Random BSODs, freezes, six-month old system

By alokgovil
Dec 7, 2008
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  1. Hi all,

    Summary:

    Am having a custom-built PC that worked just great for the last 6 months. Then I started getting random issues (BSODs, mouse-keyboard freeze, computer fails to shut-dowm after OS shutting down). For the past two weeks now, the issues are getting more and more frequent. No significant changes were made to the hardware or software. Have run UltimateBootCD scans, removed almost all hardware except bare bones CPU, Mobo, nVidia graphcis card, memory, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, and power supply, plus fresh install of Vista SP1 32 bit/WinXP Pro with/without any third-party drivers. Once a freeze happens, it is a lot faster to happen again even after a fresh reboot. Freeze happens with bootable CD programs also = (that;s why I did not list HDD and DVD drive into the bare bones list above -- if I have one of the two, I can start the system, and issues happen).

    Here's the current configuration (see more freezes here than BSODs):
    Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 2.4 GHz
    Abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 motherboard. No overclocking.
    2 GB RAM (passes UltimateBootCD tests)
    EVGA 8500 GT PCI-x graphics card
    Antec EarthWatts 650W power supply
    Plain old PS/2 keyboard and mouse. USB mouse also has same results.
    Vista SP1 32-bit (with and without latest updates). Also tested WinXP SP2 Pro, same issues. Also bootable CDs result in the same issues.

    Prior, original configuration (more BSODs than freezes)
    4 GB RAM (passes UltimateBootCD tests, Windows Mem diags tests)
    Two SATA 3GB/s 500GB Seagate hard-drives (pass all scans Windows, BootCD)
    One SATA Samsung DVD-RW
    One Sony PATA DVD-RW

    Curiously, if I enable boot-up memory tests in Bios, it fails for 4GB and keeps on rebooting. Yet, with bios RAM tests disabled, Windows Mem diags and UltimateBootCDs all pass 100% after 7-10 hours running)

    Installed SpeedFan on otherwise fresh OS install. Let it track and show temperature and voltage charts all the way till freeze happens. There is no jump seen in either temperatures or voltages. This is NOT tracking nVidia card temperature though, which does get hot, but not enough to prevent me from touching for several seconds.)

    Some folks suggest Power supply may be bad. Also nVidia cards have over-heating issue (per the news all over the place a few months back). Abit (motherboard company) seems to be gone!

    Everything (except keyboard, mouse, and Sony DVD-RW, is new and under warranty. Just that I do not know "what" is bad.)

    Bought Asus P5Q SE mobo to see if that helps. But a google search before opening the box said that folks have similar problems with that Mobo too!

    Please help...
  2. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Found some place online to try disabling EIST and C1E CPU settings in bios. Did that, problems still exist.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    1, check psu with tester tool and multimeter
    2. ensure PSU provides adequte power go to http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp add 30% to results
    3. check ram with memtest 86+ booted from floppy
    4, check drivers
    5. check bios to ensure it is correct for your set up
  4. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Hi Tedster,

    Could you provide some inputs on #1 (check psu with tester tool and multimeter). All I did was monitor voltages with speedfan.I would like to measure directly after the system freezes.

    I think as speced PSU should have enough power. Its 650W. Hopefully above will help confirming.

    I did check RAM with memtest from cd boot. Passes. 7-9 hours without one failure.

    Drivers is out of question since it fails even with bootable software that does not run windows. Also, reinstalling the whole OS without any drivers still results in crashes.

    Also, did reset the bios and tried multiple settings. Even replaced bios battery.

    So only hope sounds to be #1.
  5. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,909

    Sounds like a PSU or RAM problem. Try taking out sticks of RAM until you're down to one stick. Try every stick by itself and see if the problems persist. Also, try giving the RAM more voltage in the BIOS. If that doesn't fix it, I'd say it's probably the power supply. See if you can borrow one from another computer or a friend.
  6. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Hi MetalX,

    I have done all testing with RAM. Does not seem to be at fault.

    Both you and Tedster then have suggested the PSU to be the culprit. Is there a way to find out without having to replace? I have a multimeter with me.

    The reason why replacing is involved is that my motherboard asks for EPS12V connector that most power supplies do not have. So I had to buy separately for this. This one is Antec Earthwatts 650W power supply btw.

    I'll see where I could get one that has this connector for testing.

    Thanks and best regards - Alok
  7. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,909

    Often you do not NEED to have an EPS12V plug on the PSU. Usually you can just plug a standard 4 pin plug into the 8 plug slot and it'll work just fine. My old P5B Deluxe was like that if I remember correctly... or it might have been the A8N SLI I had before that, or maybe both of them.
  8. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Hi MetalX,

    This is helping. I am getting close to finding the problem. I measured voltages on four pin (molex?) connector and they are correct. 5.07V and 12.07V or something.

    BUT, the health status in the bios just now showed +12V flipping between 12V and something like 1.39V!!!!! After some 30 seconds, it became stable at +12V. For the whole time, the multimeter continuously read 12 V.

    Now I booted my computer, started speedfan to check the voltages. For the +12V, it is reporting 6.02V continuously. I measured four pin connector with multimeter again and it still shows full 12V.

    Does this mean that the voltage PSU sends is 12V unloaded, but for the loaded connectors, it has dropped? Or does this mean that PSU is delivering 12V, the motherboard is messing something up?

    I also noted that the CPU core voltage is always around 1.2V, which sounds right. (Is it?).

    Curiously, bias health status is not reporting 5V. I found a link claiming that Antec supplies have less voltage on 5V after some six months of use (mine is six months old too).

    My question now is: I bought a power supply (Seasonic, and Corsair, both 650W). And a motherboard (Gigabyte, GA-P45-D3SR or something). Have not opened either of these three yet with the intention being I'll return whatever I have not opened. So which should I replace first -- the power supply or the motherboard. I guess it is easier to replace the PSU. But need your advice since PSU is continuously measuring 12V with a multimeter.

    Thanks and best regards - Alok
  9. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Also checked voltage with monotoring utility from motherboard manufacturer. AbitEQ from Abit.

    That is still showing 12 V for 12V. Still does not show 5V value. Simultaneously speedfan is shoowing 6.02V. Are these guys showing voltages on different 12V connectors. Is there a way to measure these ones directly with a multimeter?

    I'll keep monitoring the voltages, waiting for a system freeze again. Hopefully, I'll get some more pointers.

    At least it sounds like graphics card and memory are not the ones to blame anymore. Its either PSU or the motherboard. Or, could graphics card be drawing so much current to cause something?

    Thanks and best regards - Alok
  10. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I replaced the PSU with a new one (Corsair 650W TX). Problem still happens.

    If I turn power (mains directly) after a long time, the system works for about an hour before this happens. Once this happens, after that it starts happening within five minutes of fresh boots (even after powering down from mains and waiting for a minute before turning on.)

    Next suspect would be the motherboard I guess. Since replacing it is somewhat more involved, would it help to try replacing video card first? Have EVGA NVidia 8500 GT currently, would be replacing with XFX NVidia 9500 GT. I note that 8500 GT uses an Nvidia GPU that was found to have over-heating issues a few months back.

    Btw, the corsair PSU that I replaced Antec with, says in their websites that it is not uncommon to both bios and windows software to read voltages incorrectly. Since multimeter always measured the right value for me, it seems they are right.

    Yet, with Abit voltage monitoring utility on windows, it used to give me beeps for something happening to power for a few seconds and then going away before I could see what it was saying. I haven;t reached that far yet with Corsair since machine freezes quickly.
  11. adweston

    adweston Banned Posts: 333

    It's your mobo.. You've got a fried voltage regulator or bad caps. Replace your board and you'll be fine. You can't really test a PSU with a multimeter, btw. That won't tell you anything unless the PSU is under load.
  12. alokgovil

    alokgovil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I finally replaced mobo. New one is Gigabyte GA-P45-DS3L. Computer worked fine for three hours. Still also using new supply (Corsair 650W), but chances are it will work with the old one as well (Antec 650W).

    Thanks for all the help.
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