Topic Title: fx-8120 single-core spikes
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Created On: 12/07/2013 05:42 PM
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 12/07/2013 05:42 PM
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dominic508
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As shown here; http://s21.postimg.org/wmagxlwl3/Problem.png

I get random single-core spikes. Or rather, they alternate, peaking to 100%, one after the other.

The problem will sometimes start out of nowhere, sometimes be triggered by something as benign as unplugging my Logitech gamepad. When I'm doing anything demanding (Gaming for instance) it will start freaking out like this, making my poor CPU fan sound like a spastic jet engine.

I get temperatures as high as 55-60 degrees while idle (please note that I'm in Canada and it's freezing right now ) And doing simple things like scrolling down a complex web page is laggy and slow, and makes the processor peak and fan bump to a higher RPM. (see; http://s27.postimg.org/7wlazyppv/scrollingdownapage.png  )

I wiped my drive clean by re-installing Windows 7, and tried a handful of distributions of GNU/Linux; To no avail. Problem persists.

I haven't ever tried to overclock, or to change my hardware. The first 3-4 months I had with this machine (built for me by a friend) I had no issue, but this problem started creeping up on me in the span of a week or two, and now it's made even mild browsing quite a hassle, if only for the noise and heat..

 

I read somewhere that this processor is a 125W but my motherboard (Gigabyte GA-970A-D3) would only support it at 95W..? (as shown on their website here; http://www.gigabyte.com/support-dow

nloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=3908  )

I'm pretty lost at this point. This doesn't seem like something you would get from wrongly applied thermal paste or something of the sort (especially since it went well for several months, and I sometimes go sseveral hours whithout encountering anything of the sort)

So, if anyone here has more of a clue, I'd greatly appreciate! I don't know where to look for answers anymore

 

Specs:

GA-970A-D3 Gigabyte motherboard
AMD FX(tm)-8120 Eight-core processor
8GB RAM
RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
ST33000651AS Seagate 3TB HDD

Antec 620 Power Supply

ASUS HD 7770 GPU

 12/07/2013 10:03 PM
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AMDforMe
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It's difficult to say if you actaully have a problem or not from the graphs. The load per core is constantly changing based on how the fetch and decode ops feed the cores. 100% use of alternating cores is not a particularly unusual situation either. There are many factors that enter into core loads.

You might want to open Task Manager and watch the Processes to see what specifically is using CPU cycles. One of the performance issues with the FX series CPUs is the front end fetch/decode operations aren't fast enough to keep the cores fully loaded all the time so some cores are under utilized a lot on a 6-8 core CPU.

As far as the FX-8120 AMD offered these in both a 125w and 95w version though the 95w version was typically available to OEMs not retail. CPU-Z should be able to tell which model you have I would think?

The fan speed should in fact vary with CPU load/temp. Your CPU core temps should be a max of 61C under max load. Many people mistakenly read "CPU" temp instead of core temp. CPU temp is not actually CPU temp but a thermister mounted below the CPU socket and it typically runs 10C-25C higher than the core temps. Disregard any FX processor temps below 40c as they become more inaccurate the farther they are from 40C.

Also be aware that Gigabyte has had VRM issues on their AM3+ mobos and they have had to re-design them with new VRM circuits to handle 8-core FX processors as the VRM circuit used on the Gigabyte mobos up until recently with the "XFA" designation, were designed for PII CPUs and as such they overheat when you use an 8-core FX processor on these mobos. When the VRM circuit overheats the CPU frequency drops to 1400 MHz. and the CPU vcore drops to .875v. The system will oscillate back and forth in frequency and vcore until the load is reduced and the VRM can cool below it's 90C themal trigger point.



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Edited: 12/07/2013 at 10:22 PM by AMDforMe
 12/07/2013 10:53 PM
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dominic508
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It's difficult to say if you actaully have a problem or not [...] 100% use of alternating cores is not a particularly unusual situation

 

Really? I've never seen such spikes before on my older machines, and they seem pretty prominent. Also I find it hard to believe that it would be normal for, say, a core to peak to 100% and remain there untill I do something about it, if I merely unplug a USB device. Or having to experience lag while scrolling down a web page, with such a powerful PC.

 

You might want to open Task Manager and watch the Processes to see what specifically is using CPU cycles.

 

That's the weird part. Task manager (And Process Explorer for that matter) don't seem to indicate anything out of the ordinary. Firefox is usually the highest demanding process, atop its mere 8-10% tops. Even duraing said spikes.

CPU-Z should be able to tell which model you have I would think

Well that's a handy little piece of software; indeed, I have the 125W version.

When the VRM circuit overheats the CPU frequency drops to 1400 MHz. and the CPU vcore drops to .875v. The system will oscillate back and forth in frequency and vcore until the load is reduced

 

That seems to be exactly what's happening (altough slightly different numbers);  The ''core voltage'' indicated on CPU-Z oscillates between 0.928V and 1.424V. So, this version of the Gigabyte motherboard (I have Rev 1.1) does not support my 8-core CPU?

Is there a fix to this, or should I just buy another mobo? (or another processor, but I believe a new mobo would be far less expensive)

 12/07/2013 11:49 PM
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black_zion
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Make sure you have the correct revision, as PCB revision 3.0 shows it as supported.

Open task manager, sort by CPU usage, and see which process is spiking CPU usage.

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 12/08/2013 12:07 PM
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dominic508
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Open task manager, sort by CPU usage, and see which process is spiking CPU usage.

 

As I mentionned in my previous post, that's the thing. No process seems to be taking up more power than necessary.

Here,  I just managed to catch one as it happened

http://s21.postimg.org/y6a8rzknp/nocorrelation.jpg

All my cores were bumping to 50-60-70% alternatively, one after the other, sometimes altogether. My CPU fan churning out awful heat, but yet, all the process seem to act normally. only running firefox, with its regular +/- 10% usage, but yet it was awfully slow and clunky, scrolling down pages being really laggy, videos on youtube skipping frames, etc.

To stop it I have to either reboot (which sometimes still doesn't work) Or close all my programs, put all my fans on high, set the ''maximum processor state'' in the power options to something like 30%, and wait at little while before attempting to do anything again.

 12/08/2013 03:20 PM
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AMDforMe
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You might try booting into Safe mode and seeing if you experience the same issues. If not then you'll need to determine which program is causing the problem. If you've installed new software in the past several months when you first noticed the problem, then you might need to remove it to determine if it is the actual cause.

Anti-virus software tends to work in the background and use available CPU cycles based on an algorithm. I have seen these programs trying to do an automated update cause these types of issues. Since the CPU fan and CPU load seem to concur, I suspect something is running in the background even if Task Manager does not show it when you check.



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Technical ignorance is NOT a destiny it is a choice. Do your homework so that you can make technically informed decisions and not be duped by advertising hype or mis-information stated as fact when its not.


 

 12/08/2013 06:09 PM
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dominic508
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..But what about the issue with my processor's wattage that you mentionned earlier and seemed to be exactly that?

And as I mentionned in my first post, I re-installed the OS already, which didn't help it.

Would formatting my disk with something like dban ( http://www.dban.org/ ) get rid of all the suspitions of malware or viruses, leaving only hardware issues left? I have all my files backed up, and I'd honestly rather start anew than hunt for a software running in the background somewhere.

Again, the compatibility issue you described seems to be the culprit, but I'd want to be sure before spending money on a new mobo or CPU

 

I'll try booting in safe mode still, I'll edit this post if it seemed to help

 12/08/2013 09:59 PM
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AMDforMe
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I would NOT go out and buy a new mobo and CPU until you know what is wrong with your system. Did you try CPU-Z to see if it identified your CPU as a 125w or 95w?

I have no experience with DBAN and it won't fix the problem if you have malware in your backed-up files because the malware will go right back on to the HD when you load the files back on.

Re-installing an O/S without formatting the HD just replaces the existing operating files. It does not remove malware and often doesn't even correct bada data that already exists in the operating files. Totally removing a program and all of it's files is one way to try to isolate if the software is causing the issue. There are many things that could be causing the problem however and you want to use caution so you don't create problems instead of fixing whatever the issue really is.

Norton has a free Power Erase to remove stubborn malware. I have used it without difficulty in the past but they advise that there is no guarantee it won't remove something that looks like malware even if it's not.

https://security.symantec.com/nbrt/npe.aspx

You might try it if booting into Safe Mode does not show the same problems as in normal mode.



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Technical ignorance is NOT a destiny it is a choice. Do your homework so that you can make technically informed decisions and not be duped by advertising hype or mis-information stated as fact when its not.


 

 12/09/2013 11:43 AM
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dominic508
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Did you try CPU-Z to see if it identified your CPU as a 125w or 95w?

 

Well, yes, it's in my second post; ''Well that's a handy little piece of software; indeed, I have the 125W version.''

And I also said that your description seems to fit the problem I'm having. I am running DBAN right now (I don't know how familiar you are with it, but it seems, from looking at many different sources, to be the go-to solution to completely erasing everything that's on a HDD) to completely destroy the possibility of it being a malware.

I'll do some tests before transferring over my backed up files. I'll install a small Linux distro, or windows if I have the patience, and only my required drivers, and see if there still is an issue.

I can still run Norton's Power erase on it, but I doubt anything will have survived at this point. Also since I didn't see too much improvement by booting in safe mode.

If I encounter the problem again, on a completely empty hard drive, with only my drivers and no programs installed, and no internet connection, I think it would be fair to assume the problem is with my hardware, right?

And if that's the case, I'm pretty sure that you had your finger on the solution earlier, about the Gigabyte rev 1.1 not handling 8 core CPUs properly, I read a bit more about it from other sources and it seems to fit the bill.

 12/10/2013 12:03 AM
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AMDforMe
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Even if your mobo isn't rated to handle the 125w CPU, it likely would be fine until the VRM circuit overheated under heavy load. Then during the cycling it might BSOD. It would not cause the CPU to spike to 100% however or the CPU to run hot.



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Technical ignorance is NOT a destiny it is a choice. Do your homework so that you can make technically informed decisions and not be duped by advertising hype or mis-information stated as fact when its not.


 

 12/10/2013 12:27 PM
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dominic508
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Well I'm on ther verge of giving up then

DBAN finished running, I installed only windows 7 and Reaper, my DAW software for making music. Did not transfer back any of my old files, did not even connect to the internet. And while playing on a MIDI keyboard, this is what happened; http://s12.postimg.org/ig8qh8b3x/reaper.jpg

Making recording impossible, the audio kept clipping and lagging behind.

 

So, problem persisted. It's as if the cores of my processor were unable to work together, so actions and programs are assigned to a single one, who can't handle it, and then they keep alternating between eachother. I don't know if that's ''normal'', but the overheating and massive lag it causes surely isn't.

Should I just assume that my processor is dead at this point and get a new one?

 12/10/2013 01:17 PM
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AMDforMe
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When you installed Windows did you install all of the appropriate mobo drivers from the CD or from the mobo maker's website? Usually the website has the latest and best drivers.

Have you discussed this technical issue with anyone at AMD's tech support? I don't know that you can conclude the CPU is dead as all cores appear to be working from the graphs though one seems to be doing the most work. If they alternate to a high level of usage between cores it really doesn't sound like a CPU issue to me but there are many possibilities. The only way you might know more about your CPU is to plug it into another properly functioning system and see how it responds.



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Technical ignorance is NOT a destiny it is a choice. Do your homework so that you can make technically informed decisions and not be duped by advertising hype or mis-information stated as fact when its not.


 

 12/10/2013 01:42 PM
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dominic508
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did you install all of the appropriate mobo drivers from the CD or from the mobo maker's website?

As far as I know, yes. Everything I could find on Gigabyte's page for my mobo. Is there a software that analyzes your system and shows you if you have out-of-date/absent drivers? Windows device manager doesn't indicate anything out of the ordinary, but not quite sure I should trust it alone.

Have you discussed this technical issue with anyone at AMD's tech support?

Not yet, since I thought the problem came from the mobo or some virus initially. It's the obvious next step though.

The only way you might know more about your CPU is to plug it into another properly functioning system and see how it responds.

I don't have another computer at hand for now. But if it isn't a virus/malware/anything that could have been on my hard drive, not a driver problem, not a BIOS problem, not a wattage problem, not a compatibility issue... What do you mean by ''there are many possibilities''? What's left apart from the processor being simply faulty? And whatever options are left, wouldn't they be fixed by simply buying another one?

I'm not usually one to throw money out the window, but I don't really mind at this point. My machine is unusable for anything else than mild browsing at this point.

 12/10/2013 01:51 PM
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AMDforMe
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Another thought or two...

If you haven't already tried, you might clear the CMOS via the mobo jumper or switch and reboot to allow it to recognise the hardware again. You could also check in the BIOS to see if the RAM is running in single or dual channel mode.

The chipset drivers on the mobo website should be good enough and are typically the latest.

You might also want to remove your DAW software and try other software to see if the issue is only related to the DAW software.



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 12/10/2013 03:35 PM
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dominic508
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I cleared the CMOS and now not only is the issue still there, but only 4 of my 8 cores seem to be detected.

 12/11/2013 09:41 AM
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AMDforMe
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You should be able to set all cores "enabled" in the BIOS.

The reason I stated that there are many possible causes is because at this point we do not know if the issue is hardware, software, O/S, driver or malware related. Hopefully the fresh install eliminated the malware possibility but there are so many other possibilities it's not easy to sort them all out. Buying new hardware might fix the problem but I sort of doubt it based on what the CPU graphs shown.

If you have multiple drivers trying to access the same mapped memory space you could tie up a CPU core @100% and the system will be sluggish while it empties the queue and starts over again until it has more corrupted instructions and then keeps cycling over and over. These are very difficult problems to find and cure however.

Is your system set to automatically update Windows? I have seen Windows updates that corrected issues and some that caused issues. If you don't update regulalrly you might give it a try as Microsucks releases updates at least every month to fix the many problems that still exist in Windows.



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 12/11/2013 11:32 AM
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dominic508
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we do not know if the issue is hardware, software, O/S, driver or malware related.

Well how could it be software, OS, driver, or malware related if I have wiped everything off my drive, and installed all the proper drivers? Can a malware hide somewhere elese than in my hard drive..?

Microsucks releases updates at least every month to fix the many problems that still exist in Windows.

But as I said the problem occurs in Linux too And yes I kept everything up to date.

I'm still pretty sure buying a new processor would be the way to go, as I don't see what else it could be. Maybe I'm lacking some knowledge, but I've reset essentially everything that could be reset to factory defaults, updated everything, tried everything under every condition, erased everything... I don't see what non-hardware issue could remain at this point. I even tried booting and remaining in the BIOS, and the CPU temperature (as shown by the BIOS) went from 37 degrees to 52 degrees. Fan from 2700 rpm to 3500 rpm, in the span of 10 minutes or so.

The last hint of a clue I might have, is I read something about hyperthreading or virtual cores, and that sometimes it can't be handled properly, but I'm not sure this applies to my CPU.

Hopefully I don't let my stress and impatience show too much, but let's just say my patience has worn off. At this point money and time have crossed eachother in the graph; I'd rather buy something that would fix the issue rather than keep hunting for I-don't-know-what for several more weeks. Especially since everyone seems to disagree on what the problem might be, and more often than not. So what should it be? New mobo? New CPU? both?

I'll desperately try to find someone who's willing to let me try exchange my CPU with theirs first, to see if it solves anything.

 

EDIT: Straight from Gigabyte's tech support: ''Dear customer,

You are certain that your processor is the 125watt version?
If so it is not supported on this board as you will need to use the 95 watt
version of the FX-8120 processor.''

Welp. I guess that's cleared out now.



Edited: 12/11/2013 at 06:49 PM by dominic508
 12/12/2013 12:06 AM
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AMDforMe
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If I had any confidence that a new CPU or mobo would fix your problem I would state it, but I just don't have any means to determine this based on what we've discussed.

Just because you wiped the drive and reinstalled all new does not mean that there isn't a driver, software, O/S or other conflict. That's why buying new hardware might not fix the problem... The fact that it also happens with Linux may again suggest a driver conflict? If two drivers are trying to access the same mapped memory space concurrently, the data gets corrupted and that's when the problems start. This is only one possibility however.

Virtual cores and hyperthreading are Intel stuff and have nothing to do with your AMD CPU.

The fact that the mobo doesn't officially support the CPU doesn't per se mean that is the issue and I really doubt that it is the issue, to be perfectly honest. I have never found Gigabyte's tech support to be very competent and I have used a lot of their mobos over the past 20 years... They denied for two years that there was any issue with FX 8-core processors causing AM3+ VRM circuit overheating. While this might be your issue, the way the mobo and CPU respond to an overheating VRM circuit is not what your mobo is doing.

I'd certainly see if you can find someone who can properly test your CPU for you in a properly working PC. That would eliminate one piece of hardware. Obviously if time and PC head aches are more hassle than the cost of trying a replacement mobo/CPU, then buy the new hardware. If it works then all is good. If it doesn't we can keep trying to sort the problem.

BTW, I believe that the 125w FX-8120 WAS officially supported when it was released to the market. I believe after several years of AMD customers reporting problems with 8-core FX processors on Gigabyte AM3+ mobos, THEN Gigabyte revised their approved processors for specific model AM3+ mobos. Basically they had no clue until we made them aware of the VRM issue and forced them to conduct tests to see the problem with their own eyes.



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Technical ignorance is NOT a destiny it is a choice. Do your homework so that you can make technically informed decisions and not be duped by advertising hype or mis-information stated as fact when its not.


 

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