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#1 Destined

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:38 AM

Hi all,

 

my computer died this weekend: It has power and the cooling fans all start, but I do not get anything on my screen and also I hear no beep or anything, which leads me to believe that my motherboard crapped out. I had some issues with my PC recently; I thought it was a hard disc issue, but apparently the 100% writing on my main disc was not due to a disc error, but faulty processing.

Anyway, I am now looking for a new PC and wondered what recommendations the lot of you would have. I want to stay below 1000€ and looking for a medium to high end gaming PC. The first question would be: Would you recommend a complete system or rather a "we-build-it-for-you" service? My current PC was built together with a friend, but I am not confident enough to build one from scratch on my own.

 

Another thought just occured to me: I could buy a cheap complete system and use some parts of my old PC, as it was not too old. I will have to check, which parts are worth keeping, and post the specs as soon as I get home.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice! Best

Destined



#2 OrbWeaver

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 05:56 AM

Are you sure it's not the graphics card? That might result in no video output as well. Might want to check that out (perhaps by finding/borrowing an old graphics card and testing with that) before shelling out over a grand for a brand-new gaming PC.



#3 Destined

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 06:21 AM

If the graphics card would not work, the PC should switch to the on-board one, I think. But I can try to remove it and start the PC without to make sure.



#4 jaxa

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 07:58 AM

This site makes it very easy to compare parts, prices, see which parts are compatible, link the finished build, etc. You could use it to find just a new motherboard that is compatible with your existing parts.

 

https://pcpartpicker.com/

 

Based on the country picker in the top right corner, it ought to work for Europeans.



#5 OrbWeaver

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 08:23 AM

If the graphics card would not work, the PC should switch to the on-board one, I think. But I can try to remove it and start the PC without to make sure.

 

It depends. Doesn't the monitor connect directly to a socket on the graphics card on most PCs? I wonder how a failure of the hardware could be bypassed in that case.

 

But it's just a guess; I don't recall ever having encountered such a situation myself, so perhaps graphics card failure just doesn't exhibit these symptoms. Nevertheless, I would strongly suggest investigating to find out exactly what has broken, rather than buying new components in the blind hope that you'll be replacing the right thing.



#6 Bikerdude

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 08:51 AM

I want to stay below 1000€ but I could buy a cheap complete system and use some parts of my old PC, as it was not too old. I will have to check, which parts are worth keeping, and post the specs as soon as I get home.

  1. you need to go through some diagnostic steps to acertaint which components has died,
    • if you thinks its the gfs card then removing the card is the first step. Do you have a spare video card (or borrow one from a friend) or does your CPU have a built in gpu (video).
    • If with a different video card the computer still dosent boot then remove all the RAM bar one stick
    • Then if it still dosent boot then you might have a faulty PSU, so swap the PSU with a know working one.
    • Then last but not least if all of the above dosent work then you may have a faulty mobo.
  2. Idealy it would have handy to have a complete spec of your machine to see whats components can be -re-used in a new PC build. We need everything including the case make and model.
  3. If you do end up going to down the buying new compents to build a new PC, where are you based and what if your prefered online retailer?


#7 Destined

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 04:18 PM

First of all: thank you all very much! OrbWeaver: you were right. I have no idea how I thought that the video signal could go to the monitor if it is plugged into the graphics card and not the motherboard. Brainfart on my side. Anyway, after removing it and plugging the monitor into the on-board card, my computer startet up, but could not boot until I rebuilt the Boot Configuration Data. I assume this was due to the motherboard trying to access a GPU that is no longer there.

My current specs are:

Motherboard: ASRock x58 (there is also some Z17Pro4S; not sure if this is some software on it? I am quite certain that x58 is the model and this is something else)

Processor: Intel i5-6600 @ 3.3 GHz

RAM: 2 x Ballistix DDR4 with 8 GB

If I remember correctly, the graphics card is a GeForce GTX 960, but it could also be 860 or something. I don't have the packaging anymore and never bothered to write it down, as I always assumed, I can look it up in the Device Manager. This is, of course, a bit difficult if it is not plugged in...

 

Now that I am already writing about my PC, I can also include some former events: I have had problems with the PC for some time (hence considering buying a new one). It started to use the system hard drive on full capacity, which considerably slowed down the PC (I had to wait almost a minute for a mouse click to register) until I restarted the PC. This happened the last two times after updating my anti-virus software (first Avast, later switched to Kasperky; both times free version). While running at full capacity it was usually the System writing some files into the anti-virus folders. This is also what happened last Friday. I had to shut it down by cutting the power, because I was visiting friends over the weekend and had to leave. Otherwise I would have let it run over the day and see if it sorts itself out. When I came back yesterday, the PC would not boot anymore. The times before that, the PC would usually not recognise the hard disk anymore (btw a Samsung SSD 850 EVO with 500 GB), so I had to format and install a system image. I first thought it was a problem with the SSD (before the current one it was a Crucial MX200 with 250 GB), especially after the 100% capacity thing and it being an SSD I thought it might be some faulty sector. But after it happened again with the new SSD (which cost me a lot of my data; including any TDM WIPs; mostly due to my own stupidity and carelessness), I started to look for other causes. This is why I was thinking it might be a CPU issue: writing erratic files on the hard drive, forcing to rewrite the data over and over again (maybe still cerating more erratic files). Could the graphic drivers cause such an issue in any way? Maybe in combination with an anti-virus update?



#8 Bikerdude

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 05:40 PM

Can you just list/summarise what your actual system specs are as the above post is a bit TLDR. And lists whats working and whats suspected faulty.



#9 Destined

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 05:58 PM

Ok, specs before crash:

Motherboard: ASRock x58

Processor: Intel i5-6600 @ 3.3 GHz

RAM: 2 x Ballistix DDR4 with 8 GB

Graphics card: GeForce GTX 960 (maybe 860; not 100% sure)

System hard drive: Samsung SSD 850 EVO; 500 GB

OS: Windows 10

 

Problem: SSD running on 100% capacity having to force shut down: SSD not found (2 times) => format, restore system; latest crash: no screen => removed graphics card and use on-board one. Since then I had no more problems (but it is only a couple of days); crashes usually happened after updating the anti-virus software (may be coincidence)

Suspected faulty device: SSD (was already exchanged did not help), RAM (was tested with MemTest, no faulty sectors found); graphics card (so far no problems after removing it, but not long enough to be sure)



#10 stumpy

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 12:03 AM

if ssd is running at 100% capacity it usually means all the cells are used up and there aren't any new ones and the ssd becomes read only device.



#11 Destined

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 01:44 AM

That's what I also thought, although it occured only a couple of months after first use (I only installed the OS and programs that were only possible to install on that; everything else went on another HDD), which is way too early for a brand new SSD. After formating it worked again (which also speaks against faulty cells) and a disc check did not come up wit hany faulty sectors. Additionally, even if the first SSD was faulty, the problem occured roughly after the same period with a new SSD. I still can't rule out the SSD completely, but I think that the problem lies somewhere else. Maybe I should switch back to an HDD? This would at least have more read/write cycles than an SSD albeit being slower.



#12 Bikerdude

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 09:42 AM

  • Motherboard: ASRock x58
  • Processor: Intel i5-6600 @ 3.3 GHz
  • RAM: 2 x Ballistix DDR4 with 8 GB
  • Graphics card: GeForce GTX 960 (maybe 860; not 100% sure)
  • System hard drive: Samsung SSD 850 EVO; 500 GB
  • OS: Windows 10

The above are all reletivly good, but a bit old now. So you have a few options start with cheap to full replacement - 

 

Cheap -

  • Are you sure you dont have the "Asrock Z170 Pro4 S" does, as X58 you mentioned dosent support the Intel i5-6600 you mentioned above.
  • Upgrade the ram with another 2x 4gb sticks taking the total ram to 16GB
  • It will be a GTX960 as the 860 dosent exist.
  • This is a good little SSD, but like all SSD'd you cant run the thing more than 80% full. Whats the size of drive? Also I strongly suggest you do what I and other people do and only use the SSD for windows and programes, and put games and data on a seperate mechanical drive.
  • Win 10 - I think most people know my thoughts on that OS.

Better -

  • Upgrade the CPU for a core i7 6700k or 7700k - but I need to know the exact mode of your motherboard - €300-400
  • Replace the GTX960 with a GTX 1060 (6GB version) €300 or 1070Ti €400 (these seem to be cheaper than vanilla 1070's atm...) - but we need to know the spec of your PSU to see if it can cope with the higher end CPU and GPU upgrade.
  • Replace the 850 evo which is SATA with a 970 evo m.2 NVME - the Asrock Z170 Pro4S has an m.2 slot - 256GB version  - €100

Full replacement -

  • If we go down this route you will have to replace the mobo/CPU which will eat up €800 of your €1000, only leaving €200 for a new GPU and PSU.

Misc -

  • What is the size of your 850 evo SSD?
  • Whats the size of your other mechanical drives?
  • Whats the make model of your PSU?
  • Whats the make model of your Case?

That's what I also thought, although it occured only a couple of months after first use (I only installed the OS and programs that were only possible to install on that; everything else went on another HDD), which is way too early for a brand new SSD. After formating it worked again (which also speaks against faulty cells) and a disc check did not come up wit hany faulty sectors. Additionally, even if the first SSD was faulty, the problem occured roughly after the same period with a new SSD. I still can't rule out the SSD completely, but I think that the problem lies somewhere else. Maybe I should switch back to an HDD? This would at least have more read/write cycles than an SSD albeit being slower.

Never, ever... max out the space on an SSD, as this will -

  • remove free space the SSD need for garbage and trim.
  • will shorten the life of your SSD.
  • And if the drive is full windows will run very very slowly or crash.

Edited by Bikerdude, 07 November 2018 - 10:01 AM.


#13 Destined

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 02:53 PM

Cheap -

  • Are you sure you dont have the "Asrock Z170 Pro4 S" does, as X58 you mentioned dosent support the Intel i5-6600 you mentioned above.
  • Upgrade the ram with another 2x 4gb sticks taking the total ram to 16GB
  • It will be a GTX960 as the 860 dosent exist.
  • This is a good little SSD, but like all SSD'd you cant run the thing more than 80% full. Whats the size of drive? Also I strongly suggest you do what I and other people do and only use the SSD for windows and programes, and put games and data on a seperate mechanical drive.
  • Win 10 - I think most people know my thoughts on that OS.
  • You were right: The motherboard is the Z170 Pro4 S; just had a look (I have the box of a x58, though; no idea why)
  • Sorry, I was not clear there; I meant 8 GB RAM per stick, I am at a total of 16 GB right now
  • Also checked again and missed a sticker on the side :blush: It is a ZOTAC GTX 960 AMP! Edition 4 GB 128BIT GDDR5
  • Regarding the SSD, I also was not clear enough, I will explain later. I only have programs that will not allow installing on another drive (like Kaspersky) and the system on the main drive, games and other stuff that has a lot of rewriting on my HDD
  • I know, but I could not find a reliable vendor for Windows 7, so I took Win10 (was cheaper too; we all know why...)

 

Misc -

  • What is the size of your 850 evo SSD?
  • Whats the size of your other mechanical drives?
  • Whats the make model of your PSU?
  • Whats the make model of your Case?
  • The SSD is 500 GB
  • My other drive is an HDD with 3 TB (model WDC WD30EZRZ-00GXCB0)
  • my PSU is a Cooler Master RS-500-ACAB-B1 with 500 Watts
  • My case is a Thermaltake Armor Jr. (from the pictures I found I would say VC3000BNS)

 

Never, ever... max out the space on an SSD, as this will -
  • remove free space the SSD need for garbage and trim.
  • will shorten the life of your SSD.
  • And if the drive is full windows will run very very slowly or crash.

 

Sorry, I was not clear about that: I did NOT max out the space on my SSD. With 100% capacity I meant 100% activity (as in read/write capacity); I am no native speaker, so I just took the word that leo dictionary suggested. The SSD is currently at 90 of 500 GB, i.e. 18%. As I said before, I try to put as many programs as possible on my HDD to increase the lifespan of my SSD.

 

I hope this is all info you need. Thanks again for the help! I really appreciate it.


Edited by Destined, 07 November 2018 - 02:54 PM.


#14 Bikerdude

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Posted 07 November 2018 - 04:02 PM

Ok so your system specs are -

  • Mobo: ASRock Z170 Pro4 S
  • CPU: Intel i5-6600 @ 3.3 GHz
  • RAM: 2 x 8GB Ballistix DDR4
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 960 4GB
  • SSD: Samsung 850 Evo; 500 GB
  • HDD: Western Digital 3TB
  • PSU: Cooler Master RS-500-ACAB-B1
  • Case: Thermaltake Armor Jr.
  • OS: Windows 10

This actually quite a good system, so I think the first port of call is to get the PSU checked out - when did you buy it as these units come with 3yr warranties

 

What country are you based in for if and when we start looking for upgraded components.



#15 Destined

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 02:19 AM

Oh man, where did the time go? Sorry, that I have not answered for so long!

 

Unfortunately, I could not find any paperwork regarding my latest PC-parts. I have neither the bills, nor any e-mails, so warranty is off the table :( Ever since removing the GPU I have not had any further problems. Could be that this is due to the GPU actully being the culprit for my problems; could be that I simply could not play any games that would be tasking for the PC... I have also not come around to check, what happens if I plug in the GPU again, so I cannot really say if it was the GPU that caused the problems. I will try this weekend to plug in the GPU again and see if it works or not. If not, I can at least be sure that this was the problematic part...



#16 Bikerdude

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 03:07 AM

To rule out a faulty PSU just replace it, whats your preferred online electronics supplier? so I can go and have a look and make a recommendation


Edited by Bikerdude, 21 November 2018 - 03:20 AM.


#17 Destined

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 07:16 AM

If I remember correctly, the parts for my current setup were mostly bought at mindfactory.de, but I don't really have any preferences.

 

Can the PSU cause so much trouble? I would have thought that it simply works and all parts get enough power or it does not work and the PC won't start... On the other hand, if I have completely cut the power (or turned off the power switch on the PCU), it takes several seconds until the computer starts. However, I thought that this is normal.



#18 Bikerdude

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 04:58 PM

Had a look and all the PSU's they do and way overpriced, in a nutshall want you want to look for is - 

  • a 500-600w
  • 80plus bronze or above - this is the power efficiency rating
  • single 12v rail - better for load balancing
  • multi year warranty - 3yrs minimum

For example I have an EVGA Supernova 650W 80plus gold, single rail, full-modular with a 10yr warranty, The two most demanding things in my system are the GTX 1070 and the 4790K, but those added to everything else with the system under full load I am using around 450W, so I am still inside but hitting the upper part of power efficiency curve with 200W to spare for upgrades, but more importantly capacitor wear in the unit over those 10 years. Now this unit is a bit pricey but imho as the PSU is the heart of the system so should not be skimped on.

 

So looking on Amazon.de I found 80+ bronze, 650w, single rail, fully modular (good for keeping your case tidy), 5yr warranty for €89.99. You can bring the price down for going for the non modular or semi-modular, or dropping down to 600 or 550w versions, keep an eye on the warranty as this changes on the lower end/cheaper models.



#19 Destined

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 01:31 AM

Thanks! I will have a look. Maybe I can find a deal while during Cyber Monday on Amazon.



#20 Destined

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 06:56 AM

Hm, I have tried to plug in my graphics card again and for now it seems to be working (let's see how long it lasts). I have installed the latest drivers and also installed NVidia Experience (did not have it before). Still, I will buy a new PSU. Slowly upgrading and hoping that I get any critical parts replaced in the process.

Again, thanks for all your help!



#21 Bikerdude

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 09:13 AM

Nvidia Experience is that thinly vailed spyware, i would advice removing it..

#22 Destined

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 12:01 PM

Ah, ok. As I am still not sure, what is causing problems, I thought, maybe it might help. Well, I will remove it bevore shutting down my computer.



#23 chakkman

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 03:22 AM

Note that GeForce Experience includes the Nvidia updater, so, when removing it, you probably won't be notified about new updates anymore... it also allows to apply optimal graphic setting profiles to supported games. And to record in-game videos with Shadowplay. Actually, I find it pretty useful, and wouldn't want to live without it.

Also note that, if you really want to opt for Windows 7, it will only be supported until 2020. From then on, you won't get any more updates. I wouldn't bet on a dead horse, to be honest.

Edited by chakkman, 26 November 2018 - 03:22 AM.


#24 Judith

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 04:19 AM

You can have Nvidia and Physx drivers without everything else, and games will run fine. You don't need to install new WHQL drivers anytime they get published. Often with newer drivers, the older cards get worse performance, just to force customers to get a new one. Install reference drivers bundled with your GPU and then install new ones only when you have problems with some more recent games. If you want to record in-game videos, you can always use OBS, which works just as well. As for OS, Win 7 is still fine, SP1 + several other security updates is enough. Pair it up with decent firewall and antivirus, and you'll be fine. DX12 is a Win 10 exclusive, but so far it's optional in games.



#25 chakkman

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 05:08 AM

Opinions shmopinions. ;)

I find Windows 10 vastly superior to Windows 7, and wouldn't want to install third party tools to do something the driver already does. And I like to be notified about driver updates too.




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