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A less sophisticated approach taken by some motherboard makers is to leave the end of lower performance x1, x4, x8 slots open, so that a higher performance adapter can be installed with the end hanging out in space.

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Ganging was seen as a step up from the old interleaving memory banks have been around foreverbut modern multi-core CPUs probably benefit more from unganged operation where the DIMMs are divvied up between the cores. If you need to replace the fan and heatsink, see the text for "Fan and heatsink active?

Return to diagnostic flowchart Have you run a software based memory test? System Restore is not a panacea, it often runs through the restoration process only to announce on reboot that the restoration attempt has failed, but I've never had it leave a system in worse shape than it started.

Another test is to boot in Safe Mode and see if the problems go away. Return to diagnostic flowchart Have you done everything within your means to test the power supply? Of course, if the fan on the GPU heatsink has failed, you can expect the temperature to run away and eventually cause the GPU to throttle back performance to protect itself, and failing that, overheat and sustain damage.

The first is to boot in Safe Mode and try to keep yourself busy playing in Windows Paint or some other innocuous software for long enough to see if your random reboot or freeze is going to repeat.

If Microsoft abandons support for a particular configuration, as they did with the original Windows XP years before abandoning support for the last XP version, you may need to find the service pack to update your factory installation disc before you can make use of Microsoft's update tool.

I recommend against allowing compression to save space. Return to diagnostic flowchart Does the PC hang up when you are installing a new driver? Motherboard manufacturers generally have the sense to space their SLI or CrossFire compatible PCI Express slots as far apart as real estate allows, but if the cooling fan on the second card ends up a fraction of an inch from the back of the first card, you know it's begging for overheating problems.

This problem isn't anybody's fault, it's just not possible for motherboard manufacturers to be prepared for everything that may come down the pike in the next couple years.

Return to diagnostic flowchart Is the CPU temperature stable?

And in most cases, the motherboard will detect the lowest speed DIMM and force all memory operations to default to that speed. The performance increase from PCI Express 2. For example, some motherboards offer more DIMM sockets than the chipset supports at top speed, resulting in all memory operations defaulting to a lower speed if every socket is populated.

Some motherboards have a replaceable battery likely to be a large watch type battery, though universal replacements for any given voltage are available. Return to diagnostic flowchart Does your operating system fail to individually register all of the cores of your multi-core CPU?

This can be a lengthy process, especially if you've just reinstalled an older operating system that requires several service pack updates before it can even get to the latest patches. But people are often quick to blame the power supply for random issues that are actually caused by problems with the electric utility distribution system that the power supply is drawing on.

An author could write a much fatter book than this one simply about software issues that can cause random glitches, but our focus in this book is hardware, so we can only treat software issues with a big hammer. Return to diagnostic flowchart I've seen bad power supplies that cause a system to reboot if somebody walks across the room or sets a coffee cup down on the table.

If you have a dual graphics card system, one of the cards will be further from the power supply and auxiliary case fan than the other, and will see appreciably less air flow.

The issue is usually conflicting software drivers or the need to patch a driver. Also remember that a working fan's ability to cool the heatsink depends on the temperature of the air paint ram slots ram slots the case, so if the case fans have failed or are blocked, or if intake and exhaust fans are working against each other both doing intake or exhaust the air temperature is probably too high for efficient CPU cooling.

The second and more thorough way to test bare-bones software is to swap in a new hard drive and do a fresh operating system installation. Also, make sure that any of the hardware involved is approved by the motherboard manufacturer, and upgrade the motherboard BIOS if the manufacturer is still in business and an update is available.

The answer here is usually malware, though it can also be something as simple as the hard drive filling up and the operating system running out of room for swapping memory to disk. Bare-bones testing for a no-video condition when you power on doesn't require a hard drive while bare-bones testing for no-boot does.

Right click on your C: It also makes sense to use a simple plug-in tester to see if the circuits in your house are properly grounded. Return to diagnostic flowchart Have you tested the system in minimal bare-bones configuration, both hardware and software? The latest software drivers may be necessary to work with software that has been released since the original drivers were installed.

Normally when we talk about bare-bones, we mean the minimal hardware configuration required to test against a particular problem. There are a number of reasons for RAM to underperform its specifications, from being installed in combinations the motherboard doesn't recognize to improper settings in CMOS Setup.

It's always possible that the components you have installed are too new for the BIOS to know what to make of them or for the motherboard to take advantage of their capabilities.

So you might see a motherboard indentify slots as x4 x1 or x16 x8 which means they accept a x4 adapter and run it as x1, or allow you to install an x16 adapter, but only provide x8 support in the slot. If the fan on the CPU heatsink never spins up, you've found the problem and can probably replace the fan without replacing the heatsink. If you have a multi-core CPU, another option is to disable one or more of the cores to see if that cures the overheating problem.

The same is true for running in hot weather without air conditioning. For all of the above, refer to the relevant flowchart mouse, keyboard and USB are included under the general category of peripherals. This can take several hours if you have a lot of stuff on your hard drive.

If you live somewhere with frequent brown-outs the brightness of incandescent light bulbs will droop noticeablyor with frequent fluctuations in the distribution voltage caused by demand from large industrial facilities, or with off-the-grid power from a variety of alternative energy solutions, the fix may be to purchase a quality UPS uninterruptible power supply that protects from surges and brown-outs.

Adapters have generally been backwards compatible in terms of fitting in slots of the rated lane width x1, x4, x8, x16but were not always backwards compatible with their power demands. The hardware bare-bones test is easy to do, so strip the PC down to the minimum required to boot and get Windows loaded, and see if your random freezes or reboots go away.

In this case, you may see widely varying readings depending on the loading of the cores and the GPU, and you may be able to prevent overheating by switching to an add-in graphics adapter paint ram slots disabling one or more CPU cores through the operating system. If the driver software is downloaded from the Internet, try downloading it again.

If you've upgraded a single core processor with a multi-core, you may have to jump through some hoops to get them all working. It's also possible that the manufacturer has recently posted a driver that hasn't been extensively tested for compatibility, so see if they allow you to download a previous version.

Each major revision of the PCIe standard has doubled, or nearly doubled the transfer rate of each serial bus lane, and each slot offers from 1 to 16 lanes depending on the design. If you don't have automatic Windows updates turned on, visit the Microsoft website and install their tool that will check the status of your operating system and download and install all of the patches required.

Some ancient desktop boards may even give a "Low Battery" warning at boot. Slow Speed and Random Freeze-ups from Overheating and BIOS or Driver Issues Does the system reboot itself for no apparent reason, either during the boot process or at any point once you're up and running?

But the problem remains if it's a required driver and you are unable to install it, especially if it's the initial motherboard or graphics adapter drivers as opposed to an update. Some adapters will correctly sense the number of available lanes and adjust down, but performance will be limited by the number of lanes. Try updating any drivers, and if the problem started after you installed a new program or a new piece of hardware, by all means remove it and see if the problem clears up.

Sometimes choosing a different Restore point will fix the problem, but other times you'll find that System Restore simply won't run to completion due to some conflicting software that's been installed. This isn't the same as a true freeze, as you can usually access the task list Ctrl-Alt-Del and close the driver installation window.

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Rather than repeating an entire page of text here, see the suggested actions for answering "No" to "Ran scan, System Restore? If the cores are enabled, you may need to update both the BIOS and the motherboard drivers.

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If the PC now tests OK, it either means that you have software corruption, conflicts, a malware infestation, or that the particular game you were playing or Internet site you were visiting whenever the PC froze was responsible. See the last text section of the power supply troubleshooting chapter for testing suggestions.

Unlike a hard drive, which can tolerate and hide a certain number of hardware errors through dynamic reallocation, memory modules must test out as error free. See your motherboard manual for details.