Building Pc's for family

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Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:56 am

Hello, I have just built 3 Pc's for my parents to use in there buisness. here is the parts List. AMD Phenom 840 X4, G. Skill 4GB 1600 Ram, Cooler Master Centurion enclouser, 2 Caviar Blue 500Gb HDD in Raid 1 configuration. Windows 7 64bit professional. ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 Mobo, ASUS 22' Monitors. Logitech MK320 wireless desktop, LG 22X DVD burners. Basic 380 W PSU, can not see Bran name. (bought everything on New Egg). Ok so the first system is up and Running no Problems there. The second System needed some Trouble shooting but It is running stabily now. The third however, keeps randomly shutting down. I have tried re seating the memory, I re seated the 24 pin connnector just incase there was a shortor the connectors where not in contact properly. When the system did boot, I intalled the Latest Catalyst drivers and the system never came back on. I can only assume the grapgics chip is not good. What Can I do to check this? Help!!
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:23 am

Sounds like it might be a motherboard issue. Possibly a processor but I don't see those very often.

You can try the motherboard out of the one that is running to check the parts (memory/processor) and narrow down what the problem is.

What were the problems with the second one that you said was not working but now is?
DrkSide
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:14 am

The second one had a bad Windows installation, so I did a reinastall and it is fine and stable now. I was hoping not hear Mobo failure, even though I had a good idea that is what it was. I doubt it is the processor as you said those are so rare. Thank you for the help and I will keep you posted. day 4 and counting. P.S getting my warranty filled is going to be quite difficult as I exported the parts to the Caribbean. UGH!!

Part 2 . I have checked the Memory and processor, I did not reseat the memory properly, it is booting now. Checking for stability, If Windows Keeps randomly shutting down, what would you suggest I try?
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:34 am

The best troubleshooting involves a barebones system (mobo, CPU, one memory stick, and a video card if no integrated video is present) Then use various diagnostic software to test the configuration such as Memtest86 If the system crashes with that test, use another stick of RAM in a different memory slot. If it works, you have a bad stick of RAM or a bad memory slot on the mobo. Try taking that good stick of RAM and placing it back in the slot you first used. If it works, the other memory stick is bad. If it doesn't, the memory slot on the mobo is bad.

If none of the memory works, we have a number of things that could be wrong. Poorly seated CPU heatsink (if you remove it to check make sure to clean it and the CPU, then use new thermal grease), flaky power supply, or a bad motherboard. I would first pull the CPU heatsink and check that it's seating right (the pattern on the thermal grease or pad should tell you if it was making decent contact). If it is, try using a power supply from on of the other PCs to test the system stability with. If it's still not working, then the motherboard is probably bad. Also, make sure no case stand-offs are touching the underside of the motherboard and shorting it out. Sometimes screws roll around and get caught under the motherboard leading to shorting and flaky behavior.

Troubleshooting a problem like this is painstaking but methodical. Take it step by step and don't rush. You'll eventually isolate the bad component.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:53 am

This Is why I love Tech report. Thank you so much guys for all the advice and help. I have tried jsut a few of these ideas and my troubleshooting knowledge has just grown by 15% or so. The systme has been running stabily for the last few hours. So fingers crossed it continues. I will keep you all posted. Once again thank you so much for all the support and help much appriciated.
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:28 am

My guess is the no-name PSU - poorly regulated power can cause a whole host of issues that look like other things - like memory and motherboard issues. Especially the random shutdowns - that has almost always been a power issue when I've come across it. As long as you've got two other systems that you know are working, I would try grabbing one of the known good PSUs and see if that cures what ails ya.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:48 am

Ok, so the sytem has just shut down and is not evern posting now. I have sawpped all the dimms and tried all the diffrent slots, and new ram in all 4 Dimms and still not posting. Has the worst been realised? Am I to fall in the lap of the gods at ASUS mercy? The motherboard has a built in memory tester, I tried it on the sytem that is not working and nothing happened. I then tried it on one of the Working systems and the memory checkout fine. So I am going to test the processor now and see if that changes anything. Otherwise you all agree its the mobo right?
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:06 pm

Ok I got it to boot into windows, and all 4 cores are reading fine, is there anything I can to to test the PSU or the Mobo for how well it is working? It has jsut shut down on its own again,I think I will try a PSU swap now. Not hopeful however.
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:19 pm

I'd follow bdwilcox (and many others). Run the latest version of MemTest+ for a few hours on a minimal system before you even worry about the HDDs, OS or Catalyst drivers.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:56 pm

Those systems aren't going to really tax the output of even a generic PSU. I'd check, in order- heat, RAM, PSU, HDD.

Since the systems are identical, the easiest way for you to test a given component is to swap it into one of the others and see if the problem follows it.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:04 pm

FuturePastNow wrote:Those systems aren't going to really tax the output of even a generic PSU. I'd check, in order- heat, RAM, PSU, HDD.
Yeah -- have you looked at the temps while just sitting in the BIOS? And when you get into Windows (assuming you still can)? It could be you need to pull the heatsink, clean off it and the CPU, and replace it with fresh thermal paste.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:19 am

When the system boots, and is running, the CPU cooler is fine to touch, and all cores average about 26% usage. I did the motherboard mem test on a working system once, do you think I should repeat it a few times? I have the hdd's raided ,so what should I do in that case? The arrray will be broken, but it is Raid 1 so Redundancy. Will the System still boot?
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:55 am

I don't understand the need for RAID in this scenario, but regardless, I wouldn't worry about RAID until you're confident the rest of the hardware is operating correctly.

Since you have a GPU integrated into your motherboard, the only things needed to POST and enter the bios are: motherboard, PSU, RAM & CPU (and keyboard & monitor). If you don't use a USB drive version of MemTest+, you'll need an optical drive.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:31 am

dnath wrote:When the system boots, and is running, the CPU cooler is fine to touch,

That doesn't mean the CPU cooler is correctly seated. In fact, a poorly seated cooler will be cooler than a properly seated one since the lack of contact won't allow proper heat transfer from the CPU to the cooler.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:49 am

please just save yourself the time and go and get 3 decent power supplies from a respectable manufacturer. you don't need to spend an arm and a leg, but get something decent. the no name junk that came with the case is causing your problems, no doubt in my mind as i have seen it time and time again.

here you go...these are cheap, but are going to be lightyears better than whatever no-names you have now. I have used countless numbers of these in builds for customers without a single incident so far...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817371003

or even something like this which i have heard many good things about as a basic psu, but i have never used one personally...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817815007
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:03 pm

You can disconnect the HDs if you want and the system will still POST but you can just go into the BIOS to move them down the boot order to below the optical or USB media (whichever you're using for Memtest). Ideally you run memtest overnight (several passes) especially if you think there's a problem. Of course, it's still quite possible it's something else (heat, power, bad MB, bad CPU). As wibeasley says, troubleshooting involves removing as many confounding variables (stripping down the system) as possible and then systematically working through the possible causes.
bdwilcox wrote:That doesn't mean the CPU cooler is correctly seated. In fact, a poorly seated cooler will be cooler than a properly seated one since the lack of contact won't allow proper heat transfer from the CPU to the cooler.
Very true. And in any case, why rely on a mere touch test when the numbers are available? Especially when a system has been giving you problems? The CPU doesn't care what your fingers feel: if it is seeing a hotspot and shutting down, that will show up in the numbers. (Could even be a bad thermal sensor, though that's unlikely)
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:38 pm

The second one had a bad Windows installation, so I did a reinastall and it is fine and stable now.


Any ideas what caused the Windows problems? If you install windows once and it doesn't work, then reinstall windows a second time and it does, without changing anything else, then I would be somewhat concerned about what broke the first install. It suggests a subtle memory or disk corruption problem that broke a windows file during installation.

If it boots, runs for a while then shuts down and doesn't restart for a while, that suggests a overheating problem.

If it cold boots only some of the time, then runs for a bit before crashing, I would look at the memory first.

Anyway, the good news is you have a complete, and identical, known good system. So it is just a (tedious) process of swapping one bit at a time and retesting until you find a combination that fixes the broken one, or parts that break the good one. Just remember that you might be unlucky and have more than one problem.
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:32 am

Thanks for the adivce, My sisters Wedding is this weekend so all the computer stuff is on hold for the moment, because I just do not have the time to troubleshoot. I will check the CPU seating first, then MEMtest second, then hardrives last. I will let you know what I find early next week. Thank you for all the support , once again very much appriciated.
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:33 am

I have finally got a thermal take 350W PSU, I have installed it and waiting to see the results. Hopefully all will be well, been running for an hour,which nothing I know, but last week I could not even get a boot
fingers crossed.
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:10 pm

Hi, All second update, the comp, that was not even booting is running stable now for the last few days. So all is good I will never buy cheap PSU'S ever again!! Thank you all for your help.
dnath
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Re: Building Pc's for family

Postposted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:18 pm

dnath wrote:I will never buy cheap PSU'S ever again!!
Amen.
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