Random shut downs

By Scotty87 ยท 14 replies
Jul 22, 2010
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  1. Hello There,

    I'm new to the forums, I normally don't go making posts (because pretty much all the time I search for something, someone else already has an answer). I got a problem with my computer.

    Here's the specs:

    64 Bit Windows 7 Ultimate
    PSU: OCZ StealthX 600W
    CPU: AMD 64 Phenom X4 9650
    Heatsink: CoolerMaster (not stock)
    RAM: (8GB) 4X2GB OCZ DDR2-6400 Platinum
    Video: XFX Radeon HD 5770 850MHZ 1GB 4.8GHZ
    Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi ExtremeGamer & Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Audio
    HDD: 1X340GB & 1X500GB SATAII

    My computer has recently started shutting down on it's own. I have my PC running 24/7 doing multiple things at all times (I broadcast three radio stations amongst many other programs) - Although, with my specs it barely uses up 25% of system resources at any given time.

    It started happening around the same time my PSU went bad. I thought the cause at that time was my CPU. I tested it and it was infact dead. I got myself another one locally and RMA's the OCZ one. The computer actually ran fine for a while and then it started happening again. I though maybe it was a coincidence since the PSU I got locally wasn't as a high quality I had (maybe not pumping enough power). I then decided to take that one out and put my new OCZ PSU back in. This is same 600W model but a replacement. My computer ran ok for a little while but then a big heatwave hit and we were getting around 30-35 C (90F) - and my computer started shutting down again.

    I honestly didn't think it was a PSU issue anymore as each time it turned down I had to wait a while before turning it back on. So my next guest was obvious, OVERHEATING. I downloaded SpeedFan and noticed immeditaly that my CPU was averaging in the 50-60C and my GPU was at 65-80. I thought I nailed it at that point. so I ordered a new Video CArd (It was due for an upgrade anyways) and also a heatsink/fan from CoolerMaster (Very good reviews).

    Such bad luck, it took a couple days to get here and during that time I figured I'd keep using my PC as best as possible - but the very next day my Video card jsut crapped out and my PC would no longer boot/POST. When I took it out it worked.

    I waited until I got my new ATI Radeon HD5770 and put that in with the CoolerMaster heatsink.

    MY PC then booted up normally without a problem. First thing I did was start up SpeedFan and checked tempatures. WOOHOO! CPU and GPU are contantly running 35-40 C. I really thought I had it fixed.

    This was done Monday... It's now Thursday and my PC shut down this morning. I couldn't start it up immediately as normal but when I did my first thing was SpeedFan - All temps were normal. I kept an eye on it, not one hour later it shut down agaain at normal temp. Skeptical, I waited and this time decided to do a RAM test. The test was running normally with no error and when I tried to cancel out of it (Continuous test) - PC Shut down. Waited a few minutes and tried again. This time I watched the temp in the BIOS and they were infact 35-40C.

    I pretty much ruled out heat issue as I keep my inside very clean (I'm a qualified technician, full time job) so I'm extremely comfortable doing anything in the PC. I also blow the dust out of it regularly.

    I have everything connected to a commercial grade APC Surgeprotector which indicates no error - I also tested for fault on both the APC unit and the wall outlet with no problems.

    I'm thinking RAMs/MB - I'm basically looking for a second (or more) opinions.

    What do you guys think?
  2. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I would also like to add that when it does shut down, If I try to start it up again immediately it doesn't shut down again - lights in the fans will turn on but the PC will not POST. It will just hang there (Nothing on monitors).
  3. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I just wanted to update on more troubleshooting I've done.

    I've taking out the power supply and tested the 3.3V, 5V and 12v connections with a multimeter and they all range good. Nothing below.

    I've also tried taking one ram chip out one by one to see if it made a difference but the issue persisted no matter which of the 4 rams chips I had in.

    I've seen somewhere, where a MB battery problem could cause similar issues so I decided to check that. I only got about 2.5v from it so I decided to swap it anyways and the new one tested steady at 3.0 - Still no fix.

    I've tried taking out my sound cars but still no go.

    When it hangs before the POST - you can hear the drive/fans running but the fans sporadically speed up/down as if it was "Trying" to start but couldn't fully get there.

    At this point - I can easily reproduce the problem. I need to turn my PSU off and wait a few minutes - then it will boot.. and behave normally for the most part. If I shut down my PC through windows (don't think it matters where) and try to turn it on again, it will hang. Turning the PSU off seems to be the key part of getting it to work.

    I feel like that last part is hinting a lot but I just can't put my finger on this problem!!
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    It does sound like a RAM problem, especially if the shutdown is sudden, the BIOS doesn't reset to default and you aren't prompted by the option to run the OS in safe mode etc.
    Although if the RAM errors are that bad Memtest should have picked them up pretty quickly. Having said that 8Gb is likely to take the best part of an hour per pass.
    Have you tried testing each stick individually?
    Oddly enough I had a system come in experiencing pretty much the same symptoms, although I had a few blue screens mixed in -the owner had the BIOS set to reboot as default so didn't see many (if any). The problem turned out to be bad RAM AND bad vRAM voltage (the dreaded PowerPlay/vRAM voltage issue) on a initial (launch) revision HD 5770.
  5. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    In addition to DBZ's comments please note that at times memtest is not able to detect errors, or may need lots of passes to find them, usually that is the reason I advise people to run minimum of 8 passes. Better still try running it on each stick individually.

    Secondly, have you taken a look at your system's Event Viewer Logs? Just in case there is something useful in them.

    Lastly, DBZ rightly pointed at vRAM voltage issue, apparently you purchased your card recently so it may not have the same issue, but it may still be defective, as I once ended up helping someone about similar shutdown issues, where the defective part turned out to be an Geforce 9600GT's bad vRAM. You can check your card's vRAM by stressing it with OCCT.

    By the way which motherboard do you have in that system?
  6. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have tried switching each RAM chip individually and the issue still occurred - I am very skeptical that all RAMs modules went bad at the same time.

    I absolutely never saw any BSOD or any other error - Event viewer was the first place I checked although an immediate shut down, I had doubts. All that is in there is the "Computer shutdown unexpectedly, possibly due to power outage, etc"

    Also, when I do boot up the PC - I am prompted that Windows didn't shut down properly and to try safe mode.

    I thought I listed my MB - Asus M3N78 Pro

    The shut downs are more and more frequent and I also noticed my PC starts up slower (Seconds before it can POST) and a few times it happened , when I got into Windows - everything was running extremely sluggish as if the PC was "Hungover" lol.

    Hope this helps
  7. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    You may have but probably somehow it never appeared in your post with the other specs, now that its an Asus motherboard, I guess DBZ is the best here to advise about it.

    Have you stress tested your GPU as I suggested?
  8. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I should have mentioned too - I have everything at stock speed and have not even attempted to OC anything at any point.

    More memory and Video card test passed. (from Hiren's BootCD) - PC Doctor, PC Check, Troubleshooter, etc

    I can't stay in Windows long enough to download OCCT - most time it wont fully bootup into windows (Hangs) - when it does this, on board LAN (Which I use) does not load up so internet doesn't work.

    Would a video card actually cause all of these problems? I'm thinking it might be the motherboard at this point.
  9. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry I've been doing so many things it's hard to log everything in for considerations.

    Once when I attempted to boot my computer - MSN Messenger and Windows Update would not connect and I noticed the time/date was off by a few years - This is when I switched the battery (mentioned in earlier post). I believe the battery is good until it hits around 1.5 (When you start seeing constant time/date problems) so I don't think this was a battery issue.

    Another reason why I'm aiming for MB
  10. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    I have seen similar cases where bad graphic card or bad vRam on graphic card would cause similar issues, where PC may hangs, or crashes with all kinds of different BSODs, so I wouldn't straight away jump to conclusion that its a motherboard issue, if you can borrow from someone a graphic card to check that out it would be fantastic.

    Frankly, I have been seeing lots of issues with various Asus motherboards on many forums and hence, I would not even rule your theory out that its a motherboard issue.

    Probably battery may not be an issue here, IMHO.

    So perhaps I suggest the better approach would be take one step at a time, by checking components one by one. Regards
  11. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I will start swapping parts and see what fixes it. I already had a Motherboard on order that will get here Monday for another PC I am building. I will try it out first to see if resolves the problem. This one has integrated video so I will be able to test without a video card if the problem still occurs (No spare at the moment). I will update this post if I'm able to narrow down for future references.
  12. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Alright, will wait for your updates, thanks.
  13. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Sorry I'm late to the party.
    You're obviously leaning towards the board as the culprit, and it's not unknown for this to be the case If it is the southbridge hub fritzing out it could well show the corruption (slow boot, time discrepency etc.) you've seen. A telltale sign would likely be any large document you've authored or edited and saved only to find that the next time you open it you get the "recovered document" sidebar and the choice of saving the file as original or as the recovered document.
    Many thanks for posting the comprehensive troubleshooting you have undertaken. The thread will likely be helping a number of future viewers (especially if the problem has a solution!)
  14. Scotty87

    Scotty87 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    After thorough testing - It seems the motherboard was in fact the problem. I've ran my PC through a long stress test since I put it in (With all the other same parts) - and I haven't had any problems! I could replicate the problem before and no longer can.

    Thank you both for your assistance with this problem!!
  15. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Glad to hear that, thanks for the update, and stable computing from hereon in ;) Regards

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