TechSpot

Brand new PC is crashing :(

By acrobat
Feb 1, 2007
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi everyone. I just registered here because I saw some other thread and this place seems to have some really knowledgeable people :O

    I really have nowhere else to turn with this :( I have a bad problem but I dont even know what is causing it... so I dont know where to go and what to do, so I'm hoping people here may be able to help me, or even point me in the right direction.

    First, my PC specs:
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (Stock speeds)
    Geforce 8800GTX (stock - both power leads plugged into it)
    2 Gig of Corsair 6400-C4 ram 4-4-4-12
    two 320gig Seagate Barracuda SATA-II, 7200.10
    Corsair HX 620W PSU
    Gigabyte 965P DS4 Motherboard (Revision 2.0)
    SoundBlaster X-Fi Music edition.

    Important
    1) Everything is at its stock speed. Nothing has ever been overclocked.
    2) Entire PC is one month old.
    3) Windows XP Professional - Service pack 2 --- Legit/legal copy etc.
    4) Latest Sound, Video, Bios drivers, and latest Direct x 9c.


    Problem:
    I use the PC for work, but I got some fancy hardware because I wanted to treat myself with being able to play modern games too. I have about 10 games. Some are really PC taxing games like ES4:Oblivion, and Flight Simulator X etc... They all seem to work fine, apart from 3.... The 3 that struggle are taxing games too and pretty new (Company of Heroes, Hitman Blood Money, Rainbow6 Las Vegas).

    I can play the games, but eventually, they will crash. Hitman - only on one of the last missons. Las Vegas - only after playing for an hour and half have I seen the crash. And Company of Heroes crashes A LOT. The tutorial can't be done without crashing, and the crash can occur 2 minutes after starting. I can also play on the biggest map for 35 minutes and then it crashes. I have played on the smallest maps though, and won the battle and never saw a crash (although the game only lasts about 25 minutes I suppose).

    All the crashes are exactly the same. I get crazy colours on the screen with billions of dots and lines which kind of make a chequered pattern in square shapes about half an inch squared. It is just a big psychadelic screen. Sometimes the sound still continues for a moment, and sometimes after a moment the sound will go into a loop. Sometimes it will just stay like that for ages and I have to hit my reset button. And usually, it will restart my computer by itself... Never, will it just return me to Windows, and never does it show me a blue screen. Its crash and reboot basically. (Control alt delete etc... will not work while the crash is happening too by the way).

    ALSO, sometimes when the PC restarts, the screen doesn't come back on. It stays in suspend mode. I have to turn the PC off again, and restart it and then the screen comes back on as normal.

    Error report:
    After booting back into XP after the crash, I get a "windows has encountered a critical error" message and it asks me if I want to submit it to Microsoft. If I view the error details myself, this is what they said:

    Error signature:
    BCCode: 1000007f BCP1:00000008 BCP2: 80042000 BCP3: 00000000 BCP4: 00000000 OSVer: 5_1_2600 SP:2_0 Product:256_1

    And then if I click on the link for technical details of the error, it says this:
    c:\documents~1\administrator\locals~1\temp\WER9655.dir00\Mini020107-01.dmp
    c:\documents~1\administrator\locals~1\temp\WER9655.dir00\sysdata.xml

    I think sometimes the error report is slightly different, but that is just an example of my most recent error.

    What I have tried
    Everything :p I have suspected all of my components.... so I have been on Corsair's forum about my RAM, and on Creative's forum about the soundcard etc....

    I tried running Company of Heroes with sound disabled, and it ran much longer than usual, but the crash still appeared. I have also run it after disabling everything none microsoft related using MSCONFIG. (This was suggested on the Company of Heroes forum).

    I have run a MemTest on my RAM and it ran for almost 11 hours and had zero errors.

    I have also run a "Video Card Stress Test" which I ran all night and was still going strong after about 12 hours.


    Only other thing I can mention
    1) My motherboard selects slow timings for my RAM by default. It is meant to be 4-4-4-12 and initially defaults to 5-5-5-15. This is normal for this motherboard evidently. It also has a low voltage. But whether I leave the settings like that, or I change them to the correct timings and voltage manually... I still get these crashes either way. :(

    2) Windows is perfectly stable - crashes are only occuring in these games.

    3) The games run VERY fast, and can be set to maximum settings and still have good frame rates. So performance is good.

    4) My PC is scanned nightly by BitDefender, Adaware and Spybot, and never finds any viruses or spyware. (I am careful when surfing). I also have "Windows Defender" protecting the PC and it too runs nightly. Also, Trend Micro Online Virus scan finds no problems at all. My disks are pretty much empty, and nearly everything on here was installed directly from original CD/DVD's.


    Temperatures:
    1) My system temperature is about 39 degrees C. It goes up to about 44 when my room is very warm. When I took the sides off my case though... I tried playing the game and it crashed again and I went straight into the bios and the "System Temperature" was 50C! No idea if that is bad or not.. but it seems high to me. Could that be the cause?

    2) My GPU is about 65C idle, which seems to be about average for this graphics card. No idea what it is when under load though, I will try to test that tonight.

    3) My CPU temps in SpeedFan:

    36C idle
    47C under heavy load.

    In INTEL-TAT and CoreTemp, the temperatures are:

    44-50 C idle (Depending on the temperature of my room).
    58-63 C Under full load on both cores using intel-tat (depending on the temp. of my room)


    I have researched the temperatures and they aren't very good considering I have an after market cooler. But they dont seem to be likely to be causing any problems.... They also never go above 55C in even the most demanding gaming sessions (according to Intel-TAT).



    Any help will be hugely appreciated. I have this fancy new PC which cost me a fortune and I cant play my newest games on it :( I am good at fixing problems and have never been defeated by a PC issue before.... But with this problem, I really have no idea what the cause is... So I cant go to official forums of Nvidia, Creative, Corsair etc.. and raise hell, because it might not even be their component causing the problem. And I can't return any of my components for a new one, because I dont know which one to return. I also dont even know if it is a component issue... It could just be a software problem or IRQ conflict or something. Basically.... I am lost. I have no idea what to do :(


    P.S. I am just going to try running a huge fan pointing at my motherboard with the sides off the case. I will try the game and if it crashes again, I'll know that temps are likely not the problem. I will be back soon. (EDIT: My brother borrowed the fan :( I will have to try that tomorrow)
     
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    This has to be caused by the Nvidia Gforce drivers... You've covered everything else
     
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,552   +301

    First off, thats a fantastic first post, probably the best I've ever seen for someone new here, and right up there for the best from anyone. You even EDITED your post to add something instead of replying and having one of the mods merge them.

    Now on to your problem. I know you said you ran a video stress test overnight, but I still suspect a temperature problem. Tmagic's idea of drivers might be the first thing you should try especially since you can't get ahold of the fan right now. If that (drivers) don't fix it you really need to try it with the fan blowing right onto everything. One of those two ought to prevent it from happening.
     
  4. Goalie

    Goalie TS Rookie Posts: 703

    Well, I don't have anything significant to contribute at the moment, but I did want to take a second and say THANK YOU Acrobat!!!! That was the finest first post I have ever seen.

    I think I'm gunna like 'em. ;)

    My initial gut check reaction is to look at the nVidia drivers, known to be buggy in the past. Have you tried getting an older driver set to run for a while?

    A quick google points to a "code corruption" error (What the ___ does that mean?) Also indications that this is memory corruption. Question: You've run memtest. Have you run memtest while the CPU's under load too? IE, let's assume the worst conditions?

    And then there's the what if it's not the CPU or RAM overheating, but some intermediate step. Which your fan will test.

    Again, thanks for the GREAT post. That was good even for a seasoned veteran.

    EDIT: GMTA SNGX.
     
  5. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    This was an exceptional first post. I had questions, and low and behold the answers were all there. Is it just me, or does Nvidia have a lot of trouble with their latest driver sets? I've been updating my ATI video drivers for over a year by installing new drivers right over the old ones, and having no problems at all doing this... Today I worked on an old Asus-Athlon XP system that had an Asus RV350, 256 video card. This card is a Sapphire ATI Radeon 9600, 256MB card. The latest ATI Catalyst driver really installed easily, and boy did it improve the cards performance. No blue screens either
     
  6. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    hehe wow! Thanks all :) Not often I get congrats on something so I've got a big smile now =)

    I made it as thorough as possible so its easier for people to help me, and because Im so desperate to get this problem fixed. As for the new suggestions, here goes:

    Im going to try that right now =) It may take me a day or so to post a reply though, because its late here and I have lots to do tomorrow =( But I cant wait to see what happens =)

    Temps are high on my list too =( I cant wait to get that fan back... Tonight I downloaded something called Ntune to monitor my video card temperatures. Unfortunately.... Ntune seems to be a bit buggy, so Im not entirely convinced its telling me the correct temperatures. According to Ntune anyway, my idle temp is 58 C, and then I played one of the problem games and left it logging, and it went up to 59, but no higher, even up until the crash =(

    I also set Ntune to play an alarm noise when the card reached a user defined temperature. I told it to alarm at 90 degrees. The alarm sounded once while in windows for a moment... and once while loading the game up. But not while playing. :S

    Lastly, I used Ntune to crank the GPU's fan speed up to maximum. It sounded like a hurricane but I left it like that to try the game. It still crashed :(

    Also, the game sometimes crashes when I have just started the PC, so the temps must have to get very hot, very fast, if its that which is causing the crash. Having said all that, the temperature of the video card is still a big suspect for me. I am wondering though, if the card itself has some kind of problem =(

    P.S. I did take the card out and looked at the resistor numbers with a magnifying glass. They seemed ok, although Im not 100% sure I was looking at the right resistor. I followed a guide on a website and I saw a resistor nearby with the correct number. But there was other resistors only an inch of so away which had numbers like 000 and I'm sure one even said 683 which is scarily close to 68C (the problem resistor which the early versions of this card had). I am pretty sure it was a 3 not a C though. And that one was a good few inches away from where the problem resistor was meant to be anyway.

    haha thank you =)

    Thats interesting because my first reaction was that it was just a fault of the game (so code corruption). But now its happening in 3 games (the only 3 I really play..) so its not likely to be 3 badly coded games.

    But then I googled the error codes too, and a lot of posts talked about corrupt memory. So I actually spent the last week on the Corsair forum, whining at them like an injured cat. I'm still not 100% sure the RAM is ok, but Im pretty sure its ok.. (im like 97% sure haha). The "MemTest" program is meant to be very thorough and I got about 20 passes and zero errors, so that satisfied me. I have also tried the game with varies memory timings in the bios, and even different voltages. Nothing seemed to make any difference to the crashing =(

    Thats a good idea. I will do that tonight while I sleep. The program "MemTest" can only be run from the BIOS, so I wont be able to do it with that. But part of this "Ntune" tool I got tonight, has a stress test which can test every component at the same time. So I will give that a shot.




    Anyway, thank you everyone for the great replies :) I will try all this tonight and tomorrow and post back as soon as I've tried it all out =) I'm lucky because everything is brand new, so I can return any component and get a brand new replacement for free. But I have to prove that the component is faulty first or they won't do a return. So I have to identify which component it is :) and then I will just get a new one.

    Thats assuming it is actually a component... and not a software issue, or possibly something I have just setup wrong etc..

    Anyway, will reply tomorrow :) Thanks again.
     
  7. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 267

    Run a stress tester, i'd recommend Prime95. Run the iterations that test RAM. Memtest86 will catch RAM errors, but sometimes faulty RAM will corrupt data as its being sent to the hard drive and it will restart the computer. This happens under heavy load, such as very high end games. I'm gonna take a guess and say the computer never crashes during word processing or internet surfing?

    That's my hunch, though, the drives also sound like a good idea.

    Also, good posting :)
     
  8. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Just downloaded Prime95 :) I have to go to sleep now, but I will start that running before I go. Also, yes, thats right, it only crashes when in games. I can use the PC all day in Windows, surfing the web, using MS Word and Photoshop etc. and I never see any problems.

    I have an interesting update here anyway! I reloaded old drivers by the way, and that didn't help - still had the crashes.

    But I ran the game again a few times (I was trying different things), and on one of the crashes, it rebooted the computer a bit faster than usual. But this time, when it was rebooting, the corrupted display continued through the bootup process! Instead of being able to see all my bios/boot up information like normal, the distorted display continued and displayed a few pink and blue squares and a few purple horizontal lines. Then as it booted into Windows, the crazy pattern changed to another crazy pattern.. I couldn't see anything so had to just hit my reset button. It booted up again in the exact same way (only with different crazy patterns). The only thing that returned it to normal, was when I hit the power button and let it shut down, and let it rest for a moment. Then it booted up as normal again.

    So this is starting make me think the graphics card has a fault and I might be justified getting it replaced. Either that, or the PCI-Express port is faulty. One thing I wonder though, is if what the post above describes, could happen during BIOS bootup etc? In other words, could corrupt RAM affect the display during bootup? Or would that only happen when in a game etc?

    Thanks :)

    (I'll be back tomorrow with my Prime95 results and my big fan to point at my motherboard :))
     
  9. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Hi everyone :) I think I have come to a conclusion about this problem now. I am going to return my video card (either tomorrow or on Monday) and get it replaced. I know I can do that easily (I bought it at a local store), and I'm convinced now, that the graphics card is faulty.

    Here is what I did in the last day by the way:

    I ran Prime95 "torture test". It ran all night and the next day I looked and it was still going strong after 12 and a half hours.

    Today I didn't put the heat on in my house all day... It got REALLY cold and I could see my breath :) I then got this huge fan, and pointed it directly at my components. I checked the temps and they where insanely low... CPU was running at 24 degrees which is crazy... the motherboard was at 33, and the graphics card was at 55. So all very low temps, and way lower than the rated temps for these components.

    I then ran the game, and about 20 seconds after I started playing... the crash happened again. I rebooted the PC and it rebooted with that crazy display again. I had to shut down and start up again to get it back to normal.

    Also, I took the game to my friend's house who has a very similar PC. He was crazy and built his PC into a tiny desktop case... and he isn't too good with technology so all his temperatures where massively high. But... the game worked perfectly on his PC.

    So I am now convinced that temperatures are not a problem, and I am pretty sure that my video card is just screwed basically. Also, I got a reply on another forum, and someone said they had this same issue a couple of years ago. They replaced their video card and it worked great ever since. So I think that is what I am going to do.

    The place I bought from dont mind returning components if you can convince them they dont work properly. So I'll just return this card and say they can test it if they want... (they won't because they never do...), so I'll just get a replacement.

    I'll replace it tomorrow or maybe on Monday (I have lots to do tomorrow). So as soon as I get the new video card and test it in these games which always crash, I will come back here and post :) Fingers crossed.
     
  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,552   +301

    lol, thats dedication on testing the temps.

    I'd say its your card too based on everything that has transpired. Hopefully you don't come back with the same problem. :)
     
  11. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Heheh yeah, it took a few hours with the heat back on until my fingers worked properly again :)

    I'll let you guys know how it goes when I get the new card. I am really quite sure it will work. If it doesnt though.... eek :) But atleast I will have a new card hehe. And then atleast I will know it can only really be one or two other components. My second guess would be the motherboard or RAM... But I'll cross that bridge if I come to it :)

    Thanks again for all the support by the way guys, this is one of the better internet forums it seems :)
     
     
  12. Surkitz

    Surkitz TS Rookie Posts: 171

    yes but,

    im wondering after all this and that, have you properly seated that card down in the slot? Also, has anyone suggested underclocking the card? I dont know if the 8800 cards come with an overclocking tool or if you know about riva tuner, but maybe try underclocking it just for grins to see what happens. my $.02
     
  13. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Ive tried re-seating it a few times, so Im pretty sure its in the slot properly. Never tried under clocking it though. I'm not sure how I would do that, because the Ntune software I have seems quite buggy and doesn't let me pick a clock speed :(
     
  14. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Hi all, got an update.

    I finally got my video card replaced. The place I buy from dont seem to care much about these things, so they just replaced it with a new one and it cost me nothing etc..

    Unfortunately, im still getting the exact same problem, even with the new card.

    Im now thinking it can only be one of two things. Either my RAM is faulty in some way, and is corrupting my display when a certain part of it is accessed. Or the PCI-Express port on my motherboard is faulty, or some other part of the motherboard. I really have no other idea what it could be besides that.

    The strange thing is... I have a very PC hungry game which is so incredibly demanding. I play it for hours and hours with maximum settings and it has no problems at all. The same goes for Flight Simulator X and ES4: Oblivion. Both very demanding games too. But 3 other games I have all crash with this same crash.

    I would just suspect the games themselves, but I saw them work on my friend's PC with the same video card, and the crashes are identical, so I'm thinking I must just have a faulty component somewhere. I get the crash when my soundcard is disabled, and the graphics card is new, so that only really leaves a few other options.

    Not sure what to do next.
     
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    Download memtest from here and burn the ISO image onto a blank CD. Then boot ur PC with the CD and let memtest run for around 2-3 hours on each RAM stick. If there are any errors on either, that particular stick is bad.
     
  16. peterdiva

    peterdiva TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,202

    Post some minidump files (c:\windows\minidump). Zip up 5 or 6. Bugcheck 7f can be a stack overflow, either caused by software or faulty RAM.
     
  17. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Thanks guys, I already did a memtest which ran from the BIOS, and I ran that for over 11 hours with no errors. And last night I ran two instances of "MemTest for Windows" which ran all night with no problems too.

    As for the minidumps, I put the 5 most recent ones in a zip file and uploaded them here.

    p.s. I also recently experienced the same crash in another game which never usually has problems. I had been playing it for a few hours and it had that crash. I restarted and haven't had a problem since, so its extremely rare in that game. But still, it was the same crash. Its so strange.

    p.p.s. How can you view those mini dump files by the way? I tried in wordpad and it was all gibberish machine code.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    Your minidump zip file is corrupt, when I try to unzip them . Although I can't read these most recent minidumps, I think the BSODs are still coming from video drivers or a corrupt game
     
  19. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 507

    Hmm... Windows said they were corrupted but 7-zip said they were fine. I've re-zipped them with 7-zip, have a look (I don't know about reading minidumps myself).
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    Thanks agi_shi,
    I can view these fine. All 6 minidumps point to nv4_mini.sys. This is commonly a fault with an Nvidia driver, but it can just indicate a compatibility problem between the motherboard and the Gforce video card operating under Windows, and just in some games
     
  21. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Wow thank you!

    Maybe I should email Gigabyte and see if they know any issues between my video card and motherboard?

    I also wish I noted the serial number of my old video card, to make sure the place I returned it to, didn't just repackage the old one... Because it had a thumb print on the metal back part. Im wondering if that was my thumb print after taking it out. Seems unlikely they would do that though, but I do wonder..

    I suppose another thing I could do, is re-install windows and see if a fresh install of the drivers makes a difference.
     
  22. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    These are all good things to do. Good luck!
     
  23. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Gigabyte said there are no known issues with this motherboard/video card combination.

    They did offer a few suggestions though, including resetting my CMOS (by removing the battery for 1 minute). Is that the same thing as resetting the BIOS? If so, I have already done that.

    Im glad to know they are compatible anyway. I think my next step has to be reinstalling windows. A fresh install of that, and a fresh install of all the drivers that go along with it, could make a difference. It may take me some time to prepare my system and backup etc.. But I'll come back here and let you guys know what happens after the re-format.

    Thanks =)
     
  24. Element

    Element TS Rookie

    Do you have any extra memory sticks lying around?, a great way to test the memory sticks, if it is possibly that, could be to swap them out for another set. Just an idea, ive seen it used before
     
  25. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Hello everybody! I registered here several months ago (or more). I had just bought a brand new PC, and I was having problems with a crash. It has taken 9 months.... but I have finally reached a conclusion!

    Anyway, if you have an 8800GTS or 8800GTX, and you are experiencing a crash which produces lots of colours on your screen in a strange pattern like little squares (or a chequered pattern), and the PC locks up.... then read this! It will offer you a solution. Otherwise, this would be a lot to read that isn't very interesting :) Unless you are actually interested in hardware etc.

    So the original problem is described in the start of this thread, and you can see the things people have suggested and various things I have tried too. Since my last post, I actually tried a lot of other things too.

    Anyway, I am here to post that I have finally got past this problem!! It took me 9 months... People here where nice and helpful, and I have already typed a lot of the information about the crash here already. So if I post the solution now, it will hopefully help somebody else out there.

    So since I last posted, I tried many more things. I tried removing my RAM, and then running the PC with one chip at a time, and using different chips, in different slots etc. In single channel, and, dual channel modes. That didn't help. I tried reinstalling windows XP. I tried physically removing all my backup hard drives, sound card, and DVD-RW. Didn't help. And the last straw, was to download every driver available from nVidia's website. It was dozens of drivers, and I tried them all. Basically, over the course of 9 months, I registered on half a dozen forums and tried a thousand and one suggestions from people all over the world, and exhausted every idea I could come up with too.

    Anyway, I basically gave up, and I couldn't fix it. On the official nVidia forum, there are a LOT of people with the exact same problem. Most people are convinced that it is a driver issue. So for the past months, I have mainly just been waiting.... hoping that nvidia would release a driver that would magically fix everything. In that time, I think they released about 3 or 4 drivers, and I tried them all, but again... it didn't help.

    Then a couple of weeks ago, somebody sent me a private message. They had the exact same problem as me, and they where fed up waiting. Their friend was about to buy a new 8800GTX, so he asked if he could test it in his PC for an afternoon or so. And he did... and it worked! He was so convinced it was therefore a hardware problem with the 8800GTX, that he went out and bought a new 8800gtx for himself, and he even had to sell his old one on Ebay - which lost him a big chunk of money :( (I don't know why he was unable to RMA it, but there must be a reason). Anyway, when he told me, it convinced me to get my card replaced (a second time), because I had no other option anyway... and my warrenty is going to expire eventually. So I got a replacement again, and this time, it was definitely from a much later batch. The card only arrived in stock a week ago, and also, the box is slightly different (thinner and different artwork), and it also comes with a different bundled game. So it is from a more recent batch, and that gave me some hope that it might work. I got it home and tested it. Every single game works flawlessly. I have played dozens of them, for hours, and some even for entire days. No crashes at all.

    So basically, the end of the story... is that there are countless 8800 graphics cards out there in people's homes, which are faulty.... I find it scandalous, and I am really sad for these people, because if they don't realise and get it replaced within their warrenty period, they are screwed basically. So I have posted this same story in several places, and hopefully it can save some people a lot of money and heartache.

    Thank you to everyone who helped me, and good luck to anyone reading this who have the same problem. Get a replacement and it will work :)


    Note: This only applies to the specific crash I described. (Lots of colours displayed on the screen in a strange square/chequered pattern, and the PC completely locks up). If you get a different kind of crash, then it might be for some other reason. But if you get a crash which is exactly like I described, then replace your card. If you are within warrenty, then you are perfectly entitled to a replacement. Just replace it, and if you are unlucky like me, and the replacement card has the same problem too... then just replace it again, until it works. You will be so glad that you did, when you end up with a card that works as advertised :)

    Good luck!
     
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