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PC audio+visual stutters & boot failure

Hey folks,

I have the following problem: on my gaming PC (specs below) I sometimes get frame drops and audio distortion ('metallic', choppy sound) while in-game (Overwatch, Shadow of the Tomb Raider). The issue persists even if I quit the game, a reboot (usually, at times you need several) fixes it.

Yesterday, the PC wouldn't even boot: it powers on but gets stuck on either the Motherboard Logo screen, a black screen or the Windows screen. This morning it booted up fine.

I did a full re-install of Windows a while back which didn't solve anything (so I figure it's a hardware issue??).

Intel Core i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00 GHz
ASRock UEFI Motherboard Z97 Pro4 P2.50
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
32 GB RAM (not sure about the model...)
Windows 10 64 Bit

I'm grateful for every bit of help about the cause (could it be a fried MoBo?) or a solution.

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All Answers

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Start with

In reply to: PC audio+visual stutters & boot failure

A new cmos battery.
While your inside the machine give it a good cleaning with some compressed air.
Power up and verify all the fans spin.
Enter the bios and set it to use defaults.

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If it boots, get that Speccy report.

In reply to: PC audio+visual stutters & boot failure

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Speccy Profile

In reply to: If it boots, get that Speccy report.

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Flip the data cables

In reply to: Speccy Profile

That connect your ssd's.
Don't change sata ports on the mobo.
Something going on with the crucial unit.

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Ya, alles gut.

In reply to: Speccy Profile

Did this start with the new SSD drive? It shows 15 power ups. I wonder if there's some issue with it's partition or formatting so I have to ask since the Speccy only tells me so much.

If it's new, empty my advice is to get to disk management, remove all partitions then make a new big partition (don't get fancy), format it in disk management and re-test.

I'll be back with a deeper reading but something's up with the drive system. Can't tell exactly but there are questions there.

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Longer Speccy reading.

In reply to: PC audio+visual stutters & boot failure

1. Temps look great. RAM looks to be reporting in fine. In short, this machine is top notch for most applications. Next.

2. Until the issue clears up, remove what is optional.
a. Avira can be left out and run with Defender for now.
b. Disable Windows Update sharing: Read
c. Change the power options for Turn Off Hard Disk after: to never. It's SSD so no need for this.

3. Driver Booster. No. Just don't. Can create more problems than it solves.
Remove and read

4. BIOS isn't far out of date and the notes have me say stay put for now.

5. I'd test another DNS. Here's a tutorial on that:

--> Of all that my biggest suspect is Driver Booster. It will update drivers when there is no need and all was working fine.

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Not Driver Booster/SSD.

In reply to: Longer Speccy reading.

Thanks for the replies.

a) It did not start with the new SSD. I realized the previously installed HDD didn't even show up (not even in BIOS), so I replaced it with an SSD I had lying around. It didn't show up either, until I plugged the SATA cable that was in the DVD drive (which I never use) into the SSD. I'll try formatting and switching around the cables.

b) I followed your tips. It didn't start with Driver Booster either, I just installed that today.

I don't always manage to replicate the original issue (and Overwatch [the most problematic game] has decided that it now wants to crash all the time...), so I'll reply once I have some further insight.

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Is there ANY overclocking?

In reply to: Not Driver Booster/SSD.

Don't overclock. As to driver issues. I tend to use DDU (plenty on the web, it's free and yet to come with toolbars along with many tutorials) so I can dust off the old GPU drivers, go get them and start clean on my GPU area. is worth exploring. There are many causes but here I only see what reports tell me.

Is there any chance the PSU is some dual or more rail unit? I can check if I see the make and model number.

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No overclocking.

In reply to: Is there ANY overclocking?

I tried DDU, didn't solve the crashes. I'm gonna explore a bit more.

PSU: Thermaltake Smart SE SPS-730AH3CCB.

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So all was done on my list? Before a reload.

In reply to: No overclocking.


Try a full CHKDSK on all drives. That's CHKDSK /R /F /X
Also be sure there are no network shares this PC is connecting to.

Then I hate to write this, it's not showing in the Speccy or I missed it. Looks like a wipe and reload.

Post was last edited on January 14, 2019 12:04 PM PST

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