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General Crashing and Hard Drive Difficulty - Please help

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Crazy_Falco, Feb 9, 2007.

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  1. Crazy_Falco

    Crazy_Falco Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Ok, I'll start from the top.
    (specs of my pc should be in my details etc etc)

    My pc has always been a little malfunctional. Basically, random hard drive and motherboard difficulties have always plagued my system.
    From USB 2.0 problems, SP2 problems and Hard Drive problems, my pc seems 'tempermental' at times.
    However, It is my belief that this all stems from my Power Supply. It is an Ez-Cool 500W PSU, with MSI recommending 400w or more for my motherboard.
    The main problem: BSOD Crashes.
    They generally occur when playing games, mostly Battlefield 2.
    2 formats ago, my machine ran BF2 fine, but would occasionally crash, put static through my sound card, show a random Dump BSOD screen for .5 of a second and reboot my system.

    Upon loading, my windows would be 'unmountable' (not detect my HDD's being attached to the motherboard) and would require me to either re-install windows or fix with windows console (through the install CD ROM + CHKDSK)

    Then, when nothing else fixed my problem, and not being able to go to SP2 for random instability problems / my hatred of SP2, I formatted my machine and re-routed my power cables in my machine.
    To my luck, it fixed my problem. My games were running fine, and everything worked like it should. It seemed to fix my problem(s).

    However, 15 minutes ago, BF2 textures became corrupted IN GAME, i.e. warping and misplaced textures on models / bright colouring. Then,.. another BSOD like the previous setup, with static through my sound card / speakers and finally a reboot.

    This time, my machine booted up ok. I was thankfull for that. lol.

    Now..the fact that my textures went 'funky' and such, brings me to the belief that it is indeed my power supply isn't powering my machine 'well' enough (or atleast anymore).

    Also, it doesn't ever crash in normal programs / windows use. This also re-inforces my belief that it is either my PSU / Video card not drawing / giving enough watts to the system, resulting in games / heavy duty programs crashing my system / crashing my hard drives.

    Also, since I re-routed my cables into a more logical set up, the crashes haven't happened since that one-off crash a little while ago.

    Please, any advice is welcome. If any spec details / print outs are required I will be more than willing.

    Also, note, my BIOS / MOBO / Video Drivers / Forceware is all up to date. I am NOT running Windows XP SP2, only basic of the shelf Windows XP Pro.

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for noob lingo / descriptions. lol. sorry.

    ADD: Testing a hard drive problem theory, I ran HD Tune 2.50.. and got this in the Health Screen for the 160GB hard drive I own (C: drive atm >_< )

    [​IMG]

    On the HD Tune site.. it states that if any line is in red, the disk should be replaced. It would help if it told me WHAT was in red...any ideas?
    Thanks again,
    Falco

    ADD: Used DiskCheckup and my SMART passed on all fronts for the 160GB drive..any ideas?

    [​IMG]

    thanks.
     
  2. WarC

    WarC

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    5,531
    Time to do some diagnostic tests!

    There are a few things you can do to help you identify whether or not the PSU is the problem. I suspect it is.

    First thing: in BIOS, there should be a health check area that will let you monitor temperatures and voltage levels. You will want to look at them both. Are any of the components in the case overheating? I sort of doubt it, but it is worth looking into anyways.

    The main thing you want to look at here is the voltage levels. They should meet or slightly exceed their labeled voltage level...So for 3.3V line should always read JUST under, at, or slightly above 3.3V at all times. If there is a lot of fluctuation in these readings or if a lot of them are reading more than .2-.3 volts under their stated level then it is safer to say that the PSU is causing instability.

    The wattage of PSU is only part of the equation when it comes to the quality of the unit and the amount of power it can provide. Things like amperage and the amount of 12v rails will also impact things. It is generally safer to buy a slightly more expensive, brand name PSU with a lower wattage rating than it is to buy a high-watt cheaper PSU.

    Coolmax makes a decent 500W powersupply with dual 120mm fans for about $50 at www.newegg.com. It is a good compromise between price and performance and so far I have never had trouble with one.

    If you want to try and get the system running stable with the existing PSU, then I would advise you to try and make sure that there are as few extra components as possible inside the case. If this means deleting a case fan or something, so be it if you can afford the temperature hit.

    It is also a good idea to keep the major power using components on their own power lines...So, for instance, having your video card's molex or PCI-E power connector plugged into ONLY the card and no other devices is a good idea. That is also a good idea for the harddrive, if possible. The idea here is to provide the most and cleanest power you can to the important devices...Harddrive, video, motherboard.
     
  3. win2kpro

    win2kpro

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    Messages:
    11,670
  4. Crazy_Falco

    Crazy_Falco Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Ok, firstly, thanks for the WD LFG tools, I didn't know about them, dispite having checked the support from WD myself :confused: anyway..both drives passed SMART in LFG tools, and had no bad sectors. phew. Now I truly believe it has to be the PSU.

    Anyway, I'm about to reboot and check bios temperature and voltage settings.

    I've already taken my side fan off / side panel off as it had a large LED fan attached. This was removed some time ago when I first suspected my PSU as the problem. Other than that, I can't really remove any other peripherals / hardware items. Temperature wise, it still remains a stable level ambient and hardware wise in my case.

    Ok, now, is there anyway on the pc I can check my voltage throughput? Because I've never had to do so.

    Also, on my power line setup. I have done, what I believe, to be the best setup, giving the video card, and hard drives the cleanest line of power. Both the video card and C: drive (160gb WD) are on their own lines (molex for Video card is attached properly and such)

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    ADD: Ok, I checked my BIOS, and here are the voltage levels I got and for what;

    'Vcore' = 1.37v

    '+3.3v' = 3.28v

    '+12.0v' = 11.61v

    '+5.0v' = 4.96v

    'Battery' = 3.02v

    '+5VSB' = 5.02v
     
  5. Drew7997

    Drew7997

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Messages:
    467
    12volt rail is VERY important. that's all I know, I thought it to be a bigger issue with the HD (kinda had the same problem. I had a 120 WD HD that failed 3 times in 1.8 years. pretty torqued so they sent me a 200 gig for free. and I kept the 120, only use it sparingly for backup now) Good luck.
     
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