Windows 7 desktop Random Freezing during gameplay

August 5, 2012 at 05:46:00
Specs: Windows 7, Intel i7 2600k, 8gb DDR3 2133
First, full system specs:
Intel i7 2600k @ 3.4ghz Stock
8gb G.Skill DDR3 2133
2x Gigabyte GTX 560 1gb in SLI
Creative X-fi XtremeGamer Sound Card
ASrock Extreme4 B3 Motherboard

Within the last month my system has been hard locking up during gameplay. The sound doesn't loop. I will just usually hear the background music playing. But the PC requires a hard reset to get it out.

I've had the freeze happen within 5 minutes. But it usually doesn't happen for several hours. 2-6 hours to be precise.

My instinct tells me it's a hardware issue, but I will tell you the things I have tried.
(Event Viewer lists nothing but me turning the power off.)

From what I can tell my PC is running within acceptable heat levels. The graphics cards don't exceed 70c and neither does the CPU.

My first thought was it was probably a RAM issue. So I upgraded, switching my 8gb of DDR3 1600, to my now 8gb of DDR3 2133. The issue didn't change.

Next I just happen to have a friend with the exact same 2 graphics card as me, so I swapped with him. The issue didn't change.

I updated my Bios drivers and set defaults. I also played with the memory timing to get it set to factory listed. No change.

My graphics card drivers are 301.42 which as of typing this is the latest non-beta Nvidia driver.
I also updated my motherboard drivers and updated Windows 7 completely.

Upon my scouring of the internet for this problem, I did find someone talking about how he had the same issue as me, and found it to be caused by a conflict between Windows Media Center and some kind of codec.

This makes a bit of sense to me, because this started right after I spent 2 days hammering my head against a wall trying to get Windows Media Center to work with my Xbox. (I was successful)

So I uninstalled Windows Media Center. I went nearly 4 days without another lock up since it usually happened several times per day, I thought my problem was solved. Until now when I locked up in Skyrim in the same way.

So this is what my thoughts are on the culprit:
Failing Power Supply.
Failing Motherboard.
Software error / conflict.

If anyone has any information that may help, I'm all ears.

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August 5, 2012 at 08:56:30
You didn't list the full system specs. What about the power supply & HDD?

"The graphics cards don't exceed 70c and neither does the CPU"

70C is OK for a GPU, but it's high for a CPU. What temp is the CPU reaching? Is it going above 60C?

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August 5, 2012 at 11:08:08
If event logs say nothing then look for dump logs. If both fail to show then the issue is so bad the OS can't report. It is a main hardware issue most likely.

Google is evil

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August 5, 2012 at 15:56:09
Whoops, I did forget the PSU. It's a Rosewill BRONZE Series RBR1000-M 1000W.
HDD is Western Digital Caviar 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s

I actually use to have my processor OC'd to 4ghz, but I stopped after the problems started happening. It hasn't made a change to stability. Still freezing in same time frames. My second monitor is always displaying GPU / CPU Usage, Temps and now voltages. When I freeze next time I'll post the exact info.

I looked for a dump log but I couldn't find any.

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Related Solutions

August 6, 2012 at 08:42:12
Run memtest on it for a few days. See also bios temps and health numbers. Some bios's have a log too.

Run hard drive diags on it too.

Google is evil

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September 30, 2012 at 11:20:46
Well, it's been almost 2 months since my original post. The problem still persists.
I have a bit more info now..

No problems on Memtest, and it shouldn't be. I changed the memory since I started having the problem in the first place.

I changed the Motherboard from the Asrock P67 Extreme4 to the Asrock Z77 Exteme4
I removed my Xfi soundcard and switched to Onboard.

I've mentioned this before, but I've swapped the graphics cards with a friends identical card and I've swapped the positions of the cards on my motherboard multiple times.

If I disable SLI I will not lock up. BUT if I keep SLI enable and set the game to only use 1 card it will still lock up because the off card is doing physics calculations.

I optimized air flow a bit more, so my cards are running cooler, capping out at around 65C

I'm begining to think that it maybe related to something specific that's happening in-game because the usage doesn't matter. I can be at 90% per card or 30% per card and I will still lock up. I idled a few times overnight ingame with a roughly 30-40% usage per card and I haven't locked. But a few hours of actual playing will lock me up at some point.

It is the most bizaare computer problem I've ever dealt with, every night I search around the internet for solutions and every night I try something else and come up empty.

I got MSI Afterburner last night and checked the voltage of the cards. One was listed as 1012 and the other was 1000. I set them both to 1012 and locked as usual, then I set them both to 1062 and locked as usual. Now they are both at 1000 but haven't tested it enough to make a call, but I don't hold out much hope.

It's rare for me to find someone with my exact problem online, and they all lead to dead ends. The next stop is switch to a SSD, get Windows 8 on it and see how that works.

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