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Is my PSU dying?

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December 10, 2007 5:35:18 PM

I upgraded my computer to a new video card a couple months ago (to the one listed in my signature). I OC'd the heck out of it and it ran stable and flawlessly until a couple days ago. Below is a list of the symptoms and a more detailed spec of my computer:

Symptom 1:
While playing Goldeneye through Project64 my computer completely froze. No response to anything (Ctrl+Atl+Del included). I cold shutdown and restarted. It would not boot into XP (presumably my video card overclock) and therefore I had to boot into safemode and disable my overclock through Rivatuner. Booted back up and everything was fine.

Symptom 2 (yesterday):
Booting my computer displayed a box from nVidia's Forceware saying the video card was not receiving adequate power. It ran fine, but that makes me pretty nervous.

So I'm thinking I was overloading my PSU for the past month which caused some substantial degradation on it. Therefore the power supply's maximum load has decreased and can no longer keep up with the demand.

Sony RA710G
Pentium 4 3.2E (Socket 478)
4 x 512 Corsair VS
OEM TV tuner
Western Digital ATA HDDs (120 & 250)
2 opticals (DVD+-RW DL & DVD-rom)
eVGA 7600GS (was OC 605/441, now factory 400/350)
PSU - 400W (365W actual) Delta proprietary PSU

This computer was run 24/7 for about a year and has been in use ~2 years by me.

Did I underestimate the cap aging? Have I been underpowering my vid card? Help, I don't want to destory anything (esp HDDs). Please let me know what you think the issue is (or ask if you need more information).

More about : psu dying

December 10, 2007 6:11:39 PM

It is possible that your PSU is starting to call it quits. Do you know what the Amp ratings for your PSU is? Check the label on the side of the PSU.
December 10, 2007 6:26:36 PM

Sorry, I started this post at work, otherwise I would have included the PSU rail ratings. Here they are:

12V1 - 12A
12V2 - 12A

It is an AGP MB, so the video card is run off a peripheral connector (like old ATA HDDs and opticals).
Related resources
December 10, 2007 6:37:10 PM

Try taking some measurements from your PSU with a digital volt meter. Perhaps it will tell you if your output is lower than the recommended values.
December 11, 2007 1:25:46 AM

Everest Ultimate and BIOS both reported values within acceptable limits.
a c 83 ) Power supply
a c 113 U Graphics card
December 11, 2007 1:58:35 AM

Check your power connector(for the video card), if it comes loose the power warning will come up.

But it should not freeze(just black screened when i have video power disconnect, dont as how....)

I have seen PJ64 pause and need to hit alt a few times i think(i dont use it often)....Its not demanding or anything.....

If it keep happening then a new PSU may be in order....Look for 80+ models, they run cooler and quieter and save you power :) 

Also note that Bios readings for voltage can be way off sometimes....
December 11, 2007 3:08:23 AM

Bad news: proprietary Sony BS PSU made by Delta. Otherwise I would have ordered a Enermax Liberty today.
a c 83 ) Power supply
a c 113 U Graphics card
December 11, 2007 3:43:47 AM

Well, back off the overclocks and try to remove anything you are not using from the computer. Try to use as little power as you can. If you recently updated your drivers try rolling back. maybe there is a driver glitch....After all we are only talking PJ64 here

For all intents you should have enough power.....

EDIT___________________

Are you sure its proprietary for connectors? or is it just a odd shape?

There are different kinds of PSU's

Sometimes they look different but have the same connectors. that would mean you could transfer the computers parts to a new case with a standard psu....can you take a picture?


Seems similar to this....a little bigger(MATX vs this Flex ATX one)

If you can get in there and look at the connectors you may be in luck....
December 11, 2007 1:06:07 PM

Nope, it's definitely proprietary. I put my GPU back to stock and removed the wireless card and one of my opticals. Hopefully that helps. What are the consequences of overloading a PSU? Catastrophic failure? Fried components? Total loss?
a c 83 ) Power supply
a c 113 U Graphics card
December 11, 2007 1:55:03 PM

Anything can happen. Its not always the same. The only psu i ever overloaded(Antec 380 with a 8800GTX) just shut it self off(went for about 10 minutes)....But some can overvolt(if there voltage regulation/safety system sucks) and damage parts....in rare cases there can be total loss(all parts go squish).....Its a pain i know....
December 11, 2007 2:40:02 PM

It sounds as if your PSU is killing itself, ableit slowly.
Would recommend buying another one.
December 11, 2007 2:41:21 PM

nukemaster said:
Anything can happen. Its not always the same. The only psu i ever overloaded(Antec 380 with a 8800GTX) just shut it self off(went for about 10 minutes)....But some can overvolt(if there voltage regulation/safety system sucks) and damage parts....in rare cases there can be total loss(all parts go squish).....Its a pain i know....


OIC thats why ur name is nukemaster
December 11, 2007 3:32:17 PM

SK711G said:
OIC thats why ur name is nukemaster


I'll back up what nukemaster said about total loss. I've had the experience of having the computer suddenly stop while wisps of smoke rose from the case. Its smells bad and gets expensive fast.

One thing I've learned over the years is to not, repeat not, go cheap on a psu. A better quality psu might cost an extra $20 or so, but its far cheaper to get the better psu in the first place then to have to buy another psu becuase the first one wasn't good enough, or worse, to replace damaged parts because the cheaper one decided to throw a going away party and invite other parts with it.

Look over the psu tier list, go to jonnyguru and read some reviews, along with a few other websites if you want, and then decide on what psu to buy. I know I've never lost a psu since I started doing that.
December 11, 2007 3:42:09 PM

Proprietary PSU. I don't think I can say that enough. Thanks for the help nukemaster. I may be considering moving out of my old case and into a new (read: good, non-proprietary) one.
a c 83 ) Power supply
a c 113 U Graphics card
December 11, 2007 3:48:19 PM

KyleSTL said:
Proprietary PSU. I don't think I can say that enough. Thanks for the help nukemaster. I may be considering moving out of my old case and into a new (read: good, non-proprietary) one.

If you do, just make sure that the plugs are the same....you don't want to blow the system.....old dells had there own connectors.....

Fingers still crossed....
December 11, 2007 3:54:43 PM

What is proprietary about it, the size, or pinouts, or both?
December 11, 2007 4:23:02 PM

Size. Pinouts and everything are the same as standard 24-pin ATX with 4-pin 12V.
December 11, 2007 4:29:32 PM

What are the dimensions?
December 11, 2007 4:39:21 PM

I can check when I get home (at work currently). I doesn't have mounting screws in the back only 3 screws that mount to an L-shaped bracket around the edge of the case, and a cam-lock for two ~1/4in pins on top of the unit.
December 11, 2007 5:06:41 PM

KyleSTL said:
I can check when I get home (at work currently). I doesn't have mounting screws in the back only 3 screws that mount to an L-shaped bracket around the edge of the case, and a cam-lock for two ~1/4in pins on top of the unit.


That doesn't sound good, or at least not easy to match. Like you wrote earlier, maybe this is time to move to a better case while you're replacing the psu.
December 11, 2007 6:05:13 PM

I would have to agree with Sailor. It looks like finding a PSU to fit/mount is going to be a nightmare. It would be a good idea to change because 12A/rail is really weak.

You gotta love Sony, they are worse than HP/Dell/Gateway.
a c 83 ) Power supply
a c 113 U Graphics card
December 11, 2007 6:22:17 PM

Yeah, at least in an HP you can swap the psu(at least on there non slim machines....)

The Antec Sonata III 500 case and psu will power your system without any problems....and its got to have at least as much air flow as sony's case....best of all, its cheap :) 
December 11, 2007 7:01:40 PM

I just replaced a PSU in an HP no problem. But their little cases with the 2/3 PSUs are another story, I had to change the case, that really pissed me off. [:zorg:2] I guess that makes HP only a little better than SONY. My brother has a Sony PC and he is so pissed that he has sworn off SONY completely. According to him their support is the absolute worst no matter that the product it is.
December 12, 2007 12:51:31 PM

Update:
Opened up my case last night to take out all unnecessary items from my computer and replace the 120mm fan in the PSU. Everything was going swimmingly (except for the proprietary fan connector inside the PSU + - S instead of - + S, WTF?). I put the PSU back together and plugged it back into the MB and GPU only to check that the fan was spinning and a circuit in the room blew. After opening the unit again to see what happened, I checked the fuse on the AC side of the circuitry with my multimeter to discover it had blown. The only problem is: it's a standard 5mm x 20mm SOLDERED to the board.

So, PSU, dead. Now I need a cheap solution for the time being (until credit cards are paid off from Christmas shopping). My thoughts: use a POS beige case I have laying around and shove a Corsair 520HX into it. Your thoughts? ... or condolences
December 12, 2007 1:20:47 PM

You got my condolences. As for thoughts, if you can't presntly afford a new case and the POS beige case works, then use it temporarily. I one time used an old Dell case for a while. Last time I did anything with it, I did a rebuild and gave it to an ex-girlfriend. So if the POS case works, then it works.
December 12, 2007 1:26:09 PM

Ok, my PSU considerations:

Antec NeoPower NeoHE 380 ATX12V 380W Power Supply - $25 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's 15+15+15 rails are worlds better than my old 12+12, and it's extremely cheap.

Antec NeoHE 430 ATX12V 430W Power Supply - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec NeoHE 500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ENERMAX Liberty ELT400AWT ATX12V 400W Power Supply - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT ATX12V 500W Power Supply - $95 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SeaSonic M12II SS-430GM ATX12V / EPS12V 430W Power Supply - $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply - $110 (after MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All of which are modular and very efficient and quiet. Help me choose or suggest another one not listed.
December 12, 2007 11:25:18 PM

Condolences.

You left out the CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX. It has plenty of power/current, is single rail, and is made by Seasonic. And at $79.99 ($64.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate) it is the clearly the best choice for your needs.

Edit: Here is a review by jonnyguru. Corsair VX450W
December 13, 2007 1:25:19 PM

Update:

Ok, I ended up ghetto rigging the AC circuitry with a fuse and holder from Radio Shack for ~$5. A temporary fix until Q1-2 2008. I'm thankful for my college education that included physics classes and a general circuits class, without that I would have been putting another order into Newegg this week (3 orders in the last two weeks).
December 13, 2007 4:46:10 PM

I was going to suggest an inline fuse holder, but I though that there was a good chance that you damaged the PSU, so I didn't bother.
December 13, 2007 4:47:40 PM

Glad it's working again KyleSTL. :-)
December 13, 2007 5:00:30 PM

I love the avatar cfvh600. Is that a reference that Intel is dropping a bomb on AMD? Or is it implying it takes a nuclear reactor to power the up-and-coming chip?

I also rigged it to run a 1600RPM S-Flex at full speed to [hopefully] extend it's usable life by running it at lower temperatures. I am a total Scythe fanboy, I'll admit.
December 13, 2007 5:03:44 PM

KyleSTL said:
I love the avatar cfvh600. Is that a reference that Intel is dropping a bomb on AMD? Or is it implying it takes a nuclear reactor to power the up-and-coming chip?

Lol....Both!
!