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Machine of Mystery. PC acting up for no apparent reason

By xcylent
Feb 13, 2014
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  1. Hi all! Boy, haven't posted on here in quite some time :)

    Anyway, I have run into some problems with a PC which have defeated my realm of knowledge, so I ask any of you friendly folk if you may be able to lend a hand (or an ear!) to help me tackle this problem.

    A little background: This is concerning my brother's PC. He owned a Dell XPS 8100, then asked me to build him a new PC. I obliged, and went ahead. Here are the specs:

    CPU: AMD FX-8320
    CPU cooler: Coolermaster Hyper tx3 evo
    Motherboard: ASrock 970 extreme 4
    RAM: 8GB of generic ram he had from a while back. (SIDENOTE: I swapped the RAM later for reasons that will be addressed further down)
    HDD: 2tb storage and 1tb boot
    Windows 8
    450W Antec PSU

    Anyway, the PC came to life just fine and worked flawlessly through installing programs/running applications/streaming media. However after a few days, problems began. e.g. he's just listening to music and chatting on skype, everything freezes. Music continues to play but mouse/keyboard unresponsive, nothing happening on screen. I had a suspicion that it was the CPU overheating, so I reseated the CPU cooler, with re-applied thermal paste, then monitored the temps - they were fine! So then my next guess was that the RAM was the culprit. So in a slight act of desperation, I pulled my RAM from my personal PC (also home built by me, the RAM is Patriot G2 8GB (2x4gb) 1333MHz) and put it in his system. Booted just fine, and everything looked ok. Another interesting sidenote, I placed his old RAM (which he had reused from the XPS 8100) into my system and 3 months later its running fine. I also got him to run windows memory diagnostic, and it found no errors. So anyway with the new RAM in for a week or so, his PC seemed to be running fine. Wrong. after another short period of time, he started complaining about random system stutters, lockups, and so on. accompanying these little noodles was a strange noise!

    HERE ARE SOME VISUAL/AURAL REPRESENTATIONS:

    I took a video of the noise (ignore the commentary, in a stupid moment I exclaimed "oh it's coil whine" but I'm not sure why I said that). Please note I did check all the fans, they're not the culprits - hence why I automatically assumed coil whine. VIDEO: PLEASE TAKE HEED OF THE AUDIO:



    After a little more examination, I came across a small scratch just above the CPU fan, as you can see here: http://imgur.com/H7TUpAz,FOw6ypT#1
    Don't know if that has anything to do with it.

    Anyway, that's all I got. Random freezing/lockups/crashing. Both my brother and I are flummoxed.I'm sortof at my wits end here, and any input would be incredibly appreciated!
     
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,924   +167

    Replace the power supply with a 650 Watt or higher...
     
  3. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,308   +100

    Dude... stop telling people to change power supplies, that won't fix anything if the system already ran fine as it was. Unless they had a high power video card it doesnt sound like something to do.

    If your brother kept hearing music after it got stuck it doesnt sound like a proc or power supply problem, if it were the computer would've just stopped working and shut down.

    Do you have a video card you did not list?

    Maybe it's the cpu cooler, making it overheat, do you use software to check the temps?

    It could also be driver related, did you install video and audio drivers for the motherboard?
     
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,924   +167

    Kibaruk, we have to start somewhere...
     
  5. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,308   +100

    I know we have to start somewhere but replacing the PSU is not where to start. If you could or want to check the PSU first try getting a tester that's way cheaper to see if it's throwing enough energy.
    Try to start with the usual suspects, drivers, ram, disk, os.
     
  6. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 267   +17

    my bad! forgot to mention there is a video card in there (GTS450, pretty old card). Could that be the issue? it's been in use for around 4 years - roughly guessing.

    I checked the CPU cooler. It's seated fine and the fan is ok. I use speedfan to monitor the temps, they sit at around 40 degrees Celsius - which is fine.

    PSU should be okay - its an antec VP450 which I put in his XPS but then also later put into his new system.

    as for drivers - I'm not 100% sure. I can try re-installing the video and audio drivers if you guys think it will help.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far, keep em coming!
     
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,924   +167

    "as for drivers - I'm not 100% sure. I can try re-installing the video and audio drivers if you guys think it will help" Yes go ahead and do this... I really suspect that that "good" 450 watt supply needs to be upgraded. If the PC was running flawlessly I wouldn't question it at all
     
  8. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 267   +17

    UPDATE: alrighty so I swapped video cards (I put my GTX 550ti in his machine). Got drivers installed and everything up and running. a few hours later, so far so good - but I'm not convinced just yet.

    and now we wait..
     
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,924   +167

    Okay good, fingers crossed(y)
     
  10. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,308   +100

    Probably it is drivers, since the video is stuck and everything else (like music) keeps running it's not power, nor cpu and if it were ram the pc would probably crash with a bsod, or the app would crash.

    Does your mobo have integrated graphic card? Did you make the install of the video card after you ran the computer?

    If you did, try uninstalling every video card there is, windows 8 will try to install a generic video driver for your computer, after that search for your cards drivers and install those and uninstall generics.
     
  11. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 267   +17

    UPDATE: nearly a week later. no major problems so far. hopes are high but not convinced yet. will keep posted!
     
     
  12. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,924   +167

    Very good, thanks for the update and do keep us posted:)
     


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