Forum          FAQ

Loading

Board index » General Discussions » General Computer Help


Forum rules


Area for those who are learning the basics of computers and how they work. No question is too "dumb" or silly. Go ahead, ask! Someone here can help.

Area will be moderated to assure everyone is treated with respect.



 [ 16 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:22 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Hi, first post here, and I probably should have searched first, but anyway...

Last Thursday, my system started acting up, while playing a game. (WoW. Don't judge.) The screen would pixellate, then the whole thing just froze. This happened a couple of times, then the system refused to even load the BIOS screen upon restart. Dell tech support sends me a new motherboard, which was installed yesterday.

After the motherboard was replaced by their onsite tech, the freezing problem persisted, though slightly changed. Now, it would just lock, no screen pixelation, and no audio (previously, the audio would hang on the last note/tone it was playing). Called Dell tech support again. The rep connected remotely, and we ran some hardware tests, first from the Dell PC checkup tool, then from a disk in the DVD drive. The hardware tests all came back ok, except that the system did freeze again once during a hard drive test from the Dell checkup tool.

After running all these tests from the disk, she tells me that since they passed, the only option left is to reinstall Vista (or revert to factory settings), which I'm hesitant to do. I have all the important stuff backed up, but still, once that button is pushed, it can't be undone.

I told them to give me an hour to try and move all my important data, then call back and talk me through the (hopefully) final step in this repair process. However, as I'm still uneasy about pushing the permanent reset button on my computer, I decided to re-run some of the hardware tests using the PC checkup tool. So far, it hasn't failed any of them, but it has frozen twice while testing; once during the memory test, and once during the nVidia CUDA test for the GPUs.

Before I do something I can't undo, does anyone have any input/experience with this? I'm far from an expert on computers, but this does not seem like a software issue, especially since it occurred both before and after the motherboard replacement (though with slightly different symptoms). Could it be the motherboard they sent me is faulty in a different way? The memory passes all the tests I throw at it (including the 30-minute one that you run from BIOS), and the GPUs also can't be faulted by any of the hardware tests I've done. Then again, the motherboard tests OK as well... Argh!

Sorry for the neverending post, and thanks for reading my saga.

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:10 am 
Offline
Tech Guru
Tech Guru
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 2667
I think you have a bad graphics card.

Since you have SLI 9800GT's, have you tried only running one at a time to see if one of them is defective? Try swapping the top most card (which is the 2nd card since the motherboard is upside down) into where the first card is plugged in (closest to the CPU heatsink).

Run only one at a time in that slot and check your results. See if you get any freezing.

If that doesn't work out, check your RAM modules, by running only 1 single stick at a time in the first black slot to see if any of them are defective.

_________________
Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:24 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Hmm... I'll try running the graphics cards one at a time (in the bottom slot)... After Vista is done reinstalling. Looks like I pulled the trigger on that option a bit too soon, because I'm an idiot when it comes to computers.

Regarding the RAM modules, when you say 1st black slot, do you mean the one closest to the front of the case, or the one closest to the CPU/cooler?

Thanks!

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:25 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Oh, and why the heck didn't the Dell techs have me try something this simple??? Now I'm really wondering if this Vista reinstallation will result in anything but a headache...

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:59 am 
Offline
Tech Guru
Tech Guru
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 2667
SMCA2 wrote:
Hmm... I'll try running the graphics cards one at a time (in the bottom slot)... After Vista is done reinstalling. Looks like I pulled the trigger on that option a bit too soon, because I'm an idiot when it comes to computers.

Regarding the RAM modules, when you say 1st black slot, do you mean the one closest to the front of the case, or the one closest to the CPU/cooler?

Thanks!

Yes, closest one to the CPU.

SMCA2 wrote:
Oh, and why the heck didn't the Dell techs have me try something this simple??? Now I'm really wondering if this Vista reinstallation will result in anything but a headache...

The reason? Well you said it.....they are Dell techs. Unless you get the American based support (costs extra obviously) you will talk to a guy named "Samesh" in India that reads off a piece of paper in a cubicle. :rofl: Not saying that the American based ones are that much better, but they are (not for the price though...)

The reinstall was probably overdue, but its just a pain to reinstall all your stuff and get it back the way you want.

_________________
Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:18 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Well, sure enough, after reinstalling Vista (64) and all of the software that used to be on the drive, it froze again. Same scenario as before the motherboard replacement; frozen image on screen, repeating tone from the speakers, input devices not functional. Restarted, called Dell, ran BIOS hardware tests, again. All passed.

So, at their instruction, I've removed the RAM modules from the white slots, and we wait and see if it freezes again. If it does, I pull one of the mods from the black slots, and wait for it to freeze (or not) again, which will isolate the bad memory chip. If it doesn't freeze with the two that are in there, I swap with the ones I removed, and try again.

They have not suggested removing/swapping the video cards, but I'm sure that will be the next thing to check if the RAM is all functional. Luckily, the only thing this costs me is time, but my patience is beginning to wear thin.

The best part of all this is that after the Vista reinstallation, and the downloading of +/-130 windows updates, the network connection speed was horribly slow, and Dell's solution was... Reinstall Vista! I swear, it's as if that's their solution to everything.

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:27 pm 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Update: After swapping the RAM cards as Dell suggested, the system experiences the same freeze/failure with each of the cards, individually, using two different slots (the two closest to the CPU). So, does this mean that I have 4 faulty RAM mods that all decided to fail simultaneously (what are the odds of that, I wonder?) or is there another faulty component?

m3th0d1c4l suggested the graphics card(s) might be at fault; the tech that replaced the MoBo on Tuesday also replaced one of them, if I'm not mistaken. He had a replacement, and Dell seems to think one was replaced. I'll try running with one card for now, and see if that makes a difference.

One of (the many) Dell support staffers I spoke to was sure that the hard drive was causing the problem, though I'm not sure how. Are there specific tests I can run, outside of the usual chkdsk and the scans that the PC diagnostic program (that Dell is in love with) can run?

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:35 am 
Offline
Tech Guru
Tech Guru
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 2667
Have you tried running the onboard Dell Diagnostics?

I am fairly sure your problem is a bad video card. Just run with each one seperately check the results. From your initial issue of freezing in game, that is the most likely cause.

The only way to find the problem is by trial and error testing of your hardware.

_________________
Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:59 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Funny you should mention that...

I ran Dell diagnostics on every component I could, prior to re-installing Vista on Wednesday. Every piece passed.

Earlier this evening, I removed one of the video cards, and the system ran normally for about 2 hours. I then called Dell back, as they hadn't emailed me a dispatch notice for the RAM that they were supposedly sending. The rep I spoke to this time confirmed my suspicion that the RAM may not be the culprit, and that since I had already removed one of the GPUs, I should run hardware diagnostics on the one that was still installed.

I ran the Dell Diagnostic stress test on the video card, and it passed both sections of the test. I then swapped the other GPU in, and ran the same stress test on it. That one passed as well. Shortly thereafter, another system freeze occurred. I restarted it, to see how long it would run. 40 minutes later, it froze again. This time, I swapped the cards back to the one that hadn't crashed yet, and the system froze again after 20 minutes.

So, as it stands right now, the system will freeze if any of the 4 RAM cards are installed, individually, as well as either/both of the GPUs. The motherboard was replaced on Tuesday, as was one of the GPUs.

Might the CPU have been damaged when the motherboard failed? It's either that, or the hard drive, though both units have passed the Dell Diagnostic tests on at least one occasion each. Either way, I'm officially stumped, and quickly losing patience with Dell XPS tech support. (When the last tech told me to test the GPUs, I was told to expect a callback in 30 minutes, after both cards had time to run the tests. That was 2.5 hours ago.)

Thanks for all the help and advice thus far; it has been invaluable in my ongoing attempts to have a working computer again!

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:24 am 
Offline
Tech Guru
Tech Guru
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 2667
The CPU may have been damaged somehow, but it is very rare that a processor can cause the problem.

Next best thing to try is a new set of RAM sticks and a new hard drive. If those don't work out, the processor may be the issue.

Like I said, its trial and error until you find the problem. :D

_________________
Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:34 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Oh, it's trial and error all right; the trials are all on my end, and the errors come from XPS tech support. The one saving grace is that this hasn't cost me anything, save hours of my time.

I swear, I've been on the phone with more Indian people than Mahatma freaking Gandhi.

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:25 pm 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Update: after drafting a 4 page, 2000 word letter to anyone at Dell, and creating a new support ticket through their website, a man named Vinay has contacted me by phone. He gave me his direct line, and told me that I would no longer have to call the XPS support center for assistance in this matter. He also said that they will dispatch a technician to replace all 4 RAM mods, both GPUs, and the motherboard (again).

If this doesn't work, I'm going to start lobbying them for a new system. I wish it didn't have to come to that, but after spending a total of 8 hours on the phone with Dell, and without a properly functioning machine for over 10 days, all I want is a computer that works reliably, and that seems to be the only thing left to do.

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:31 pm 
Offline
Tech Guru
Tech Guru
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 6:26 pm
Posts: 2667
The power supply could also be at the root of the problem. If the power is intermittently cut out because of a faulty PSU (causing a ripple effect) that can cause the freezing.

This may be the problem since all the hardware seems to pass testing.

_________________
Alienware Aurora R4
Intel Core i7 3930K
16GB Dominator Platinum 2133MHz
2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC
Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty
512GB Samsung 840 SSD
Windows 7 Ultimate x64


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:20 am 
Offline
Member
Member

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:55 am
Posts: 12
Update: Today, I called Worldwide Tech Support (the onsite tech provider), to find out when the tech would arrive. They told me that they hadn't received the parts yet. So, I got in touch with Dell again. it seems that the RAM modules (which everyone who knows anything about computers seems to think will not solve this problem) are back-ordered. They can't give me a release date at this time, but they'll know by tomorrow. I tell him I want this issue escalated, as it's been 12 days now. He gives me an email address of the escalations department, and tells me that someone from that department will contact me in 24-48 hours. Apparently, "tomorrow" is the time when Dell does things.

But wait, there's more! I call Vinay back, on his direct line, to inquire about why there's no RAM available at a giant computer company like Dell, when I can buy it myself through newegg.com, probably with next-day delivery. He gives me the usual BS, "we're sorry, I understand your frustration, the parts are being expedited, we'll get them to you as soon as possible," etc.

At this point, I mention to him that this is just the latest in a seemingly endless string of failures on Dell's part to repair a non-working system. Now, it's not just about fixing a computer, but rather, what measures are they willing to take to keep my future business, as well as that of my family, friends, and everyone else I meet from now until the end of my life, should they make the mistake of bringing up computer tech support. Naturally, he hasn't got an answer, except to say that Dell will not compensate me for any time I've spent on this debacle.

That's the point at which I very nearly lost my temper, but instead told him that it was time to start thinking about replacing my system, at no charge. He said he'd have to talk to someone about that, and that he'd get back to me. 2.5 hours later, and no reply. I call him back, get someone in his department, and they tell me that he's not at his desk, but he'll get back to me. When, I ask? Tomorrow. (SURPRISE!) I tell the guy to have either Vinay or his supervisor call me at their earliest opportunity.

So, tomorrow is day 13, when I will find out when I should expect to receive the parts that probably won't fix my computer, since, as many have pointed out (and I'm starting to believe and understand), this whole thing probably started with a faulty power supply, which, if you can believe it, not one single person at Dell Tech Support has suggested I replace. Not one. I'm half tempted to just tell him to forget the other stuff and just send me a PSU, but I almost want to see how far these shenanigans will go before they just admit failure and send me a new machine just to shut me up.

_________________
XPS 630i
Unmodified:
8MB RAM, Core2 Quad (2.33), nVidia 9800 GT (SLI) 640GB HD


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:17 pm 
Offline
Tech Guru
Tech Guru
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:24 am
Posts: 3179
Location: In the Green Zone
And it was about 3 years ago when I had found out Dell Support needs support :rofl:

I feel your frustration...You have finally been initiated :clap:

_________________
ASUS ROG Maximus Gene V w/Core i5 2500k
G.Skill Sniper 1866MHz 8Gb | Phanteks TC120X w/Corsair SP120s
ASUS GTX 770 Direct CU II OC 2Gb | Creative Sound Blaster ZX
Samsung 840 250Gb | WD Velociraptor 600Gb | Corsair AX-760
ASUS PA248Q-IPS | Ducky Zero DK2108 w/Zinc + PBT Keycaps
Razer DeathAdder 2k13 | Razer Manticor | Razer Tiamat 2.2
Fractal Design Arc Mini | HP Officejet Pro K8600 | Windows 7


Top 
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Random system freezes - Any suggestions?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:51 am 
Offline
Board Moderator
Board Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 7:40 pm
Posts: 2864
Location: Elkhart, Indiana (USA)
Quote:
And it was about 3 years ago when I had found out Dell Support needs support


To quote Tintin's Thompson & Thompson: "To be specific, life support." :lol:

_________________
Dell XPS 8700 | Core i7 4770 3.4GHz | BIOS A11 | Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1 | 16GB G.SKILL DDR3 Sniper 1600MHz | EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SC | Dell S2340M 23" IPS LED | Seasonic 650W M12II-650 | Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB | Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB | ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 | ASUS DRW-24B1ST | Logitech G100S | Dell SK-8135 keyboard | Logitech Cordless Rumblepad 2


Top 
  
 
 
 [ 16 posts ] 

Board index » General Discussions » General Computer Help


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 0 guests

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to: