Computer sporadically stops responding?

By whenallelsefa1l ยท 82 replies
Aug 13, 2010
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  1. Hello all.

    I have recently built myself a new system from scratch, and it was working amazing for a long time. Now, however, I have been getting lockup issues. My computer will stop responding all together for a few seconds to a few minutes. I have control over my mouse, but all open programs lock up. This happens MOST when i open a web browser. I use Mozilla Firefox, but i have tried Chrome, and Internet Explorer 8, and they all do the same thing. The browser stops responding, i hit Ctrl+Alt+Del, and sometimes it takes a few moments for the menu to open. I then proceed to hit "Task Manager" and that sometimes pops up right away, or other times it takes several minutes to come up. I end the process and everything works fine. It has started pausing occasionally in games as well (Most prominently Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2). It is infrequent for that to occur though.

    At first i thought it might be my memory, which was overclocked at 1066hz (as it is meant to be. it has its own heatsync and is advertised as 1066 RAM. So i reclocked it to 800hz. This did not solve the problem however.

    I have run a basic Memory test that comes with windows, and it has no errors. I have also downloaded a hard drive tester from Western Digital since i own a WD hard disk. That also came up with now errors in either the basic or advanced scans. I cannot seem to figure out what my problem is. I even so much as reformatted my hard drive.

    I will supply my setup as follows:
    Q9400 Intel Quadcore CPU @ 2.66GHz
    Nvidia GeForce 9800 Gtx GPU
    4GB's OCZ ram @ 800hz (previously 1066)
    750watt PSU
    1TB Western Digital Hard Drive (SATA)
    Windows 7 32-bit

    CPU idle temp: 36*Celsius
    GPU idle temp: 60*Celsius (the 9800 has a max temp of 105*, so its cool)

    Does this sound like it might be a Memory error, Hard Drive error, or Power Supply problem to you? I have not been able to figure it out.
    HELP! lol

    thanks all.
  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    When the computer locks up, and you open task manager, have you noticed any specific process/or program taking up all the CPU cycles i.e. 100% usage or something like that?

    When the lock ups are over it functions normally again right?

    Have stress tested your graphic card? You can do it with OCCT.

    What is make of the PSU?
  3. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    Nope, only 1% of CPU is taken up at the most, Firefox generally is rated at 60,000k, and my physical memory usage is only 30% maximum, normally hovering around 23%.
    I haven't stress tested my GPU recently, but it's not that if i can play games like Battlefield Bad Company 2 at high graphical settings without a hitch. I've also been playing CoD mw2, Just Cause 2, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and World of Warcraft, however World of Warcraft can lock up occasionally, however it's infrequent that it does.

    The PSU is made by ATX, which as far as i know is a good brand to go with.
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    ATX ? I haven't really heard about them frankly, I hope someone else on the forum can shed some light on this brand.

    You've told that memory was tested with windows diagnostic tool, however, it would be good idea to further stress test it using memtest. Please ensure that RAM's voltage/settings in BIOS are matched with information came on the box.
  5. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    ATX is carried by all the best buys around here, however, I bought it off of Tiger-Direct.

    As for the memory, It came in a small plastic thing and had next to no information on it whatsoever. The memory is at it's default bios settings, so i have no idea as to what it should be at relative to what it defaults at. The memory is made by OCZ, if you would like to look into it, the type is this: OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 Reaper HPC 4GB Edition. I read good reviews, so i dunno. I will use that program you told me about though.

    One other thing. What seems to crash my internet browser most of the time is the new Flash plugin. Any ideas? It still crashes if i uninstall flash, just not as often. This is one confusing and frustrating problem.
  6. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    I ran that memtest while i was at work today, it got up to 968% coverage with 0 errors so i don't believe it's my memory.
  7. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    I never heard of it either, not in NA any way!!!

    It is like opening a new hard drive company and calling it SATA and sell SATA brand SATA hard drives.

    AT (Advanced Technology)
    ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) with quite a few revisions

    Hard to believe they allowed a Company to use ATX for a name!
  8. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Is that a 4GB kit with 2 X 2GB modules or 4 X 1GB modules?

    If you suspect Memory, it is best to test one stick at a time.

    Make and model of Motherboard please.

    If you made a typo it makes sense ...then again it does not ... if it is advertised as 1066MHz then it was not over clocked!

    PC2 8500 is DDR2 1066 MHz; by over clock do you mean faster timing and voltage?
  9. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I forgot to ask earlier, but which motherboard you have in your system? Does the RAM's voltage/settings in BIOS match that given on the RAM's specs?
  10. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    mistyped some stuff, leaving this one blank.
  11. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    It's 2 X 2GB modules, and i'm beginning to think the problem is elsewhere rather than memory. And by overclock, yes, higher voltage and timing. And what i meant was it defaults at 800mhz. However, it is advertised as 1066mhz, basically it is OC ready (It is made for OC'ing.)
    I just changed it's settings back to the overclocked setting and it seems to be working a little better however is till get intermittent lockups. It's voltage is set at 2.1v and thats what is recommended by most people/pros. So i dunno, its looking like the problems is elsewhere.

    As for my motherboard
    It's an Nvidia XFX of some sort, i forget exactly which one and i'd have to dig through a bunch of boxes to get to the manual. My friend has the same mobo though and has for years and has had no issues whatsoever.
  12. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Can you download CPUZ check the right side of the page under "Download latest release" where it says .zip, no installation download, unzip, run, wait for the results to come up, go to the last tab "About" save a text file and attach it to your next post.

    This will answer Archean's question and will also let us know more about your configuration and setup to better help you.
  13. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    Here you go. Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

  14. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    You need to ID your motherboard, have to check the BIOS once we know who made your board, Nvidia, EVGA, XFX ... ?!

    The fact that it doesn't talk to CPUZ, concerns me!

    680i had issues with many Intel CPUs, BIOS update is a must, and all I know is you have the 680i LT SLI.

    Having ran it for "Long time" with no apparent problems, does not prove anything especially when you use "recently" in the same sentence!

    Following voltages suggest you are in need of a new power supply, going to ask you to check the label on your power supply and give as much info as you can; not certain if lack of proper "support" for the Q9400 have upset the chipset, regulators and the rest, Is Win 7 a recent upgrade?

    Your +3.3V is dropping low, but it is OK if it stayed at 3.25V (no lower than 3.14V)
    The +5.0V at 4.87V is getting close to the limit 4.75V
    Your +12.0V seems like it has passed the point of no return, it is reporting 8.31V (min is 11.4V)

    Voltage 2 3.25 Volts [0xCB] (+3.3V)
    Voltage 3 4.87 Volts [0xCB] (+5V)
    Voltage 4 8.31 Volts [0x95] (+12V)

    I would not use the system.
    Get the motherboard make and model
    Get the power supply make and model

    Before we know if your motherboard has the latest BIOS and Chipset drivers, with another reading from the BIOS or another CPUZ dump. We cannot say anything for certain, at least not me.

    Try PC-Wizard and see if it IDs your motherboard. You can also look at the board.

    PC-Wizard gathers some personal information, as in your Windows Product Key, (Not sure with Win 7) DO NOT ATTACH ANY FILES FROM PC-WIZARD unless you understand what you are attaching.

    Please let us know before if you plan on getting another power supply.

    Let us know.
  15. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    nowhere did i say ran it for a long time and recently in the same sentence. I said my friend has the same board, and has had the board for about 2 years or so and has had no problems past or present. it makes perfect sense.

    Also, it is an Nvidia nforce xfx 680i LT SLI motherboard. I told you it was "nvidia xfx of some sort". you seem to not really truly be paying attention to what i have been telling you, If you would have then everything i've said would have pieced together for you.

    My copy of Win 7 is an upgrade from Win XP, i got it as soon as Win 7 came out. It was the student special for a mere 30 bucks since i am in college. Same build as any other Win 7 bought in the time period.

    Also, my mobo has stock bios since it is near impossible to find the damn serial number in which is needed to register it with Nvidia. Thus making it impossible to download the most up to date bios since you need to have an Nvidia motherboard registered in order to update anything with it. And trust me, i entered in every string of numbers i could find on the board and none of them registered as the serial number they asked for.

    As for those voltages you were talking about, you're talking to gibberish to me. I am no *****, but i have no idea what voltages do what with my processor or whatever it is you were talking about, nor do i know what the consequences are for running it at what is being reported. I only know the most basic of voltage knowledge. If you could explain in more detail as to what the voltages relate to and how they affect my system it'd be appreciated.

    As for my psu, I was wrong in stating it was ATX hahaha. It's an LSP Ultra 750w atx power supply. LSP Ultra is the brand i do believe. It's less than 9 months old, and has more than enough wattage to power my system so i would be confused as to what would make it act in such a manner. Old bios maybe?

    Also, when i ran that CPUZ program, It did register it as nvidia. It is registering as the right make/model. It also shows that the bios is from 1/22/2008. So yes it is old.

    However, i have just been looking over the txt doc i attached, and inside it does recognize as Nvidia nforce, so i dont know what you were reading. It seems to me you tend to look over a lot of what has been said by me and also what is on the text report. If you could actually analyze everything before giving a short-winded reply it would be better appreciated. I'm not trying to annoy or troll you or anything of the sort, its just that you have overlooked some things and i do not want to do something that could further ruin my computer is all. I'm sure you know where i'm coming from.
  16. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    I will read over this again but for now here are the important findings:

    Voltage reported for your +12.0V rail is VERY low, this affects most of your components

    Voltage 4 8.31 Volts [0x95] (+12V)

    I would use a volt meter and check the reading for the +12V rail, you can use the hard drive power connector 4pin large Molex rather than the SATA power connector, the yellow is +12V, Red is +5.0V and black is ground.

    +12.0V should be within + 5% as in 11.4V to 12.6V


    The following BIOS is not the motherboard BIOS, we have AWARD BIOS, in your case Phoenix BIOS and a few more.


    vendor Phoenix Technologies, LTD
    version 6.00 PG
    date 01/22/2008


    Nvidia made the Chipset and XFX made your motherboard, Nvidia does have reference boards, we need to be sure, and I did see XFX after and asked one final time to be sure.

    Nvidia 680i LT SLI from here

    XFX 680i LT SLI

    This list does not show your motherboard in the compatibility list, doesn't matter if it ran for certain period of time or not, I have built many systems based on 680i and 680i LT, when a board says it is not compatible, you would expect problems to arise unless one knows what they are doing and make certain adjustments and keep their fingers crossed! Another reason to ask questions to make sure the components are what they are being reported for proper diagnostics.

    XFX Motherboard Intel Edition CPU compatibility List <=== PDF file

    Let us know.


    From XFX:

    What is the BIOS version, do you see any reference to it when starting the computer on the POST screen?

    You most probably have to register your board to get in, but the power supply reading should be done before anything else.
  17. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    True, it was used in 2 sentences.
    Well, if you do understand that Nvidia nForce has been used by many manufacturers, then you are right, but from you calling your PSU brand "ATX" what do you expect people trying to help you think?

    That is why I asked, because ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) version is different, so helps us troubleshoot knowing if you had less issues with XP compared to 7, but this does change with how long the system ran possibly without proper Power Management due to Chipset and CPU incompatibility.

    This goes back with Intel not sharing the white papers with Nvidia back then, things are different now after the settlement.
    So the Chipset designer/ manufacturer (Nvidia) and XFX (the motherboard designer/ manufacturer) cannot have their BIOS engineers, guess how the Chipset should work with the CPU and the rest of the system. 680i therefore had poor support and compatibility with 45nm CPUs and more, many users did run them together but they used other "compatible" boards BIOS.

    In your case, I am surprised the system even POSTed and ran for some time to your satisfaction, the BIOS they released with the board does show "general" understanding of the Q9400 with its Stepping.

    This incompatibility could and would have affected your power management and the PSU as well as other components, we cannot say for certain if other components are hurt and how bad, they might run for number of years or they might not.
    I have registered with XFX (not Nvidia) and can download any file except BIOS image files, XFX to protect their customers has made it mandatory to register and supply Serial # in order to get the right BIOS image file. The Serial Number is always on the BOX, hmmmm ... sometimes is also on the last PCI slot which you can't see with the board in the case depending on the case,

    You will need to generate a support ticket and they will help you, have heard few days to couple weeks wait time :(

    Your computer is an Electronic device, it uses DC from your switching power supply and the mother board power management, with switches, regulators, power changer with OS ran ACPI to deliver what a given device is asking to be fed as in voltage.
    PCI-E, your CPU, fans, lights, the drives motors used to spin the platters all use the +12V rail.

    If your hard drive requires 12V at 1A (12V X 1A = 12W) to spin, it will need to draw 1.44A from your 12V (reporting 8.31V) to get 12W (8.31V X 1.44A = 12W), this will cause problems as you have described, other components such as CPU that use the +12.0V rail but require less voltage (as in 1.288V max), are different (not as in being OK) since they go through a process to change from 12V to 1.xV, leaving the required wattage alone at this point.

    I don't recommend Ultra, different reading on different rails right out of the box, I am not saying this after talking to a friend or 2, I have replaced many PSU. There are more faulty Ultras per 1000 than there is with Enermax.

    Again, that is not your motherboard BIOS and CPUZ reporting vendor as Nvidia, is only talking about the Chipset!

    Check the power supply with a multi meter, set it to DC Volts and proper voltage to read 12V (mine has to be set to 20. the next one is lower than 12) in order to be certain no other component is causing a miss read, I would turn the system OFF, turn the PSU OFF from the back, unplug from receptacle, disconnect it from the motherboard and all other components including fans, drives and such.

    Get a paper clip, look at the 24pin power connector, you will see a Green wire, that is Power ON signal, connect the green terminal to a clack (Ground) terminal using the paper clip. Plug in the power supply, turn the switch ON, this will power ON the PSU, take a reading from the Yellow wire is it within 11.4V to 12.6V? Red should be 4.75V to 5.25V and Orange 3.135V to 3.465V.

    If your power supply read 8.31V on the Yellow wire, get yourself another power supply, then we would address the rest of your concerns knowing power requirements are taken care of keeping in mind XFX doesn't list Q9400 as "compatible".

    Ask if you decide to get another PSU.

    I would also suggest selling the Q9400 and getting another compatible CPU from that PDF file, there are many CPUs supported above and below yours.
  18. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    Unfortunately the mobo serial number is not on the box.. I still have it, and it is just a small brown box with no markings whatsoever. =\

    So based on your recommendations, I should test my PSU, and if faulty, replace it not with another Ultra but buy an Enermax PSU. Also, i should buy another CPU. Unfortunately right now i am very financially strapped, and dishing out another 200 bucks for a CPU is completely out of the question.. so basically, i'm f***ed.. hah. I'll try and see if i can find the serial on my board, but it's doubtful.

    I'll let you know once i buy a PSU tester and test it, but that wont be until about saturday.

    also, with the "i recently built myself a new system" that had nothing to do with when i was talking about my friend. his computer is a totally different system than mine and i was only using it as a reference since he has the same motherboard as i do.

    I may just buy another PSU and motherboard seeing as that would be cheaper than getting a newer CPU. More of a pain to install yes, but could be worth the trouble. My one friend has the ASUS NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI. Would this one be compatible with my CPU by any chance?
  19. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    You two have been at it since I last checked this thread ;), anyway Sharam's observation about your PSU voltages make sense, in case the PSU is at fault (which I hope it would be, as it would be much cheaper to fix), I'd suggestion you to consider Enermax or Coolermaster offerings.

    If that is not the case, and you face a situation where you have no option but to buy a new motherboard, and If you want to get an Asus board, please ensure that your RAM is listed in QVL of whichever board you end up choosing.

    Secondly, why you want to stick with nVidia ? There are alternatives available, I would rather suggest you to consider them. We can help you once we know how much budget do you have.
  20. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    I have downloaded the ISO for bios version P08 off of XFX, however i have no idea how to go about mounting it to a CD, seeing as my CD and DVD drive both work but do not burn anything (I'm guessing because of the compatibility issues with my stuff we previously discussed?) so i may have to do it on a separate system. The only issue with that is i do not know what program to mount an ISO with. Any ideas?

    I also sent a support ticket asking XFX's opinion on the matter and described most of the things you have told me. I gave them the most important details you have told me about since there was a 3000 character limit on their support ticket. We'll see how long their "technicians" take in responding to me... lol.

    By the way, i'm very appreciative of your help. I'm just very frustrated with the situation at hand so please don't take any offense to me =)
  21. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    @ Archean

    Where can i find the QVL listing RAM compatibility?

    Also, i want to stick with Nvidia because i plan on doing SLI with two Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX gpu's eventually. I was thinking that since they are Nvidia the compatibility for my GPU's would be best. Also, they are the boards i'm most familiar with seeing as every mobo i've ever had has been from them.

    My budget is meager. I make maybe 380-440 dollars per paycheck every two weeks and i spend 100 on car insurance a month and 40 on my cellphone a month, plus i owe someone in my family about 2 grand for a car they helped me buy so i put some aside for them every month. On top of that i have gas expenses since i try and get together with my friends every week who live about an hour away, and on top of that i buy food and i have the unfortunate habit of buying cigarettes so i maybe have 200 dollars a month if that. And it normally doesnt last long. If i buy a new power supply, it wont be cheap since i do intend to eventually do SLI. I was thinking if i buy another one it would be 750w or maybe 800 depending on what the manufacturer has to offer.

    Also you make it sound like Asus is a bad choice lol. why so?
  22. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    I was using Enermax as an example only.

    According to CPUZ, your +12V is +8.31V, because of XFX not listing 680i LT SLI (Which I believe is an excellent board) as compatible with the Q9400 or rather the other way around and the ACPI and all, I was thinking may be the CPUZ reading is wrong ... I doubt that though.
    You can follow my instruction and test it, don't buy a PSU tester that most probably will be used only once, get a multi meter, it will come handy again in the house.

    If you were to sell your Q9400 and buy another CPU with the money, I can't see how you be spending lot of cash? A Q6600 is a very good CPU for that board and it's not that expensive these days, but you have to get it from flebay or some place like that.

    You can wait for XFX, they might say, it is OK to run the Q9400 with such and such settings, or the pdf is out dated .... they built the board.

    May be the Ultra just went bad on it's own!
  23. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    it is quite possible the LSP Ultra went bad on it's own. I was reading a lot of reviews on it, and people have had soooo many bad right out of the box. Some did not even come with the cable that powers the mobo. I asked XFX what their recommendation for a CPU would be so we shall see what they say. Also, i have no idea wat flebay is lol. Right this second my keyboard has stopped functioning so i am using the on screen keyboard. first the enter key stopped working then the h key and then everything. its still lit up though? im hoping it is not from my constant pounding of ctrl alt delete ... this sucks so bad. btw where would i sell the q9400? im never using ebay just so you know. i had bad experiences there before.
  24. whenallelsefa1l

    whenallelsefa1l TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 60

    certin keys stop responding periodcally. PSU problem? thnk my PSU mght just be gettn worse.
  25. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I am unsure it can be a keyboard issue provided this same keyboard works ok at other times on with another PC.

    Well Asus is very picky about which RAM can work on their boards right out of the box, so it works this way, you choose the Asus motherboard model/type which you intend to purchase, go on their site and check out the selected model's specs etc. along with that you should be able to find a QVL list (usually in PDF), which lists the memory which is supported. Please, note that if the RAM is not listed it doesn't mean it won't work, rather it is a case where you may need to tweak voltage/other settings in BIOS to make it work stably.

    If this motherboard has such a bad reputation, I wouldn't recommend selling Q9400 just to find out that Q6600 is doing the same thing. So safer option IMO would be to go for a new motherboard and new PSU.

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