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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey. Can anyone help me find the cause of this problem? Windows freezing. Frickin' Windows freezing!!

Here are my specs:

PSU: 1,250watt Coolermaster
Motherboard: EVGA 780i NVidia
CPU: Q6600 Intel quad core
RAM: 2*2GB (4GB) 800Mhz Corsair XMS with heatsinks
GPU: XFX Geforce 9800GX2
Sound: Creative X-Fi PCI card
OS HD: Maxtor 500GB Sata
OS: Vista 64 Ultimate

Info:

- CPU temps idle at around 35'C.
- GPU used to idle at 80'C! The card's pretty hot though, one of the hottest there is I think. I took the thing apart today, put new artic silver thermal paste on the chips, cleared all the dust out of the heatsink and all of that. Temps are lower now.
- Games play fine, Windows runs fine. No crashes, no blue screens, no problems at all really, apart from the occasional freeze!
- Passes Prime95 torture tests every time with 0 errors, 0 warnings.
- All parts are about 1.5 years old.
- No viruses. (According to Kaspersky.) But I'm pretty careful anyway.
- No overclocking.

The freeze:

- Seems to happen randomly. Usually happens after a good few hours of use.
- Most of the time I can go 24 hours without a freeze. Although sometimes it happens after 2 hours or so after turning on the computer or restarting.
- When it freezes: All animation stops, all sound stops, mouse freezes, keyboard wont respond...all at the same time. I've tried waiting like 10 minutes or so, tried getting into the task manager or getting anything to respond, but it just stays frozen. It's like someone came over and just hit the PAUSE button (if there were such a thing).
- No error reports in Windows, nothing in the event log, no nothing. Obviously Windows reports that it wasn't shut down properly next time I reload, but that can be expected. No indication of any kind as to why it happens!

Thanks for any help you guys (or gals) can provide.
 

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Do what Spyhop said, and if the problem persists I usually end up creating a small partition and installing a copy of Windows into that and see if it freezes. If it doesn't, it's a software issue, if it does... somethings wrong with the hardware, and/or drivers.
 

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I've had a similar problem with my old computer, it was extremely annoying to figure out what it was, considering all the tests said all hardware was fine. In the end it turns out the motherboard was dead though (with a combination of possible bad memory too, even though the tests said it was fine). Long before the freezes started occurring, the capacitors on the motherboard apparently bulged, and some even leaked, which is probably what eventually caused the freezes to occur.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestion Spyhop. I don't suspect the memory or CPU's f**ked but I ran through Memtest86+ anyway. All green. After all the RAM comes with a "lifetime guarantee" apparently, so that's good.

Again, thanks for the suggestion BigIg, but I don't think the OS is the issue either. I have XP Pro, Vista 64 Ultimate and Windows 7 Beta build 7000 on here. I don't use XP very often, but I experienced the same freezes in Windows 7.

xRyudo: As for the board...I don't know. That's some complicated s**t you're talking about. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't...

However: Today my frickin' GPU died! Yeah, that 9800GX2 I took apart and gave the once over yesterday stopped functioning. It was fine for 24 hours. Restarted the computer several times, turned it off for a while. Would start up fine. Temperatures were lower, games were running fine...but today I had to restart for some updates -> 1 long beep, 2 short = GPU problem. Took the b**ch out and turned on with no GPU in, same beeps. Computer wouldn't detect the graphics card. Can't get it to load anymore. Sh**ter! Now I know what you're thinking: "he screwed it up when he took it apart". But I think I was pretty good with it. I've just heard that the cards tend to fail after about a year of use (just when the warranty runs out!). Also, over the last 6 months or so I've noticed that the card was getting progressively hotter when idle, to the point where I could barely use it, also around the time when these freezes started to occur. So, whatever. Nevermind.

Anyway, I've dug out a cheap spare PCI-Express card I had lying around (ATI Radeon 2400 HD). So I'm using that for now until I get a replacement. If the freezes happen again I'll let you guys know...otherwise I think it's fair to say that the 9800GX2 was the cause.
 

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The freezes have returned. I guess the GPU wasn't responsible.

Any ideas how to track down the problem anyone?
I'm going to suggest the OS. I have the same card, 9800 GX2, and I had stability issues in Vista 64-bit using the latest Nvidia drivers. No crashes like you're describing though (it would only crash during intense gaming, and videos would freeze in media player). I had to use older 185 drivers to get it to run stable. The problems didn't exist in Vista 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit runs fine as well. Although you indicated it also happens with the 2600 I'm thinking the problem might apply to other cards as well.

As for the GPU, I suggest rechecking the two cable connecting the two boards. My GX2 also failed to boot after I took the card apart (encountered the same dreaded beeps) and I discovered it was because I disconnected one of the two cables (the old glued to the heatsink - I removed it along with the heatsink when I put in my water block, not realizing it was important). After I reconnected it it worked fine. The cables are pretty fragile and can easily become disconnected so they're worth checking out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well as for the OS, like I said earlier I've got 3 OS's installed and the freezes occur on at least two of them. Not to mention that I've reinstalled the operating systems once since the freezes started occurring, so I don't think software's to blame unless it's a bug present in both Vista 64 and Windows 7 (which I doubt), or maybe a compatibility issue between the OS/drivers and some of my hardware (but I'm sure that would've been discovered else where by now).

I've read that a few other people have encountered this freezing problem on the net but there are no solutions or known causes. It'd be good to get to the bottom of it finally (for me too obviously).

Thanks for the GPU suggestion (although my 9800GX2 is the XFX model, not PNY so the design may be a little different because the cables in mine were pretty secure -> 1 data cable connecting the 2 PCB's together and 1 power cable for the fan). I may check it out and try it again.
 

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Thanks for the GPU suggestion (although my 9800GX2 is the XFX model, not PNY so the design may be a little different because the cables in mine were pretty secure -> 1 data cable connecting the 2 PCB's together and 1 power cable for the fan). I may check it out and try it again.
I think they both follow the Nvidia reference design. There should actually be two cables connecting the two PCBs. They overlap each other and one comes attached to the heatsink (so it naturally becomes disconnected if you take the two PCBs apart). It probably didn't reconnect properly when you put it back together (to be certain, you should detach the second cable from the heatsink and manually connect it to both PCBs). The attached pic shows the two cables and their connections on the PCB.
 
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