First, can anyone provide a live link to the Area 51 service manual? It used to be available here http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/Alw_dt_Area_51/en/sm/sm_en.pdf but it's not there anymore.
My Area 51 desktop started freezing yesterday while browsing, gaming or even during simple idle operation, it doesn’t matter what it’s doing. Every 30-60 minutes I have to restart the computer after a forced shutdown.
I’ve cleaned the chassis thoroughly with compressed air and even removed and cleaned the graphics card (GTX 580) but to no avail. All tests run from AlienAutopsy or from the hidden boot option passed without problems.
Next step will be to remove the memory sticks one by one and check if that helps.
The freezing itself is weird too, because sometimes it’s an outright hard freeze and nothing responds, sometimes I can move the cursor and the audio plays normally, sometimes I can even start the task manager or switch windows for a while but sooner or later the whole computer becomes unresponsive.
One other thing I noticed is that upon shutdown/restart sometimes the BIOS boot process stops at about 2/3 through and never progresses, one or more hard shutdown/restarts is required.
There was no specific change or software update that triggered this so I’m quite baffled.
Solved! Go to Solution.
Found the problem, it was my Crucial m4 256MB SSD drive. A firmware update to version 040h solved the issue.
The worst part of it is that because the drive becomes inaccessible no logs are actually written either to memory dump, or to event logs. The other is the problem only manifests after a certain 5000+ number of hours of operation so it's really out of the blue if you are not following firmware updates.
Thank you very much for sharing this solution, I'm pretty sure this will be very helpful for other people in this forum
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