid last year I build a new computer (about a year ago) it ran fine, like a dream for about 6 months. Then one day I left my computer on to get lunch and returned to find it off, and it refused to start. By refuse I mean I pressed the power button, the fans (cpu and case) twitched with a microsecond of life then now power. Pressing the power button a second time would NOT trigger any more twitches, however if I remove the power cable and wait for the motherboard to make that almost inaudible sigh (signifying that all the power has been released) then plug the cord back in, press the button and the fans would twitch once more. I thought the power supply was dead. The next day I woke up and the computer turned on like nothing happened, the bios needed resetting but other than that it worked fine.

Fast forward a few months of the computer running fine (slightly overclocked via the bios but I've also tried underclocking it to no avail), and the computer turns off in the middle of viewing a website. It then shows the same symptoms as before. The next day the computer is fine again. One time this happens I test the psu by getting another psu (which doesn't have all of the necessary connections, it's lacking some of the 4 pin connectors for the video card). So I have my old psu hooked up to the motherboard but the new (possibly faulty) psu connected to the video card and jumpstarted so it was on. This powered on the computer but after a while two pops/flashes/bangs happened on the motherboard. I quickly unhooked everything, and sheepishly tried the new psu again and to my surprise everything turned on and ran perfectly...

This happened a few times, the computer decides to turn itself off and I try different things like swapping out ram sticks using only one then trying it in different slots, reseating the cpu, reseating the video card, reapplying thermal paste. All seem to do the trick for a short time but then the computer does it again. Interestingly the bios reports my cpu fan as going too slow like 200-300rpm, so I disable the fan monitor/warning in the bios because I can obviously see/hear the fan going much faster.

Fast forward to this week (May 2012), the computer randomly turns itself off, but tries to power back on (the front case power light comes on, and off then repeats this maybe 6 times before staying off) So I unplug the power cord, plug it back in and then the power goes to the bios. It has a msg about detecting a power surge. The computer is working fine now, but I'm planning on replacing either the psu or the motherboard, then if one doesn't work replacing the other also (basically building a new pc bit by bit until the problem ceases). The only problem is I have no way of reproducing the problem, it appears to be random.

So this is where you come in, what's your opinion or what tests might you try before replacing parts? Which parts do you think could be the culpret? (right now I'm thinking either psu/motherboard, but potentially also the ram, or maybe even actual power surges in my house?).

Thank you for any help or insights you can provide, it's really appreciated.

Royce.

Edited by MrTeachwell, 21 May 2012 - 05:53 AM.

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#2
rshaffer61

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Hello MrTeachwell.... Welcome to
GeeksToGo, :thumbsup:
:ph34r: :yes:

I'm sorry to hear about your issue. We will try to help you resolve this as soon as possible.
  • Please understand we are all volunteers and we are not here all the time.
  • Sometimes it may be a extended amount of time to get back to you. If it has been
    more then 3 days please shoot me a PM and I will try to get back to you quickly
    then.
  • Please do the following and supply the requested information as needed. If you
    don't understand my instructions please ask and I will try to explain them
    clearer for you.
  • Do not attempt any steps unless instructed or ask before to
    make sure they will not cause any further issues.
  • If you are receiving assistance in any other forum site please let us know as there may be conflicting advice given.




From the symptoms you describe it does sound like either the Motherboard or PSU is the fault. The first test we need to use is the PSU voltages and that requires you are in Windows to do this.

Download Speedfan (The download link is to the right), and install it. Once it's installed, run the program and post here the information it shows.
The information I want you to post is the stuff that is circled in the example picture I have attached.
To make sure we are getting all the correct information it would help us if you were to attach a screenshot like the one below of your Speedfan results.

To do a screenshot please have click on your Print Screen on your keyboard.
  • It is normally the key above your number pad between the F12 key and the Scroll Lock key
  • Now go to Start and then to All Programs
  • Scroll to Accessories and then click on Paint
  • In the Empty White Area click and hold the CTRL key and then click the V
  • Go to the File option at the top and click on Save as
  • Save as file type JPEG and save it to your Desktop
  • Attach it to your next reply

Posted Image
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#3
MrTeachwell

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:) that's a fast reply. Here is my readout (seems i could only attach it as a file, not sure how to make it bigger)
speedfan.jpg
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#4
rshaffer61

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OK now we need to check the event viewer as that should give us a ideal what in part is causing the system to shutdown like it is while in Windows.


  • Please download the Event Viewer Tool by Vino Rosso VEW and save it to your Desktop:
  • Double-click VEW.exe
  • Under 'Select log to query', select (as appropriate):
    • Application
    • System
  • Under 'Select type to list', select (as appropriate):
    • Error
    • Information
    • Warning
Then use the 'Date of events' or 'Number of events' as follows:

Either:
  • Click the radio button for 'Number of events'
    Type 3 in the 1 to 20 box (or any number from 1 to 20)
    Then click the Run button.
    Notepad will open with the output log.

  • Click the radio button for 'Date of events'
    In the From: boxes type today's date (presuming the crash happened today) 13 05 2012
    In the To: boxes type today's date (presuming the crash happened today) 21 05 2012
    Then click the Run button.
    Notepad will open with the output log.
Please post the Output log in your next reply
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#5
MrTeachwell

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Wow, this read out looks big. Thank you for taking the time to help.
Attached File  VEW.txt   172.52KB   25 downloads
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#6
rshaffer61

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OK my head is spinning with all this. I see a game caused a issue, your internet caused a issue and media player caused another issue.
First I want to make sure tthis is not a hardware problem so please do the following and let me know the results.




Tutorial for running chkdsk in Vista\Win 7 located HERE.



A If you have more than one RAM module installed, try starting computer with one RAM stick at a time.

NOTE Keep in mind, the manual check listed above is always superior to the software check, listed below. DO NOT proceed with memtest, if you can go with option A

B. If you have only one RAM stick installed...
...run memtest...


1. Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip). If you prefer to use the USB version then use this link USB KEY
2. Unzip downloaded /memtest86+-4.20.iso.zip file.
3. Inside, you'll find /memtest86+-4.20.iso file.
4. Download, and install ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/
5. Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
6. Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc
7. Click on Browse for a file... icon:

Posted Image

8. Locate memtest86+-4.20.iso file, and click Open button.
9. Click on ImgBurn green arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD:

Posted Image

10. Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run. You may have to change the boot sequence in your BIOS to make it work right.

To change Boot Sequence in your BIOS

Reboot the system and at the first post screen (where it is counting up memory) start tapping the DEL button
This will enter you into the Bios\Cmos area.
Find the Advanced area and click Enter
Look for Boot Sequence or Boot Options and highlight that click Enter
Now highlight the first drive and follow the directions on the bottom of the screen on how to modify it and change it to CDrom.
Change the second drive to the C or Main Drive
Once that is done then click F10 to Save and Exit
You will prompted to enter Y to verify Save and Exit. Click Y and the system will now reboot with the new settings.


The running program will look something like this depending on the size and number of ram modules installed:


Posted Image

It's recommended to run 5-6 passes. Each pass contains very same 8 tests.

This will show the progress of the test. It can take a while. Be patient, or leave it running overnight.

Posted Image

The following image is the test results area:

Posted Image

The most important item here is the “errors” line. If you see ANY errors, even one, most likely, you have bad RAM.
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#7
MrTeachwell

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:) Yeah, I had a lot of restarts while playing that game, so I'm not sure whether the game is a cause or the fact that it's pulling too much load from specific hardware (psu, ram etc) that's causing the crashes. It's interesting to note that I am able to run that software without errors (played a good 4hrs of it this morning).

Just a quick update, no errors reported in chkdsk. I've done 3 passes of memtest on all 4 sticks of ram with no errors, but I will be doing another one overnight. I'd just like to check with the instruction to do one stick at a time is that only for the purpose of pointing out which stick had an error? If so I can do all sticks over night then if an error is found just re-run the tests on single sticks.
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#8
rshaffer61

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I'd just like to check with the instruction to do one stick at a time is that only for the purpose of pointing out which stick had an error? If so I can do all sticks over night then if an error is found just re-run the tests on single sticks.

This will be fine.


so I'm not sure whether the game is a cause or the fact that it's pulling too much load from specific hardware (psu, ram etc) that's causing the crashes

Your PSU and memory seem to be doing fine but can you tell me the make and model of your PSU please.
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#9
MrTeachwell

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Antec neoeco 620c not sure what other number might help?
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#10
rshaffer61

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The PSU itself does not have a very good review rating. Most having to do with customer support on faulty units. Yours though seems to be working like it should so I am very skeptical about saying it is a power issue at all.


So this is where you come in, what's your opinion or what tests might you try before replacing parts? Which parts do you think could be the culpret? (right now I'm thinking either psu/motherboard, but potentially also the ram, or maybe even actual power surges in my house?).

We have covered the PSU and ram already.
Possibly could be a motherboard but I'm leaning more toward a power issue with your connection. Have you tried to connect it to a different outlet in the house. BTW is this connected to a surge protector or straight to the wall?
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#11
MrTeachwell

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Yeah, I also read quite a few complaints about this psu (but also this motherboard) which combined with the nature of the problem (and the bios surge notice) caused me to believe it was the psu or outlet. It's connected to a powerboard with surge protection (however I can't vouch for the quality, but it looks decent). In the past it was connected to an outlet that is on the opposite side to a fridge and gas heater (so possibly connected?), and I also thought maybe these items were causing surges so I moved it to a different outlet (on the other side of the room, however, I also can't tell if these outlets are connected inside the house).

Something I'm testing now is raising the cpu ratio to 42 (it has been on 33 since yesterday and hasn't crashed) I'm curious as to whether the ram/mobo can handle the overclock. I have also turned off the smartspeed options that throttle the cpu speed up and down to conserve energy and maintain a low temp, this way the cpu is sitting on a constant 4200mhz.

It's been going good since I started this thread and I'd be happy if it doesn't crash again, however I'd really like to figure out why it's done it. Thanks for your help, I'll update with any future happenings.
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#12
rshaffer61

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One suggestion I would make is if you have it over clocked try putting everything back to default and see if the issue resolves itself then. If so then the problem may be incorrect OCing.
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#13
MrTeachwell

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Another Quick update.

Yesterday I thought I was on to something when I enabled PLL voltage in the bios and then within an hour got a crash (simple turn off no reboot cycle), after disabling it things seemed fine but just before bed I came back from dinner and the computer had shut down again. Upon restarting it did a dskchk with no errors.

The cpu was overclocked to 4300mhz during this time. Today I will try as you suggested and reset to default bios settings and see how that goes. At this point in time if you were to begin replacing parts where would you start? (Since this is a long term issue I've considered getting a new psu, if problem persists then replacing motherboard, if persists replace ram).

One interesting thing to mention is that one time when the computer was going through a reboot cycle the hard drive wasn't being detected and I could hear it spinning up and making a click (I've had a hdd fail on me before with the same sound). Could the hard drive have anything to do with this or could something like the motherboard or psu affect the hdd in this way? I believe I read something about older asus boards having problems with the sata ports but this was apparently fixed on revB3.
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#14
rshaffer61

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The click of death may cause the system to reboot but to fully shutdown I don't think it would.
PSU possible
Motherboard possible CPU and Memory possible.
I would still suggest setting the bios to default to take out the OCing
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#15
MrTeachwell

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Ok this morning I reset the cmos. Two things always happen when I use the default settings, 1 cpu fan erro, and 2 BSOD related to hard drive setting.

The first thing that happens when I do this is the bios reports a cpu fan error. Going into the bios it shows the cpu fan rpm as 200-300 (under my previous set up it was reported as 1400). I set the bios to ignore the cpu fan before I could even save that setting in the bios I got the reboot cycle. I turned it off, waited a minute then started up and went into the bios again, I set it to ignore and restarted, then the second part happened when showing the windows loading graphic it BSOD's and reboots. This I have discovered is related to the default setting for my hard drive. It's a sata drive, and the bios sets it to AHCI mode (not sure what this is), the computer will BSOD until I set it to IDE.

Could either of these relate to the restarting, or do they highlight that something might be going wrong with the motherboard? I am currently using the pc to type this, using the default settings (except ignore cpu fan and IDE mode), some of the default settings include a 'turbo' which throttles the cpu from 1600-3700mhz, and the ram which is 12800 or 1600mhz is set to 1333. I'm strongly considering picking up a cheap(ish) replacement motherboard this saturday, then if things continue replacing the PSU followed by the RAM if the problem continues.
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