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Old February 25, 2011, 10:50 AM
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Default [SOLVED] BSOD at Windows Vista Startup

It's been awhile since I last posted, but my build that has been running pretty rock-solid for the past year at least has taken a nose-dive. I'm running...

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Intel E3700
eVGA nForce 780i SLI
4GB Corsair XMS2 Dominator 2x2GB
ASUS GeForce 9800 GX2
Corsair 1000w PSU
Western Digital Raptor 74GB HDD - For OS
Seagate Barricuda 500GB HDD - For everything else

About two weeks ago, I was booting up as normal, and during the Windows loading screen (the one with the scrolling bar at the bottom) the screen went blank for 15-20 seconds, then BSOD memory dump. I tried rebooting a couple of times with the same result, got frustrated, turned everything off overnight, and came back to try and troubleshoot in the morning. Lo and behold, booted up, no problem. Fast forward to Wednesday night, same BSOD on Windows load screen. Tried rebooting again, nothing different. Tried leaving overnight again, but this time, same thing, BSOD each and every time.

I was thinking it may be a RAM issue, so I ran Memtest 3.5 (bootable) yesterday and let it run through three tests, and it passed each one without errors. During the test, though, the screen went all weird, strips of the screen going black, random numbers popping up. I've never run Memtest before, so I'm not sure if this is a normal occurrance.

I can boot into safe mode, but again, video artifacts like with Memtest. Moving the mouse blanks out portions of the screen that appear in other portions and when loading into Safe Mode the Windows load icon (again, the one with the scrolling loading bar) is "ghosted" to the upper right portion of the screen.

So, any ideas fellow HC'ers? Mobo? GPU? Memory actually fried but able to pass Memtest anyway? I don't mind replacing hardware, but I'd rather not have to build a new machine in the process.

Last edited by iv:xx; March 3, 2011 at 10:16 AM. Reason: updated title to show solved
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Old February 25, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Enable SMART status and check your HDD SMART status with any program like crystaldiskinfo
Make sure you're doing a very hard full stress test on your memory for at least 3 hours
Stress your GPU using OCCT GPU mem test.

Use your original windows install disk to "repair" the OS (backup as a precaution).
Search the error code that the BSOD gives you. Note, there is a setting in windows that lets you change if the computer restarts after a BSOD, giving you time to write down the codes.
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Old February 25, 2011, 11:58 AM
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You have 2 very problematic components in your system that definitely were not known for their reliability or stability.

First, the 780i was a terrible chipset. It could very well be causing RAM issues which would result in the stuff you're seeing.

However, the 9800GX2 is also very prone to failure, which could also produce the graphical glitches you're seeing.

I'm not sure if you have another GPU to try? Or a friend nearby that you could borrow one off of? That's where I'd start at least. If it results in the same graphical glitching, try swapping the RAM out. And if it still happens, time to get a new motherboard.

I highly doubt it's hard drive related though. The only other thing that it could be is the power supply (as you didn't list that) but it's probably unlikely too.
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Old February 25, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Sounds like a GPU to me, but what stop code do you get when it BSOD's?
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Old February 25, 2011, 12:19 PM
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I've edited to add the PSU above, it's a Corsair 1000w unit, can't rembember which series however, I'll confirm when I get home from work.

Thanks for the quick replies, and JD, I know now about the issues with the 780i. It was an impulse buy while at the retailer, and one I won't be repeating. However, it's been running solid for a year...guess I've been lucky so far.

I'll confirm the error codes when I get home as well and make sure to run as many of the diagnostics as I can. I'll have to search, but I may have another GPU to test out, we'll see.

Thanks again, guys.
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Old February 28, 2011, 08:59 AM
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Well, first off, problem solved...stop code was 116, which indicates GPU error. New EVGA GTX470 is in, and running strong. Registered the card right away too...gotta love the warranty.

However, it may be embarassing to admit (and it really shows how long it's been since I actually opened up my rig), but my list of components was pretty damn far off. I'm not running a 780i, it was actually a 790i, and noticed when I went to disassemble and pulled out a stick of DDR3. As such, I was also running the Corsair XMS3 Dominator sticks, and an Intel E8400, not the 3700. To top it all of, it's all powered by a Galaxy DXX 1000w PSU...

So, moral of the story is, take a look at your box more often than I do.

Thanks for all the help, guys!
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