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Black outs during gaming: Is it my PSU or my GPU?

Last response: in Components
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June 19, 2013 7:31:29 AM

Basics:
Phenom II X4 955
4gb RAM
ZOTAC Geforce GTX 285
PCP&C 750 Watt PSU
*Computer built in Fall 2009.

So I was playing SWTOR, when suddenly my screen goes black...like the computer shut down, but the LEDs were still running in the case, so I had to force a restart.

I also notice on the back of my GTX 285, there were 2 red LEDs, and a lot of heat coming from the case.

Research seems to point in 2 directions: The GPU or the PSU. Red lights apparently indicate power issues. But an old GPU might try to draw more power, or an old PSU might have failing capacitors and not provide enough power. LEDs are currently yellow (which is strange, cause I hear they come in Green, Orange, and Red.)

If I get a new PSU, it will be the PCP&C MK III 750 Watts (maybe 850 Watt). If I get a new card, it will be the MSI Geforce GTX 660.

I do not have enough money for both. I do not have a spare video card or psu to switch out for testing. And I just moved here, so I don't know anyone I can borrow one from to test it.

Any ideas on which I should replace?
June 19, 2013 7:39:42 AM

i would try cleaning the video card first and see if that does anything. it could be very dirty and over heating from the dust built up.
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June 19, 2013 7:50:48 AM

Any stores around you with a good return policy? might try testing a new PSU first and see if it works. If not, return it for a new video card. if problems still persist... always check your ram.
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June 19, 2013 9:05:59 AM

Jason Howard said:
i would try cleaning the video card first and see if that does anything. it could be very dirty and over heating from the dust built up.

I recently sprayed all the dust out of the case with compressed air. I doubt I'll be able to get all the dust out of the video card, and if that was the case, I'd kind of want to upgrade to a new one.

Second issue is, the problem isn't consistent. Sometimes, I can play SWTOR for hours on end and have no issues. Other times, I'll be in game for 20 minutes and my card will overheat. So it would be some time before I "knew" if the card was the issue, and I want to fix the problem now, If only to prevent the rest of my computer from getting damaged.
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June 19, 2013 9:14:01 AM

dm-mtl said:
Any stores around you with a good return policy? might try testing a new PSU first and see if it works. If not, return it for a new video card. if problems still persist... always check your ram.


Nearest is a Best Buy. Their PSUs are overpriced and pretty terrible quality. I was going to order off amazon. (Was kinda hoping to determine if i should grab the PSU or GPU before 2pm, so I could have the parts by Friday.)

I really outta get more ram at some point, but my motherboard limits me to DDR2. [currently Kingston HyperX T1 Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066]
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June 19, 2013 9:48:31 AM

LChronics said:
dm-mtl said:
Any stores around you with a good return policy? might try testing a new PSU first and see if it works. If not, return it for a new video card. if problems still persist... always check your ram.


Nearest is a Best Buy. Their PSUs are overpriced and pretty terrible quality. I was going to order off amazon. (Was kinda hoping to determine if i should grab the PSU or GPU before 2pm, so I could have the parts by Friday.)

I really outta get more ram at some point, but my motherboard limits me to DDR2. [currently Kingston HyperX T1 Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066]


usually, if it's the PSU... it would not only be in games but general issues. I would go more towards the video card. Have you checked the manufacturer for any testing tools or driver updates? if not, do you have a friend who doesn't mind testing it in their system?
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June 19, 2013 10:09:12 AM

dm-mtl said:

usually, if it's the PSU... it would not only be in games but general issues. I would go more towards the video card. Have you checked the manufacturer for any testing tools or driver updates? if not, do you have a friend who doesn't mind testing it in their system?


Updated driver last night. noticed none of my 3 LED fans are functioning...the LED works, but the fans won't spin. Ran SiSoftware Sandra and video card whent up to about 88'C. Fan is still spinning full power.

Downloaded SpeedFan. This is minimal usage:


now i don't know what to think.

Edit, I pulled out and looked at one of the LED fans. cleaned it, took off the blade to check for clogging (didnt see any). put back together and reattached it. still not spinning. LED turns on, but the fan blades don't move (they seem to be a bit stiff to turn though i don't know why). Spinning the fan manually gets it going for a second or two on its own before it stops again.
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June 19, 2013 10:33:44 AM

LChronics said:
dm-mtl said:

usually, if it's the PSU... it would not only be in games but general issues. I would go more towards the video card. Have you checked the manufacturer for any testing tools or driver updates? if not, do you have a friend who doesn't mind testing it in their system?


Updated driver last night. noticed none of my 3 LED fans are functioning...the LED works, but the fans won't spin. Ran SiSoftware Sandra and video card whent up to about 88'C. Fan is still spinning full power.

Downloaded SpeedFan. This is minimal usage:


now i don't know what to think.

Edit, I pulled out and looked at one of the LED fans. cleaned it, took off the blade to check for clogging (didnt see any). put back together and reattached it. still not spinning. LED turns on, but the fan blades don't move (they seem to be a bit stiff to turn though i don't know why). Spinning the fan manually gets it going for a second or two on its own before it stops again.


its probably within the fan bearings that the damage has been done (dust, etc) but at least this would explain why...
also, check your cpu fan... usually a Phenom II is suppose to be within 55-62 max. Any dust you can remove there?
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June 19, 2013 11:08:03 AM

dm-mtl said:

its probably within the fan bearings that the damage has been done (dust, etc) but at least this would explain why...
also, check your cpu fan... usually a Phenom II is suppose to be within 55-62 max. Any dust you can remove there?


game the fans a heatsinks a quick spray. dust definitely came out....after toying with the one fan, its finally spinning on its own, though its not very strong.

latest readouts, using a different program

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June 19, 2013 11:18:57 AM

LChronics said:
dm-mtl said:

its probably within the fan bearings that the damage has been done (dust, etc) but at least this would explain why...
also, check your cpu fan... usually a Phenom II is suppose to be within 55-62 max. Any dust you can remove there?


game the fans a heatsinks a quick spray. dust definitely came out....after toying with the one fan, its finally spinning on its own, though its not very strong.

latest readouts, using a different program



Awesome, if the issues persist... then I would suggest replacing the video card. But from what I see, should be good for now.
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June 19, 2013 11:26:47 AM

dm-mtl said:
LChronics said:
dm-mtl said:

its probably within the fan bearings that the damage has been done (dust, etc) but at least this would explain why...
also, check your cpu fan... usually a Phenom II is suppose to be within 55-62 max. Any dust you can remove there?


game the fans a heatsinks a quick spray. dust definitely came out....after toying with the one fan, its finally spinning on its own, though its not very strong.

latest readouts, using a different program



Awesome, if the issues persist... then I would suggest replacing the video card. But from what I see, should be good for now.


so, from the looks of it, you think its the video card as an issue?

That might be what i change out then, anyway. Birthday coming up...tempted to ask for the 660, and maybe a few new fans.
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June 19, 2013 12:09:18 PM

the video card sooner or later will need to be replaced. but for now, as long as the fans keep turning... you should be good.
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June 19, 2013 10:28:45 PM

Definitely keep an eye on those temps. It's possible your fans were not spinning properly due to the dust build up which is causing your GPU to overheat. The fans are not that expensive to replace either depending on the size you need for your case. Speedfan can let you know if something is overheating. Also make sure nothing is blocking the airflow and if you can keep your desktop in a cool area that might help you out somewhat.
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