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Windows 7: x64 Randomly freezes while playing games.

03 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
x64 Randomly freezes while playing games.

Hey everyone.

I built this computer about a month ago and was quite excited to be running a new configuration and my first 64-bit OS. The excitement didn't last very long, however, as I began experiencing some very strange freezes while playing World of Warcraft. For the next few weeks, I tried everything I could possibly have done, from rolling back all my drivers, installing new versions, removing my second GPU, changing video and game settings. I also tried analyzing my memory dump files, but here's the catch: Windows never generated one. For a while, I thought WoW was the problem. But then, while playing another 3D-intensive game a week ago, it happened again and proved to me it wasn't.

The freezing happens at random. From the 30+ or so times it's happened, I can't nail down a single common point as it's just that, random. The two factors that I can see have increased my chances and frequency of freezing were being in Raids with 10 to 25 other players (which increases the strain on the machine) and whenever someone in my network accesses files in my boot drive while the games are running. The former is more common, and the latter has happened once, which caused me to crash 5 or 6 times in a short period of time, more than my nightly average.

As for what happens, the entire machine just freezes in place and becomes completely unresponsive. No errors, no blue screens, keyboard and mouse go dead. It just locks up and stays there for as long as I don't hold down the power button and force-restart it.

As a last resort, I formatted my machine yesterday and just redid everything from scratch, being careful not to bloat the computer with drivers for devices I wouldn't be using. Hopeful that would fix my problem, I went back into the game for tonight's meet up and bam: about an hour in, it froze again. Go back - 30 minutes later, another one. 15 minutes later, another one. And to finish off the night, another one after an hour.

I have basically run out of ideas. It seems like it is a driver issue, but I don't know exactly what is the problem, and it seems like I can't be sure since Windows will not generate any errors or logs with pertinent information other than the usual "Your computer was shut down improperly last time" after the OS resumes.

Here's a list of the things I've tried:

- Updating all my drivers. Network card, audio card, video card are all using the latest versions available.
- Changed power settings to high performance.
- Updated my BIOS to the newest version available. Users report no problems.
- Removed my second video card and left just one in there.
- Double-checked all my power cords and plugs to make sure they were nice and tight. They were.
- Constantly check of system temperatures. Ram, GPU and CPU all seem to work within specifications.
- Ran Memtest86+ for 3+ hours. No problems reported.
- Ran Prime95 for ~1 hour. No issues.

Here's what I have not tried and what I may still be suspecting of:

- Hard Drive is defective. It's a new one that I bought for this build, so it may have had problems from day one. It's one of those "Green" drives that apparently has variable RPM. But if it were, the problems would probably not happen only when gaming.
- NVIDIA video drivers are problematic. (Running the latest 195.62)
- Changing memory slots around. They are in the right place according to my Mobo manual, but you never know.
- Added a Surge Protector. (Didn't have problems with my old computer, running Core 2 Duo and another enthusiast motherboard using the same outlet/setup).
- My GPUs, 2x 8800 GTS 512, don't fare well with the new architecture of the system.

Some pertinent information:

- EVGA X58 LE motherboard
- Core i7 920 D0 stepping. No overclocking or voltage tweaks. It's stock, on stock cooling.
- 3gb G.Skill Triple-channel rated at 1333 MHZ. Manually set to stock voltage in BIOS as it should be done.
- 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green as my boot drive.
- 8800 GTS 512 video card.
- Windows 7 Professional x64 bits. Fully updated and patched.

Any comments, help, insight or information would be greatly appreciated. I am simply lost at this point, and could use some pointers.

Thanks everyone in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #2

7600.20510 x86

Use Rivatuner to set fan speed to max and also slightly underclock, to test.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thanks for the reply.
I am not using RivaTuner, but EVGA's Precision and my GPU is always set to run at 80% fan speed. I don't mind the noise so long as it stays cool. It is overclocked by default - it's the Superclocked version after all. But I'll underclock it and see if it has any effect.

The problem is that it's not so simple to test whether or not something has worked, because there need to be some critical factors for me to experience these freezes and they don't always happen right away. Typically during the most critical parts of my gameplay, but that's just Mr. Murphy doing his job.

Also, lurking through the forums, I found that posting an .nfo file may help with debugging, so I'm uploading one now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Dec 2009   #4

7600.20510 x86

Many times, those factory overclocked cards overheat with normal gaming. I have one but the cooling is crazy excellent so I don't run into problems. In fact, I overclock it very much still over the factory oc.

But ya, do my suggestion to test if it crashes while underclocked and full fan.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64

As I thought, clocking the GPU to factory settings didn't change much. Problem occurred again not long ago at random.

Any other ideas?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2009   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64

I hate to have to resort to self-bumping and double posting, but if I don't fix this soon, Seven will be a thing of the past for me, and I'll have to embrace the WinXP for life mentality.

Once again, yesterday while playing, I froze some four times after about an hour of play. After I was done, I tried stressing the video card using ATITool, which basically screwed up all my RivaTuner drivers and I had to use system restore to be able to use the computer normally again. It's now working correctly, and programs like DriverAgent and the Windows verifier.exe utility don't report anything out of the ordinary except a few outdated drivers for which I could find no updates. (Namely, Intel(R) ICH10 Family USB Universal Host Controller).

Any ideas?


I have been using the EVGA E-LEET Utility to monitor my voltages and I'm a bit concerned over the fact that some of them are changing every now and then. I don't know if it's an architecture thing or a power instability, but I don't remember my older, Core2Duo machine doing that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Dec 2009   #7

Windows 7

I have the exact same card and have been having these issues recently too. Insted, with me, my monitor flicks between Analog and Digital signals and then completely switches off. If I reset the computer I get a Long Beep followed by 3 short beeps. If I turn the power off, and then back on, it loads up fine but crashes immediately when I try to open up a game. namely, World of Warcraft.

So yeh, im tempted to go and buy a GTX 275 but I don't really want to spend the money on it if I don't need too =/
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 x64 Randomly freezes while playing games.

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