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Help me solve my PC woes!

posted by Zonino on - last edited - Viewed by 188 users

Soo... yeah. Anyway as the title suggests I have been having issues with my PC for a little while now.

Basically while playing a game there seemed to be a random chance that the computer would lock up. This tended to occur after I would lose the picture on screen, to see it be replaced with a series of dotted lines which I believe are called artifacts? But it's also started to happen randomly. I think this happened because something caused the graphics driver to fail, and instead of the computer recovering it it would lock up.

So, would this mean that the problem was the graphics card? I thought so, so I exchanged my HD 4850 with my brother's GeForce 8800 and we set about testing them. He has had nothing but spotless performance from my card, whereas I've just had the same issues, albiet different because it's a different card. As an example, yesterday I got the artifacts, although not as prominent, but the picture did recover, twice, then it locked up.

Could it be the Ram? I've ran several Memtests, but they all seem to come up clean, although I can't really run them for the 12 hours I've read you should run them for. Sometimes though I've blue screened, and the screen has said it was something to do with MEMORY MANAGEMENT... which brings me to the next question...

Could it be Vista? I upgraded to Vista from XP a while ago hoping it would solve this problem on XP, alas it only seems to have made it worse. Not only that, some of my issues were caused by a driver conflict which I did not know of before I upgraded to vista (I had an old Nvidia graphics driver that I needed to clean). Also, yesterday, when I was trying one of the games that gave me the most issues, it windowed me out to tell me that something called SuperFetch had stopped working, although it didn't stop the game. I've read that SuperFetch is a Vista service designed to speed up opening programs by preloading them into the Ram at the times it thinks you're most likely to use them. Could that be doing anything? I ask this because when I tried another game, it was jumpy, did that artifacts screen twice and then hard locked, but when I restarted the comp and ran the game again it ran smoothly, only crashing once, and that was only shutting down the game, rather than locking up the system.

As a final note, all temperatures seem to be cool, nothing really goes above 70 degrees celcius. I shall also be reformatting tomorrow and going back to XP. Still, before I do I wonder if any tech savvy people here might have any suggestions about what could be causing my problem? I'm not really sure how I would go about testing the motherboard or processor to make sure they aren't at fault and I've chkdsk'd the harddrive several times to make sure it wasn't that.

Thanks in advance for any light you could shed.

21 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I'm assuming that when you upgraded to Vista you installed the 2 Service packs?

  • Oh yes of course. Sorry I forgot to mention that... I should probably mention my specs too they may be of help...

    Athlon 7750 AM2+ Dual Core Processor 2.7GHz
    2*2Gig Corsair DDR2 800 Ram
    XFX HD 4850 Graphics Card
    Asus-Tek V-M3N8200 Motherboard
    Western Digital 500Gig HDD
    OCZ 500W PSU

  • Sounds like a very strange problem. You've run dxdiag to check for issues?

    For one, 70C is not exactly cool. Actually, that is creeping into the range where components will start to overheat. Most CPUs/GPUs should run at between 50-60C. You might want to consider adding an extra fan regardless of whatever your problem is.

    The fact that it persists in spite of changing video cards leads me to believe it is one of three things: a virus, a faulty motherboard, or overheating as previously mentioned. It's possible there's just something wrong with the PCIe slot you're using for your graphics card. Since you seem to know a bit about hardware, have you tried just re-installing the card into a different port? Most motherboards have at least 3. I doubt it is an issue related to the OS, but it's always possible.

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    Tea

    When unexplainable things start happening, back up and start again. Go do a clean format. Sounds like you need it, especially since you're running upgraded Windows.

  • Have you made sure it's not the monitor failing? It could be causing the actual PC to crash (maybe, it's worth a try anyway!)

  • Sounds like an overheating problem. With the GPU most likely. I know you tried swapping out, but your case might be so hot that any GPU would overheat inside it.

  • Thanks for the replies, I'm going to reformat today shortly, so I won't reply much after this.

    In regards to temperatures, only the GPU goes that high and only when under heavy load, which is rarely the case. The Processor can be hard pressed to hit 50, however there may be something in the motherboard overheating? I don't seem to have any sensors for that though. Just the ambient temp in the case which, when gaming, goes between 60-70C

    As for a virus, no, I'm very methodical (read: paranoid) when it comes to viruses. I run spybot, Malwarebytes and Avast a lot of the time and have never really came up with anything major, just some junk cookie counters and stuff that is easily cleaned.

    I should point out that my brother's GeForce burns hotter than my Radeon card. His was hitting 85C playing Sam and Max on setting 9, but his seems to run hot regardless. He doesn't have any issues with it though.

    KuroShiro, alas my board only has 1 PCI-Express slot, so if that is at fault... well I'd have to get a new board. It is something to think about though. If the problem persists after reformatting then it's something to consider at least. I'll probably get an extra case fan to make sure it's not overheating but the case is well ventilated, still, better to be safe than sorry.

    Friar I don't think there's anything wrong with the monitor and I don't think that would make the computer crash but it is also something to consider and I do have a spare monitor handy.

    TheJoe a reformat is on the way. I think I've backed up everything I need, most of my HDD is taken up with Steam games anyway that I can just redownload.

    Thanks again for all the help.

  • I would also suggest that you check your power supply. A psu that's going bad can cause lockups and it would probably be especially prone to do it when your gaming since there is a larger amount of power being used.

    Check the voltages in the bios to see if their far off than what they should be.

  • @KuroShiro said: For one, 70C is not exactly cool. Actually, that is creeping into the range where components will start to overheat. Most CPUs/GPUs should run at between 50-60C. You might want to consider adding an extra fan regardless of whatever your problem is.


    While this is true for most components, it's quite normal for the 4850s I had to run at 90-95°C under load and idle at ~80°C with the default fan design; they're also specced by ATI to do that and will only emergency-shut down at temperatures of ~120°C or above.

    Of course, the 5870 I'm currently using is idling at 50°C, but that can mostly be attributed to the Vapor-X fan design from Sapphire...

    The fact that it persists in spite of changing video cards leads me to believe it is one of three things: a virus, a faulty motherboard, or overheating as previously mentioned. It's possible there's just something wrong with the PCIe slot you're using for your graphics card. Since you seem to know a bit about hardware, have you tried just re-installing the card into a different port? Most motherboards have at least 3. I doubt it is an issue related to the OS, but it's always possible.


    Either that, or it's some component on the mainboard that's getting too hot, although 70°C sounds about right for a CPU running at full tilt, not so much for the voltage regulators, though.

    It could, however, also be caused by a faulty PSU that craps out under too much load, or that might be saying 500W on the box but delivering less than that in actuality; depending on what else is in the case it might be too weak...

    Maybe he could try swapping power supplies with his brother? (Assuming it's not some clunky proprietary PSU design like Avistew had...)

    np: Applescal - The History Of Love (A Slave's Commitment)

  • Hmm, could try swapping PSUs, but that will only be if the crashing still persists.

    I've reformatted and am now back to running windows XP! I'm more familiar with it than Vista anyway so it's much easier to use. I just need to get some games to play and test it out, but downloading takes time, especially when it's big games. Steam having sales doesn't help either they probably have a larger than usual load on their servers.

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