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BSOD - what is likely cause?


Ian in Northampton

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My son's new purpose-built games machine (Athlon triple-core, 8GB memory, 2 x 32GB SSD and 2 x 150GB drives configured in RAID, GTS250, Windows 7 Ultimate) regularly BSODs, but at random times in random applications. The guy who built it suggests updating the NVIDIA driver. He bleives it's sufficiently cooled. Before I go about looking at upgrading/replacing the driver - what are any other possible causes of BSODs I could look at? Is there any point in sharing the memory dump?

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Ian in Northampton

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Well, SIW didn’t reveal anything that looked useful – but if someone could guide me as to what to look for? The memory seems to be unbranded.

However: I’m wondering if I’m on the track of something…

In just 30 minutes, memtest has generated four errors.

Plus: the piece of software buteman recommended was very illuminating. I’m guessing that the output text file is too large to post up on here, but what it reveals is that, of 14 BSODs over the past few weeks, there has been no single cause. However, more than half were caused by notoskrnl.exe. Others were caused by storport.sys, afd.sys, ntfs.sys, nvlddmkm.sys, tcpip.sys, win32k.sys. Putting two and two together (and hopefully not making five…) I’m wondering if we have a random memory fault. The lack of consistency in when the BSODs happen is borne out by the lack of consistency of the driver allegedly causing the crash, and the fact that the NVIDIA driver doesn’t appear to be implicated, tells me that it’s memory problems that are at the root of these BSODs.

Anyone have any further thoughts?

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KRONOS the First

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A decent couple of RAM modules looked to be called for.

I assume you are talking about BlueScreen viewer.

nvlddmkm.sys = Nvidia driver.

storport.sys = RAM error

notoskrnl.exe = also likely to be RAM related.

afd.sys = network drivers.

tcpip.sys = also network related.

win32k.sys = Errors/problems happen when the system becomes misconfigured or when important files become missing, deleted or broken.

As for SIW. If you have a look on the left hand side,under hardware,you will see listed all the headings for the various components in the PC. If you would like to post your motherboard I'll find the correct RAM.

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Ian in Northampton

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Thanks Chronus. Yep, Blue Screen Viewer. Sorry: notoskrnl.exe should have been ntoskrnl.exe. Memtest seems to have shown up one memory stick that has generated 1,000+ errors (they all happened very quickly/together). The motherboard is an ASUS M3A78-EM running an AMI BIOS, which looks as if the maximum it can support is 4 x 2GB modules (which is what's installed).

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KRONOS the First

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Can you look in SIW and under CPU info will be the CPU's name as DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+ CPU only. One thing I must mention is that DDR2 is more expensive that the latest DDR3 unfortunately your mobo Click here uses DDR2 and looking around if you get 4GB 667 or 800MHz it is going to cost around £40.

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Ian in Northampton

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Chronus: CPU is an AMD Phenom x3 8450.

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KRONOS the First

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That is a AM2+ CPU so does support DDR2 1066 but 4GB will still be around the forty quid mark.

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Ian in Northampton

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Thanks Chronus. As the machine has, realistically, more memory than my son needs, before I lay out a ton of money, I plan to remove the memory sticks one at a time, starting with the 'highest'. In your experience, is there a way of identifying which is the 'first' 2GB and which is the 'last'? Hopefully, we'll then be able to identify which one's causing the BSODs (although it may be more than one, I realise).

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KRONOS the First

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The 'first' is the stick nearest the processor but to be sure have a look at the motherboard manual. I am on a tablet at the moment so cannot do it myself but will do so later if you have not posted back.

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KRONOS the First

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Just had a look at the manual and the first module should be in the first slot shown as A1 on the mobo image and the second module should be two slots down shown as A2.

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Ian in Northampton

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Very many thanks Chronus. It'll likely be a while till I can try this, as it's a case of wresting control of the PC from my son.

Just out of interest: you expressed 'concern' about a newly-bought games machine featuring a GTS250 - but for less than £200, with 2 x SSDs, an admittedly aged 3-core CPU, 8GB of memory and W7 Ultimate - do you have a view on whether it was good value. I promise, I won't be offended if you tell me I've been ripped off... :-)

I found out, by the way, that it's configured as RAID0.

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