Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

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Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by Jyrroe on Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:51 am

This happened for the first time about 2 months ago, while using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK) for a school project. At no specific point in time (simply while the UDK was open) my screen suddenly went black. I thought my monitor was disconnected and tried trading monitors with my fiancée to no avail. After some further poking about I simply unplugged the tower (the power button wouldn't work).

It happened several times, and after talking to someone about it, we figured it must be the UDK, which is known for frequent crashes and other strange bugs.

When I tried looking it up, someone suggested it could be a CPU problem, and also suggested testing the theory by hitting Caps Lock next time it happened, claiming that if it really is the CPU, the Caps Lock light on my keyboard wouldn't turn on and off, which it didn't (of course Num Lock and Scroll Lock didn't do anything either).

It has started to happen a lot more since then, now it's mostly when I try to run games (through Steam). Most games barely make it 15 minutes in before my computer crashes and I've only managed to play Saints Row the Third on the lowest graphics settings, and even then it crashes at certain points in the game (as in during certain missions, but still not at any exact time).

I've gotten great help from GeekPolice before so I thought I'd ask here again. I just want to know where the problem is coming from so I can replace it. Of course, any and all help or ideas are greatly appreciated.

Some system specs:

  • Windows 7 x64
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5000+ 2.60 GHz
  • 4 GB DDR2 RAM
  • nVidia GeForce 9600 GT Video Card 512 MB
  • Acer RS740DVF Motherboard ATI Chipset

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by INeedHelp on Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:05 pm

Hi Jyrroe,

Welcome back to GP.

Have you checked your CPU temps? If not you may do so in BIOS or download [this], it is a silent program that allows you to monitor cpu temperature while working/gaming, etc.

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by Jyrroe on Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:52 pm

Thanks for the suggestion!

I just started up the program -- my computer just crashed 10 minutes ago, and right off the bat it says my GPU is at 83C... so there's that... would that alone be causing this?

I'll see what I can do to keep it cool. I'm guessing the little fire symbol next to it is a bad thing.

EDIT: Actually, what CAN I do to keep it cool? I'm gonna shut down now and see if it needs cleaning.

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by Jyrroe on Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:51 am

So I just popped my computer open and my video card did seem a little warm, but not too bad... I left it for almost an hour, and the GPU was nice and cool, but as soon as I booted up and started SpeedFan, it said the GPU was at 63C (its at 78C now). Does that make sense?

I felt like taking a picture. I cleaned it not too long ago, pulled out a thin layer of dust this time but it seems pretty clean to me...

So yeah. Is that what's causing this? How do I keep my temp down?

EDIT: Yup, that's gotta be the problem. With the tower open and a fan blowing right into it, the lowest temp I'm getting on my GPU is 63C. Just after starting a game, it was at 90, and the longer I let the game run, the higher the temp runs (95c at most so far, with the fan still on it).

Is this normal? Can I fix it? Do I have to buy a new video card? =/

EDIT2: I just broke 100 deg, thought I'd put that out there. XD

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by INeedHelp on Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:13 pm

As of right now the only thing i would recommend is disassemble the GPU, clean whatever dust remains, clean off the old thermal paste (if there is any at all) and apply a new thin coat on the GPU chip itself and the memory chips. Then assemble everything and give it a go. If worse comes to worse you will need to get a new GPU.

Also can you tell me what games you are running?


Last edited by INeedHelp on Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : did not see system specs in signature)

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by Jyrroe on Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:39 pm

Saints Row the Third mostly, only crashes every few days though, during particularly shiny missions. I played through the entire single player campaign of Portal 2 without crashing. I can also play Super Meat Boy, Braid, and pretty much any other 2D game with no problem.

The games I haven't been able to play any more than 10 minutes in would be Skyrim, Oblivion, Sanctum, and even the Orcs Must Die demo. I haven't tried Fallout 3 recently, but I get the feeling it would crash too. I'm surprised Saints Row stays running so often.

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by INeedHelp on Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:16 pm

Is the GPU driver updated to the newest version? If so your gonna have to do something about the cooling physically if that is the case.

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by Jyrroe on Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:59 pm

Yeah that was the first thing I did was update my drivers. I tried pulling it apart last night but didn't get too far. I got the heat sink off but it wasn't dirty or off-center or anything. I took the big screws off the back but nothing was coming off easily and I didn't feel much like pulling on anything, lest it should break off.

Maybe the best answer really is a new video card. =/

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by Jyrroe on Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:05 am

So I really need to work on my UDK level (mentioned in first post) so I decided to see how it goes since I can monitor my temperatures now. I started up, play tested the game for 3 or 4 minutes, and minimized to see my GPU temp at 120C.

Besides that though, "Temp1" was over 50C (with the little fire icon next to it). GPU is obvious, but what are Temp1, Temp2, Temp3, and Core?

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Re: Computer just stops working, black screen - CPU problem?

Post by INeedHelp on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:10 pm

Temp1,2,3 are fans that are in your case. Core is the temp for your CPU. I would recommend you to invest in some proper cooling.

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