Periodic Freezing - Possibly Hardware Issue?

Hi guys and girls,

First off, apologies if this is posted in the wrong section. If It is then please point me to the correct forum. I will also say that I'm not entirely tech literate but I know some basic stuff which is what's leading me to believe that this is a hardware issue. I may be completely wrong.

Right, about 3-4 days ago my computer started to randomly freeze for roughly 3 minutes when playing games (Battlefield 3, Diablo 3, and most recently and notabley Guild Wars 2, happens more often in this one). The applications stutter for about 5 seconds and then completely freeze, leaving me with control of my mouse and nothing else (At least it does for GW2, not sure about the other 2). This also causes any other running processes to also freeze (e.g. youtube, explorer etc.). After about 3 minutes, the application recovers and stutters back to life, albeit slowly. This isn't a common occurance but it's enough of a problem for me to post and ask for possible suggestions as to its cause.

The thing that has me baffled is that nothing has changed in the past 3-4 days on my machine apart from MAYBE a gfx card update (pretty sure this didn't happen though). BF3 and D3 worked perfectly fine with no freezes beforehand. I also noticed something which may or may not help. When the applications freeze, my cpu usage drops straight down to about 4% (after running at about 70-80%, at least for GW2). My physical memory spikes to nearly full capacity (around 3.2gb). After the application unfreezes, they return to their original levels, once again albeit slowly. I don't know if this is related or not, just something that I observed.

Anywho, I was thinking it might be a RAM issue. My computer is now about 4 years old and in the past 7 months I've managed to get funds together to upgrade to a new GFX card and Power Supply. My next thing I was looking to upgrade would either be my RAM or Motherboard (which itself is a strange beast o.0). I have friends that have installed both and like I said, until very recently I have not had any issue with either. My aim is to upgrade my machine bit by bit as money allows.

The next thing I want to do is test the RAM with Memtest86 to see if there's any sort of physical problem with the sticks. Once again, however, not being too tech savvy, I'm limited by what I can do to find the solution to my problem.

Here are the specs for my machine (Apologies if any of this is reported wrong, I'm literally copying from a dxdiag and CPU-Z):

OS: Windows 7 32 bit Home Premium
Motherboard: Asus Rampage Extreme 2 (This one I believe?)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.66GHz
GFX Card: AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series (lost the box with the exact name on it, alls I know is that the ****** is bright blue. Will probably update this when I can get into my machine tommorow)
RAM: 4.096gb (can supply make if needed)
PSU: 850w
Page File?: 3590MB used, 5879MB available.

Ok, pretty sure that covers everything. I've done a complete scan of my machine for malware and stuff. Also defragged it. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to make sure that all the relevent information is there.

If anyone has any suggestions then I'm happy to give any more information they require. I will say that practically everything in my machine is factory standard, I haven't overclocked anything or messed with voltages. Also if anyone wants me to do anything like check stuff, please give concise instructions on what to do as once again, not too tech savvy.

Thanks in advance!

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Defrag is not a cure or cause.

It's odd to see techs do that.

There are too many reasons for freezes. The new one is the rush to install SSD drives which I'll set aside for now.

For discussion's sake a freeze is temporary. A lockup means we have to restart the machine.

Since the machine comes back and the app has failed, look at the old method of troubleshooting. That is, clear the EVENT VIEWER then freeze up some task then get back to the EVENT VIEWER and see what it says.

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Will do

Thanks for the response. It's pretty late here so I'm going to be heading to sleep real soon. I will give this a try first thing tommorow though and report back whether or not the Event Viewer registers any sort of problem.

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Event Viewer Log


So I managed to induce a freeze. Seemed to happen at a point in GW2 that had a lot of effects going off at once. Anyway, managed to catch it in the event viewer and it came up with 2 warnings:

1: The Desktop Window Manager is experiencing heavy resource contention.
Scenario : The Desktop Window Manager responsiveness has degraded.
OpCode: Video Memory Degredation
Event ID: 500

2: The Desktop Window Manager is experiencing heavy resource contention.
Reason : CPU resources are over-utilized.
Diagnosis : A sharp degradation in Desktop Window Manager responsiveness was observed.
OpCode: Video Memory Responsiveness
Event ID: 501

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

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That's actually a clue

That the app in question that is failing is "stuck in a loop" for lack of a better term.

There are ways to lessen the load on the desktop window manager by simplifying the desktop with no themes, turn off Aero and no background. It sometimes helps.

Any video, photo, mp3 file on the desktop can also be moved into a folder.

-> I'd be checking those games for forums about the game and see if others are reporting such as follow.
"I found that video driver x.y.1.23 didn't work for this game."

In fact I see many posts about GW 2 such as

There are far too many other posts about this. I made a bad assumption you had already checked out your games for issues.

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I think I've found the cause

Yknow I can't believe I didn't do that to begin with. I was so set on it being a ram issue that I didn't consider that it might simply be the application, not the hardware failing. I simply assumed it was the hardware as 2 other games with no previous signs of problems started having problems around the same time.

Anyway, I found numerous threads which pertain to it possibly being a memory issue as well as people having various success with numerous fixes. Some say turn down the gfx settings, some say upgrade to 64bit, some say run a bios upgrade etc etc. I will still aim to run memtest when I get a hold of some blank cds as well as maybe do a bios update (I don't think one was done when I got my new card installed). Yesterday I also managed to download a beta driver for my gpu that supposedly had GW2 profiles but I have yet to notice any drastic change.

One thing I have noticed is that a lot of these are having memory problems with Nvidia cards so I may throw my hat in the ring and mention that my ATI card has issues as well. That said, I didn't experience any freeze for AT LEAST 4 hours of playing, so I think it might have just seen a heated scene which made my memory spike. Anyway, I'll scour some forums for people with a similar issue.

Thanks for pushing me in the right direction!


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