Unstable rig is intresting. Not good or fun, but "maybe a kick will fix it" way.

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by RawData, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

    Mar 4, 2008
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    Sometimes life is... intresting. Currently it's way too intresting with my rig. :matrix:

    I had a CPU and motherboard from a friend as a birthday gift and Serg008 kindly provided SLIC'ed BIOS for me.
    I planned to put those in good use when suitable free time was available, but I lucked out as usual.
    My main rig went belly up. Froze hard and never gave any signs of life afterwards.
    But for once, I had everything ready... only I forgot Muphy's law.

    Now, nearly a week later, I rank this rig somewhere in top 3 most difficult, if not #1 on that list.
    Most of the kinks are gone now, but still the rig is not 100% stable.
    That is, random freezes are happening and hard reset is needed. That's not the way to keep your data safe.

    I'm going to run longer set of memory tests and perhaps try another PSU (750W crappy CoolerMaster) if I find it.
    Other than that, I'm fresh out of ideas. Perhaps someone could share few good ones?


    Oh, almost forgot. In case anyone have some deep insight about these, here are the components used:
    CPU: AMD FX 8320
    Memory: 2*4GB A-Data (Generic) DDR3
    GFX: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1024MB EE
    MB: AsRock 990FX Extreme3
    PSU: XFX 550W Core Edition ATX, 80+ (Bronze?)
    SSD: PNY 120GB XLR8
    HDD: Samsung 2TB (and a few smaller Seagates)
    ODD: Optiarc DVD RW AD-5260S

    All drives are SATA devices. Everything packed almost neatly in "El Cheapo" BitFenix Merc Alpha case.
     
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  2. EFA11

    EFA11 Avatar Guru

    Oct 7, 2010
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    how you tried pulling the memory? Pull one at a time, try one for stability then try the other. You could try to set bios to default/fail safe, etc. I am guessing you have done that by now though.

    That has 4 slots for memory, you are using 2 sticks. perhaps try the other slots if possible too.
     
  3. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    #3 RawData, Sep 19, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
    (OP)
    Tried already reseating and changing the slots.
    That reminds me... I have other (2*2GB and 2*1GB) memory modules, so I'll try swapping to them, too.

    Nice avatar! :p

    Correction: Uh, oh... no good! They're only DDR2... :(
     
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  4. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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    In every case you take out the Memory PCB's or use other PCB's, you should use an soft Pencil Rubber for to clean the connector feet's from dust etc.!
     
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  5. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

    Mar 4, 2008
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    Memory module contacts have been cleaned when I changed their places.

    Time to get some sleep now. After that, I'll try another PSU.

    Still, thanks for trying. :)
     
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  6. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

    Feb 13, 2011
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    PSU might fix it use a 650 watt
     
  7. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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  8. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    Well, changing the PSU to Cooler Master 750W model did not help. :(
    The rig froze half day ago and needed hard reset.
    What's worse, less than hour ago not even hard reset had any effect. I had to switch the PSU off and on again.
    Curiously, at both times the crash happened when I plugged USB HD tuo front panel connector. Instant freeze. :confused:

    Tomorrow I'll test and compare front vs. back USB ports. Hopefully it gives some hint. Hopefully.

    Just to be sure, I think I replace that thermal paste AMD uses with their CPU's and apply some silver paste.
    I highly doubt that it help, but why not to try.

    What I think is going on is I have a MB with poor power planning (only 4+1) and maybe even lemon one. :mad:
    If that's the case, I have to see if I can get new and better at some point.

    I really can't afford it... but as Mr. Eastwood would put it in two sentences:
    "A man's gotta know his limitations." (Translates as: "I'm out of ideas!")
    "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." (Translates as "I really need my rig working!")
     
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  9. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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    Could be that the Chipset of your MB is on way to die. Check the temperature of the chipset on MB . If they got very hot, try to cool them down with extra fans and see that will works. Also leave the box open for an while and if you have place a table fan beside it an let blow into the open box. That's just to find out it's an temperature problem or not.
     
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  10. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    Still a mystery. CPUID HWMonitor show temps being well in good range. I hate it when there is no apparent reason for malfunctions. Last froze happened while watching a document with MPC-HC. Before that, opening a small text file with NotePad killed the system. Then again, playing Command & Conquer™ Red Alert™ 3 Uprising has not given any problems with full details. No consistency at all. :confused:

    If I don't find and manage to fix the problem soon, I may have to pawn my left arm and leg to buy a new motherboard. Otherwise I can't afford it right now. :(
     
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  11. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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    The shown temperature by system is never correct and differs sometimes a lot.

    Had you try what I suggested to use an Fan blowing air into the open case? If not, try that it's cost's you noting, just a bit of effort!
     
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  12. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    Why only one fan, when multiple ones can be (over)used? :biggrin:

    One table fan (400mm) blowing into case, two extra fans (80mm) directing air flow. Door and both windows open and when the temperature inside apartment fell too low, I had to stop the experiment. I was freezing, but so did the rig. Twice. So, it's not the temperature.

    With this MB+CPU combo it should be possible to get at least 4GHz, but not much more with air cooling. When even the stock is not stable, something is seriously wrong. Still, the rig can freeze even while idle at 1.4GHz! o_O

    I could reinstall everything just in case it's some weird driver conflict, but it's a whole lot of work to get everything installed and configured again. Not to mention restoring all the data from poor backups.

    At this point, I'm seriously considering taking a "diet month" and spending 165.90€ for Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0.
    By "considering", I mean dreaming. :sleep2:


    I miss the times when there were reasonably cheap motherboards which were rock solid, like Asus T2P4. I know the manufacturers can't afford to spend too much on QC, but the quality of nowadays products is somewhat sad.

    Currently top 3 worst I've had are this unstable AsRock 990FX Extreme3, LANPARTY UT nF3 250Gb which started to develope multiple weird symptoms after a month and (now thankfully almost forgotten) MSI which randomly wiped it's BIOS, leaving only boot block.

    I'm pretty much done with this MB now, but thanks for suggestions. Now it's time to relax a bit... :drink:
     
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  13. Myrrh

    Myrrh MDL Expert

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    #13 Myrrh, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    I may have missed if you mentioned what operating system(s) it's locking up with.

    One of my better machines at home (Intel Q6600, x64, 16GB) and one at work (Intel Core i5 1st gen), were stable for years on Win7 (Intel Q6600, x64, 16GB ddr2). Ever since I put Win8 on them, I was guaranteed at least 2 or 3 lockups requiring power removal, or lockup followed by spontaneous reboot, per week. I put one on Win8.1 the week WZT leaked the RTM, the other one a week later, and have had exactly one hang in however long that has been, and I happened to be futzing with some driver updates at the time. I'm not saying 8.1 is perfect but it's been more stable for me.
     
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  14. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    Windows 7 Ultimate.

    Windows 8VistaME... not going to install or support any of that POS. Ever.
     
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  15. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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    In Bangkok I would take the MB to my technican and let him check. Ihad some like that in the past a few times and in most cases it were an chip set going to die. Change those and all went well. Also in one occasion it were a bad Resistor related to the Memory sockets. Also changed that and went well!

    Now I'm using since a year several AsRock 990FX Fatal1ty Pro with no single problems with 6 core and 4 core AMD's.
     
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  16. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    I saw you're using ASRock MB, too, The difference is, mine is... well, practically "El Cheapo".

    The one specific difference which I think makes the difference in this case is this:
    - My MB:
    4 + 1 Power Phase Design
    - Your MB:
    Advanced V12 + 2 Power Phase Design

    IOW, design of your MB is much better.

    I have only optical drive, SSD and 3 HDD's, so they don't take too much juice. I think even the 460GTX takes more and it's not just the GFX, but the whole rig dead, when freeze happens. Curiously enough, the biggest chance to get the rig freezing intentionally is to connect external self powered USB HDD. Not for sure, but it will increase chances somewhat.


    Today, 2 freezes. One after reboot, about a minute after desktop came up. No usual software had been started, so the rig was idle. Second freeze 3 hours later, while updating Firefox. I've found no relation with computer usage to freezes and I hate unsolved problems. Imagine something so annoying that it makes even the most peaceful people want to kick and punch it, while it only would make things worse... and therefore annoying even more! :jumpon:


    I wish there would be a way to save all your settings and data to easily restore them later, without restoring anything you don't want. Not only OS settings and tweaks, but for softwares, too. Unfortunately, that it not the case. Sure, image backup saves everything, but trying to restore settings for all of your softwares is a nightmare. Which reminds me, that I forgot to set up Java's "special" setting before I installed it... :mad:
     
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  17. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

    Mar 4, 2008
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    Finally solved?

    Like the prof announces in Futurama: "Good news, everyone!". It took a long time, but the problem seems to be solved. Surprisingly, the problem had nothing to with motherboard. At least, not directly. With old MB the problem simply was not there, so some connection is possible.

    With "everything tried twice" I made a mistake and installed very old nVidia drivers. After a day without a freeze I started to wonder what was different and saw WindowsUpdate offering "new" nVidia drivers. At that point I was not sure what to make of the situation and assumed it was just WU bug. After checking the driver version I had installed, I updated to latest version... and in less than 5 minutes the rig froze while plugging USB HD in. Tried a few other driver versions, but no good.

    Found out the last version working was 314.22 and the bug is there even in the latest version.

    I had up to date drivers in the old rig working just fine, so I made a embarrassing mistake and assumed the nVidia drivers were good. The importance of going back to certain old version was something I did not see. I was fooled by weird symptoms which pointed to other way. Other than creating specific conditions (full load while fooling around with few USB HD's), I have not gotten rig to freeze in 5 days. Granted, the mentioned specific conditions still apply, but they're easily avoided by not using more than one USB HD at a time.

    I'd say the problem is solved. Next time I better use more specific search terms, because it looks like others have seen their shares of crashes with recent nVidia drivers. Funny enough, the solution mostly seems to be same as mine.

    I'm somewhat pissed how one hardware manufacturer can mess up the whole setup so badly with their drivers. Perhaps it's not too good idea to inject drivers so deep into Windows?

    Bad nVidia! Go stand into corner! :furious:


    Thanks for all the suggestions. This time it was not the knowledge that solved the problem, but luck. :eek:
     
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  18. majo

    majo MDL Novice

    Jun 9, 2008
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    have you made OC ? put the serial values in BIOS and start again
     
  19. RawData

    RawData MDL Member

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    In case you missed it, the freezing problem is solved. ;)

    Not OC'd (yet), as the noise from cooling comes quite loud even in full load at 3.5GHz.

    Perhaps I invest to cheap (sealed) liquid cooling at some point and see how much OC the system can take, but until then I'm running stock.

    There is one peculiar feature remaining. Every external USB drive I add takes longer time to initialize, no matter in which order I add them. Perhaps it's best to use just one of them at a time. :confused:

    Currently trying image backup softwares, but none look too good... :(
     
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  20. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

    Feb 13, 2011
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