March 08, 2012

Bethesda Support Findings: null

Bethesda support was nice enough to exchange at least 11 emails with me, but alas, it led nowhere.  Here's their last response (emphasis mine):

The links you have provided are only anecdotal evidence at best. Whilst some of those people may be encountering the same symptoms as you are, ie a hardlock on their system, this does not mean that it has a common cause. For example some of the people in one of the threads you are providing have fixed their issue with hardware changes.

Furthermore, all of the tests you have suggested simply prove that your hardware works fine under the conditions that you are testing them under. Not all applications or tests will stress your system the same way. As an example, I had a similar issue to yours on a system I had been using with a different game. I was encountering random crashes and occasional lockups with one single game, all of the stress tests I did showed passed fine, and there were no temperature issues with the system. However as soon as the overclock on the system was removed, this game stopped crashing.

Whilst this is only anecdotal evidence, I hope that it provides some insight as to why I do not believe this to be a game/software related issue.

Now it may be that the game is simply encountering a crash, but because of the configuration of your system, the operating system is unable to handle the crash normally and so the system locks up and restarts. In this case it is very difficult for us to troubleshoot the problem, as we are unable to get any solid crash reports as your system is completely locking up.

With all that said, this game is still one of the best I've seen.  For completeness, here's my response to the above email:

I understand and appreciate your time on this.  So far the workaround for me when this does happen (and it's rarer now that I've been more frugal with binding spells and weapons/armor to the favorites) is to restart the system, load the last saved game and then make a few changes, create a new save file and then reload that new save file.
That seems to consistently get me past a crash point.  The overclock recommendation does not make a difference with my problem since it occurs with normal clock, overclock or underclock.  Believe me when I say that I've spent multiple hours troubleshooting this even before contacting support.

With that said, I'm continuing to enjoy the game (2nd character build now) and am looking forward to the DLC/expansion that's been in the news lately.  I've also began to experiment with the mods available on
Steam.  They definitely add to the replay value for this game, which despite the technical issues I've encountered, I still consider one of the best games made to date.

I'm assuming there was no progress on the save files I've sent previously?  Should I encounter another consistent, repeatable, crash, I'll try sending the save game file (along with my .ini files) in the hopes it will increase game stability.  Perhaps if a game debugging mode was made available/known, I could provide those logs to Bethesda
as well.

Thanks again for your time.


  1. I am interested to see what you find. I have been having the same problem with my Cyber Power PC crashing but only when playing Skyrim. My crash leads me to a partial reboot, where I have to manually reboot the system once the "Delta Log Record" is compiled. It's probably unrelated but I also noticed the the computer will not stay in Sleep Mode either. What do you think?

    Here is my system build info. Maybe we have some hardware in common. The power supply that they sent me actually had an 800w sticker on it which fell off and began fluttering in the radiator fan. All the other manufacturer info for the power supply is not visible. (Are they swapping reconditioned power supply units?)

    Gamer Eagle 3000
    BLUETOOTH: USB Bluetooth 2.0 Adapter
    CAS: Apevia X-Dreamer 3 Mid-Tower Gaming Case w/ Side-Panel Window & Temperature Display
    CD: LG UH12LS28K 12X Blu-Ray Player & DVDRW Combo Drive
    CD2: None
    CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-2600K 3.40 GHz 8M Intel Smart Cache LGA1155 (All Venom OC Certified)
    CS_FAN: Maximum 120MM Color Case Cooling Fans for your selected case
    FA_HDD: None
    FAN: Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Enhanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA) (Single Standard 120MM Fan)
    FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer
    GLASSES: None
    HDD: 2TB (2TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Drive)
    HDD2: None
    IUSB: Internal USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
    KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
    MB_SRT: 32 GB Kingston SSDNOW V100 SATA-II 3.0Gb/s SSD - 160MB/s Read & 70MB/s Write (Single Drive)
    MEMORY: 16GB (4GBx4) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory(Corsair Vengeance)
    MONITOR: 24" Widescreen 1920x1080 Asus VS247H-P LCD
    MONITOR2: None
    MONITOR3: None
    MOTHERBOARD: [CrossFireX] GigaByte Z68AP-D3 Intel Z68 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ Intel Smart Response Tech. & 7.1 Dolby Home Theater Audio, GbLAN, USB3.0, 2x SATA-III RAID, mSATA Connector onboard, 2 Gen2 PCIe, 3 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI (All Venom OC Certified)
    MOUSE: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
    NCSW: None
    NETWORK: Killer™ 2100 - Gigabit Maximum Network Performance Online Gaming Network Interface Card
    OS: Microsoft® Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
    OVERCLOCK: No Overclocking
    POWERSUPPLY: 700 Watts - Standard Power Supply SLI/CrossFireX Ready
    SPEAKERS: None
    TEMP: None
    TUNING: None
    TVRC: None
    UPS1: OPTI-UPS ES1500C 1400VA/980W Uninterruptible Power Supply
    USB: PPA External 4-Port USB 2.0 Silver Star Hub
    USBFLASH: None
    USBHD: None
    USBX: NZXT Internal USB 6-PORT Expansion Module + USB Bluetooth 2.X EDR Dongle with Led Light Thumb Size
    VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 Dual GPU SLI 3GB 16X PCIe Video Card (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
    VIDEO2: None
    VIDEO3: None
    WNC: None

    April 13, 2012 6:32 PM

  2. With my replacement video card, I haven't seen any new problems (so far) - if you can, try to isolate the problem by removing/replacing parts. I doubt they are recycling parts, BUT with your dual 590s + 16GB RAM, I would start with the power supply. Try to recreate the fault outside of Skyrim with the stress test programs around (I have a list in my earlier posts). Once you find a repeatable fault, isolate it by removing all the components you don't need (i.e. network card, 2nd video card, memory sticks, etc) one at a time until it doesn't fault. Luckily, I had some extra video cards to test with which indicated to me that the problem is the video card. Also, if you can, replacing the power supply with a known-good brand (you probably want more than you need) is always a good thing. The power supply is extremely important to get right.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  3. For the sake of your readers I'll post what I have done so far. This seems to be a pretty common complaint about computers purchased from Cyberpower so maybe this will help to resolve the problem.

    I have taken out all memory cards and tested them one at a time in each memory slot to rule out defective memory and defective memory slots/addressing.

    I have downloaded all Windows and Nvidia updates, drivers, patches, etc.

    I have monitored CPU and GPU temperatures (always normal/low-normal)

    Finally, I have tried multiple stress test programs as well as running other graphically demanding games on ultimate settings. Nothing duplicates Skyrim crash. I'll be looking into Direct X next. I'll keep you posted if I find anything new.

    1. Juan,

      Since I last responded I have deleted and reinstalled my nVidia drivers. I have gone through each and every driver on my computer and checked for updates. I have attempted every software fix that I can imagine to no avail. Oh, and I have adjusted the audio settings to the 16 bit CD quality settings that many other readers recommend. None of those things fixed my Skyrim crashing problem. I was only able to play uninterrupted with my graphics settings on low...which totally defeated the purpose of purchasing a GTX 590!

      So I ponied up and bought an Antec TPQ-1200 power supply to replace the unlabeled 800 watt power supply that originally came with my computer. It seems to have done the trick. So far I have not experienced any more crashes when running Skyrim so I think my problem may have been power starvation. Replacing my power supply also resolved a couple other issues that I was having with my Cyberpower PC.

      First, the front fan was getting power but was not spinning. Cyberpower already sent me out a new one without raising any fuss in the matter, but it turns out that it was unecessary because once I hooked up the TPQ-1200 the fan started right up.

      Second, I noticed a deep humming when I played Skyrim with my earbuds plugged in. The sound was similar to the vibrating hum that a high voltage transformer makes, only the pitch would change at various times of the game and get a deeper tone when the graphics card seemed to be churning out a lot of power. Anyway, that humming is gone now too.

      It's possible that there may have just been a faulty connection and I'm giving too much credit to the power supply itself but since the power supply came with all new connectors it's impossible to know for sure. In any event, the problem seems fixed for now.

      I also noticed a lower CPU temperature with the new power supply. My normal operating temperature was 30-33c which would get up to 40-43c when I played Skyrim. My new operating temperature is 28-30c normal and 30-35c running Skyrim on High. I'm pretty sure that it has a lot to do with the design of the former power supply which utilized a huge 140mm cooling fan and pumped heat directly down on the radiator reservoir and CPU cooling element. I think this set-up inhibited the ability of the radiator to exchange heat efficiently. It also dumped a lot of heat unnecessarily inside the case which couldn't have helped.

      There was one upside to that setup, however...It was much, much, quieter. The new TPQ-1200 utilizes a tiny 80mm cooling fan which makes virtually no noise at normal operating temperature, but Skyrim really makes that little fan earn its money. The difference is that the fan vents hot air directly outside the case (like it should) so its noise is not muffled by the case itself. So it gets LOUD!..But only with Skyrim.

      So, here's my new question: Is the TPQ-1200 taking care of business because it is a 1200 watt power supply, or is it because of the capacitors built into each line that absorb power spikes? I'm wondering if it is not necessarily the power rating itself but the ability to weather spikey power demand that is preventing my Skyrim crashes. I am new to the computer world so it would be interesting to get some informed opinions on the matter.

      I hope you don't mind my using your blog to detail my own problems with Skyrim and its full-system crashes, but your blog is the first thing that pops up in a Google search of "Skyrim Crash Powersupply" so it may be helpful to other users who are experiencing the same problem.



    2. Thanks for your comment! And no, I don't mind at all if you detail your problems here. I'll do what I can to help, of course.

      Power Supplies are rather critical, I've learned over the years. I believe the TPQ-1200 is taking care of business because it provides a more stable power stream and can handle the demand spikes. The power rating is one thing, but there are a lot of differences between "good" and "bad" power supplies. It really depends on your application.

      For casual computer users, "cheap"/"bad" power supplies will do the job. If you are like the Zorro and myself, you will want to ensure that you get a very good power supply, since we are demanding a lot more of our computers than your average computer user.

      One of the best sites I've seen that covers powers supplies is "" ( Check it out and you'll find out way more about power supplies than you ever wanted to know. That site caused me to purchase the Silverstone power supply.

      One more important note about power supplies: a bad one can cause hardware issues with your components. So, don't go cheap on it. It can cause more problems than the power flaking out.

  4. Here's some things to keep in mind when troubleshooting:

    1. Only a driver issue or a hardware issue can cause a reboot (partial or otherwise).
    2. If it is a driver issue, 99% of the time, there will be a Windows Event recorded.
    3. If it is a hardware issue, there may NOT be a Windows Event recorded.
    4. If it is a hardware issue, it may or may not be consistent. In other words, it's a dice roll.

    Skyrim by itself cannot cause the reboots. For me, it was a hardware defect in the video card.


Please be helpful and courteous. Thanks!