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Weird intermittent problem with PC, hard to troubleshoot...

By Draetor24
Dec 5, 2006
  1. Windows XP Pro SP2 - AMD 64 X2 4400+ - Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe - 2GB OCZ XTC PC4000 CL3-4-3-8 - ATI Radeon x1900xt 512MB - Enermax Liberty 620W PSU

    I've just finished (on the weekend) a clean install of Windows XP Pro SP2 with all the updates and latest drivers for all my hardware.

    I built the PC back in March, this started happening a few months after that, and still continues now along with a host of other problems which I will explain.

    When I boot up my computer, the video card fan spins up real loud, then I hear the BIOS beep, it then spins down and POSTS, quiet as a mouse. This is a normal boot. 1 out of 4 boots I will encounter where the fan spins up, I don't hear a beep, and the fan continues to keep spinning in a loop until I force the PC off and boot if back up.

    The other time is when I just restart the PC in Windows. again, maybe 1 out of 4 tries ends up where the screen goes black, the light to the monitor turns amber and I don't hear the single beep at the BIOS, so it just sits there at the black screen until I shutdown manually.

    Besides this, the PC has always run normal in Windows/Games. It was only when booting up or restarting.

    Now, I've recently had the PC completely freeze/lockup multiple times while running 3DMark 2006, which it never has froze before the many times I ran it earlier this year. It froze at the detecting hardware phase and again in between tests.

    Then again today while playing Medieval 2, the game froze during a battle, sound stopped, video stayed frozen on the screen. There was no mouse/keyboard interaction at all, to which I had to manually shutdown.

    This is not a heat problem, as PC so damn cool, I can't believe it myself. When I open the case and touch the inside of the case it's cold to the touch. Also the airflow is cold. My temps are low.

    I'm suspecting a couple things, one thing more than others, but I want to get the opinions of others. What course of action should I take? I don't have spare parts, so it's difficult to swap around anything. I am also within my 1year warranty for a lot of parts so I want to solve this now rather than later.

    Thanks.
     
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    I'd start by testing your ram and your PSU.

    Download and run www.memtest.org and let it run for 6 or 7 passes (takes a few hours) to test your ram.

    Then download and run SPEEDFAN to check the voltages on your +3.3v, +5v and +12v rails.
     
  3. Draetor24

    Draetor24 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've ran memtest86 overnight and all day a few times with no errors. Sorry, forgot to add that to the post.

    I can try the Speedfan thing. Is there a reason why you suspect PSU though? I would have thought if it were PSU that I'd have much more frequent issues or not having the PC run at all.

    Also, is there any freeware software that can run diagnostics on specific hardware like the motherboard, CPU, and video card, just like memtest86 can diagnose memory?

    It would really help diagnose which component is the trouble causing one.
     
  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    The PSU is a tricky one to diagnose because when they start acting up, they tend to make OTHER parts look like the problem. I don't know if it is your PSU or not, but that seems like a nice easy one to quickly rule out (with speedfan).

    After that, It is time to start swapping out parts from another system (if you have the luxury of having another one, or a friend to borrow from). If not, you may need to bring it into a shop (where they do have extra parts for troubleshooting).

    Another possibility is your bios is out of date. How many versions have been released since the one you are currently using? Have you tried the obvious of updating your chipset drivers, video card drivers etc?
     
  5. Draetor24

    Draetor24 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    BIOS has latest revision flashed. Latest drivers for everything are in. There are no chipset drivers for the A8R32-MVP, I've checked ASUS' downloads for the board.
     
  6. Chalkie1983

    Chalkie1983 TS Rookie

    well i had this problem, hi btw this is my first post, I had a very simular situation with my system, i tried replacing everything and it turned out to be an issue with PSU connecter, i thought it was the GFX card but i replaced that. I know this is later on but i saw it hasnt been resolved, did you get it sorted??
     
  7. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    Definitely seems like the power supply, simply because its an inconsistent problem. If it was the motherboard or CPU, the problem would be a lot more chronic, I'd think, contrary to what you said in an earlier post :)

    Try swapping it out/testing the voltages.
     
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