intel i7 870
asus p7p55d pro
2x 2gb ram
zotac gtx 570 (reference design)
no-name 850w psu
windows 7 64-bit
None of the parts have any warranty on them anymore. There is little dust in the system and everything seems fine superficially.
The problems started while I was playing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. During the game, the screen suddenly locked up and then the PC automatically tried to reboot. While it was loading the BIOS (I hope I'm using these terms correctly - the system was still looking for/checking all the plugged in components), artifacts appeared and I instantly shut down the PC. The artifact looked somewhat like this though I'm really not sure since I didn't have time take a good look at the screen. There was certainly something wrong with the picture though.
When I tried to boot again after that, the monitor didn't wake up even though all the fans in the computer were spinning as usual when booting. I tried again several times, but I couldn't get the monitor to display anything.
During the (unsuccessful) boot, the red LEDs on the motherboard went on and off one after another, but the VGA LED stayed on permanently. I did some research on the internet and it seemed that many people with the P7P55D PRO had problems where the VGA LED stayed on but the problem actually lay somewhere else.
I then reset the BIOS by moving that 4-pin cap on the motherboard around. It didn't help.
I borrowed an EVGA 9500GT from my brother to replace my GTX 570, which worked fine! I then put in the GTX 570 again and strangely enough it worked as well on the first try, but the monitor lost the signal after about ~20-30 seconds (about when the Windows logo should have popped up), and it took really long to display anything in the first place (maybe ~10 seconds until the screen woke up). I then tried again a few times but it would work only rarely (maybe once in ten tries) and always went blank before it even got to the Windows loading screen. But even when the screen went blank while booting, the boot still seemed to continue as the HDD light on the case was flickering sometimes.
At that point I thought there were 3 different possible problems I could be having:
- defective GPU
- overheating GPU
- bad PSU
I checked the two 6-pin power connectors which go into the GTX 570 and they both showed 11.9V on all yellow wires, which seems fine to me. This is where I am now. My next step will be to reapply thermal paste to the GPU and see if that fixes the problem - if not, I will buy a new card. I don't have any paste here though so that will have to wait.
Now to the point of this thread: I'm no expert, is there maybe something I am missing? Did I troubleshoot correctly and is my conclusion correct that it is certainly the GPU that is having problems? I had a ZOTAC GTX 470-AMP! before which got replaced by the current GTX 570 under warranty, so the GTX 570 is actually only a year old, while the PSU is over 2 years old and doesn't belong to any real brand (at least I can't identify anything... I bought the system complete) which made me suspect the PSU. I didn't think that there would be an overheating problem with the GPU while booting up, but the fact that the card sometimes works (and then shuts down after a few seconds) and sometimes doesn't work at all points in that direction. If the card was having other issues it wouldn't work at all, am I right with this assumption?
EDIT: I also tried to boot the system with just one ram stick, CPU and GPU plugged in and it didn't work either.
EDIT2: In my restless (computer-less) state I tried to boot up again with all the usual components (listed above) plugged in, with only keyboard and monitor as peripherals. Surprisingly enough, I managed to boot to the desktop. A few seconds after reaching the desktop, the screen turned completely white and stayed that way until I shut down the computer again. What does this mean?
EDIT3: I never received any error messages.
EDIT4: I did the same as in EDIT2 again, but using safe mode. A while after reaching the desktop, the screen went blank (not white) again.