Need Help Older Quad Core Q9400 Freezing During Video Loads

Discussion in 'Hardware - Questions & Help' started by AtlBo, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    Date of initial issues:
    6-1-17
    Steps taken to resolve, but unsuccessful?:
    Reset BIOS to factory defaults
    Operating System:
    Windows 7 Pro x64
    List current issues or symptoms:
    1. Browser open with streaming video running, system freezes and requires a reset restart using the secondary power button
    2. This was happening much more until I reset BIOS to defaults. I had never touched the BIOS until that time, but I bought the PC used, and the previous owner may have altered it sometime.
    First, this happened from the first boot after I replaced the original Pentium Dual core E2160 processor with a Quad core Q9400. I had updated the BIOS prior to installing the new quad core, which was required. Basically, I can run video or anything else for a 4 hours in a browser or whatever, and then the PC will crash. It's not a huge problem, obviously, but it is annoying, and I would like to come up with a solution. Doesn't seem to happen any other time.

    Board is rated for the chip, but it's a weird board. Of all things, it only supports single channel memory operations. Also, only will hold 4 gigs of RAM and DDR2 at that. So this problem rings like a simple situation where the system is actually crippled by the single channel memory. The actual freezing, however, seems to be initiated due to the processor being used very heavily when video is run. In Chrome, for example, the html player on Twitch.tv won't load sometimes and then I might get this weird animated gif type effect where a short portion of viideo plays over and over. Sound just goes out when this happens. Once loaded, really can only run 720p and then at 30 fps. A quad core that benches at 3300 on passmark should be able to do much better. Anyway, am I way off track wondering if the RAM being pushed hard could be causing the freezes. The sticks are brand new. I am sure as sure can be that the sticks aren't the problem (or the sockets).

    Been reading about overclocking and clocks and voltages, and I actually wonder if this might be a situation where I could look into underclocking the RAM. I know nothing about the subject. Still, performance is already blah for the power of this processor, and I am not happy with it overall. Ultimately, I am just wondering if I am stuck just looking for a new motherboard that supports double channel memory. At least I could find one easily that supports DDR3 at the same time, so it seems like it would be worth the effort. Just worried about the Windows key for the machine. That's the thing. Any advice on what to do is appreciated.
     
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  2. BoraMurdar

    BoraMurdar Super Moderator
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    Can you please provide a full hardware specification?
     
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  3. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    Yes here they are. Also attached text file with drivers and all other information from HWiNFO:

    System Specs.jpg

    Just noticed something about the graphics card. The RAM in the graphics card is DDR 3. Could that be an issue on a DDR 2 board? I can't remember if the card was put there before or after the processor change. It replaced an HD 4350 that only had 256 MB of DDR 2.

    System runs great, just wish there was a way to squeeze more. The freezes remind me of what overclockers are seeing when they go too far, so that's why I wondered if the single channel memory could just be too much of a bottleneck and somehow thence causing the freezes...
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. BoraMurdar

    BoraMurdar Super Moderator
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    The GPU's memory is independent from the rest of the system's memory, so I don't think that the problem is pointed there. Did you exclude everything from a software side before suspecting on hardware?
    • checking Safe mode with networking and see if the problem persists
    • disabling/enabling Hardware acceleration on browsers
    • does it happen only when a video is played through the browser or also when played with media player
    • different drivers maybe?
     
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  5. rockstarrocks

    rockstarrocks Level 14

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    Are GPU drivers installed? I would try reinstalling them even if they are installed.
    1. Uninstall previous drivers (if they are installed) using control panel and reboot.
    2. Boot into safe mode and run DDU and reboot.
    3. Install drivers from AMD.

    Additionally you try reseating CPU and RAM modules (only if you are experienced enough).
     
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  6. Digerati

    Digerati Level 3

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    Nah! It would not be that. Understand dual channel memory did not pan out to be the big performance boon the original hype made it out to be. By a long shot, more RAM trumps faster RAM any day. If the memory architecture was the problem, you would be seeing problems from the start, not after 4 hours of running.

    No. It does not matter what type RAM the graphics card uses. They are basically unrelated systems and neither one cares how the other uses RAM.

    Did the previous owner have these problems?

    What are your temps? Is the interior clean of heat trapping dust?

    You might want to run with just one just one stick of RAM and see what happens. While not 100% conclusive, testing your RAM with a good memory tester might be good too. I recommend MemTest86. Allow the diagnostics to run for several passes or even overnight. You should have no reported errors – not even one.

    I would also swap in a known good power supply to see what happens. Since everything inside the computer depends on good clean stable power, it is essential you verify you are supplying it.

    If by "supports DDR3 at the same time" you mean getting a motherboard that supports both DDR2 and DDR3, I don't recommend these boards. These are called "cross-over" motherboards and are rare thus more expensive. Note they do NOT support both at the exact same time. That is, you can only have one type or the other type installed at any given time, not both.

    And note DDR3 has already been superseded by DDR4 (by almost 4 years now). So if buying a new motherboard, it does not makes sense to go with DDR3. And as you suspect, a new motherboard is considered a new computer for software licensing purposes so that will require the purchase of a new Windows license. So you will need to factor that into your budget.
     
  7. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I will try it all. Been working on this in a happenstance way due to time constraints, so I can't recall everything I have tried. Seems like I tried Safe Mode and everything seemed OK, but I wondered if it was just that the system was quieter.

    BTW, it is only when the system is running video in the browser, but Chrome and Firefox will both cause the issue. O/C it does tend to happen more as RAM amounts get higher toward 80-90%. It's weird though. I mean I had 2 GB (2 1GB sticks) which I replaced with 2 2GB sticks. Running with the 2 1GB sticks and the E2160, o/c I had severe limitations and choppy 720p video and all. However, the RAM usage never went over 72% no matter what I did. That setup made me wonder about some things about balance between the parts capabilites of a PC.

    Some info. I see the BIOS tool for updating the BIOS was installed on March 4. That would be basically the same day I upgraded the processor. Couldn't dtetermine when the ATI driver was updated unfortunately, so I can't say on the graphics end when I changed the cards. Actually, think I used the ATI detector app to update the driver after first removing the prior one. I suspected they use the same driver, however the card didn't work with the 4350 driver listed in Device Manager. I did manage to find one ATI file in System32 dated 2-15-17, indicating the driver has been installed since that time and before the processor change. After all is said, don't think it's the graphics card memory either, anyway.

    I think this is a power issue, not as in power supply in this case but as in something gets pushed too hard and fails. If so, don't think it's PSU (remote chance it could be SeaSonic rated at 300w), RAM, or hard drive. That would leave motherboard and processor. Of those two I would lean to motherboard, since this processor is the exact MOST powerful processor that can be placed on the board. So maybe the board is just failing to live up to its specifications. Anyway lol, who designs a motherboard for multi-core processors and then makes it single channel only? Well, in this case I guess BioStar, but I do think that could have something to do with why the processor uses so much of its bandwidth when video plays in the browsers.

    I looked at alot of answers out there that involved reseating the heatsink and all, and I might double/triple check that it is tight. However, since I think I would like to update the motherboard anyway, I am not sure I want to go any further. Guess if I want to find out what's in this quad core, I am eventually going to have to come up with another motherboard. Lose the key so be it. I was hoping to eliminate these freeze ups until I can get around to this though.
     
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  8. BoraMurdar

    BoraMurdar Super Moderator
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    Thank you for your inputs. Some things I would try :
    • it could be that some bus interfaces are not singing the same song, as I understood, you changed the GPU, memory in the meantime, and after that a CPU. If you haven't tried running everything you usually do from some Linux bootable USB or if you don't mind reinstalling Windows and let it install drivers it decides (generic ones) through Windows Update. See if the problem happens again. If it does, try with drivers from AMD and if it doesn't leave it be.
    • you are probably correctly suspecting at the mobo.
    • if the problem is with the power or the electricity itself I think the freezing will start much sooner and independently from the radius of usage, except if something is overheating.
    • CPU shouldn't cry that much as the GPU is the main boss while streaming or playing some video if it is supported by dedicated GPU (like in this case).
     
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  9. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    #9 AtlBo, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
    No, I mean both supports dual channel memory and is DDR3 based. I found one that will also support the quad core processor, which I want to study for awhile after using a core 2 duo for about 3 years back around 2009-2012. I always wanted to get my hands on a core 2 quad PC and see what it could do.

    I'd also like to overclock this processor, which I read can be done to a fair degree. Obviously, the current board won't be the best for that.

    This is a good idea. Don't have anything handy, except a 500w Rosewill in another computer. Not sure I want to go down that road, because I don't think it's quite as good of a PSU as the 300w one in there, but it does supply more power, so I might try it at some point. It could be the processor is just not getting enough power or the RAM etc. when the system gets stressed. Been meaning to get my hands on a couple of high quality/price PSUs. When I get an opportunity, I plan to do this.

    One other thing. I'ts not like the PC has to be running at 80% or the processor for the freezes to happen (they are hard freezes too...no mouse/keyboard just a still image). It can happen with the browser running video but minizimed, even for only an hour that way perhaps. Also, the PC can go for3 or 4 days streaming video 24/7 on fullscreen (I am a severe test hog, so I run tests like this sometimes).

    I had a problem like this that turned out to be a gadget I was running but I can't recall what it was. Think it was an element of the HWiNFO gadget that I had enabled. Seems it would show disk activity but wrecked RAM usage. That problem was different however in that it only drove RAM usage way up very quickly until the PC froze. Looks like it stored data for a graph in RAM but never cleared any as the graph updated in the gadget. I still use the HWiNFO gadget now, but without that element and with no issues. Maybe I will try to go without that for awhile to see what happens.

    This is a good idea. I will try indivdual sticks when I find time. Don't think I'll go as far as MemTesting the RAM at this point, but I may do that later.

    I was thinking of seeing if I could pick up a good price on a used board, so options are limited for boards that will support this Q9400 processor. I really want to see what I can do with it after several years of wanting to get my hands on one. Don't think I'll find anything affordable that will also work with DDR4, but I have seen some DDR3 boards out there. There are even some new ones, so maybe I can find a deal on one of those.

    Hit the nail on the head here. I am concerned that I will end up dropping another $100 to get to the bottom of this. That's why I really wanted to isolate the issue. I just don't feel like throwing money at it honestly.

    Interesting aside. There are numerous (1000s) of reports of instability with these processors, especially the Q9400. No idea why, but I kind of suspect that it was always on the high end of what the boards could handle for those who were having the issues. Here is one thread at MS Answers...940 replies I guess a third or so of those a problem:

    Random freezes with windows 7 - 64 bit

    Well, there is so much to try here, so I hoped one of you guys might have something concrete lodged someplace in the recesses of your experience. Really appreciate the effort, and this great condenses my starting point for going forward. Think I was frozen like a deer in the headlights after seeing how many things there are to try, especially the clock manipulations threw me. Haven't overclocked before.

    I have a boot cd that uses minixp. Seems to work fine in that mode. I use this to run chkdsk if there is ever as serious issue as it makes this facility available. Saved me good a couple of times.

    Agreed, unless maybe it's singly (only) power to the CPU that is flaky. I have tried resetting things, and, ironically this has helped with boot issues the PC had before where the BIOS would not finish loading. For my life, I have no idea why reconnecting drives helped with that, except to say that it probably didn't have anything to do with that directly. Anyway, no boot problems recently.

    100% I agree here too. I have run 720p on a PC with a 1250 Passmark score core 2 duo at around 20-25 frames (60-80% cpu), while this processor sucks down 60-80% to get 30 frames at 720p. I feel like it should be able to handle 60 frames no problem but that completely chokes the processor. On the other hand, the core 2 duo PC had the same DDR 2 800MHz RAM and also 4 GB but supported dual channel memory. The Passmark is 3300+ for this processor or about 2.4 times faster, and the graphics card is also 2.5x more capable than what was in the core 2 duo PC. It shouldn't have to work 60-80% (sometimes up to 90% or higher) for 720p video at 30 frames.

    On the hard drive, I am using the Sata 3.0 drive (IDE is the backup drive), so don't think that could be part of the issue. That's another thing about this board btw. It accepts both SATA and IDE drives (has a connection for both). The SATA connectors are SATA 2 (3.0 GB/s), so that shouldn't be a system hang up. Main drive is also SATA 2 which is the same as the aforementioned core 2 duo PC.

    So this board came out after SATA 2. Kind of makes me feel like saying shame on BioStar for the two slots only running in a single channel. Also, support for only 4 GB on a board manufactured at that time is a little bit unusual. If anyone is just plain interested, here are the tech specs of the board:

    GF7050V-M7 Ver. 6.x INTEL Socket motherboard gaming-Biostar

    I really appreciate all the help. Head was spinning with huge number of possibilities, and I feel like I can start with some simple things when I get some time. Luckily the PC seems to be running fine and very productively other than the video issues and high processor usage during video playback. So anyway thanks again to all. I will try to remember to post back if/when anything new happens with this system.
     
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  10. Digerati

    Digerati Level 3

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    It's just for a test. I assume the other computer is working fine with that Rosewill so no harm. BTW, depending on the specific model of Rosewill, it could be an excellent supply. Many of their top models have earned excellent reviews for quality construction and excellent regulation, efficiency and ripple suppression.
    All the more reason to verify power before spending any money. While Seasonic is certainly a top tier brand, until Man can create perfection 100% of the time, even the best will have or can develop flaws every so often.
     
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  11. jogs

    jogs Level 11

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    Those so called quad core processors have always been problematic. Moreover your MB is old, though it supports the said processor but its going to create all kinds of problem.
     
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  12. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    100% I agree. And the Seasonic is only 300w and not exactly new either. PC is an aftermarket build called Nanosystems. The Seasonic PSU, actually came out of another aftermarket PC (Transource) that I decided to rig with three hard drives and an r7 240 graphics card (very nice and only 35 w). So I swapped the 500w Rosewill from the Nanosystems to the Transource and put the Seasonic in the Nano. Nanosystems is out of business unfortunately, but I believe the Rosewill is what was in the PC originally.

    This one is a little bit dated...maybe 08 or 09 or around there. Think the PC was a rarely used school PC and may have been stored for some time. So far the PSU has held up well in the Transource. Seems it would be a good test nonetheless, so I do plan to try to find some time at some point.

    Thanks. That's what I started reading after I began to dig into this problem. Definitely this board, even as interesting as it might be, is a major hassle maker. I see $100 flying away already. :ROFLMAO: Oh well, I will fight to keep them here for awhile anyway.
     
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  13. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    #13 AtlBo, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
    Have a kind of interesting thing to pass on about this. I went into BIOS to see if there are any settings I could work with while doing the research on another PC. In BIOS, I noticed that the 4 SATA 2 data connectors are not showing where they are supposed to be. Well, there is an IDE channel showing up there that is showing the IDE drive that came with the system. It was showing as the Master however, while I am using it as a backup/data drive. The CD/DVD also shows up on an IDE channel just below it. Here are the Standard Settings in the BIOS as they should look but showing the missing entries outlined in red (I don't see these):

    BIOS Standard Settings.png

    I decided to boot with the IDE Master Channel off to see if that might cause the SATA connecttors to show up in BIOS. So with the BIOS settings for the IDE Channel Master set to Disabled, guess what? The system still boots. O/C the SATA 2 drive is the main OS drive, and it was still connected, but this is strange to me. The SATA drives are still not appearing in BIOS. In Windows Explorer, the IDE drive is not seen but then too the CD/DVD disappears. I assume that I could arrange things somehow in BIOS so that it would be available, but I could not do so from the IDE Channel 0 Slave setting. It was grayed.

    Right now I am in Windows seeing how the PC will run, but I do have some questions. First, if BIOS doesn't see the SATA data connectors, how does the system boot? O/C in Windows in Device Manager the drivers look normal (same as the PC next to here), but I am wondering if the SATA drive is somehow running on an IDE channel. I don't think so as everything I have looked at sees the drive as a SATA 3.0 GB/s drive. I guess I will try a data test on the hard drive to see how it performs. Does anyone have a good test to use for reading the speed of a drive in MB/s?

    BTW, this is the absolute latest BIOS for this board...
     
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  14. BoraMurdar

    BoraMurdar Super Moderator
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    Hirens probably :)
    CrystalDiskMark Download
     
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  15. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    #15 AtlBo, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
    Yes. It saved me a few times back when I was on XP. Still have a copy of it around mostly just in case I have some problem on one of the two old XP PCs I have. Windows 7 seems to have a good ability to heal itself.

    Thanks for the link. That's the one I have seen used, and I will post the results here. Results:

    CrystalDisk.jpg

    These look normal compared to other SATA 2 drive results I saw. If it's running on a SATA channel during normal operation (not just for the test), there doesn't seem to be anything slowing it down at least. Health is OK in Hard Disk Sentinel.
     
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  16. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    #16 AtlBo, Dec 19, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
    Well, here is the latest on this PC. Powered the PC down to take a look at the internals. Disconnected some things, etc., and it went back to an old problem where the fans would come on but that's all. It was that or the PC would get through the BIOS screen right to where Windows starts to load and then the PC would completely shut down. So tried various combinations of disconnecting things and reconnecting and then the RAM memory and a different power cable for the PC. Also, cleaned fans and wiped a little dust out. I had cleaned it about 4 months ago, so it wasn't dirty without alot of use. At any rate, after each of these efforts no success. Well, finally I disconnected the power supply to the motherboard and reconnected that and, through another reboot, managed to get to the BIOS screen and into BIOS. Previous to this point the PC had basically quit posting the BIOS screen ever with nothing but spinning fans, so I was encouraged. Now, I rebooted and let the PC go through BIOS screen. That went fine, except that I got the message that Bootmgr was missing after the BIOS screen. So here's the sequence after this:

    1. Back into BIOS reset BIOS settings to default->positive effect where SATA connectors reappeared for the board
    2. Reboot and went through BIOS screen but still got the message that BOOTMGR was missing. I was a little bit puzzled now
    3. Used W7 disk to repair the issue via startup repair but no go
    4 Used W7 disk to repair the issue using command prompt still same message
    5. Back into BIOS to see what I could see not really knowing what to look for. Well, I chose the settings for the IDE drive, when it occurred to me. OK, PC is seeing the IDE as the Master. Well, the only options for IDE Master are AUTO, Manual, Disabled. I thought OK, maybe if I disable the IDE channel, the PC will fall back to the SATA connected drive with the OS and boot into Windows.
    6. Rebooted and yep, sure enough PC booted right into Windows.
    7. Looked in Explorer.exe, and the IDE drive is showing even though I disabled the channel. What? Oh well, I would have thought the Manual setting was for using the IDE channel for a backup.
    8. Open Task Manager and uh-oh processor is at 100%. What? Task Manager shows as using 70-90% of the processor but no matter what I open or close the processor reads plastered at 100%. HWiNFO says temps are at 40C however. OK, this is a little bit higher than normal for this PC to date but what is going on?
    9. Reboot and wait, and everything back to normal. Processor at 1% and temps at No idea what happened there.
    10. Mild rejoicing :D

    Disconnecting/Reconnecting the power cable to the motherboard was the answer. Resetting BIOS did some good though, since I could at least see the SATA drive connectors in BIOS again. PC is running much better now. Thanks for the help so far. I will post if there is more. I think this PC is likes drama so who knows what is next...
     
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  17. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    One more update on this before put it to rest. Thx again for the help.

    Well, video on Twitch is now streaming at 1080p on 30 frames using between 11 and 35% of the processor :oops::rolleyes:. It's usually between 10 and 25 really, just an occasional spike. So once I find a channel at 1080x60 I know I won't have any trouble. So that was the problem...check those connections. Guess I was off about the extent of the impact of single channel memory config. Looks like the PSU is in better shape than I realized too...

    Just found 1080x60. Processor between 20-40%. It's dropping like half the frames like crazy for some reason though. Maybe it's the graphics card...HD 4550. 1080x30 is perfect, so I think the 1-1080x60 streamer may have been dropping frames and not me. At any rate, much better than before...(y)

    Much rejoicing! :LOL:
     
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  18. BoraMurdar

    BoraMurdar Super Moderator
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    Don't expect to see 1080p 60fps on that hardware without any resistence
    Especially when streaming... I am glad you solved some of your problems at least
     
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  19. AtlBo

    AtlBo Level 22

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    Yes, you are 100% correct about this. I am running streaming video at 1080 x 30 fps with no frame drop, but not 60 fps (huge drops). 720 x 60 fps is fine...no frame drop either. YouTube vids will play at 1080 although I haven't looked at frames yet...probably 30. The best part of finding this issue is seeing the decrease in processor usage. It's down to 20-30% running video, which surprised me. Didn't realize a stale connection or loose could cause the processor usage to drop so much. I still estimate in the end this processor would support 1080 x 60 fps if RAM were dual channel. However, I am very content with performance now, especially since the freezes appear to have ceased. Think I am finally getting everything possible from this PC. Again thanks for all the input to everyone...

    P.S.-One thing I really like about this system. It has a case fan in front that is mounted between the hard drives. Then it has the CPU fan, a rear fan and the PSU fan. There is a cowling to steer CPU heat out of the side of the case, and temps are very cool. Running video CPU temp is around 36C. Graphics card is at about 50C. Best part, drives are at 30C (main) and 24C respectively. Only the northbridge is high at 61C.

    :)(y)
     
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  20. rockstarrocks

    rockstarrocks Level 14

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    Glad you solved your problem :).
    Regarding that 1080@60 issue the problem is with the inefficiency of HTML players, you could try playing the online YT vidos on your Media player. I had this problem on my earlier laptop, it strugged to play 1080@60 videos, dropping frames, stuttering and all. I used SMplayer for watching those videos (almost all media players support that, just copy-paste the url), and I was amazed at how beautifully the player used hardware acceleration thus keeping high frame rates with no dropped frames. You can give it a shot.
     
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