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Power Supply Not Big Enough?

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September 15, 2009 4:03:04 AM

Hello all,

This is my first post here, so be nice. I have lurked some though. Anyways, on to why I'm here.

So I rebuilt my pc this summer, and was really excited about being able to play some games with really good graphical settings. But alas, my pc seems to be under-performing in this area. So first, I'll start off with my specs:

Motherboard: Asus P5N-D bios 800 (I can't use the bios utility to flash because it won't recognize the bios files I have on the c: drive)
Processor: Intel Q6600 OC'd to 3.2 gHz @ 1.425 V
RAM: 4 GB (4x1GB) OCZ Platinum Edition Revision 2 DDR2-pc2 6400 @ 2.09V
Graphics Card: BFG GTX 260 Core 216 (I run it stock, and overclock it from time to time)
HDDs: 1 500 GB Hitachi Deskar, 1 500 GB Seagate Barracuda, 1 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda, 1 250 GB Seagate External
PSU: 600W Cooler Master (came pre-installed with the case I bought)
Optical Drive: 1 LG Optical Drive
OS: Windows 7 64 bit

I can give you more specifics if you need them. I have the most up to date graphics drivers from nvidia, and motherboard drivers (minus the bios), from nvidia.

But the problem I seem to be having is that I am under-performing in games, and in 3D Mark 06. It says that my system should get about 12.5K 3D marks w/ the CPU overclocked, and the stock GPU clocks, and ~14K with the CPU and GPU OC'd. I am getting around 10K in the first configuration, and only about 11K in the second configuration. I also should be getting a lot higher framerates in some of the games that I play (i.e. GTA IV, FIFA 09, TF2), but I notice a lot of lag, even in TF2. I have been looking at power consumption levels for the various components, and they seem to be within the range of my PSU, but I am not sure about them when they are overclocked and under load, especially with the specific voltages that I have them at. I am wondering if that would be the problem of the low scores I'm getting.

So I'm just asking advice on whether or not this PSU that I have could be the root of the problem, and if so, what people recommend to replace it, and if not, possible other sources of the problem.

Thanks!

More about : power supply big

a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 15, 2009 6:58:56 AM

There could be a number of things causing your issues. Let list a few things to check.
* Have you tried installing a different OS to verify that the OS isn't the culprit?
* Have you tried doing a fresh install of the OS and see if that changes anything? This might fix your BIOS flashing problem.
* Scan for any virus' and malware. This might/could be part of the issue.
* Have you tried running your CPU at stock speeds and see if your game play changes or if your benchmarks change??
* Have you tried running your system with just 1 HD? This might minimize the load on the PSU, if the PSU is actually getting too much load or maybe one of the HD's is flaking out from time to time.

Other concerns:
* What temperatures do you have on the CPU/mobo/case?
* Have you tried testing your RAM to see if you possibly have a bad RAM stick? Use memtest86 to test your RAM sticks.

I'm sure I'll think of some more, but that is my initial ideas.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 15, 2009 7:30:52 AM

NVidia chipset board :p 

Don't run or install any of the software that came with the MB... that will help.

Your PSU is probably cheap junk. The majority of CM PSUs are, but they have a few good ones. They make good cases though, and should probably stick to that. A cheap PSU does not cause PC slowdowns though.
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September 15, 2009 2:21:59 PM

Hey, thanks for trying to help me out here. I'm not at my desktop right now, but I can tell you some things that I've tried.
I did a fresh install of windows 7 ultimate 64 bit, from windows 7 ultimate 32 bit, and still have the same problem. I still have the bios flashing problem (although I think that I might try flashing the bios to the one that came out after it was initially released, and see if it recognizes that). I have no malware or viruses, as far as scanning goes.
I'll run everything I have at stock speed and see what changes. And that's a good idea to run with only one hard drive, I didn't really think of that before.
I have run memtest (haha, trust me, after getting 4 bad sticks of ram, I ALWAYS run memtest), and I have good ram.

I'll check the temps of my cpu, stock and overclocked under load and idle, as well as the case and the motherboard.

And what drivers should I get for my motherboard? The ones from asus, or the ones from nvidia?

Thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 15, 2009 3:27:52 PM

Asus is the mobo manufacturer and so that is where you would get the latest BIOS and mobo drivers from. NVidia would be for your GPU drivers.
September 15, 2009 4:31:51 PM

nVidia is the chipset manufacturer, as the asus p5n-d is based on the 780i SLI chipset, so I installed some of the motherboard software from there. So I don't know which company would be better to get my drivers and software from.
September 15, 2009 8:02:47 PM

So my CPU runs at about 68C at 3.0 gHz not under load, and my motherboard at 50C not under load. My graphics card runs at about 45C with 100% fan at the overclock that I run it at not under load.

Oh, and the chipset is 750i SLI, not 780i.

I disabled all the hard drives except for the one windows is installed on, and I seem to be getting better numbers now. Hmmmm.
September 15, 2009 8:14:40 PM

CPU runs at 68 degrees when its not even under full load? I'm no expert on CPU temps but that seems mighty toasty. Are you using a stock cooler or an after market one?
September 15, 2009 8:18:31 PM

One thing stands out there.. 68C at idle O.o Worrisome to say the least.
September 15, 2009 8:26:09 PM

Try running the CPU at stock settings so that the temp never exceeds 55C UNDER LOAD. If you can't get it that cool take the side panel off. Get it to around that temp and see if anything changes.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 125 ) Power supply
September 15, 2009 8:56:10 PM

Yeah, that hot I wonder if the CPU is throttling, or the chipset is throwing lots of errors and needing retries to get past them.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 2:19:26 AM

Yes the CPU is way too hot for idle temps. I would seriously take off the CPU HSF and clean off the old thermal paste and re-apply some new stuff. Make sure you get the proper seating of the CPU HSF and then check out the temperatures.
September 16, 2009 2:57:22 AM

I used RealTemp, and the idle temps at 3.0 gHz were 55 on the first core, and then 45 on the others. At stock settings for everything, they are 38 for the first core, and 33 for the rest. I don't know what the deal is. I have my case well ventilated, and I am using the stock CPU cooler, but I will look at reapplying the thermal compound.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 3:02:32 AM

Make sure to thoroughly clean off the old thermal paste. Than apply a thin amount of new thermal paste on, usually a piece of rice sized thermal paste is all that is needed. Make sure the thermal paste is even. I even slightly wiggle the CPU HSF when initially touching the CPU and before locking down the CPU HSF.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 3:05:30 AM

The last quad core that I worked on only had a variation of about 1 - 2 degrees C between all 4 cores. Maybe your monitoring program is a bit off. The 33-38 degrees idle seems a bit more normal than the ~55 degrees at 3 gHz. I don't know for sure, but running at the stock settings on the CPU might shine some light on your problems. It sounds like the temperatures are getting too high and the CPU is throttling back to keept the temperatures at a safe level.
September 16, 2009 3:36:26 AM

I calibrated realtemp and whatnot, and it should be displaying the temps correctly.

I ran prime95 earlier under the overclock, and under load the temperatures shot up to 70, and I quit before they could go any higher. It just seems really odd that the CPU is running this hot at stock settings under an idle load. It doesn't seem to make much sense.

Although I did disable my other hard drives today, and ran 3d mark before I ran the temp tests, and did get a consistent performance of around 13k.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 3:59:27 AM

Well addressing your temperatures and possibly looking at your HD situation, you might get things back to where they should be. I'm thinking that your HD's are generating some additional heat and thus degrading your HD performance and possibly adding heat to your case, which might be affecting your CPU temperatures.
September 16, 2009 4:09:24 AM

I have them spaced out fairly well, and I rarely am causing the hard drives to really be put in any sort of load (apart from the windows drive), so I don't know if that could be the problem. It just seems odd that my cpu temp is so high. My GPU temp is 45, and it is closer to the HDs.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 4:50:38 AM

GPU's generally run hotter than CPU's, so I wouldn't be too concerned with that at the moment. Your PSU might be getting a bit stressed too. Cooler Master PSU's haven't been the greatest in the past, but I know they have been making better PSU's recently. Maybe your PSU under load is adding more heat into the case and also not supplying a solid (less ripple) voltage to your parts. Usually marginal PSU's won't work very well under higher temperatures.
September 16, 2009 12:32:12 PM

I know that the GPU runs hotter than the CPU, but what that temp is telling me is that the case isn't what is making the CPU hot, otherwise the GPU would be hotter. So I guess it is something with the thermal paste. Good thing I checked this now before later I found out that my CPU is dead because I didn't realize the temps it was running at.

But should I invest in a new PSU, and /or an aftermarket CPU air-cooler?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 1:20:31 PM

Well not 100% that the PSU is the problem, but the CM PSU's in the past weren't that great. The newer ones, which I'm suspecting you have, is probably okay and might not need replacement. I believe if you want to continue to OC in the 3-3.2 gHz range that a better CPU HSF would help out.
I remember reading somewhere that sometimes having all 4 RAM slots being filled up can affect your OC and/or benchmark numbers. The main reason is the power needed to run the sticks and also you lose your Dual Channel benfits, IIRC. Don't quote me on that, but that is what I recall.
September 16, 2009 3:31:41 PM

Hmmm. Thanks. I mean I bought the case+CPU combo a little over two years ago so it could be a bad psu. I'll look up what exact model it is and I'll read some reviews on it. Any suggestions on a good CPU air cooler to get? I don't have a lot of money to spend as I am a typical poor college student so I could probably spend up to $50. I wouldn't mind if my temps were normal at stock settings idle and under load but the temps they're at idling is getting me worried.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
September 16, 2009 5:18:17 PM

Your cheapest and easiest method to lower your temps is to pull the CPU HSF off and clean both surfaces up (I use rubbing alcohol). Than re-apply a thin layer of the thermal paste and then see what you get on your temps. I believe you have an uneven layer of thermal paste or your CPU HSF is not contacting your CPU evenly. That is why you have the 5 degree diffference in your 4 cores. I'm reading on other sites that most q6600's idle around or below 40 C and around 50-55 C under load. This is at stock voltages and stock speeds, so if your at 55 C idle and 70c at load that tells me that your not getting the cooling that you need on the CPU. I'd try re-seating your CPU HSF with new thermal paste first and see how that turns out. You may not need to replace anything but that! Thermal paste is cheap too. You can buy it locally, so you don't have to wait for it to be shipped!
!