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Oddities with 6yo x79 rig. Stuck with how to proceed.

  • 15 months ago

Hey CPPC forum, nice to meet you all, I have a confusing/odd issue with my PC, hope you can help.

Edit: please see update post in comments.

OP: This will likely get very long so may wanna grab a cup of your drink of choice.. there is also no way to preview how this will look once posted so I'll try my best to keep spacing o things readable.

Specs first I guess is the best way to go about this. She's old so I'll have to do this manually

  • Dell/AlienWare Aurora R4 ALX (2012) yes yes I know omg AW... it was a 50/50 with my parents, back when I was still able to work, for a birthday after my laptop literally had some of it's capacitors pop..

  • X79 Platform Dell Custom Board Alienware 07JNH0 if I did the link thing right that has a brake down of specs but I'll list what CPU-Z says: chipset as "intel Sandy bridge-E Rev-07" & Southbridge as "Intel x79 Rev 06" Bios is the latest A11 as of 2014, there have been no updates to it since.

  • Has a Daughter Board that handles all IO/Lighting/Temp-Sensors/Fans/Power-button, Runs off of a Molex, couldn't find a board number but from my loose understanding it's required to make her run at all.
  • At one point the onboard Realtek networking started being really screwy so I replaced it with a Intel Gigabit CT pci-e x4 adaptor card.

  • CPU: i7-3930k 6 core 12 thread. Reports @3.2GHz but typically functions between 3.2 to 3.7GHz the 3.7 spikes seem to be single/dual core only, will maintain a 3.499GHz under load, synthetic or game across all 6 cores + threads. I have not overclocked this is it's own boost stuff.

  • Cooler: Corsair H80i AIO Cooler with Push/Pull Noctua Fans added in after 1 year of ownership replacing the stock AIO.

  • Memory: 16GB (4X4GB sticks) Quad Channel 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM, CPU-Z Reports them as Hyundai Electronics PC3-12800 (800Mhz) with CL11,11,28,39. 1.50V says they can go as low as CL8,8,8,22,30 but only at 609Mhz so I'm assuming based on em reporting as 1600Mhz that they are set to the CL11 setting listed as JEDEC #6

  • GPU: GTX 680 2GB DDR5(Hynix), reference style blower card, GPU-Z reports: GK104 Rev A2. Bios, Clocks: Core Base 1006Mhz, Boost: 1058MHz, GPU-Z says Memory is 1502MHz where CPU-Z says 3004MHz. Has two 6pin power connectors stacked ontop of another.

  • PSU: Dell Precision T5500 875Watt Power Supply 0J556T Hipro, has 80+Silver stamp. My notes in googling information says there are a few types they use but this one and one other are the top ones and are rated for full operation with Dual GPUs at the time. They are Modular in a server-esk style way, one massive plug into the unit with a cable-harness. they also have a "pull through" fan setup pushing air out the back of the case. VS current PSUs with a top-down fan.

  • OS: currently Windows 10 Pro 1803, was a "upgrade" from Win 7 Pro back when they were offering that for free. (I waited till like the last moment of the offer and the transition was smoth, no errors or bugs besides Intel Rapid Storage Enterprise deciding to just stop but I don't have raid set up anyway.. however my BIOS lists my drives set for RAID rather than AHCI not sure how to change that or if I need to.)

  • BIOS: Though previously mentioned, it is ver A11 from 2014, no updates from Dell have been provided, the BIOS is UEFI though visually still looks like a Legacy BIOS as it was just before graphical UEFI ones were a thing I believe. It is also very stripped, there are lots of things "hidden" or just do not show up vs images of other BIOSs of X79 boards I've seen.

  • Storage: NO RAID. 1x 500GB SSHD OS/Boot. 2x 1TB 7200RPM Seagate data drives. 1x 3TB WD Green 5200RMP? Backup-Drive. Only Boot and 1 Data drive run at 6GB/s Sata III. the 2nd Data drive and the Backup are on 3GB/s Sata II

  • Monitors: 3 Identical Samsung 21inch SyncMaster 215tw 1680 by 1050. (salvaged from father's workplace and self repaired with new capacitors.) I only game on the center monitor typically in borderless windowed mode, or a 1600 by 900 window.

  • Monitor connections: Left: Direct DVI-D cable to GPU. Center: DVI-D from GPU to HDMI cable into HDMI switch input → HDMI to DVI-D cable into Monitor from Switch out. (This is so I can run my PS4 off center monitor as well). Right: HDMI to DVI-D from HDMI GPU Port to monitor's DVI-D port.

  • USB Perpetuals: AW Supplied Keyboard, Logitech G600 MMO Mouse, Logitech G-13 Keypad, Playstation Silver USB headset adaptor (used with Polk Audio Striker-Pro P1 headset). Actisys IR Wireless Interface Diabetic pump data uploader.

On to the issue The most frustrating part is that it's so far been impossible to intentionally reproduce and is very random, and only during random/idle like tasks, stress testing/load both synthetic and normal have not allowed reproduction of the glitching. At random times, sometimes multiple in the day, or days a apart, if I change active application window say Chrome to Steam or to Discord to reply to someone, or change tabs in chrome, or if I scroll a scroll bar in anything: chrome/discord/steam/File-explorer the following happens.

  • 1: Mouse freezes in place

  • 2: All input stops: Mouse, keyboard, G13-keypad.

  • 3: After some variable time all 3 monitors simultaneously go black, yet not off, their light arrays are still on.. it's a creepy ghostly black

  • 3a: Once and only once, my left monitor the only one directly plugged into the GPU with a DVI-Dual Link Cable, displayed Amber instead of Black.

  • 4: After some more variable time, monitor light arrays go off as if they reset themselves.

  • 5: PC comes back, full input/mouse, no errors, no recovery messages, as if nothing at all happened. Mouse pointer typically has not moved from where it froze but sometimes will be elsewhere.

Troubleshooting I've already done. Mem check, Disk integrity/Error check, Virus/adware/malware etc sweeps. (Bitdefender, Windows Defender, Malwarebytes.) All clean.

Speculation on the issue from friends. Two think its my GPU. One thinks it could be my Motherboard. Two others think it could be my PSU.

Other things tested/done At the suggestion of a friend I reseated the GPU after checking it's connections and gave the case a dedust. I do that monthly so there wasn't much anyways.. this didn't yield any change.

At the behest of the two who think its my PSU I used HWMonitor and reported back my +3V/+5V/+12V readings to them.

  • +3V is within margen 3.264V min to 3.312V high typically.

  • +5V is "concerning." at min it can go as low as 3.742V to high as 3.826V (Google research suggests people freakout over PSU +5V going under 4.5V or so.)

  • +12V is also odd. it pumps out anywhere between min of 14.950V to as high as 16.192V

Friend had me unplug nearly perpetual I have and there was no significant change to the +5V rail low-ness. I did mention that the "Daughter Board" runs off a Molex but it's not something I can unplug to test.. the PSU it self has a "self check" button and the light is always "Green" but that doesn't mean it isn't the issue.

Temp wise my CPU and GPU are perfectly fine CUP barely goes over 70c under load and GPU, again a reference style blower, stays under 80c, I've had no artifacting or glitches during gaming or while having a good "load" on the system.. most games 100% the GPU these days.. I primarily play FFXIV, MapleStory2, Elite Dangerous, and a Logistics game FortressCraft Evolved which actually is extremely good at using the multi cores as well as my gpu.

I'm also a heavy multi tasker so I'll have multiple Chrome tabs open, at least one of or three will be youtube videos I'm alternating between for music, other tabs will be either game specific stuff, random flavor of the day research, my web-based email etc..

First half Conclusion I'm at a loss as to what to do, the "Dell-ness" of the case makes grab'n a random PSU from a shop (I'd not even know what wattage I'd need) just to test quite hard. I'd have to power both PSUs cuz I can't disconnect the drives their plugins (power & sata) are at the back for their quick release trays and there is no access from removing the back panel, the spacing on those caddies is also very very slim, even if I could get to them the test PSU would need right-angled Sata power cables, pass through types that can be shimmied up the cable to reduce/eliminate cable bunging.. if staying in the case.. which brings me to my next point.

I do have a case I won a long time ago, Fractal Design Core 3300 but migrating everything to that poses its own challenges, which is why it wasn't done the moment I got it, primarily with the Daughter-board being required for the Motherboard to even play nice from my limited googling on it. This all has extremely been overwhelming.. I'm sure there are also subjectively/objectively 'better' cases out there now.. reviews of it that I've re-watched also show concerning weakness in the top's frame if putting a 240 radiator there as it "dips" down/in with the weight.

This is my only PC, I'm gal on Disability in BC with C-PTSD and I've got'a be very meticulous with where I put my limited resources, part of that overload is stress an anxiety about "losing her," she's my life line to my online support network and my attempts at finding ways to support myself on top of my disability. through trying to learn coding, 3D modeling, Art and Writing. Not that I've much to show for any of that yet.. but I'm trying.. days are.. very day by day and try as I do, somethings just arn't in the cards for that day..

What I'm hoping for in terms of help. I need help figuring out a few solutions..

  • how to narrow down what might actually be the problem.

  • how to keep her going if that is possible, either as is or with minor replacements

  • Viable replacement options for suspected components to keep her going, within in mind the content I wish to work on.

  • Viable options towards what to do if migrating cases is part of a better plan.. which can include changing to a new X79 motherboard (if can be found for a good price, I know they are not "made" any more so it would be used.) this can also include "better" case options but it's a balance of resources..

Considering how much $ this might be to "fix" or "buy time" depending on how much needs to be done..

  • Alternative full new builds with gaming/content creation in mind.

  • Brand wise: I'm not locked to Intel though I'm most familiar with it, the Ryzen 2700/2700X is appealing core/thread wise but I have no idea which I actually "need" nor what Mobo would be best suited. Part of me likes the "idea" of "Thread Ripper" in part because it mirrors my current board with the RAM on either side of the CPU, ocd symmetry, but honestly have 0 knowledge on it or it's practicality for my "use case" let alone their cost put its out of scope. I'm nowhere near even amature with my desired interests (3D Modeling/art) to justify a part like that..

  • GPU: wise I prefer Nvidia and at minimum would be looking towards 6 to 8GB of VRAM.. 2GB just doesn't seem to cut it anymore at times and I doubt 3GB would really be that big a improvement.

  • RAM wise, 16GB at minimum, but if by some magic it was doable I'd be interested in 32.

  • I'm rather paranoid about temperatures so I would be very interested in AIOs for the CPU and even GPU with a adaptor bracket or w/e if possible. I'm way to skittish about doing a custom loop, especially with the extra expense that would add.

  • RGB: I do love my "gloweh" but not supper in the face. All my stuff is set to static purple, I'd probably do a nebula shift (purple/magenta/pinks) if I could but fluid color rotation back then was absolutely just horrible so I stuck with static purple and I'm honestly fine with that and don't "need" it on everything.

  • My Monitors.. are old, and I don't think I'm in a position to update them, all 3's best connector is DVI-Dual Link.

Budget.. I have about 1,500CAD scraped together. Part of that had been savings towards a bicycle and the other part towards a monitor-graphics tablet one'a em ones you can draw right on top of and a new desk.. but a functional pc is a higher priority.

I'm sorry for how long this got.. any help figuring out this mess at is extremely, extremely appreciated. ~Istolla

Edited a few times to try an keep it all readable, really need a "preview" function.


  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

The PSU should not put out those kinds of voltages. I highly suspect it might be psu related.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

That mirrors what my two friends said but they were not sure what I could use to replace or even test with or if it'd be better to start thinking of a full sys upgrade considering my situation.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

Those voltages seem sketchy. I would replace that ASAP. You can probably find a used one online from a reliable seller. If not you might have to jerry-rig one into the case. A 650 watt should be fine for you.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I have found one that would be a "drop in" direct replacement, on Ebay but I've never bought off Ebay before and am hesitant, it would also have no warranty if anything was wrong with it like being DoA or something similar started happening within a few months.

I've been looking into alternatives, primarily from EVGA or Corsair (fell free to make brand with good warranty/customer support suggestions), the trouble with such is ultimately getting power to the drive caddies, I've found two guides on such and it's very involved, Dell really didn't want end users do'n stuff themselves.

w/e unit it ends up being, the Sata power cables on the device need to be "right-angled" and "passthrough" style as in they are clipped to the cable, rather than ones that are wired from one plug, to the next and stick out a lot.. otherwise they won't fit.

The other option of course being moving to the Fractal case I have.. if I can figure out a way to rig the "daughter board" into it.. which opens up the idea of abandoning the current mobo for a new one but considering those are still 300 to 500 used.. which then leads into.. is it time to build something new..

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I buy through ebay all the time, I pay with paypal for the buyer protection, I am very select about who I buy from really. I generally look at the rating the seller has and any feedback they have received before proceeding. Simply put if someone has a feedback score of over 50k and their positive feedback is greater than 90% (but less than 100% because only scammers have 100%, an honest business cannot and will not please everybody 100% of the time so if someone has a 100% positive feedback rating I ignore them) I consider shopping from them.

Also, if the drop-in replacement you have found is brand new, by all means... I personally no longer use 2nd hand PSU after one I had proved to be faulty and gave me electric shocks. I cut off the leads and threw it away.

The last PSU I bought just recently is the Antec EA750G Gold that Seasonic is the OEM for. 7 years warranty. Not overly expensive and good quality.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

The three that would be drop-ins from Ebay are all listed as "used" which isn't surprising considering how old the systems/parts are.

I know I have a T5500 875W 80+Silver "Precision" Dell PSU.. I just don't know which of the 3 types

This is a clip from a dell support forum.. they recommend any replacement of a 875W be done with the first two in the list..

  • W299G 875w - Delta

  • J556T 875w - Hipro

  • U595G 875w - Hipro

the post was made by the same person who I mentioned did guide post on how to put in non dell PSU, with images.. it's extensive and rather daunting to be honest..

Anyway Two I've found are T5500 - J556T HiPro. One comes with a cable harness (which isn't really needed I'm not re-wiring) however that one's info page is a lil lacking/odd says usa only yet the page lists it'll ship via the ebay global shipping program and they have a 100% feedback..

The 3rd One is the W299G - Delta, it also with a cable harness.

The seller info for one of the J556Ts and the W299G look promising but both have high 99.XX feedback, the first one has a "score" 1465, the second has 3021. Both say they can be contacted about shipping method if there is a preferred shipper. Both have a 30 day return policy.

All three have the "Ebay money back guarantee" stamp and include shipping with duty fee "coverage" and tracking number.... though if any of them use UPS I doubt the listed duty would actually cover those guy's surcharge.. but again the two non odd ones say they can be contacted about that. All are from the USA but I'm browsing via the Canada site.

All in, for any of them comes near 85-90 CAD-ish.. assuming the duty fee/border fee doesn't get jacked higher..

I did a bit of research and some seem to say "Delta" does "better" PSUs than HiPro but that both are very good brands regardless and that either should be solid.

Regardless I can't help come back to the debate of cost vs convenience. I'd rather not blame it on some'n cuz I feel silly about how much more "difficult" I'm probably just make'n this for myself.

The convenience of this option is I simply unplug the server style modular harness cable from the one installed, yank out the psu, put in the new one, plug in the harness cable an hope it works and hope it doesn't I dun know, fry something and thats that, no having to semi tear down the case or migrate to a new one however frankenstein that could be with figuring out the Daughter Board mounting..

Or I go with say this random cost/power equvilant I found EVGA 850 BQ which from the images has the type of Sata cables I could maybe shimy the passthrough-crip-clip up along.. and has a 5y warranty.. is new and I can grab one from a local shop (Canadian Computers) a 30 min walk.. and I believe if I do that via my Visa there is some extra protections they offer? But then there is the time involved in getting the drive caddies their power..

There is a difference in "efficiency" rating.. all those dell ones are stamped as "Silver" the random cost comparative EVGA one I found is "Bronze." but I don't really understand the full impact of that difference besides potentially it being marketing mumbo with some actual backing/relevance.

The other bonus with something like this.. or another product would be if the PSU isn't the fix and the Volts don't change meaning it could be the Motherboard itself.. I'd at least have a part that I could actually use in new build.. the dell harness is very "this pc" designed.. rather than shove it into anything. ~Istolla

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Perhaps you should look at a Seasonic FOCUS PLUS 850 Gold SSR-850FX for $120 until the 27th Nov + 8.99 shipping, the next step up is 1000W but I cant see you needing that.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

That's certainly pretty and would more than suit my "needs" I believe, power wise.. and I'd love the modularity..

I've however just received confirmation of shipment of two surprising & generous semi-donations (I'll be repaying shipping and intend to add extra on top once the items reach me) from a contact in a discord server I was also getting help in.

They are sending me a Corsair TX850 V2 It's non modular and from the images the sata cables should work without to much hageling.. though migrating cases might be the best option in the long run, which means see'n if is ways to get that "daughter board" into what I currently have in my closet.. or if I should look for a new case lol ;-;

They are also sending a EVGA GTX1070 SC Images of it make me a lil concerned of its condition but I won't truly know tll it's in my hands and mostly looks surface stuff that is fix/clean-able.

Either way now I need to figure out away to test both of them once in my hands. And I'll need to figure out if there is a "active" DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0b cable at 60Hz in the world or not cuz one'a my monitors will need one. the other two can run HDMI → DVI-D and DVI-D → DVI-D. ~Istolla

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Update Nov 27th

As mentioned in a reply to Trelor.. bout 3 days back. I've had a potentially very generous donation made by contact on discord who simply wanted to find a good home for some parts that were not being used.. those parts via the images shared look good yet they may need some TLC.. and a way to test them.

A used non modular Corsair TX850 V2 and a used but potentially still under warrenty EVGA GTX1070 SC

I'm using the word "potentially" a lot here as I won't know the true condition of either item, till in my hands.

So I'd like some advice on the soundness of this plan I've come up with:

GPU wise only way I can test that is plug it in but I'm not sure how to go about testing stability/temps and the like, or any other "before you do that" like tips, like anything with drivers or such (currently have the latest installed via GFE). Again I won't know it's state till in my hands.. I've also never disassemble a card though I hope I don't have too.. I also don't have nor know what best thermal paste would be for a GPU.

Further as it's a newer card, only two of my monitors will work with it right off the bat (which is more than enough for testing) as all of their best connectors are DVI-D Dual-Link and the card has 1 DIV-D DL, 1 HDMI 2.0b and x3 1.4 Displayports. So one of them will need a Active Display 1.4 to HDMI 2.0b Adaptor (I've HDMI 2.0b to DVI-D cable already).

I did find this Club 3D CAC-1080 Active DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0b HDR 60Hz Adapter an the reviews seem sort of promising at least the ones about the actual selected product.. they really need a review filter.

PSU wise, I've thought of plugging the new one into everything except the "impossible" to reach drives.. and trick the current installed PSU to think its plugged in like them water-cooler folk do in videos about filling the loop with a jumper cable of sorts to power said drives and use both for testing.. the idea/hope being seeing "normal" voltages in HWMonitor.. of course I plan on testing first with my current GPU as a base line.

That said besides the voltages I'm not sure what else I should be looking for and again monitoring wise all I have is HWMonitor, CPU-Z & GPU-Z.

I'm a little nervous with this frakenstine plan of mine and came across this Thermaltake Dr. Power II but I'm not sure if it's worth the purchace cost vs my plan as outlined above..

The goal of either approach is to determine basic core things, is it the PSU, or the Mobo, or Both. If there is no change in the dipped voltage with the "new to me" PSU then I would have to assume one of two things, the "new to me" PSU is also bad, or based on the googling I've done that perhaps it is the Motherboard that is actually the problem..

The hard part and why I went looking for a tool though is I've no way to test the PSUs separately.. it would be 60 some'n all in with shipping from amazon all said and done.. 60 dollars I'd rather put towards new components if it actually has to come to that, I don't have a voltmeter and due to my rl situation have physical tremors at times.. I'd be worried about causing damage if I tried to do it manually but I'd be willing to attempt such if any of you know of a "good" & "inexpensive" meter kit..

Remember I'm in Canada so that price hike between CAD & USD can be quite the ouch. Thoughts, Input & Alternative ideas appreciated. ~Istolla

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Still needing some guidance on this please. ~Istolla.


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