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Hardware-level PC crash (Narrowing down possibilities)

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Seizure1990    252

Hey all.

 

For a while, my PC has been randomly crashing. I did make a thread for this a while ago, but it's been ages, and have some new info, so just making a new one. Basically, it seems to ONLY happen when I play games, but how often it happens is sporadic. Sometimes I can get the whole day through without a crash, usually, I'll get one or two crashes but nothing else, and some days it's near constant. Like once every hour or two. Every once in a while, I'll get an entry in the Event Log pointing at ntoskernel or DirectX.dll, but that's rare, and lately hasn't happened at all. Most of the time, and all of the time as of late, there isn't any specific error at all. Just an entry about how the system was restarted unexpectedly. This leads me to believe that whatever is going on is a very low-level hardware defect, since otherwise, I am assuming it would be leaving more detailed crash reports with memory addresses and such.

 

Because it only happened with games, and the occasional detailed crash report mentioned DirectX, I assumed that my graphics card was the culprit. However, I recently got another card from a friend, and I am still having these issues. He told me the card was a-ok, he just swapped it out for a newer one, and it seems unlikely that both cards would just happen to have the same exact problem anyways. Prior to this, I had run a memory test with MemTest86+ overnight, so many many hours, and it showed perfectly clean, so I know for a fact that's not the problem (and even if it were, would probably be leaving detailed crash reports). I don't have any fancy peripherals in my PC, no sound cards or TV tuners or anything like that.

 

So now I am feeling that it must be either the motherboard or PSU, but was wondering anyone had any input on this situation? I'm assuming it's a pretty safe bet this is hardware related, but maybe someone will have something to say about that. Assuming it is, part of me feels it's a motherboard problem, since I've never seen a PSU with this issue before, but there's always a first time for everything I guess? It had this problem even when the motherboard was brand new, and I just didn't think to return it because I was so certain it was something else. Is it possible that it's a PSU issue, and the reason it only happens when I play games is because the computer is drawing more power, maybe? If it were a motherboard issue, is there a way to explain why it only happens during games?

Just want to see if I can get some input on this before I start buying and returning parts on NewEgg until I find the problem part.

 

Thanks for any help.

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Jim K    11,004

What happens if you run synthetic benchmarks?  

 

What kind of PSU do you have (Brand/Power)...new/old?  How about the rest of your setup (mobo, CPU, GPU)?

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Seizure1990    252

Sorry. I don't know how I keep forgetting to put my specs in.

 

OS: Windows 10 Pro

CPU: Intel i5 6600 (Skylake)

RAM: 16GB (4x4GB)

Motherboard: ASRock H170A-X1/3.1

Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce 980 (Was previously Zotac GeForce 660 Ti)

PSU: I honestly can't remember brand. It's 550 watts. I know it was a good model when I bought it, but it's definitely very old. Older than 10 years now, I think.

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Louisifer    717

Are the cpu/gpu fans clean, they can trigger thermal protection shutdown if theres bad airflow and will happen more often with warm weather.

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Jim K    11,004

How does it perform under synthetic benchmarks ... like AIDA64 and Futuremark (err...UL benchmark).  You could run some stress testing on the CPU/GPU ... see if it triggers a reboot.  You can also use something like HwInfo to monitor temps to see, as Louisifer mentioned, if thermal protection is being triggered.  

 

If temps aren't being exceeded ... but the computer is crashing/rebooting under load with the benchmarks ... it very well could be the PSU?

 

I'm assuming all drivers are up to date, you've done the usual (sfc/dism), lastly and if able a clean/reset install?

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SnailSlug    9

Hallmark signs of PSU degradation.

 

Seeing as it's originally a 550W, it probably still has enough to power the rest of the system under most circumstances, which is why it's throwing you off. I have an old lower wattage PSU that causes reboots if you try to use the DVD drive.

 

Do try to replace it as soon as possible, otherwise the outages may eventually damage the rest of your computer. In fact, there's no guarantee that hasn't happened already.

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Mindovermaster    1,524

I say PSU.

 

If you can't open the case and look at the PSU, being this is likely a self-built, that raises some eyebrows.

 

Assuming it is a good brand brings terror to us all. As far as we know, it may be or not.

 

Also, if you don't know what your PSU is, have you ever opened your case? As in, dusted it out?

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Seizure1990    252

 

1 hour ago, Louisifer said:

Are the cpu/gpu fans clean, they can trigger thermal protection shutdown if theres bad airflow and will happen more often with warm weather.

1 hour ago, Jim K said:

How does it perform under synthetic benchmarks  [...] You can also use something like HwInfo to monitor temps to see, as Louisifer mentioned, if thermal protection is being triggered.  

 

If temps aren't being exceeded ... but the computer is crashing/rebooting under load with the benchmarks ... it very well could be the PSU?

 

I'm assuming all drivers are up to date, you've done the usual (sfc/dism), lastly and if able a clean/reset install?

56 minutes ago, SnailSlug said:

Hallmark signs of PSU degradation.

 

Seeing as it's originally a 550W, it probably still has enough to power the rest of the system under most circumstances, which is why it's throwing you off. I have an old lower wattage PSU that causes reboots if you try to use the DVD drive.

 

Do try to replace it as soon as possible, otherwise the outages may eventually damage the rest of your computer. In fact, there's no guarantee that hasn't happened already.

I've ran many chkdsks, sfcscans, and etc. This problem is also occurring over a reinstall.

 

I've done stresstesting on the CPU, as well as a general all-around stresstest. Also ran FurMark quite a few times, though to be fair, I've never run FurMark as long as I normally would be running my games. I also did run temperature readouts alongside before, and while they can get a bit warm (I don't have AC in my house) they never seemed to run into danger-zone levels. Just to be sure though, I can try doing temp readouts another time and watch carefully as I play games (Is there a way to have it "stream" temperature info to a log, so I can see what the last temp reading was before a crash?) and I guess I can try running FurMark for one or two hours, and see if that triggers anything/

 

 

17 minutes ago, Mindovermaster said:

I say PSU.

 

If you can't open the case and look at the PSU, being this is likely a self-built, that raises some eyebrows.

 

Assuming it is a good brand brings terror to us all. As far as we know, it may be or not.

 

Also, if you don't know what your PSU is, have you ever opened your case? As in, dusted it out?

Of course I opened it up. If there is a brand on the PSU, it's on the top side right against the inside of the case, and I'd have to unscrew it to get a good look at it. If it's really important, I can, but I don't see why it's necessary. It's been 10+ years, I forgot the exact brand. I just know that I didn't skimp on it, and bought from a reputable manufacturer. You can tell by the structure of the PSU its self. Thick aluminum with built-in dissipation fins and nice big fans. Not some cheap tin-can box.

 

I dust now and then. Right now, my case is pretty dusty, but it's behaved exactly the same after a good cleaning, INCLUDING completely reseating the CPU, new thermal grease, cleaning all the fans out with Q-tips, etc, so I really doubt that's the issue.

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count0nz    58

try another PSU it may have Bad caps

 

IMG_20170114_133851.jpg

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Mindovermaster    1,524
19 minutes ago, Seizure1990 said:

Of course I opened it up. If there is a brand on the PSU, it's on the top side right against the inside of the case, and I'd have to unscrew it to get a good look at it. If it's really important, I can, but I don't see why it's necessary. It's been 10+ years, I forgot the exact brand. I just know that I didn't skimp on it, and bought from a reputable manufacturer. You can tell by the structure of the PSU its self. Thick aluminum with built-in dissipation fins and nice big fans. Not some cheap tin-can box.

 

I dust now and then. Right now, my case is pretty dusty, but it's behaved exactly the same after a good cleaning, INCLUDING completely reseating the CPU, new thermal grease, cleaning all the fans out with Q-tips, etc, so I really doubt that's the issue.

 

You better be careful if it is 10+ years. Does it have proper GPU 6-8 pins, 20-24 and 4-8 pins? As said above, it could be your PSU at fault here. Try a different one to rule it out.

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Seizure1990    252

Everyone is saying this sounds like a PSU issue, so I guess I'll get one shipped out to me and swap it. We'll see if that fixes things.

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Seizure1990    252

So, update:

After I ordered my new PSU, I installed MSI Afterburner and underclocked my GPU, setting it to 66% voltage. That actually seemed to fix the problem as well, so even before I got the PSU in the mail, I was pretty sure power load was the issue. I got the PSU today, swapped it in, set my GPU back to 100% voltage, and so far am having no issues, so I guess that wraps up this issue!

 

Edit: Oh, and for anyone who's curious, my old PSU was a Sigma.

Edited by Seizure1990
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Mindovermaster    1,524

Can I say we told you so? ? 

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Brandon H    2,095

hooray for running stable :)

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Obi-Wan Kenobi    1,112

Nice! Glad you’re up and running smoothly! ??

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