I'm at a loss. My PC went crazy a few days ago while playing a game and now, after attempting many, many different things, I'm still unable to use it. My windows installation was destroyed. BSOD galore. You name it. I need help because I'm out of ideas on this one.

First I want to make it clear that I am not an expert in PC repairs, but I do have experience taking them apart and putting them back together again, swapping components, etc. I'm simply not experienced enough as someone who makes a living out of it.

These are my specs:

  • Intel Core i7 6700 - 3.4 GHz
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte H170-Gaming 3 DDR3
  • Video card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
  • 500 GB SSD
  • 3 TB HDD
  • PSU: XFX model XPS-650W-3XS (650W)
  • Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

And here is the sequence of events that led me to this. Hopefully, someone can give me new ideas:

  1. I was playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. Unlike many other games of that level running smoothly on my PC, this one was running a bit sluggish. Very unstable FPS. I thought it was the game being badly optimized (I still think so, but that is off-topic). I switch the settings from DirectX 12 to DirectX 11 to see if it helped.
  2. Went back into the game (this setting had to be changed outside the game and then restart it). That's when everything went to hell. I started seeing some weird artifacts on screen for a few moments and then a BSOD. The error mentioned said "video scheduler internal error". Damn.
  3. Waited for windows to restart, switched the setting back to directx 12 (thinking that the blue screen was caused by dx11). Started the game again, and a few seconds in all the video on my screen got scrambled. Black boxes, lines, dots, etc. A mess. And then all frozen. This is when I started to panic. The first thing I thought after seeing this was the video card is fried.
  4. I started windows again, researched the message on that BSOD and performed a chkdsk, as suggested. A restart was required.
  5. After the scan, started Windows again and tried a different game. Fallout 4. A few seconds in, again, disaster: red dots, lines everywhere, complete mess... and another BSOD.
  6. It goes downhill from here. After restarting once again, instead of going back to Windows, I got into the startup repair of Windows, meaning that Windows did not boot correctly. I tried every single option available. Nothing made Windows boot back up. After a few tries, I got into safe mode, where everything seemed OK. I tried restoring to a previous a checkpoint, and nothing.
  7. After giving up on this installation of Windows, decided to reinstall it. Everywhere I looked on the internet, people kept mentioning that Windows may have gotten corrupted so a new installation was the easiest way to fix it.
  8. I cave in and reinstalled. It all seemed fine after the installation. I even got to a point where I was able to reinstall Fallout 4. So I tried again. Same results. Crashes, BSODs (one of them mentioned "irql_not_less_or_equal"), restart. This also killed Windows for me... again.
  9. At some point between all those restarts, startup repairs, etc. The entire video got locked into 800x600 resolution. There was no way to change it and even the BIOS was almost unusable because of the resolution (that's right; even on BIOS it stayed at that size). I had never seen anything like this.
  10. I finally got into Windows again after a second re-installation (this time I completely wiped out the drive to rule out viruses and malware). But still, no way to change from 800x600 resolution.
  11. I tried installing the Nvidia drivers and as soon as the installation started, another BSOD, this time the message mentioned "nvlddmkm.sys", which apparently has something to do with Nvidia drivers.
  12. At this point, I shut down, removed the video card and connected the monitor directly to the motherboard to use the internal graphics chip.
  13. This made it much better, the resolution went back to normal and Windows started up without issues. Of course, this was not the acceptable outcome.
  14. After much more investigating and different attempts to fix this mess, I decided that enough was enough, so I bought a new video card, a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060.
  15. Finally, it arrived yesterday. I connected everything as it should and turned the PC back on. I got video again!! Yay!!! But....
  16. My HDD, for whatever reason was not being recognized by Windows. I found out how to fix that, and as soon as the drive was re-recognized, dots everywhere and complete freeze!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!
  17. Restarted the PC but there was no way to get video back. Not even the Gigabyte logo from the BIOS was showing up. Simply black screen.
  18. I noticed that the light on my Xbox One gamepad came on and pretty much everything seemed fine inside the PC. There was simply no video output whatsoever. Could my new shiny video card have been fried already? Could it be defective?
  19. I tried several things, changing the PSU connectors, switching between using HDMI and DVI, etc.... nothing helped.
  20. I then removed the new video card, reinstalled the old one, and this time I got video again, but once more, 800x600 resolution, locked and as soon as Windows started and tried to installed the Nvidia drivers automatically, BSOD again.... shit!

I should mention that I did manage to get the HDD back. After that last freeze from step 16, went back to Windows and the HDD started showing up again as always.

So, at this point, I have no clue what else to do. Could it be the PSU that is causing all this trouble? It is the oldest component I have on this PC, about 7 years old (older than two of my kids!). Would changing the PSU fix all of this?

Could it simply be bad luck that I got a defective video card yesterday and this would have happened regardless of all the drama before it arrived? Should I RMA the new video card?

What else can I do? Like I said, I'm out of ideas and at this point I need suggestions from the experts.

I hope someone can help me.

Thank you!

  • 1
    Try changing the PSU if you have an extra around. If you have to buy one, be sure you can return it if it isn't the solution, no sense wasting the money. I'd had some issues not long ago that I was scratching my head about wondering if it was the PSU or the graphics card. Replacing the PSU fixed my issues. – SiXandSeven8ths Jun 14 at 14:44
  • 1
    Corruption of critical system stuff smells a bit like bad memory, processor overheating or power supply problems. Many years ago I had a machine that would install fine, run for a few minutes, BSOD, and corrupt itself beyond any hope of repair. Reinstalling went fine, but it quickly killed itself again. Memtest found a bad stick of RAM and after replacing it the system was fine for a good few years. – Mokubai Jun 14 at 14:54
  • One free thing to try if the memory test shows no errors is putting the graphics card in a different PCIe slot. – Andrew Morton Jun 14 at 15:42
  • I did end up buying a new PSU, 650w (just like my current one), and I'm now waiting for it to arrive (and yes, I can return it if it doesn't help at all). I will try the memory tests, which I haven't really done yet. I will also try the other PCIe slot but that second one doesn't seem to have the same number of pins as the first one. The labels on the motherboard say "PCIEX16" for the first one (where I normally connect the cards), and the second one says "PCIEX4". I can try connecting it there, but I'm not sure that will work. Thanks! – AbsolutG Jun 14 at 17:16
  • @AbsolutG As long as a PCIe card fits physically, it should negotiate how many lanes it can use. It may not be as fast using fewer lanes, but at least you can see if it works. Have you checked the RAM yet? – Andrew Morton Jun 16 at 15:53

Well, I wouldn't consider myself an expert. But I'll talk from my experience. (Personal and virtual). One thing that HAS to stay in your mind and NEVER forget it.

The PSU is one of the most important components in a computer. It may not do anything for you. Not displaying anything. Not upgrading anything (like performance), but it's so important to invest more money on, it rather than anything else. If you don't buy the Ryzen 7 1700X over the 7 1700 for 50euro, won't harm you. You will just have a slower performance. BUT if you buy a PSU, willing to save money (on you, or on other hardware for your PC) you HAVE to rethink it. Alex K.

Other than that, PSU's are very cheap. You know. The higher voltage and the higher protection (from a good company) will result you in higher cost. But we are talking about a PSU that costs 30$ and another one, like that that I mentioned above that costs 70$.

YES It may be the PSU. If you don't have a good PSU, with the correct watt for your system and a protection ( That's a very good source to read about PSU's) it can be a mess with your brand new PC.

.

.

Look at this link. This site "Cooler Master" maybe you haven't heard them, but they are top in their products. From PC Cases to power supplies. They have the best PSU's, at a very good price. Also, this link is a PSU calculator, to calculate the required PSU's WATT's , accordingly to your specs.

That's all I wanted to say. As I said, im not an expert. But, hope I helped you.

.

Edit:

As you didn't had any result with my suggestions, I would like to tell you another one. You commented that you saw in Device Manager your GPU. Anyway. Try to connect to the PSU another Motherboard. A new one. (Also, if your PSU is fully modular (you plug your own cables in it) it will be better to change the 32-pin cable from the PSU to the Motherboard)

Maybe it's a problem in the PCI-E. Maybe an important pin, have an issue.

  • Excellent link. Thank you for that. Just bookmarked it. I did buy a PSU, 650w, just like my current one, for $80. I am now waiting for it to arrive. I will try it and come back with the results. Thank you! – AbsolutG Jun 14 at 17:18
  • @AbsolutG Glad to help! Waiting for the results! – Alex Kordatzakis Jun 14 at 18:50
  • Ok, I got the new PSU, replaced the old one and..... nothing. The problem is still happening. I guess we can now rule out PSU issues? Thanks! – AbsolutG Jun 15 at 20:56
  • I managed to get the internal gpu of the mobo working while having the 1060 connected, thanks to a suggestion on another forum. I was able to see in the Device Manager that the GPU is having a problem: "Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43)". I researched for solutions for this and most of the answers to this say to reinstall the drivers, which I had just done. Other suggestions mention disabling the device, uninstalling the device and having Windows scan for hardware changes... nothing. Any ideas? – AbsolutG Jun 15 at 21:01
  • @AbsolutG Sorry to hear that I didn't help you... I just updated my answer. Check it out! Hope you the best. – Alex Kordatzakis Jun 16 at 14:41
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Problem solved! It was definitely one damaged GPU (the old 760) and a defective one (the new 1060). I sent back the 1060 (never buying from that seller again, of course) and re-purchased another 1060 from a different seller.

I received this second 1060 during the weekend. This one came properly packaged, with manuals inside, covering on all the connections, etc. In short, a new item, as expected when, you know, pay for a new item.

I installed this new one into my PC and it worked perfectly! All drivers installed without issues, no display problems and the games I tried already look more beautiful than ever.

I'm still using the new PSU I purchased but since it doesn't look like the old PSU was the problem I'm thinking about returning the new one and just put the old one back. Should I do that or should I keep the new one and just have the old PSU as a back up?

I'm now worried that the old PSU, being old as it is, could cause more issues in the near future. Then again, it looks to be working fine at the moment so maybe I'm just being paranoid?

Anyway, thank you all for all the advice!!!

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