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Finding the hardware cause of new build's freezing/hanging/lock-up - Win7 x64

This is a discussion on Finding the hardware cause of new build's freezing/hanging/lock-up - Win7 x64 within the Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. First off, I've built and repaired hundreds of computers for family, friends, myself and small business clients, so I know

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Old 10-05-2010, 05:20 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 3
OS: Windows 7 x64

My System

First off, I've built and repaired hundreds of computers for family, friends, myself and small business clients, so I know what I'm doing. I pride myself on being able to diagnose computer issues, and I find it ironic that my own build is the most puzzling problem I've hit in years. I thought I'd found the sweet spot with a new build, but I've never been able to get the system 100% stable (even before getting to begin overclocking), in the sense that it freezes up rather intermittently.

Problem: the display and sound hang for a few seconds, then, if there was sound playing at the time of the hang/freeze, it cuts out after about 5 seconds, and the displays (I have three now, for web design, mostly) stay frozen. Manual hard reset required. This can happen a few times a day, to just once per week or so. The problem is independent of gaming or even tasks in general; will occur even when idle.

System Specs:
ASRock 890FX Extreme3 (latest BIOS)
AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE - 3.4GHz - AS5 & HDT-S1283
4x2GB G-Skill DDR3-1600 (1333mhz)
Gigabyte Radeon HD 5850 1GB
Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm (main) & 4x1-1.5TB (storage)
Rosewill 750W 80+ PSU
NZXT Tempest Evo Chassis w/5 of 6 fans running

Steps I've tried to eliminate possibilities:
  • Updated to the latest motherboard BIOS (1.80?): This simply decreased boot time.
  • Eliminated any excess hardware: removed my extra 4.5 TB of storage, wireless card and extra USB devices, leaving only my Logitech G110 keyboard, G500 mouse, and display(s).
  • Install Windows on a separate HDD and ran HDD tests - swapped my hard drive for a VelociRaptor from Newegg; no avail. Returned the drive and switched back to my more eco-friendly 1TB drive.
  • Ran MemTest86+ for about 8 hours (should I run it longer?).
  • Updated latest AMD Catalyst GPU drivers/software.
  • Disabled all power-saving and overclocking features in BIOS.

At this point, my hunch is that the culprit is either: my PSU, my video card, or my motherboard.
  • I believe, given my build, my PSU could be considered borderline insufficient. Also, it is made by Rosewill; not exactly a top-tier company, but I've purchased many decent products from them in the past, so I figured it wouldn't hurt, given the good reviews on Newegg and its certification. However, I know this is a likely culprit, as the PSU usually is.
  • I rarely put my 5850 through its paces; all I play is Company of Heroes and SC2 at 1080p (and a bit of FreeCell). However, I have noticed, now that I've got 3 displays running, that the two secondary displays have a strange tearing/flickering/image-displacement issue going on, which I also can't resolve, but it's less important than complete system failure via this hang. The freezing seemed mostly due to gaming at first, but I'll occasionally return to an idle computer that is frozen as well; I've set my monitors to never turn off and I do so myself, so I can see when it freezes when I'm not around for a bit.
  • Lastly, my motherboard. I don't really have any concrete evidence to suspect it at this time, but I just have a hunch.

Occasionally, particularly when audio is playing (like during gaming), I'll notice a bit of an audio/video hang, as if the computer is going to lock up, but it never does. The brief hang is usually only a second or significantly less, and usually is a foreshadowing of an impending all-out freeze.

I get no error messages of any kind, and all of my system temps are at or below safe levels. I just can't put up with this much longer; last week, during an online college midterm exam, my computer froze, and that put me over the edge. This has to be resolved.

Ummm... that's about it. Any ideas, fellas?
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:24 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 3,959
OS: Win 7 Ultimate 64bit

My System

I would defiantly suspect that LOW quality psu...Change it to a corsair or seasonic

What are your voltages in bios? the 12v 5v and 3.3v

The tearing/freezing on the gpu while gaming usually is caused by it being underpowered,I doubt that psu has the correct amperage to run it properly.

Look for and signs of bulging or leaking caps on the motherboard

Memtest is suppose to be run 1 stick at a time, Running both sticks in will sometimes hide errors
shotgn is offline  
Old 10-05-2010, 06:50 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Illinois
Posts: 51,675
OS: XP Pro-7

Same thoughts as Team Mate shotgn.
Rosewill PSU's are straight up junk. Filling all the RAM slots on a Mobo can also cause Voltage issues.

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:54 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 3
OS: Windows 7 x64

My System

You really think the PSU is that bad, huh? Ha, I knew it wasn't worth the few extra saved bucks.

My voltages are:

however, upon monitoring them for a bit, I see them drop occasionally, briefly; the 3.30v dropped as low as 3.264v, and the 12.00v to 11.985v. Is that significant enough to cause my issue?

And I probably plan to get a second 5850 to Crossfire at some point in time, as the rest of my build is pretty future-proofed... with that in mind, if I do wind up getting another PSU, do you think a high quality 750W-850W from say, SeaSonic, would be sufficient?

And for clarification, the tearing actually does NOT occur during gaming; framerates are always on par, and 3D tearing is nonexistent. The tearing only occurs when the GPU is being utilized for multiple displays, in certain instances like Photoshop, Dreamweaver or web browsing, and I actually think it has to do with when the GPU/Mem clock is really low; nowhere near sure on that one, though.

I haven't cracked open the case yet, but I'll run Memtest86+ with each stick individually over the next few days, and also check for capacitor issues at that time.

Tyree: are you saying that filling all the memory slots is a bad practice in general due to voltage issues, or just with shoddy PSUs? I was somewhat aware of this issue, which is why I am running my ram at 1333mhz instead of 1600mhz. Think that'd offset the fact that all four are occupied?

Thanks for the tips, I'll explore them as thoroughly as possible.
mathico is offline  
Old 10-05-2010, 07:17 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 3
OS: Windows 7 x64

My System

While I have your attention: what are your thoughts on modular vs regular PSUs? I'll probably go with a regular one, just in case, this time; it's not worth it to me to risk any more compromises, but I'm curious what you think and why.
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