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System freezes while gaming


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#1 Blaine B.

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 06:54 PM

Hello. First off, I will post the specs of my system on which I am experiencing these issues.

Windows XP Home Service Pack 3
Asus A8N-32 SLI Deluxe motherboard
AMD FX-60 2.61 ghz Dual-Core processor, Thermaltake brass/copper heatsink and fan
2gb Ultra PC3200 RAM, 2 1gb sticks
850 watt Ultra "Modular" power supply
Creative X-FI X-Treme Music sound card
ATI "Sapphire" X-1950 XT PCI-Express x16 256mb RAM video card
2 x 320gb Seagate SATA harddrives, not set to RAID. One of the drives has Windows and my programs on it, while other second drive contains my documents and other files on it.

I have not tested any other games, as I mainly only "attempt" to play Battlefield 2 Forgotten Hope 2 mod. As I am gaming, my entire system will freeze up, with my harddrive light on my tower being lit up steady. Battlefield 2 "vinalla" will not freeze up as often, although it still will sometimes freeze up, like during an artillary strike or something that is more intense on the system hardware. Forgotten Hope 2 mod is more hardware intensive and I believe that is why I experience more freezing while playing the mod versus stock Battlefield 2.

Awhile back, I was getting a "kernell_stack_inpage" BSOD error while playing Battlefield 2 and Forgotten Hope 2 mod. Sometimes it would also occur when the system was just idle at the desktop, but that was rare. It did happen a few times though, so I figure I should mention it. I ran a MEMTEST86 and while it was scanning one night, it found 1 error. I tried to find out which stick of RAM was bad by testing them individually, although MEMTEST86 was not finding any errors on either RAM stick. So I reinstalled both RAM sticks, and have ran MEMTEST86 all night a few times since then, and it never finds any errors. I have also run DRIVE FITNESS and Seagate's SEA TOOLS and they are showing that both of my harddrives are healthy with no issues there.

After swapping out the RAM and reseating the RAM that first time, I never experienced a BSOD again. However, after that, although I no longer experience a BSOD, my system still freezes up while gaming. It has also frozen up while idle at the desktop, although that only happened once or twice. VERY rare, mostly while gaming.

This has been going on for about two-three months now, so I have done alot of trial and error. I have found that if I swap around my RAM sticks, I will be able to game for hours with out any sort of freeze. It isn't until I entirely CLOSE the Battlefield 2 program and re-open it and attempt to game that the freezes will return. And they occur very soon after I enter a single-player or multi-player game. If it hasn't frozen in about 5 minutes of game play, you can almost guarantee it won't.

After getting annoyed with this problem, this past Friday night I tore down my system and cleaned it very well, also applied new heat-sink compound between the processor and heat sink. I also reseated everything, RAM, video card, sound card, other PCI cards, and the processor itself. All was well with gaming, I gamed for a few hours, until I actually closed the Battlefield 2 program and then opened it back up later, that the freezes started occuring again. I didn't even shut down or restart my system, it was in the same state as it was at the time.

None of my temperatures seem to be high, they all seem to be in the normal range. Months ago I did not experience any sort of freezing or anything, and nothing has changed software or hardware wise. I am not sure what is going on. It definitely seems like a hardware issue but I just can't pinpoint it. I also find it odd that swapping around the RAM seems to temporarily fix the issue....I don't understand that, and that MEMTEST86 doesn't find anything if RAM was to be at fault.

Any other questions? Just ask me, I'll check back here frequently and reply promptly. Hopefully I can get this figured out with your help, at least I hope so :)

Edited by hamluis, 19 October 2011 - 12:20 PM.
Moved from XP to Internal Hardware.


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#2 Blaine B.

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 06:56 PM

PS - ALSO, following a freeze, I will have to do a hard shut-down of the system by holding the power button. I notice that I cannot re-start the system too soon....I have to wait at least 5 minutes, otherwise Windows will hang on the loading bar and never advance any further. If I wait about 5 minutes before re-starting, all will be fine and it will boot back in to Windows just fine. I also find that a bit odd!

Edited by Blaine B., 18 October 2011 - 06:56 PM.


#3 hamluis

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 10:33 AM

First guess...overheating.

Second guess...PSU issues.

Cases, How to Avoid Overheating - http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/142

Louis

#4 Blaine B.

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 11:46 AM

I am not sure what would be overheating, I am using CoreTemp and SpeedFan and none of the temperatures seemed to be out of range. They seem to be what they always were, when the system was new and when it was operating correctly as well.

As for the PSU, it was warrantied in late-2009. I originally had an Ultra modular 550 watt power supply with dual 80mm fans, and it was overheating because the fan controller went out and the fans were barely spinning. Since it was no longer manufactured, Ultra upgraded me to the modular 850 watt power supply as a replacement. It has one 120mm fan, which is operating correctly.

Also in mid-2009 I had the Asus motherboard repaired under warranty as well. It was giving me a beep code, for I believe "memory issues" where it quit utilizing my RAM. They sent it back and it worked once again and has been working since. I am not exactly sure what they did or what they repaired, I never found out, even after calling back....nobody was quite sure what repair service was done. Regardless, it worked when I received it back.

My system has always been kept clean and dust at a minimum, also my voltages in the bios appear to also be in the proper range. I am not sure what they are while under load, while gaming....are there any programs I can download to see this on the taskbar or something?

Also as for airflow in my case, in addition to the 120mm fan on the PSU, 80mm fan on the CPU heatsink, and the 40mm (or so) fan on my video card, there is one 120mm fan on the front of my case blowing in, two 80mm fans on the rear of the case blowing out, and two 80mm fans on the left side of my case. The lower fan blows in, and the upper fan blows out. Airflow should seem sufficient. The fans on the left side of the case were add-ons that I had done, I ran this case for over two years without these two fans, I just added them because I had them lying around and I figured I could put them to good use. There were no overheating issues prior to adding these additional fans either.

#5 Blaine B.

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:45 PM

I should also note that I am not overclocking the system in any way.

#6 Blaine B.

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 02:18 AM

Well the issue is resolved. All of this turned out to be the symptoms of a faulty SATA port.

SATA port 1 was only allowing a maximum transfer of 4 MB/second! Luckily I still have 3 properly functioning SATA ports that allow the normal 70-80 MB/second transfer.

All is stable and I can game again without any BSODs or freezes!

#7 hamluis

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 10:33 AM

Thanks for posting your self-resolution...happy computing :).

Louis

#8 caperjac

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 06:54 PM

The fans on the left side of the case were add-ons that I had done, I ran this case for over two years without these two fans, I just added them because I had them lying around

just an observation, no expert for sure, but ,these 2 side fans could be doing more harm than good,[causing dead space ] taking cool air from the around the cpu fan if they are not placed correctly ,the cool air coming in the front could be getting pulled out before it gets to the cpu. just a thought

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#9 Blaine B.

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:32 PM

I was thinking about that, especially considering the top side fan is pulling air OUT of the case, and is about in the location of the CPU fan.

Would there be any negative to having all of the case fans blowing in to the case? I know there would be no exhaust fans but I'd assume the hot air would come out some how, with all of this cooler air being blown in.

Most cases I have seen have an exhaust fan on the top of the case, and an intake on the side....not an exhaust and intake on the side of the case.

My CPU doesn't seem to be getting too hot though. Next time I apply the thermal compound, I am going to use the "pea" method, not to spread it. I heard this sometimes loweres the temperature a bit compared to spreading the compound around.

#10 caperjac

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:58 AM

i would have it going in the front case fan as it is now ,in the 2 side fans ,and out the back ,you defently need to have an exhaust fan , as for the compound i would spread it

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#11 Blaine B.

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 02:27 PM

Ok then, I just need to flip around the upper side case fan so it blows in instead of out. The rest of the fans are proper as well.

I also reinstalled the Northbridge "optional" fan back on my motherboard. I was using it for years, then read the manual and saw that it was only recommended to be used if you use liquid cooling for the processor because the Northbridge fan could disrupt airflow.

It is so small, I don't see how it could disrupt airflow. So I reinstalled it. Temps were no different either way, with it installed or not....so I figure with it installed, it should be cooling the Northbridge better than without it.

#12 caperjac

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 03:38 PM

should be fine ,just keep an eye on it ,good luck

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#13 Blaine B.

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 07:02 PM

Thank you. The system has been entirely stable since I switched around the SATA connections, making sure not to use the faulty SATA-1 port on the motherboard. No crashes, freezes, or hanging. Seems as good as it was when the system was new. It is definitely out-dated, that's for sure, but it is still fairly good for what I need.




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