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CPU's and power usage...

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April 4, 2010 8:43:44 PM

Hello,

Hope my question makes sense ;) 

I jusy upgraded my video card.

When my CPU fan was full of dust ( I live in a dusty city) my computer would never crash.

I cleaned the fan out, and now when playing any game the ocmputer basically shuts off after a few minutes.

My question is this - would the CPU use more power when its cooled better? and would this be likely overloading my power supply causing the computer to die?

More about : cpu power usage

a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 4, 2010 8:57:33 PM

No. The Cpu fan will run more efficiently when cleaned, and you should open your case and hit everything with canned air once a month to avoid buildup. The cpu will probably use the same amount of watts either way, but it will run hotter when the fan is clogged. If anything, the cpu would use more energy when the fan is not cooling properly.

I think the issue is the video card. I would check to see if you have the latest drivers.
Also it would be helpful to know other system specs, like the power supply. The new card could be pulling more watts than the old one, maybe you PSU is not up to snuff.

Finally it would help to know the old video card. If you switched from nvidia to ati or vice versa, the old drivers may be causing an issue.
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April 4, 2010 9:11:36 PM

Thanks for the fast reply Buzznut!

So a CPU not properly cooled won't slow itself down to allow itself to cool down, thus using slightly less power?

The issue could be with the video card. The thought did cross my mind. Seems odd the issue started as soon as I cleaned the CPU fan though, but you never know.

I downloaded the newest drivers when I bought the card last weekend - and they haven't updated since then.

I did change from and ATI to Nvidia - but it worked fine for a week.

Onto my system specs:

AMD 64 X2 4200+
BFG Geforce GT220
Vista - recently reinstalled about 3 weeks ago
300W Liteon PSU (Will likely need to upgrade this regardless I suspect)
X-Raider PCI soundcard - onboard sound died recently and sounded pretty bad too.

The older video card with an ATI X1650 if I remeber correctly - came with the computer.

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April 4, 2010 11:47:24 PM

buzznut said:

Finally it would help to know the old video card. If you switched from nvidia to ati or vice versa, the old drivers may be causing an issue.


Thanks for the fast reply Buzznut!

So a CPU not properly cooled won't slow itself down to allow itself to cool down, thus using slightly less power?

The issue could be with the video card. The thought did cross my mind. Seems odd the issue started as soon as I cleaned the CPU fan though, but you never know.

I downloaded the newest drivers when I bought the card last weekend - and they haven't updated since then.

I did change from and ATI to Nvidia - but it worked fine for a week.

Onto my system specs:

AMD 64 X2 4200+
BFG Geforce GT220
Vista - recently reinstalled about 3 weeks ago
300W Liteon PSU (Will likely need to upgrade this regardless I suspect)
X-Raider PCI soundcard - onboard sound died recently and sounded pretty bad too.

The older video card with an ATI X1650 if I remeber correctly - came with the computer.
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Best solution

a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 5, 2010 4:34:17 PM

I suspect your PSU is not providing enough watts for your new card. When I saw 300 Watts I thought, "Yikes!"
There are plenty of nice units available in the 430-500 watt range for around $50. I can make some recommendations if you like.

That card requires at least 300 watts with 18 amps on the 12V rail. (BFG 220gt) Fully loaded I would expect you need a bit more, considering the inefficiency of the model you currently own..Sounds like a dell or gateway.

It's possible the old dual core might throttle itself down if overheating, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is pulling fewer watts. Regardless, the wattage wouldn't change that much. Lets say its a 80 watt part, as I don't recall exactly what the specs are for a 4400+. If it throttles down it might be pulling 65-70 watts.

Your video card is a lot more power hungry, especially when you apply a load like a video game.

Also, you may wish to use CC cleaner to get rid of all remnants of your old video drivers.

The onboard sound dying should tell you its time to start looking at a new mobo. Sorry, but this machine is showing its age. Prolly the new PSU would fix your current woes for the time being.
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April 6, 2010 1:56:07 AM

Yeah, I kinda had that "yikes" moment too when I first realised what the PSU was rated at - I also suspect 300w is a rather generous rating for it, but how can you tell such things??!?? You're close in your dell or gateway guess. It's an acer I picked up a while back for a great deal - i really think they had it priced wrong, as I recall I couldn't get anywhere near the price I paid for it building it myself . Gotta love it when a store HAS to match or better their website price ;-) I just never realised the PSU was so bad.

If you can make a few reccomendations that would be great! I'd rather work at keeping this old thing running for a bit longer if possible - apart from it crashing now, it's doing everything I need it to do.

>Lets say its a 80 watt part, as I don't recall exactly what the specs are for a 4400+. If it throttles down it might be pulling 65-70 watts.

If this is theoretically possible I'd imagine thats what is happening. It must have had JUST enough power to run throttled... now that it's running normally, its just too much for it.

Thanks so much for your help!
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April 6, 2010 1:56:29 AM

Best answer selected by comedyaddict.
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a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 7, 2010 11:47:24 PM

comedyaddict said:

If you can make a few reccomendations that would be great! I'd rather work at keeping this old thing running for a bit longer if possible - apart from it crashing now, it's doing everything I need it to do.

>Lets say its a 80 watt part, as I don't recall exactly what the specs are for a 4400+. If it throttles down it might be pulling 65-70 watts.

If this is theoretically possible I'd imagine thats what is happening. It must have had JUST enough power to run throttled... now that it's running normally, its just too much for it.

Thanks so much for your help!


OK, here goes

The Thermaltake is a quality unit for low budgets. I've done a couple builds with this, fully sleeved cables, 430 Watts:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This one from OCZ looks intriguing, 80% efficiency or better:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I recommend you give serious consideration to stepping up to a quality PSU, the Antec Earthwatts:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course you could think ahead to the upgrade I mentioned and get something in the 500-600 Watt range. You could take the PSU to your next machine. In that case I would look at the Earthwatts and True power models from Antec and the HX and TX series from Corsair. Yes, you will be paying more in the range of about $80, but you will have a quality power supply for the next 5 years, provided you are interested in doing your own upgrade/ new build.


As far as your theory goes, its not bad but there are other explanations.

You've got a weak power supply that's been doing fine with the load you've had on it for a couple years. You change this by adding a new, more powerful graphics card. Now your PSU is huffing and puffing to keep up, only you don't know this so you think everything is fine. This increased load causes more heat, which causes the PSU to run more inefficiently and puts an increased strain on the components inside the power supply. These processes kind of build (Insulation breaking down, etc) on each other in a vicious cycle kind of way until after a couple weeks of strain the PSU no longer wants to play this game and begins shutting down due to overheating/stress.

I think this scenario is likely, take it from someone who has been working with machines for many years and knows what these temperamental, funky beasts are capable of. A good way to think of it is this: heat is the enemy. The more efficient your processes (providing voltage, amplifier circuits, transforming to higher power, high quality solid capacitors, etc) the less wasted energy in the form of heat. The more heat, the less efficient these processes will become.

Lets say your 300W PSU is 65% efficient. This is not unusual for prefab PC's, manufacturers make money by going with cheapo parts in bulk, which is why you can't build the same machine yourself for that price! You prolly couldn't even find that particular PSU on the open market, its so crappy!

It would not surprise me that if you continued this way that you would have a complete failure very soon.

Well, this is a little long winded, but hopefully informative and maybe helpful regarding future purchases. Good luck.
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a c 243 ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 12:15:22 AM

buzznut said:

300 X .65= 195 watts. You are way over the capacity for that power supply. It would not surprise me that if you continued this way that you would have a complete failure very soon.

That's not how power supply efficiency works.

http://www.motherboards.org/articles/guides/1487_7.html
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a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 12:48:01 AM

Ok. Obviously that is not how PSU manufacturers arrive at their efficiency ratings, I was just trying to explain something in what I thought was layman terms.The article does go on to state that the inefficiency of the power supply is lost as heat, which was the point I was trying to make.

I'll be more careful when trying to explain something in an easier way for someone less experienced.

In the meantime, since you need a new name I dub you "Mr. Buttinski"
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a c 243 ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 1:15:02 AM

That's brilliant
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April 8, 2010 1:16:43 AM

buzznut said:
Ok. Obviously that is not how PSU manufacturers arrive at their efficiency ratings, I was just trying to explain something in what I thought was layman terms.The article does go on to state that the inefficiency of the power supply is lost as heat, which was the point I was trying to make.

I'll be more careful when trying to explain something in an easier way for someone less experienced.

In the meantime, since you need a new name I dub you "Mr. Buttinski"



LOL... I was thinking the same thing myself. It really doesn't matter that if weren't 100% correct on describing inefficient power supplies, an inefficient is an inefficient power supply. I didn't know that some PSU were so inefficient....

Thanks for all your help Buzznut- I really appreciate it! If I had known a little more about PSU's a couple weeks ago, I'd have upgraded then, and then bought a better video card. ...oh well... I'll likely buy a higher rated PSU now so when I make other upgrades in the near future, I don't have this problem again. Once again, thanks for everything!
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a c 243 ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 1:22:44 AM

comedyaddict said:
LOL... I was thinking the same thing myself. It really doesn't matter that if weren't 100% correct on describing inefficient power supplies, an inefficient is an inefficient power supply. I didn't know that some PSU were so inefficient....

Well we don't know what model Liteon you have, so simply saying that they are inefficienct is fairly ridiculous, here's a couple that are 80+ rated

http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_reports/SP294_LITE-O...(DELL)_PS-6301-02_300W_Report.xls.pdf

http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_reports/SP715_LITEON...
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April 8, 2010 1:37:12 AM

delluser1 said:
Well we don't know what model Liteon you have, so simply saying that they are inefficienct is fairly ridiculous, here's a couple that are 80+ rated

http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_reports/SP294_LITE-O...(DELL)_PS-6301-02_300W_Report.xls.pdf

http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_reports/SP715_LITEON...



That is true, mine is the ps-6301-08a which isn't on the list at 80+. It might be similar to the first link you sent me. Either way though, its probably not providing enough power for my system considering the few upgrades I've done.

Thanks for the links and info, I didn't know this site existed!
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a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 3:34:20 AM

np happy to help.
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a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 3:57:32 AM

comedyaddict said:
That is true, mine is the ps-6301-08a which isn't on the list at 80+. It might be similar to the first link you sent me. Either way though, its probably not providing enough power for my system considering the few upgrades I've done.

Thanks for the links and info, I didn't know this site existed!


Just because a PSU is rated at 300W, that doesn't mean that it will provide 300W at max load, in fact it probably won't. There is also the question of how "clean" the power is at load, or how much the power supplied will waver when the unit is stressed. Ultimately it was this kind of efficiency I was referring to, but I should not have confused that with the efficiency ratings provided by manufacturers. My bad.

My guess? At full load you'd be lucky to get more than 250-275 Watts outta that thang. And I still stand behind my advice that your PSU is not enough for the new graphics card.
Besides which, it is actually more important to know how many amps are available on the 12V rail for the video card. THAT ultimately should drive your purchase decisions.
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April 8, 2010 5:41:49 AM

buzznut said:
Just because a PSU is rated at 300W, that doesn't mean that it will provide 300W at max load, in fact it probably won't. There is also the question of how "clean" the power is at load, or how much the power supplied will waver when the unit is stressed. Ultimately it was this kind of efficiency I was referring to, but I should not have confused that with the efficiency ratings provided by manufacturers. My bad.

My guess? At full load you'd be lucky to get more than 250-275 Watts outta that thang. And I still stand behind my advice that your PSU is not enough for the new graphics card.
Besides which, it is actually more important to know how many amps are available on the 12V rail for the video card. THAT ultimately should drive your purchase decisions.



Turns out your right - PSU was too weak to power everything. While doing some research online at some local PC places, I found a Antec Earthwatts 650w on sale. After rushing over there, buying and then installing it, its running like it used to. One thing I didn't really notice was the sound card was making a faint buzz noise with old PSU, its now gone away too. Guess the PSU was slowly failing due to the stress...


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a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
April 8, 2010 1:54:59 PM

Aha! Like I said, funky beasts. The buzzing was likely caused by "noise" or unclean power. Always a good feeling to resolve a pb, isn't it?
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