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Freeze-up mystery

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by pc_67, Mar 24, 2009.

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  1. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    It seems that freeze-ups are a common problem, but I couldn't find any previous issues discussed here that address my particular issue.

    I've owned my computer since late 2006, and I've been having progressively worse freezing problems within the last 18 months. Basically what happens is that it freezes up constantly, requiring me to reboot manually. When it freezes up, i typically won't be able reboot right away because it'll stop working (freezing-up) during the boot-up, before the operating system is even loaded. I can't seem to make the system freeze intentionally (for example, it doesn't seem to matter what kind of programs i am running when it freezes, although it seems slightly more common when i use YouTube). As well, it will sometimes not give me problems for several days, while at other times it wont give me 10 minutes before freezing.

    I had originally had my computer running on Microsoft XP Pro. After owning it for a year it seemed the hard drive would just stop loading, eventually getting so bad that it just wouldn't work. At this point I got it replaced under warranty and added a second one. I also bought the Vista premium home edition.

    Everything seemed to work to work fine for another 6 months (although it would freeze occasionally, it didn't happen often enough to be a notable problem), then it started to freeze up often. At this point a started to use my old computer and this one wasn't turned on in 4 months. I eventually got my act together and brought it to the store where i got it, and they couldn't get it to freeze at all. They were able to leave it on for 2 straight days without incident, so i took it back (I also upgraded the chip set and added an extra 2 GB of RAM). I figured that it may have been due to some Vista update issues that had been sorted out in the 4 months that I wasn't using it.

    It didn't give me any problems for another 4 months, and then started freezing yet again. I had originally blamed it on Vista, since I had some success in reducing freezes by turning-off unnecessary services and such. I eventually got fed up and decided to go back to XP Pro. I performed a complete install, uninstalling Vista completely before proceeding with XP.

    This seemed to do the trick for about a day (it was freezing up every 10-30 minutes before), but XP Pro started to exhibit the same problems after I installed service pack 2 (freezing up constantly, like before). I used system restore to get rid of SP2, and that did the trick for another day or so, but now i get freezing episodes at irregular intervals.

    How can i tell if this is a hardware issue (in which case why would it not freeze-up some days, but be a constant annoyance on others?) or a software one (in which case why would it exhibit similar issues with both XP and Vista?)? I am especially curious about why it has problems re-booting after a terminal freeze-up.

    The only hints that i can offer to narrow the possibilities are the following:

    - The freeze-ups seem to get progressively worse the more i use my computer. It seems that if i leave it off for a few days it generally freezes less often for a while when i start using it again. I half expect that if i were to leave it off for a month or two, it would be problem free for a few weeks after (as i experienced when i took it to the store a second time).

    - Under Vista, I typically experience temporary freeze-ups a few times before it freezes-up requiring a shut-down. With XP it just stops dead, though this occurs less often than with Vista.

    - As far as hardware is concerned, I have performed the memory check and it came back clean. Since i first bought this computer, I have replaced all the RAM, and the chipset. My system specs are below. The only things that haven't been replaced are the mother board and the video card.

    - it seems like I can turn it on and it won't freeze as long as I don't try and run anything.

    - I keep my drivers up-to date, and routinely run anti-spyware programs (ad-aware and spybot), as well as performing defrags.

    At this point I am pondering replacing the motherboard or video card, but i want to ensure there isnt some fundamental software issue that i am ignorant of that could be the problem.

    Chipset: AMD Athlon64 x2 6000+ Dual Core 3.00 GHz 64-bit
    Motherboard: Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe Socket AM2 (940)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon X1900XTX 650MHz core, 256bit 512MB GDDR3
    RAM: 4.0GB Kingston
    Hard Drives (2) Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB & Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB

    Thanks
     
  2. mich2212001

    mich2212001

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    well, let me tell you. It's a hardware issue because it happens across the board.
    Do u know how much power does your power supply have? if not please find out
    the Redeon video card should work with this board unless you are using crossfire, which i don't think u are anyway.
     
  3. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the quick reply, I will check the voltage when I get home tonight and update this thread.

    I don't use crossfire.
     
  4. mich2212001

    mich2212001

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    i need the watts
     
  5. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    It's 450 watts (Antec Smart power 2.0).

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  6. mich2212001

    mich2212001

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    the power supply has enough power, so that's not the issue.
    lets try to get the ram test going.
    take all ram modules out.
    put one module (only 1 module at boot, don't add a second module), boot up your pc. then redo with all modules.
    once finish, please let me know if there any failure with any of the modules when you installed it by itself
     
  7. dustyjay

    dustyjay Jay

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    Actually because the power supply says it provides up to 450 Watts doesn't rule out the power supply as the problem. Though Antec Power Supplies are generally good power supplies, even quality manufacturers can have a bad unit turn up. If possible to rule out the power supply, you should test the system with a known good power supply. Then this sounds as though there is a heat problem. The fact that rebooting right away doesn't work but letting it sit for a while and it rebooting sounds more like a heat related problem.
     
  8. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    Just to check before I remove the RAM, would the type of problem you are checking for be detected by the memory test in Vista? When i ran that it detected no problems.

    Also, I'm not sure if this is relevant but I started with only 2 GB RAM when i first bought the computer, and upgraded to 4 GB when I brought my computer to the shop last time. The configuration I have is two 1 GB chips (original) and one 2GB chip. They said at the store that when they tried to add two 1GB chips it wouldn't work.
     
  9. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    Is there anything else the rebooting delay could be caused by? I just looked inside my computer and the fan appears to be working. The AMD chipset is cooled by a heat-sink only.

    I don't have a known good power supply to replace it with, so I'd have to bring it into the shop if I go that route. Since they couldn't find problems last time I'd like to be better armed with facts. Is there some other test I could do to see if the power supply is the issue?
     
  10. mich2212001

    mich2212001

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    don't worry about that pc_67, please do my ram test. windows RAM tet is useless.
    that's why i said that the power supply is not the problem (though, dustyjay is right. but i left that part out for a reason)
     
  11. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    I performed the RAM test, and had no problems whatsoever. Each module installed fine.
     
  12. mich2212001

    mich2212001

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    that tells me you might have some issues with your motherboard. i would contact Asus, but your board is not under warranty anymore, so that will not matter.
    your options are very limitted to the fact that you don't have warranty, second, u don't have extra hardware to test with.
    one thing u can do is to get a more powerful power supply with maybe 600W.
     
  13. pc_67

    pc_67 Thread Starter

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    Are there any other tests i can do to rule out other components? From what you've told me, it looks like i will be replacing the motherboard and getting a new power source, but I'd hate to replace them only to find out the problem is with the video card.

    Is there anything else i should think about replacing?

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  14. mich2212001

    mich2212001

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    power supplies are not that much. $50 should get u a good one
     
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