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W7 HTPC Freezing when Streaming Media

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I've been trying (during my limited free time) to troubleshoot a freezing issue with my HTPC. At first I thought it was just when playing back movies, but I've since learned that it will freeze during the streaming of Music (mp3) as well.

My HTPC specs are as follows:

Case - Silverstone MILO
MB - Asus P8H77-M Pro
PSU - Corsair CX430
ODD - Lite On Blu Ray Burner
SSD - Crucial m4 128
HDD - WD 500GB Green
RAM - 2x2 Corsair Vengence LP DDR3 1600
CPU - i3-2120
Fans - 2x 80mm Enermax UC-8EB
OS - Windows 7 Home Premium

The freezing will occur wheather the movie/music is in full screen or a window.
I can describe the freezing as an audio buzz, and picture freeze, and somewhat random in time.

Googling the issue, I found many similar problems, and the fix usually comes down to a video card driver issue, or bad RAM, but I'm using the HD2000 integrated graphics. I've also done my best to search this forum, unfortunately the search function isn't all that helpful. The few direct results I did see yielded no resolution comments.

I did find a minor error in the 3.3v rail on the power supply (under at 2.8v), which could affect the memory. To rule that out I went ahead and ordered a replacement SeaSonic S12II 430B PSU to replace the Corsair PSU.

I've also run the windows memory diagnostic and that passed (although I have not tried memtest86 yet).

I've purchased and followed Assassin's guide and followed it to a T in setting it up.

All the Media is housed in a tower unit in my Home Office in the next room.
The Specs on that PC are:

Case - Antec300
MB - Gigabyte MA790XT-UD4P
PSU - PC P&C 610 Silencer
ODDs - 2x DVD Burners
HDDs - 1x 1TB WD Black, 1x 1TB WD Green, 1x2TB WD Green
RAM - 16GB (2x(2x4)) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600
CPU - AMD Phenom II 720BE
GPU - Gigabyte HD4850
Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper212 Evo
Fans - 3x120mm Cooler Master, 1x140mm Cooler Master
OS - Windows Vista x64 Ultimate
Router - Netgear WNDR37700v2 (HTPC and Office computer hardwired Gigabit LAN)

This office computer used to be used as my HTPC, and aside from not being able to play BluRays using PowerDVD11 Ultra, worked flawlessly.

Last night, I had the windows hardware monitor running in the foreground while a movie (Stream DVD) played in the background so I could monitor the CPU and RAM usage. Neither got to any dangerous levels prior to the freeze.

I've tweaked my router, Bios, WMC and MediaBrowser settings, media sharing settings, updated and rolled back various drivers, etc. I'm not a novice when it comes to PC building, but I don't have a lot of recent history with Intel builds. I've primarily built AMD systems since the Intel P4 days, and if it wasn't for the delays in Trinity's release I would have stayed with AMD. I'm not a gamer, nor do i do any heavy media editing, so the (past) premium for Intel was never really an issue.

My next steps are to isolate the PSU voltage issue by swapping another PSU in, add another 2x2 GB RAM, and eliminate Heat/Temp issues. Unfortunately I do not think that any of these issues are to blame. Then I plan to reset the Bios, and re-install a clean version of windows again.

My initial assumption really is that the HD2000 really doesn't have the chops to run on my 55" Plasma - but the general feeling from what I've read in the forum here is that it does.

Curiously, has anyone else had this issue, and were you able to resolve it? At the same time, I've never really had a CPU or motherboard issue that wasn't obvious, but could one of these be the culprit?

Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks in advance
post #2 of 5
Is the freezing happening just within the application itself or does it freeze your entire machine? And, once frozen, how do you get the machine back to operational? Hard reboot?
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
The whole machine freezes, completely unresponsive. Have to reboot to get it going again.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I received my monthly subscription to Maximum PC yesterday, and oddly enough, there was a similar question asked (Random BSOD's).

I'll summarize the response here, as it's probably a good idea to have something in the forums on the issue.

"Random lockups can be one of the most difficult things to troubleshoot."...

a) load defaults in Bios, and download latest Bios
b) disconnect any extra hardware/peripherals
c) double check power connections/power cable
d) double check RAM seating
e) check RAM using MemTest+ (www.memtest.org) run overnight (run at PC1333 settings)
f) check cooling/airflow. Monitor with HWMonitor (www.cpuid.com)
g) check heatsink/block mounting and CPU seating
h) check firmware on SSDs
i) pull mobo and check for debris behind board (shorts)
j) finally possibility of bad Mobo/CPU (rare)

-Maximum PC September 2012


Hope this helps for future reference.
post #5 of 5
I had the same hair-pulling experience two weeks ago with my HTPC. Worked great for 6 mths and all of a sudden would freeze about an hour into use, regardless of what it was doing. Thought it was the SSD, memory, etc...all seemed fine but the freezing, rebooting, etc. continued. Finally the video went dead through the on-board HDMI. Moved the video to VGA port - nothing.

Conclusion is that my ASRock H55/USB3 board must be faulty. Sent it for RMA just today.

Prior to sending the mobo back I purchased the ASRock A75M and went with AMD A6-3650 FM1 chip. Used same memory as the other board but decided to also move back to a spinny HDD and all is fine. I have a sneaking suspicion the issues were mostly mobo but the SSD (Crucial M4 64GB) was having some issues which I've not taken the time to diagnose. We'll see if ASRock finds anything and swaps my board. After 2 weeks of major irritation, $165 of new board and chip solved it. ;-)

Now...something else has come to mind: I have 2 legit copies of Windows Ultimate 64 that I've reloaded, reloaded and reloaded on different drives an systems for a few years now. I've never used it for more than one system at a time each but I'm really curious if Microsoft's 'callednotification' feature was kicking in. Essentially it's the process of slowly shutting off your system if you exceed a threshold of hardware configurations. Potentially I used one of the two copies too much and it kicked in. No proof of it but who knows.

Good luck!
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