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Graphmaster Gerbil
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Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:35 pm

One of my friends PCs is having intermittant freezing issues. He'll be doing anything (usually gaming but occasionally youtube has caused this) and the PC will lock up forcing a restart.

Last time I was there I ran a memtest, updated all his drivers, checked his temps, and ran Prime95 for half an hour to see if anything popped up and nothing seemed to. He claims he'll get a lot of stability for weeks and then it'll all crash down and he'll be unable to get half of surfing blogs in. He also says when it locks up the fan tends to go crazy - I'm not sure he knows which fan though. My gut instinct tells me this might be a hard disk issue - he has three, two mechanical hard drives (WD black 1tb), and a 128 GB Kingston SSDNow V200 - most ofhis games (and his OS) are on the SSD so I think it might be the issue.

Is there a good way to diagnose this one way or another? especially in terms of SSD diagnostic tools?

edit: forgot his specs
He's running an FX-8100, 8 GB of Kingston 1333 RAM, a Radeon 6850, the above three hard drives, and I believe either a 650 or 750w Corsair PSU. System was built about a year ago.
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Re: Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:56 pm

Check the system event log for errors.

Disk issues are certainly a possibility, but it could also be GPU related. (Or almost anything else, for that matter... but I'd start with the disks and GPU.)
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Re: Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:02 pm

If the computer hangs during gameplay and/or video playback I would first check the video adapter. I had a similar issue with my old Radeon HD5870 eventually the card failed and I got a replacement. Check the event viewer for warnings Display driver stopped responding and successfully recovered, it afflicts many Radeon cards while playing certain game(s). I still occasionally get this message but my system does NOT hang and I am able restart the game without rebooting the machine which leads me to believe this is a driver bug. However if the computer does not recover it may throw a BSOD therefore I would check for any .DMP file(s) they usually contain a list of files which may have caused the crash.

Has this computer ever worked stably? If so, when did it start to occur what changes if any have been implemented?

Try the GPU stress test utility - FurMark.

Visit SSD manufacturer website for any tools or contact their tech support, check the event viewer for any SSD related errors.

Use the old trial and error analysis by swapping suspected parts and using them in another computer and also use other tested parts in the unstable computer.
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Re: Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:49 pm

What video card do you have?

Can you check if there was a bsod dump?

My suspicions right now are:
- video driver bug
- virus (since you say the fan of the CPU starts blowing like crazy when the PC freezes, most likely because a process is stressing it to the max)
- failing hardware

Possible steps for troubleshooting:
Exchange your videocard with his for a week or two. After that, if on his end he still gets the random black screens, tell him to leave only one main HDD connected (obviously the main one that has windows on) and again wait and see if the black screens occur. Alternatively you could use software like HDD tune to test for errors but idk if it works on SSDs as well.....
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Disclaimer: All answers and suggestions are provided by an enthusiastic amateur and are therefore without warranty either explicit or implicit. Basically you use my suggestions at your own risk.
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Re: Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:29 pm

At least one time when I had an experience like this, usually under graphically-intensive workloads, the card wasn't securely installed in the slot. Looked like it was, but was actually starting to pull out on the far end due to a misaligned mounting bracket.
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Re: Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:48 pm

"Help analyzing my friends random freezes"

Give him dopamine. ;)

OK, how many of you got the joke?
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Re: Help analyzing my friends random freezes

Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:27 pm

OK, how many of you got the joke?

I don't get it. If he's freezing, serotonin helps regulate body temperature. So maybe 5-HTP would be useful.

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