Hardware troubleshooting needed

Hey all, I have a serious problem with my computer which I cannot fix, which is slightly embarrassing as I support end users also with their hardware.

First problems arose a good month ago, when I left my computer on as so many times before when I went to the gym, and came back to find it in hibernation. It wouldn't wake up, so I rebooted. I didn't get any visual, though I heard it booting. Now it seems I have 2 ports on my graphics adapter, and only one of them works. I then got the visual back, but when working longer than 5 or 10 minutes, the computer froze. No blue screen, no black screen, no event log, simply freezing. The lights on my keyboard also went out, leading me to suspect it was a power problem.

So I took the computer back to the store, and they fixed it for me. I was hoping they'd replace the PSU (if that was problem), because that was the only part still in guarantee. However, they didn't replace anything, they overclocked my machine. Specifically, they set the DRAM timing in my BIOS on manual, all with the default values. I looked into the manual of my motherboard (ASUS PQ5), but it isn't very informative.

What scared me most was they didn't connect the PSU fan to the motherboard. When I did, I noticed in the BIOS it would be marked in red, giving around 500 RPM, unlike the others, who were at 2000 RPM and not marked in red.

Now the pc ran fin a couple of days, but I have games frequently crashing, and most notably my display adapter drivers crashing a lot, and the problem is getting more and more frequent.

List of components:
- ASUS P5Q motherboard
- Intel Dual Core processor (2*3 Ghz)
- Nvidia GForce GX2
- 4 Gig Corsair RAM DDR2

What component do you guys think is causing this trouble? I have not really access to spare parts, and I don't want to go to the stores (it's a long and thus expensive trip) unless I'm more or less certain.

Only the PSU is under guarantee, anything else I'd have to buy again, which I don't want to do unless I'm also pretty sure. Could it be the memory? I wouldn't mind buying that again, it's rather cheap, and an excuse to get me some DDR3. I hope it's not the graphics adapter, that would cost me as much as a week holiday.

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Lots of failures

by WTRTHS In reply to Also try this and let it ...

I get more then 70000 errors when doing the stress test on dirext x (though not on cuda). Unfortunately, I don't know what it means. Perhaps I used an incorrect parameter? The readme test is not quite clear.

All this points me in the direction of the graphics adapter. I didn't switch it yet, but I will try to arrange for it to happen this weekend.

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Good luck {nt}

by Jacky Howe In reply to Lots of failures
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Voltages correct, BIOS working again (for now)

by WTRTHS In reply to I would be concerned with ...

I measured the voltages, and they are all correct. Though the PSU fan is still at 500rpm when booting, my colleague claims it cools enough because the PSU doesn't overheat.

I reset BIOS to the default values, but still experience crashes, however, it no longer freezes up. Got a blue screen, going to read the dump to see what driver is causing the problem.

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Sounds like

by Jacky Howe In reply to Voltages correct, BIOS wo ...

you are slowly getting there.

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Check PS

by butkus In reply to Hardware troubleshooting ...

Check the PS, I found one person that had problems. Would not boot sometimes, freeze, all kinds of funny stuff. Bought a $30 PS and 2 months later not a problem.

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More like $100+ PSU

by WTRTHS In reply to Check PS

Yes, that's also my experience. However, the graphic beasts from NVidia don't run on a $30 PS, they run over $100 because they need a minimum of 580W. Something I could not get my hands on.

I have gotten to test my card in a friend's computer, it works fine there. Apparently, my Direct X is corrupted, causing the video card problems. A reinstall of Windows (curse them!) will fix that. Something like this just had to step to confuse me even more.

More importantly, he also gave me a pcie card that does not draw such an amount of power from the PSU, so I can test a cheap PS I have laying around to see if it works.

I am now going to try the following things:
- Run BIOS default settings with new Graphics card, see if problem persists (from what I've seen so far, it does, got a sudden reboot yesterday, but need some more testing).
- Run BIOS default setting with other PSU, see if problem persists --> yes, new MB, no, new PSU.

My coworker thinks it's the MB, because it works (longer) with modified BIOS. My friend thinks it's the PS, because the double boot thing (the hickup when first starting) is an indication of a PSU that is slowly dying but not quite dead yet. Both also work in IT, and both know their stuff (better at hardware than me, I'm actually a programmer, however, since I work in a small business, I'm now a bit of everything).

That was again a longer post than I anticipated, thanks to everyone who helped me. Feel free to post any additional comments or things to watch out for, will post back one more time with the final result.

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