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I'll try to be as concise as possible because I have a lot to say about my problem, but I'd rather say it when asked or when I feel it's necessary, just to make this initial reading clearer.

For about a year and a half I have periods when my system has all the problems in the title (I'll use the word 'crash' for either one). I'll list some patterns and what I tried to do and what were the results, but the list is not exclusive:

  • usually it crashes when a CPU-intensive operation is in progress, like a game or video encoding or HD movie rendering, but also sometimes crashes when I'm doing nothing
  • after a first crash the system is very unstable and sometimes it crashes even during POST, or doesn't boot at all

Some months ago I went to a local service (one that you just put your computer on the table and sit there with a guy and trying to figure out the problem, very rare these days) and they used OCCT and it crashed every time he changed some part to test it out (PSU, RAM, video card, HDD). The last one was the CPU. They changed the CPU and it didn't crash any more. Then when they put my CPU back, it also didn't crash. We figured that the trouble was the thermal paste (probably some 2 years old) because it was the only thing changed while testing.

Up until 2 weeks ago, I haven't had any more problems. 2 weeks ago the problems reappeared. I changed again the thermal paste, put some Arctic Silver 5, and for about a week everything worked perfect (tried some games, video encoding, no more crashes). But again it started crashing in the same fashion as the first time.

But now, instead, I figured out a very odd behaviour:

  • when I start some of the apps above, in most cases it crashes
  • if I start OCCT and turn on the CPU test, and run any of the programs above, it doesn't crash, even if the CPU is on 100% load (and 65-70 degrees Celsius temperature)
  • if I shut down OCCT and continue using the programs, it crashes in a very short period of time (even if the CPU is on 5-10% load and 40 degrees)

There are so many patterns and temporary solutions that I figured out in this year and a half period of time, that I can't include them all because I don't know which one are more relevant, but I'll happily provide any details you ask.

My system is:

  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 (3400 MHz - 125W)
  • MB: ASUS M4A79XTD - EVO
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB (2 x 4GB) CL8 1600MHz
  • Video: HIS Radeon HD5770 1GB
  • PSU: Corsair 750W
  • HDD: Western Digital 1TB

  • OS: Win 7 Enterprise 64 BIT (also tried with Windows Server 2008 R2 Trial and Win XP)

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Hate to say it, but it looks like you might just have a lemon Mobo. I had one of these before and it gave me problems too. something about that series just wasn't all that stable.

You can get replacement mobos for this hardware without too much money.

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But do you have any idea why the main thing that seems to solve the problem is the thermal paste? I mean, you have a period when the system crashes after 4-5 minutes every day, you change ONLY the thermal paste, then it does't crash any more for about half a year. I know that this mobo is very unstable and buggy (check it's page on newegg, only complaints), but I would like to understand what's really going on. –  Tiby Oct 12 '12 at 8:15
1  
One of the problems I had was shorting between inline leads, as they were laid too close together. Possible that you are pushing to much voltage through with could cause the thermal paste to harden and crack. Thus, when you reapply paste, it works until the next time the paste cracks. This is dangerous to your components and I would HIGHLY recommend replacing it ASAP if it isn't too late to avoid damage already. –  Jared Tritsch Oct 12 '12 at 14:44
    
P.S. one of those one-egg reviews is me. I had a Phenom II X6 black edition in it. Fried it, my raid controller, and most of the ram. –  Jared Tritsch Oct 12 '12 at 14:46
    
I already replaced it with some industrial ceramic paste from a neighbour and it seems to work ok up until now. But that means my motherboard is OK? Didn't understand exactly the inline lead shorting stuff. –  Tiby Oct 13 '12 at 15:01
    
No. Your motherboard is NOT ok. you should replace it ASAP before the damage gets any worse. Take my word for it. I ignored the problem and ended up slagging half the components. A $3000 USD mistake. –  Jared Tritsch Oct 15 '12 at 14:41

I have exactly the same problems, with exactly the same board. I figured, if the crashes appear, I just shut down the system, take out the CPU for like 30 minutes, put it back, and power back on. It'll be good for another 2 weeks, then I restart the process all over again and again. Really odd behavior.

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