PC Issue

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by barr08, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. barr08 macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    Note: I wasn't sure where this thread belonged. I figured the 'Windows on a Mac' forum was for, well, Windows OS on Apple hardware, which doesn't apply here. Please feel free to move if neccesary.

    Anyways! I have an issue that I have brought to a variety of friends, with no results. The community here is friendly and knowledgable about a variety of topics, so I figured I would throw it out here and see what kind of recommendations I get back.

    A few years ago, I bought a Dell Studio XPS desktop, which came with the then brand new Intel Core i7 Processor. The machine has served me well - I switched my desktop from a Mac to a PC because I am really into PC gaming. I have always been able to run games at full settings, until about a month ago.

    Recently, while in games, I find the framerate dips down to about 20 fps every 30 seconds or so. This occurs more frequently when there is a lot of action on the screen. The problem is universal - I have seen it happen in L4D2, Modern Warfare 2, Starcraft 2 Beta, Mass Effect 2, and Bioshock 2 - all of the games I am playing right now.

    Along with the fps dips, sometimes the whole computer just shuts down by itself, or the audio will start stuttering, and a minute later the computer freezes up. This happens frequently.

    So there is something wrong here. The rig is almost exclusively stock parts, with the exception of a new Video Card I bought, a new power supply, and some RAM I bought on these forums. Partial specs for this machine can be found in my sig.

    I used this rig with the modifications for about 10 months before the problem started happening.

    My instinct right now tells me that this is a heating issue. The case is kind of terrible, and only has a slot for one 92mm case fan. I purchased a nice Antec case fan from newegg, so I am going to give that a shot and see how it helps. My temperatures are high from what I can tell - Speedfan says my main temp floats between 70 and 75, and the 8 cores idle at 50 but heat up to 65 when I am in game. The video card is hot to the touch, but not burning. I currently have the stock fan in there, and an external fan pointed at the video card, with the side panel off.

    So, do we think this is a heating issue, or does it sound like something else entirely? I want to hear everyone's thoughts on this! Discuss!
     
  2. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #2
    I wouldn't say it's a heating issue, i7 runs HOT, under watercooling my temps can still reach 60C while gaming.

    I would suggest this as being a software issue, rather than a hardware problem.

    Either way:

    1) What OS are you running?
    2) What GPU?
    3) Are drivers up to date? If they are, are they nVidia(issues recently)?


    Something you might consider to see if it is software is install a fresh OS on a separate partition and dual-boot to try running your games on a minimal install(just what you need to get by).
     
  3. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Have you checke to make sure that all the fans are clear? My old gaming rig was better than a Hoover at sucking up dust, use to reduce the cooling effect of the fans causing the issues you are seeing.
     
  4. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #4
    My fans are pretty dusty. The case seems dusty too. I am replacing the case fan this week, and I plan on using some condensed air on the rig when I have it opened up. Any hot spots to pay special attention to?

    Hmm, very interesting thought...

    1) I am running Win7 Ultimate, and I haven't reformatted in about 6 months.

    2) I am using an ATI Radeon 4850 which i bought off Newegg. I replaced the power supply at the same time to an Antec Earthwatts 500.

    3) I have tried updating the drivers multiple times. Most recently, I updated the driver package last week, directly from the ATI site.

    A reformat is a great idea - I never even considered this to be a software problem. I am going to give that a shot. Thanks!
     
  5. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Just take the side if the case off and Hoover the exhaust and inlet fans on the case, it won't hurt them. The 'hot spots' to focus on would be any fans near the processor and the graphics card, but just give the inside a good clean.
     
  6. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #6

    Worth a shot, usually though overblown temps are going to cause artifacts and if it gets high enough the machine will shut off automatically.

    @OP: If you want to make sure that it isn't a temp issue I recommend using RealTemp or CoreTemp, turn on logging and watch what your temps are doing when the issues happen.
     
  7. barr08 thread starter macrumors 65816

    barr08

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    I Believe these problems started happening around the time I added more RAM (If I were smarter, I would have payed more attention to this). I added 2 sticks of 2GB DDR3, and it's a faster speed than the sticks that are already in there. Could this mismatched RAM be causing the issue? It doesn't seem like RAM would directly impact graphics output.

    This is what leads me to believe that it is a heating issue. There is no artifacting, but the high temp shut downs would perfectly explain part of the problem.

    Thanks for the names of these programs. I couldn't figure out how to get the logging feature of Speedfan to work. I will try these two.
     
  8. theITGuy macrumors 6502a

    theITGuy

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Location:
    chasing the ghost in the machine
    #8
    OP take the RAM out of the equation...put back the originals and test...but seriously still sounds like an overheating issue to me...

    I love your old school NHL avatar btw. :cool:

    Cheers.

    -J.-
     
  9. No1451 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #9
    Mismatched ram COULD be an issue, is this the original i7(920/950/etc) in the 1366 socket or is the new "i7" in the 1156 socket?

    If you want to rule out RAM as an issue try Memtest and let it run for a few hours.
     

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