Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I am victorious, again

Lately our house has bred friction due to Nate, Maren, and Jess all wanting to use the computer at the same time. Yeah, I know, we should all suffer such tragedies... Nate decided he wanted to use his accumulated allowance money to buy himself a laptop.

Instead, on May 5th I went to Microcenter and bought components to build a modern desktop PC to keep in the den for Nate & Maren to share, and something to keep them off of Jess' laptop.

Parts list:
  • Gigabyte Z77M-D3H motherboard
  • Seagate ST310005N1A1AS HDD - 1Tb, 7200rp
  • Corsair 8Gb DDR3 RAM
  • Intel Core i5-3570k CPU, retail box
  • Sony bulk DVD-RW
  • CoolerMaster 500w PSU

I assembled the components, re-using an old case and power supply (PSU), but otherwise using all new parts. (Planned to return the PSU if I could use the old.) The system frequently locked up, with no rhyme or reason.

Over the last month I didn't have time to focus on the problem, but occasionally tried to figure it out.

I tested the RAM for 7 hours, no errors. I ran a disk utility from the hdd manufacturer, found no errors there. I booted off of Live CDs, the system still locked up sometimes.

Over the weekend I returned to Microcenter and discussed the problem with one of their system builders. After describing everything I'd done so far, he concluded that given everything I'd tried so far, maybe the motherboard itself was bad, and suggested I bring it back for an exchange.

I returned the next day and exchanged the motherboard. Microcenter was great about the whole process.

After swapping the motherboard the system still locked up inexplicably. I then swapped the PSU with a brand-new PSU. That didn't help either.

I flashed the BIOS to the latest BIOS revision. Still no help.

I finally found the solution on Sunday night, buried deep in a British forum focused on Gigabyte motherboards.
- http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=18396884&page=11

Sunday night I raised the BCLK setting in the BIOS from the default 100.00 to 100.10, and the machine has been on since then, and hasn't locked up yet.


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