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Thread: PC Dillema (extremely strange happenings) / New Build Required? [Help]

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    Default PC Dillema (extremely strange happenings) / New Build Required? [Help]

    Hey all, I decided to sign up and ask for advice here because this definitely seems to be a place full of knowledgeable people who are up to date on their hardware and I need some SERIOUS help as I need to make some purchases within the next few hours or within the next day at the latest.

    Feel free to skim through the parts that are relevant to you. I wanted to be as thorough as possible so you can get a idea of how messed up the situation is.

    SITUATION:


    I'm having some serious issues with my PC I built back in late 2007 (which has served me well and still can run almost everything I need to believe it or not) but I'm having trouble locating the source of some serious problems which have started recently and I'm not sure what to do as I don't have doubles or spare hardware to really test and narrow down the problem with.

    I'm leaning towards a problem with my motherboard (although originally I thought it was the PSU) but I'm thinking if I need to replace that then I pretty much have to buy a whole new next gen system unfortunately (I only say unfortunately as I'm tight on cash atm - of course i'd love a new system i just wasn't ready for that purchase right now but i suppose i might not have a choice).

    System specs / background info:


    -Asus P5E X38 chipset motherboard
    -Intel Quad2Core 2.4GHz 1066MHz Q6600 G0 stepping (never overclocked but I bought it back in the day with the specific intention to do so when I felt it would be needed just never felt it did perhaps until now).
    -Originally bought a pair of Corsair Dominator CM2X1024-8500C5D 2x1GB DDR2 1066mhz to go with it planning to run them in dual chan 1:1 with cpu fsb. Within a year one or both of those memory modules stopped working so I RMA'd them and got the same as replacements which also within a year one or both of them stopped working (can't remember). By not working I mean the system not POST'ing. Since then I've been using a single 2GB XMS2 DDR2 800MHz dimm in slot 1 a friend had lying around as I was too lazy to RMA the Corsair CM2X 1066MHz at the time. That module has worked fine and still does although I'm not sure on that (I'm running a memtest on it as I write this).
    -Nvidia 8800GT 512mb
    -A couple SATA drives one which died last year
    -Originally I powered this system off a Corsair CMPSU-620HXEU which also apparently stopped working late last year and at the time I didn't have much spare cash lying around so I picked up a cheapo Cooler Master Power Elite 460W as it was the only cheap one they had in the shitty computer store to tide me over as I needed to access my files/apps until I could RMA it or get a new PSU ordered in an online store properly and not at some crap local store with no stock or choice. Of course it all seemed to work fine with the cheapo 460W PSU so I figured I'd push my luck and just leave it as is as I was busy with other things and never got around to RMA'ing the Corsair 620HXEU PSU (which incidentally is still under warranty for just under another year - so I'll probably RMA that too once and for all as it's always useful to have additional PSU's handy).
    -Today I bought I a brand new Corsair HX750W PSU which I'm powering the system with as we speak running memtest/prime95 etc. while trying to narrow the problem explained below.

    WHY on earth I keep buying Corsair with all the bad luck I've had with their products is beyond me, probably the glowing reviews they always get and the fact that they seem to have better warranties than anyone else. Although with the hassle and pain of RMA postage and all that crap honestly if something goes wrong with this latest Corsair PSU I'm pretty sure I'll never buy Corsair again, it's just not worth it. Believe it or not I've had twin paired Corsair PC3700 DDR in the past also in my old Socket A system and of course that was the same story as the PC8500 I bought. First pair lasted a few months or so then one started giving errors, RMA'd them, got two new ones back of the same series and within another few months same shit one or more died and I couldn't arsed to RMA them yet again so I just bought a different brand which worked fine.


    THE PROBLEM / TROUBLE WITH CURRENT SYSTEM:

    Background story:

    When I first started noticing the problem actually it was when playing Skyrim when it came out on 11.11.11. I used to game a lot on that system when it had the Corsair 620HX PSU in it but since I replaced it with the 460W cheapo I basically stopped gaming and hadn't since the rls of Skyrim. I just had to try that game out though so I did. Within the first hr of playing at 1920x1080 on med-high (yes believe it or not it was perfectly playable on an 8800GT) the whole system just locked up and i got the repeating (du du du du du du du du) lock out up sound coming through the speakers and ctrl alt del etc. do not work. Reset button did not work. Only way to was to hold down the power button on the system for a few secs and have it shut down. Oh and I'm pretty sure heat wasn't an issue as I leave my case open pretty much always and even had the windows wide open in fall/winter to keep the room nice and cool. x)

    Reboot.... fans spin incl GPU at full speed but no POST (no beeps).... nothing.... hold power button down.... reboot... same thing fans spin but no POST (no beeps)... repeat, repeat = same.

    So I cut the wall power to the 460W PSU, wait a few minutes, then resume power... hit the power button and it POSTS (beeps once) but the BIOS was reset and it said bad CMOS checksum. SO i go into the BIOS fix all the time/date etc save and exit and it's all fine. Reboot load into windows everything seems to work.

    So I thought hmmm maybe this is a PSU issue because skyrim is putting a load on the GPU and system which it hasn't experienced really yet on this new crap psu. The PSU says it has 2x18A 12v so yeah that's pretty crap but I figured with an 8800GT it would be alright.

    Strange thing is I pushed my luck and tried Skyrim again and this time managed to play literally for several hours straight without ever quitting out of the game. Over the coming days/weeks i was able to play a little skyrim on and off and had some pretty ridiculous 8hr plus sessions without ever quitting the game and no lockups or performance issues to note.

    Over this whole time frame (closing in on 50 or more hrs of Skyrim over a month and a half yes I fell into that terrible addiction like some of us) the system locked up the same way it did a few more times (always while playing skyrim never in windows or using other apps) and then would not POST (no beep) on reboot just fans spin and always same ... unplug psu ... wait several minutes then it would come back on but with CMOS checksum error and having to reset BIOS etc. Same thing as before.

    So I gave up I thought damn this gaming is clearly killing this shit PSU, I could feel it in my gut, although i couldn't confirm it. Didn't game for several days/weeks and just used my pc for coding/browsing/video/3d-editing/movies/tv/downloading etc.
    No problems.

    Then a couple nights ago I turn off the computer and go to bed as I do every night (the PC usually runs ALL day and only gets turned off at night, although sometimes it's just on 24/7). The next morning it would not POST (no beeps).

    When I took the GPU out though it would give the correct GPU missing beep code. When I took the memory stick out it would give the correct RAM missing beep code. It would simply not POST or beep with the GPU and Memory in together though. So I thought it was the PSU wasn't able to power up the 8800GT enough to get it going. I tried everything I could for a day straight and could not get it to POST or beep at all with the two vital GPU/RAM installed together.

    So I bought the Corsair HX750W I mentioned above to be able to narrow out this possibility (yes I know it's overkill for this current system but I bought it with the intention of using it on my new build which I plan on building although apparently that may have to be a lot sooner than I had planned).

    Upon hooking up the new over powered HX750W PSU it still would not POST and did not beep. Tried some resets etc. still nothing. So I was like okay then it's the motherboard for sure! Or was it?

    -Moved the memory from first to second slot = same thing no post no beep.
    -Moved the memory to the third slot = still nothing.
    -Moved the memory to the fourth slot = still nothing.
    -Moved the memory back to the third slot = WORKS! Beeps and POSTS and even loads into windows.
    -Moved the memory back to the first slot = nothing doesn't work again no POST no beep.
    -Moved back to the third = works.
    -Then just for the hell of it i moved it back to the first slot which apparently hadn't worked in over a day and now even the first slot works (that's the one I'm running memtest on as we speak and it's on it's fourth full pass of 100% with ZERO errors!).




    I've yet to remove the HX750W and try it with the old 460W crap PSU to confirm my suspicions that all along perhaps it wasn't even the PSU (I'm letting it run memtest for several hours for now on the 750W although I might try it later just to satisfy my curiosity).


    -----------------------------------------------------

    CONCLUSION:


    So I'm at a loss of ideas what to do, I've never experienced such strange happenings with a PC before, things being what would appear completely broke/shot and then just somehow starting to work again auto-magically without changing anything really. Clearly something is fucked with this motherboard or memory even though memtest tells me everything is fine.

    I didn't plan on retiring this system so early as it was still able to run most apps I needed to just fine (as I said I don't game as much as I used to minus the skyrim binge i went through although I'm over that now).

    The thing is it's a socked 775 motherboard with DDR2 support only (up to 1333mhz). As far as I can tell they don't even make those boards anymore and DDR2 is pretty all retired and obsolete.

    So if I need a new motherboard that means I need a whole system basically. New CPU, new DDR3, etc. It's definitely not an expense I had the money for right now but I'm starting to think I have no choice. I figure it's a waste of money to invest in trying to fix or replace such obsolete hardware so I'm wondering what my options are for a new system, and besides I've already got a new HX750W psu now so that should be fine for any new system I build.

    What's the best $/performance motherboard/cpu/ram/gpu combos out there today? Mostly for intensive app usage, and a little gaming every now and then. I usually only build a new system every 4-5 years or so (barring hardware failures which I seem to get a lot of) but this time around I'd be willing to spend a little less and make it a slightly less substantial upgrade in the goal of saving money as its rather tight atm (even though if necessary I'll spend what's needed to get a good $/perf that will last me longer than only a couple years). I'm a bit out of the loop though as I haven't bought hardware in a while and would like to purchase it asap (ie. today or within the week at the latest). Which means I don't have hours and days to do all the research I usually do when building a system, hence I have turned to people who are up to date on the hardware scene.

    Any recommendations?? You guys would really save my ass on this one!


    THANKS (oh and merry belated christmas and happy new year to all).
    Last edited by bobdob; 12-29-2011 at 10:33 AM.

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    What's your budget?
    Do you only need MB/CPU/RAM/GPU?

    I'd say something like ASRock Z68 Extreme3 [$125] / 2500K [$180 at Microcenter] / 8GB DDR3 [$40] / GTX 560 Ti 448-core edition [$290] would be a nice deal at $635.
    (of course, if you're getting 2500K, you should also get $35 Hyper 212 Evo, and turn it into something way faster than i7-2700 [$350] by OCing it to 4.5 or at least 4.2 GHz).

    If that's out of your budget - replace motherboard with ASRock P67 PRO3 [$25 cheaper], RAM with 4GB [$20 cheaper], and GPU with 550 Ti [$150 cheaper].
    This'd turn your budget into $440. :3

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    Is motherboard related, it's a chipset issue.. you don't need to buy a new system, just return the new PSU and use the money to replace the motherboard(you might be able to find some very cheap used ones).
    "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" - Unknown (but sometimes attributed to Sigmund Freud)

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    @Original Sin Yeah problem is I don't really have time to go hunting for hard to find used motherboards (honestly I'm not even sure I would want a "used" motherboard from 4 or 5 years ago) I really need to get the PC back up and running asap and considering it's new years the day after tomorrow and then the weekend that doesn't leave me much time or i'll be out of the PC for the whole week (I mean technically it does apparently work now but who knows if it will boot tomorrow or the day after or not). The online store I usually buy my hardware at actually only has one Socket 775 mobo available anyways (an Asus Asus P5G41T-M LX) and it costs 50 euros. The Coolermaster Power Elite 460W is truly a POS shit PSU though. While the HX750W might be overkill I still feel there is some sort of issue with the 460W, and I'd need to get a new PSU anyways when I build a new rig I wouldn't feel right subjecting decent hardware to a shit 50 euro PSU not considering the way I use PC's and have them in use powered on almost always doing some sort of I/O 24/7 365 a year.

    Currently though the P5E and the same RAM module are running memtest on it's 15th pass and still 0 errors. Of course this is using the HX750W. So perhaps I should try switching it back to the 460W and running it again. I mean what does that tell me? It's just a fluke...? What if I run memtest for 24 hrs straight and there's 0 errors. Is there really something wrong with the mobo then? Or should I just stop the memtest and put the 460W back in and test it with that? (if it POSTs that is - i haven't tried the 460W since I plugged the 750W in this morning).

    @Shadowww In terms of budget for new pieces well, I already paid about 140 euros for the HX750W but I suppose it's possible I could return that and put it towards a new motherboard/memory (although I'm still not convinced the 460W POS is actually working properly).

    Also it's quite possible I could just tide myself over on the GPU front with the 8800GT and get a new GPU next month as GPU's tend to be rather sensitive and pricey parts of the system. And of course it's not like I need to game, I just need a reliable working system I know will power up in the morning so I can get some work done. I'm pretty sure there's nothing wrong with the 8800GT anyways so.

    Only problem of course is that if I get a new motherboard then of course I need a new CPU. Feels like a shame really because I never really got to push the Q6600 (but oh well, c'est la vie). I always buy hardware thinking longer term and upgrade path and future potential but of course every time it comes around to doing anything like that all the sockets and types have changed by then and you can no longer get components for those formats.

    So I guess maybe a CPU/MB/RAM would suffice for now and GPU can wait until next month or the month after. Budget I'd say somewhere between 400 and 500 Euros. Less is better of course is there's a better $/performance possibility like say somewhere around 300 euros although i somehow doubt that's possible, heck I probably can't even get much of anything decent for even 400 euros.

    It's just that in Europe hardware tends to be more expensive than anywhere else so I always somehow doubt I can get anything decent MB/CPU/RAM wise for only a few hundred euros. Last time my Q6600 alone was like 230 euros, around 200 for mobo, and another 180 ish for 2GB of RAM, but of course that was almost 5 years ago now but usually it stays the same for the mid-high solid $/perf components at any given time.

    edit: actually i just remembered they have a pay in 3 parts method on the site i usually buy my gear so that definitely makes it more doable for me and makes budget slightly less of an issue. @Shadowww Although from what i can see they don't even have AsRock brand.
    Last edited by bobdob; 12-29-2011 at 11:58 AM.

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    You can grab proper mobo, proper RAM now, but a Celeron G530 for CPU. In single/dual threaded apps it'll still be loads faster than your Q6600, and you'll have option to upgrade to proper CPU (2500K) later without changing mobo.

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    @Shadowww did you check my edit? About the pay in 3 parts bit. Which means perhaps I don't need to waste additional money on buying a lower end CPU then upgrading. And like i said knowing me if I find the CPU works fine i probably won't even bother if I don't feel like there are any apps that are really struggling! Then I'll be stuck with a shitty Celeron for the life of the system and that will just make me feel dirty. Plus it would just waste and additional 100 euros or wtvr if I do decide I need a better one. I think I'd be better off saving that and putting that towards a better GPU or so in a month or two?

    What should I be looking at socket 2011, socket 1155 or socket 1366? That's what they seem to have listed on their site. They also seem to have socket 1156 (but it only has 1 mobo listed) and socket 775 (also with only 1 mobo listed). The others seem to be all AMD specific and if I'm not mistaken Intel is still the way to go in 2012? Or has AMD made some sort of come back I'm not aware of?

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    Right I just switched the HX750W back to the crap and rather dusty Cooler Master Power Elite 460W PSU to satisfy my curiosity and it POST'd this time around. (/facepalm - even though it didn't all day yesterday or this morning but apparently since the HX750 was in it now it works again? pfft ) I just don't get this shit. So I've got it running memtest under the shit no name cooler master power elite or wtvr the heck they call it 460W now and we'll see how that goes. /sigh

    Clearly this means it must be the motherboard? Although I wouldn't be surprised if instead of memtest i stress tested with a game the whole thing would just lock up again or something similar. Strange.....

    Which means I guess I should take the 140 euro HX750W PSU back and get a new MB/CPU/RAM? Wait on the GPU until later... or should I just keep the HX750W PSU anyways? I mean it is a good PSU anyways and I already have it. Of course I'm also going to RMA an HX620W but that will take a few weeks so I don't really have time to wait for that.

    Man I hate computer hardware sometimes!!!! shit always has to go wrong at the worse possible times...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdob View Post
    Currently though the P5E and the same RAM module are running memtest on it's 15th pass and still 0 errors. Of course this is using the HX750W. So perhaps I should try switching it back to the 460W and running it again. I mean what does that tell me? It's just a fluke...? What if I run memtest for 24 hrs straight and there's 0 errors. Is there really something wrong with the mobo then? Or should I just stop the memtest and put the 460W back in and test it with that? (if it POSTs that is - i haven't tried the 460W since I plugged the 750W in this morning).
    You're not getting it, stop running Memtest like a maniac, it's not a RAM issue, it's a memory controller issue -> chipset issue

    Do this, strip the motherboard(completely, take out the chipset and VRM heat sinks), take a large baking tray and cover it with two layers of aluminum foil, make 4 small balls using aluminum foil and place them on the tray in a manner that will allow you to put the motherboard on top of them without the motherboard touching anything but those four small balls... heat up the oven to 220-240 degrees Celsius and put the tray with the card in it inside, leave it like that for 20-30 minutes then turn off the oven and let the board gradually cool inside... this will "resolder" the chipsets and will fix your issue if the chipsets are still ok
    "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" - Unknown (but sometimes attributed to Sigmund Freud)

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    @Original_Sin Oh man that's getting to be a a bit much I think, I really shouldn't have to bake the mobo after the fact. lol I know it might work but honestly there is a problem anyways because believe it or not my oven isn't working since a few weeks and I've yet to have it repaired! Hahahah I know this crazy situation huh! Talk about bad luck and timing. x)

    Although baking my mobo really wasn't on my list of options. It's a good suggestion though but not exactly doable for me. Besides sounds kind of risky and I'm not completely opposed to buying new gear so...

    If it's a memory controller issue though then presumably memtest is stressing the memory controller no? Wouldn't it show up errors in that case? Or should I be doing Prime95 instead with heavy memory load? Or is it normal that it would only manifest in game or on a cold boot (ie. no POST or no beeps)?

    Either way I'm starting to think I really just need to buy a whole new PC and be done with it otherwise I'll never really be sure what the real problem is or if it will rear its ugly head again at the worse possible time.

    I mean it's been used intensely for almost 5 years I guess it's time i face the music and get a new PC even IF this one may have some more juice in it it just doesn't feel "safe" or reliable anymore.

    So I'm still looking for some hardware suggestions for a new build, I think I'll start with new CPU/MB/RAM and GPU can wait a month or two. PSU like I said I've got the HX750W brand new or a shitty no name generic Cooler Master http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/prod...roduct_id=2930 which I don't trust at all (it's cheap in every sense of the term and I never intended to use it longterm - can't believe it's already been almost a yr!). And of course I've got a Corsair HX620W but like i said that's not really an option right now cuz i need to do the whole RMA thing and I can't wait 2 to 3 weeks with no PC (and besides it's always good to have a spare PSU or two lying around).

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    Link the shop/s you'll be buying from, your budget and the exact components you need(CPU/MoBo/RAM/anything else?)

    Return the HX750, it's pointless if you don't have a multi-GPU setup in mind.. you can put the money you spent on it to better use
    "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" - Unknown (but sometimes attributed to Sigmund Freud)

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