C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long) - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 11-12-2008, 10:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

Hey everyone, first time poster here. I've built probably over 1000 machines in my life (I'm a computer technician/manufacturer/consultant by trade), and for the first time I'm really at a total loss with one of them, and the problems it's presenting me. Hopefully someone here notices something I've missed in the following wall of text.

Keep in mind while reading; when it comes to anything software related, I was very meticulous about using nothing but the latest versions available. This goes for BIOS versions, driver versions, game versions, Windows updates, .NET updates, and DirectX Runtimes (August '08).

The meat & potatoes of the machine in question is as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
  • Motherboard: Intel DX48BT2
  • PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610w
  • RAM: 4x 1GB Kingston Value RAM DDR3 1333MHz
  • Video Card: Palit ATI Radeon HD4870 1GB GDDR5 "Sonic Dual Edition"
  • Optical: Pioneer SATA DVDRW
  • HDD: Seagate 500GB SATA
  • OS: Windows XP Professional SP3 32-Bit


I've been through a lot with the machine. I've spent nearly four weeks with it, RMA'ing parts, trying new configurations, you name it. No matter what I do, the thing will either reboot on it's own, or crash random apps/games.

The machine originally started out with a GeForce 8600 in it, and a Coolmax 600w PSU, which seemed to work just fine, until my friend started really using it more in depth than I had during the time I spent building it in the first place. He complained about the machine crashing here and there, and the gaming performance being underwhelming.

I ended up believing it was the video card that was to blame, as I almost never come across a bad Intel board or CPU. RAM passed tests in every slot individually with Memtest86. We ended up deciding on the Palit HD4870 card listed above, and in doing so, I advised him that he'd need a better power supply in the process, cue the PC Power 610w.

When those components arrived, I installed them, and reloaded XP Pro SP3. Everything seemed to be running great until I started installing his games and testing them. I fired up TES 3: Oblivion, and sure enough, the game crashed and burned.

This time I noticed a lot of CDROM errors in the event logs. As a result, I changed out the DVDRW and SATA cable just to be sure. I reloaded the machine again hoping it was corruption from a faulty cable or DVDRW, but of course, the same reboots/crashes occured.

Already fed up with the machine, I sent the motherboard and CPU for replacement at the same time. When I got the new ones back, I rebuilt the machine (and decided to try a new Seagate 500GB SATA HDD, what the **** right?), and installed a fresh load of XP Pro SP3. I loaded up Oblivion, and played it for almost an hour without any problems. I figured the problem was solved, and gave the machine back to my friend who obviously was aching to use it.

The next day, same thing. I find out the machine is rebooting on it's own, and locking up duing games especially. I started to wonder about the RAM again at this point, so I started doing reloads off of single sticks of DDR3 at a time, with the same rebooting/crashing result in the end. I was sure to check the voltages and timings of the RAM in the BIOS - everything was stock @1.5v and 9-9-9-25. While I was at it, I'd check the CPU temps after said reboots, and I didn't see anything over 47c.

The video card and the PSU were the only things left, so what do I do? I use my own machine as a testbed..

  • CPU: AMD Phenom 9950 Black
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte MA790FX-DS5
  • PSU: Enermax Liberty 600w
  • RAM: 4x 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR2 800MHz
  • Video Card: Sapphire ATI Radeon 3870x2
  • Optical: Lite-On PATA DVDRW
  • HDD: 2xWD Raptor 74GB Stripe, 1xWD Cav 320GB SATA 7200RPM
  • OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit


The first thing I tested was his video card. I dropped it in, installed his Oblivion, and let it rip for two hours straight. No issues at all to report. The only thing I can mention here that's out of the ordinary was that I didn't update my Radeon drivers to the latest (explaination would make a long story even longer).

Next up was the PSU. Installed, fired up Vista with no problems, and played some more Oblivion, probably 15 minutes worth.

For the **** of it, I tore down his entire machine, and rebuilt it in a new case. Odd, but I'm desperate. Yet another fresh load of Windows, and the same rebooting/crashing.

And that's where I stand now. To say I'm at a total loss is an understatement. Afterall, I am here posting this, aren't I? :freak: Thanks in advance to anyone who has anything to contribute, and believe me when I say I'd be extremely greatful to anyone who helps me crack this problem.

Reading over the entire post, there's one last thing I failed to mention, and I really don't want to go through and place it accurately in the timeline of events. I know about the cooling issues with these 4870's (I had the same issues with my 3870x2). At one point, I installed RivaTuner, and jacked the fan speed up to 100% while running through Oblivion. Yes, it still crashed as I'm sure you know.

The next thing I'll try is some old Catalyst drivers, starting with the 8.6's I use. I'll be checking back here tomorrow. Thanks again, folks.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

Wow, looks like you have tried alot of things to get that pc working.

How about just installed windows xp pro with service pack 2?
Or even vista?
Maybe your xp cd/dvd you are using could be corrupt?

That's the only thing that has remained constant throughout your ordeal.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

Yep, still lurking, looking around at some other people's issues. Maybe I can chime in on some other people's problems, haha.

t..o..m, I did forget to mention that I tried an XP SP2 disc on one occassion, and used the redistributable SP3 installer from MS with the same end result.

Good call on the rest, I'll definately try each suggestion starting with freshly bruned SP2 and SP3 discs. Vista is a last resort for this guy. Some people just can't get over the TV commercials they see.

Thanks bud.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

Did you notice if the ram heated up particularly? My rig crashed for a while because I was cooking my ram, I had to install two fans above them to keep them cool enough.

As tom suggested, it might be worth trying a normal xp sp2 install, if only to totally rule out any chance of faults there.

edit: oh, dw about hte xp thing then, posted while you were
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

DX9 Nov 08:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...displaylang=en

Newer than your version. Thought i would mention that they have a update to that out there.

As for the issues. Could be that they are steaming from using 32 Bit with 4GB of RAM and a heavy RAM based video card. The system will not use all the RAM with that much with 32 Bit. I would say try Vista 64 Bit. If he doesnt want Vista then go with XP X64.

That is 5GB of RAM and 32 Bit can only utilize 3.2GB of RAM. Take another GB of that off cause of the video card and the system is only really using 2.2GB of the 4GB installed. Which could explain the reboots and such.

Could also be temps. Have you checked them? What does the event viewer say? Any BSOD or minidump files?
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

I'll be sure to check the RAM temps. It feels like "one of those things." Leave it up to DDR3 to noob me.

@Mak I haven't seen a single BSOD out of the machine, just lightning fast reboots. Not even a single glimpse of blue. The BIOS event logs are clean as a whistle, except for the 10000 "RAM size decreased" that I need to clear out when this is over with.

And thanks for the link to the November DX update. I'm not sure how I could be that blind, seeing how I went to MS's DX files section probably 10 times over the last week. GG sir!
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

Just in case make sure to diable the auto restart on system failure to make sure that the BSOd isnt flashing so fast you dont see it.
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

The RAM was getting hot, so I downclocked it to 1066MHz, and it hasn't locked up all day. I don't have my friend's Oblvion game, but I've been running Battlefield 2 and Quake 4 back and forth for 8 hours. Guess all it needs is some heatspreaders!

Thanks guys, testing Crysis tomorrow as a final assault.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: C2Q/DX48BT2/HD4870 Random Reboots.. (Long)

Glad you final got it in a working order.
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