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

System instability


  • Please log in to reply

#1
BobWoodworth

BobWoodworth

    New Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
Ok, you guys are my last hope before I throw this computer out the window. I built this computer from scratch about 5-6 months ago (the component list will follow). It was an easy build and everything worked great up until a week ago. The problem started with random programs causing fatal errors. Once error occurred, more were likely until I restarted windows. Eventually, it got worse to the point where sometimes it would get to the windows boot screen and just reboot, in both normal and safe mode. After trying EVERYTHING out there for Mal-ware, I decided with a fresh windows install.

Booted from the WinXP Pro CD, deleted HD partition, reformatted drive, and installed windows. Even with a fresh windows install, I still get random software and system crashes. So I thought maybe it was a problem with the BIOS settings from futzing around before, so I started over and reinstalled after restoring proper BIOS settings. Same thing. It even caused random errors while installing drivers disks.

So now, Im done with software issues, it MUST be hardware, right? I mean, everything worked fine for months, now the whole system in unstable no matter what I install.

Ive flashed the MB BIOS with the latest version, and reinstalled XP, still crashes. Ive turned off quick boot to enable full memory tests, no problems detected. Ive watched the hardware monitor both software through windows and through the BIOS screen and no overheating. Ive tried taking out everything not necessary for system install (network card, second HD, second CD drive, etc.) and still no hope.

So, if it a problem with the CPU, motherboard, or memory, how does one test any of them without having spares. For an online store that I ordered them from to send me a second part for my test purposes is an unreasonable request. So what do I do?

Components:
AMD Athlon FX-55
MSI K8N Neo4 SLI Platinum
Crucial Ballistix 2GB kit (1GBx2) DDR PC4000 3-4-4-8 Unbuffered NON-ECC DDR500 2.8V 128Meg x 64
Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB Hard Drive (Serial ATA-150, 10,000 RPM, 8MB)
Leadtek Geforce 7800GTX TDH 256MB 2DVI/VIVO PCI-Express Video Card
Pioneer DVR-A09XL Dual Layer DVDRW Writer - Silver (16x/4x/16x DVD+RW, 16x/6x/16x DVD-RW, 6x DVD+R DL, 40x/24x/40x CD-RW)
Antec 550 Watt EPS12V SLI-Ready PSU
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
warriorscot

warriorscot

    Member 5k

  • Retired Staff
  • 8,889 posts
Well the face that it ran for months says that RAM and cpu are probably ok. Motherboard would also be ok under that logic.

Things that to me would be the most likely problem are the PSU and the HDD, i would check the HDD first as they are the component thats first to go as its the one with the moving components and because its a raptor it will wear itself out faster than a normal drive, i would go the the manufacturers site and get the drive diagnostic software and run it on the drive.

If the drive comes up as clean i would check out the PSU but i thinkits more likely to be the hard disk at fault. Also try another hard disk, if you have an old one you dont mind reformating stick it in and do a full reinstall of windows.
  • 0

#3
BobWoodworth

BobWoodworth

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
thanks for the quick response. while checking for advice in other posts, I came across Memtest86, a free memory test program. so I popped in a floppy and tried it out. The attached pic is a screenshot of some of the errors that came up. but I noticed the timing settings are set at 3-3-3-8 (auto by BIOS), so I changed them to 3-4-4-8 (as per manufacturer) and I'm rerunning the test...

Attached Thumbnails

  • mem07.JPG

  • 0

#4
warriorscot

warriorscot

    Member 5k

  • Retired Staff
  • 8,889 posts
Thats quite a few errors especially considering how long the test ran its usuall to run it for a whole night. Have you overclocked at all that may have damaged the ram.
  • 0

#5
BobWoodworth

BobWoodworth

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
I've never overclocked it because there was never a need for it. I know it's not the GODLIEST system, but there is not a single game that won't run perfectly smooth at full details and options. so for me to overclock, the only benefit would possibly be render times in 3DS Max...

I reran the memtest with the corrected manufacturers timings, and got pretty much the same results (see screenie attachment).

Any experience with Crucial Technologies and their warrenty exchanges? Am I in for a long battle to exchange? I ordered the memory directly from them, so I don't have to deal with a dealer or resaler.

Again, thanks for your time.

Attached Thumbnails

  • mem_manual__3_4_4_8_.JPG

  • 0

#6
warriorscot

warriorscot

    Member 5k

  • Retired Staff
  • 8,889 posts
They are supposed to be pretty good for that kind of thing you shouldnt have much bother, odd that it would only cause problems now or it was recently damaged which doesnt make much sense as other components would have been damaged from most of the causes of ram being damaged.

Also you are supposed to run memtest with one stick at a time as well. You might want to let it run on each stick for a while to see if its one or both.
  • 0

#7
BobWoodworth

BobWoodworth

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
good idea, but one question... isn't memory supposed to be installed in pairs to work? maybe that's a little old school, I could have sworn it needed to be installed in pairs for the BIOS to boot. I guess it's time for a test...

thank god I have this computer working just fine, for the last time I was re-re-re-installing XP on the problem computer, it crashed and rebooted in the middle of the SP2 update, and the installed system became unusable...

Edited by BobWoodworth, 07 January 2006 - 03:35 PM.

  • 0

#8
warriorscot

warriorscot

    Member 5k

  • Retired Staff
  • 8,889 posts
No it only needs to be in pairs to run in dual channel mode.
  • 0

#9
Kemasa

Kemasa

    Nobody

  • Technician
  • 1,575 posts
The symptoms you mention are often associated with memory problems, as the memory test program tends to indicate.

The failure rate of parts is higher at the beginning and end of a product's life. Sometimes it just happens. It can also occur if you don't protect the parts from static, the failure does not always occur right away, but can cause damage which then leads to failure (imagine damaging a water pipe which makes it weaker, then later it starts to leak).

Without any error detection, memory problems can be nasty since it does not always cause a crash. If the field is just used for data, then it is just different than it should be. PCs used to have parity memory, but to save costs that has been removed.
  • 0

#10
BobWoodworth

BobWoodworth

    New Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
Excellent... I took your advice, tested them module at a time, and found one with errors, all at the same memory address. the second module is being tested now, but after 20 minutes, no errors, where as the bad one or the combo of both found errors within the first few minutes.

Thanks so much for your time and advice.

The stress I went through trying to figure out what's wrong with this thing will probably take it's toll on my hair line, but GeeksToGo.com has come through with the best help AGAIN! I plan on making a small donation to MemTest at http://www.memtest.org/ for thier helpful utility. I didn't see such a link on GeeksToGo.... is there one? I try to be a man with principles, and give the proper respect to those who deserve it. Too bad for Microsoft that 99% of their software requires that you install, patch, upgrade, then patch the upgrade to get it to work. No guilt there...

maybe I'll start a general thread on it... hehe...

Thanks again. Is there a spot in the forums where people post experience with businesses? You know, where people can say, "This company jerked me around for..." or "The tech support at that company was great..." It would make a great catagory for those to reference who are looking to buy or upgrade parts and components.
  • 0

#11
Kemasa

Kemasa

    Nobody

  • Technician
  • 1,575 posts
I have seen some people on here who have donation links, but others do not. If you want to donate money to the person specifically, ask them if they take donations and how.

memtest is a nice program and very helpful, as you saw.

There are other websites which offer the ability to rate companies, but I don't know that there is a forum on this site. I am sure others will know and post that.
  • 0

#12
warriorscot

warriorscot

    Member 5k

  • Retired Staff
  • 8,889 posts
We used to solicit donaions to help run the site but that was before my time, as far as i know the site doesnt take donations anymore or at least not formally, if you really want to PM admin and he can tell you.

If its only one stick of ram you can continue to use one stick until you RMA them.
  • 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