Custom PC occasionally Hangs

February 13, 2012 at 09:29:22
Specs: Windows 7 64-bit, Core2Quad 2.5GHz/4GB RAM
My computer hangs regularly ever since I've started using it (Not just a hiccup or temporary stall, it completely freezes & needs to reset only to see it hangs again). I've tried re-installing Windows several times, fully update everything, used all kinds of diagnostic tools, but none worked so far. My biggest suspicion is my only Caviar Green drive, which might have low performance so it can't run really well. If so, does overclocking the drive work or should I buy a reliable drive ? If not, what could be the exact cause ?

The hangs are pretty unpredictable, sometimes it hangs as soon as I logged in, sometimes it's after an hour or so. I checked the jumpers, changed the SATA and power cable but the problem still persists. Most time when it hangs, the HDD light lights up until the computer is either shut down or reset. I used Memtest86+, built-in Memory Diagnostic, Hiren's Hard drive Scanner-thing. Nothing showed up.

Needs help badly, thanks.

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February 13, 2012 at 11:12:35
When running memtest 86+ you may need to let the test run overnight. Memtest needs to test EVERY single block of memory address. Certain hardware may need to access defined memory ranges that have not been tested because the test was not complete.

Memory can go bad but the most common cause of memory error in my experience is with corroded contacts. A simple fix is to snap each RAM module in and out 4 or 5 times. Be sure the computer is unplugged and exercise proper electro-static discharge precautions (ground yourself just before).

Mismatched RAM (different specs) can also present that kind of issue.

The other possibility is overheating. You can monitor the system temperatures and voltages in real time. Download and install HWMonitor. Get it at the link below.

Your hard drive may cause an issue is you set power options to allow the hard drive to hibernate/sleep. Set to never in the power options.

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February 13, 2012 at 11:15:06
Hard drives are NOT overclockable. And all the software tricks in the world won't do a thing to fix a hardware problem. Please post your complete system specs, along with the power supply specs & CPU temperature.

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February 14, 2012 at 04:40:48
full specs:
Intel Core2Quad @ 2.50GHz, usually at about 32oC
WD Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB hard drive
4 Kingmax 1GB DDR2-800 (I'm not sure of the series name)
Antec EA-430 430W Power Supply
2 nVIDIA 8600GT w/ SLI enabled
SoundBlaster Audigy Sound Card.

That's it.

Additional Info : The problem doesn't seem to occur in Safe Mode, so it probably software's fault. I could be wrong, though, since it sometimes takes longer than a couple of hours to hang.

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Related Solutions

February 14, 2012 at 13:02:39
Now that you posted your specs I am pretty sure your problem is that your power supply is under sized for your system. Each of your 8600GTs can draw up to 195w which equals over 16A@12v.

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February 14, 2012 at 14:59:28
try taking one out?


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February 14, 2012 at 15:05:51
I should have added that the graphics in Safe Mode are SVGA which is less demanding of the cards. If you look at the link above it has TWO power bars. One for idle and one for full load. Lot of difference between them.

larryf215 had a good idea. If you remove one card you may eliminate the problem.

Post the EXACT model of your power supply and I can tell you for sure but there is no way a 430W PSU is going to put out the kind of amps on the 12V rail that you need.

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February 15, 2012 at 07:04:01
No good, problem's still there.
My exact PSU model is this:
I also forgot the Mainboard : Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4

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February 15, 2012 at 07:16:39
Your power supply has 2 12volt rails. 1@17A & 1@16A. Your graphics cards can draw up to 16A each. You need power for the CPU, drives, fans, etc.

Did this setup as is ever work?

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February 15, 2012 at 07:41:01
The computer used to be my uncle's, who gave me the parts because he's upgrading his own computer. The only thing different from his computer is the PSU, he kept his CoolerMaster and gave me his friend's Antec instead. So no, and I might have to buy another PSU if this keeps up.

This computer actually worked before, you have to turn it on, restart it, the use it. Same trick doesn't work anymore ever since I had to reinstall Windows.

Also, my computer hanged twice since I removed one card, this is the third run for over 30 minutes so far. I find this promising.
EDIT: It lasted for about 1h15'. So problem not solved.

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February 15, 2012 at 08:51:21
You are overloading the power supply. If it fails it may also take out the motherboard and other hardware. I recommend you stop running the system until you get a better power supply.

The link below is for a power supply that will run your system while in SLI mode.

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February 17, 2012 at 06:55:31
I just bought the Cooler Master Extreme Power Plus 650W


Not to mention the system is kinda laggy, and hangs up even faster. I'm considering trading for Cooler Master GX-650W. But the computer currently still hangs, so it's not the power problem, I guess.

Since this PSU is fresh from the store, maybe it needs to "warm-up" or something, so I'll leave it for a few days to see if it's better or anything.

P/s: now it even hangs in Safe Mode. *sigh*


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February 17, 2012 at 11:01:22
Geez, I thought I explained about 2 12V rails. Your new PSU has 2 18A@12V rails. Your graphics cards can each draw up to 16.5A@12V. That is cutting it too close.

I provided a link above for a PSU with 1 12V rail @46A.

Do you see the difference between a low end and a better unit. Both oar rated at 650W, yet one has 46A@12V, the other has 18A+18A@12V=36A@12V.

Why didn't you take my advice and buy the PSU I linked?

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February 17, 2012 at 11:26:56
Listen to othehill, the cheaper power supply has it's wattage artificially inflated by giving you much more amperage in the 5Volt and 3.2Volt rails because it is easier to do and therefore cheaper to do but that is much more than you will ever use on those rails and nowhere near enough on the 12 Volt rail(s) which you DO need. Also by splitting the amperage onto 2 rails you may at times need more amperage for one device than the one rail can supply and then amperage available on the other will be wasted. In this case, neither rail can power even one of your graphics cards on the original power supply and the newer one would not have enough on one for one graphics card and your CPU or other device.
IF you do not choose exactly the one recommended above (though it is a good choice) you need to compare intelligently. Select one with a single 12 Volt Rail. Select one with 80% efficiency Bronze rating or higher. Select one with Active PFC. Select one with similar ratings to the one above: +3.3V@22A, +5V@22A, +12V@46A, -12V@0.3A, +5VSB@3.0A where the 46Amps on the 12Volt rail is the most important. Select one that has four or five 'eggs' (like stars on Tigerdirect) on Newegg's website (even if you do not purchase from them) and read many of the customer reviews to see if there is a trend of problems with that product.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 18, 2012 at 02:27:18
Ok, ok, but my country here doesn't sell that brand. (living in Asia)
There are only 3 currently available for immediate purchase here if it's 650w:
Cooler Master Extreme Power Plus 650w (current)
Cooler Master v2.3 GX-650
Acbel I-power 85H 650W
Anything else would have to be imported, which would take about a week or so. So which one should I trade for ?

EDIT: According to fingers, I should trade for the v2.3 GX then ?
And I'm sorry if I didn't carefully listen to your advice, I'm new to this and still learning.

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February 18, 2012 at 05:46:15
Of the two, the first one,the GX-650W would be the better choice.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 18, 2012 at 06:44:27
The Coolermaster linked in the last post is far superior to the one you currently have but they are still fudging the numbers.

The coolermaster has a 5 year warranty, which is good. Also has a floppy drive connector.

The Acbel does not have a floppy connector and doesn't state the expected hours of service life or the warranty period.

Either should work for you.

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February 18, 2012 at 23:17:06
Bad news, the store said both models are out of stock (due to Thailand flood or something), so my options left are down to these two:

1) Try to cope with the current PSU
The guys at the store said they use the PSU I'm using for a PC with i3 and SLI graphics just fine, and the other models I wanted to trade for doesn't differ much, and the PSU is greatly powerful for a computer. I'm not totally buying that, but that's still something to think about.

Also, I'm using just one graphic card and it still hangs.

2) Trade for the Cooler Master Silent Pro M600
This is the only thing they have left in the store that I can afford, and I can trade for only once within a week, so I need thorough consideration as well as quick help before the week ends.

I know it's hard to do this without 'Hands-on' examination, but I need every help I can find. Please help.

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February 19, 2012 at 06:28:21
Take it. If you cannot afford better then take it. It has the important things you should look for including a 40Amp single 12Volt rail, Active PFC, 80% certified efficient, has two 6+2 PCIe connectors, and a five year warranty. This is a much better choice than the one you currently have.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 19, 2012 at 06:48:48
As fingers stated, at least it has a single 12V rail. I am not sure you will be able to run SLI under full load with it though.

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February 19, 2012 at 07:22:07
I usually play games with medium setting, and I don't play that often, so I'm sure it'll be fine.

I still have about 5 days left to consider, so I'll check everything before trade in the PSU (another 40$ is still kinda pricey to me).

Note: I'm not sure if it's matter anymore, but after a brief HDD sector scan with Hiren (forgot the tool name), the system is running fine. I'll leave it for 3 days to see if it acts up again, then I'll trade.

EDIT: Scratch that, it hanged again right after I finished the note, so I'll trade. I just have to borrow my uncle's PSU to see if it'll run fine after changing.

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February 19, 2012 at 08:38:23
Why don't you just return the current power supply and order one that will take a week to get as per #14 above?

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February 20, 2012 at 07:28:32
What can I say..... I'm very inexperienced in this (still a student). This is actually my first time solving problems like this, or buying expensive stuff for a computer, so I may have made some wrong decisions. So I'm new, and didn't think stuff through at the time, but at least I could do some stuff right thanks to the advices.

I wanna ask one more question that might involve this:
As stated above, there used to be a time that I can use the computer normally (with SLI, even) using the Acbel 430W, I just have to restart the computer on the first startup then use it, but cannot apply the trick anymore after reinstalling Windows (same version as before), how can this be?

The biggest difference between now and before is I used Comodo Time Machine before, not anymore now. It might not matters much, but I still wanna make things clear.

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February 20, 2012 at 08:01:11
You may have damaged the power supply from overload. Your graphics cards use a variable amount of amperage depending on the settings. Most times you may not have placed the cards in maximum load.

Boot into the BIOS (setup) screens and check temperatures and voltages. The three main voltages 3.3V, 5V, +12V should all read withing +- 5% of those values.

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February 20, 2012 at 10:46:21
Also, you may now have an updated graphics driver that causes the graphics card to use slightly more current at lower usages and you may not have stressed the graphics much to draw more current.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 23, 2012 at 06:07:48
Okay, the store told me they got another v2.3 GX 650W in stock so I traded for it instead, installed it properly with minimum usage (1 SATA, 1 Graphic card, nothing else)

And I think it just hanged again just now.

At this point I certainly can't understand it anymore, as I have run every diagnostic tools dozens of times, plugged in and out stuff, tried everything I could. I'm 100% sure that my computer now is just the same as my uncle's before he gave it. So I simply cannot understand why.

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February 23, 2012 at 09:07:41
To make matters worse, the PC stalled during Windows installation, and now I can't boot into Windows. Use the CD and it stops after the 'Windows is installing files' bar is filled up. So I can't even use Windows anymore.

So far the facts are:
+ Computer hang's cause is NOT the HDD (ran HDD scans for many time)
+ NOR the RAM (Also ran Memtest86+ with different RAM placements)
+ NOR the PSU (the current PSU is the exact same one back when it's still fine)
+ Even a 430W PSU used to run the SLI PC just fine.
+ Not even Safe mode is safe with this. (Even Windows installation took a hit)
+ I cannot use the Windows 7 CD anymore.
+ The DVD drive isn't the cause, either (It even hangs without the drive)
+ It even hangs running DOS programs. Yes, DOS PROGRAMS.

If this keeps up, I will have to take this PC to the pros for treatment. Maybe 2 or 3 more days.

And I found this post which says something about the graphic card, and I use an NVIDIA card too... Unfortunately I don't have any spare ones, and the onboard one is the same as the plug (both are Male VGA plugs), so....yeah, I'll let the local pros handle it instead of myself.

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February 23, 2012 at 11:35:39
Let me ask some additional questions seeing as we haven't yet solved this problem.

I am unclear about what exactly your uncle gave you. Did you get a tower with the motherboard installed into it or just the motherboard and you installed it into your case?

I ask because it is possible to install the board incorrectly. I will wait for your answer before supplying addition thoughts.

Were the parts ever working correctly after you received them? Possible damage during shipping or handling? Electro-Static Discharge can damage improperly handled components.

Did you receive the motherboard with the CPU/HS/fan mounted?

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February 24, 2012 at 08:51:38
Well, I received my computer like this:
+ Tower only (w/o any hardware whatsoever, so I had to use the old computer of mine)
+ Hardware a few months later with brand-new CPU (uninstalled), my uncle installed the computer with me (he guides, I do the job).

Now that you've said it, it might be the motherboard that was damaged. And as I've stated before, it was like that since the very beginning. I did proper ESD before installation, but I was kinda clumsy at the time so I could've scratch or bent a capacitor or something. Or it could've taken damage from the rain on the transfer day.

I'll wait for proper results, but since there's not much thing left to suspect it might be the problem. Sigh....

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February 24, 2012 at 12:08:33
Unfortunately all of the answers are always incomplete leaving us guessing and assuming things. This is not the way to evaluate a complex problem, we need detailed answers and ALL of the information up front. This is like pulling teeth getting enough to understand or think we do then something else comes out that changes everything we thought....

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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February 24, 2012 at 13:32:55
I suggest in that case that you remove the motherboard from the case and test it while setting on a non-conductive surface like a piece of cardboard. You don't need ANY of the case to board wiring connected at that time.

Leave the power supply to motherboard wiring connected. Start the board by momentarily shorting out the 2 power switch pins. When you remove all the screws from the motherboard see if the board lines up right with the opening in the back of the case. Then when lifting it out verify that there are metal standoffs under every screw hole and ONLY under screw holes.

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