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Asrock 970 Extreme4 AM3+ not stable at stock :( :(

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DarkStar-82 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Dec 2015 at 8:21am
Hi there, before I pull this thing out of my system and set fire to it I thought I would come on and ask people who may be more knowledgeable about this particular piece of... hardware... than I am.

The basic story is this, About 6 months ago I bought this board. I planned to buy a Gcard a few months after and game away. Ive experienced a system halt, not blue-screen, a complete hang/freeze with loud screeching, at least twice a week, but I had put this down to bad drivers ect ect.

Well 2 months ago I decided to get ready for the game Ive been waiting for, StarCitizen. I picked up an R9 290 and retired my HD5870. I upgraded my CPU from an FX6300 to an FX8320. I added another 8 gig of matched branded Gskill 1600 Ram.

And I can play precisely nothing. Cry  I have 3 titles, I play them on my APU laptop without much issue, sure the games crash at times but the entire system doesnt halt, nor should it unless there is a serious problem somewhere.

So heres my spec:
Asrock Extreme4 970 board @ stock settings - bios 2.80
FX8520 8core 3.5Ghz. Watercooled. No overclocking! I want silence, not speed.
16gig (4x4gig) Gskill Ripjaw DDR3 1600Mhz
Sapphire R9 290 Graphics card - Stock speeds with factory fitted Xsilence cooler.
1xSamsung SSD
1xconventional Seagate HDD
5x 120mm fans
2X Antec Gamer 500watt PSU. One dedicated to graphics card. One to system.

My Spares Ive used also in testeing:
FX6300
HD5870
380watt Seasonic PSU

Software used in testing:
Passmark
Prime 95
Intel burn in test
cpu-burn-in


Heres what Ive tried, (after each change I have ran http://cpuburnin.com on a bootable CD to eliminate any possible issues from drivers or Windows, and each time it has failed with a system lock. i have been able to replicate the lock using other bootable CPU testing tools in a similar time frame hence I do not believe there is any issue with the program.

Disconnected all hardware / wires apart from graphics and 1 ram chip.
Changed CPU.
Changed through all ram chips.
Changed graphics card.
Changed graphics card PCI-E socket location to secondary.


Bios changes attempted, both CPU`s and graphics cards tested in system, made no difference:
a)increased vcore from auto to 1.25 through to 1.4v testing with each incremental change. System was more unstable. Lower iterations reached.

b)lowered Northbridge and south bridge voltages+ frequencies, system ran CPUtest  iterations to much higher numbers this time but still failed within 10 minutes.

c)increased nb Voltage by 0.25v in increments and tested. System was more unstable. Lower iterations reached.

d) I dragged a 20" 5 foot fan down two floors, pointed it two feet away, and blew a tornado at it.
no luck there either.

So basically Ive got a gaming Pc thats good for watching TV, most of the time.

Any help appreciated. Thanks for your time.



Edited by DarkStar-82 - 21 Dec 2015 at 8:33am
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DarkStar-82 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DarkStar-82 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2015 at 10:05pm
Thanks for the help.

Will pull it, RMA for refund and buy an MSI.

Have a good day, I wont be back as a customer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2015 at 11:24pm
I am sorry you feel that way but you have to bare in mind this is not tech support, this is a forum and while tech support checks in here periodically they do not post here all that often. If you have an issue with your product and want a quicker response then contact support directly. Here on the forums other members will attempt to help you if they feel they can. I have dealt with tech support from most more known manufacturers and have seldom gotten a response within 12 hours when contacting them via the proper means I am sure you can imagine it may take longer on the forums. 

If you would like a back and forth conversation with Tech support then you can PM "ASRock_TSD" and hopefully they will get back to you.

With that out the way, thank you for your thorough post and listing all the things you have tried to resolve your issue. I am not particularly familiar with the FX line so did not feel confident in replying you myself when I read your post earlier today. One thing I can suggest is lowering your Vcore rather than raising it and perhaps disable turbo core. If this allows stability then you are a little closer to figuring out the issue. There have been a lot of posts here about 970 chipset boards and stability and this is not restricted to ASRock either. Most people have no problems but it seems a little more common with this chipset for there to be stability issues. Some suspect it is power related as the board you are using only uses a 4+1 phase power delivery. If this is the problem in your case then lowering the Vcore and disabling turbo core should restore stability.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PetrolHead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2015 at 5:52am
Regarding other, not-asrock-affiliated forum members also keep in mind that we might be on a totally different time zone, be busy with our own lives or just too lazy to give an answer right away. I hope you have better luck with your new motherboard, but next time maybe ask for help before you reach the point where you can't wait for an answer even for 24h. ;)

In any case, I'll give some input in hopes that it might help you in the future.

DISCLAIMER: I'm a noob, so don't take my word as the final truth. Most of what I say I've heard more experienced users say in some other forum or an article.

Based on your description, I would have liked to see what sort of temperatures and voltages your system is hitting. A screen capture with HWMonitor and CPU-Z info can be very telling. Even if your CPU is running cool - I'm assuming it did due to being water cooled - your socket can be running too hot. To cool the socket, ASRock requires a top-down blowing CPU cooler for an FX-8320, but this can also be achieved using spot fans. I don't know if your motherboard has a heat sensor for the VRM, but it could have been running too hot as well. It would have also been nice to know what sort of effect that 20" fan had on the temperatures.

I assume the PSU you meant was the 520W Antec High Current Gamer (HCG-520), as that's the only one that matches your description. A setup with two PSUs seems like an odd choice, but I guess it sort of makes sense if you're on a tight budget and can find a good deal on a PSU. The problem is that you then have one more component to test if you run into issues. A single HCG-520 could have been enough to run your whole system, so I would have liked to see you run it with both Antecs, but one at a time.

Looking at your motherboard's specs, I noticed that it doesn't officially support any 4GB G.Skill memory modules, so that could have been a source of problems even if the sticks themselves are fine. Adding two more memory sticks doesn't exactly make things any better, since it puts your CPUs IMC under more stress. Running MemTest86 might have been a good idea. In any case, it seems your system was very unstable even with an FX-6300, 8GB of RAM and HD-5870. The common nominators are apparently the board, the PSU and the used RAM. It would make sense if one of these was at fault. Fingers crossed that it was indeed the motherboard.

Btw, the fact that your games keep crashing on your laptop is not exactly a good sign unless you know the games are a bit buggy. If I were you, I'd treat it as an issue and try to solve it.
Ryzen 5 1500X, ASRock AB350M Pro4, 2x8 GB G.Skill Trident Z 3466CL16, Sapphire Pulse RX Vega56 8G HBM2, Corsair RM550x, Samsung 960 EVO SSD (NVMe) 250GB, Samsung 850 EVO SSD 500 GB, Windows 10 64-bit
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Piddeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2015 at 5:46am
I know Seasonic is good stuff..


But only 380W for an R9 290+83XX cpu..Its kinda tight for the PSU's wattage to handle at full system load. 

Try another stronger PSU, atleast 500W good quality PSU. 
My PC. http://i.imgur.com/x6wZmmz.png
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2015 at 6:53am
Originally posted by DarkStar-82 DarkStar-82 wrote:

Hi there, before I pull this thing out of my system and set fire to it I thought I would come on and ask people who may be more knowledgeable about this particular piece of... hardware... than I am.

The basic story is this, About 6 months ago I bought this board. I planned to buy a Gcard a few months after and game away. Ive experienced a system halt, not blue-screen, a complete hang/freeze with loud screeching, at least twice a week, but I had put this down to bad drivers ect ect.

Well 2 months ago I decided to get ready for the game Ive been waiting for, StarCitizen. I picked up an R9 290 and retired my HD5870. I upgraded my CPU from an FX6300 to an FX8320. I added another 8 gig of matched branded Gskill 1600 Ram.

And I can play precisely nothing. Cry  I have 3 titles, I play them on my APU laptop without much issue, sure the games crash at times but the entire system doesnt halt, nor should it unless there is a serious problem somewhere.

So heres my spec:
Asrock Extreme4 970 board @ stock settings - bios 2.80
FX8520 8core 3.5Ghz. Watercooled. No overclocking! I want silence, not speed.
16gig (4x4gig) Gskill Ripjaw DDR3 1600Mhz
Sapphire R9 290 Graphics card - Stock speeds with factory fitted Xsilence cooler.
1xSamsung SSD
1xconventional Seagate HDD
5x 120mm fans
2X Antec Gamer 500watt PSU. One dedicated to graphics card. One to system.

My Spares Ive used also in testeing:
FX6300
HD5870
380watt Seasonic PSU

Software used in testing:
Passmark
Prime 95
Intel burn in test
cpu-burn-in


Heres what Ive tried, (after each change I have ran http://cpuburnin.com on a bootable CD to eliminate any possible issues from drivers or Windows, and each time it has failed with a system lock. i have been able to replicate the lock using other bootable CPU testing tools in a similar time frame hence I do not believe there is any issue with the program.

Disconnected all hardware / wires apart from graphics and 1 ram chip.
Changed CPU.
Changed through all ram chips.
Changed graphics card.
Changed graphics card PCI-E socket location to secondary.


Bios changes attempted, both CPU`s and graphics cards tested in system, made no difference:
a)increased vcore from auto to 1.25 through to 1.4v testing with each incremental change. System was more unstable. Lower iterations reached.

b)lowered Northbridge and south bridge voltages+ frequencies, system ran CPUtest  iterations to much higher numbers this time but still failed within 10 minutes.

c)increased nb Voltage by 0.25v in increments and tested. System was more unstable. Lower iterations reached.

d) I dragged a 20" 5 foot fan down two floors, pointed it two feet away, and blew a tornado at it.
no luck there either.

So basically Ive got a gaming Pc thats good for watching TV, most of the time.

Any help appreciated. Thanks for your time.



Going by the date and time of the first and second posts of the OP, he gave up after ~14 hours of not getting a response.

The comment in the OP's first post, "before I pull this thing out of my system and set fire to it", speaks for itself.

Once again, we have a budget AMD board being used with an FX-8300 series processor.

Intel is hated by many PC enthusiasts for their "Z-only" chipset board rules for their high TDP processors and over clocking, which is said to be a "tax" on that hardware. There is more to it than meets those user's eyes, as in making sure the boards are up to the task of using any compatible processor.

AMD's "anything goes", no rules is loved by their customers, but in reality AMD is NOT doing them a favor and not looking out for their best interest IMO. The irony IMO is Intel is the one saving some users from themselves.

The 970 Extreme4 board is not marketed as a gaming board.

Water cooling is mentioned by the OP. No details beyond that. Regardless, we likely have yet another case of an AIO CPU cooler that provides no air flow over the CPU VRMs. The VRM stage is a 4 + 1 design, with a small heatsink. Add an FX-8320, and we have the classic scenario for VRM over heating. That does not include the 970 chipset over heating, which provides the PCIe lanes for the video cards.

No mention of the PC case, I'm guessing given the dual PSUs being used, an open test bench of some kind? Regardless, aiming a 20" fan at the PC does not guarantee proper cooling to the CPU VRM heatsink.

No mention of CPU temperature, or if the VRM heatsink is hot to the touch. Given the testing using the "http://cpuburnin.com on a bootable CD", that seems to be a very intensive CPU stress test. The following is from the CPU Burn-in home page:

CPU Burn-in v1.01 by Michal Mienik is the ultimate stability testing tool for overclockers.   The program heats up any x86 CPU to the maximum possible operating temperature that is achievable by using ordinary software.  This allows the user to adjust the CPU speed up to the practical maximum while still being sure that stability is achieved even under the most stressful conditions. The program continuously monitors for erroneous calculations and errors ensuring the CPU does not generate errors during calculations performed under overclocking conditions.
 
New! Version 1.01 adds second mode that stress tests CPU even further.



This program is not commonly used by the over clocking community, so very little is known about it. If it does heat stress a CPU as much as it claims to do, then over heating of the CPU and/or VRM stage is possible.

Component temperatures of the CPU, chipset, and VRM heat sink is critical information needed to begin diagnosing the OP's issue, but that data is completely missing.

If the OP wants to continue this discussion, we will be happy to do so.
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