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Author Topic: Computer problem: Power Supply?  (Read 1453 times)
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« on: October 31, 2004, 12:09:19 AM »

I have one of the famed Alienware systems (over a year now), and have been having graphic issues from time to if the screen refresh rate was not set properly -- with lines and artifacts obscuring the screen both inside Windows and sometimes even before Windows loads.  Usually, I can just reboot and the problem will solve itself, though sometimes it takes more than 1 reboot.  This has been going on for at least 8 months, and Alienware tech support has been zero help.  I've updated my drivers to the latest, updated my motherboard firmware, bought and used canned air on all the fans, and nothing so far has helped.

About 2 months ago, I installed an internal DVD burner, which is the only new addition to the system since I purchase.  For the last week or two, I've been having an additional problem.  Sometimes in the middle of playing a game, the computer will just shut off, as if you pulled the plug out of the wall.  I'll hear the sound cut out, the screen will go black, and then a second later, the computer will be rebooting.

Originally, I was thinking I got a bad video card (and was trying forever to get Alienware to send me a new one, with no luck), but in light of the new symptoms, I'm wondering if my power supply is bad.

My specs:
Pentium 4, 3.2 Ghz with 800Mhz FSB
Radeon 9800 Pro 256 MB
SB Audigy 2
Intel D875PBZ mobo
Seagate 160MB SATA Hard Drive

Lite-on CDRW LTR-52327S
DVD Burner (don't remember what model)
1.44 MB Floppy Drive

Windows XP Home

Case has a 420W power supply, and 3 visible fans.

Does this sound like a Power Supply problem?  Is 420W enough for this system?  If I need a new one, can you recommend one, and is it something I should be able to do myself (I'm not afraid of opening the case, but I don't want to get electrocuted)?

- Don

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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2004, 12:15:57 AM »

I got the specs on the Power Supply:
Alienware 420 watts power supply

115 V at 10 Amps
230 V at 5 Amps


+5 V at 40 Amps

+3.3 at 30 Amps
(+5 V and +3.3 V combined should not exceed 220 W)

+12V at 18 Amps (should not exceed 216 W)

-5 V at 0.3 Amps (15 watts)

-12 V at 0.8 Amps (6.9 watts)

+5 VSB at 2.0 Amps (10 watts)


One 20-pin ATX Main power connector
One 4-pin ATX12V Power Connector
Nine Molex 4-pin peripheral Power Connector
Three Floppy Drive Power Connector
One 6-pin Aux Power Connector
One 3-pin Fan Speed Monitor

Minimum cable length:
20 inches

Cable length between connectors:
8 inches

Operating Temperature
50 - 122 degrees Fahrenheit ( 10 - 50 degrees Celsius)

- Don

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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2004, 12:40:05 AM »

hey don,

pull the plug on one of the DVD drives.  do you still have the issue?

are you overclocking? if you are, return to normal frequencies and try again.

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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2004, 04:25:52 AM »

The lines & artifacts, especially before windows loads is a dead giveaway to a bad video card. This could also be related to your rebooting problem as well.

Do you have another video card that you could put in, perhaps a friend or relative's?

If Alienware is refusing to help, well, sadly this is what they are known for. Shitty service after the sale, and refusing to honor their warranties. Good luck.
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