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Author Topic: Trying to find the cause of my system freezing  (Read 623 times)
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Andrew Wonser
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« on: April 04, 2010, 01:29:52 AM »

Cross posting on Overlords as well as the Asus forums

Times my computer has froze:
Listening/watching to live.twit.tv - Usually happens within five minutes. Freeze is accompanied by screeching from the speakers.
Youtube - Only had it happen once, but it happened over and over (I think I tried 4 times) with the same video within 10 seconds. Screeching as well.
Booting into XP - Sometimes hits me at the Welcome screen or the loading window. No sound this time, though it should be noted that I have system sounds disabled.
Loading iTunes or synching my Zune with it's software - Believe I have fixed this by disabling the Express Gate motherboard utility as mentioned on Asus forums. But it should still be mentioned.
Running Malwarebytes - Happens every time within 10 seconds. The obvious answer would be that I have a trojan or other type of malicious software. But I can refute this as it happens with a clean install on a different hard drive in which I was connected for a minute to grab the software.
Running Windows Update - Froze during downloading of updates.
Running CPU testing software - Everytime. If not right as the tests start, a couple seconds after.
Running a game - Mass Effect in this example. What should be noted is that freezes during play happen rarely, though when it has is usually accompanied by screeching. Will sometimes freeze during loading of the game from the launcher.
Installing mythbuntu - Installing on a clean drive. Happens every time on second stage of installation.

I have had it happen with random video, from mainstream sites, played on the net as well.
Have had a few times where system at boot or in windows has produced one continuous beep from the case speaker.
I'm sure there are other times, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind.

Hardware Setup:
Motherboard - ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
Memory - (2) Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) (Yes more than 4 GB on a 32 bit machine is wasted, I know)
Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s
Video Card - Sapphire 100269SR Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready
CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core
Power Supply - Antec 500 watt

I can cross off the video card as being the problem as the motherboard has an onboard one that I have tried after taking out the Sapphire card. I also disable the onboard when I have the Sapphire installed. Just in case it is mentioned I have also left the onboard on as well, but it made no difference.
While I cannot definitively cross of the memory I have run memtest86+ for over ten hours with zero errors. Have also tried only one stick (Tried both) and different slots.
Ran a few quick tests on the hard drive. I think it may have froze once, not positive.
Have tried manually changing settings in the BIOS. Though for some reason it only lets me change voltage for both the CPU and memory not timing. Tried recommended for both.
Don't think over heating is a factor as it can happen right at the start. The times where it has let out the continuous beep I've rebooted and right away checked the temp. No outrageous reading that I could see. As of writing this, according to PC Probe II my CPU is at 86F and motherboard is at 106F. I've seen the CPU at 95F before with the motherboard being pretty much unchanged (I think it may have even been lower during that time).
Have also updated the BIOS to newest version as well as all other devices on this system.

If I was to go with my gut I would say that the CPU is at fault. But I cannot rule out the memory even with a clear test. Hell it could even be the hard drive, I suppose, as the other one I tried was from the same purchase and perhaps the same manufactured batch.

If anyone has any other ideas I would love to hear them.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 01:34:27 AM by Andrew Wonser » Logged
Giles Habibula
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2010, 12:52:48 PM »

When was the first time you noticed anything wrong? Had you recently changed anything/ added hardware/software/ or switched cords around (speaker cable plugged into the correct hole for instance), or did it just suddenly start doing this stuff out of the blue?
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TiLT
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2010, 01:22:49 PM »

My first instinct was the RAM, but as you said you've scanned it already. With that out of the way, experience dictates that it might be the power supply. Are you sure it's powerful enough to handle your entire setup? If it is, it might be faulty.

I'd wait until others have responded before getting a new one though. I'm not really a hardware person even though I do computer support at work. smile
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2010, 08:02:42 PM »

Try replacing your drive cables, if you have spares. Plus, they're way cheaper than a psu. And if it doesn't solve the issue... now you have spares. smile

Atomic
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Andrew Wonser
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 12:15:53 AM »

Just to serve as an update.

There was another individual, on the Asus boards, that had a very similar setup to mine (Though I should note that his supply was 650 compared to my 500) and had found that under powering the memory to 800watts made his system stable. Worked for me as well.
Yes I would like to have a power supply that that can give more power, and did for my old system but sadly it didn't have the right connections. In the immediate, though, my system is solid and that is all I care about.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 02:32:21 AM »

Just a heads up... your machine doesn't even pull 400 watts, at max load.

125 watts for the cpu
190 watts for the gpu
5 watts per stick of ram (rough estimate)
Say 20 watts for the chipset (rough estimate)
Rest of the motherboard? 5 watts. Not a lot of power draw.
Hard drives... 10 watts per, max draw, give or take. Idle power half that, or less.

You're well within the wattage of your present psu, barring quality control/problems. The 'manufacturer recommendations' are based on things like rough estimates of available power, for 'joe average' psu. If you're using quality gear, your power ratings should be fine.

dropping the memory down to 800 stabilizes it, eh? Check your memory settings in the bios, make sure it's setting the voltages, etc, properly. If it doesn't, you'll have memory issues, regardless of what's 'supposed' to work.

You could indeed be having a power issue. Dirty power will cause the system to freeze, amongst other causes. How old is your antec psu?

Atomic

PS: Never skimp on the psu for a gaming system. Modern GPU's are far too sensitive to dirty power. The motherboard has filters to help clean up the signalling... most gpu's have very little, if any. Clean power is a necessity. I prefer Seasonic, Antec Signature series, Corsair, Enermax (by reputaion and reviews), and there's a few others. http://www.jonnyguru.com/ is a good place to poke around for PSU reviews. My recommendation? Buy a quality unit, and plan ahead for your next couple of potential system upgrades. It should easily last that long, barring interference by the lords of electricity.

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