My computer is boycotting all games

For the last few days my computer will freeze suddenly and force me to restart my computer. Sometimes it won't even restart immediately, it'll just be "dead" for a few minutes. It first happened while playing Dishonored, so I thought it might be a heat issue. But it's happened with every game I've tried to play other than that, and just reset while playing friggin' FTL.

The only changes I've made lately was using msconfig to force the computer to run on 1 processor so I could play System Shock 2, but since then I've got it running on all 4 again. If it helps, here are my specs:

Windows 7
AMD Phenom II x4 925 (2.8 GHz)
Award modular BIOS v6.00PG
4 gigs of RAM
Radeon HD 6800 series video card (dxdiag gives 2803 MB for total memory)

Any ideas? It can't just be a resource issue - I can browse the internet and use Photoshop with no problem at all, but even a game like FTL forces a shutdown.

It's odd that you should mention a problem like that and I just lost sound on a different desktop in my house. It's still practically brand new. I relate the two incidents because I decided to use deductive reasoning and strangely, it paid off. So there's got to be something that recently happened to your machine.

What happened was I installed four (4) optional Windows updates just earlier, hence no sound. I did a rollback with System Restore and, for the first time ever (for me), System Restore worked. Sound is back. That's the last time I install optional updates.

I've been reading up on spontaneous restarts and I found one verified example that involved mismatched RAM, but it took forever for this poor guy to diagnose. I suppose I always knew these sort of resources were available free for PC but I never wanted to tinker around with them, let alone download mystery code:
http://superuser.com/questions/129125/how-to-diagnose-a-spontaneous-reboot

I can recall only two distinct events that led to spontaneous problems with new Windows 7 machines. The first is for my current PC, when I installed Zone Alarm. That was bad, but they fixed it now at least, which I've personally verified. The second time was at work. We were using this PDF creation/editing program called PDF Converter by Nuance. It was the module for Outlook that was causing it to crash. I had to figure that one out, and I wasn't even in IT.

I think you might have been right about it being a heat issue. Try dusting the inside of your machine with a can of compressed air and see if that helps. Other than that, make sure all of the fans are working.

If that doesn't work, try updating your drivers, specifically your cpu, chipset, and graphics drivers. The best place to get drivers are from the website of the manufacturer of your component, but you might not be able to get chipset drivers that way if you're using a prebuilt, in which case you should go to the website of the company that built your computer. It might not help, but driver updates are a fairly common solution to problems, so it's worth a shot.

Consider the possibility of a broken power supply unit.

Thanks for the responses! So, CPU output and memory seem good, my drivers seemed fine (but Catalyst can put you in such a mess that it's hard to tell, so I updated everything manually). My PC is idling at about 46 degrees C though, which seems a bit high. I haven't checked to see what the temp goes to when it has to do some heavy lifting but I can tell you its' significantly hotter than when its' idle. I didn't mention that this computer has a water cooling system. I've had it for a year and haven't changed it out yet - is it possible that that is making my computer hotter? I thought the main issue with replacing liquid cooling systems is to prevent mineral build up.

Luca72:
Thanks for the responses! So, CPU output and memory seem good, my drivers seemed fine (but Catalyst can put you in such a mess that it's hard to tell, so I updated everything manually). My PC is idling at about 46 degrees C though, which seems a bit high. I haven't checked to see what the temp goes to when it has to do some heavy lifting but I can tell you its' significantly hotter than when its' idle. I didn't mention that this computer has a water cooling system. I've had it for a year and haven't changed it out yet - is it possible that that is making my computer hotter? I thought the main issue with replacing liquid cooling systems is to prevent mineral build up.

I have the same CPU, with regular air cooling and it runs at 34 degree idle, 65 under load. Your definitely running warm.

Antari:

Luca72:
Thanks for the responses! So, CPU output and memory seem good, my drivers seemed fine (but Catalyst can put you in such a mess that it's hard to tell, so I updated everything manually). My PC is idling at about 46 degrees C though, which seems a bit high. I haven't checked to see what the temp goes to when it has to do some heavy lifting but I can tell you its' significantly hotter than when its' idle. I didn't mention that this computer has a water cooling system. I've had it for a year and haven't changed it out yet - is it possible that that is making my computer hotter? I thought the main issue with replacing liquid cooling systems is to prevent mineral build up.

I have the same CPU, with regular air cooling and it runs at 34 degree idle, 65 under load. Your definitely running warm.

I've been looking it over the last few days using a few different programs, and what I'm getting at idle is actually consistently between 39 and 42 C. Under load I get 60, but I haven't pushed it as hot as I know it's gotten before. I read that it can idle up to 45 C and still be considered "safe", and 65-70 is about where the maximum load should be.

Still though, am I running warm enough to make a wide range of games start shutting down? My PC's been behaving since Tuesday, could there have been some temporary problem going on before?

Luca72:

Antari:

Luca72:
Thanks for the responses! So, CPU output and memory seem good, my drivers seemed fine (but Catalyst can put you in such a mess that it's hard to tell, so I updated everything manually). My PC is idling at about 46 degrees C though, which seems a bit high. I haven't checked to see what the temp goes to when it has to do some heavy lifting but I can tell you its' significantly hotter than when its' idle. I didn't mention that this computer has a water cooling system. I've had it for a year and haven't changed it out yet - is it possible that that is making my computer hotter? I thought the main issue with replacing liquid cooling systems is to prevent mineral build up.

I have the same CPU, with regular air cooling and it runs at 34 degree idle, 65 under load. Your definitely running warm.

I've been looking it over the last few days using a few different programs, and what I'm getting at idle is actually consistently between 39 and 42 C. Under load I get 60, but I haven't pushed it as hot as I know it's gotten before. I read that it can idle up to 45 C and still be considered "safe", and 65-70 is about where the maximum load should be.

Still though, am I running warm enough to make a wide range of games start shutting down? My PC's been behaving since Tuesday, could there have been some temporary problem going on before?

Heat does strange things to puters. If you overheated a while ago you could have cracked your motherboard, which will give you the weirdest problems in the world. Or in general a CPU that is overheating will usually start making mistakes which will crash it. Your idle temp is high in my opinion, even if they say its a "safe" zone thats warmer than it should be. If you have 8 hour gaming sessions its likely you've exceeded 65-70 degrees quite easily. That idle temp of 34 degrees is in a room that sits around 28 degrees most of the time. I'm not in an air conditioned vault or anything. You should be running 2-3 degrees cooler than me at all points without even trying if your using liquid cooling. I would start looking there as a problem spot.

Antari:
snip

You're probably right - any additional heat is a bad sign. I'll look into repairing the cooling system.

check the dust and air filtering, and also give the RAM a re-seat. (aka take out, blow out slots, put back in)

there's a possibility you have a faulty RAM stick.

 

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