I’m not very technical I’m afraid, but have been having a recurring problem with my computer shutting down unexpectedly, so I would be very grateful for any advice on how to solve the problem.
I’m not sure what information is best to give, so if you are able to help me and I’ve missed something, I’ll do my best to provide whatever you need.
While I’ve been playing two separate games – Dungeon Siege 3 and Civilization 5 – my computer shuts down at seemingly random times. Well, it sort of shuts down. The power light stays on and the hard drive starts spinning so fast I think the poor thing would take off if it was attached to something aerodynamic. Otherwise, it is completely unresponsive and my monitor tells me it has no signal input.
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1
CPU: Intel Core i7 830
Display Adaptor: AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series, 2GB (it’s a HD6950 I think, but the exact number disappeared after I updated the catalyst control panel to, unsuccessfully, try and solve my problem)
Motherboard: ASUS P7H55-M LX
Memory: 8GB DDR3 Corsair CMV4GX3N1A1333C9, split into two slots (whatever that means)
Hard Drive: Seagate ST31500341AS
--- All this information comes from a diagnostic program I downloaded from CNET called CIW
Troubleshooting (well, my very poor version of it):
From looking around on various forums, I think the problem may have to do with my power supply (PSU) being faulty/insufficient. Or, perhaps my computer is overheating.
As the heat problem was easier to check, I downloaded two different applications (CUPID HW Monitor and SpeedFan). Both report that the cores of my CPU reach a maximum of 81C – as near as I can tell – when I’m using the games I mentioned above . When I start up the computer and leave it idle for a while, the temperature of the cores average around 40C. The computer is a year old and the fan inside sounds like it’s working (I think there’s a fan on the graphics card too). It seems like the cooling system, such as it is, is working properly, and I don’t think the heat is excessive – but, maybe I’m completely wrong.
In a nutshell:
I think the problem is possibly with my PSU. I have absolutely no idea how to check this though. Perhaps it’s something entirely different. What's very strange is, both games that I am experiencing problems with worked for many months, with no problem at all, until around three weeks ago. I haven’t installed any software during this time and no windows updates coinside with the problem either.
The only factor that I can think of is that I’m running the computer off of a uninterruptable power supply (UPS). I’m doing this because I moved to Africa about eight months ago and the electricity’s a bit variable here. I’ve run the computer with two separate UPS’s – both strong enough to handle its power needs, I think (hope) – so I’m not sure if this is the problem.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading if you’ve gotten this far. I would really really appreciate any advice you have to offer.
Well lets see you said your CPU is at 81c on load. Well that is a little to high for my tast for the CPU. What is the temps for your GPU? Any time you go over what is recommended the hardwear starts to throttle down.
So the fan speeds up and the hardwear throttles down or crash all to gether. Your PSU can also cause the crash and it is very possible that you are not getting enough power to the hardwear.
What is the brand and wattage of your PSU? Also have you done your spring cleaning on the inside of your rig? The only way to test your PSU is with a volt meter or put another one in and see if you get the same problem.
With the GPU I use MSI Afterburner to monitor my temps for my GPU. It also monitors the fps, usage, and I can set how fast my fan will go as the temps go up. Plus you can OC your GPU with this program if you want.
Oh by the way I also have dungeon siege III and so far I like it. Anyway I will link MSI Afterburner with its user manual and I will link you to a bench test to put your system under stress to see if we can bring on the problem.
I've never actually cleaned inside the computer, so I guess it's definitely time I did so. I checked out some online tutorials, and I think I'll be good to go after I buy some compressed air at the weekend.
It's funny you should say about 81c being a bit high a load on the CPU. I've always wondered if it ran a little bit hot. Right now, just typing this email and using a couple of monitoring tools (CPUID,etc), and all four cores are running between 45-47c (which maybe is a bit high for such limited activity?)
In any case, thanks for those diagnostic links. I installed MSI Afterburner and Kombustor. I wasn't too sure how best to run msiKombustor, so I clicked on the "Run Stress Test (Instrument Panel)" option on the page that initially appears when you boot the program up.
I'm not sure how long I should keep it running for, so I tried 5 minutes, just to test it (was that long enough?) My GPU gradually rose and peaked at 78c. It settled back at 75c but may very well have risen more if I left msiKombustor running. I'm not sure that this program is meant to test the CPU, but I kept an eye on that as well. It fluctuated too and peaked at 84c.
As for which PSU I have, unfortunately I'm not sure. When I bought the computer, the shop gave me a printout listing all components of the system. I put this in my "very important papers file" right before we moved countries. Now, of course, I can't find it. I was able to find a stack of other useless stuff, however, like old telephone directories, lol, so I guess I definitely will never have a job as a moving coordinator... Worse case scenario, I'll have a look inside the computer when I clean it to see if I can work it out.
In any case, I'll post information on my PSU as soon as I can get it.
Glad you're liking Dungeon Siege III DM186. I think it's great. It's a nice casual CRPG with an interesting back story. I like more in-depth CRPG's too, but DS3 is great just to pick up and play. (As bad luck would have it, I'm nearly finished it, so am really keen to find out what happens in the end!)
Thanks again so much for your help. I really appreciate it.
*Edit: One thing I forgot to say, MSI Afterburner is reporting that my GPU is maintaining a temperature of around 59c when the computer is relatively idle. I could be wrong, but this seems way too high? So maybe there's something up with my GPU.
Ok the MSI Afterburner is for your GPU and if your GPU is on idle and it is a 59C when it should be around 35c on avg. Also my rule of thumb is never let your GPU's go over 80c.
When it gets there things start to happen, lag, freezing, BSOD, and CTD (crash to desktop) etc. The Kombuster is burn test for your GPU's. I would at least run it for about 30 minutes.
This way what ever your problem is it should bring it on. I will give you some more links so you can monitor or CPU a little better. I will bet when you blow out all of the dust bunnies it should start to run cooler.
If you can take your GPU out and make sure you do a good cleaning on it because when it is in the case you can't get into where you need to be. The cards housing inside to fully get it.
I am only in the first part of the game. I am playing so many different games like Shogun 2 total war, Rise of Nations, Age of Empires III, etc. I play one for about 3 days and then switch. It keeps my mind going.
Anyway after you blow it out let me know if you have any changes.
Sorry for the slow reply - I've had a very hectic last week.
Thanks so much DM186 for the extra info and utilities.
I'm happy to say I think (hope) my problem has been solved! I opened my computer up and did a spring clean, removing all the dust that I could find. I also let the computer run without the case on to see if all the fans inside were working. They were, so that was good news.
The result of the clean was that my computer seems to run a bit cooler, and I was able to play Dungeon Siege III for over an hour with no crash. I also ran Kombuster for half an hour (and another time for 15 mins) without any crash. So, all good news.
What's still a bit of a mystery though is that, while my system is running cooler, I think it is still hotter than it should be.
During the stress test, my GPU spiked at 85c (this happened after I started up my web browser, which loaded several pages at once while the stress test was running). During the test, my GPU mostly stayed around 79C - reaching that after the 15 min mark. My CPU spiked at 80c but the cores mostly stayed in the high 70's. Oh, one final thing. When running idle, my GPU now averages around 45c (so, still a bit hot I think?). Bizarrely, sometimes when I use my web browser (Opera) the GPU rises up to 60c, but the pages don't seem to be very graphically intense, and this only periodically happens, so I'm not sure what that's about. Maybe something else is going on, but as long as it works OK, i guess it's no biggie.
Final question: are the temperatures I listed above acceptable? If they are OK, I'll just leave my system as it is, and make sure to clean often! Otherwise, maybe I should look at some better cooling solution...
Ah, last thing. I managed to find out what my PSU is. It's an Atlantis Silent Power 5500-W (P016-SPW-5500-W). As near as I can tell, it has a 550 watt capacity. I believe raw wattage is less important than things like power rails or consistency, but to be honest, all of that is a complete mystery to me. Do you think my PSU is sufficient for my system, or maybe should I replace it?
Thanks so much again DM186 for your help. I really really appreciate your advice and the time you have taken for my problem.
You are most welcome and I love to help people. Anyway back to your temps. My rule of thumb for the GPU is never go over 80c even if your GPU is rated at 99c. When it gets to 80c then thing begin to happen.
Now your idle temp at 45c is a little high should be about 35avg and 79c well is on the verg of stepping over the line. Now your CPU is another story It is running way to hot.
The cooler and/or heat sink has come loose so you have to go buy some thermal past and reattached your heat sink cooler back on to the CPU. My temps on my CPU and I have the i7 2600k are max under any type of a load is 35c to 45c Idle in the 20c's.
Those temps are to high for your CPU. But for now you could use a desk fan to blow into your case to help the temps but you will have to do something about your heatsink on the CPU.
Back to your GPU in the MSI Afterburner you can adjust the fan speeds to increase in speed as your temps rise so in an attemped to cool it better. If you have already have done so.
Then maybe your heat sink on the card has come loose. When things get way too hot then problems happen and the heat could have caused your heat sinks to come lose. The paste is only around $10.00 US.
Your PSU is enough power to run your system and card. But the brand is not that good and I found it on youtube and it is in Italian or Spanish from Spain. It has two 12v rails and total is 264w.
So here is the bad news under load your 6950 if that is what you have then your PSU is not putting out enough power to run that card and it needs 320w on high load. I will link other stuff later. Tell me what your budget is and and I will see what I can steer you to.