Computer Freezing/Restarting randomly

By johnnysanz3
Aug 7, 2009
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  1. This will be long, I will try to post as much information as I can.

    Computer Specs:

    Motherboard: ASRock X38TurboTwins
    PSU: Silverstone ST70F 700W
    Processor: Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
    GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850
    RAM: 8GB (G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333)x2
    OS: Vista Ultimate 64-bit
    Case: 1 big fan, 3 smaller fans, aluminum

    The Main Problem:

    The problem as it currently stands is that it restarts and freezes randomly. It has done this since I built it. It didn't bother me because it wasn't really all that often that it did it, I admit it was stupid of me to not fix it though.

    I had never found a pattern, or a way to force the errors to happen. It was completely random (at least to me).

    Recently I started playing some video games more often, L4D, Aion. And I finally found a way to kind of force it to restart or freeze. In the game Aion, it happens everytime I play it, sometimes it takes 20min to a couple hours but I know it will eventually happen while playing this game. In other games, like L4D it has only happened once in all the times I play. It still happens every once in a while just doing other stuff in Windows randomly.

    Testing so Far:

    I started monitoring while playing Aion to see anything weird. Hottest my GPU got was 80C, I turned up some fans and got it down to low 70's C. The voltages were all really close except for +12.0v which was at 12.56 while not playing a game and during play it goes down to 12.4s.

    I couldn't pick up anything in particular that caused the freeze or restart.

    I ran Prime95, a CPU/MEM stress test for a couple hours and got no errors. The CPU got its warmest during this, getting to 65C. The mobo temp was around 50C.

    I unchecked the "Automatically restart" option in Vista hoping it would give me an error message before restarting/freezing but I still didn't get any.

    I checked the event logs and only got errors saying "Previous system shutdown was unexpected".

    I reset my motherboard to see if I screwed anything up settings memory timings manually and such. After I did this, the game worked for 5 straight hours until I went to bed that night and didn't freeze that night at all. It's came back though. I really thought I had it fixed after this.

    I have 4 sticks of RAM and tried switching these in and out. Somehow doing this I made the restarting in Aion quicker after I start playing. Now it happens withing a minute or two into the game. This game is the only thing I can do to force this error to happen, even though it still does it doing anything else, but a lot less often and more random.

    I tried moving the GPU to the other PCI express slot, same problems.

    Other Problems that may/may not be related:

    My monitor has always randomly not found a signal from the PC. Sometimes I would have to turn it on and off a few times till monitor recognized it.

    Most of the time when I have to turn the computer off by holding the power button down, when I turn it back on, it starts up for a few seconds, turns off, than a few seconds later turns back on normally.

    Maybe my installation?


    Since all these problems have been pretty much from the start, I will write some goofy things in my Case. Note though that this case worked fine with my old computer parts in it:

    My mobo is only held on by 2 screws, and a post on my case is missing in the one corner of my mobo, making the mobo kind of flimsy there.

    My CPU is mounted pretty snug, but during mounting the one corner clip/button that you push down broke off, but its pushed down I am pretty sure and is snug on the mobo.

    I have a case fan that has a power cord kind of glued together with some black stuff that sometimes turns on and off because the wire is probably not fully connected in that gooey stuff.

    The motherboard has some capacitors leaning slightly but I couldn't find any evidence of black or bulging capacitors, or anything out of the ordinary.

    Everything else is pretty normal in the case. At least as much as I can tell, all this new stuff I got was new to me, like the power supply connectors and everything, it was a pretty big upgrade from my old stuff that used older connectors and stuff like that.

    My newbie ideas

    If I knew more, I probably would have an idea to fix it by now, other than what I tried here, I'm trying to avoid buying a

    ton of parts if its not the problem, I don't really have any backup parts to try out otherwise I would have tried them out, and I don't really know anybody that has backup stuff I can try.

    The PSU: maybe Power supply is messed up so randomly it screws up.

    The motherboard: seems like it could cause these types of problems. It was kind of a cheap one.

    The GPU: I kept thinking this one especially once I got that one game to always cause the error. Plus with the monitor not detecting a signal sometimes on boot, but would the vid card cause these problems when I'm not doing anything game related?

    Windows Vista: I haven't tried a reinstall yet because I have a bunch of videos and stuff with nowhere to back them up, once I find a solution to that I will probably try this. But the problems still say hardware to me, but I can be wrong.

    I'm getting close to biting the bullet and buying new parts, I was thinking a new case first, since my old one is falling apart, and then maybe new mobo cause this was a cheap one, what you guys think? My psu I thought was a pretty good one...I hope its not that.

    Was thinking, should I just throw this off a cliff and start over? =)

    UPDATE 14AUG2009:

    Ran memtest86+ for 4 passes, 0 errors
    Ram prime95 stress test for a couple hours, no errors

    Installed my computer in a new case, properly this time:
    *GPU temp dropped 20-25 degrees C! It was only in the 70s before anyway under game load, but now it is around 50C during game play
    *CPU dropped 10 degrees as well to 49C during gameplay

    After putting everything in the new case I booted up and went to the game where I can usually force this error to happen (freeze/restart). It was freezing or restarting within 1 minute of playing, but I played for an hour this time, and then it restarted, and I went to bed. Temps weren't hot, voltages were good. At least according to my motherboard monitor that came with mobo..I'll make sure to check with another program to be sure.

    Next step I am going to reinstall windows just to rule that out, plus it's a free test that doesn't require me buying a part to replace.

    If that is not it, I am thinking PSU(even though numbers look fine on monitors)/Mobo/GPU/CPU(even though prime95 stress test ran 2 hours no errors)
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,732   +156

    You have some serious issues here:

    1. My mobo is only held on by 2 screws
    2. My CPU is mounted pretty snug, but during mounting the one corner clip/button that you push down broke off

    Why is the motherboard held by only 2 screws? Where are these 2 screws positioned? Near the CPU or I/O panel?. A "pretty snug" CPU HSF (Heatsink/Fan) is not snug at all. Is the CPU socket fitted with 1 pin or 3 pins?

    Try replacing your power supply for test purposes
  3. Gordon9999

    Gordon9999 Newcomer, in training Posts: 72

    Could be the same problem I was having "computer would turn off randomly when doing random things". No one thing in particular but from the sounds of it, it could be a power supply problem or a cooling problem. Try changing power supply like tmagic suggested. What fixed my problem is getting a new processor. With the new processor I had to update the BIOS which fixed my problem. “try getting your bios updated”. From what I see from your list of information it could be a cooling issue. If it always turns off when you play a certain game even if it takes 2 hours it could be the computer over heating. Buy a cooler like “arctic cooler” which is the one I have for 50 bucks.
    When you play for 2 or so hours and it hasn’t shut off feel behind the computer to see if the air is hot that comes out of the back of your tower. If it is hotter then room temp then over heating could be your problem.
    Make sure you have good air movement and your tower is not dirty.

    Cheers
  4. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter



    I guess I just lost screws over the years for my case. I was impatient at the time and wanted to play with all my new shiny stuff. I just ordered a new case and am going to mount everything into that, properly this time.

    The CPU HSF is on there tight, I was just saying the plastic thumb part of the top of the clip broke off...It's a core 2 duo processor, the 4 buttons you push down to lock it into the motherboard.. One of them came apart after I had it in the motherboard. Regardless, I am going ot call Intel and get another one. The site says its under 3 year warranty..we will see how that goes =)

    I don't have a backup power supply adequate to even run half the stuff in this computer, so I will wait till after I put everything in the new case, and the new CPU HSF from intel before I decide to buy a PSU to try out, or will try one out if I find one from a friend or acquaintance.

    Not sure what you mean by 1 pin or 3 pins.

    Thanks
  5. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    The temps I monitored while playing games and stress tests didn't seem to be out of the ordinary..if they were correct. 70s C for GPU and 65C highest for CPU

    My new case coming will be better than the one I have for cooling, so I should see a decrease there. After I make those changes and it still does it, I think I'm going to reinstall windows (it's a test that costs me nothing lol) and then try to find a PSU to try.

    Thanks for the help.
  6. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 530

    I suggest downloading Mem test 86+ (http://www.memtest.org/) to test your RAM for any errors. If you get any you might have to test each stick seperatly. The problem for your monitor might either be the cable, or the video card.

    The reason I think it might be the RAM is you have a lot of it, so not always does it hit the spot where the RAM is not functioning properly.. The memtests are going to take awhile to go through seeing as you have 8GB of RAM, and I suggest letting it run 2 - 3 times not just once.

    As for testing with only one stick while playing, you might have to test with 2 as your computer is Duo Core and it's best if at least 2 sticks are in, and make sure they are in the correct slots for running dual. You have four channels 1| 2| 3| 4| and the sticks should be in slots 1 and 3.

    My last though would be the power supply, as using games requires more power as you know, and possibly with less ram, its forcing more power to everything to try and run. The only way to know for sure is if you get a power supply tester (http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=1107&name=Accessories) Or if you know how to use a multimeter.

    Hope you get things working.
  7. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I ran memtest86+ v2.11 for 4 passes with 0 errors. All 4 sticks of my ram are the same ram, but came seperately in pairs. I may have mixed these up by now taking them out and putting them back in..I wonder if I can find out which were the pairs in all 4 identical ram..hopefully their is a serial number on them or something that matches.

    Ya I got to find something to test power supply, or find another one to use temporarily to see if it is that. Thanks for the help.
  8. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 530

    You don't need the original sticks together if their all the same model but it does help if they come in pairs to work better, specially if they are a "kit" set. As for your ram if it passed 4 tests it should be fine..

    Try and find a power supply tester or if there is a local computer store, ask them how much it would be for them to test your power supply or where the closest place is to buy one for testing, see if they will order you one.

    A way to test out if the video card/monitor is an issue. If you have a friend with a tower they can bring over see if they will, test the monitor on their computer.. The screen could just be old and not have a good connection. If it works fine I would think its a cable, or the card in your computer.
  9. Gordon9999

    Gordon9999 Newcomer, in training Posts: 72

    If you are located in Ottawa Ontario I could give you an address to a computer shop that has a few computer pieces of mine that you can have. One being a 650 powersupply that I just took out to replace for a tx750. also some patriot ram and some other stuff. If your in the Ottawa area then let me know and I will tell you were you can pick up the parts to test your powersupply and monitor.
    If you bring in your computer they will help you figure out your monitor issue and the computer problem you are having for free.

    Cheers
  10. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks man, but not close to Ottawa.
  11. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I used some other cables I had, hasn't done it since, but of course it didn't really happen that often, so we will see.

    I am probably going to buy a PSU tester, saw some on Newegg..wouldn't be a bad investment.

    I checked the RAM, and they did come in pairs, and conveniently their serial numbers were 4 numbers in a row, so it was easy to put them in the right spots, they may have been in the wrong spots, but they are all still identical ram, but came in 2 boxes, so I made sure the right ones were together now.
     
  12. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Update on what I have done:

    Ran memtest86+ for 4 passes, 0 errors
    Ram prime95 stress test for a couple hours, no errors

    Installed my computer in a new case, properly this time:
    *GPU temp dropped 20-25 degrees C! It was only in the 70s before anyway under game load, but now it is around 50C during game play
    *CPU dropped 10 degrees as well to 49C during gameplay

    After putting everything in the new case I booted up and went to the game where I can usually force this error to happen (freeze/restart). It was freezing or restarting within 1 minute of playing, but I played for an hour this time, and then it restarted, and I went to bed. Temps weren't hot, voltages were good. At least according to my motherboard monitor that came with mobo..I'll make sure to check with another program to be sure.

    Next step I am going to reinstall windows just to rule that out, plus it's a free test that doesn't require me buying a part to replace.

    If that is not it, I am thinking PSU(even though numbers look fine on monitors)/Mobo/GPU/CPU(even though prime95 stress test ran 2 hours no errors)
  13. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Update: I reinstalled Windows. Still froze/restart randomly, now mostly during play of the game Aion.

    I tried manually setting the RAM to manufacturer specs, same thing, also tried raising NB voltage to see if that helped. No luck.

    I'm thinking GPU or Mobo now?

    I have a multimeter I might test out my power supply with, even though all the voltages look good while playing the game it freezes or restarts in.
  14. Gordon9999

    Gordon9999 Newcomer, in training Posts: 72

    Will it freeze if you just leave the computer running with no programs running in the process?
    for example if you turn your computer on and leave it as if you were"afk" from the computer will it eventually freeze/restart? or does this only happen when you use proggy's such as a video game?
  15. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 530

    Hey, this leads me to believe it may be your video card overheating or not working properly. Check the temperature on all drives/Processor/video card with speedfan(http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php) see what it hits during game play. Also see if you can find a stress test for your video card(Try the manufacturer website)

    In Aion try lowing the graphics to their lowest setting and running this for awhile, see how long it takes to crash, if it does.

    Try testing you PSU as well, even though it shows the right voltages one of the rails on it could be bad and still have a drop in powering the computer when playing games.
  16. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    It used to restart/freeze randomly, not that often, just doing regular thing slike web browsing..but it only happened once every few days.

    When I play this game though it is guarenteed within a few hours or so. Or sometimes less than an hour.
  17. johnnysanz3

    johnnysanz3 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I replaced the video card 2 days ago and had the same issues. Temps were all average, the cpu gets a little warm: I ran 3dmark vintage and it worked fine no reboot.

    I monitor the GPU during gameplay, it gets to 60C. CPU gets to 52C, but the cores get to 77/72C (core0/1)

    I had tried lowering the graphics to the lowest setting and running it and it crashed still after a couple hours.

    I have a multimeter but don't really know how to use it to test the PSU. I was thinking about getting a PSU tester.
  18. Barollicroc

    Barollicroc Newcomer, in training

    Sorry if I am not suppose to post my own issue in someone else thread, but my problem is very similar so it seemed appropriate.

    I too have a issue with my pc freezing, only mine isn't random. Anytime I have to go "afk" meaning not touching my keyboard or mouse for a certain amount of time my computer freezes up and I have to shut it down in the back.

    I thought initially I was having a hard drive corruption problem, bc eventually this problem persisted until I could not even load windows. And when I repaired with the windows disk it found hard drive errors. So, I purchased a newer, bigger hard drive and it's been about a week maybe now and the same problem is back.

    I also thought maybe it was the power supply, but it doesn't freeze up when I play Wow for 5 hours or even when I'm doing something taxing like fighting in a raid with a lot of stuff going on my screen. It is just literally when I go afk and it goes to the screen saver. Even with the screen saver (which is just a default one btw) turned off, anytime it would normally go to the screen saver it freezes up. Or if I go into stand by, it will come out of it and then immediately freeze up.

    I have run all my virus scans and malware nothings there. The hard drive is only a week old anyways, and the only thing I have installed are a few games and nothing was brought over from the old hard drive.

    I have two fans in my case, one front one back. And the 500w power supply on the side. I noticed today the fan in the back won't spin, I will try replacing that but it seems like given the time of the freezing if I was having a over heating issue it would do it about the same time or when my game has been running for a long time or something.

    I guess this is sort of my last attempt to find help before having to pay to get it looked at.

    I guess I should add that a buddy built it for me about 2.5 years ago, its had the ram updated and my video card to the ones I listed in my profile. I never had any issues after I installed them. I didn't have any issues until my husband and I went out of town for two weeks on his leave and came back and that's when it started. I know that our power went out at least once while we were gone, and I do have it plugged into the wall >.> So I don't know if something there maybe started the issue.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Update:

    I found this error in Event Viewer:

    The device, \Device\Ide\IdePort0, did not respond within the timeout period.

    For some random reason in trouble shooting that I went into my Ups tab and saw that Ups was disabled.

    Which lead to:

    The UPS service is not configured correctly.

    Trying to figure out how to fix that, but the ups manufacturer is listed as unknown.

    I have no idea if I am on track with the freezing up issue. Or if I just found something else lol
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