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This is the follow-up for this thread. Since I wrote it I've done several testing but so far cannot get my computer to run 3D apps correctly.

First let me quickly remind you the problem: my machine works fine in normal desktop apps. However when I start any 3D app (like games) it works for 20-30 minutes and freezes the computer. It happens all the times with every game I tried (and that was quite a few).

Computer specs are as follows: Core 2 Duo E8400, ASUS P5QL-E, 6GB RAM (2x1GB, 2x2GB), GeForce 9800 GT, Yesico SilentCool SC560-AS12CF (560W) power supply, 2x500GB HDDs in RAID0, Win7-64bit

What I've tested so far:

  • memory - memtest was running for the whole night, not a single problem found, I also tried removing some of the modules, didn't make any difference
  • graphics - I've borrowed two graphics card, GeForce 8800 GT (which is pretty much the same as my 9800 except it has bigger cooling unit) and Radeon HD 4870, Radeon didn't freeze my computer but after playing for half an hour or so it started turning the display on and off every few seconds, GeForce 8800 first froze my computer like my old card and then after I set up the fan to run at 100% all the time it was behaving more less like Radeon, I also tested the temperature of the GeForce and it was 55 degrees Celsius when computer booted and aroud 5 degrees hotter when computer started causing problmes so it's not much of a difference there, I've also tried my card on my friends PC and we couldn't make it to freeze even after 2-3 hours of intensive gaming
  • power supply, I've change it to some old one I had in the closet, nothing changed, plus this one is much better class then old one so I don't suspect it is the problem

Does anyone has any other suggestion what I could check to find the problem? Unfortunatelly I don't have a possibility to try another mainboard or processor at the moment but I suspect that if these parts were problematic it would crash normal desktop apps as well.

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If you have an external drive, you may as well eliminate EVERY software issue. Use clonezilla or similar to take an image of your current system, then wipe it clean and start fresh. If the problem remains, then all that is left is hardware. Adding as a comment since this is just a workaround and not a real fix or answer. –  DHayes Dec 1 '09 at 14:10
    
I already installed my OS several times (WinXP and Win7) so this definatelly is a hardware problem. –  RaYell Dec 2 '09 at 10:09
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Don't forget that 3D gaming is one of the most intensive things you can do on a PC - both for the CPU and the graphics card, so it's not surprising that it works for "normal" desktop apps.

Have you tried and 3D apps like AutoCAD or 3D Studio MAX? You can download trial versions of these so you should be able to find one. Open a large scene, render it and see if your PC crashes.

Given what you've said you've tried it looks like it's pointing to a problem with the CPU - is it overheating? How's it cooled? If it's a fan, check that it's connected and spinning freely. Also check that there is good thermal contact between the CPU and heat sink.

Another thing to try is to turn the game graphics down to minimum - screen resolution, texture size etc. and then run the game. If this works OK, turn one setting at a time back up to maximum (or the recommended value) and see where it starts failing. If it's the texture size then that would point to a memory fault (for example).

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CPU is cooled by a passive Scythe Ninja. I haven't noticed any drastic increase of temperature when I start 3D apps. –  RaYell Nov 30 '09 at 13:32
    
@RaYell - OK scratch that one. –  ChrisF Nov 30 '09 at 13:59
    
I tried running SiSoft Sandra's Burn-it stress test in order to simulate heavy processor, graphics and memory use but it didn't found any problems. And about turning graphics down: for the first few minutes the game plays well on high detail settings so it's not like I'm using too high details for my hardware. –  RaYell Nov 30 '09 at 14:36
    
@RaYell - I wasn't suggesting that the detail levels were too high for the hardware, just that the higher levels will stress it more than the lower levels and turning it down might reveal what component is failing. –  ChrisF Nov 30 '09 at 15:03
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@RaYell - That would indicate that it's not a problem with the graphics card, but perhaps the motherboard or CPU –  ChrisF Dec 2 '09 at 11:01
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Redo the thermal paste and reseat the heatsink. Better yet, use a different active heatsink. The temperature might not look out of the ordinary if the cpu is throttling itself to prevent damage. The problems you are describing are classic heat issues. Troubleshoot all aspects of that first.

You may also want to try reinstalling DirectX. I doubt it would be an issue, but who knows, maybe it is triggering some bizarre memory leak. I would still focus on CPU heat first.

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Also check the motherboard temps, and that the chipset heatsinks are well-fitted. Delve into the BIOS and see what the throttling settings are set to for temp control. –  Bonus Nov 30 '09 at 14:30
    
I guess I could try out active CPU cooling, but I only have a fan that I got with the CPU, will this be enough for testing or I should buy something better? –  RaYell Nov 30 '09 at 14:33
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It can't hurt, can it? –  Phoshi Nov 30 '09 at 16:11
    
Tried that last night. Still freezing the same as it was before. I checked CPU and motherboard temperature just after freeze and it was 42 and 37 degrees Celsius on passive Scythe Ninja cooling, on active Intel Box cooling CPU temperature was a bit bigger - 48 degrees –  RaYell Dec 1 '09 at 14:03
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Is there a way to detect how much voltage is going to the PCI-e slot you're using? If you're overclocking, maybe turn down the voltage to the GPUs/CPU and see if that works.

I'd say it was the driver, but you're using two different brands. The only thing that's common, to me, is the PCi-e slot.

This may sound labor-intensive, but do you have another mainboard to test you config with?

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I'm not overclocking any part of my computer. –  RaYell Dec 1 '09 at 14:04
    
And unfortunatelly as I've mentioned in my question I don't have another mainboard and CPU to test. –  RaYell Dec 1 '09 at 14:06
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