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Computer problems: it'll run fine for hours, and then tons of problems

ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa.Registered User regular
edited February 2013 in Help / Advice Forum
First of all, in case this is relevant, my specs:

About two weeks ago, I ran into problems. At the time, I had the AMD card in the computer. The two specific things that were occurring were hard lockups (the computer was completely unresponsive, the screen was frozen, sound was making a BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR noise through external speakers that seemed to be the last instant of the sound it had been trying to play just before the freeze, and nothing from the internal speakers). The other thing was that on start-up, I was getting four beeps when I tried to turn the computer on, beep-beep-beep-beep. As far as my own research into Dell motherboard beep codes went, that seemed to indicate it was a memory problem. It should be noted, when I could get the computer to start up, it would be fine until I tried to do something demanding with it. If I could start it up, it could sit on the log-in screen all night without breaking a sweat.

I took the computer to a local repair place that came really highly recommended by my technically inclined friends (I suck and fail at handling repair of computer innards), and they were unable to replicate the problem, except that the screen was green tinted. An occasionally green tinted screen has been an ongoing problem for me on that computer, occurring whenever I updated the drivers for the video card; restarting the computer had always fixed the problems. Based on their advice, I replaced my video card with the GeForce GTX 660.

Taking the computer home on Thursday, I had a few lock-ups that night. No further problems occurred the next day or two, but on Sunday night I ran into issues again. I suffered from the hard lock-ups again, and then a Blue Screen of Death that blamed "Memory Management" (I can post a photo of the blue screen if requested). Then I had difficulty turning the computer on. The power button would flash orange and the computer would not start. I'd hear the fans rev up, but then they'd spin down and nothing would happen.

After one of the crashes, Windows ran an automatic test that found no issues. The repair place also reports that the memory and hardware is testing as working fine.

When the computer is running, I don't seem to have any fan problems. They sound fine (audible, but no worse than when I first bought the machine; I clean it regularly). I do not overlock, the temperature seems to be fine. I tried unplugging the computer completely, leaving it for a half hour, and then plugging in just the tower and the monitor to my UPS on the possibility that the other items plugged into my UPS (a second monitor, a laptop, and my speakers) might be causing power supply issues, but the computer still declined to start up, again giving me a flashing orange power button. While I had the computer, I did not think to check a different outlet. The UPS is currently working fine to power my 5.1 speakers, a laptop, and two monitors.

The repair place has the machine again, and they say they've retested it and turned it on 20+ times without issue. They are unable at this time to find any problem with the computer. Right now, my temptation is to ask them to replace the RAM (based on the memory management blue screen, the way that it seems to crash when I do something demanding, and the beep code I received earlier) and to replace the power supply.


(If I need to clarify anything, please don't hesitate to say so.)

Shadowhope on


  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    If you can get me the 0x00000#### hex code that'd be helpful.

    I don't think it's your memory, I think it's your motherboard. If it's your memory there's some tests you can do with memtest to see if that's the case (any computer place worth their damn should've done that).

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    And yeah, post that photo.

  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    Thank you for the fast response.

    The photo of the BSOD is in spoiler:

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular

    You'll want to use this. Let me know if you pass or fail the memtest. You'll need a USB drive or know how to burn an ISO and boot your computer off them.

  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    I don't have the computer at the moment, it's at the repair place. :( They say that they've tested the memory.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Oh whoops.

    Huh. The only thing I can think of short of motherboard is the power supply. You've already changed out the video card, and I doubt this is a hard drive issue (that'd be odd).

    They should be able to test the PSU, they should have some laying about. As for the motherboard, looks like a relatively new computer, some elbow grease and $150 would repair that. They're likely going to charge you $300+ for it though (cost of repair + the item to repair).

    Is this not covered under the Dell warranty? Looks like a relatively new computer.

  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    The computer was purchased in December 2011, which puts it outside the 1 year limited warranty. I did not purchase an extended warranty.

    Regarding the power supply, when I brought the computer in for the second time I mentioned that I'd heard that the Dell 8300s had relatively puny power supplies, and they told me that it had tested fine and that my new card had a lower power draw than my old card in any case.

    Regarding the mother board, assuming I replace it, I think that I'd be looking at a ASUS P8Z77-V LK, based on the selection currently available at the repair place. Is that OK? Should I be looked at something else, or looking at going elsewhere, if I do decide to replace the motherboard?

    Shadowhope on
  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    Did you happen to buy the computer with a credit card? You may get an extended warranty through the card.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    That's a great motherboard.

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    You can't go wrong with Asus motherboards pretty much, and the Z77 is the top-end socket 1155 chipset at the moment

  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    edited February 2013

    Thank you.

    Hopefully, that's the answer.

    I suppose my fear is if I do nothing, I keep having problems. If I throw money at it, it doesn't necessarily fix the problem.

    Shadowhope on
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Yeah you'll be throwing a ton of money at it. Surprised they made you upgrade your video card for 0 reason.

    Problem with computer troubleshooting is that it's often cheaper to just buy a new one because after all is said and done you've probably spent $600 in parts and $600 in repairs.

  • EdgieEdgie TampaRegistered User regular
    I know they said they've tested the memory, but they also had you purchase a new video card. I would test it yourself when you get it back. Do it more than once too.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Yeah last thing I want is you to be dropping that much money into this computer because some shop is milking your ignorance. Too bad you don't live closer to NY :-P

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