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PC Woes: Hardware or Software?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    17 months ago I bought a monstrous Velocity Micro
    computer for about $4k. It was one of the very first
    computers to offer the new dual core processors and
    I had them overclock it. This is why the rig was so
    expensive (in addition to being custom built).

    It has a dual core processor, 2Gb ram, 256 video and
    two raptor drives in a raid 0 stripe setup.

    The computer ran great for the first 17 months and I
    loaded it with a huge amount of software with little
    difficulty.

    Over the past few months I started getting "Bad_Pool_Caller"
    blue screen crashes.

    Additionally, my hard drives began failing one-by-one.

    Fortunately, Velocity Micro backed me up 100% and replaced
    all the drives without hesitation.

    However....

    They have had my computer for a month now and cannot
    seem to stabilize it. They still get these "Bad_Pool_Caller"
    blue screen crashes that cannot be explained.

    They replaced the Motherboard. Instead of using the onboard
    raid controller they switched to a card in order to prevent
    the hard drive failures I had been experiencing.

    The thing that bothers me is that they are blaming the
    SOFTWARE I have installed as being the problem. In
    particular, a program called Stardock ObjectDock Plus
    which is basically a taskbar organizer (that looks like the
    Macintosh program launcher) that sits above the taskbar.

    Now, for 17 months this software worked just fine. Now,
    suddenly with all the hard drive failures and blue screen
    crashes, Velocity Micro is blaming the software.

    Velocity is still working on my computer, and I give them
    credit for doing a lot of upgrades in order to fix the problem.
    They switched out an Audigy 2 soundcard for a new X-FI
    music card just because they claim that the Stardock
    software had conflicts with the Audigy drivers. Of course,
    Stardock tech support has never heard of this problem.

    Perhaps this is a question that would be hard to answer, but
    do these problems sound like they are HARDWARE based or
    SOFTWARE based?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Well-Known Member

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    If they're blaming the software, it could be that they've swapped everything that can be swapped hardware-wise and are still getting the same errors.

    At that point you have exactly 2 things to blame: the overclocking or the software.

    Have they tried undoing the overclocking and going with factory specs for the mobo? Have you or they tried wiping and reinstalling everything on the hard drive?
     
  3. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Well-Known Member

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    A third possibility: there could be a piece of hardware that they didn't think to swap (e.g. the power supply) during testing.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Velocity Micro "claims" that the system runs fine with
    just a bare Windows installation.

    As stated above, they also "claim" that the problems are
    due to the Stardock software and driver conflicts
    with at least the Audigy audio card. Stardock denies ever
    seeing this sort of problem.

    What bothers me here is that for the first 17 months I
    have had no problems running the very software they
    claim is the culprit.

    It's the sudden hard drive failures (three within 5 months)
    and then the blue screen crashes that followed that make
    me believe this is a hardware issue.

    Thanks for the replies thus far.
     
  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, as soon as one starts with overclocking, one is driving components beyond their rated capacity. As soon as one does that then all bets are off. Yes, usually it works fine, but one known thing is that components age much faster when pushed.

    If one wants stability over performance (and after one gets a bit older and more sedate, one figures out that the incandescent rage that falls every time the machine BSOD's isn't worth a 2% speedup [​IMG] ) one should stick with stock settings.

    However, I spotted something when googling that that would suggest the Bad_Pool_Caller thing shows up when you get driver conflicts. I sincerely doubt personally that it is Objectdock that is causing this.

    Personally I'd flush the entire computer, format the whole shebang and start from scratch. 17 months worth of crud buildup in Windows alone could be the cause of your problems. One page that mentioned Bad_Pool_Caller specifically mentioned how removing the Audigy card and its drivers followed by reinstalling latest drivers cleaned up a problem.

    Now I can obviously not say anything categorically based on just what you say they have done, but if they left "audigy remnants" in the registry and installed the X-Fi drivers that alone could be producing issues (wild-a**ed guessing here, obviously.)

    Really, the only sane thing to do at this point is to take a backup of the data you yourself have created, then flushing the whole machine and starting over with Windows and program re-installation. It's painful, but probably the most rational way to get the machine into a crash-free state. There is no way of telling for sure but I'd be more inclined to believe that this is some software snarl in Windows based on the laundry list of things they have already replaced hardware-wise.

    But as I said, it really could be a lot of things doing this. It could even be that one memory stick in the machine has gone marginal. The only way to determine that is to boot the machine with Memtest and then do extensive testing of the chips both individually and in concert.
     
  6. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Well-Known Member

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    It also couldn't hurt to undo some of the overclocking that was done. Just to be on the safe side. I've always said that paranoia is the first rule of computer maintenance.
     
  7. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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  8. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    Can the Stardock ObjectDock Plus developers confirm that they aren't using any device driver type hooks into Windows XP -- that their program runs as a normal application? If so, that would seem to clear it.

    Are there more likely suspects? I'd think that antivirus programs, CD/DVD authoring or burning packages, drivers for new video/sound/network cards, and the like would be more likely to cause conflicts (or BSODs) than a third party desktop organizer.
     
  9. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Well-Known Member

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    (Edited to remove unwanted duplicate post)
     
  10. Mary M S

    Mary M S Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if they ever got your Velocity Micro sorted out but I ran into this.

    "Another flaw, which can be executed via Internet Explorer and Firefox Web browsers, can corrupt memory during handling of certain types of requests."

    A vague reference, to an issue with VISTA regarding memory allocation.
    Since that possiblity was mentioned by others above.
     
  11. Phil_O

    Phil_O Well-Known Member

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    Bad RAM? I had an issue with the same BSOD "Bad Pool Caller" not too long ago. Had to change my ram from Crucial Ballistix to Corsair XMS. Apparently that particular batch of ram modules was bad and caused problems for a lot of people.

    Have you used Memtest86 to check your ram for errors? Hardware can fail suddenly, even a little bit in the case of RAM, and you can go nuts trying to locate a software problem!
     
  12. Phil_O

    Phil_O Well-Known Member

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    Or try a System Resore to say a month ago if has been caused by a bad software install or corruption.
     
  13. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Well-Known Member

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    A BSOD Bad_Pool_Caller can both be caused by software and hardware. The series of numbers after it pinpoints the what, the where and the when.
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Well-Known Member

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    Most likely the powersupply is no longer capable of supplying the voltage/current to keep the hard drives running. If the hard drives are truly dead, the PSU could have fried them. If the hard drives are fine in another system, I would still suspect the PSU.

    Have them replace the power supply - and hope that the power supply problem didn't cause damage to the rest of the system.

    In my experience, power supplies are the most likely to fail - there are a lot of bad ones out there. Second would be bad RAM, and then I would look at the motherboard.
     

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