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Computer woes ...

The machine is a 3 year old Gateway FX 6800 series with a quad processor and 9 gig of RAM. The power supply was upgraded to a 650 Watt unit about 18 months or so back. It's running Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit edition. The main drive is a 750 gig SATA Seagate - original to the PC. It appears to be good.

I had thought it was the graphics card, so that has been replaced (today) and Micro Center suggested re-pasting the CPU cooling tower which I have also done.

Now it's barely getting into Windows before the shutdown occurs. I have not even been able to fully set up the graphics card yet. I let it go through the start up repair routine a couple of times. If it doesn't reboot before it's finished, it says there are no problems that it could find. The one time I got to the RAM test it finished about 80% of the full test (halfway thruough the second RAM pass) and restarted.

Any suggestions? Another Power Supply perhaps?


Does the computer full boot when you start Win7 in Safe mode? Sounds like a kernel panic to me - either corrupt driver or bad memory block, from the sound of your MEMTEST results.

Check the HDD for bad sectors - if the bad sector resides inside a VxD, the load error will panic the kernel during bootup.
It is possible there is an essential file missing in the Win install. You'll have to reinstall Windows if this is the case. Windows is having a fatal error with is causing the reboots.
Sounds like bad ram to me, and having 9gig of ram is a bit strange. Is windows reporting 9gig of ram under control panel/system/amount of ram and processor speed?

Is the ram paired or singles? You can try pulling out 2 pair if it's paired ram or a single at a time and trying to boot. If you get crashes your narrowing down which ram is bad, since it seems you can't finish your ram tests. If you pull out some and your system is stable, there is your bad ram.

If that isn't it, move on to the other posters info.

9 gig is correct - 3 original and I have added 6.
Some of the i7 family (like my 950) use three way interleaving for memory instead of two. So one is getting the address, one is accessing, and the other is reading at all times. So for that chip, memory is in multiples of 3.
Right now all is running again.

I reseated the RAM today just as a precaution.
The new graphics card looks good now that it's set up.

I'll see how long things run...
If it still happens then I would suggest the following.

1. Take out all expansion cards. Disconnect all hard drives, floppy and optical drives.

2. Take out all ram bar one stick left in slot 1. Boot up and go into bios and ensure that fast boot check is disabled and reboot. See if bios will complain about the ram stick. Repeat with all sticks of ram. (That's if you got a onboard graphics card on motherboard, if not, leave graphics card in.

3. Repeat the ram test with memchecker or download memtest86+ which you can stress test the ram to see if there are any errors.

4. Slowly start to put back in hardware, first the HDD that windows is installed and check that it will boot up. Slowly add more ram and other hardware as you go along. If the PC fails to boot up then you could've found the problem peice of hardware.

5. Reseating expansion cards, ram etc from time to time. You be surprised on how warming up and cooling down will loosen some of those components to the point it can cause problems. Check all power connectors as well are securely connected.

6. As for the PSU thing. Need to know how much amps it produces on the 12 volt rails. Add the amount of amps the cpu takes, the graphic cards and add 1-3 amps each for expansion, ram, hdd's etc. Most will have values on how much they do take on drives and such. Wattage isn't that important, it's the amps that they supply that is, as long as you have breathing room you be fine. More HDDs, ram, fans, etc you add, more amps is needed.

Though I would suggest checking each ram stick on it's own with memtest86+ to find the culprit and once found, replace it.
Sounds like Thermal issues either with the processor, or with the North bridge. One of them is not seated well enough on the heatsink or the heatsink compound isn't good enough.
It looks like the new power supply has done the job.

Thanks for all the input.
I was going to suggest trying some older video card drivers, since my last computer had some problems like that and the cause was an incompatibility with newer graphics drivers.
I'm glad that your computer is working now and everything is okay. :)