My Hateful Computer

My home PC regularly blue screens.  I’m learning to live with it, but it’s not something I’m used to.  I have had stable computers for years running overclocked, discarded, broken, and modified hardware, with patched, modified, and out-dated software.

But my current PC hates me and hates windows.  I’m running a Core2 E6300 at stock 1.86, 2 sticks of 2GB Mushkin 6400 in dual channel, Two 36GB WD Raptors in RAID, and a gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R motherboard with the latest bios.  And the problem is with one of those things.

I borrowed an EVGA 8800GTS video card when I built it.  It never ran very stable, and the video drivers would reset under Windows 7.  I had five hard drives in my case and a 480W Antec TruePower power supply, so I figured it was a power issue.  Took out three of my hard drives, put them in my NAS box, and ran it for a while.  More problems, more issues, so I installed Ubuntu.

I have no stability issues under Linux.  Unfortunately, as good as Ubuntu is for me, the wife and kids need Windows.  (Stupid Roblox does not work in WINE or in Virtualbox, and iTunes doesn’t agree with Linux either.)

So in goes Windows 7 Ultimate.  Video driver restarts all over the place.  Registry edited to change the video driver reset timer.  Problems are less frequent, but it blue screens instead of restarting the driver.  Out goes the 8800GTS, in goes a Sapphire Radeon HD 5770.  Good 3D, less power-hungry, ATI instead of NVidia.  Same problems, less frequent.  Changed all bios settings to the safest, slowest, most stable.  No change.  Update to the latest bios, no change.  Borrow a Corsair VX550 power supply to replace my aging and underpowered one.  No change.

I hit MemTest 86+ (newish version, on the Ubuntu 10.10 liveCD), let it crunch away for a while.  Passes with flying colours.  Hit IntelBurnTest (a frontend for Intel Linpack) and prime95, both pass without even getting that warm.  Hit Furmark for the video.  It runs for ever, topping out at 72 degrees.

Everything runs fine!  Launch a YouTube video, Blue screen.  Restart, Blue screen.  Re-Restart, go to the same damn video, no problems.  I can’t reproduce my problems, the lockups are completely random.  Sometimes I can play Portal for three hours and not have a problem.  Other times it locks up when launching MS Paint.

I hate my PC.

I got home and turned TdrLevel back to 3 (video driver reset timer, 3=normal mode).  Now I get video driver restarts instead of blue screens.

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