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Thread: Media PC Freezes randomly...

  1. #1
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    Media PC Freezes randomly...

    OK here is my media PC:

    • Antec Fusion 430, with the original Earthwatts PSU (connected to an APC UPS)
    • Gigabyte GA-8I945GMMFY-RH motherboard (mobile socket 479, 945Gm chipset)
    • Core Duo T2500 (2GHz, 12x166)
    • Scythe Mini-Ninja
    • 2GB Corsair DDR2-800 RAM (running at 667)
    • Sapphire 4350 Graphics
    • Pinaccle 3010iX TV Card
    • 500GB WD GP Hard Drive
    • LG Blu-Ray Drive


    It is currently running Windows 7 RC1 32bit, but has in the past run Vista HP 64 bit, the problems have persisted throughout multiple installations of both.

    What happens is that randomly it will freeze, any sound coming from the speakers will persist in a constant tone, after a short delay the hard drive and optical drive will power down. The screen image is static and the keyboard does nothing. The clock on the USB display in the Fusion stops at the time it died. The only recovery is via hard reset, I have tried to waited ages and it does not come back to life.

    The freezes seem to occur specially often when watching blu-ray or live TV, but can also occur when left idle... I think I just see the crashes more under those circumstances because it's mostly what I use the thing for and no other reason. I have in the past tried to run programs to generate high load and not been able to reliably reproduce the issue - it does seem random.

    To fix this issue I have tried:
    • A different CPU (a Core 2, both are on the supported list) - no change, CPU temperatures rarely exceed 40 degrees even under load.
    • Different RAM and memtest - no change and no errors
    • Unplugging the optical drive - no change
    • Different TV cards - no change, although swapping out a Compro card appears has possibly solved an occasional issue resuming from S3. A USB TV box from AverMedia caused blue screens under Windows7 but not Vista.
    • NVidia graphics (8400gs) and different ATI cards - no change
    • More fans and running them faster, panels off etc - no change


    The motherboard appears fine, temperatures in speedfan all seem sensible - I have seen them frozen on the screen when it crashes! Those voltages that read correctly also seem correct, however some voltages are crazy out of whack like they aren't reading right - but this is also the case on my perfectly stable desktop PC which also combines Gigabyte motherboard and an Earthwatts PSU.

    If anyone has any ideas as to what causes this then I'd love to know!!

    Thanks

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    • CX23882-19's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI K9AG Neo2-Digital
      • CPU:
      • AMD Athlon X2 BE-2350
      • Memory:
      • 2.0GB DDR2-800
      • Storage:
      • Western Digital WD6400AAKS
      • Graphics card(s):
      • ASUS EAH3650+ VNF100
      • PSU:
      • Antec Neo HE 430
      • Case:
      • Evercase ECE-4252
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit SP1
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 2407WFP-HC
      • Internet:
      • Vispa ADSL 2Mbps

    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    Bad SATA cable for the hard disk? Even though SATA should be hot-pluggable (so I assumed the disk should just "disappear"), I found my server freezing frequently and traced it back to a dodgy SATA cable.

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    • peterb's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Nascom 2
      • CPU:
      • Z80B
      • Memory:
      • 48K 8 bit memory on separate card
      • Storage:
      • Audio cassette tape - home built 5.25" floppy drive
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      • Home built
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      • Home built
      • Operating System:
      • Nas-sys
      • Monitor(s):
      • 12" monocrome composite video input
      • Internet:
      • No networking capability on this machine

    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    Quote Originally Posted by CX23882-19 View Post
    Bad SATA cable for the hard disk? Even though SATA should be hot-pluggable (so I assumed the disk should just "disappear"), I found my server freezing frequently and traced it back to a dodgy SATA cable.
    Sata is hot pluggable by physical design (that is the connectors), but it needs the appropriate controller support to implement iot - not all controllers do.

    However the connectors are well worth checking - I had a problem with a RAID 1 array - one disk was intermittently reported as faulty, and it turned out to be a crack on the sata cable connector, causing intermittent connection.
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    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    Windows 7 seems to support hotplugging on this board, it appears with my main drive in the "Removable Items" and I have hotplugged a drive...

    Changed the SATA cable but something else I did caused BSODs (I suspect I because I installed the Intel Matrix Storage Manager) so trying a fresh reinstall now...

    I also tried running with a different power supply to no effect and am removing all USB peripherals to see if that helps...

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    Don't know if it will apply to you but my PC would freeze all the time a while back and, to cut a long story short, it was the drivers for the onboard JMicron SATA/IDE controller. Just something else for you to check.

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    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    None of this has helped, it's crashed twice again now... with new SATA cable etc not making any difference.

    I think it's going to end up in pieces on ebay at this rate...

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    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Don't know if it will apply to you but my PC would freeze all the time a while back and, to cut a long story short, it was the drivers for the onboard JMicron SATA/IDE controller. Just something else for you to check.
    It doesn't have one of those, just the 945PM chipset's 2 SATAs and a single PATA slot.

    I'm sure I tried this before but I just turned off AHCI.

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    Re: Media PC Freezes randomly...

    Tried disabling EIST/C1 etc - no change
    Tried tweaking RAM timings - no change
    Reflashing the BIOS - no change

    Swapping SATA ports has also failed... so now I'm reinstalling AGAIN on a different hard drive, I'm not expecting much though!!

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