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Frequent crashes / undetected hardware issues for 14 months


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#1 TimS90

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:30 AM

I have been having major intermittent problems with my PC since I got it about a year ago, and despite my best attempts to find the source of the problems they're still continuing. Although I have built PCs myself in the past this one was built by a friend who is very experienced. The specs are as follows:

 

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601)

ASUSTeK Computer INC. P8P67 PRO

Intel Core i5-2500K

16gb Corsair Vengeance RAM (Currently have 8GB installed)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570

Asus Xonar D2 sound card

 

Apologies in advance for the wall of text, I'll try to be an concise as I can but I'm describing about 14 months progression of an issue...

 

The problems with the PC started almost immediately but have had varying levels of severity since I have owned it. Initially the PC would crash during certain games, all monitors turning a solid colour of green or pink and the audio looping over half a second or so until I restarted the PC manually. The crashes would become more and more frequent (and still do, a year on) until I reinstall windows at which point there would be a period of stability of anything from a few weeks to several months. I researched the crashes on google and found a lot of conflicting information from different people having similar issues.

 

 

In the end, after updating my bios, installing OS updates, etc I decided that the problem was probably the video card and swapped it out for an old nvidia stone age 1.0 (very old card, no idea what model but I don't think it's important) for about a month and had no crashes. This isn't saying much, though as the problems are often intermittent and I can have months of stability as previously mentioned making diagnosing the exact source of any of the issues (more to come) very challenging.  Despite this I decided that given the frequency of the crashes at the time the problem was most likely GPU related, so after trying the old card with success for a month I had my GTX 570 rma'd. The manufacturers said they found no fault with it but replaced it with a new card of the same model regardless.

 

The new card didn't stop the crashes however they did change slightly. Instead of having green/pink screens the first several crashes offered a bsod with "Attempt to reset the display driver and recover from timeout failed". After 4 or 5 of these over a month they stopped and the crashes since have just been black screens and otherwise the same as they were prior to the bsods.

 

At this point I should point out that the crashes have not been the only problems I've had with the PC, but until now the other issues have been minor and rare. Since getting the PC it would have a tendency to freeze on boot, either at the bios or windows loading screen. For the first year it would happen maybe 1 in 50 boots or so, so it was never that noticeable  I would also find that upon booting sometimes all or some of the usb ports would have to reinstall drivers and the devices wouldn't work for several minutes. Similar issues with my sound card which wouldn't be detected, forcing me to reboot several times until it was. More recently the previously mentioned black screen crashes very suddenly became extremely frequent (which has happened in the past and isn't really anything new to me), leaving me unable to use my PC for more than 10 minutes at a time even idling on the desktop. After one of these crashes my GPU stopped sending a signal to my monitors, although the PC itself seemed to be booting okay, keyboard lighting up etc. I tried various things for several hours and ended up rebooting about 50 times with no signal. In the end I removed 2 sticks of RAM and everything worked first time. I found that the heat sink was loose on one of them and have since sent it back to Corsair to be replaced. My Windows install was pretty much ruined however with all the reboots and hardware changes, since I had pretty much rebuilt my entire PC in between boots trying to find the cause, so I had to reinstall windows for the billionth time since owning the PC.

 

Thinking I'd found the source of the problem, I was pretty gutted to find that although the black screen crashes are less frequent the rest of the problems have become much worse. Booting up suddenly takes 4-5 times longer and the PC will freeze on bios or a windows loading screen about 70% of the time. A whole raft of drivers have to be reinstalled every single boot and my sound card is not detected at all anymore. Reinstalling the drivers just prompts me to plug the card in, which of course it already is.

At this point I can't see the problems being anything other than a faulty motherboard, but I think I've also gone slightly senile trying to solve the issues for 14 months. Rather than just going out and buying a new motherboard (and a new copy of windows since mine is OEM, sadly) which I can't really afford, I wanted to post all the information here first and see if anyone could offer an alternative source for my issues. I also don't understand why, if the problem is hardware related that reinstalling windows would offer any kind of temporary stability at all, however brief. Thanks very much for reading this short novel, I'll offer any additional info I can.

Tim

 

Edit: I should add I'm 100% certain that none of these problems have anything to do with overheating. I have liquid cooling, and monitor the temps of both cpu and gpu. Crashes have occurred when my cpu is cold as a stone etc. The issue with crashes happening very shortly after booting seems more relating to some kind of degradation where the crashes just become more frequent as they happen, until eventually I reinstall windows and reset it. 


Edited by TimS90, 01 July 2013 - 07:27 AM.


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#2 dpunisher

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:54 AM

Curiosity:  What PSU?


I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#3 TimS90

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:15 AM

It's a Coolermaster 600W



#4 dpunisher

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:09 AM

Which Coolermaster 600 watt?  They range from terrible to OK.  Was this the same PSU you had when your problems began (no PSU swaps during your troubled times?)


I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#5 TimS90

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:18 AM

This is the PSU - 

 

http://www.coolermaster.com/service/support/model/RS-600-AMBA-D3/

 

Same PSU the whole time. 



#6 dpunisher

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:15 AM

Well, I tend to agree there might be a motherboard problem.  Looking around, that motherboard was not one of Asus' better efforts.  Still, If it was me, I would hook up a DVOM to a spare molex and see what my voltages are when problems are occurring.  That power supply was one of Coolermaster's better ones so it doesn't raise any alarm bells.  You might pull out the CPU, which you will have to anyway, and double check it for any odd contact marks, light arcing etc. 

 

If voltages check out OK, I think a motherboard is a likely problem.  You have gone above and beyond in your troubleshooting.  I went through a similar hassle years ago with an i7 920/Gigabyte build and it was a few months of misery waiting for RMAs, troubleshooting, and buying new power supplies and memory etc.

 

Good luck with it.


I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#7 TimS90

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for your response. Something I forgot to mention was that plugging or unplugging my speakers whilst the pc is powered up will crash the PC in the usual way about 50% of the time. It's been like that since day one. The speakers themselves plug into the Asus Xonar, which uses a pci-e port obviously. It's one of the few ways I found that would 'manually' inflict a crash, and another reason I feel pretty confident finally that the issue is the motherboard.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond, dpunisher; much appreciated!






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