Meltdown

My computer is fairly old. I think I build it at the start of 2009, and it's starting to show its age.

Since the day I built it, it's always been fairly loud but I've never thought anything of it since I'm always wearing a headset when I'm near it. It's also always had a habit of crashing the graphics card for me. Since day 1, if I'm watching a video or playing a game I'll just have the 10 second blackout and flicker with "Your graphics card stopped working, but it's okay again now". Me being me, I've always forgotten about this 10 seconds later - I'm in the middle of [a game|a movie] man!

Recently, things have gotten worse. My computer will just suddenly stop everything it's doing; the monitors get no signal, the drives stop spinning, all input is dismissed and it acts as though it's powered off with the exception of the case fans which are going crazy. I have to hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn it off "properly", then when I turn it on it does the exact same thing immediately. Turn it off again and turn it back on, and it's fine again for 30 minutes.

I've asked lots of my friends for advice and we all came to the conclusion that it's overheating. Seems obvious now, but it's nice to have group support. To verify this, I installed MSI Afterburner and restarted my computer to see what's up. The results were... quite interesting.

As I write this blog post, my GPU cards are at 85°C and 87°C respectively. The only applications I have open are chrome, XChat and MetroTweet. I have no ran anything special today, no games or things that could possibly strain my graphics card, and I only turned on my computer about 30 minutes ago. It's quite chilly today, or this would be 90°C or 100°C as it was yesterday.

If I launch D3, sit on a menu screen and alt-tab out of it then I'll reach 115°C on both GPUs. I am not making this up. I can make bloody tea with this thing. I last cleaned out the computer 2 months ago, and I decided to give it another very thorough clean last night; nothing changed.

I decided that it's now time to say goodbye to this thing and just make a new computer; I've wanted a new one for quite some time and I was going to wait until sweden, but this is just melting too fast for me. I ordered some new parts last night, and I thought I'd list them out here + my current spec as everyone keeps asking me for it.

Current Spec

  • Thermaltake SwordM case - I can't even remember why I bought this. Whose case needs hydraulics? Mine apparently.
  • NVIDIA GTX 295 - Apparently famed for its "oh god I'm on fire".
  • Intel i7 940 @ 2.93 Ghz
  • 24 GB of DDR3 RAM - I can't remember speeds.
  • ASUS Rampage II Extreme motherboard
  • 2 HDDs at 7,200 RPM with 1 TB storage
  • 1 HDD at 7,200 RPM with 2 TB storage
  • 1 SSD, OCZ Vertex 2
  • Liquid cooled CPU, stock fans of graphics card.

New Spec

Surprisingly, lots of people have asked if my old one is for sale; I am gutting it for parts for the new one, and it's somewhat broken (front USB ports) regardless. No sale, sorry!

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Comments

  1. JoneK

    # JoneK on 05/16/2012 12:44 p.m.

    I can take rest of the parts for free

  2. Seweiwer

    # Seweiwer on 05/16/2012 1:49 p.m.

    Hmm, why do you want to buy a Sandy Bridge and not an Ivy Bridge? Too expensive?

  3. yNeolh

    # yNeolh on 05/16/2012 2:29 p.m.

    O.o My Actual pc have Intel core 2 duo 1.86Ghz... 3 Gb ram and the most advanced part is Graphics with 1Gb dedicated and 2 usb 3.0 port...
    Your old-current pc it's simply like 4x mine XD

    I have to upgrade it... Yes... I have to save money... XD But i can't i have a bukkit dedicated server so the money i can save is for it -.-

    My next pc upgrade (Also i am thinking to buy a new pc instead of saving actual) will have an I7 3770k I was thinking on 2600k but now is old i guess... I need power!! XD

    Have luck with new parts!

  4. Daniel

    # Daniel on 05/16/2012 5:40 p.m.

    dear lord 4 TB of HDD space? and you should up to a GTX 680 with the money you're saving by not having to buy HDD's and RAM, i don't think it'll be too much of a price jump ;)

  5. frymaster

    # frymaster on 05/16/2012 7:32 p.m.

    "GPU cards"

    There's a bug where if you have two nvidia cards which are both driving monitors, they'll never underclock ie will be running at full tilt even sitting on the desktop.

    Not sure if that applies to you

  6. Paul

    # Paul on 05/16/2012 11:08 p.m.

    Do you really want to keep the ram from a bad system and introduce it into your new one? The problems you describe (except for the graphics card related ones) sound suspiciously like bad ram, or a bad motherboard which could have damaged the ram.

  7. bbqroast

    # bbqroast on 05/19/2012 9:21 a.m.

    Sounds like the GPU heat paste thingy isn't properly applied.

  8. Shafferz

    # Shafferz on 05/31/2012 4:45 a.m.

    Crack open the cards and clean the hair/gunk out of the heat sinks. Being a 295 you have theoretically double the heat being a dual GPU card. I cleaned out my friend's 285 and there was a 15-20°C drop.

    Be sure your RAM & mobo like each other. My ASUS Rampage IV hated the new 32GB Corsair Vengeance kit BSOD'ing a few times a day. I threw in my old 12GB Corsair Dominator RAM and it ran just fine. No bit errors were reported on either kits when running a memcheck.

    By looking at your HDD setup I can easily assume that you are running SSD Boot/HDD Storage setup - there is nothing wrong with that at all, and a Vertex II should take full speed advantages of a SATA II bandwidth (I think?).

    I myself am running 2x single PCB EVGA 295's (Quad SLI - Don't confuse with 4way SLI). It is possible that you could have just picked up a lemon and at most I would have done to your system was a clean OS install & swap out the video card for a GTX 580 or higher (when buying Nvidia cards usually stick with the x60 and higher; also I'm an Nvidia supporter so I don't know the ATI equevilant). If things still are giving you trouble after the fresh install and the card swap then I would have invested more money into a new mobo CPU. I had a 920 and upgraded to a 3930K. There was nothing wrong with the 920 and I never really used it's full potential (except for the occational video encode) so a 940 clocked ~300MHz would be on equal terms. I really wished you would have gotten a LGA2011 mobo/CPU, hex-cores are just badass.

  9. pp19dd

    # pp19dd on 06/06/2012 4:13 a.m.

    Think we have had a similar situation. In my case (pun intended), I had pointed a large room box fan for cooling when I play D3. Then, one day I shut off the antialiasing option in D3, and suddenly temperatures kept low on their own and the weird frame-negotiation lag went away. Still considering building a new PC though.

  10. Stak

    # Stak on 06/26/2012 12:18 a.m.

    asrock and gigabyte, wrong decision.
    Have see at work much problems with this brands.

  11. Amunak

    # Amunak on 06/29/2012 11:05 a.m.

    It is broken!

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