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Build Advice Crash: Try and diagnose which component is faulty!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by hedgehog1987, 19 Nov 2009.

  1. hedgehog1987

    hedgehog1987 What's a Dremel?

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    Details about my system first -

    AMD PhenomII x2 550 Black Edition
    500gb HDD Western Digital
    400w Corsair PSU
    2GB OCZ DDR3 Memory (TESTED USING MEMTEST86+ PASSED WITH NO ERRORS)
    Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H Motherboard with On-Board HD4200
    I ran Linux Mint 7.0
    Then Linux Ubuntu 9.10
    Then Windows XP with Service Pack 2
    Then Ubuntu 8.04

    My system started crashing about a week after I built it. It started with a crash every few days, usually either in Firefox or when I had multiple apps open. It started crashing on startup too, before the boot menu after GRUB loads. [Linux]

    The crashes are in 2 different forms. Crashes when installing from CD or in the system - the screen freezes, keyboard and mouse unresponsive, screen has interference in the form of small blocks of horizontal bars, kind of like what you see on the output of a graphic equalizer or frequency bars on a fancy audio system. These are arranged in several columns on the screen. [XP and Linux]

    The crash after GRUB but before the boot menu is weirder, a few dozen clumps of characters, like ÉÉÉ (mainly them, including square boxes, normal characters, and characters from other languages) dancing over the screen, no pattern is perceivable, refreshing after every quarter second.

    The crashes became so frequent that the system was unusable. I thought that it might be a Linux driver issue, or maybe the system was trying to address memory locations which weren't there, or maybe it formatted the HDD incorrectly (I've heard of problems with Windows selecting too big a partition for 500gb HDD's which was causing disk formatiing to hang at 100%). Maybe it could even be a power fluctuation with the PSU playing up.

    One thing that I doubt is heat. The system has not gone anywhere near critical levels, the bios reports stable temps rarely above 45-50 degrees (when it was usable). Usually (about 95% of the time) it hovers around 40 for the processor.

    After several install attempts, and re-formats with GParted and live CD's, the system does not successfully install any OS from a CD without crashing. This crash happens before you even get to formatting the disk. Or it crashes when formatting. Or it crashes when loading the files. Complete waste of space!

    So. Before I start sending things back to manufacturers, I have one simple question.

    With the above description, which component is the likely culprit and why???
     
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2009
  2. javaman

    javaman May irritate Eyes

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    Is everything connected ok, sorry for the insult. My best guess would be a dodgy install. Have you tried reinstalling everything? My next guess would be some sort of driver issue too.
     
  3. hedgehog1987

    hedgehog1987 What's a Dremel?

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    Yes, everything is connected OK. No offence taken. Yes, I have tried 4 different OS installs, and tried each one about 5 times over the last month. I would have said drivers, but now I doubt it. I would have tried the drivers with XP but when trying to install the ones on the disk, the system crashed and I had to re-install again. That happened twice. It does sound like it is an onboard graphics issue because crashes are somehow linked when the graphics are involved. Like flash videos, or drivers. Or maybe its the HDD. Or PSU? I have no idea really. Only maybes. Next suggestion please!
     
  4. Lankuzo

    Lankuzo CPC Refugee

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    does mb have any bios updates?
     
  5. hedgehog1987

    hedgehog1987 What's a Dremel?

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    I'm running version 1, it is now at version 3.0. I would upgrade, but my system isn't stable enough for me to do it with any confidence.
     
  6. RR5

    RR5 What's a Dremel?

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  7. ThunderBob

    ThunderBob What's a Dremel?

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    OK. Guessing that the ram is 2 sticks of 1gb each.

    Try running an install with only 1 stick installed. If it crashes try the other stick. Still crashes try a different ram slot.

    If you have them then try different ram sticks. Preferably different brand (Borrow if you dont have and can get someone to lend them).

    I know you memtested it vut i have had ram pass Memtest and still turn out to be faulty/compatibilty issue.

    Of you have no luck with that the try reseating the CPU.
     
  8. hedgehog1987

    hedgehog1987 What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks, but

    Come on people, we're missing the point here I feel. RR5 - Please read the post, as on line 6 you will find the details regarding tests on the ram.

    Re-seating the cpu or trying different ram slots? I will try. Pretty unlikely to be causing the problem though right?

    Maybe a reiteration, or at least rewording, of the question is in order.

    I know that the system is f****d, I thank suggestions trying to get it working, but that really wasn't the question. I've tried everything and nothing works.

    So, assuming that one part is faulty, which part would you send back, and why?
     
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2009
  9. MikeMania

    MikeMania What's a Dremel?

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    Basically if we're talking generally, you could narrow it down to your motherboard, ram, and cpu. And with that considered, its usually the motherboard that is faulty. So if you can, RMA it.

    Otherwise, perhaps the RAM is not compatible with the mobo. I've read that some people have no luck with the RAM unless its a certain brand. Wierd I know, but it could be your problem.
     
  10. Sh0cKeR

    Sh0cKeR a=2(s-ut)/t²

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    I'd say its the onboard GPU causing the problem. Try putting in a real card and see what happens.
     
  11. Blarte

    Blarte Moderate Modder

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    swap the HDD over install the OS on the new one.. if it still crashes ..you do have a storage HDD now.
     
  12. nsymons

    nsymons What's a Dremel?

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    I posted on here recently about my somewhat similar problems. I turned out to be mostly down to a faulty fuse in my kettle/plug lead. Try that, also check your ram voltages, I've had a problem with hangs on boot up when RAM is not getting 2.2v (often a difference between JDEC and EPP ratings). Also try slackening off RAM timings to see if this helps.

    Good Luck
     
  13. Crazy Buddhist

    Crazy Buddhist Minimodder

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    It's the onboard GPU. I would go ahead and flash the BIOS from a DOS/Win98 boot disk (if this is an option) and also make sure you download a new set of drivers for it before your next reinstall.

    If that doesn't fix it RMA the MOBO as faulty because it is. I've highlighted the part of your post that is most relevant - you are getting exactly the same artefacting on the screen under Windows and Linux. Linux will be using the firmware of the ATI drivers so it is either that firmware, dead mobo or the BIOS needs updating ... easiest track to find out which is ... flash bios .. clean install with newly downloaded drivers ... if that doesn't work I doubt anything will. bye bye Mobo time.

    Just about every motherboard manufacturer publishes a list of known working RAM for each of their motherboards on their Websites. Same is true for CPU's. Here is the memory compatibility list for the OP's board: http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/MemorySupport/mb_memory_ga-ma785gmt-ud2h.pdf ... this list includes some OCZ 2G modules but I'm not clear if these are 2 x 1G packs or 2G strips without googling every code on the page (not something for a Friday night ... though hedgehog .. I'd recommend you be sure your kit is on there.).

    Good luck.

    Matthew
     
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2009
  14. trig

    trig god's little mistake

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    second on the mobo graphics...it COULD be a faulty dimm or something like that, but who cares...either way the mobo is faulty...
     
  15. hedgehog1987

    hedgehog1987 What's a Dremel?

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    I think that settles it... Thanks for all of your posts people, I'll be RMAing it asap. All the blood and sweat and tears... Well that's not a biggie. What im worried about is removing and applying the TIM how sad is that!
     
  16. trig

    trig god's little mistake

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    and well you should...it's a pain in the arse...
     
  17. javaman

    javaman May irritate Eyes

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    Post back when you get a new mobo. Hopefully that will solve it
     
  18. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    Agreed, this sounds exactly like the GPU crapping out. Have you removed it yet, or is there a possibility to test with a dedicated card in there?
     
  19. hedgehog1987

    hedgehog1987 What's a Dremel?

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    OK...

    I've just got a new mobo, after "extensive testing" they found a fault with the old one. Apparently...

    Trouble is, the crashes are still happening. I've actually managed to install linux but its not stable. ...I'll give it some more goes.

    I think it might be my psu simply not being powerful enough for the motherboard...

    Slowly getting more depressed. Should've bought a desktop ready-made instead.

    Any ideas?
     
  20. LeMaltor

    LeMaltor >^_^

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    Remove everything.

    Put mobo in case, put cpu in, put in one stick of ram in slot 1, connect hard drive, mouse and keyboard and power supply unit.

    I only scanned the thread but you have tried different mobo and hard drive?

    so make sure everything is set to its lowest value in BIOS, lowest ram speed, CPU multiplier and fsb (im an intel man so whatever AMD calls them).

    Will it crash in at startup, spose you could add a dvd drive and try windows :X

    Anyway could be a flaky core on the cpu, try one stick of ram at a time in different slots too, or a dodgey psu, theres nothing else left is there? :p
     

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