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My computer problem has defeated all challengers so far...

by N00bits / July 16, 2010 7:15 AM PDT

So here's the deal. I've got a middle of the road gaming machine, MS-7388 MSI board with a Phenom x4 9550, a Radeon 4870, 4gb of OCZ DDR2 Ram, 150 gb Raptor HDD (couple others as well, but they're just storage) and a Corsair 700 Watt PSU. Running Vista, and have a Razer Lachesis mouse (on the off chance its a driver f-up)

Nothing special, but certainly able to play current games like Bad Company 2, RUSE, and Assassin's Creed 2, hell even Team Fortress 2 and Heroes of Newerth. Youtube shouldn't exactly be a problem either.

It hangs like its life depends on it. Most frequently on the higher end games like Bad Company 2 and Ruse, but not exclusively. It does not crash to desktop, nor BSOD. It does not generate artifacts on the screen or send the sound out of control. It just freezes dead on whatever frame it was showing. Even running youtube and other flash videos has caused it to do so sometimes. It doesn't freeze and then reset like an overheat, and I've felt the heat sinks after a freeze to see if they're particularly hot, which they aren't. Its been cleaned out of dust and such multiple times.

Now I know this sounds like a graphics problem, perhaps a faulty card. Nope- everything runs fine until it freezes. I even went out and bought an ATI 5770 and swapped it in, and it still froze. I've taken it into a shop, they spent two days of logged time with it, ran every diagnostic they could, and found nothing. I've talked with the guy who built the machine, a friend of mine, and even let him remote desktop and poke around. Nothing stands out. I've polled my local university Computer science and electrical engineers, they can't think of anything.

We've come to the conclusion that its most likely a hardware problem, and that its probably either the CPU, Mobo, or PSU, but I don't know of a way to test these without just buying another and swapping, and I don't really feel like replacing my motherboard for no reason and putting it back if its not the problem. I'm also really worried that if its my PSU, that it could have cooked my mobo or cpu leaving me unable to actually get an empirical conclusion.

I can't take a screen shot of the error to put here, nor can I look at an internal hardware monitor to see whats going on since everything freezes. If you want a screen shot of what I see, take a screen shot of any game.

I'm at my wits end. Anyone have any ideas of what I can to to figure this thing out?

Thanks for any advice to be had.

CPUZ info below

http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=1299083

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The first thing I see
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 16, 2010 7:21 AM PDT

Is a collection of memory speeds. To sniff out if that's it, pull all the 5300 speed sticks out. Run with that ONE 6400 speed stick.
Bob

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Problem predates different ram speeds.
by N00bits / July 17, 2010 1:08 PM PDT
In reply to: The first thing I see

the lower speed RAM has been specifically tested by the shop I took it to and they said it works. The reason for the one outlier is the fact that one of my sticks died earlier, and I got a new one on warranty, but since they didn't make the older speed ram anymore, they sent the slightly faster one. The problem persisted while I was running on just the slower 3 gb of ram. Though I guess putting faith in what the shop found isn't such a great idea, since they evidently could not find the problem. The other issue is that when I'm runnig on just the 1gb of ram, the main causes of this issue will not run properly, skewing any results I would get.

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WAG
by Bob__B / July 17, 2010 10:10 PM PDT

Grab a copy of memtest86+.......let it fly for 24 hrs.

Grab a copy of some temp monitoring tool....set it up so you can watch the temps as your running.

Cost free.

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What it is.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2010 11:14 PM PDT

Mixing memory speeds has been the cause of too much lost time. Running on 1GB RAM even on Vista may skew results but is my test to see if it's the same old issue.

Your choice but you posted a detail that stands out as "the usual problem."

Many get caught up with "it should work" and lose months and lots of money over this. At some point you give in and learn that it does not always work.
Bob

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Look for clues...
by Papa Echo / July 18, 2010 11:12 AM PDT

Found any at the event logs [Event viewer] ?

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No dice
by N00bits / July 18, 2010 12:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Look for clues...

I checked the event logs, and it does not generate an event for the freezes. It does generate an even when it does the unexpected restart, but not the crash. I send the event viewer logs to the friend of mine who built the comp (and runs a successful business on repair etc) and he did not find anything significant.

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Done a lot of research and found incompatibilities.

Are these your mainboard specs.?
http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=prodmbspec&maincat_no=1&cat2_no=&cat3_no=&prod_no=1333

If it is so, it is all more than just RAM problems.

Totally wrong RAM of 5300 type at 667Mhz each and, do need to be at 800Mhz minimum(6400). So, you will have to buy yourself another three cards of 1Gb each to overrun the current speed of both CPU and GPU. Will now, run at 3200Mhz(2x1600 in double dual channel). Or, opt for way RAM chipsets of 2Gb a card for double the dual channel needed for this huge processor and Mainboard.

Your current graphics/video card is way too advanced for this mainboard. It is meant for RAM that do not exist yet, DDR5. According to MSI's support page, I determined the perfect card for this machine: Nvidia's GeForce 8500 GT GDDR2 @ 512Mb.
She needs to be put in the PCI-ExGEN slot that accepts the x16 card.

From there, using the same link as above provided, Flash the Bios to its latest version and, then via the Device Driver Manager window, find all drivers that will need to be updated up-to 2010's time period. Go to Microsoft.com's Download web-page for downloading + installing the latest files that are included within the DirectX SDK (Month-2010). DX10.x3d.dll will be needed for your demanding in graphics video's types of games.

Phew! At last! Done. Good Luck at reconfiguring your machine up. Wink

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BAH!
by N00bits / July 19, 2010 7:17 AM PDT

Looks like I'm headed for a new mobo/cpu then. Gah. I was hoping to put that off for another year.

Can I ask where you're basing your information from?

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You gave us a very powerful tool of research in initial post
by LucJPatenaude / July 19, 2010 4:29 PM PDT
In reply to: BAH!

Clicked onto the given link, found that your configuration analysis program did in fact rejected the whole PC assembly.

Identified the maker of the mainboard: MSI Computer. Went onto MSI.com
, used the search bar within the support page of that web-site and, typed in the mainboard model that yourself provided into your initial post of this topic thread. Gave me the equivalent in identical make of their slightly-the-same models. That one was their 'best guess'. The rest is pure logical dot connecting.
Wink

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Ineffective
by N00bits / July 26, 2010 6:09 AM PDT

After a brief check of my own, my board is listed as being compatible with the slower ram I'm running. You can even check the link you posted. If the problem was the video card being too powerful, why is the problem so inconsistent instead of universal?

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Cryptic at best
by Doh_1 / July 30, 2010 11:24 AM PDT

The DDR5 (GDDR5, really, you can look it up) memory is the type of memory on the graphics card, that says nothing about the system memory...I have no idea what this person is talking about, of course GDDR5 memory exists, the memory on the graphics card and system memory are totally distinct, running essentially in different worlds. You have DDR2 memory on your system board, as you know. However, if you have an "overpowered" graphics card, that just means that your CPU and system board bus speeds, etc. is the bottleneck, and you're not going to get all you've bought out of your graphics card. Replacing it with a graphics card with lower performance is not going to get you better graphics, or anything else useful. You just won't be using all the power of your graphics card, since your CPU, etc. on your system board will limit how much of the power of your graphics card that you can use; i.e. you may have overpaid for your graphics card, and wouldn't see any difference in graphics speed and quality from a lower-priced graphics card.

On the other hand, the memory for that system is dual-channel, which means that the "pairs" that go together should be matched modules. I think that I read that there are two orange slots and two green slots, or something like that, on that system board. What that means is that the two memory modules in the green slots need to be matched, and the two memory modules in the orange slots would need to be matched to have any shot at this working correctly. If all 4 modules are the same memory module, so much the better, but you need at least pairs. My computer also has memory modules that you have to buy in pairs, this is a common thing.

So, at a minimum, I'd recommend getting rid of one of the PC5300 modules, and replacing it with one that matches the PC6400 module that you have, so that you have two pairs. That would most likely have a better shot at working. Of course, the whole memory will work at the speed of the slowest module you have, as you've observed. This would be a start...don't know if this will solve your problem, you'd have to try this if you want to see if it will.

Making sure that you have the latest BIOS for your system board is also usually best. Bugs get fixed, enhancements are added. Good to update it if you can. Generally, this is done by downloading the BIOS update and installing it according to the installation instructions in my experience. But I tend to buy whole OEM systems rather than parts, so the OEM is generally looking out for the whole collection of parts, rather than just a system board *smile*.

Anyways, I've not had a lot of luck with hardware diagnostics, generally they use the hardware differently than your computer running normal software does. They can be useful, but I've figured out most stuff by substituting parts, myself.

I wish you luck with this, I know what it's like to be on a limited budget.

-Roger

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Still looking for help on this
by N00bits / July 29, 2010 6:41 AM PDT

Had another crash last night. Still looking for help.

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Question
by Bob__B / July 29, 2010 9:21 PM PDT

What was the result of the 24hr memtest?

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Fighting my irrefutable help is useless and pointless.
by LucJPatenaude / July 30, 2010 1:25 AM PDT

Doing what I told you in the first place would have gotten you out of all these annoying crashes.

Stubbornness and balkyness will get you nowhere close to a permanent solution.

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Have you checked...
by mwooge / July 31, 2010 1:04 PM PDT

I assume you checked for viruses and such.

Have you checked to se what all is running on your machine? Could be there's more stuff running than the CPU and OS can keep up with.

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My computer has a problem
by Donatom / July 30, 2010 12:43 PM PDT

N00bits, I'm a repair tech. for a long time. I'm not a big gamer but whenever I get a Vista machine the first thing I do is take a aspirin
and immediately recommend Win7. You should have all the drivers and goodies available for your STUFF. With all that time, trouble and $$$
you've invested, another $100 or so would be worth it. I compare vista to WinME only BIGGER, NASTIER and newer. I have upgraded 15 to 20 this year and have had NO problems. I never use the Upgrade. I always do a clean install. I realize the diff in the gaming world but your dealing
with an inherently unstable OS even for casual users. Worth a shot!

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defeat
by eric7357 / July 30, 2010 3:39 PM PDT

I agree with it being a mem prob possably the mis matched stick. However I'd try increasing your virtual mem. cause 4G is lite for most systems and games.

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Oh, goodie a challenge. :)
by Dango517 / July 30, 2010 3:51 PM PDT

Mr heat to the rescue ..............

I can sense it, niff, niff, OMMMMM, yep is heat, LOL

You can't just touch it to see if it's hot, test it. LOL

http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php

After you take it's temperature then go to the CPU and GPU manufacturer and check the heat maximums for both.

This being a quad heat should not be a problem but you never know till you test.

It could be failed CPU paste.

How is your connection? Any measures of packet loss? Intermittent connection? This means the connection simply drops out, poof and nothing till it starts again.

Again you will need to test it. Get a gadget.

Something like this:

http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=86656dc5-b0fe-489d-b115-44a76e050f63&bt=1&pl=1

Problem with this as a solution is it should crash not freeze but stranger things have happened.

Only thing I notices here:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-radeon-hd-4000/hd-4870/Pages/ati-radeon-hd-4870-overview.aspx

in specifications:

OpenGL 3.2 support

Isn't the standard OpenGL 2. some of these high-end cards have problems running older games with lower OpenGL standards, better check your game minimum system requirement for special notes.

One of these days I'm going to have to invest in a some tights, a cap and an insignia. Happy

http://moviemusereviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/superheroes11.jpg

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Speedfan results
by N00bits / August 18, 2010 8:46 AM PDT

Speedfan reports some very interesting results- most of my temps are in the 40 degree C range, which a brief google has led me to believe is bad.

If everything is overheating, could it just be an air circulation issue or could the mobo/PSU be cooking it?

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Google is not God
by Brechan / August 19, 2010 6:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Speedfan results

Meaning, that not everything that you read in Google is completely true. I myself run with an AMD 9950BE; with an ATI HD5770, and 8GB's of RAM...on most days (hot summers included) my CPU temps usually run in the mid 40's (at the time of writing...45* Celsius).

I agree with R. Proffitt's answer; check the specs of the MSI motherboard, I suspect you either have a bad stick of RAM (always better to run with matched pairs of RAM), or a bad connection somewhere (check and recheck all cable connections, if some cables are old, then replace with new cables).

Upgrade your BIOS to the current version, upgrade all motherboard programs/ utilities (including the LAN adapter) to the current version.

Clean off the old thermal compound on your CPU, and replace with new (the choice of compound is up to you).

The knowledge of these forums is vast, we will get to the cause of your PC problems Happy

B.

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Computer freeezing
by teleport77 / July 30, 2010 6:57 PM PDT

Yes, it happens to me, occasionally, and I am using a very ordinary computer. However, I do find the various 'cleaning' and 'optimizing' progams useful in reducing, if not eliminating the problem.
The best seems to be Ccleaner, which is free! It rejuvinates my computer significantly. Of the many 'optimizers available, I use Ashampoo WinOptimizer 7 but others are good, although I do not know of a free one. Check relevant forums for recommendations. And, don't forget to Defrag occasionally, although this is unlikely to affect the freezing problem, but it could help.
I am sure I, like many others, spend more time on 'housekeeping' than using the computer for serious work! I wish it was otherwise but Windows, especially, is far from perfect and, when you are connected to the Internet, there are many other problems that need attention!

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