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Power issues

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September 8, 2006 3:35:16 PM

Look, im sorry if this is a stupid question, but this is driving me insane. I have the following :
P5N32 Se deluxe
E6600 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo
2xNvidia 7900Gt's in SLI
2x 1gig ddr2 corsair twinx (2gig in total)
dvd
74gig WD 10krpm raptor
2x12cm fan 1x8 +leds+lcd

As a power supply i bought a 500wat Enermax liberty. However it has crashed horifically while patching windows with SP2 causing me to have to reformat each time. According to the wat calculator i should have enough for this but it still all feels pretty sluggish. But then the ageing percentage is confusing the hell out of me, so i'm really not sure

the pc can check its own voltages:
+5: 5.19ish
+12: 12.33ish
The PSU is not excessively hot and there is plenty of cooling......... As for drivers i just install an nvidia one which came with the video card, and a driver that came with the motherboard.... Am i missing something stupid? Any ideas? Thankyou

Edit: PS. If the power is not enough I have a spare 600watt PSU (Generic, real cheap, and without enough connectors to stand alone) How would i go about connecting them in parallel?

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September 8, 2006 3:53:24 PM

Quote:
As a power supply i bought a 500wat Enermax liberty. However it has crashed horifically while patching windows with SP2 causing me to have to reformat each time.


The system crashes when you download and install SP2. Your 500 watt power supply is causing the problem.

My suggestion. Reinstall windows and install sp2 before you load system drivers and other software like your internet connection setup in order to install sp2. Install SP2 immediately before you load up your computer with your software. For the cost of shipping get the SP2 CD

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/sp...

Order a windows OS CD with SP2 already written in:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

Of course if a new power supply causes sp2 to load and install normally, disregard my suggestion.
September 8, 2006 4:01:34 PM

see, the second time i did it, it crashed, but when i restarted the pc, it has SP2 on it....?
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September 8, 2006 4:32:47 PM

Well a partial install is never good and could lead to other problems down the road. I recall having many problems having xp download it, you can try the full / network install version (from here) that may help, but you may have to just create a new XP SP2 install cd by slipstreaming, here is a howto from theeldergeek.com that is short and sweet.
September 8, 2006 4:40:13 PM

As far as specs are concerned, that PSU is actually a pretty nice one - good wattage, really strong amps over a dual 12v rail system (22 amps per), active PFC. I'd be very surprised if the PSU was the cause as your energy requirements do not even come close to borderlining the PSUs max energy.

I am curious as to what you mean by "crashing"...

Does the computer freeze up (but the PC stays powered)?
Does the PC just do a cold shutdown?

As for the partial install - it would be reckless of you to rely on the PC with a partial install. Who knows what files were left out or corrupt...
September 8, 2006 4:46:45 PM

the pc just froze up (but stayed on), i left it running hoping it would complete but never did, it froze at 'perfoming cleanup'.
but thats a relief about the psu, thankyou.
September 8, 2006 4:50:27 PM

About your sound system. I did nto see where you mentioend it. So, are you using onboard sound OR do you have a sound card?
September 8, 2006 5:38:15 PM

nope onboard sound, theres nothing else in it apart from that. when i had it running it had no problem with sound too...
September 8, 2006 5:52:05 PM

Alright.

We'll just assume that onboard sound is NOT causing any conflicts - for the sake of simplicity here. The problem right now is that, regardless of what we could do, you are operating on a corrupted OS (due to the partial install of SP2) which could interfere with any suggestions that could be given.

So, let's take a look at any possibilities outside of the OS like heat related issues or possible ram issues.

To that end, you should reseat the HSF on both the CPU and GPU and use an appropriate thermal interface compound like Arctic Silver or Ceramique. You might also consider the Northbridge HSF on this as well.

As for ram issues, you should get memtest and use it to test your ram for any bad modules. What you are experiencing is symptomatic of bad memory.
September 8, 2006 6:02:26 PM

hokey well i reformatted so no longer going on corrupted OS, but somewhat unwilling to do anything further... fresh windows with nothing on it... as for heat it should be fine i have all the temps and it says around 30 degrees which i thought was fine, where might i get a good mem test?
September 9, 2006 3:16:58 PM

Okey well the trouble with that is my lack of floppy drive to use to create a disk... however having successfully installed SP2 i've narrowed down my problems, it seems to happen when installing things in general, i installed a game and it froze up... Any idea what this is? And if the memory is corrupted is there anything i can do about it?
September 9, 2006 3:34:38 PM

you can get the ultimate boot cd it has all the off-line goodies like memtest, prime95 as well as all the hdd manufacturers diag's & more in a single, bootable package.

I would start w/ the memtest for 8 hrs+ then try prime as well for several hours. A hdd scan wouldn't hurt either...
September 12, 2006 11:44:51 AM

bleh despite memory testing showing everything was fine, it crashes really often, crashing in terms of having to power off as before. While booting, while running stressful games and programs. Is this a symptom of power or am i missing something else? I have 600w psu but not enough cables, is there some way to add its power to my system to lighten the load off my main psu?
Thankyou
September 12, 2006 12:05:38 PM

What about the drivers for your MB? I am thinking more along the lines of drivers concerning the onboard sound here....

Have you tried updating them?
September 12, 2006 1:10:17 PM

Yea, I have read about the enermax liberty 500w having "issues" delivering the SLI juice so that could very well be the problem. You could temporarily use the 600w as a dedicated gpu psu by connecting it to the gpu only and jump-starting it by shorting out the power_good atx header and timing powering on both psu's at the same time (or leading the 600w by about 1/2 second). It may solve your issues, if it does here is a post w/ pics of some of my dual psu mods for some horrible installation ideas, to get the psu's to power on together you could just extend the power_good and ground from the original psu to the second atx header. A dedicated GPU PSU would be less of a headache, and is relatively cheap like this Thermaltake W0099RU 250 W unit, newegg shipping will kill you so check out amazon and zipzoomfly for better deals.

here are some more troubleshooting ideas:

-check for overheating, temporarily resolve by leaving the lid off the box and using a room fan (i.e. oscillating or box fan) and directly cool the cpu / gpu (although if you are having boot-up issues this may not help much)
-remove the SLI bridge, but run both cards
-remove SLI, and try one card at a time (i.e. perform the install on one card, then add SLI)

If all is well with those then it could be the psu, maybe check the voltages, in particular the +12v rails in software monitor (maybe double check w/ a voltmeter) could be difficult to catch tho. If you run single / nonsli and still have lockup issues then it could definitly be windows related so that should be resolved first. Another idea is to remove the hdd / windows completely out of the picture and run a bootable linux distro, here is a post that describes getting prime95 running for stress testing under the knoppix bootable linux cd.
September 12, 2006 1:10:55 PM

downloaded new drivers, but didnt make a blind bit of difference, still crashed on windows loading screen again.
September 12, 2006 1:58:25 PM

I would personally try with just one video card, if the systme is under powerd, taking 1 card out will draw less power. If you can then make it thru sp2, you will definently know if the psu is under powered for yur system.
September 12, 2006 2:27:37 PM

Alright...

Time to roll up your sleeves...

Initially, I would have suspected a few things...

- PSU issues
- overheating
- faulty memory
- hardware conflict (such as sound and/or video)

Disable onboard sound for the time being - until EVERYTHING else checks out.

That being said, going through that list, I like what doolittle said about testing the videocards, I know this is a bit of a hassle having to try and get to the bottom of things but it is what it is.

So...

I'd strip the machine down to the bare essentials - CPU, Ram and ONE videocard - and try and boot up. Let's assume that it can boot up and if you leave it for a few minutes (even though it might say "invalid system disk, blah, blah, blah) that's one hurdle you've crossed and can write off.

Then, I'd add the HDD (your boot drive) and see if it can go through a whole boot sequence all the way into windows - again, letting it sit and idle for a few minutes afterwards. If you can make it this far then we can move onto testing the other videcard and the memory.

Shut down and replace the first videocard with the second and go through the boot sequence - idling if you get into windows with no problem. If that makes it then test the ram - one stick at a time - with memtest. Now, if you have tested the ram in this manner and it checked ok then ok, we move on.

Add the second card as doolittle suggested earlier (but no SLI bridge) and go through the bootup sequence and idle if you make it into windows. If that's a go then shutdown, add the SLI bridge, and do the idling thing into windows.

At some point, go intot your bios and make sure that all the settings are at some kind of default - with nothing hinky - I mean no overclocking or anything of the sort.

If you get to this point then we are, seemingly, left with two options - the PSU and overheating (because I'm just not going to consider that there is anything wrong with the CPU). So, test the PSU in another machine.

We'll see how it goes up to this point....
September 13, 2006 2:16:02 PM

Okey heres how it went, the first time i did this all went fine, in fact, when i added the HDD it booted up a lot quicker than previously. it all worked fine, I added the graphics as you said and it was still fine, added the dvd and it went a little slower but still fine. However when i loaded up a game, after a few seconds the screen would go a little insane, random colours flickering. SO i then uninstalled the driver i had and reinstalled the one the GPU came with. Games worked fine, but i started having the same old problems booting up. Using the 600watt psu to power the GPU's makes no difference whatsoever. When i tried to repeat the process it works till i add the HDD. It just doesnt get passed the windows loading screen. I can restart it time and time again, and at some point it will load windows fine. Then the next time it wont.
This confuses the hell out of me.
September 13, 2006 2:23:58 PM

Is this with BOTH cards installed? or just one? Have you tried each card by itself in this method?

Check the northbridge chipset and the HSF that you are using to cool it. Reseat it with something like arctic silver 5. This is just a precaution but since the NB controls memory and graphic port communications with the CPU, it doesn't hurt to see.
September 21, 2006 2:01:09 PM

Right after a long session of trying to figure it all out, i think i know what is wrong. This has kind of got a little off topic now so i apologise. I think Phreejak you were right originally about the on board sound, because after downloading the sound driver for the onboard sound it starts crashing (not being able to get into windows- even though the sound worked after installing it). then i entered windows safe mode, disabled the sound and it works straight off... Any ideas how i might get the sound to work without it screwing everything up?
September 21, 2006 2:42:57 PM

Well, the only reason that the sound has messed things up is because it is having a conflict with another piece of hardware - some kind of resource conflict like irq, dma, yadda yadda yadda (unless, of curse, the drivers for it were bad). So, now it is to you to determine where it is having the conflict - piece by piece.
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