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Random "crashes" where everything is fine except display

no display no screen crash freeze no video no output graphics graphics card

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#1
infector

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Hello everyone.
I am struggling with strange problem. I dug through so many forums and websites to get some answers, unfortunately none was unequivocal.

From time to time my computer is crashing in the way that sometimes the screen is frozen, however the music/sound is still being played in the background without any distortions; sometimes the screen is blank, all black, "no video output" as my display is telling me; totally like the output from my graphics card is turned off - the rest is still functioning - e.g. the is still sound and even I can still "play" a game - I mean I hear sounds of footsteps when I press arrow keys. Those crashes were quite often in the past week, what is more, I didn't have video output after reseting my PC! No video output from the very beginning I pressed a power button - even didn't have MSI motherboard logo/peripherals initialization.

I decided to run my PC few days on an integrated Intel HD chipset; in the meantime I completely removed Nvidia drivers and all traces of it by running a DDU utility software; it is worth to mention that I never had the newset drivers, I was running some old versions due to a common problem "the driver has stopped working..." in the more distant past. So, my GeForce 660 was turned off in BIOS during my usage of Intel HD, and in the last 2 days I even removed it completely from my PC and put it on my desk. In fact I was going to test it in my friend's rig. An hour before I was about to go to him I put the GeForce inside my rig, installed the newest Nvidia drivers and started using my PC - mainly youtube and web surfing. No crashes. Then I played a game for a few minutes - and suddenly black screen... but a few seconds later screen came back with info "the driver has stopped working..." - however please read further and let's assume now that this particular issue was related only to bad Nvidia drivers and wasn't related to my main problem I am describing here, besides it happened only once (as for this issue with "driver has stopped working..." - I read once it might be caused by having "PCIe Link State Power Management" turned on, in fact I turned it off in the past and didn't have those kind of problems anymore on my old drivers).

But to the point - today I ran some stress tests using "HeavyLoad" utility software. I tested CPU and CPU separately and then also together, tested also RAM. No crashes, even when my CPU reached 75 degrees (Celsius). Then I played "Ori and the Blind Forest" (great game by the way!) and after few minutes the screen froze, but sound was still being played - I waited for 15 seconds and rebooted my PC; another try, the same game - 10 minutes or so passed and the screen turned totally black and "no output from HDMI" - the sound still being played. I rebooted again praying I will have an output after I pressed the "reset" button - and I think my prayers worked, because my PC booted normally to Windows with display on. Third try - this time I played for 30 minutes - no crashes. Now I am writing this post from the same PC and still no crashes.

I don't want to suggest anything but after analyzing and rethinking all of this and running aforementioned tests (like DDU) I think we can rule out the PSU malfunctioning (besides I don't believe it could crash, I have SeaSonic Bronze 620W for 2,5 years, and honestly I don't think I am using more than half of that power). My gut tells me it can be hardware issue with graphics card or motherboard, and after adding some reasoning biasing towards graphics card since I have problems only with display (freezing or turning off) than anything else.
However yesterday after having fresh-installed the newest Nvidia drivers I started to think that maybe it is more software- than hardware-related issue... But to further support this thesis there is one thing I should know - if a display driver fails should it or should it NOT affect also displaying the POST screen (I mean the first screen we see after turning on a PC)? I think the POST screen is displayed BEFORE any other driver is loaded, but maybe I am terribly wrong here.


What else I did trying to get rid of my problem:
- uninstalled drivers for Realtek Audio HD since I am using good ol' PCI Audigy SE (ok, ok, it was never a good card...) - I read on one forum that having installed drivers for integrated Realtek and also standalone sound card could cause crashes.
- interchanged RAM modules in their slots
- re-seated graphics card and blew out dust from radiator and fans

Some additional info and my PC configuration:
- I did NOT hear any "beeps" during booting even once. Nothing.
- I have never overclocked anything
- CPU: Intel Core i5-4670
- GPU: MSI GeForce 660 OC Twin Frozr
- MOBO: MSI H87-G41 PC Mate
- RAM: 2 x 4GB Kingston HyperX (DDR3 I think)

- Windows 10 64-bit

Thank you for your patience and for reading my whole and certainly too long post.
Any help is much appreciated.


Edited by infector, 24 March 2016 - 06:50 AM.

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#2
RKinner

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You are correct that an operating system problem should have no effect on the POST.  

 

Seems to me that it's getting too hot:  

my CPU reached 75 degrees 

 

 

I assume this is a desktop so I would expect it to be under 60 no matter what you were doing. You say you blew out the dust.  Did you remove the CPU fan (not the heatsink) to get to the dust trapped between the fan and the heatsink?  Is there something blocking the air flow?  Does the CPU fan spin up to speed quickly when it boots?  How about the two fans in the GeForce and the one in the power supply?

 

What does Speedfan say about your temps?

 

 
Download, save and Install it (Win 7+ or Vista right click and Run As Admin) then run it (Win 7+ or Vista right click and Run As Admin).  Leave it running and play your game.

 

Did you run a multipass RAM test?

 

http://www.memtest.org/


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#3
terry1966

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to be honest sounds like you've covered everything, passing the stress tests is a good sign, (RKinner 75C under stress test conditions is nothing to worry about and in normal use won't get anywhere near that, run prime95 on your pc and see what temps it gets up to, i think you'll be surprised.) so the only thing i can think of to try is to totally remove your sound card and only use the onboard sound and see if it still crashes, i have seen cases where the sound card can cause graphics conflicts/problems.

 

:popcorn:

 

one thing you said you'd taken the graphics card out at one point but don't see if you experienced any crashes without it.


Edited by terry1966, 22 March 2016 - 08:06 AM.

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#4
RKinner

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My HP's all-in-one's video crashes when the temp get above 70 and acts a lot like his problem so it still sounds heat related to me.  Agree that taking out the GeForce completely is a good idea.  Something on it may be sensitive to heat and drag the bus down even when it's not on.


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#5
infector

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You are correct that an operating system problem should have no effect on the POST.  

 

Thanks for clarification.

 

 

Did you remove the CPU fan (not the heatsink) to get to the dust trapped between the fan and the heatsink?  Is there something blocking the air flow?

 

I was so focused on GPU that I didn't have a look at CPU heatsink and fan. I will blow out dust just to be sure; however my CPU at idle (e.g during writing this post) is 35 to 40 Celsius (and it always was like that), so I think that is quite OK and there shouldn't be any dust. I am using Core Temp 0.99 for monitoring temp.

 

 

 

Does the CPU fan spin up to speed quickly when it boots?  How about the two fans in the GeForce and the one in the power supply?

 

 

I checked all the fans during boot and after that - everything is fine, all fans were spinning at their normal RPM as I can tell, there is good air flow near power supply and two fans in my PC case.

 

 

What does Speedfan say about your temps?

 

They are OK, GPU and HDD are 30 Celsius or even below. The CPU temp is quite interesting - Speedfan is showing me it's constant 128 Celsius! And there were two other readings, AUXTIN2 and AUXTIN3, showing 127 and 83 Celsius, respectively, during HeavyLoad test (AUXTIN0 and AUXTIN1 were showing 22 and 18 Celsius, respectively); after I stopped the test AUXTIN2 suddenly dropped to...  MINUS 128C. As far as I know my PC is not nitrogen-cooled :laughing:. AUXTIN3 was showing constantly changing temps, from -40 to -10. It has to be some kind of bug, don't know why, though. Besides, as I wrote above my CPU temps are 35-40 at idle, during games they are like 60 or so, depending on the game; and on that HeavyLoad test it was 75 Celsius.

During game (Ori and the Blind Forest) Speedfan shows 40-45 Celsius on GPU; when I minimized the game and surfed the web it showed up to 63 Celsius. I played a few minutes more and quited the game. Immediately after I decided to check temps once more, and clicked Speedfan icon. And I encountered a freeze :( Waited for few minutes and eventually had to do a hard reset. The reset button did not work, I had to keep pressed the power button for 10 seconds or so. Fortunately I have video output now every time I have a freeze and reset...

During HeavyLoad combined CPU, GPU and RAM test it shows 36 Celsius at GPU, 38 at "System" sensor and some other normal temps from a few other sensors (I didn't even know my PC has so many different sensors. Except for those "bugged" readings everything seems to be fine here.

 

 

I've also run that Memtest86, everything was fine, no errors. I stopped the test after fourth pass.

 

 

the only thing i can think of to try is to totally remove your sound card and only use the onboard sound and see if it still crashes, i have seen cases where the sound card can cause graphics conflicts/problems.

 

I have to admit it is quite soothing for me you encountered problem you mentioned - because maybe it is exactly the same cause in my case. I don't know why I didn't think about removing my sound card, but imho it is a good idea, I will definitely give that a try. Thanks for pointing that out!

 

 

one thing you said you'd taken the graphics card out at one point but don't see if you experienced any crashes without it.

 

And here is the thing (I think I should mention that in the beginning) - when I was running on my integrated Intel HD, with GeForce still inside PCIe slot I had two crashes. But they were different, during those crashes everything on screen was frozen and there was that harsh, continuous, loud sound coming from speakers. I needed to hard reset my PC. However, I don't remember if I had a freeze after I removed my GeForce from PCIe slot. But I think it doesn't matter here as GeForce was just sitting inside a slot being "turned off" and not being used. So there was no power being drained from PCIe.

 

Ok, thank you guys for your help, if you have more ideas please share them here. I will run some more tests, check my PC components and use my PC without a sound card and will get back here in a week or two. Maybe I will also try some older version of Nvidia drivers.

 

PS One last thing - I didn't add that info in my first post - I am running Windows 10 64-bit.


Edited by infector, 23 March 2016 - 06:43 PM.

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