Is my power supply on the fritz? Occational, abrupt power offs.

I'm having an issue with my 2 year old system, and I'm trying to discover the roots of the problem.

First I'll list my configuration. I have nothing overclocked.

AMD x2 6000+ proccessor (stock headsink)
MSI K9n2 Platinum Mainboard, latest BIOS
Redundant on board NIC and sound adapter are disabled via bios.
Antec TruePower 2 550W Power supply
Sapphire ATI x1800 XT
Soundblaster audigy 2 OEM
EDIMAX EW-7128G PCI Wireless Card
Gskill 1G DDR2 533 ram x2 (for 2GB total) Installed in dual channel configuration
MSI DVD/CD-RW combo drive - IDE interface
WD caviar 7200 RPM SATA 250 GB hard drive
WD caviar 7200 SATA 500 GB hard drive (holds the windows partition)
Both SATA drives are connected with SATA connectors from the PS
WD 80 GB IDE hard drive. Molex connector from the PS
USB External harddrive, powered via wall adapter.

2 80mm case fans
1 120 MM case fan

Windows XP sp3, latest updates.

Now my troubles. I used to have an older AM2 3800+ single core cpu, and a single SATA drive. The older hardware, I've owned since june 2006. Last fall I upgraded to the x2 6000+ I immediately began having power-off problems with the system. The system would run for a while, and then power off randomly as if somebody had yanked the plug out of the wall. A BIOS update solved this problem.

I could run whatever I wanted with no issue, even games such as STALKER Clear Sky, and Fallout 3 all day long no issue.

However on occasion it occurs again. I've noticed when writing to my old IDE harddrive from one of the SATA drives causes a power-off. Howver its only when trying to write to a specific partition. Reading, even large amounts of data, off the drive causes no problems. I've successfully backed up 30 GB off the drive with no issues. Also trying to run a the construction set editor (GECK) for fallout 3 seems to reliably produce an abrupt power off. The program draws heavily on system resources when rendering game world cells for editing.

I suspected CPU heat issues, but speedfan reports my CPU as well within the safe range. The highest I've seen is 55 degrees C. A low load, it normally chills at 40. I used artic silver5 compound in accordance with directions.

In addition, during normal operation, I've observed a clicking/clunking noise coming from the computer. Its a serious of 3-15 clicks spaced from 1-4 seconds apart. I've been unable to positively ID the source of the sound, becasue its intermittent. No particular action or situation reliably triggers it. I'm to suspect its one of the hard drives causing the noise. SMART reports that my 250GB SATA drive is in questionable health. Data is backed up just in case.

I suspect my PSU isn't operating at proper specifications. According to system load calculations my system will produce 430 W of draw at an unrealistic maximum load. Or more like a bit over 360 at realistic heavy usage. However if my PSU is not delivering the advertised watts, it could explain my problems. Its also used the wrong connectors to power my components.

I'm not sure if I should implicate my power supply. Is it possible I have something in BIOS incorrectly configured. I'm no expert with BIOS settings, and I have most of the settings on auto detect. Or worse yet, my mainboard is actually somehow compatible with my CPU, despite the BIOS updates.

If anybody has suggestions for discovering the source of my problems I would be grateful. I'd really like to avoid buying a new PSU only to discover its not the source of my problem.

If you need additional information, let me know and I'll see what I can supply.
3 answers Last reply
More about power supply fritz occational abrupt power offs
  1. Yes, you need a new power supply. When you upgraded to a more power consuming processor and began to have problems, tells you right there. Antec TruePower PSU's are very poor. I've seen several of them fail. Time to buy a quality PSU.
  2. Thank you for the reply.

    Any recommendations as to what a quality Power supply is?

    I understand silverstone is a good brand. But what do I want to look for when it comes to Specs for the PSU?

    I am also considering an upgrade to one of the new 55mn GTX 260 cards.
  3. Silverstone, SeaSonic, PCPower&Cooling, Corsair are all good PSU companies. I like PCPower&Cooling with their single rail design and they are made in the USA. Something like the 610W would be a good fit, though you can find the 750W version on sale everywhere right now for around a hundred bucks. If you want to go the modular route, I really like my Corsair HX620W. It runs my system without a hitch.
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