I built a desktop computer a couple years back with the following specs:
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz 6 MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80580Q9300
- Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-T1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
- Video Card: Two EVGA 256-P2-N758-TR GeForce 8600GT SCC 256 MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card
- PSU: SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-550HT 550W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
- Memory: Two G.SKILL 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ
Since its inception, the machine has periodically locked up, the regularity having varied over the years from once a day to once a month. Typically, lockups happen once every few days.
By "lockup" I mean my computer just freezes. The screen locks up, I can't move the mouse. Hitting keys on my keyboard that normally turn LEDs on or off on the keyboard (such as Caps Lock) no longer turn the LEDs on or off. If there was music playing at the time of the lockup, noise keeps coming out of the speakers, but it's just the current frequency/note that plays indefinitely. There is no BSOD.
When such a lockup occurs I have to do a hard reboot by either turning off the computer or hitting the reset button.
I have the most recent version of the NVIDIA hardware drivers, and update them semi-regularly, but that hasn't seemed to help. I am currently using Windows 7 x64, but was previously using Windows Server 2003 x64 and having the same lockup issues.
My guess is that it's somehow video driver or motherboard related, but I don't know how to go about diagnosing this problem to narrow down which of the two is the culprit.
Additional information re: cooling Regarding cooling... I've not installed any after-market cooling systems aside from two regular fans I scavenged from an older computer. The fan atop the CPU is the one that shipped with it. One of the two scavenged fans I added it located at the bottom tower of the corner, in an attempt to create some airflow from front to back. The second fan is pointed directly at the two video cards.
SpeedFan installation and readings Per studiohack's suggestion, I installed SpeedFan, which provided the following temperature readings:
- GPU: 63C
- GPU: 65C
- System: 76C
- CPU: 64C
- AUX: 36C
- Core 0: 78C
- Core 1: 76C
- Core 2: 79C
- Core 3: 79C
Update #3: Another Lockup :-( Well, I had another lockup last night. :-( SpeedFan reported the CPU temp at 38 C when it happened, and there was no spike in temperature leading up to the freeze.
One thing I notice is that the freeze seems more likely to happen if I am watching a video. In fact, of the last 5 freezes over the past month, 4 of them have been while watching a video on Flickr. Not necessarily the same video, but a video nevertheless. I don't know if this is just coincidence or if it means anything. (As an aside, each night before bedtime my 2 year old daughter sits on my lap and watches some home videos on Flickr and, in the last month, has learned the phrase, "Uh oh, computer broke.")
Update #4: MemTest86 and 3DMark06 Test Results:
Per suggestions in the comments, I ran the MemTest86 overnight and it cycled through the 8 GB of memory 5 times without error. I also ran the 3DMark06 test without a problem (see my scores at http://3dmark.com/3dm06/15163549).
So... what now? :-)
Any further suggestions on what to check? Is there some way to get a stack trace or something when the computer locks like that?
I have never did figure out the particular problems, but based on the suggestions here and elsewhere, I'm presuming it was a motherboard issue. In any event, I recently upgraded my system, buying a new motherbeard, PSU, CPU, and RAM, and that new rig has been working splendidly the past several weeks. I am using the same graphic cards as in the old setup, so I think it's safe to reason that they weren't the cause of the problem.