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Computer freezes, loud buzzing noise, no BSOD or minidump


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18 replies to this topic

#1
Oblarg

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So, my computer is homebuilt, and it performed admirably for about two years. Then, without warning, it started bluescreening. Daily. Eventually I vacuumed out the case, and the bluescreens stopped - it's a relatively cheap case, so I assumed that the issue was simple overheating.

For the past six months or so, I've had to vacuum out the case every month or two or else the bluescreening starts up again. Annoying, yes, but manageable.

The most recent time it bluescreened, I went and got the vacuum, and cleaned out the case as usual. However, the computer then started crashing in a way I hadn't seen before:

Seemingly randomly, the screen will lock up, the speakers will emit a loud buzzing sound, and I will be forced to hard reboot the machine. No BSOD, no minidump to debug the problem, just a frozen computer. All the fans keep running normally. This occurs about once or twice a day, and has been going on for the past three days or so.

I have a nagging suspicion this is a problem with my video card (nvidia 8800 gts g92), as the last bluescreen before I vacuumed out the case was the following error:

THREAD_STUCK_IN_DEVICE_DRIVER caused by nv4_dsp.dll (nvidia display drivers). I think it's a hardware issue, as I haven't made any software changes to my video drivers in a looooooooooooooooooooong time (I can't update from driver version 180.48 because nvidia hasn't fixed the bug that kills dvi output on some of the older cards yet). 99% of the bluescreens I had seen before were page faults, which were most likely caused by overheating RAM from the information I could gather.

The card isn't overheating (most of the crashes occur when it's not under much stress, around 75 degrees). My CPU temps are fine, as well: 52 degrees according to the BIOS.

Eventviewer shows absolutely nothing going wrong prior to the crashes, and, as mentioned earlier, I have no minidump files because there's no bluescreen.

Any suggestions on what this could be, or how I could go about fixing it? I'd really rather not RMA my video card before I'm 100% sure that will fix the problem.

Edited by Oblarg, 26 May 2010 - 12:19 PM.


#2
Gorgon

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It couldn't hurt to experiment with other drivers, do a reinstall to make sure something else is not missing.

If the computer locked and you yanked the power Data corruption is a possibility.

#3
Oblarg

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It couldn't hurt to experiment with other drivers, do a reinstall to make sure something else is not missing.

If the computer locked and you yanked the power Data corruption is a possibility.


I never yank the power, I hit the reset button on the front of the case.

I used the windows disk to check all the protected system files, it didn't find anything wrong.

Not sure what reinstalling the drivers would do, as they've been installed for months with no problems, but I'll try it. I'm somewhat limited on my driver choice, though - any newer version kills DVI output, it's a known bug that nvidia will most likely never fix.

#4
Gfted1

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Hmm, I wonder if your power supply is going and the buzzing you hear over the speakers is some wierd electrical "noise".

#5
Oblarg

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Hmm, I wonder if your power supply is going and the buzzing you hear over the speakers is some wierd electrical "noise".


Could be.

The volume of the buzzing is controlled by the volume knob, however, and if the speakers are off it will not buzz.

#6
Gorgon

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The last time I had repeated lockups my PS did die not long after. If you are feeling adventurous you could install ubuntu and see if it happens there too. could confirm a harware error.

#7
Oblarg

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The last time I had repeated lockups my PS did die not long after. If you are feeling adventurous you could install ubuntu and see if it happens there too. could confirm a harware error.


I've already used up more than half of my drive, and dual-partitioning is a bitch.

It could very well be the PSU, though. It gets pretty hot at times.

I wish there were an easy way to isolate the problem. The best thing I can think of is nabbing my mom's cheap nvidia card which happens to use the same drivers as mine for a day or two, and seeing if it fixes the crashes. Not sure she'd be willing to do that, though.

#8
Gorgon

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Actually you can do everything in one installation with the Ubuntu boot disk. I did, didn't cause any problems. Although I did feel rather nervous while the partitioning was taking place during install. If it locks up then well then you lost everything on the disk.

There is an option to boot off the install disk without making any permanent changes though.

Edited by Gorgon, 26 May 2010 - 12:55 PM.


#9
Oblarg

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Actually you can do everything in one installation with the Ubuntu boot disk. I did, didn't cause any problems. Although I did feel rather nervous while the partitioning was taking place during install. If it locks up then well then you lost everything on the disk.

There is an option to boot off the install disk without making any permanent changes though.


Alternatively, I could spend a day using the computer in safe mode.

That'd be fun.

#10
Oblarg

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Ok, so I have devised the following procedure to attempt to isolate the problem:

It's most likely a memory issue, based on the sudden and random nature of the crashes. First thing I'll try the next time my computer crashes is pulling a RAM stick, then using it again until it crashes. If it doesn't crash, I've isolated the bad memory. If it does, I pull another RAM stick and repeat. If I get down to one RAM stick and it still crashes, I'll start swapping out single RAM sticks. If it crashes on all of the RAM sticks, I'll assume that it's not memory and move on to plan B...

If it's still crashing, I'll replace my video card with the cheapo one from my mom's computer which happens to use the same video drivers, and run until either the computer crashes or I'm convinced that it won't crash and the video card is at fault.

If that fails, I'll keep my mom's video card in the computer and put a different power supply in (the only one I have isn't high enough wattage to keep my 8800 gts running). Run until crash, or if it doesn't crash, then it's the PSU.

If that fails, then I guess I'm ****ed. I suppose I could try putting a different hard drive on the computer and reformatting it (I really would rather not lose the data on my current hard drive, I have 40gb of music).

Sound good?

Edited by Oblarg, 26 May 2010 - 03:15 PM.


#11
Gorth

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Heh, welcome to the club (see my Gfx card rip thread) :lol:

In my case, it was the gfx card that started dying after a year and a half. Any chance you could get your hand on a spare gfx card, even if it's just a $40 one? Borrow one from a mate for a few days?

Do you have overheating problems? Static electric carpets?

#12
Oblarg

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Heh, welcome to the club (see my Gfx card rip thread) :lol:

In my case, it was the gfx card that started dying after a year and a half. Any chance you could get your hand on a spare gfx card, even if it's just a $40 one? Borrow one from a mate for a few days?

Do you have overheating problems? Static electric carpets?


I can nab my mom's cheapo geforce 9400, which should run fine with my video drivers. If it still crashes with that, then at least I'll know it's not the video card.

I think it's the memory right now. I'm currently waiting for my computer to crash again so I can pull out a RAM stick and, well, wait for it to crash again. :lol:

#13
Walsingham

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I fear it is obvious your machine's spirit is corrupted.

Edited by Walsingham, 27 May 2010 - 02:57 AM.


#14
Gorth

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Maybe a tech-priest can perform an exorcism? :ermm:

Oblarg, do you have incense and machine oil?

#15
Oblarg

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Maybe a tech-priest can perform an exorcism? :sorcerer:

Oblarg, do you have incense and machine oil?


No, but I did unplug that pesky 10 year old CD drive that made strange noises when it tried (and failed) to read disks. Figured that was a better place to start than the RAM, as adding it was the only recent hardware change I had made.

#16
Humodour

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Seemingly randomly, the screen will lock up, the speakers will emit a loud buzzing sound, and I will be forced to hard reboot the machine. No BSOD, no minidump to debug the problem, just a frozen computer. All the fans keep running normally. This occurs about once or twice a day, and has been going on for the past three days or so.


Video card problem. Is it only when playing more demanding 3D games?

I think you'll find that if you give it like 10 minutes it will eventually blue screen.

That's what happens on mine.

#17
Walsingham

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Perhaps you have a vuvuzela inside your machine?

#18
Oblarg

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Perhaps you have a vuvuzela inside your machine?


Actually, it appears I have fixed the problem.

I had recently installed a rather sketchy CD drive which made unsettling noises when attempting to read disks. Unplugging it fixed the crashes.

I have absolutely no ****ing clue how the CD drive was crashing the system, but there you have it.

#19
Janmanden

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I guess a funky CD Drive could via DMA (Direct Memory Access) make some funky errors in the system memory. A few funky bits going the wrong way could lead to a lot of agonizing errors.




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