Grrr.. the mid-tower I built has sporadic shutdowns

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John Canfield

Site Team
Aug 8, 2006
Texas Hill Country
I built this box (Gigabyte mobo) about Jan 2011 for the coach,  I do video and picture editing, so I like a traditional desktop for that task.  About  two months ago this box would suddenly and without any warning shut down - just like you pulled the plug.  That and once in a while I would get the blue screen of death.  This gradually built in frequency to where it was intolerable and I made an attempt to fix it.  I have almost an identical build for my tower in the house so I tried different memory - no joy.  Tried a new power supply - no joy.  Then I decided it was time to send the guts to recycling and I ordered a new board/ram/cpu.

I've had great luck with Asus, so I'm going back to them with a mid-range P8Z77-V board (Z77 chipset.)  Intel i5-3570K cpu, and Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1866 ram.  Parts arive tomorrow so hopefully I'll be truckin' along soon after.  The last shutdown was right in the middle of saving a 6 minute video, hope I can recover that project.
That's a bummer! You went where I would, memtest first then a PS swap. It is possible that it had a funky short behind the motherboard to the backplane/case, but not as likely.
If it is the drive, try copying it to a new one with acronis  true image or a similar software.
Gotta love computers John. Can't live with em, can't live without em.  I have a love/hate relationship with mine as well.  It works great for a while, then for no good reason I have a rash of BSOD's.  Each time I threaten to throw it out the window.  So far I have restrained myself........
I?m having similar detractions with my 4 year old Gigabyte MB as well. It ran perfectly for several years, unless I did something to confuse it. Lately I?m wondering about the video board being flakey. I just hate to get another one and not have it be the problem. $$$ sure would be nice to rent a board!
When my tower starts acting strange, I know it's time to blow out the several lbs of dust bunnies that have accumulated in the various heat sinks and fans.  I monitor my CPU temperatures and when they start edging up I know problems are ahead.  About a month ago I noticed the CPU temps were around 90C and found the CPU fan and heat sink completely clogged with dust.  Cleaned them and the others and CPU temps are now in the 50-60C range.  Fortunately, the Core I7 CPU will work at up to 100C.

John, I'll have another tower available for you if you can use it.  I really am tired of having my computer on the floor :)
My wife had an issue with her work computer last month where it would randomly shut own.  There was nothing in the event logs and the shutdowns were truly random in that they did not seem to be heat related.  The solution was opening the case and discovering the sata cable on her primary drive had become loose.  I would think a dense rubber matt might be advisable in a coach to reduce vibration...
In line with what tnthub says, given the vibration in a coach on the road, I'd first reseat all the boards and check (perhaps reseat) all internal, as well as external, connections. A bad power supply can also cause weird happenings. Just be aware of potential damage from static electricity (ground yourself before touching things internally).
visch1 said:
Lately I?m wondering about the video board being flakey.

I was wondering the same thing about my situation.  I should have pulled the video card from the house tower and tried it.

Ned said:
When my tower starts acting strange, I know it's time to blow out the several lbs of dust bunnies that have accumulated in the various heat sinks and fans. ...
John, I'll have another tower available for you if you can use it.  I really am tired of having my computer on the floor :)

I blew out the coach box and it wasn't too bad.  I'll pass on your soon to be liberated tower, but thanks.

The coach tower sits under the credenza and rides on an inch of foam rubber - it has a pretty friendly environment and it's completely out of the way.

Interestingly I've had similar issues with the tower in the house, not total shut-downs but the occasional BSOD.  It's the same mobo, same ram as the coach box except I run W7 64 bit for the house tower.

While not thrilled about spending almost $500 for another build, it will be great to have a much faster platform.
I had that problem with the current desktop at home for a couple years. Intermittent shut downs and eventually failed power supply.  I finally isolated it to the power demands of the video section and resulting overheating. I fixed it by getting a new "gaming" style case with four cooling fans in a push-pull arrangement, so that air continuously flowed through the case in high volume. Haven't had a problem since. Oh, and I keep the dust bunnies down as Ned suggested. The more air you move, the more dust you collect. Makes a great insulation blanket on all components.
If you are using this in the RV, check the line voltage.. My guesses start with the 120vac and then go to the assorted internal voltages, then to Mo-Bo issues, then to software conflicts. then to.. Well you get the idea.
Sometimes just adding an additional inexpensive case fan can resolve a lot of issues.  I actually blow out my computers each fall and spring  to minimize issues with dust.  For computers that are mobile, (like installing a pc in a trunk for example), a drop of hot glue on add in cards helps hold them in place.  Just be careful when doing it... :)
John - line voltage quality should be okay - the box is plugged into a UPS and we have a surge guard for the coach and of course the Xantrex inverter almost instantaneously kicks in on a loss of shore power.

The case on the coach is a nice Gigabyte with two chassis fans and I haven't overclocked the board.  I have a full size tower in the house (Antec 1200 I think) with a huge fan on the top (200 mm I think) and three or four others.  It's in serious need of a good blow-out, yeah, dust bunnies are a great insulator!

I was at an Internet cafe in Athens Greece a few years ago and smoking was allowed (everybody smoked over there) in the cafe.  I told the owner smoke was extremely hard on his equipment and would contribute to early death.  He got really indignant and said words to the effect of "it's my equipment, bla, bla, bla..."
Interesting coincidence, John.

I am, today, building the same (pretty much ) system in a Corsair 600D case that I have had for awhile.  ASUS P6Z77V-Pro, same processor and filling it up with 32 Gigs of Ram (Windows 7 Pro). 

Would you mind posting what Gigabyte Board you have in your "Coach" system now.  The system I am replacing as my main system, is also a Gigabyte Board...the 890GPA-UD3H.  It is running in a CoolerMaster Case I haven't been really happy with it.  The problem is with the case shorting out and rebooting occasionally when the casetop USB ports are used.  I've checked the USB Header Connections on the MBoard and the ground pins are properly connected. Also have had the top (auxillary SATA) connector short the case out when inserting a laptop drive in. (It is supposed to be a  hot swappable port.)  Only happened twice but I've taken to shutting down before inserting, then rebooting, to prevent damage to the laptop drive in that location.  Case is plugged into UPS System on the battery backup side, so ground should be available to the whole case, I would think.
Anyway, I was just chuckling at the coincidence of both our builds being the same equipment, essentially, at the same time. Small world!

Good luck with yours.


Hey Gord - the Gigabyte board is a GA-EP45-UD3P.  I liked Gigabyte's utilities and their easy BIOS updater from the Windows desktop, liked the board features and the layout was pretty good.

I got the new Asus board running a couple of hours ago.  If you are going to use your old hard drives and not do a fresh OS install, go into the BIOS settings and select Advanced> Advanced> SATA Configuration> SATA Mode Selection> and select IDE mode.  Then install the drivers.  This setting automatically changed back to AHCI after the drivers were installed and rebooted.

There are some really good YouTube videos out there about the board and all of the extra features.  I'm going to have fun playing with WiFi-Go!
Gotcha' John.  Good point on those BIOS changes.  I noticed that in the board's Users Manual last night.
I'm not going to be able to get back to mine until the weekend.  Just got a rush job into the shop last night which I'll have to do today and tomorrow.
Hope I can get at it on Saturday!
Anything you find that you consider valuable information to pass on would be appreciated.  If you don't want to belabor this thread, by all means just PM me.  By the way, I'm using a Corsair H60 Water cooled CPU cooler this time.  First time for me using enclosed water block system.  I'm usually happy enough with just the stock air cooler or a slightly advanced one.  We'll see how it goes.

Gord - it's my thread and I can drift around  :D.

Another discovery I made is that Avast didn't like the Asus utility suite (AI Suite II) and gave a virus warning so I had to exclude the /Asus program directory from scanning.  The AutoTuning utility worked really well and overclocked my CPU to about 4.168 Ghz.  I have the stock Intel CPU fan and watched the CPU temps as I rendered a six minute video - no problem, I don't think it went over 50C 60C (CPU utilization was about 60% +- though.)  Rendering video should be the most intensive work I put the box through so I think the stock fan will be fine, I was looking longingly at the H60 water cooler though.

FAN Xpert2 worked well - it determines the lowest fan rpm, then the highest so it knows the fan operating envelope plus I assigned names to the fans.  I need to get temp/fan alarms set up.

Played a little with Wi-Fi GO! trying to extend the desktop to my Android tablet and then my iPhone.  I managed to get my desktop background image displayed on the tablet, but that's all.  Never could get the iPhone to connect.
Years ago when I thought I knew what I was doing, I was messing around with the bus speed and doubling. The CPU would heat up and simply shut down, finally put an electric desk fan blowing on it to keep her running. Finally she shot up a puff of smoke, there lies the problem...smoke is the culprit. :eek:
Smoking is bad for you  ;)  I had a mini tower (Acer L100) that had thermal issues, it was a tiny case with poor ventilation - it's now just a pile of spare parts.
John - Looks like your temps are pretty good with that CPU speed increase.
Avast probably just doesn't like dealing with the 'low level' component interfaces in the ASUS Suite.  Back when  overclocking was done pretty much exclusively in the BIOS settings, the AV programs couldn't see what you were doing, and naturally couldn't complain.  I think AVAST just doesn't have the means built in to deal with the Graphical Interface operating under Windows, and is giving a false positive. Just a guess though.

I dropped AVAST a while ago in favor of using Microsoft Security Essentials, for most of my clients.  I find that it does an adequate job and doesn't need a whole lot of maintenance, with the default weekly scan pretty much all they need.  Paired with MALWAREBYTES as a secondary free utility that I put on for them, most problems are dealt with.

This area is being hit with a bunch of the "ransomeware scams" lately, mainly Reveton.F!lnk.  People freak out when they see those law enforcement warnings that they are being shut down in 24 hours if they don't send 200 dollars to right away.  They initially play around with the network settings so the victim can't get on to the internet and so far that's the only damage I have seen done. According the FSecure however, in Europe there have been many attacks with variations of the REVETON family of ransomeware. I had two people screaming "fix me, quick", this week already.  Nice to have some excitement in a small town like ours is. :-\

Getting back on track...I was hoping that the Bluetooth built into that board would let me transfer images direct from the iPhone to my PC, and perhaps it will. Hope to give it a try next week sometime.  The WI-FI Go! does sound interesting. Don't know if I'll use it or not, other than a wireless connector in the house.

Gord Nelson said:
..I think AVAST just doesn't have the means built in to deal with the Graphical Interface operating under Windows, and is giving a false positive. Just a guess though...

Exactly - it's a false positive.  They do have a mechanism to report it so probably when Asus has moved on to something else, their signatures will be updated  ;).

I try real hard to not use any Microsoft products (other than the OS) but I'll have to take a look at Microsoft Security Essentials.  Haven't seen Reveton.F!lnk yet.  I've had several phishing emails lately, one of them was a zipped "fax" I was supposed to open.  Yeah, right.

Love to have all of the extra goodies (Bluetooth, etc.) but I was trying to keep the build cost down.  Bluetooth would be handy so I'll just buy a dongle at some point.

The Asus WiFi radio seems to work very well although I haven't done any throughput testing.  It is very sensitive and giving me two bars of signal from the house AP (it's about 150' away.)  I have other stronger APs to use but it is interesting I can see the house.

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