PC shuts down randomly!

Not sure where this post was supposed to go as it involves several components, so bear with me. Let’s see if anybody here has an idea what is going on with my pc. I’ve tried most things and still haven’t solved the problem. First I’ll list the problem and the things I’ve tried so far. Hopefully some of you will have some more suggestions (system listed below).

The Problem.

Basically my pc switches itself off at any given time during any given operation (even nothing at all). No warnings, no error messages, nothing. Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it crashes continuously. I’ve build this pc a while ago (roughly a year) and it worked fine until weeks ago. What happened then what my girlfriends pc had a harddrive failure (oops!). So I tried to rescue her data by sticking the harddrive into my pc and tried to access it. I couldn’t (yet). So I installed a new Windows XP an another old drive I had around, so she could at least use hers pc in the meantime. I also put SP2 on there (to try it out so I didn’t have to use mine as genuipig). Our two pc’s are networked and that when my pc started to have problems. That brings me to the first suspect:

1. Windows XP pro & SP2
On some websites it was suggested that SP2 checks your XP version and (if networked) compares them to the others available and if they are identical causes trouble. Although sceptical about that I thought I should check it out (after all, I’m dealing with the evil empire). So I installed a fresh version onto a fresh harddrive and disconnected the network. At first it seemed fine, but then this version started crashing as well.

2. RAM (Corsair XMS Twinx1024-3200)
Somewhere else it was suggested it could be faulty RAM. But as far as I can tell (system overview and other system tools) all of the RAM is accounted for and working.

3. CPU (AMD Athlon XP 3200)
As the Asus motherboard has an auto-shutdown feature to prevent overheating of the CPU I thought it would this, shutting down the pc as it seems quicker to shut down while performing an operation (although it also shuts down without performing anything), like converting a xvid into a dvd. I monitored the CPU temp while performing one of these operations and the pc would shut down every time at temps well below critical (43C-45C), so I’m not so sure if that is the problem.

4. Motherboard (Asus 7N8X-E-Deluxe)
Again, as far as I can tell from all the read outs, this is performing to peak (Temperature at 17 C).

5. PSU (QTEC 550 Watt PSU)
At the end this seems to be the most likely suspect by now, but I thought I’d check with you guys, to see what you think. As far as I can see the voltages are well within the proper ranges. However, I haven’t been able to test it with another PSU yet.

It would be great if you could share your thoughts with me and even better if it leads to a solution.

Asus 7N8X Deluxe 2.0
AMD 3200
1024MB Corsair Twin XMS PC3200
Leadtek Winfast A350, GeforceFX 5900
WD 160Gb/WD 250Gb/WD 120 Gb SATA
Plextor 24/10/12 / NEC 1300A
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More about shuts randomly
  1. Put Motherboard Monitor 5 on there. Use the "sys log" feature (it's on the left-hand side of the MBM5 main screen about 2/3rd or 3/4th of the way down).

    Select to have the log recorded to a text.doc (check that box) and set it to record every second.

    After a crash/shutdown reboot and go into the MBM5 folder and have a look at the readings in the text.doc for your voltage rails. You might be able to see your PSU acting crazy and causing the problem.

    Mobile XP 2600+ (11X215)
    Abit NF7-S v 2.0
    Maxtor 60GB ATA 133 7200RPM
    512MB Corsair Twinx 3200LL
    BBA 9800 Pro
    Enermax Noisetaker 420 watts
    Win2K sp4
  2. Thank you for your suggestion!

    After a weekend of testing it looks very very likely that it was the PSU unit: at some point my pc wouldn't come on at all anymore. I then hooked up an old PSU unit (less power, but still enough to run most things) and everything worked fine even when I hit it with some video conversion work (something that would trigger the crash before). New PSU unit already in the mail (hopefully).

    Thanks again!

    Asus 7N8X Deluxe 2.0
    AMD 3200
    1024MB Corsair Twin XMS PC3200
    Leadtek Winfast A350, GeforceFX 5900
    WD 160Gb/WD 250Gb/WD 120 Gb SATA
    Plextor 24/10/12 / NEC 1300A
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