Pulling hair out over bizare system crash

Got a shopping cart of parts that you want opinions on? Get advice from members on your planned or existing system (or upgrade).

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

Post Reply
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:05 am
Location: UK

Pulling hair out over bizare system crash

Post by Carson89 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:28 pm

As the title suggests, I am at wits end trying to debug and then solve a really annoying system crash I keep getting. :cry:

Before I go into the details, here is the entire spec of my system:
  • Intel Q6600 @ 2.4 (Stock) - Scythe Ninja Cooler
    Gigabyte EP43-D3SL - No modifications
    4x 1GB OCZ PC8500 DDR2 SLI - Tested with Memtest and all fine
    EVGA GTX 260 192 SSC - Thermalright HR-03 GTX cooler (Everything brand new & currently underclocked and undervolted)
    Nesteq Semi-Fanless ASM 450w PSU
    WD Velociraptor 150GB
    Samsung HD501LJ 500GB
    Optiarc AD-7170S
    LG GGC-H20L
    XP Pro SP3
I guess besides what happens with the crash and vaguely what triggers it, you may also need to know that I use the Optical SPDIF out on the motherboard to a Beresford TC-7510 DAC.

Right, to the details....
Under normal desktop use (emails, internet, windowed videos, etc) I don't have an issue and the system could run for days if need be.

The issue happens or at least the only time I have seen it is when I watch full screen video/film. I'd be watching the film when for no apparent reason, the system will freeze (I can still see the film on the screen though it is frozen) and I cannot do anything other than reboot. I am not sure if its because im watching a film, but normally when I experience this crash the output through the speakers freezes too (sound like horrible high pitch loud static) and I end up running for the reset button to save my ears.

Having performed a reset, I check the system logs for anything suspicious...and nothing, no trace of anything un-normal at all, which leads me to believe its a hardware issue, but I have no idea what.

The only other thing that I have noticed is that sometimes after a reboot after the crash, I hear completely random cracks/pops/squeaks through the speakers which can be of varying volume. They sound a little like the pops/crackles you might find in a poorly made/ripped song some times.

I had an inkling it might be the graphics card so that was recently replaced as it needed upgrading anyway. (It was a 7800GT.)

I getting to the point where I'm considering replacing the motherboard as that seems to be the only other thing I can think of that might be wrong, but I don't want to buy one and realise it wasn't the issue. So any help, anything at all will be highly appreciated!

I will be willing to try anything anyone can suggest, especially considering the number of films I watch on this system and how incredibly annoying and film spoiling this crash is.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

Posts: 139
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:37 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK, USA

Post by Meato » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:12 pm

Possibly software related. You didn't specify if the problem was new or if it ever functioned correctly. Give CCCP a try. The codecs it contained fixed my HD video playback issues and Media Player Classic is brilliant if you're fed up with WMP and Real like I was.

Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:05 am
Location: UK

Post by Carson89 » Fri May 01, 2009 12:10 am

Sorry, yea I forgot to mention that this is a fair recent problem. I have only noticed it within the last few months.

I used K-Lite Mega codec pack with Media Player Classic Home Cinema for my videos, and always have. I do my best to keep it up to date, though haven't updated the codecs for a month or two now.
I could give CCCP a try and see if its any better. Though I will definitely update my codecs and report back. Thanks for the suggestion.

Interestingly though, it happens during Blu-Ray playback, DVD playback and Lossless DVD rip (.vob) playback too.

Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:00 am
Location: Bristol, UK

Post by mgarl10024 » Fri May 01, 2009 12:22 am

Hi Carson89,

Have you tried stressing the system? i.e. running some intensive program on it.

You could try by stressing the cpu - Linux has CPUBurn, and there are a number of Windows options. I'd be tempted to run something like this overnight - monitor the temps, and if it's still running and is cool by the morning, it isn't that.

You could also try something that would stress the video card (I'm sure other's can recommend things to do this).

A heat issue would explain the system working under low loads and failing under higher loads, and if the system is still very hot when rebooting it could also explain the random popping.

I'm still new to this, but I hope that helps in some way,


Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:05 am
Location: UK

Post by Carson89 » Fri May 01, 2009 12:43 am


Thanks for the quick response. I have been stressing the Graphic card and that is easily within reasonable temperatures. I haven't recently stressed the CPU, but will start one off today whilst I am out and see how things go, though im pretty sure the CPU temps are OK.

I thought it might be a heat issue when it first happened, though only performed a quick check.

I did notice though that the Southbridge on the motherboard does get hot to the touch, im not sure what temperature it gets up to under load but could that be the issue?

Posts: 780
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:17 am
Location: Croatia

Post by Matija » Fri May 01, 2009 1:19 am

It's probably the onboard audio. Disable it in the BIOS and go "watch" something.

Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2003 9:52 am

Post by Tobias » Fri May 01, 2009 1:23 am

Just a quick thought, Watching any kind of movie will put preassure on the SouthBridge. Either reading from HD or from optical. Are you sure you have enought airflow in that area, the cooler on that board looks a bit minimalistic...

Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:05 am
Location: UK

Post by Carson89 » Fri May 01, 2009 2:42 am

I have recently added a 700rpm 120mm fan to increase airflow to that area of the motherboard and I still had the issue, though I don't think the fan has made a huge difference.
I shall disable the audio when im back home and try playing a HD film and see what happens. Might be a bit odd playing a film without sound, but hey, anything for the cause.

Posts: 7471
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Post by CA_Steve » Fri May 01, 2009 5:11 am

Was anything changed/updated around the same time as when the problem first occurred?

Since you updated the video card, did you clean the registry with something like Driver Sweeper when you updated the video driver?

Post Reply