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Old 07-03-2010, 02:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Hello everyone. i have had a problem that has plagued me for months now, and I have spent a lot of time troubleshooting different parts of my PC.

Here's my basic stats:

Mobo: Ausus P5k pro
CPU: Q6600
GPU: 512MB Radeon 4870
HDD: 750 GB WD
RAM: 2x2GB OCZ
PSU: Corsair TX 650

The problem:

For the past few months I have had a problem that occurs regularly. I will be gaming happily along, and I will have several problems occur:

1. Artifacts going across the screen. Alt tabbing will usually fix this, but then

2. Game screen will freeze, PC will lock up, a buzzing noise occurs through the speakers, my monitor goes into sleep mode. Then it turns on and it is a BSOD ati.kmdag. problem.

Sometimes the screen will freeze without the artifacts first happening. It also can happen when i am not even in a game.

I believe I have extensively troubleshooted the problems. Here are the things that I have tested for and have become satisfied that it is not the issue:

1. Overheating. For the longest time I thought this was the problem. However, once I started upping my fan speed and paying close attention to my GPU temp, it is not the problem. Also, it can effect a game soon after being loaded up or after playing for an hour or two.

2. GPU in general. I thought it was the problem so I recently RMA'd it. Visiontek was nice enough to send me a new 4870, and it has had the same problem. I have tried different Catalyst drivers and none of them seem to work.

3. RAM: I thought RAM was the problem as well for a while. However, my two sticks ran fine in my brother's PC and they passed memtest. (There may be one issue here: I ran with only one RAM stick for a while after reading that this may cause a crash, and I don't remember having any crashes occurring during that period. I don't know if that is significant or not, but remember that they passed memtest and ran in another PC fine).

I believe I have narrowed it down to either my PSU or my motherboard. Today I tried my new videocard in my secondary PCI- express slot and it also had the same problem. In a bout of insanity I tried another power cable for my PSU and it didn't matter.

If any of you are willing to try to help me, I will be happy to answer any questions or do anything that will help resolve the issue.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Hello Robert6,
First off, let me say i feel for you, had this with two 8800 ultra's, tried everything, and i mean everything to fix it, had to change the MB and cards, went to ATI in the end.

Its interesting that removing one stick of ram seems to have help, i think i would go back to that and check it out further.

Remove both sticks and check the seat area on both, and look in the slots, make sure nothing is cracked or loose, replace one stick in slot #1 and give it a good test, if all goes well try the other stick, then try another slot, and so on, this will eliminate the ram and slots, one way or the other.

Can i ask, how long did you run Memtest for, it needs to run overnight, about six or seven passes.
I have to say, i am not a fan of Asus, three MB's and three RMA's, one went back four times, the other two went back twice. (just to cheer you up).

Try the memory and post your results, if all goes well we can move on to the next likely cause.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Ensure your mobo has set the right voltage for your ram. Just go into the bios and the ram voltage is setable there.
Newegg should have your ram volt. in the specs, but i think it's 2.0Vs You could even bump it slightly.
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoneys-nutz View Post
Hello Robert6,
First off, let me say i feel for you, had this with two 8800 ultra's, tried everything, and i mean everything to fix it, had to change the MB and cards, went to ATI in the end.

Its interesting that removing one stick of ram seems to have help, i think i would go back to that and check it out further.

Remove both sticks and check the seat area on both, and look in the slots, make sure nothing is cracked or loose, replace one stick in slot #1 and give it a good test, if all goes well try the other stick, then try another slot, and so on, this will eliminate the ram and slots, one way or the other.

Can i ask, how long did you run Memtest for, it needs to run overnight, about six or seven passes.
I have to say, i am not a fan of Asus, three MB's and three RMA's, one went back four times, the other two went back twice. (just to cheer you up).

Try the memory and post your results, if all goes well we can move on to the next likely cause.
I don't remember how long I ran memtest for. I did try the RAM slots in every different configurations, and they screwed up in each configuration, but I didn't try it with one stick doing that.

I'll get memtest again and run it overnight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by patonb
Ensure your mobo has set the right voltage for your ram. Just go into the bios and the ram voltage is setable there.
Newegg should have your ram volt. in the specs, but i think it's 2.0Vs You could even bump it slightly.
My RAM is rated for 1.8- 1.9, and it has been set at 1.8. I could bump it up to 1.9 I guess.

Edit: I set it to 1.9, and I had the problem just a few seconds ago in GTA IV. It didn't crash the PC, but the game froze and the music kept playing.


Thanks for the help! Is there any other possibilities and what I could do if it is not the RAM?
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Quick update: Did memtest last night, 5 passes, it passed, no errors.

However:

I tried the advice to try each different RAM slot with one stick at a time instead of running it with both. The first stick in crashed my computer fairly quickly in each of the four slots, once on the desktop, 3 in game. However, the second stick I put in I was able to play Borderlands for hours with no problems. It will take a few more days of testing to isolate it to the memory, but I "may" have found the solution.

My question: Could a RAM stick be bad even if it didn't get ripped on by memtest?\

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Old 07-04-2010, 11:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

It is possible, which version of Memtest are you using? There is a Memtest 86, then a Memtest 86+ and so on, one of them tests ram slightly differently.
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Quote:
Originally Posted by c0rr0sive View Post
It is possible, which version of Memtest are you using? There is a Memtest 86, then a Memtest 86+ and so on, one of them tests ram slightly differently.
I used the memtest86+ 4.1 usb installer version.

Like I said, I won't be able to pin it on the RAM stick until I run with only the other one for a few days, but if that ends up being the culprit it would be nice to finally not worry about it anymore.
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Diagnostic software is never 100%, but, Memtest is one of the best.
I would run it with one stick and see what happens, it looks like we are going in the right direction though.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

I ran memtest overnight with the stick that I thought was bad, and it came up with no errors. However, when I ran GTA IV with it, it didn't take long for artifacts to show up, whereas I had none and didn't have any problems with my other stick.

Edit:

I just wanted to update all of you: I sent in an RMA request for one of my memory modules. It is actually G.Skill, not OCZ like I indicated. My PC has been running stable, if slow, with the other 2GB stick, and only has problems if ran with the other one.

I don't know how I missed that from way back, but I had been thinking that the problem was probably the GPU instead of the RAM. Visiontek was nice enough to give me an RMA, so I am going to definitely make my next ATI purchsase from them, and I recommend them for future use.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Artifacts/Crashing in games/desktop

Have you tried the good stick in the other slots ?.
If not, it may be an idea to it.
Glad the system seems to have stabilised.
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