Frequent computer freezes even after reinstall!

PresidentDylan5

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I am being driven insane by this. After a lot of troubleshooting that just led me in false directions, I still haven't got anywhere. My computer has completely random freezes. It ranges from time to time how often it is. Just now it lasts a few minutes so I can't do a resource scan.
I have completely reinstalled the operating system.
Resource scan showed everything fine.
I think it is hardware related, perhaps my AMD CPU. I am having some heating problems (massive lag spikes) which I pretty much got rid of with a hair dryer (was getting freezes as well) but was still planning on redoing paste and stuff soon. Maybe it's not a coincidence that these two issues arose at once? The lag spikes appeared before the freezes, which would make sense. However, HW monitor (in the brief time before a freeze just now) said my proccesor was at 30C!
A friend told me that a common windows problem is Ram, and another (who basically copied my build:) has the same ram and motherboard. He was getting blue screens and stuff which he managed to fix through voltage settings.
I was playing Titanfall beta all afternoon today with no problems whatsoever but (this could be coincidence) when my friend called me on Skype IT CAME BACK. I reinstalled OS for no reason. It was the refresh feature on windows 8 by the way.

Someone please help me!

Fx 8350
GTX 770
ASRock 970 extreme 4
(Ram has really strange name but it is corsair veangance)
SSD vertex 3
Caviar blue 500gb
Black 1tb
Zalman z9 plus
 

PresidentDylan5

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Usually people reply a bit faster than this. I was reading another thread where someone was having a similar problem and it turned out that it was because the chip set on the motherboard had been damaged due to overheating. This of course links to my problem. How could I check this? Thanks in advance
 

darkolozankoski

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Try and Reapply the thermal paste and heatsink also try using other ram if you have or leave it to one stick and try to use only the ssd not the hard drives if nothing of this helps then downgrade to windows 7 cause it might be just windows 8.And about the motherboard chipset it is very unlikley that it will overheat if you aren't overclocking high.
 

gumbykid

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The thing is so many things could be wrong. It could be your PSU, RAM, CPU, MB, etc.

Have you modified your PC at all lately? Move it across the room, OC your CPU, etc.
 

PresidentDylan5

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It's reassuring that you suggested replacing thermal paste as I was about to do that anyway! :) I have the stock cooler with the pre-applied paste and I do get the impression that AMD wouldn't be good with since they didn't even provide a heat sink with that new $800 proccessor! I have ordered the article cooling mx4 paste and the articlean stuff (which cost more, the irony!) and they should come in a few days.
The system freezes when I'm playing games on the SSD and I don't think I have any programs running off the other drives, so could they still cause issues. I have only done a windows check on the terabyte drive though...
I'm not sure I would be able to play games with just one stick of Ram as I have 2x4gb, and that's the only way I can get freezes really. I have had freezes outside of games but only after it has started freezing in games.
Also to Gumbykid I haven't made any modifications other than dust out the PC with a hairdryer like I said. After I try the paste I will try running memtest and check my PSU.
Thank you very much for replying! :)
 

jghaverty

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Its very likely the 8350 coupled with that mother board is causing your problems. Ive had a couple 970 chipsets go bad on my 8320. They just really cant handle it well. Its a great mobo for phenoms and stuff like that, but its pretty crappy for 8 series chips.

Check your voltages, run p95 and check for errors. Run memchecker. You're running an 8350 and a 770. What is your PSU size?
 

gumbykid

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You can easily run games with one 4gb stick, and it's not permanent, just for testing for a bad stick.

Try using a different SATA port on your motherboard for the one connecting to your SSD.

If that doesn't work, take one stick of RAM out (for convenience purposes) and go into your BIOS and check your RAM voltage. The standard is 1.5V. If it's already there, increase it to 1.55V (for testing purposes). Also, if it already isn't on Command Rate 2T, change it to that. Command Rate 1T creates faster responses but is less stable. Reboot your PC and see if it crashes. If it still does, reduce the speed (try 800Mhz) and reboot again. If it still crashes then your probably don't have a RAM voltage issue.
 

PresidentDylan5

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OK thanks for the advice gumbykid I will try that if the thermal paste doesn't work. It will take a day or two more to arrive by the way.
Also how can I check if my chipset has 'gone bad'?
 

gumbykid

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Might as well try it while waiting for the thermal paste imo.

Unfortunately I don't know a ton about chipsets, but generally they are difficult to diagnose because they interact with so many components. You can observe for physical damage (discoloration, scratches, etc). Chipsets are rarely the cause of issues unless you have integrated graphics and they are interfering with your GPU. So to the best of my knowledge, to diagnose it you should rule out every other component until you're left with your motherboard. Generally if a motherboard is damaged you will see it in it's capacitors, which will be swollen:

Chipsets are electrically and physically molded into the motherboard and cannot be replaced.

Also, does your computer freeze while in BIOS?
 

PresidentDylan5

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It would be rather difficult to test if I freeze in BIOS as it takes a few hours of being on the computer (most likely playing games) for it to start freezing. After the first freeze, it would take about half an hour for it to freeze again. It gets faster and faster until it starts freezing after just a couple of minutes like it was on Saturday. If I got it to that stage I could go into the BIOS and see if it happened.
Meanwhile yesterday I was playing online and it froze at about 9 o clock (I go to school by the way :) ) so I thought to see what happened if I took a stick of Ram out. Interestingly I was able to play until 10:30 when I went to bed...
Dun dun dun!
I will do some for testing. I takes a while as you can imagine but tonight I hope to see if it's a problem with that stick or dual memory. I may run out of time though. :) It could be that this was just a coincidence but it is promising.
 

gumbykid

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Don't get your hopes up. I had the same problem before and at one point the computer ran for 4 days without crashing, then proceeded to crash every 30 minutes. I'm now on a 7 day no-crash streak after I changed RAM settings.

It won't hurt to test all the little easy things to narrow down the options, such as looking for swollen capacitors like in the picture above. Additionally you should download prime95 (CPU tester) and Furmark (GPU tester). They are used to test if overclocks are stable, but will also produce a lot of heat and stress on the specific component. If your computer crashes or freezes as a result of the test, you likely know which part is damaged.
 

PresidentDylan5

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[sigh] Got a freeze (with both sticks) and so again took a stick of Ram out. It then froze when loading windows. I booted again and went into BIOS to look at voltage settings and it froze again, although it did take a minute. It froze in BIOS!!! Hopefully you can draw conclusions from that. :) Can't do anything right now for obvious reasons. Don't think it's ram then. Maybe my thermal paste will do something! Also I 'diagnosed memory problems' from control panel and it came up with no errors.
Will try those tests tomorrow.


Oh also that first freeze was completely outside of games, I was browsing Fallout mods and YouTube.
 

gumbykid

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The freezing in BIOS simply reassures me that it is not a software issue, so I don't have to go through additional troubleshooting.

The Windows Memory Diagnostic isn't the best (the better test is memtest86+), it will only report obvious faults with the RAM modules. Did you change the voltages at all? The RAM tests will not report voltage issues, so don't take it as a clear sign of "Awesome my RAM works." Try the change in RAM voltages and speeds that I recommended earlier. I say this so much because it's what gave my computer a sign of life after having crashes and freezes (even in BIOS), so I want to see what effect it has on yours.

I have doubts with the thermal paste because generally an overheating CPU will cause crashes and shutdowns, not freezes.

You can also try a BIOS update (the extreme series got an update a couple months ago), however I would not recommend that quite yet because if your computer freezes during that then your motherboard is no longer functional.
 

PresidentDylan5

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Well I wasn't certain on the windows ram test but it's a point. I was actually going to adjust voltages when I went into the BIOS after the freezes but couldn't find how to do it and then it froze. Should I try increasing the voltage when I try again?
I was about to ask about updating BIOS. I don't think I said but on two occasions throughout this freezing problem I have had to use the 'reset CMOS' switch on the motherboard as it wouldn't boot (nothing on monitor); the first time was after the first ever freeze (oh so long ago) and the second (I think) was after I kept rebooting after freezes so it froze about 10 times! After I reset it that second time it continued to freeze, no change. Obviously all this is related to BIOS so you should definitely know about that. I am a bit concerned about updating though as I am fully aware that my computer would (most likely) be rendered useless if it froze while updating. If that happened I imagine my brain would undergo nuclear fission, and we don't want that. :) However, since I can (consistently now) use the PC for a good few hours before freezing begins, I am 'fairly' confident that it would be successful. What do you think???
 

gumbykid

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The RAM settings are located under OC Tweaker. Scroll down until you see DRAM Timing Control. Under that click on DRAM Configuration.

Change the frequency to DDR3-800Mhz or a number close to that. Set the DRAM Voltage to 1.55V. The exact terms might be slightly different because i'm using images of the BIOS off of Google, which may be running a different update than yours.

I would not recommend a BIOS update because of how risky it is. The latest version (2.90) only changes communication with the Internet. The one before that (2.80) fixes some RAM issues that were experienced with GSKILL F3-2133C11Q-32GZL modules. Generally you don't want to update your BIOS unless it fixes a specific problem you are experiencing.

To clear all of this up, this is generally what gets hardware issues fixed the most conveniently:
1) Replace as many parts as you can (one by one)
a) Such as using a different PSU or GPU
b) These should be parts you already have, not ones you have to purchase

2) Run diagnostic tests
a) Such as memtest86+ and prime95
b) This is used to try to narrow down the parts you couldn't replace

3) Change settings
a) Such as voltages
b) Updating your BIOS should be the last thing you try

4) Purchase new parts to test further if needed
a) This should be avoided until necessary to save money
b) Most stores charge a restocking fee if you return the product (because it failed to fix your issue)

Do you have any extra parts lying around that you could test?
 

PresidentDylan5

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I don't have any other parts whatsoever. I will have to find time to run the memtest, it takes a very long time doesn't it? Wouldn't my computer just freeze before it could finish? I will run the other tests tonight though. How would I check if there's something wrong my my PSU?
 

gumbykid

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Memtest usually needs to run overnight because it takes a few hours to get enough passes. I would try it to see if I get lucky and get some info out of it. Generally if your RAM is messed up you'll see it pretty quick. Only use one stick though.

PSU is difficult to actually test because it requires tools that you have to purchase (e.g., volt meter). Here are some symptoms of a faulty or dying PSU:
http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=31105&seqNum=12
Any power-on or system startup failures or lockups.
Spontaneous rebooting or intermittent lockups during normal operation.
Intermittent parity check or other memory-type errors.
Hard disk and fan simultaneously failing to spin (no +12v).
Overheating due to fan failure.
Small brownouts cause the system to reset.
Electric shocks felt on the system case or connectors.
Slight static discharges disrupt system operation.

Here are motherboard failure symptoms:
Everything powers on but you can't see a live screen
Computer turns on for just a few seconds then turns off
Some peripherals work others don't
System shuts off randomly

CPU Failure Symptoms:
Computer turns on, no beeps, no screen. Does not POST (Power-On Self Test)
Computer turns on, fans run at highest speeds, still no POST, and not operating system loading.
Computer powers on, but turns off immediately.
In Windows (or any other o.s.) screen freezes after being on for a few minutes, in some cases the screen may freeze during the load screen of the o.s. , a.k.a. the Windows logo screen.
System halt errors (famously known as blue screen of death) that calls out the processor as an issue.

RAM:
Bluescreens (bluescreen of death)
Random crashes or reboots
Crashing during heavy memory use tasks, such as gaming, Photoshop etc.
Distorted graphics on your computer screen
Failure to boot (or turn on), and/or repeated long beeps
Memory errors appear on screen
Computer appears to boot, but screen remains blank


Based on that I would assume your PSU is going bad or your RAM is faulty. Due to the testing methods, i've chosen to go with RAM first (although PSU is more probable).
 

PresidentDylan5

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What? Looking at that I would think that the CPU is the problem. I have actually experienced all of those symptoms in the CPU section at least once, apart from blue screen and the second one (I think, don't know whaot POST is :) ). On two occasions booted but nothing on monitor, and no beep (I'm sure); once it powered on but shutted off (not froze) after a minute at most; of course I have been getting freezes and as I said it froze in the os loading screen. Again, I am reassured that the thermal paste might just work, not counting on it though.
Besides that, I must say it is all too tempting to update the BIOS since I had to reset it after the First Ever Freeze. Surely it could have been corrupted or something? But at the same time what if it froze?! It would take 5 minutes so it is very very unlikely but still...

PS: about the CPU it could have been damaged since I was letting it overheat all the time for at least a month.

PS2: Oh I know what POST is now and I have experienced the second symptom.
 

gumbykid

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I would definitely try the thermal paste then. You cant undo heat damage. Also when you apply it, clean off the old crap with an alcohol pad and reseat the cpu.

Reseating means taking the cpu out of the socket then placing it back in. Before you put it back in, very carefully observe the pins to see if any are bent or broken. Also look for heat damage (there will be obvious discolouration).

Make sure you follow the ESD precautions (Electrostatic Discharge) so you dont damage anything. This typically involves grounding yourself and frequently releasing ESD to a grounded metal object. Google it for more info.

Again, I would avoid the BIOS update until absolutely necessary. I would try the main fixes first, then update BIOS, then purchase new parts. Just know that if something goes wrong during the update, your motherboard will most definitely be useless.
 

PresidentDylan5

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Um, holy moly. I changed the voltage of the ram from 1.55 to 1.65 and set the frequency to 800Mhz (which seems rather low since the default is 1600) and didn't get a freeze for 5 hours! I was not on the PC that whole time by the way I just left it on to test. This was after it had froze, which was (as predicted) after about 3 hours. Coincidence?
 

gumbykid

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Just make sure not to go too crazy, too many volts will overheat your RAM.

And RAM frequencies really don't change your performance much in the real world. Benchmarks will show increased Read speeds but applications are difficult to notice any increases or decreases. If I secretly went into your BIOS and changed it from 1600 to 800 you wouldn't be able to tell.

And it could very well be coincidence, so again don't get your hopes up.
 

nostall

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PresidentDylan5, If you have access to another known good working PSU of 600 or more watts, try swapping out your PSU. I have read through your misery here, and there is a good chance this is a psu issue.
CPU's very rarely go bad, chipsets likewise rarely fail - unless there is some electrical problem (the most common reason).
Also, and you may have already done this and I missed it in your posts, go into the BIOS and set it to 'default settings' before you fire it up to test it.
Corsair makes really good stuff, generally, but even they occasionally have a bad unit: You didn't tell us the model of Corsair, but regardless - it may still be your problem. I had one of their HX units fail out of the box. Corsair Tech and Customer Support are excellent, should you find the PSU is the problem.

!!! You said you cleaned it with a hair dryer: That probably doesn't have enough directed pressure. Get a can of air, and after blowing all the rest of the dust out of the computer, blow out and clean your PSU as well as you can. Might want to try this before swapping PSU's.
@gumbykid:
Hang in here with Dylan, your answers have been very good.
 

PresidentDylan5

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So do you think it's safe to keep it at this voltage?
Thanks for the post nostall, but I don't have another PSU to test, and I'll admit it sounds a bit hellish replugging all those cables anyway! :) I was considering a can for the dust but a £10 price tag for something that 'specialises' in getting rid of dust, and £5 for a refuel, isn't paticurarly attractive. Thinking about it, I forgot to do the fan on the power supply.
 

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