Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

Since building my PC back in the fall I've had intermittent problems where the system will freeze for a second or two and the speakers will buzz. For a while it was constant, and then I thought it was resolved because it pretty much stopped. Anyway, the problem came back with a vengeance the other day and so I started googling. I found a lot of discussions on the issue so I'm clearly not alone, but there was never any clear cause beyond a slightly more frequent explanation of "driver problems" over broken hardware of some sort. So after some poking around I discovered that my ASUS WiFi card was linked to Broadcom drivers. I can't recall now whether I used the install disk or not, but that definitely seemed wrong so I downloaded the latest drivers from ASUS and what do you know but my problem went away instantly! It's so nice to have that problem fixed after months of odd behavior. Anyway, I had to share.

MannishBoy wrote:

Tested and Lloyd Case did a new PC build vid for those who might have never built before:

Finished. Excellent. Thank you for sharing. I'm halfway through a build, my first, and it's good to see that things I've noticed are still things you fight with even with more modern hardware. (I'd be finished but one of the plastic tabs on the Intel CPU heatsink was broken, so waiting on another.)

I need a little help.

Two weeks ago, I completed my first build.

Salient details: i7 3770k, 660Ti, 16gb 1600 RAM, Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200rpm drive, Corsair 600 watt PSU, Windows 8

I'm now getting some intermittent freezes, which require a full power cycle, and sometimes 2 or 3 attempts to boot back up. I've had the HDD "lock" up once (literally tried to boot in safe mode and was told "the hard drive is locked, please unlock to continue"), and not allow a boot to occur at all, and other times I've been able to boot into Safe Mode, restart, and then it'll boot normally. Nothing is showing up in the Event Logs to show an issue, aside from "system restarted after an unexpected shut down". Everything is running at default speeds and voltages, temps are logging as well within the norm even under load (sub-60*C), and she's had no issues with overnight Prime95 and Memtest86 runs. I've got the latest Nvidia drivers installed (314.22). I've already had to format and reinstall Windows 8 three times due to these boot issues.

When my freezes occur, my best description for it is a hard lock. Mouse stops, sound stops, everything in the case remains powered, and it never comes back to me no matter how long I wait. I've had it happen in the middle of a game, but also in the middle of web browsing, or just using Windows Explorer.

I've run out of things to test, and nothing seems to be screaming "Hey, I'm the problem".

So, fellow Goodjers - what the heck could be my problem and where should I go next?

McIrishJihad wrote:

So, fellow Goodjers - what the heck could be my problem and where should I go next?

Have you looked in Event Viewer to see if there are any clues?

MannishBoy wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

So, fellow Goodjers - what the heck could be my problem and where should I go next?

Have you looked in Event Viewer to see if there are any clues?

McIrishJihad wrote:

Nothing is showing up in the Event Logs to show an issue, aside from "system restarted after an unexpected shut down".

Nope, nothing showing in the Event Viewer, first place I went.

McIrishJihad wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

So, fellow Goodjers - what the heck could be my problem and where should I go next?

Have you looked in Event Viewer to see if there are any clues?

McIrishJihad wrote:

Nothing is showing up in the Event Logs to show an issue, aside from "system restarted after an unexpected shut down".

Nope, nothing showing in the Event Viewer, first place I went.

have you tried swapping hardware, like taking out the video card and running on integrated graphics? Might be worth checking if everything is seated properly, especially the motherboard.

Yeah, nothing fixes problems like taking everything apart and putting it back together again. My first thought was the motherboard shorting, are the standoffs installed correctly? Latest BIOS may be worth looking into as well.

Kind of sounds similar to an issue someone was having upthread, and it turned out it was a driver issue on his network card of all things.

Anyone have any opinions/gotchas of 3TB drives? I'm looking at replacing this:
1TB WD Black
with this:
3TB Seagate Barracuda

cheesycrouton wrote:

Anyone have any opinions/gotchas of 3TB drives? I'm looking at replacing this:
1TB WD Black
with this:
3TB Seagate Barracuda

I have the Barracuda. No complaints so far, but I suppose I haven't really stress-tested it.

cheesycrouton wrote:

Anyone have any opinions/gotchas of 3TB drives? I'm looking at replacing this:
1TB WD Black
with this:
3TB Seagate Barracuda

Newegg also has a 4TB for $179 after the coupon on the page.

I picked up a couple of 4 TB Seagate's in USB 3 cases from Amazon last week when they were only $149 each. Funny thing was the drives inside of the cases on their own were more expensive than the external version. Not sure what is going on here but a lot of places discounted those Seagate drives.

P.S. Still on sale for $179 now.

Edit: not sure if that case contains the same drive linked above.

muraii wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

Tested and Lloyd Case did a new PC build vid for those who might have never built before:

Finished. Excellent. Thank you for sharing. I'm halfway through a build, my first, and it's good to see that things I've noticed are still things you fight with even with more modern hardware. (I'd be finished but one of the plastic tabs on the Intel CPU heatsink was broken, so waiting on another.)

I HIGHLY discourage using the Bitfenix Prodigy case. Yes, it's beautiful but a pain to build in.

Also, there are serious quality issues, sometimes right out of the box, with screws not lining up, bent chasis with uneven closing, easily stripped screws, etc.

ive not heard anything good from the two people I know who have this case.

cheesycrouton wrote:

Anyone have any opinions/gotchas of 3TB drives? I'm looking at replacing this:
1TB WD Black
with this:
3TB Seagate Barracuda

Ive got a couple 3tb drives in and immed noticed case temps rise.

make sure you have great airflow over the drives (added 2 fans), this fixed the temps but increased noise.

McIrishJihad wrote:

I need a little help.

Two weeks ago, I completed my first build.

Salient details: i7 3770k, 660Ti, 16gb 1600 RAM, Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200rpm drive, Corsair 600 watt PSU, Windows 8

I'm now getting some intermittent freezes, which require a full power cycle, and sometimes 2 or 3 attempts to boot back up. I've had the HDD "lock" up once (literally tried to boot in safe mode and was told "the hard drive is locked, please unlock to continue"), and not allow a boot to occur at all, and other times I've been able to boot into Safe Mode, restart, and then it'll boot normally. Nothing is showing up in the Event Logs to show an issue, aside from "system restarted after an unexpected shut down". Everything is running at default speeds and voltages, temps are logging as well within the norm even under load (sub-60*C), and she's had no issues with overnight Prime95 and Memtest86 runs. I've got the latest Nvidia drivers installed (314.22). I've already had to format and reinstall Windows 8 three times due to these boot issues.

When my freezes occur, my best description for it is a hard lock. Mouse stops, sound stops, everything in the case remains powered, and it never comes back to me no matter how long I wait. I've had it happen in the middle of a game, but also in the middle of web browsing, or just using Windows Explorer.

I've run out of things to test, and nothing seems to be screaming "Hey, I'm the problem".

So, fellow Goodjers - what the heck could be my problem and where should I go next?

i'm scratching my head that it passes a Prime 95 but is giving you problems.

I'll reiterate to make sure every connection is firmly seated /pushed all the way in. ESPECIALLY your video card. Ive seen vid cards that have the clamps actually close but it was still not seated.

Last thing is to go into bios/uefi and make sure your RAM timings are per manufacturer recommendations. Not likely the source of your problem, but it might be, depending on which motherboard you have.

Oh! Also try reducing yourself to 8GB ram. Gordon MaUng from max pc had a very similar problem and that fixed his problem. It turned out that particular brand of RAM didnt play nice with his mobo.

Also when you go down to 8GB RAM, try to reproduce problem with ram sticks side by side and then one space apart. Again, even though your mobo says it can accomodate 16gb ram or more, some ram just doesn't play nice with certain mobos.

Hope it helps,
/ ESA

So after my upgrades last summer (i5-3750, Z77 Extreme4, and a 256 SSD), my computer is humming pretty well. I am still using a GTS 250 as my graphics card, so that's likely my next upgrade. I'm thinking a 660 Ti since I kinda want to stick with Zotac cards.

But I'm also pondering replacing my case. It's not very quiet, and the items in it are a little cramped. Since I've been doing streaming and recording at home, I kinda thought I might put a few bucks into it. The Logical Increments site put me onto the Corsair 500R, but I'm a bit put off by bright lights on the case fans. I've enjoyed having the nice dark blue of my previous case, so I wondered if there were any other cases people recommend.

I'd have to check, but if it's just the case fans, those are pretty easy to swap out, no?

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
muraii wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

Tested and Lloyd Case did a new PC build vid for those who might have never built before:

Finished. Excellent. Thank you for sharing. I'm halfway through a build, my first, and it's good to see that things I've noticed are still things you fight with even with more modern hardware. (I'd be finished but one of the plastic tabs on the Intel CPU heatsink was broken, so waiting on another.)

I HIGHLY discourage using the Bitfenix Prodigy case. Yes, it's beautiful but a pain to build in.

Also, there are serious quality issues, sometimes right out of the box, with screws not lining up, bent chasis with uneven closing, easily stripped screws, etc.

ive not heard anything good from the two people I know who have this case.

Luckily I'm using an older but cavernous Cooler Master which is phenomenally easy to work with. (Thanks to thin_j.)

Citizen86 wrote:

I'd have to check, but if it's just the case fans, those are pretty easy to swap out, no?

They'd be easy to swap out, but it seems silly to buy 3 new $10 fans on a $100 case. If there is another, better, $100 case, I think I should likely go that direction.

I'm not BEYOND the white lights... I think I'd just prefer others.

Fair enough, there are more than enough options.

muraii wrote:

Luckily I'm using an older but cavernous Cooler Master which is phenomenally easy to work with. (Thanks to thin_j.)

That one got bought during my "removable motherboard tray or no buy" phase

McIrishJihad wrote:

I need a little help.

Two weeks ago, I completed my first build.

Salient details: i7 3770k, 660Ti, 16gb 1600 RAM, Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200rpm drive, Corsair 600 watt PSU, Windows 8

I'm now getting some intermittent freezes, which require a full power cycle, and sometimes 2 or 3 attempts to boot back up. I've had the HDD "lock" up once (literally tried to boot in safe mode and was told "the hard drive is locked, please unlock to continue"), and not allow a boot to occur at all, and other times I've been able to boot into Safe Mode, restart, and then it'll boot normally. Nothing is showing up in the Event Logs to show an issue, aside from "system restarted after an unexpected shut down". Everything is running at default speeds and voltages, temps are logging as well within the norm even under load (sub-60*C), and she's had no issues with overnight Prime95 and Memtest86 runs. I've got the latest Nvidia drivers installed (314.22). I've already had to format and reinstall Windows 8 three times due to these boot issues.

When my freezes occur, my best description for it is a hard lock. Mouse stops, sound stops, everything in the case remains powered, and it never comes back to me no matter how long I wait. I've had it happen in the middle of a game, but also in the middle of web browsing, or just using Windows Explorer.

I've run out of things to test, and nothing seems to be screaming "Hey, I'm the problem".

So, fellow Goodjers - what the heck could be my problem and where should I go next?

ooh ooh ooh!

forgot to mention you can go for the hail mary pass and reset the CMOS by removing the little round battery (with the power cord unplugged) for about 10-15 seconds (of course put the battery back in after). this should reset the cmos. Sometimes if your computer didn't shut down correctly or gets interrupted during boot, you get a weird save state.

Easy to try and sometime fixes the weird problems.

/ESA

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:

i'm scratching my head that it passes a Prime 95 but is giving you problems.

I'll reiterate to make sure every connection is firmly seated /pushed all the way in. ESPECIALLY your video card. Ive seen vid cards that have the clamps actually close but it was still not seated.

Last thing is to go into bios/uefi and make sure your RAM timings are per manufacturer recommendations. Not likely the source of your problem, but it might be, depending on which motherboard you have.

Oh! Also try reducing yourself to 8GB ram. Gordon MaUng from max pc had a very similar problem and that fixed his problem. It turned out that particular brand of RAM didnt play nice with his mobo.

Also when you go down to 8GB RAM, try to reproduce problem with ram sticks side by side and then one space apart. Again, even though your mobo says it can accomodate 16gb ram or more, some ram just doesn't play nice with certain mobos.

Hope it helps,
/ ESA

And that's why I turned to the collective hive mind of Goodjerdom.

I seriously wish I could manifest this on command, but so far the only common thread is "so I'm using my computer..." :/

Pulled one of the stick of RAM (down to 8 GB), and the GPU. Let's see how this goes.

Thin_J wrote:
muraii wrote:

Luckily I'm using an older but cavernous Cooler Master which is phenomenally easy to work with. (Thanks to thin_j.)

That one got bought during my "removable motherboard tray or no buy" phase :P

Makes my first foray that much less painful. I remember working inside old 386 pizza boxes and assorted mid-towers and am happy not to have to repeat it.

McIrishJihad wrote:
EvilShawnAndrich wrote:

i'm scratching my head that it passes a Prime 95 but is giving you problems.

I'll reiterate to make sure every connection is firmly seated /pushed all the way in. ESPECIALLY your video card. Ive seen vid cards that have the clamps actually close but it was still not seated.

Last thing is to go into bios/uefi and make sure your RAM timings are per manufacturer recommendations. Not likely the source of your problem, but it might be, depending on which motherboard you have.

Oh! Also try reducing yourself to 8GB ram. Gordon MaUng from max pc had a very similar problem and that fixed his problem. It turned out that particular brand of RAM didnt play nice with his mobo.

Also when you go down to 8GB RAM, try to reproduce problem with ram sticks side by side and then one space apart. Again, even though your mobo says it can accomodate 16gb ram or more, some ram just doesn't play nice with certain mobos.

Hope it helps,
/ ESA

And that's why I turned to the collective hive mind of Goodjerdom.

I seriously wish I could manifest this on command, but so far the only common thread is "so I'm using my computer..." :/

Pulled one of the stick of RAM (down to 8 GB), and the GPU. Let's see how this goes.

What motherboard are you using ? Have you set the RAM speed to 1600 in BIOS ? Some motherboards will ship with the RAM speed set natively to 1333.

weswilson, have you looked at the Corsair 300R? Its a mid tower case but, it was made for bigger video cards (as long as there is only 1).

weswilson wrote:

The Logical Increments site put me onto the Corsair 500R, but I'm a bit put off by bright lights on the case fans. I've enjoyed having the nice dark blue of my previous case, so I wondered if there were any other cases people recommend.

I have a 500R and it's awesome. There is a button on the front of the case to turn the lights off. Airflow is also very very good and it does so quietly. I also love the wire management of the 500R.

It's on sale today at Newegg for $80 after rebate

I'm actually in the market for a slightly bigger tower than the one I have, so the 300R was not on my list.

I'm glad to hear you like the 500R, Tempest...

r3idy wrote:

What motherboard are you using ? Have you set the RAM speed to 1600 in BIOS ? Some motherboards will ship with the RAM speed set natively to 1333.

ASRock Z77 Extreme3 - I'll double check and make sure RAM speed is set to 1600. Going to be spending the evening playing around, hopefully I can get it solid and do a marathon session of Bioshock: Infinite tomorrow.

I've got the Corsair 300R, and I think you'd be able to fit two longer cards in there, but might have to ditch the HDD caddy and move your drives up to the 5.25" bays.

As for airflow on the 300R - HOLY HOLES BATMAN. The entire back-side of the case is practically blow-through, as well as room for 2x 140mm fans on top and 2x 140mm fans on the side.