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Destructor
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« on: September 16, 2009, 04:42:06 AM »

As you may have noticed from before, I had to replace my video card in the last few weeks. Now, I'm having another issue - after playing games for a long time, my PC will just spontaneously reboot with absolutely no warning. I never had this issue before.

My only guess is that either I have short of some sort in the house, or my power supply just isn't good enough to take the load. Would a spontaneous reboot be a sign of the power supply just not able to take it? Or is it a sign of something else going wrong?

Thanks for whatever help you can give as always.
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TiLT
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 08:32:53 AM »

It's either a faulty power supply or an overheating issue. I'd check the latter first, particularly since this happens after prolonged gaming sessions. Make sure the case is getting enough air circulation. Vacuum the inside if you can, and particularly the fans as dust may gather up in massive quantities inside them. You could also try moving PCI cards away from each other and (particularly) the graphics card if there's room. Another alternative is to check if you can remote control your fan speeds through software. If so you can run software that will automatically adjust fan speed based on CPU and GPU temperatures.
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Destructor
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 02:14:06 PM »

But I never had overheating issues before I swapped cards and I cleaned up the insides when I installed the new card (which was 2 weeks ago). Maybe I'll turn up the internal fans and see if that solves it. The old Antec 900 case moves so much air that heat was never an issue before.
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 03:09:19 PM »

Windows may just be crashing and auto-rebooting.  Be sure the option to automatically reboot on crash is disabled in your OS.  The crash screen (if you get one) will give you more clues.  Instructions if you need them.
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Destructor
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 05:20:44 PM »

Quote from: Freezer-TPF- on September 16, 2009, 03:09:19 PM

Windows may just be crashing and auto-rebooting.  Be sure the option to automatically reboot on crash is disabled in your OS.  The crash screen (if you get one) will give you more clues.  Instructions if you need them.

That's one idea, but it's also extremely rare for Vista to spontaneously reboot with no warning at all for me. Relatively new install of Vista 64 (less than 6 months) on otherwise stable hardware. And it's done it twice now on the same game (Champions Online) in under a week.

Maybe it's the game...

Additionally, it's not a Vista reboot - the entire PC just shuts off as if I flipped the power switch. It then turns back on about 10 seconds later because in the past, I've never been able to do the usual shutdown procedure without flipping the manual switch on the PS in the past because my PC would always just turn back on 10 seconds later. I never solved that problem.
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Daehawk
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 06:38:55 PM »

Thats also a setting. Ive seen it..think its in bios. You can set it for stand by mode or to power down the system.
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 07:37:40 PM »

Could be a bad memory chip. Could also be a bad just about anything... a very difficult problem to figure out. You will probably just have to systematically check one thing after the next until you hopefully find something that is bad.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 10:28:58 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on September 16, 2009, 05:20:44 PM

Additionally, it's not a Vista reboot - the entire PC just shuts off as if I flipped the power switch. It then turns back on about 10 seconds later because in the past, I've never been able to do the usual shutdown procedure without flipping the manual switch on the PS in the past because my PC would always just turn back on 10 seconds later. I never solved that problem.

Try going into the bios, into power management, and change the settings so the pc doesn't auto-restart in case of power loss. That _may_ fix it. Not sure. (the part where it restarts when you shut it down)

Atomic
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 11:45:32 PM »

My random reboots were solved by a new power supply.  Turns out there wasn't anything wrong with it, but it was underpowered.
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 12:16:04 AM »

Mine did the same reboot thing until someone told me about what Freezer up there posted. I had just built it and could not find what was causing it.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 01:43:48 AM »

It should not have been underpowered... 550 watts is plenty for a gaming system and one video card, even a 275. I suspect it was old, and/or old antec. Their older supplies were not really that high on the food chain, although some of their newer ones are really nice, like the signature series.

So, what did you replace it with?

Atomic
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 09:21:57 AM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on September 17, 2009, 01:43:48 AM

It should not have been underpowered... 550 watts is plenty for a gaming system and one video card, even a 275.

Actually, 650W and above is recommended for the Geforce 8 series and higher.
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2009, 10:45:53 AM »

There's a difference between 'what they recommend', and 'what's actually needed'. 'What they recommend' also comes with it the assumption that a lot of people aren't running good quality psu's, so they have to make allowances for that. In this particular case, we're narrowing down to the fact that his psu actually SHOULD have been able to put out the required wattage, but wasn't cutting it for some unknown reason.

550 watts, minus (hunts through several articles for numbers) max board power of 219 watts for the 275... leaves 331 watts for the rest of the system, if the psu is performing to spec. That's a lot of legroom the system should have had left over, but for some reason wasn't enough.

It matters little at this point.. the psu is already replaced. I was just pondering the reason it became necessary.

Atomic
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2009, 04:50:50 PM »

My Corsair 520w runs my GTX 260 and everything else great.
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2009, 06:09:38 PM »

I have a good PS (Antec I think), but it's also 2.5 years old at this point - maybe it's just going out. I dunno.

I did turn the fans up in my case a notch. Haven't had any problems since (short of the additional noise - I notice the fans now unfortunately). We'll see what happens over time.
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Destructor
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2009, 11:11:27 PM »

Well, it happened again. Like before, it acted as if I just flipped the switch on the back of the PC (instant power off, no warning, no nothing).

So, after checking to see that my 550W PS was just over 3.5 years old, I figured that it was time for an upgrade. I've now installed a 850W Corsair with more cords than I'll need. Although it now has enough cables to put in another graphic card if I'm so inclined...

Here's to hoping that my troubles are gone. Thanks for the help as always. Now I'm one step closer to a total PC replacement. Next up is my motherboard, processor, and memory. biggrin
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Giles Habibula
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2009, 01:14:34 AM »

I'll just post my anecdotal:
I have a computer (I built it myself in 2004) that would spontaneously and randomly shut down completely. Like "blip" and it was off.
Tried: New PSU, worked for a while, then did it again.
Tried: Removing Heatsink/fan and cleaning and re-applying thermal paste.
This worked for something like 3 years; No more problems.
Then one day, I removed the side cover to check something while the computer was running. I can't remember what I was checking, but it involved sticking my hand in there. Possibly to feel under the video card to make sure the fan was running or something stupid like that. In doing so, I had to move a couple of wire bundles out of the way, and..."Blip!" Off it went.
Restarted machine.
Wiggled wires. "Blip!" Off again. There are so many wires, I was totally unable to narrow it down; if you wiggle one wire, a whole bunch move with it.
I repeated this a few times in trying to figure it out, so it was definitely repeatable.
And the reason my previous HS/F repair seemed to work was apparently because in the process of doing said work, I moved the wires just enough so that it wasn't a problem anymore.

As it stands, it's one of my older rigs now, and I only use it to play my "Thief" games and a few others. And since it's now fine unless the wires get wiggled, I just gave the bundles one last good shoving around, slapped the case back together, and called it good.

Anyway, you might try getting in there and wiggling some wires around while it's running to see if you can force a shutdown. Nothing really aggressive though; just some wiggling. Could be some kind of odd short like mine.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 01:17:06 AM by Giles Habibula » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2009, 07:28:31 AM »

Sorry I'm late to the party on this thread, but I have to say I had a very similar problem to yours Destructor with the exception I was running XP. I'd also just replaced my video card. I was really baffled, because the rebooting was so random and intermittent. So I asked the gaming guru on the IT team at work what he thought. Almost immediately he said it was a driver issue. To which I said, but it's the same video card manufacturer... to which he said it's a driver issue...to which I said, but I uninstalled the old and reinstalled the latest detonator...to which he said it's a driver issue...to which I said but, but... smile 

He then told me that uninstalling the previous driver wasn't good enough and that I actually needed to use a 3rd party clean-up utility while running in safe mode; wish I could recall the name of the util. I followed his instructions and low and behold all reboots disappeared. Apparently this is a known, but rare, problem that can occur with Nvidia and occasionally, although less so, with ATI cards. So just in case you get a reboot after installing that shiny new PU, here's something else to consider/try. slywink
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Destructor
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2009, 02:00:26 PM »

I'll keep all of that in mind. Thankie.

But I stayed with the same video card manufacturer... biggrin
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2009, 04:21:31 PM »

Dont forget that most of the wattage outputs are Max outputs not continuous output.
A PS may be able to deliver that, but under constant load it may not.
You always need to leave a good amount of headroom (about 20%) when choosing a PS.
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« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2009, 12:46:45 AM »

Any love here yet? You definitely shouldn't need that much psu just to power a gtx275. But I'm curious if the problem went away and stayed away.

Atomic
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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2009, 05:16:48 AM »

Haven't had any problems since upgrading my 550W to an 850W. Whatever it was, it's gone now - so I'm guessing it was the PS.
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2009, 11:27:13 AM »

Quote from: Destructor on September 18, 2009, 11:11:27 PM

Well, it happened again. Like before, it acted as if I just flipped the switch on the back of the PC (instant power off, no warning, no nothing).

So, after checking to see that my 550W PS was just over 3.5 years old, I figured that it was time for an upgrade. I've now installed a 850W Corsair with more cords than I'll need. Although it now has enough cables to put in another graphic card if I'm so inclined...

Here's to hoping that my troubles are gone. Thanks for the help as always. Now I'm one step closer to a total PC replacement. Next up is my motherboard, processor, and memory. biggrin

If you have the same Antec 550watt model I had from around that time period, it has three 12v rails all of which have really low amperage ratings. If the PSU can't supply the videocard with enough amperage on one rail it faults and you get exactly the problem you're having. I had the exact same issue. I upgraded to a new videocard that didn't even require a 550watt psu... but it did require over 20 amps. The 12v rails only supplied like 17.

Will never buy another power supply with multiple 12v rails again. It's all just marketing BS. I said to hell with it and bought a PC Power & Cooling and didn't look back.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2009, 11:44:15 AM by Thin_J » Logged

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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2009, 08:16:10 PM »

Quote from: Thin_J on September 27, 2009, 11:27:13 AM

If you have the same Antec 550watt model I had from around that time period, it has three 12v rails all of which have really low amperage ratings. If the PSU can't supply the videocard with enough amperage on one rail it faults and you get exactly the problem you're having. I had the exact same issue. I upgraded to a new videocard that didn't even require a 550watt psu... but it did require over 20 amps. The 12v rails only supplied like 17.

Will never buy another power supply with multiple 12v rails again. It's all just marketing BS. I said to hell with it and bought a PC Power & Cooling and didn't look back.

I'll second this, with the proviso that very very occasionally, you get some where the connectors are marked as to which rail they're on, making them easy to balance. But yes. The rails are an artificial, and in my opinion, useless, safety mechanism. They're designed so that the person servicing it, in theory, cannot kill themselves by shorting the rail.. it's supposed to be limited to 20 amps at 12 volts, if I remember correctly. However, the simple fact is, you can kill yourself with.. bah, wasting space here. The point being, it's a safety mechanism built into a non-user serviceable part, and it's an unneeded expense. Any sane person has the psu unplugged if they ever need to be inside it anyways. (sure, the caps can still get you, but you, the user, aren't supposed to be inside there anyways) In theory they can save money by using smaller less expensive caps... but they have to use more of them, and they have to design the rails into the circuit, etc etc etc.

In my opinion, single rail psu's are stronger, and more reliable... and not any less safe. And you don't have to worry about load balancing on the rails, if you have enough of a load that it might matter.

Anyways, a good way to test this little scenario, would be to reinstall the suspect psu, and load up with Furmark (or OCCT, although I'm less familiar with it).... neither nvidia nor ati like either of these, often referring to them as 'power viruses', due to the unnatural load they place on the gpu... far greater load than you normally get in any game environment, they're meant to push the cards to the proverbial max... and in fact, they're capable of overloading a 4870 etc, due to lack of protective circuitry on the card. I'd actually never heard of this until just the other day, when reading up on the new 5870 cards.

Anyways, if furmark causes your comp to reset or shut off, you've definitely got a power related issue. If moving the card to one of the other pci-e connectors solves the problem, it's most likely because you moved the card to another rail and now the psu is happy.

(you'd think they'd be smart enough to put each pci-e connector, or at least each pair of connectors, or something, on their own seperate rails, even from the main connectors... but I believe a common scheme is to have the first pci-e, share power with the atx12v, the 4/8pin cpu connector, the molex and sata, etc. It's stupid.)

Atomic
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2009, 08:37:49 PM »

An interesting suggestion. However, since my problem was fixed with the new PS, I'm assuming that was the problem in the end. Additionally, my old PS only had two 6-plug connectors for video cards, so there was no way to use anything else. My new one has 4.
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« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2009, 05:38:16 AM »

The new one is also a single-rail psu (both of the corsair 850 models are), but it's irrelevant.

Those corsair supplies are very very nice. I have a 750 myself, and whilst it ramps up the fan a little more than I prefer (I need to try some things to help keep the psu cooler), the supply itself is very solid. You may not have 'needed' it, but you certainly didn't make a bad purchase.

Keep the 550, it may be fine, and you may have a need for it in the future. Most systems don't top more than 200 watts or so, without a performance gpu attached to them.

Atomic
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