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Random Shutdowns

by JimmyMoragn / February 11, 2008 8:31 AM PST

This is my first time requesting help on a computer forum before because I have usually been able to find the answer somewhere, but this problem is just baffeling me.

For about the past month my computer has been randomly shutting down (Not restarting).

Here is my System. All of these parts were put in about 8 months ago:

Motherboard : BFG680i SLi LGA 775

Memory: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3

VideoCard: BFG Tech Geforce 7600

Power Supply: 500w

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4 GHZ LGA 775 65W

The Case. Cd rom. DVDr Drive are all about 2 years older then the new parts.

I will try and save you a long story. Here is a list of what I have done so far.

I have ran multiple virus scanners and found nothing . Hijack this also did not find much.

When I made a few fixes with Hijack this the computer would not let me start it up . At this point I pulled each part of the computer out one by one seeing if the computer would boot up without it in. This way I would have an idea of the culprit. When I pulled the video card out the computer finally would boot up. I ran the computer for about 4 hrs without the card, and it never shutdown. When I pulled it out the computer would only cycle through a reoccuring reboot. I finally fixed this by clearing the CMOS which then let me boot up with the video card in. After about 2 hrs of being up, it shut down again. I have since cleaned the videocard out (It was dirty but not to the point of this being a reason for failure).

Then I ran programs to test the motherboard, and psu, and everything has passed.

While running the test I loaded the computer with everything I could think of doing. Opened Photoshop,Excel,Dreamweaver,Surf while downloading, etc all at the same time. I could not overheat the psu, or get the computer to fail. Nothing

I have checked the motherboard for any noticible burns,bulges,etc visably on the board. Nothing was seen.

Finally after getting board with the tests I rebooted. When I pulled up one webpage, and started reading for about 10 minutes boom it goes down again. This is actually a fairly common pattern I am finding. Sometimes I will have many things open, Sometimes very few, but I find it shutting down when I am not doing much, and never during a game or anything like that.

I tried to keep this short, but I wanted to try everthing I could think of before coming here.

Does anyone have any advice? The next thing I was going to attempt is a reformat to make sure it is not a software issue, but I have read on other forums where people have still had issues after doing that.

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You don't mention your OS ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 12, 2008 12:57 PM PST
In reply to: Random Shutdowns

so we assume it is XP.

When you installed the OS on the new hard drive (not mentioned) or on the old hard drive attached to the new motherboard did you get around to installing the motherboard drivers?

Have you checked to see if your video card is overheating? One good check is to remove the case and allow a floor fan to blow on the motherboard and paddle cards - if it keeps running then it is definitely a heat problem.

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by JimmyMoragn / February 12, 2008 1:20 PM PST

Yes I had also a brand new drive that I installed XP on. I also remember installing the motherboard drivers well because I had to download the newest one on the internet because the one that came on the cd had issues running SATA drives.

I don't think my video card is over heating because I am running CPUID and it is running at about 51c. I will be willing to try anything though. What exactly is a paddle card? and can I just spray it with compressed air? Thanks

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OK, since you installed the MB drivers, ...
by Edward ODaniel / February 13, 2008 2:42 AM PST
In reply to: XP

and are "willing to try anything" do try the open case with floor fan blowing on components. It is an EXCELLENT method for determining if it is or isn't a heat issue. Blowing the case and components out with compressed air is a good way to clean off the dust and lint.

Avoid blowing directly on any fan blades as it can cause the fan to "over rev" and damage it.

Assuming from your description that you assembled the components yourself, did you remember to use a bit of thermal grease between heat sinks and processors?

Another thing to check is your Event Logs. Let us know of any errors (red) or warning (yellow) alerts in the logs -- SOURCE and Event ID number are important and the description of the event is nice to have also. Do note that most warnings aren't real important and some can be expected such as some of the Dhcp event 1002 lease renewals and expirations on some computer/router combos. If they happen closely in conjunction with an actual error they can sometimes be helpful in resolving the error.

Additionally, don't rule out the power supply because even brand new ones can be flawed.

Regarding paddle cards -- sometimes old terminology just creeps in -- a paddle card is what we used to call (and some of us still do) the cards (modems, NICs, Video, SCSI and IDE controller cards, etc. that are added to the motherboard by inserting them in the appropriate buss slots. They are often close together and can interfere with air flow. A video card for instance can, because of air flow, actually cause a card in the slot next to it to be the overheating element.

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Sounds like heat.
by jlabond / February 13, 2008 12:07 AM PST
In reply to: Random Shutdowns

Maybe not graphics card, but some sort of heat issue. Check all your fans, including in the power supply. If they're all working then i would guess power supply is going.

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by JimmyMoragn / February 13, 2008 1:57 AM PST
In reply to: Sounds like heat.

I checked all the fans, and everything is running. About a week before this I thought the same thing about the heat, but I would touch everything I could right when it would shutdown, and ever piece of hardware felt normal. I was actually surprised how cool most of the parts were.

Regarding the power supply. Is there a way to test it out?


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PS checking...
by loach66 / February 13, 2008 8:04 AM PST
In reply to: re.

There is a way to check for a bad PS, but only if it has failed. Not for an intermittent problem. You could do one of two things, first, swap it out, of course. second would be to unplug everything but the HD and mobo, this will only be usefull if you've got more items draining power. If it doesn't fail then it's the PS if it still fails then it's not the PS.


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computer shutdown
by trafford69 / February 15, 2008 6:56 PM PST
In reply to: Random Shutdowns

just athought but have tried a higher wattage power supply

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Run this it will tell you what your temperatures are
by Dango517 / February 15, 2008 7:11 PM PST
In reply to: Random Shutdowns
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Second the Memory Check
by bobdahm / February 16, 2008 4:04 AM PST

I had the same trouble several months ago, with random crashes. I ran UBCD (ultimate boot disk CD) to run the diagnostics outside of XP Media Center and it came up clean. I pulled all the expansion cards, swapped the graphics card and upgraded the power supply with one with a larger 120mm fan, removed the side panel and ran a fan across the the motherboard to check for overheating. CPU temp stayed stable (57-62 degress C on a Pentium D 830) and I still had random crashes. I ran memory tests several times (for hours) both under windows, DOS and Linux live CD and it came up clean. I used Spin Rite on the boot drive and it came up clean too. I upgraded the bios, upgraded my drivers without any change. I was ready to buy a new motherboard and start from scratch to rebuild a system. After I had already ordered a new motherboard and case, in a last ditch effort I tried pulling a bank of memory out (was running 512mg DDR2 x4) and the crashes disappeard. I switched the memory Dimms and the crashes returned. This is after passing different mem tests several times. I bought two new sticks of Kingston memory to bring it back to 2gb and its been stable for the last two months. Since I see you are running DDR3 I think I would be most suspious of your memory and don't trust the negative memory tests too much.


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by JimmyMoragn / February 24, 2008 4:59 AM PST

Thanks for the memory advice. I pulled each one out one at a time , and ran the computer for awhile. The computer still shut down while the memory was out so I do not think it is the memory . The funny thing is the memory tests were the last thing I did about 5 days ago. Since the memory tests were done I have not shut the side of the computer, and the computer has continued to run. I still do not think it is a heat issue, but I am really thinking that it could be an issue with the power supply. Maybe the cords are being pushed when I close the case causing some lose connection to move. I do have a mid size case with power supply that it a fairly tight fite for the cords.

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RE: "I still do not think it is a heat issue ..."
by Edward ODaniel / February 24, 2008 5:04 AM PST
In reply to: response

You also mention "I do have a mid size case with power supply that it a fairly tight fite for the cords."

All those cords and ribbon cables interfere with air flow and thus heat dissipation. If leaving the cover off reduces or eliminates the shutdown you can bet good money that it is a heat issue.

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by Dango517 / February 25, 2008 4:59 AM PST
In reply to: response

"The funny thing is the memory tests were the last thing I did about 5 days ago. Since the memory tests were done I have not shut the side of the computer, and the computer has continued to run. I still do not think it is a heat issue,"

Does this mean it's running and does not have the problem?

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by JimmyMoragn / March 21, 2008 1:11 AM PDT
In reply to: ?

Well Temporary Success

Yes. I ran the computer with the case open until yesterday. I know most of you are cringing right now, saying noooo, do not leave the case open. I know, but I was so excited just to be able to run the computer all day, I did not want to mess anything up.

Well, yesterday the computer reboots came back.
So you ask what changed, why now after all this time?
A few days ago, I noticed that my DVD burner would only burn CD's not DVD's. I had this burner since like 2005 so I knew it was time for an upgrade. In the back of my mind I started remembering that I was having lightscribe errors (Not a lightscribe drive). Maybe this drive was causing conflicts with the computer, and is no longer causing reboots because it is not working. So the order got put in for a new DVD drive 2 days ago. I thought I will install the drive. Close the case, and let it run for a day. If it continues to work then I would come back to Cnet, and say the problem was the DVD drive.
So yesterday afternoon it arrives. A Samsung DVD burner. I install it. Test it out by burning a few computer backup DVD?s. Then I started surfing the net. BAM! Shutdown. Long story a little shorter. The computer is doing exactly they same things it was doing before. Random shutdowns, but seems to run longer if I am running the burner, or using heavy system resources. As soon as I am somewhat idle. BAM! Shutdown.
Some other info:
? The new drive was installed with as little movement of the wires in the case as possible.
? The case is still not closed.
? I have since shook wires to see if I can get a controlled reboot, and cannot.
? The new drive is a SATA not a IDE like the last one.
So is this a power problem?
The same components were in the there during the up days, and this new DVD drive should not be pulling more power. Why is it rebooting again?
Any new guesses?

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Guesses ...
by Edward ODaniel / March 21, 2008 2:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Success

No guesses, just a note to THINK!

You did/do not think it is a heat issue.

You FINALLY took the advice to run with case off to check heat issue.

Computer quit its reboots.

You ran without case for several days (apparently cringing all the time).

You finally put case back on.

Re-boots came back.

What is the COMMON item here? With case off no reboots but replace case and reboots start. it is a HEAT ISSUE solvable with:
1. a larger case
2. additional fan for withdrawing air from case near heat producer such as video card and/or hard drives
3. leave case off and direct a floor fan at the motherboard and components
4. add a refrigerant/water cooling system

Personally I would opt for number 3.

I have an old NT4 dual processor system with 4 IDE drives (one HD and 3 optical), 6 internal SCSI drives and LOUSY AIR FLOW because of all the ribbon cables. I have run it for SIX YEARS 24/7 (except for the ocassional reboot after some updates or application or system changes) with the case off and a 16 inch floor fan directed into the case. About two years ago during a routine cleaning I noticed that neither fan was turnng on either of the processors - with that 16 inch floor fan they weren't needed and still aren't.

Keep kids and cats away from the computer and don't worry about appearance. Additionally, the open case allows easier cleaning and you can see IMMEDIATELY when cleaning is necessary.

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Point a fan at the open case.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 21, 2008 1:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Random Shutdowns

Some chips do not have temp sensors and will cause such a crash. A small fan pointed at the open case and then you test it.

Have you considered finding a HIJACKTHIS forum and seeing what they tell you?


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