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Computer freezing - suspect hardware

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#1 ImSensei


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Posted 23 July 2010 - 08:10 AM

Hello all,

I've got mostly all new hardware that I bought and put together myself. I initially installed Windows XP x64. The system ran fine for about a day, but then it started to freeze. Unfortunately, I can't tie it to any particular activity. I've had it freeze while copying files from an external USB drive and I've had it freeze while playing a video in Windows Media Player. The image on the screen freezes and I get a sort of pixelated shadow image (It kind of looks like really poor quality cable TV where the colors are too bright and kind of blurry), then the computer becomes completely nonresponsive (mouse/keyboard don't work) - though I am able to turn it off via the power button. Sometimes it happens right away and sometimes it'll run fine for an hour or so before it freezes. I could be wrong, but I don't think I've seen it freeze when I just leave it idle.

I have since formatted and installed Windows XP SP3 x86, but I'm still getting the same problem. I've disconnected all unnecessary hardware, though I'm stuck with a usb mouse/keyboard (as opposed to PS2). I currently have only the default drivers installed. I've tried using the drivers from the NVIDIA disc that came with the mobo but had the same problems. I'm currently running the system with the side panel removed in hopes that it's not a heat issue. I also ran Memtest-86 v3.5 at the default settings from a boot disc. It ran for an hour and completed 2.5 passes with no errors before I stopped it. I've also tried using an old CRT monitor thinking that maybe my flatpanel was the problem, still the same problem.

I'm pretty much out of ideas and I'd REALLY appreciate any and all advice. Thanks in advance!

Hardware specs:
Motherboard: MSI GF615M-P33 [Integrated video, sound, ethernet]
CPU: AMD Phenom II x2 550
Memory: Super Talent 2GB DDR3-1333 (Single) [Model W1333UB2GM]
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM SATA [Model ST3500410AS]
DVD Burner: LG super multi SATA [can't find the model]
Logitech USB keyboard
Dell USB mouse
ProView flat panel monitor connected via VGA

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#2 MrBruce1959


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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:17 PM

Hello and welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

System freezes can be a pain to troubleshoot, because once they happen, further diagnosis is impossible because nothing works, nothing moves, its just frozen.

One of the first suspects is hardware issues, the second is software or drivers.

Lets start with hardware and the first one to suspect is the CPU processor.

You said you built this system, so you should know the parts very well, you chose them.

When you installed the processor and placed the heat sink on top of the processor, did you add thermal grease to the top of the processor core before placing the heat sink on top of it?

Did you make sure the heat sink is properly placed securely on top of the processor and it is completely making full contact and it is level?

Has dust already accumulated in the heat sink fins? (You did not say how long ago you built this system)

Pixelation in the video is also possible if the CPU starts to over heat.

I realize you have an on-board (integrated) video processor, if your problem is related to this hardware, you should be able to update the drivers. Booting to safe mode via the F8 key at boot up can allow you access to the Internet to download the correct drivers, save them to your desktop screen and install them later in real mode, once you reboot.

Please recheck the CPU and post back your findings.

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#3 Repair-IT


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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:21 PM

Have you experienced any BSODs? If so, you could check the dump files for answers. You may also want to get a CPU heat monitor that logs the data, possible overheating.

#4 ImSensei

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:25 PM

Thanks both for the replies. No BSODs, and actually no errors at all. Just the complete lockup and the odd image issue.

I didn't do anything special to attach the heatsink to the cpu, just used the heatsink that came with the cpu and the adhesive that was on the bottom of the heatsink. If temperature readings are to be believed, it does not appear to be a heat issue (I haven't seen anything over 44 C for the CPU temp according to BIOS and SpeedFan).

I've tried multiple drivers including those provided on the disc that came with the mobo, windows defaults, and several drivers downloaded from the manufacturer website. I have seen this error occur in Safe Mode as well.

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