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Random Computer Power Off (Hardware related) - Help!

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December 3, 2008 2:42:51 PM

Newbie with just enough experience to be dangerous to computer needs help. Am running machine w/ nForce 680 sli Mobo, OCZ 700 watt PSU. Forget what type of memory i have. Worked beautifully for 1.5 years. Suddenly, I get back from Thanksgiving to find that the computer likes to randomly power-off itself.

Symptoms: None. No BSOD. No warning. Like someone pulled out the power plug (which didn't happen) or turn off the switch via power button. I can power it back on immediately and I might get 5 or 10 minutes of use before it powers off again. Sometimes while idle. Sometimes during intense use. And since I know folks will ask, have reset CPU to default settings, so overclocking shouldn't be issue.

Initially thought Vista problem (running 64 bit w/ SP1). But, it crashed on me as I was re-installing OS from Vista disk onto my reformatted C partition. So, I'm pretty sure it's a hardware issue.

What's the best way to tackle problem and diagnose the component(s) at fault? I'm 50% tempted to just build a new machine. But I really don't want to research all the new CPUs and mobos all over again just yet.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2008 3:19:59 PM

Could be any number of things. Have you checked your temps lately. Dust buildup can cause components to overheat and then shut down.
December 3, 2008 3:39:03 PM

i thought of dust as a suspect, as well as maybe dust causing a short, so i sprayed off most of the major dust i could find. prior to me deleting off o/s, temp monitors for CPU and GPU were rock steady. there still may be dust causing a short somewhere, but it's not a temperature issue. assuming it's not dust, any other thoughts / recommendations? Is there a way to test PSU stability (over 10-20 minutes) w/o buying a new one? Any other potential culprits?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2008 3:42:02 PM

I don't know that RAM would cause a system to power off, but I would run memtest86+ for a few hours to make sure your RAM is OK.

You could buy a PSU tester.

It could also be the motherboard. The 780i boards don't really have a reputation as the most reliable boards on the market.
December 3, 2008 3:46:40 PM

When is the last time you cleaned your system with compressed air? I mean thoroughly....

Beyond that, it may be your PSU or a half a dozen other possibilities :( 
December 3, 2008 3:53:13 PM

im 100% sure it your psu crapping out. same exact thing was happening to me and i tested my other pcs psu and it hasnt shut off since. this was last night
December 3, 2008 4:03:20 PM

My first guess would be PSU. Could be that it is getting hot and shutting down. Thing may just have worn out. At least that's my initial thoughts. I'd probably start there.
December 3, 2008 4:09:18 PM

Thanks guys. I'm going to do a full disassemble tonight to do a full clean and check for the obvious (mobo short, dust, loose connection) . Unf, i don't have a spare psu to test that component, though maybe a call into ocz will provide insight into how to test it. will report back.
December 3, 2008 4:18:19 PM

clean the golden fingers of ram and video card, search the net for how to do it.
if persists,borrow someones PSU and test it in yours.
if problem remains, borrow a video card and use it.
if it still remains, borrow a mobo.
December 3, 2008 4:40:22 PM

I too suspect your PSU might be on it's last legs going by the information you have given. Although if you have OC'd the machine any number of components could have failed along the way due to heat and additional stress but the PSU is a prime suspect when it comes to powering off like that. Unless you have something grounding something inside your case? Check standoff's and check for any extra conductive materials making contact with system components and the metal frame of the case.

You might want to head out ti the nearest electronics store or over to an online (cheaper?) retailer and get yourself a PSU tester. Very easy to use even for the novice and instructions are normally included. Unplug everything from the outlets, disconnect the PSU from the M/B connect to the PSU tester connect power to only the PSU and it'll tell you the results.

Believe me if you're going to be gaming and using computers for years to come a good PSU tester will save you a lot of time, energy and money.

Good luck!
December 4, 2008 1:01:28 AM

I say do power supply first, easiest. Then if thats not it, I say test your ram, one stick at a time. then mobo. I have had this problem with mobo before, but its the last thing you want to replace. I allso have had the problem with PSU
!