OT: To PC builders -- my PC keeps crashing -- please help?

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Chocolate Lab, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    A few weeks ago I built a PC from scratch. Everything came off without a hitch -- no problems at all. I'd added memory and drives and CPUs, but had never built one from scratch before. It wasn't that hard.

    And it works great, except for one thing: I'm getting intermittent crashes where I get weird diagonal lines across my screen and the whole thing locks up. This can happen anywhere from once every two weeks to a couple of times per day.

    I checked my CPU temp, and it's fine. I did a memory test, and that checked out okay as well. What else could be causing this, and how can I check to see what the problem is? Any ideas?

    Thanks for any help because the thing is virtually useless to me until I can get this corrected. :(
  2. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    not sure. I always build my own also. I have never had this problem. I had problems initially with stop screens and error messages, but they were always memory issues.

    As far as just random crashes, Off the top of my head, your power supply maybe cant handle the load or it is going bad, a memory stick could be not seated correctly or your motherboard has an issue.

    I am no tech, but I build my own so any help I can give I will.

    Give us the specs of exactly what you built and that will help.
  3. Idgit

    Idgit That sounds really boring Staff Member

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    Have you tried disassembling everything and then rinsing each part out with warm, soapy water? Sometimes dust gets inside computers because of the fans, but a quick soak in a suds bath can fix that. If that doesn't work, I'd try just blaming Vista.
  4. bsheeern

    bsheeern Well-Known Member

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    It sounds as if you are having issues from the video card or at least the way its communicating with another piece of hardware. Make sure all cables are seated tightly and no crimping. Also try reinstalling the card itself by removing it and then reinstalling the driver. Could be a bad video card. Which one do you have?
  5. bsheeern

    bsheeern Well-Known Member

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    That would be for a PC that is older, even then rinsing it in water is very risky. A good dry brush would be better.
  6. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Video card would be my first guess also.

    CL - is it a new card or an old one from another pc?
  7. jksmith269

    jksmith269 Proud Navy Veteran 1990-1995

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    I had the same issue with my Alienware as the original poster, to the point I called Alienware and told them they better fix the POS that I'd paid 4k for, the tech asked exactly what was happening, so I told him he goes, remove the side cover and remove the video card, so I did so, then he said reinstall it making sure all cables are hooked correctly, that's when I noticed one of the cords that was supposed to be connected wasn't when I took it out... bada bing issue's fixed no problems at all now... So point is I'd suggest what the quoted poster suggested...
  8. bsheeern

    bsheeern Well-Known Member

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    And if that doesn't work check to make sure TO isn't in your case disrupting the flow chart and being a drama queen.:laugh2:
    Sorry had to do it.....
    And for the record I think we can win with TO.
  9. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    yeah this sounds right too.
  10. hairic

    hairic Well-Known Member

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    I'd check the usual suspects. Power, heat, and drivers.

    What's your 12v reading at and what's the average gpu temp?
  11. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    Idgit, it can't be that... I washed it all with soapy water before I put it together. So I know that's not it.

    Thanks for the replies, guys, I almost forgot about this when it got moved. :)

    But I don't have a video card. I'm just using the MB's on-board video. And I probably wasn't clear, but it's not just the lines on the screen -- the entire thing locks up. So let's say I have a media player running... It's not like I can still hear the sound. The only thing I can do is re-start with the power button.

    The system is just an inexpensive bundle I got from Frys -- a basic motherboard with an AMD Phenom X3 CPU. I used some older memory I had in my computer here at work, which always worked fine. And I did run x86's memtest program, and it came out fine as well. Now I did see some people say that you should run that several times, as in for hours on end. I didn't do that.

    Is there any way it could be the hard drive? It doesn't seem like it to me, but the drive is an old one I used just to make sure the thing worked, and I never replaced it.

    I just hope it's not something with the motherboard. If it is, can I figure that out? Or do I just have to slowly eliminate things until that has to be it, and then get a new MB?

    Oh, and to answer theebs' question, the power supply is a couple of years old, but basically new. I got it when I thought mine had gone out on an older PC I had, and then I immediately figured out the power supply wasn't the problem. And it should be more than powerful enough.

    To hairic -- I don't know my 12v reading? And did you mean CPU temp, or is GPU some term I don't know? :) I don't remember the numbers exactly, but CPU overheating was the first thing I thought of. So I downloaded AMD's temp program, and the temp was very low, not even close to hot.
  12. McCordsville Cowboy

    McCordsville Cowboy Pro-Quinn

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    Have you downloaded any explicit material lately?
  13. theebs

    theebs Believe!!!!

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    maybe the onboard video cant handle something in the file you are playing and it is locking up?

    not sure.
  14. Meat-O-Rama

    Meat-O-Rama Vegetarians are so stupid.

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    Are all of the memory sticks the same brand and model? I've had issues with mixing memory in the past, even even if the memory shared the same specs.
    One way to test the memory is to shut down, remove all but one stick of memory and try and see if you can replicate the problem. Repeat with each individual stick, and then try it in pairs and see if you can isolate bad memory.

    Other than that, it could be a variety of things. As mentioned before, it could be a bad power supply, or a component that's not seated properly. You're best bet is a process of trial and error, removing and replacing components one by one until you find the culprit.

    And no, 'explicit material' did not cause this.
  15. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    LOL. No explicit material, and virus checkers are all clear.

    And it's not just when I'm playing a video or using a media player -- it's extremely random.

    Hairic mentioned drivers -- I didn't really check for updated bios or anything like that. Could that cause something like this?
  16. Duane

    Duane Well-Known Member

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    I'd check and make sure you had the current version of the bios as well. A few years back I had a similar issue that was solved with a bios update.
  17. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    Something like this (as previously mentioned) is almost always a video card/driver issue.

    Make sure you download the latest drivers for your card. If its an actual card (and not onboard video) id reseat the card, then install the new drivers.
  18. the kid 05

    the kid 05 Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds

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    are you sure your old memory is compatable with your new mother board?
  19. hairic

    hairic Well-Known Member

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    12v reading = the volt level of the 12 volt line / rail from the power supply. It's usually shown in the bios (along with 5v and 3.3v levels), but can also be read with software. If it gets too far away from 12v (or 5v if cpu is on 5v line (e.g. when using 20-pin motherboard)), parts are most likely to lock up, fail, break, etc. For truly accurate readings, though, you'd need a multimeter.

    GPU = graphics processing. In your case, it's a little chip on the motherboard that handles video. I don't think I've ever heard of on-board video overheating except for when there's a little fan on top of it that fails, so ignore it.
  20. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    Thanks again to everyone!

    Hairic -- Is a multimeter the best way to check the power supply? Would I have to watch it for a long time? In other words, would a power spike be what could be causing this, or would I see something wrong as soon as I checked the volts?

    I guess my best hope is that something isn't truly seated properly. I'll check that, although I kind of doubt that would be it.

    Oh, and isn't updating bios kind of tricky? As in, if you do it wrong it can ruin your motherboard?

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