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Background:

New system build, new components, Windows 7. Detail build below.

Symptoms:

  • Complete system freeze/lock - no mouse movement, no keyboard lights, everything on-screen freezes - no blue screen of death. Requires complete hard re-boot.
  • System is FINE when cold - survives ~10 minutes, then the freezing begins. I keep thinking heat/hardware failure.
  • After warming up, freezing happens early, often in the boot process, or Windows log-in process.
  • Occurs within Windows recovery (from disk), within Safe Mode. Does NOT lock up in BIOS set-up mode, regardless of how long I stay there.

Attempted Fixes:

  1. Replaced Motherboard - still crashes
  2. Replaced Graphics card - still crashes
  3. Replaced hard drive - still crashes
  4. Removed hard drive - crashes when running on DVD only.
  5. Reinstalled Windows 7 - clean build - still crashes
  6. replaced DVD - still crashes
  7. Tested memory - checks out ok.
  8. Ran on single stick of memory (1 of 3). Crashes regardless of which stick I use.
  9. Have disconnected most other stuff.
  10. monitored temperatures - no spiking - fans on CPU, Powersupply, Graphics card, and the box all seem to be running fine.
  11. Power supply seemed to be registering normally when I monitored it, but not 100% sure.
  12. Updated the BIOS - didn't matter.
  13. Have set the memory in default and over-clocking mode (per the manual) - crashes continue in both scenarios. Have not modified other BIOS settings.

Have not replaced power supply or the CPU, minor cables, keyboard, mouse. I've been thinking hardware failure... but now I'm wondering if it is something else? Ideas?? Next to replace is power supply, but I'm not hopeful.

Major Components:

Intel i7 950 3.06GHz, ASUS Sabertooth x58 MB, Patriot memory XMP 3x2GB DDR3 PC1600, ASUS EAH5670 1GB GDDRH5 graphics card, TR2-600W Thermaltake Power, LG Blu-ray, 1TB WD SATA HD (I'll have to dig up the model), Windows 7 Home Premium OEM, Microsoft Office 2010, Norton 360, no other software installed (clean install).

Could there by a systematic incompatibility, something that swapping in the same component will yield the same failure? Other BIOS settings? Drivers – having been able to update much because of the failures, but very little is installed.

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possible duplicate of How do I troubleshoot problems that occur during boot? –  Nifle Jan 20 '11 at 21:34
    
memory modules can often have bad sectors. Firstly, try with just ONE memory module installed. Then try running a memory diagnostic service such as memtest (built into most motherboards). Let it run for a few hours. –  Jay_Booney Jan 20 '11 at 22:43
    
@Nifle: No, that's a community FAQ proposal and this user clearly has done his best to try out as much as possible. –  Tom Wijsman Jan 20 '11 at 22:45
1  
Reading through your steps, the first thing I see you can do is evaluate step 11 as Kyle said. In the past, I had the same problem with the power supply causing my computer to randomly hang/crash and reboot. By the way, welcome to Super User, you've written the most detailed first question I've ever seen. –  Tom Wijsman Jan 20 '11 at 22:45
    
Did you try another Sata data cable? #14-Voodoo. –  Moab Jan 20 '11 at 23:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would definitely suggest checking out the power supply. While this may not be the problem a lot of times odd issue like this are caused by the power supply.

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I would the case to this answer, since there could be a grounding issue. –  Joe Internet Jan 21 '11 at 2:20
    
Well all the guesses at Power supply seemed to be right. I replaced it last night, and got 4 hours of uninterrupted computer usage before bedtime. Amazing. The old power supply showed no fluctuations when monitoring... the system would just die. Never would have guessed that one. –  MikeH Jan 21 '11 at 15:09
    
Glad to hear you got it working! Thanks for writing such a detailed question. –  Kyle Jan 21 '11 at 15:23
  1. Check your memory is on the compatible memory list for your motherboard.

  2. Check your BIOS settings, just because you have selected default does not mean it should work. (I have servers that will not work using default BIOS settings)

As you point out, you haven't discounted the PSU, can you borrow one?

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Symptoms pointing towards the PSU. You could always try and flash your BIOS first (use a guide spesifically for you motherboard), then swap out the PSU if the problem continues.

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I had a Toshiba XP laptop that had similar problems and in the end, I found out that power supply was defective. It's definitely worth looking into next (if you haven't already). With all that you've done, however, I would also consider just taking it into a shop and having it thorougly looked at.

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