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Old 11-10-2012, 05:41 PM   #1
Toieo
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Default NEED help please - BIOS Flash, BSOD's etc

Thanks in advance for any help anyone is able to offer. I'm starting to have some issues with an aging gaming rig and I'd really like to do all that I can to save my PC. As many of you probably feel exactly the same way, I would probably shed more than a few tears if it didn't turn on one day.

On with the issues! I have an EVGA 680i SLI mobo (model number 122-CK-NF68) with a Core 2 Quad Q6600 (CPUID below), 8 gigs of DDR2, EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1GB (GPUID below) 1TB internal HDD (Caviar Black), 1TB External connected via e-sata running on Vista Ultimate 64 - bit SP2. I'm fairly comfortable with terminology, hardware, and software but would hardly call myself an "advanced" user. I would say I'm more of a confident user and would be okay doing minor editing of files on my own or following instructions of very detailed troubleshooting. If there's more information needed please let me know.

CPUID - http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=2577592
GPUID - http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/b3qzv/

1) I know parts of my system are nearly ancient as far as computers go, especially my cpu/mobo, which brings me directly to issue number one. I'm almost certain I should have flashed the BIOS at least a few times in the last 7-8 years. I haven't done it because I'm simply scared of it. I've never done it, I don't have a floppy drive (my board does support the embedded programmer feature) and when I bought this PC it was very expensive, top of the line, and still to this day I shutter at the thought of having to spend that kind of money again on components. LOVE my PC and it's been very good to me but still it was expensive.

2) I get a lot of BSOD's and freezes sometimes with sound and sometimes without. When there is sound, it's very loud and sounds kinda like the old batman TV show (na-na-na-na-na-na-na.... but the tones are more rapid and sadly my PC doesn't say Batman). This could be directly related to issue one, I can't figure it out. What I would like to do is find and decipher the crash logs, get to the root of the issue, resolve it there, and then build on a stable foundation. But that admittedly is over my head.

3) I stumbled across software called "DriverMax" which I found really cool. It never dawned on me that 3rd party software might do a better job of finding missing and/or outdated drivers AND for more things than Vista's built in updater. Turns out it found quite a few updates I need but of course finding out the drivers are available and getting them are two different stories. There's a fee involved unless you do it yourself. Tbh, I don't know that I trust a software that requires windows to be running to flash the BIOS and would feel far more comfortable doing it myself anyway. Anyway, it's not just the mobo that has these crazy driver updates that are like 5-6 years outdated. Things like:
"NVIDIA nForce PCI System Management by NVIDIA"
"PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridge (Matrox Filtered) by Matrox Graphics Inc.
compatible with PCI Express standard Root Port"
"Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394a Host Controller by Point Grey Research compatible with Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller"
"LPC Interface Controller by BYD COMPANY LIMITED
compatible with PCI standard ISA bridge"

As much as I'd like to claim I know exactly what those mean and how to PROPERLY update critical files such as these, that would be a lie. There are nine more updates like the ones above and I'm scared if I do something wrong I'll do permanent damage to my PC. I get intimidated because I have never done manual, vital updates, and one mistake can lead to utter disaster. I know what some of these are on the most surfacey of levels, mobo components mostly but when i start reading tech guides and manuals it quickly gets over my head and I get lost, confused, and scared so I just give up rather than break anything further.

4) Clearly the mobo/cpu are quite old and have been ran hard. Since virtually day one the systems been at 20% + OC and I know some parts will have to be replaced soon enough. The video card has been replaced, 8800 Ultra was in here originally (nothing wrong with it, just wanted to make sure my games stayed pretty) with 4 gigs ram. It's since been updated to GTX 460 and 8 gigs ram and the new 1TB HDD. The mobo/cpu are really the only things to replace besides the CD Drives and the PSU (it's a Thermaltake 1200w which is a day one purchase as well so it's quite old). I'd really like to not go this route atm BUT it is inevitable so I need to start preparing no matter how I look at it so any suggestions on a mobo/cpu combo would also be appreciated. The costs involved with this add up quickly and I'm trying to avoid it. Means new mobo, cpu, ram, thermal pasting, rewiring my case (it's and Antec 900 btw so space shouldn't be an issue for anything) and my computer is down the whole time which leaves me only my iPhone if I have issues during the rebuild.

5) Another thing I don't fully understand is how everything gets plugged into the PSU. I have 1200w but only so many ports on the PSU itself to plug things into and all the ports on the PSU are color coded with different voltages. How does one utilize the PSU if the components all require the same ports. For example 4, 1.5v ports, how would one connect a device that required say 2v? What initially brought this on was my PC was dragging ass and that led me to buy the GPU thinking I was being bottlenecked. After doing some research, I read that not supplying enough power to the GPU will cut it's performance, well no duh! BUT when I installed the 460 all I did was take the power being supplied to the 8800 and transfer it over. The guy at the store told me that the 460 was about the best my rig could handle and that the power would transfer right over, so that's what I did. Well as I dug deeper, the 8800 and the 460 had/have all the power they need thank god I the guy at the store actually knew something about this but I found that that's not always the case and that voltages and temps and all this other stuff is very important. Anyway, I still don't understand when/if it comes time to replace all of these components what it will require me to do as to set up the PSU. I've read mentions of splitter's and all sorts of other tails but it gets complicated quickly.

All in all, I guess I just need some help breaking down some of these complicated, or seemingly complicated, issues I'm having and really appreciate anyone's advice and willingness to help with this. If there's anything else I can provide please let me know. I can attach a dxdiag too but i got flamed once for posting the diag in the forum cause it was massive and apparently filled with useless information. it was ALL gibberish to me but to a programmer or someone more knowledgeable than I, it could of made a difference, so I posted it all lol Anyway, if you want it, I can make a new one. Thanks to any and everyone, I genuinely appreciate your time and effort, even if it's just to read my post. I'm far from an English major btw so hope my formatting and novel are easy to read and understand.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
ketchup79
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First off, welcome to the forums. There are people in here that are helpful in a variety of issues (and not all computer related).

Now, on to your issues. First of all, your thread is difficult to read. Do us a favor and list the specific problems you have, and the brand and model of the devices in your system. Create a signature when you can, so you won't have to make lists like this in the future. A computer problem thread of this length is just to much for most people to read through.

Now, on to what I see in your thread.
1. It looks like this program you listed just told you how old your drivers are. The older components get, the less frequent the updates will be delivered. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
2. You have a very high output power supply. It supports way more parts than you have installed. Nothing wrong with that, but you will have a lot of extra wires.
3. I see that you are overclocked. Take the CPU down to stock speed (2.4) and see if the problems continue. Also see how high the temps are getting on your CPU.
4. What are you doing on your computer when the freezing occurs?
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:35 PM   #3
Toieo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup79 View Post
First off, welcome to the forums. There are people in here that are helpful in a variety of issues (and not all computer related).

Now, on to your issues. First of all, your thread is difficult to read. Do us a favor and list the specific problems you have, and the brand and model of the devices in your system. Create a signature when you can, so you won't have to make lists like this in the future. A computer problem thread of this length is just to much for most people to read through.

Now, on to what I see in your thread.
1. It looks like this program you listed just told you how old your drivers are. The older components get, the less frequent the updates will be delivered. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
2. You have a very high output power supply. It supports way more parts than you have installed. Nothing wrong with that, but you will have a lot of extra wires.
3. I see that you are overclocked. Take the CPU down to stock speed (2.4) and see if the problems continue. Also see how high the temps are getting on your CPU.
4. What are you doing on your computer when the freezing occurs?
Yea the software tracks down system components that aren't part of windows "generic" device driver finder software. Since 2007 the BIOS has remained unchanged and in the last several years the PC has been updated with new hardware and software like crazy. 6 years to a PC is a very long time so I thought maybe compatibility was causing my freezes and BSOD's. I can bring the OC down no problem but then I do start to wonder, cause I am a gamer, will I be bottle-necking myself? Already games like Guild Wars 2 on max cause me to hit 20 fps. I can still rock Ultra on games like Crysis and Bioshock and they look absolutely amazing for the part but there is the occasional jitter here and there. Do you think taking the OC down will impact game performance substantially? This is where we get into technical jargon and I get lost. This game runs multi-core but only 2 threads but this game can hyper-thread on 8 cores and blah blah blah I'm aware the previous statement doesn't make sense, but you get the idea. Another forum member told me that my cpu ranks a 7.2 on WEI but that really means nothing to me other than it's not bad actually.

More back on topic, what do I do about these crash dumps then? I experience the freezes very randomly and have a hard time duplicating the exact cause of them. The last few days I hooked up my External HDD via e-sata and everything's been going fine as I clean up my primary HDD and move old files over. I've moved around 500gig's so far and today when I tried 3 times to transfer 2 movies over the PC crashed on me. That's what prompted me to write this post in the first place. The only thing that's changed is plugging in my HDD via e-sata directly to the mobo. That's when I wondered if it had to do with the mobo and here I am. I would love to get these last couple folders moved over and then defrag everything as I'm sure it could use it but these crashes have been around long before. Possibly the esata is instigating the issue in some way though.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toieo View Post
More back on topic, what do I do about these crash dumps then? I experience the freezes very randomly and have a hard time duplicating the exact cause of them. The last few days I hooked up my External HDD via e-sata and everything's been going fine as I clean up my primary HDD and move old files over. I've moved around 500gig's so far and today when I tried 3 times to transfer 2 movies over the PC crashed on me. That's what prompted me to write this post in the first place. The only thing that's changed is plugging in my HDD via e-sata directly to the mobo. That's when I wondered if it had to do with the mobo and here I am. I would love to get these last couple folders moved over and then defrag everything as I'm sure it could use it but these crashes have been around long before. Possibly the esata is instigating the issue in some way though.
Putting your CPU back to stock is a standard step in diagnosing system problems. One less thing to blame this issue on. Doesn't mean you're going to have to stay there forever.

If you are having errors during file transfers, but not during gaming or other programs that really tax the CPU, should rule out the CPU, power supply, and possibly the memory, as the main culprit.

Based on what you have said so far, my suspects include:
1. Hard drive. More specifically, the primary hard drive if the crashing occurs without the external drive plugged in. Seatools is a great program for checking this. Get the DOS version and put in on a CD. Have it boot the next time you restart and have it do a full scan.
2. Could be memory, as memory errors can both freeze a computer and cause a blue screen, but I would check the hard drive first.

If this issue has just started occurring recently (not when a recent hardware change occurred), the bios and other software updates should not make a difference.
Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:55 AM   #5
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I'm not really sure what you want...help solving issues with your current system or help selecting components to build a new system?

If you're afraid to flash your BIOS, there is an easy solution. Purchase a new/replacement BIOS chip that has already been programmed/flashed with the latest BIOS release for your motherboard. Pop-out the old and insert the new. There are a few sellers on Ebay but I've used "BIOS Depot" about a half-dozen times with no complaints. Its not expensive, either. Only about $13 ~ $14 delivered if you're within the USA, a couple bucks more for international delivery.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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@ketchup79: Thanks for your time and effort. When I get home this evening I will have a look at the Seatools and see what it's comes up with. I'll also bring the OC down and see if it stabalizes. How big an impact do you figure the 20% OC actually makes in my gaming?

@tcsenter: Thanks for the idea of replacing the chip lol never even dawned on me and anything less than 20 bucks for a PC part is fantastic lol I am looking to primarily troubleshoot my current PC. It's just getting to the point where troubleshooting is beyond me. I'd really like to learn and understand all of this but people go to school for years or study at home for decades to master coding/decoding, troubleshooting, and so on. When it comes to the BSOD's I know enough to type the tech error into google and see what happens but from there it starts branching into crazy ass technical white pages and it's daunting. IF the error are caused by the systems overall "incompatibility" then maybe it's time to build something new. For example, my mobo was never intended to run a gpu like the 460's so what, if any, are the issues with that? DDR5 wasn't even an option at the time, in fact DD3 had JUST come out and the guy told me to stay away from DDR3 because it was still in it's infancy. So here I am today, not at all unhappy with the way my PC's turned out BUT having to face the facts that my PC is getting older and that these old parts may not last forever.

What I'm hearing overall is that my PC still rocks. It has issues sure but I'm not as bad off as I thought. I can bring the clock speed down, run some memtests, and start to diagnose BSOD's. Don't flash the BIOS unless there's a specific need or reason and "general hardware compatibility" probably isn't a good enough reason to warrant a flashing. If that fails, could be hard drive related which would be a bummer cause the caviar black is supposed to be server grade. intended to run 24 hours a day for like 10 years and it's less than a year old -_- really hope it's not a bad HDD again
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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Well unless you're a competent programmer you're not likely to glean anything useful from a crash dump. So let's put that on the shelf for now. Is there any particular point in your mind that delineates "the system was rock solid, and then after I introduced this change(s), I started to notice problems"?

RE: those driver finder programs are not worth anything. They often yield confusing, erroneous, or conflicting results, so I wouldn't put a lot of stock in them. On occasion, they can be useful but that's an exception. Best place to obtain the latest drivers is from the device/chip manufacturer. e.g. NVIDIA for NVIDIA chips, Intel for Intel chips, Realtek for Realtek chips, etc. Some device/chip vendors don't release drivers to the public, or only release drivers for some device types. e.g. Marvell doesn't release SATA/RAID drivers to the public but it does release drivers for Marvell networking controllers.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:44 PM   #8
Toieo
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None at all ring a bell. The only thing I've really done the last few months is look for a wow replacement. Along with that comes like 100 different mmo's, ALL reputable games like guild wars 2, TERA, or D3. Some of them I've modded, WoW pretty intensely but none near as much as Warcraft. Other than that nothing else. No unusual AV activity and I use Trend-Micro/Malwarebytes combo so I feel pretty safe. I don't torrent and do "pc maintenance" pretty regularly. Maybe I'm just paranoid and this is part of the quirks of a custom built PC. If it takes advanced programming skills and knowledge to turn those crash logs into something understandable, then it's probably not that detrimental to my system. just an annoyance..
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:58 PM   #9
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Just so you know, 680i chipsets were crap for overclocking quad-cores. So it doesn't surprise me at all that you are having BSODs with that chipset and an overclocked Q6600.

You might be better-off, getting a cheap G41 mobo with some OC support (Asus?), and DDR3 support, and upgrade that. That is, if you don't use SLI on the 680i, which was really the sole reason for its existence.

Edit: Or get a decent cheap used P35/P45 board on ebay.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:23 PM   #10
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Just so you know, 680i chipsets were crap for overclocking quad-cores. So it doesn't surprise me at all that you are having BSODs with that chipset and an overclocked Q6600.
This! Either live without OC or change board.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toieo View Post
Maybe I'm just paranoid and this is part of the quirks of a custom built PC. If it takes advanced programming skills and knowledge to turn those crash logs into something understandable, then it's probably not that detrimental to my system. just an annoyance..
If you're a few BIOS versions behind, I think its worth getting a replacement chip programmed with the latest version as I recommended. I remember EVGA (and other NVIDIA) boards needing a couple-few BIOS updates to get quads running stable or to improve stability with overclocking. There might have even been an update that addressed some issue or glitch with having 8GB populated. Just be sure to look through the current BIOS settings to check what mode is being used for things like SATA storage controllers (e.g. RAID, AHCI, or IDE/Legacy) so that when you pop-in the new BIOS chip, you can set everything back to the current values before booting to the OS.

Something isn't right, I don't accept frequent crashing is part of the custom build experience.
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