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An Intresting Yet Sad Story. Any Ideas Please? (New Build failing)

This is a discussion on An Intresting Yet Sad Story. Any Ideas Please? (New Build failing) within the Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi there. I'd keep the intro and cut to the point. System #1 Built 2008 fall: LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL


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Old 03-11-2011, 03:12 PM   #1
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Hi there. I'd keep the intro and cut to the point.


System #1
Built 2008 fall:

LC Power Metatron ARKANGEL LC8850 V2.2 (850W)
ASUS P5E64-WS EVO (Intel X48 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0802 (2009/JAN/04)
Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz)
2x 2GB Kingmax DDR3 SDRAM 1333 MHz
ATI 4870 X2
Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro (left from a previous system)
Compaq 21" Trinitron CRT
Seagate Barracuda 500GB
Samsung Spinpoint 640GB
Vista Ultimate SP1 x64 / XP Pro SP3

Mainly used for gaming. Basicly ever since purchase there has been problems with it. Significantly less frequently in the begining, with time it became worse. CTDs, BSODs, artifacting, random reboots, ingame freezes, black flickering screen, see the pics and taken videos below. Main suspect was the VGA, and in the end since it was unable to pass its own test in CCC, the retailer its been purchased at replaced it for a 5970 (with add money). This took place 2010 fall. It hasnt been in the box for long and it crashed as if it was still the 4870. This 5970 passes the CCC test (yet). The box behaved basicly the same from this point on. See pics and vids for similarities / differences.

(Audigy 2 was replaced by a SB X-Fi Titanium card 2009 december (due to being outdated, not because any specific problems with it))



System #2 (current one)
2010 december, new system is built around the 5970

The PSU is the the same item as above
ASUS P6X58D-E (Intel X58 Chipset)
Latest BIOS version 0405 (2010/OCT/04)
Intel i7 930 (2.80GHz) + Scythe Mugen 2
3x 2GB Corsair DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
SB X-Fi Titanium (from Sys #1)
WD Caviar Black 500GB
WD Caviar Black 1000GB
IBM 21" Trinitron CRT
Win7 Ultimate x64 / XP Pro SP3

...And the problem presists. Again, pics and vids below for comparison between the systems.

There were no overclockings on this cpu/ram yet. The VGA have been underclocked once for a brief period of time to see if games react to this change as part of troubleshooting. They do react (see 'resolution change' issue below).

The PSU been tested with a multimeter in this current setup and showed supprisingly good readings. All 24 cabels of the ATX mobo / 8pin mobo connector, and PCI-E connectors were tested (even the molexes) and it showed no defects, it gave 12 / 5 / 3 volts everywhere correctly. About 5 tenths more or less.

Tools that were used for troubleshooting:
Prime 95
MemTest86+ v4.10
Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool
MemScope 1.10
ATI Tool
Video Card Stability Test
WD HDD Diagnostics

Ran overnight or more like over day and night, no flaws...

Some temperatures while browsing net and running winamp (in celsius degrees):
CPU: 36 (fan at ~700rpm (60%))
GPU: 53 (fan at 1300rpm (30%))
HDDs: 31

Games that ran (and were failing) on either this or the previous sys include but are not limited to titles like:
Alien vs Predator (2010)
Crysis
Far Cry 2
Borderlands
GTA4
Unreal Tournament 3
The Witcher
STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl
NFS Pro Street
Doom 3
Half Life 2
GTA San Andreas
Halo (2003)
Return To Castle Wolfenstein

Different engines, different DX versions, and games as old as 10 years.

There currently is a phenomena present where games "dont react" to resolution change. As in frame rate is lets say 30-40 in said game in a certain area at 1920x1440 and if its changed to 640x480, FPS stays in that margin. Also if the camera is pointed on a particular static surface of a game (a wall or the ground) and is not moved, the FPS is constantly - say - 80 at 1920x1440 reso, change it to 640x480 and its exactly 80 regardless. Using different third party FPS measuring tools or the built in measuring of a game, its the same theres no misstaking.

Games do react to changes in graphics quality (to some extent) like setting textures or shadows high/low quality.

Also games tend to run at laughable frame rates. SplinterCell Conviction wont go above ~40FPS in most areas (and remember it wont increase even if played at 640x480). Where that ~40FPS is more like ~30 in Borderlands around the DLC4 areas of the game (quite sad).

Talk about Borderlands. In that game (so far) while playing at 30FPS, there is quite noticable tearing as well. Which occurs when the game is runing at much higher FPS than the refresh rate of the display if im correct, and should be resolved by turning on VSync. It is not in this case.

Another issue is that in some games the refresh rate of the display changes to 60Hz from the normal 85Hz at 1600x1200 resolution which is used in both windows and all games (1920x1440 was used only for testing as that is the highest possible). It is noticable because 1: the screen is flickering / 'vibrating' in a way that is quite unmisstakablely exclusive to running a CRT monitor at low refresh rate (in lack of lingual knowledge to describe more precisely) 2: if VSync is turned on, FPS tops at exactly 60. Also this was the case with 2 other monitors (both CRT (no test was undertaken with LCD display so far)). CCC refresh rate override wont do squat either. This issue is appearently not present in games where there is an option to set the refresh rate manualy (so far).

And then one more thing related. Here is another system:
Enermax EG465P-VE (460 Watt)
Gigabyte GA-8I955X Pro (Intel i955x Chipset)
Latest BIOS version F4 (2005/APR/28)
Intel P4 551 (Prescott (3400MHz))
2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 SDRAM
ATI 3870
Either display from the 2 above
Samsung Spinpoint 160GB
XP Pro SP3

No extensive testing were going on on this one, but listen to this one aspect. Fresh XP install on it, latest drivers and DX. Doom 3 ran on it and exhibited both the 'resolution change' and 'refresh rate' issues mentioned above. Two Worlds ran on it, that one "only" showed lack of reaction to reso change. True enough this ATI 3870 was quite sick in the past too. Showed massive artifacting. In game the image was 'fallin apart' so to speak. Plus the bios of the mobo is appearently not flashable to a new version... I cant provide anything else on this box. Thats about confessions but still, this is a mystery (and misery) that 3 different systems are spitting fundamentally the same crap in people's faces.


Some thoughts about System #2. Needless to say OSes have been reinstalled several times, no changes failing-wise. Most always the latest drivers are used on the box. However its all the same with drivers from the CDs/DVDs coming with the hardware component boundles.

The HDDs are flawless according to WD Diagnostics, nevertheless the system disk has been zeroed out once and a fresh Win7 install were issued onto it (the other disk been removed beforehand). With literaly only the latest mobo / VGA drivers on it (put from a dvd). No win updates were done. The box wasnt connected to the internet while undertaking this scenario. The sound card was removed from the PCI-E slot durring this. Also changed the peripherials to simple corded USB mouse and keyboard (hell..). No other devices were connected to the box durring this. Devil May Cry 4 was used to test if the problem presisted. It didnt react to resolution change (the refresh rate issue is not present in this game anyway) and even produced a black flickering screen after a while.

VPU recover / "Ati driver stoped and recovered" occured durring watching a film in windows and editing videos in Sony Vegas. Its not regular.



So here are the pics and vids of certain occurances (how can I have the vids not embedded?).

System #1

Vid taken durring Far Cry 2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b5Ur_sWe4k

A part of the same vid played in BS Player from windows.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_w2DB_dS_Y

The infamous Flickering Black Screen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57tXVieXm8s

NFSS / GTA4 / AssaCreed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLIlvbae4Jo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBnAmtC9Oro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEtLe1H572Q

This one shows the CCC test (in a new way..).
https://img600.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash09.jpg/

https://img46.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash08.jpg/
https://img651.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash07.jpg/
https://img62.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash06.jpg/
https://img833.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash04.jpg/
https://img854.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash03.jpg/
https://img848.imageshack.us/i/vgacrash02.jpg/
https://img683.imageshack.us/i/shift04.jpg/
https://img69.imageshack.us/i/shift03.jpg/
https://img16.imageshack.us/i/shift02.jpg/


System #1 with 5970 in it instead of 4870 x2

No comment on these, let them speak.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps5Zag6_-qs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3rXd67h18g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRmIU3oH4sY
https://img233.imageshack.us/i/bsod05.jpg/
https://img20.imageshack.us/i/bsod04.jpg/
https://img9.imageshack.us/i/bsod03.jpg/
https://img849.imageshack.us/i/bsod02.jpg/
https://img845.imageshack.us/i/bsod01.jpg/
https://img806.imageshack.us/i/crash04.jpg/
https://img15.imageshack.us/i/crash03.jpg/
https://img228.imageshack.us/i/crash02.jpg/
https://img851.imageshack.us/i/shiftb.jpg/
https://img688.imageshack.us/i/shiftam.jpg/
https://img849.imageshack.us/i/avpq.jpg/


System #2

https://img863.imageshack.us/i/reliabilitymonitor02.jpg/
https://img638.imageshack.us/i/reliabilitymonitor01.jpg/
https://img863.imageshack.us/i/eventviewer.jpg/
https://img855.imageshack.us/i/atikmpag.jpg/
https://img638.imageshack.us/i/ati2dvag.jpg/


Wish I could provide more info on this shyt...



Its almost certain that not all relevant things have been dissected here. Point out any short-comings at any area, do ask questions, and tell your opinion (let alone any ideas regarding a potential resolution). I may post an edit if i gather a couple of thoughts that come about my mind worth discussing.

Also, please tell where else would it be a good move to post this if you have any site in mind.



Better luck with your systems
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:12 PM   #2
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Please someone throw some thoughts! By the way lets assume that the cause is an 'inproper' (in whatever way) AC. What kind of issues would be logical to assume that the AC has in this case and how would you address them?
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:46 PM   #3
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Two problems I see in this post:
1/ Most are not willing to read through a novella length post
2/ You list three different systems and describe problems with each

Try posting only the system with the problem and a concise description of the symptoms. One or two screenshots are usually enough.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:47 AM   #4
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Same thoughts as gcavan.
Post the problems with one unit. If/when that is resolved we can move on to another.



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Old 03-14-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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you have alot of information and good information on these systems; but I too would agree you have to seperate each system one at a time

I would try running OCCT (stress test) on system #2 and see if it crashes ?

I would also remove the sound card from system 2 and make sure to remove the drivers and see if things improve

I cant find much in the way of REAL specs for your power supply; its expensive enough to "expect" it would be a good one however the lack of real info makes me wonder ?

have you tried probing with digital multimeter at the back of the 24pin motherboard connector when the system is under stress like running OCCT; I suspect you will see readings under load which are not so rosey?
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:48 PM   #6
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Since you are using power hog CRTs and not power miser LCDs, first test I'd ask you to run is to use an LCD flatscreen. I wonder if you have some heavy equipment in your area or nearby, like heavy motors, compressors, arc welders, a large factory, or the like that might be sending raging torrents of noise down the AC line. A well designed PSU in a computer is relatively immune to that sort of thing, but CRTs from the late '90's aren't. Are you near a large radio tower? Or near a ham radio operator (code of ethics for ham radio operators is to help nearby residents with noise problems)?

Can you put a NEW line filter, and not a cheap one, on your AC line to the computer and CRT as a test?
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:11 PM   #7
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I also have some doubts about the LC Power PSU. It's price is up their with top quality units but it is made by the same folks who bring us Ever Green, Huntkey, Dynex as well as some other questionable units.



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Old 03-15-2011, 04:55 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments! Some good ideas are up.

Listing all 3 (and a half) systems was the point as I see it because partly all are showing the same symptoms. Namely the lack of response to resolution change and the refresh rate issue. The goal is obviusly to make Sys #2 operational (I do hope it comes off from the post to some extent). In this scenario the other systems (and their issues) are listed to provide more info (info that I belive may be related) for diagnosing Sys #2.

About the PSU there really is small amount of info but what I read recently over at johhnyGURU and hardOCP the few things they say are not so bright... There is reason to question if that PSU was a proper one even anew I belive now.


@linderman
Thanks for the OCCT, looks to be a solid tool for the first look. I just finished the GPU test at default settings, no crash, no errors detected. Will dive into its details (if there are) later.

The soundcard have in fact been removed as part of a troubleshooting session. I detail it in the wall of text *cough + clears throat* starting: "The HDDs are flawless according to WD Diagnostics".

I just probed the ATX and PCI-E connectors while OCCT's GPU test was runnning already, its proper so far. I thought ill catch it redhanded this time... Will probe the ATX once more with OCCT CPU test.


@ [email protected]
Intresting thoughts! The scene is countryside, residences around here are scattered like miles away from eachother so I dont know much about my neighbors or their equipment. I'll look around. I happen to know though, that theres a guy whos making large statues out of wood and has a saw or similar whose sound is audible from a kilometer. I guess it would count as heavy equipment correct? Also, good call on the LCD. I rejected it earlier somehow without even realizing.

I also wonder if whoever is responsible for the AC flow is dedicated enough on supplying the few residents here. Have you ever heard about such a phenomena that an area is supplyed with seemingly sufficient power but not "properly" in a way that could apply to this case? Sounds funny enough as I write it down...

No radio station, amateur or otherwise as far as know but theres a 'pole' a few clicks away that is visible from here and glows red at night. I'll check it out if its emitting anything 'malicious'...

Ye Ive been told on another forum that a line filter could be the ultimate remedy for AC problems. We were arguing if a UPS is enough (or even a good quality PSU but I guess 'enough for how large a problem') I dont belive I can put my hands on a filter for just testing purposes. What do you think about a UPS? Prevail or fail in place of a line filter?


Once again some meaningful thoughts been poped now. Much appreciated.

Regards
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #9
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I have not seen any UPS that was affordable that impressed me

however I have seen a couple of line conditioners that solved some nasty problems

assuming your in the united states ?

Tripp Lite Lc-1200 Line Conditioner / Voltage Regulator - eBay (item 330537326724 end time Apr-01-11 10:40:11 PDT)
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:40 PM   #10
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Many of the backup battery devices I've investigated and used for my clients had very good filtering specs. If you recognize the brand name and it's not their cheapest device, I'd say it's a good substitute for a line filter.

Quote:
No radio station, amateur or otherwise as far as know but theres a 'pole' a few clicks away that is visible from here and glows red at night.
Are you kidding me? This is a disaster waiting to happen. Call your local power company tomorrow unless you want ALL your electrical equipment to fry when that transformer blows. I know of no electric company that lights their poles at night, why waste the power? JMO.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:58 PM   #11
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Just went and talked to a construction guy and he tells me that yes, some electrical companies do put red lights on the bottom of their power transformers. But that means something is wrong with it!

If you can see a red glow from a few klicks away coming from a power pole, there is a problem at that transformer. Call the emergency number listed for your power company.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:53 PM   #12
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I'm pretty certain that they put them on top of towers if a Airport is close by. At least here in Canada they do.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:07 PM   #13
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What is the difference between a filter and a UPS in your opinion (Im referring to things that one may know through experience not because its obvious if compared)? If theres anything that comes to your minds.

@linderman
Im from europe. Thanks for the link anyway.

@ [email protected]
I should have picked my words... I didnt mean that its a power pole, just a large peni... ahm, pole thats stickin out of the ground. Guess what! It IS a radio signal emitter! They say its lighten cause theres some military air trafic around (true) and its kinda tall plus is on a small hill so.. I wont get 'code of ethics' though I dont think so cause these people are hostile by default! Anyway...
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:33 PM   #14
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Back when I was doing this computer stuff full time, I spent allot of time comparing the capabilities of various devices designed to keep computers safe from line spikes and the like. A power filter or a surge suppressor is generally a collection of passive devices inside a power strip. The low end devices can absorb a few hundred joules of energy, the high end a few thousand. Here's an example: Tripplite

Note they don't spec the energy absorbed and they don't mention that the passive devices have a limited lifetime...some can only take 25 'hits' of moderately high spikes and they're done and no longer function as intended. These are basically just power distribution devices and I wouldn't let my clients think they were all they needed for protection.

But there are some really expensive filters that use the best parts and plenty of them, but they are still 'passive' and limited in operation and lifetime.

A UPS on the other hand, is designed not only for power surges, but also sags. The last one I researched had an incoming power filter, an AC to DC converter, a transformer, another AC to DC converter, then a DC to AC converter so you got very clean 120Vac at the output provided by the circuitry. Meanwhile, the circuitry would also keep a battery charged for backup during a brown out or power failure. With software that allowed your computer to 'die with dignity' during a power outage and not drain the battery flat.

So, a power filter is fine if changed regularly, isn't the cheapest one available, and the stuff on your computer isn't critical for your business. Whereas a UPS is used to protect your computer from any nasty condition thrown your way by the power company or nature. A day to day home computer will be fine with a surge suppressor, but a companies file server should have a UPS.

I usually advised my clients to consider the expense of a UPS vs. the loss of their file server and having to rebuild all their files from scratch.

Now days, many companies use distributed computing architecture which just means that every department computer is it's own file server with that departments files and perhaps access to other departments but no single computer (like a file server) that hosts the entire company. In those cases, I use to advise a whole building surge suppressor on the incoming lines with satellite suppressors at critical points within the building. And perhaps UPS devices at critical workstations. Like accounting and the CEO's computer. (Brown nosing for sure, but that's what it takes sometimes to maintain goodwill).

Oh, sorry, I'm rambling, I'll wrap it up now.

If you live out in the country, aren't running a business off your computer, just get a surge suppressor. Then install a back up HDD that you only plug in to do a back up and leave unplugged the rest of the time.

If you are a SOHO, get a UPS.

I would be surprised if that radio tower affects your computer. But it's possible.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
...install a back up HDD that you only plug in to do a back up and leave unplugged the rest of the time.
Yes. Thats my policy on 'protecting' my sesitive data as well (Im no office).


Good info, thanks for the tips.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:35 PM   #16
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So! Things happen when they do now dont they?

A test was conducted with a different AC power source (bout 200 kilometers away from previous one), plus this time a 24' LCD display is in place of the CRTs just in case. No change. System is trippin, wouldnt react to resolution change.

The PSU been finaly sacked as well. New one is a Corsair TX850 V2. Which is nice but guess what! Yep, the heap of shhh... is still on the carpet. Still no change, problems presist.

For now Mobo, CPU, RAM, VGA been returned for troubleshooting. Wish I could at least belive they'll be back cured.
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