Question Random Freezes/ Restarts - Strange Solution (?)

TR909

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Oct 7, 2009
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Hello all, I built a computer from parts I had sitting around for my cousin. This computer was thoroughly tested (8h Prime95 Blend, 2h+ Unigine Valley, windows memtest) and proved to perform rock solid. Suddenly after a month he reported to me that the computer will randomly freeze or restart. At first I suspected windows updates, but even though I uninstalled them the problem was still present. So I took the computer home to diagnose it myself.

Here is the PC configuration:

CPU: Intel i5-4460
Motherboard: ASrock H81M-DG4
RAM: Kingston 16GB DDR3 1866Mhz (present in motherboard QVL, running at 1600Mhz due to XMP not supported)
GPU: EVGA GTX 760 SC AC 2GB
PSU: Corsair CX430
Hard Disk: Toshiba TR200 ssd 500GB
OS: Windows 10 Pro 1909 fully updated

Initially I had it offline (no Internet) and gave it a Prime95 Blend test for 17h which passed just fine. Then I gave it a 2h Unigine Valley loop no problem at all. Then I connect it to the internet and immediately asks for Windows updates which me being optimistic I accept. On the next reboot, being online now tried starting a Flash based Facebook game and the computer instantly restarts (!). Even trying to play some videos on Youtube was causing a restart. Event Viewer was reporting the event id 41 which is a generic "not proper shutdown" message - no other information related in event viewer.

I started suspecting hardware like GPU and PSU - mostly PSU not being able to give proper voltage to the GPU. To start eliminating issues I reverted through BIOS to the onboard GPU (Intel HD Graphics 4600) and connected the HDMI cable to the motherboard. To my surprise even while I was torturing the onboard GPU (Furmark, Battlefield 3 Windowed, Facebook flash game - all simultaneously) no issues at all. Then reverting back to "PCI-e card" problems occured again.

Here comes the funny part.
Connecting both cards, Intel graphics with a VGA cable, GTX 760 with HDMI and booting to windows having set as primary display adapter the onboard Intel GPU, I was getting two desktops and when a "3D intensive app" was ran it was passed to the GTX 760 and no issues at all. I could torture this setup running Furmark and Intel Burning Test simultaneously and the PC was stable.

The problem is my cousin has an old ACER 22' monitor with only a VGA input. So I had to make this work with a single input.

What I did is connecting the GTX 760 with a "DVI to VGA adapter" and this VGA cable to the monitor - that is the exact setup my cousin has. Then went into BIOS and kept as Primary Adapter the Integrated one (Intel). Now the computer boots, reports two Display Adapters but only one desktop is present. The 3d workload is directed to the GTX 760 and no issues at all.

So long story short - setting BIOS to run PCI-e VGA adapter as primary causes random freezing, while enabling and setting onboard CPU gfx as primary (while connecting the discrete GPU on your monitor) solves the issue.

Never had something similar happening before so I leave this here for commenting or if someone has some more ideas of something I may have missed.

PS - as we speak I have Youtube playing a 4k video, Battlefield 3 on windowed mode and Furmark running Stress mode. One hour has passed and no problems at all.

PS2 - Now sometimes I get no signal on monitor which my cousin has also reported.
 

TR909

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Oct 7, 2009
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The gpu has come out from another computer and has been working flawlessly. I reverted back to PCI-express as primary display adapter and crashes instantly started.

Now digging into this board's BIOS I decided to experiment a bit more and changed a parameter called "PCIE1 Link Speed" (Selects the link speed for for PCIE slot) and has values Auto/Gen1/Gen2. I guess it means the 'speed' that the slot should run at like PCI-E 2.0, or PCI-E 1.1,

* the board supports up to PCI-E 2.0 and GTX-760 is PCI-E 3.0 x16 compatible.

So I put it at Gen1 booted and started testing - no problems till now. It also seems that PCIE 1.1 x16 has sufficient bandwith for this vga or so I hope. Let's see.

Thanks for your answer.
 

TR909

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Oct 7, 2009
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Small update: ran for 3 hours prime95 blend, unigine valley looping and a flash game auto playing simultaneously and the Computer was fine.
 

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