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My computer randomly restarts. Is it more likely my motherboard or processor? So, I know which one to return or replace first.

  • Windows 7 SP1 64-bit
  • Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3
  • CPU: Intel i7

Times it restarts

  • randomly during use in Windows 7
  • during boot
  • while in BIOS
  • before BIOS
  • basically randomly as soon as I press the power button

Attempted solutions or diagnostics

  • I have taken the computer down to the bare minimum of hardware components to see if it fixed the problem; CPU, mobo, PSU, 1 memory stick, 1 HDD. The problem still persisted.
  • I swapped all the memory sticks and problem still persisted.
  • I did a memory check on the memory and they seem fine.
  • Nothing is overheating.
  • I tried replacing the PSU with another one that works and it still persisted.
  • Nothing, besides the notice that the system did not shutdown properly, is showing up in the hardware or application logs in Windows.
  • I have reseated everything.
  • I have taken everything out of the computer and cleaned it completely out and still having the issue.
  • I have moved the computer to a different outlet in my house and the problem still persists.
  • I have tried a second working CPU and it still does not work.
  • Checked for blown caps.
  • Swapped out all cables with known working cables.
  • Sent Motherboard for repairs and they repaired it and sent it back and it is still not working

New Verdict @ 12 August 2013

I sent the motherboard for repairs to ASUS a few weeks ago. They said something was wrong with it and repaired it and sent it back. However, it is still randomly restarting.

I did some more part swapping over the weekend and discovered the problem is still the motherboard. I am going to talk to ASUS again today and see what they can do about replacing the motherboard. Will update this post when the problem is resolved.


UPDATE @ 28 August 2013

Got the replacement motherboard last night and everything is working fine so far. It has not restarted for 12+ hours. Will be letting it run for the next couple days to see if it restarts. Typically it would have restarted numerous times within the 12 hours. So far so good. =) If it does not restart today or this evening i will create an answer and close this question.


UPDATE @ 29 August 2013

Still no restarts with the replacement motherboard. Declaring it fixed.

share|improve this question
    
sounds like a detective motherboard. –  Ramhound May 24 '13 at 0:22
1  
Well, if it's a detective motherboard it ought to be able to figure out the problem itself. –  Daniel R Hicks May 24 '13 at 1:15
    
Does it ever happen "just sitting there"? See if it happens when you just bang the box. –  Daniel R Hicks May 24 '13 at 1:17
    
I have actually tried vigorously shaking and wobbling cords while it is running and it does not seem to cause the problem. Also, it will happen when no one is even touching it. Completely randomly. –  prolink007 May 24 '13 at 3:24
2  
+1 for your persistence –  Jan Doggen Aug 12 '13 at 14:11

7 Answers 7

Your options are:

  • Remove all but 1 stick of ram
  • Disable sound card, network card, and any other devices in the bios
  • Remove any other PCI devices (video card, sound card, cd rom ect..)

Once you have done that, and the issue continues:

  • Remove the motherboard from the case. It could be grounding out on a motherboard stand off.
  • Borrow a compatible CPU

If you have swapped every part, and removed the motherboard from the case, then the only other options are:

  • Bad power cable
  • Bad motherboard

Just because it came back from RMA, doesn't mean they fixed it.


Lastly Verify the following:

If you have a modular power supply, make absolutely sure you use the cables that were provided with it. Modular cables do not have the same pinouts between manufactures.

Double check that you are using the cables in the right places. I've seen 8 pin power connectors intended for video cards, that fit inside the 4 pin cpu power header. (They are not the same pinout)

I've seen counterfeit cpu's which are over clocked and are extremely unreliable. (very unlikely)

Check for blown capacitors. Also unlikely since the board just came back from RMA

share|improve this answer
    
I listed that i have tried all those suggestions already in my "Attempted solutions or diagnostics" section. –  prolink007 Aug 8 '13 at 13:28
1  
Some of my answers you have tried, but some of them you have not: (Trying different cpu, running the motherboard outside the case, turning off the sound in the bios, swapping power cable, if you are using a modular power supply, if you have checked the 4 pin connector, and blown capacitors) all are not in your list. –  spuder Aug 8 '13 at 14:41
    
I have not tried turning off sound in the bios and running mobo outside case. When running the mobo outside the case, i should leave the standoffs attached and just let it sit on my desk or something, correct? Making sure nothing is shorting out the lines. –  prolink007 Aug 8 '13 at 14:51
    
I would leave off the standoffs, and run it on your desk. –  spuder Aug 8 '13 at 15:24
    
I will try that this evening. I also have a couple extra cases i can try. –  prolink007 Aug 8 '13 at 15:27

THIS DID NOT WORK, IT IS STILL FAILING.

The solution to this problem seems very weird.

Here is what i had to do to fix the problem...

Control Panel -> Power Options -> Change plan settings -> Change advanced power settings -> Power buttons and lid -> power button action.

Change that setting to "Do Nothing".

Fixed the problem, have not seen the computer randomly shutdown since the change.

share|improve this answer
    
Maybe your power button has a mechanical problem ? –  HeyYO Jun 29 '13 at 16:41
    
I disconnected the power button completely and it would still restart. –  prolink007 Jul 1 '13 at 14:56
    
I have still been having the issue, this is not resolved. I RMA'd the motherboard and they said they found an issue with it and repaired it. However, i am still having the issue. –  prolink007 Aug 6 '13 at 20:29
    
Disconnect the power button and reset button as well and see if that fixes it. If it does, focus on the buttons. –  Damon Aug 8 '13 at 4:03

Perhaps it's the power into your house itself? If both outlets showed the same thing, maybe the power going into your house (or at least on the circuit, if both outlets happen to be on the same power circuit in the house) is fluctuating and your computer is particularly susceptible. If you have a decent UPS (uninterruptable power supply) available to you, try plugging the computer into that.

A UPS should filter out noise in your power and, if you have any intermittent dropouts in power (brown outs, even), the battery should pick up the slack and prevent the computer from seeing a change in power output. If this is the cause, you should stop seeing the random restarts.

share|improve this answer
    
My other computer, identical components except hdd and case, is one outlet over and is working fine. I was going to move the malfunctioning computer to a different outlet tonight and see if the problem persists. If it does, i will see if i can get a UPS from somewhere just to test. –  prolink007 Aug 7 '13 at 17:23
    
Since you said you have a nearly identical computer, if this doesn't yield any info, I'd start swapping components one-by-one between the two until the second computer starts rebooting randomly. This should identify what's at fault through process of elimination. –  Ben Richards Aug 7 '13 at 21:44
    
I have already done the replacement method. And it appeared that it was the motherboard that was causing the issue. That is why i RMA'd it. After i got the mobo back, i am still having the issue. I may try replacement method again, to see if i come to the same conclusion. –  prolink007 Aug 8 '13 at 13:29

Disconnect the power button and reset button and see if that fixes it. Start your computer by shorting the power pins with a screwdriver or something without the buttons attached. If it doesn't have the problem any more, focus on the buttons. Based on your description, it is highly likely your power or reset button is mechanically failing.

If you really want to know if it is your case/buttons, put it all in a new case and see if it still does it.

CPU and MB issues would be crashes and BSOD's.

share|improve this answer

If the shutdown is controlled (windows is shutting down etc. messages) then the computer is either being told to shutdown by unknown software or by a faulty power switch. If the shutdown is instant - black screen - straight to bios startup without any messages then I would replace the motherboard for an identical model if possible. Check your event logs for any other clues.

Try booting into safe mode (push f8 once every second at boot) - When in safe mode, does the computer still switch off on it's own/reboot?

share|improve this answer
    
It goes straight to black and starts restarting. I have formatted several times trying to resolve this issue. The last time i checked safe mode, it rebooted while in safe mode. That was before i sent the motherboard to get repairs. –  prolink007 Aug 8 '13 at 13:31

This is just one marginal possibility, though after this many answers with no solution, I figured I'd mention it just in case it helps.

I was seeing this problem myself just after I upgraded to a new video card. The issue turned out to be my power supply - not necessarily that the PSU was 'bad', but because it wasn't ranked highly enough to deliver the power my computer needed.

Of course, you did mention you had swapped for another PSU. I didn't see any details about whether it was more or less powerful, but if it was around the same amperage, this could be a possibility. However, I would only expect this to be the case if A) You can think of some powerful component of your computer that might be a power hog, not necessarily a video card, or B) Something is using far more power than it should be.

I think the easiest way to test for that kind of issue would be with a voltometer, if you can get a hold of one.

share|improve this answer
    
Both the PSU are the exact same PSU. Gold @ 1K watts. More than enough for my setup. I actually only need around 700-800 watts. So far, the replacement motherboard is working. Will have more details tomorrow. –  prolink007 Aug 28 '13 at 15:30
    
Oh - I thought you had said that the replacement motherboard was still having the same issue. Your PSU almost certainly seems adequate though, so it looks like that isn't the issue. (700 watts does seem above what most users need) –  Katana314 Aug 28 '13 at 15:33
    
Well, i initially sent the motherboard off for repairs and after they sent it back it was still failing. I then got them to just replace the motherboard and now it is working with the new replacement. Still no restarts last night or this morning. –  prolink007 Aug 29 '13 at 13:30
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The problem was the motherboard.

I first sent the motherboard off for repairs. ASUS found a problem with the board and repaired it and sent it back. However, the motherboard was still failing with the repairs.

I contacted ASUS again and asked for a replacement instead of a repair. They sent me a replacement and so far 36+ hours with no restart with the replacement motherboard.

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