Would like help diagnosing this problem

By SilverBlade86
May 22, 2008
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  1. Hey there, my computer is a few months old, and I've been plagued with random system restarts as well as random hangings. I've troubleshooted my PC quite a bit, and I would like to see what you guys think.

    My Specs:

    5600+ Athlon X2
    K8SLI-AM2
    8800GT 512MB
    2gb RAM (2x1gb sticks, unbranded)
    500gb SATA HDD
    480W PSU
    2 Zalman fans, one on my CPU and one on the 8800GT. Both run below 50 on load.
    Running Windows XP 32bit with SP2 and updates.
    All drivers are the latest.

    What worries me the most is that the crashes seem totally random. I would be playing a game, and it would be fine for 3 hours ish, but when I play it again some other day, it hangs in 5 minutes. All these hangings and random restarts do not result in an error in the system log, and there are no error messages in Windows when the PC is rebooted either. The random hangs deserve a special note, because each time it does that, I can LITERALLY hear the system stopping, eg the sound runs fine then there's a screeching halt to it. I have to reboot to fix it.

    This leads me to believe that there may be a bad piece of hardware in there, so I've done a couple of things. I ran a Video Card stability test to check if there are no problems with it, and it ran fine for 4+ hours, until the PC itself restarted. I'm positive that the 8800GT is fine.

    I have done memory tests too, using ORTHOS and Prime95. So far, there have been no errors, so it cannot be a RAM problem.

    This narrows down the field to the CPU, PSU, and the motherboard. Based on the facts, I believe that I may have a faulty PSU, but I would like to know what you guys think before I rush out to buy a new one.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,033   +222

    test for over heating -- get a copy of Everest Home and monitor the temp.
  3. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Try to borrow some branded high-quality known memory with published good timings.

    We see way too many problems from unbranded memory. There is usually a big reason why it is unbranded. Third tier memory is often a problem because the chips are binned, then used as needed without testing. They often have a warranty, but you are the person who reports that it is bad.

    The memory is the most likely cause from the list you offer... Are you really driving the components enough to generate high heat?... and do the reboots relate to possible heat and high use.

    We find the Zalman's are excellent, but you might want to rethink your thermal past... as too much thermal paste is every bit as bad as too little.

    Next, I would suspect the power supply, since you didn't report brand and model.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,268   +218

    Where are you checking system logs? The Event Viewer?

    What do you mean you can hear it? Through the speakers? Problems with audio that is playing at the time? Or new sounds? If its screwing up something that is already being played through the speakers I would strongly suggest looking into updated audio drivers.
  5. SilverBlade86

    SilverBlade86 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Sorry bout the late replies, but I have been busy the past few days.

    I am using Everest, and all temperatures run below 50 on load.

    I have just replaced the power supply with a brand new 500W one, and the problem still persists. Memory may be unbranded, however, I think it works fine as I've run Prime95 on it and no problems whatsoever.

    Yes, the Event Viewer. I'll try my best to describe the sound. It would be playing the in-game music just fine, and then all the sudden it will just halt. But it doesn't just cancel out just like that, it's sort of like it goes GRACK before it cuts out completely, and no sound is played. Audio drivers are updated to the latest.

    Now, I've encountered another problem which I did not actually put in my post. Sometimes, when I am playing Warcraft 3, the game would suddenly just minimize, and when I maximize the game, it takes 5-10 seconds to actually maximize. The game runs fine when its maximized, although people in the game (I play multiplayer) report that I am actually lagging while Warcraft is minimized. The computer seems to be running everything else fine after I close down Warcraft, but if I turn it back on again, the same problem persists. ALT-Tabbing or any other activity that minimizes Warcraft and requires me to maximize it takes 5-10 seconds. Usually, if the problem does not occur, Warcraft minimizes and maximizes in less then a second.

    Now, I'm wondering, perhaps the problem is with the motherboard? Or perhaps the video card?
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