Complex freezing/booting issue

Registration date
Tuesday June 26, 2012
Last seen
June 26, 2012
- Jun 26, 2012 at 03:52 PM

Please bare with the long explanation but every bit of information is relevant. We have tried many, many fixes and it is not a simple problem.

About 3 years ago a friend and I built a PC from scratch with parts from It worked great for about the first year or so with absolutely no problems whatsoever and ran every game/program perfectly. One day I was playing a game and extremely abruptly with no warning or prior indications that something was going wrong the rig it froze in a split second and a horrible loud static sound blared from my speakers until I manually shut it down. It started back up okay and worked again until a couple weeks later the same thing happened. From that point on it began freezing more and more often and not just while gaming or doing anything that put the rig under any sort of stress like just sitting at the desktop. Eventually it deteriorated to the point where it would freeze immediately even before Windows would load while loading the BIOS before it stopped booting entirely. Pressing power would cause lights, fans and even DVD drive to all work, but no signal would be put out to the monitor. After trying a few fixes on our own including unplugging all peripheral hardware and swapping RAM, PSU, and CPU and deconstructing almost the entire rig with no results, we placed all the SAME parts back into it and it began to boot again but would still freeze. Completely stumped, we decided to take it to a PC fix store. After running some sort of software diagnostics on the hardware (probably PC doctor) they said that all of the hardware checked out just fine, and simply suggested that a new fan/heat sink be purchased and apply new thermal paste. Even though I was extremely skeptical at this fix I went ahead and ordered the new parts. In the coming days while waiting for the new fan I noticed that my PC was actually performing quite well again completely inexplicably and not freezing at all. Still, when the new fan came in, we replaced the old stock fan and applied new thermal paste. Almost immediately after, the computer began freezing again. However, there was an external fan speed attachment that came with the fan and on a hunch we disconnected it and the PC began to work again. It worked fine again for several months before again inexplicably freezing. It followed the exact same pattern as before, freezing only occasionally at first but increasing in severity until it eventually would not boot at all again. We then took it to another PC fix store in hopes they would find something. Completely inexplicably the PC would boot once we brought it to the store but was still freezing. Again they ran a software check on the hardware and it all checked out. After keeping it for a couple days, the only fix they could recommend was to format, update drivers, and install a fresh copy of windows. I insisted with them that the PC had frozen many times without windows loaded (such as troubleshooting in the BIOS) but they had no other fixes to offer.

Before formatting, I had a copy of Windows 7 installed as the operating system. After formatting, we decided to try installing Windows XP instead which is still the operating system I am using. After installing the new Windows XP, it began booting again but performance was still intermittent and the freezing continued (keep in mind this has been happening over the course of probably a year and a half now). Completely exasperated we decided to sit down with my rig and his rig and swap the parts again to try and narrow down what could possibly be the problem. In the course of swapping all, and I mean ALL of the parts, and putting my rig back together we began to notice that the PC seemed to boot properly and run while turned on its side. After hours of fiddling we began to notice that the new fan I had purchased a year prior seemed to be so heavy that it was potentially slightly dislodging my CPU from its socket in the Motherboard. We then swapped fans, his small stock fan for my new large brass fan, and the PC seemed to work again. We were relieved but there was still no explanation for what had caused the original problem since the stock fan I had replaced was identical to the one I had swapped with my friend. Still, I began using the PC again normally for a couple months until it began freezing in the exact same way again. Currently, my PC puts out absolutely no signal, though all lights and fans still come on on power up. Since we have swapped parts several times before with no luck, we are completely out of ideas. Again a list of fixes we have tried.

- Tried to address overheating with new fan/heat sink and thermal paste.
- Tried replacing several core pieces including PSU, CPU, RAM, and graphics card
- Tried formatting, deleting CMOS and updating drivers.
- Evaluated Motherboard to see if there were possible blown capacitors.

My rig hardware is as follows:

Mobo: ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel

Video card: EVGA 01G-P3-1372-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) Superclocked 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor

DVD drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250318AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

If there is any fix we haven't tried, or any indication of what piece of hardware may be the faulty one, I would really appreciate any input anyone could give me because I haven't had a fully functioning PC in years and it's driving me insane!!

Thanks so much.