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Unknown causes of BSOD in games, benchmarks and stress tests

by brekeke5 / February 22, 2014 6:35 PM PST

Please help detecting HW(?) issue.
CPU: intel core 2 duo 8400
former GPU: Asus ATI HD4850
new GPU: Sapphire HD7770
MB: MSI P35 Neo2

System is not overclocked, and never was.

A short history of the problem:
about a month ago, I experienced a BSOD playing Borderlands 2.
After restart I tried it again, got the crash within few minutes. After this, the card started showing artifacts and the windows would not even boot.
Next day, I was able to boot windows, but got the crash within GPU benchmark. After that, card was showing artifacts even in BIOS.

I suspected faulty graphics, so I bought a new one.

To my surprise, it started crashing the system just as before (BSOD), reporting either hardware error, or atikpmg.

I suspected drivers. Performed clean install of the system (Windows 7 64-bit).

I tried 13.12, and 13.9 and 13.4 drivers. No change in the behavior.

The problem is not limited to Borderlands 2, I tried X-Com Enemy Within (not really resource-hungry game). It crashes within 10 to 40 minutes.

Problem is that I can not reproduce the crash with any benchmarks.

I run memtest (bootable USB) for 4 hours. No errors.
I tried Prime95 and Intelburn for CPU test: no errors.

I tried Cinebench, Furmark, OCCTPT and "Video card stability test".
I also tried the OCCTPT and IntelBurn running together. No errors, no crashes.

I even ran HDD check. I ran OCCTPT power supply stress test.

I really do not understand what is happening nor how to proceed.
Please help.

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All Answers

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situation update
by brekeke5 / February 22, 2014 10:58 PM PST

Whocrashed reported (for crashes both with Asus and now with Sapphire) either ntoskrnl.exe (WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR), or problems with atikmpag.sys.

Now for the recent update:
The HDD I have is divided to two partitions: 80GB for system, rest for the data.

I have run Windows chkdsk first for the system partition - it went fine without any problems.

When I booted Windows, I have run the chkdsk from the GUI for the data partition (this did not require rescheduling after the restart - there are no system files on the data partition), but I did check "Fix errors on the volume", so it was taking a long time.

After couple of hours, I went to a crashed system - no BSOD, but corrupted graphics (like divided to 40 or so small tiles, accompanied with graphical artifacts and shimmerings.

After restart, the BIOS did not locate any SATA devices (this HDD and DVD/RW drive).

I disabled SATA controller in the BIOS, turned the PC off and after that unplugged from the power.
After that I plugged it back to power, turned it back on, enabled SATA controller in the BIOS and was able to boot to Windows.

I am now running the chkdsk from the command prompt again to see if it fails again.

A bad HDD? Or bad SATA controller (bad motherboard?)?

Collapse -
A few ideas.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 22, 2014 11:26 PM PST
In reply to: situation update

1. Do not argue. Clean while you replace the CPU Heatsink Compound. It's 2 bucks and one of the first steps when I see this error. Some techs want to argue it's not heat but the age is there, there are problems so we do the work to remove this from the table. Your choice.

2. WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR on google and see what others found. For example, malware, rootkits, etc.

3. Cables and connections. Good area to check. Try a shiny new SATA cable for the drive.

4. I can't see what power supply is in there. If over a few years old, a suspect.

4. The 80GB volume is a sign. Not a good one. There were folk that fell for some sort of false security of having the OS on such and they fight troubles that were never fought by others. Odd but could be trouble.

Collapse -
Stuff happens
by Willy / February 22, 2014 11:33 PM PST
In reply to: situation update

You a "gamer" and as I know gamers they rarely settle for less when they can have more. What you have done is pushed it until it broke. You found possible bad video, but video under its own stressful world does break but it also generates lots of heat. That long with other sources of heat cause "heat stress" on the whole system. Even with decent cooling, immediate areas from *PROLONGED* use start to deteriorate or settle to lower levels of sustained uptime which you find with BSOD of not booting, etc..

Your cure is to open the PC case, place household fan to blow in and check results doing nothing else. If it fails immediately or quickly as before you have a real h/w problem. If it lasts longer than before some uptime before it crashes then you have a heat problem. The heat problem alone has to be fixed, then find whatever can't take it anymore, This process is time-consuming and costly if you have no spare parts. The mere fact you have to do this suggests its better to assure you have good cooling and clean it all out, reseat cpu with paste. Just buy another better PSU, just buy one testing really isn't going to work unless you a electronics bench to unravels its secrets. Brand name always helps and in PSU getting the biggest honking wattage and single rail you can afford or not is better in the long run. You have to fix all areas of possible problems if not one can bring down or unsettle any other fix because as a gaming PC it tends to stress or push for the highest levels possible and that may fail.

tada -----Willy Happy

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