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Hello! This is my first post here, thanks for having this site available!

My PC is 8 months old. Specs:

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.090206-1234)
System Model: P5Q Deluxe
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9400 @ 2.66GHz (4 CPUs)
Memory: 3070MB RAM
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT (512 MB)

For quite some time, my PC has been hanging hard on anything that runs in Direct3D mode. I can get away with OpenGL applications (such as Second Life, or Unreal Tournament). However, games which rely on the DirectX API (STALKER, Half-Life 2, etc.) will run for anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes before my computer will lose connection to the monitor, the last two seconds of audio will loop for a few moments, and then dead silence follows.

I have been told that this could be caused by a multitude of problems. Steps I have taken to diagnose the issue:

∙ Inspected my Event Viewer. No log exists of the hang, or any problem that could have caused it.
∙ Checked for updated drivers and installed them.
∙ System Restored as far back as I possibly could. Reupdated my drivers immediately thereafter.
∙ Reduced the graphic intensity of the games by lowering settings.
∙ Cleaned and reseated connections on the video card and RAM, and ensured that all connections were proper.
∙ Swapped parts with another PC one at a time and individually to see if it was a hardware issue; RAM first. Video card next. Then finally the PSU. Both PCs have the same exact specs and were hand built by myself at the exact same date.

It was tolerable for a while; it began rarely, and I could just simply reboot and have another two hours or so of runtime on a Direct3D app. Totally ignorable. But slowly and steadily it began to get worse, the hangs happening more frequently, until I could not last five minutes. I reinstalled DirectX (having already installed the latest Nvidia driver), thinking that could be the issue, and suddenly the issues subsided partially. It was playable again, and would last longer than usual.

It has again deteriorated, and reinstalling DirectX will not quell the issue this time. So right now I am faced with two possibilities.

A) The BIOS isn't in order, but I have made no changes and it worked fine until the issue presented itself.
B) It is a software issue, and possibly a corruption.

The issue didn't begin until GoogleUpdate.exe started giving me trouble. I discovered that GoogleUpdate.exe (installed alongside Google Earth or other Google applications) is notorious for crashing applications or outright hanging the system. In my case, it was causing both issues, and I was frustrated to find that it would force itself to reinstall if I deleted it. So I ultimately deleted Google Earth and purged my registry of any Google crap I could find. (Yay, Malware made by professionals. Great. Nearly unremovable.)

Unfortunately, even though GoogleUpdate is "gone" (I hope), I think a few files may have been corrupted, or otherwise permanently damaged by those initial hangs. If this is the case, I may need to reformat, but I'd like to get a second opinion on the matter first.

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