What shut down my PC and killed my hard drive while I was playing a game?

Hi,

I was playing Bad Company 2 today when I thought I smelled something burning. My room mate had just taken something out of the oven so I figured that was the source of the smell. After a few minutes my PC shut down and I immediately became worried. I got down under the desk and powered off the PSU. I opened up the case and let the CPU cool down before trying to power it back on. After turning on the PSU again, the PC would not start up. There were no lights on the mobo and the fans did not spin or anything. I replaced the PSU, but didn't plug in the hard drive or case fans, and it booted up, but only after a few tries. OK, so I thought, the problem is the PSU.

So I put the rig back together and tried to power it on, but no joy. So I figured the 400W icute power supply was not enough to power the GPU, hard drive and fans, etc. So I took out the GPU (Sapphire Vapor-X Radeon HD 5770) and tried again, to no avail. The only thing left to do was unplug the hard drive, and sure enough, with the hard drive out, it booted. I've got a very slow, 200 GB drive in now.

I'm going to send the drive to Seagate, but is it safe to plug the old PSU back in? It's an Orion YH-480W. Could it be what killed the drive? Second, what are the chances the iCute 400W PSU will be able to power my card that recommends 450W?

Moreover, after reconnecting the old HDD, I was able to boot with it in, but I did not hear the motor start, and the system did not detect the drive.

Any insight appreciated. Thanks.
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  1. dont buy cheap power supplies, and dont use that icute piece of junk either. this is what happens when you dont use quality components. id bet if you took that orions PSU cover off, youd find burn marks on the PCB. thats what cheap units do. they burn, and kill hardware in the process. consider yourself lucky that it only took the HD with it.

    give us your system specs and we'll find a nice unit for you that wont burn your house down.
  2. Short answer - No
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088

    The above list provides a break-out of PSU's. There are other lists that you can find.
    Newegg provides another source, although less reliable - look at user comments.

    As justaguywithagun stated.
    (1) a cheap PSU cost more in the long run as you take the chance of damaging your MB/GPU and other componets. The voltage regulation is very poor which could cause stabilty problems.
    (2) Need full system spec ie Processor and is it Over clocked). The 5770 GPU is a low power GPU. My i5-750 w/5770, 2 HDDs, 1 SSD, 2 DVD drives Draws just over 125 W at idle and 300 W runing. furmark (load GPU). Probably a GOOD 400 watt PSU would work as a MIN. A 450 -> 550 would be better. (using 300 Watt a 400 W = 75%, a 500w would be 60 %. The question then becomes (1) will you change the GPU to one that requires more power, ie 58x0, or add a 2nd gpu in crossfire. if so then look at a 550 -> 600 Watt PSU.

    For system as is - The best PSU for just over $60
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003
    For 45 Bucks ( less cushion on power, but will work at current config.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008


    justaguywithagun
    One of my handguns (makes 44 mag look like a toy) - 357 Herrett, Can not buy ammo, must make. Take a 30-30 rifle case cut 1/4 in off neck. Expand to 357 (from 308) and load 200 grain round nose 358 rifle bullets. 4 Power scope, hair trigger. And yes this is a Handgun - single shot have interchangeable barrels for it.
  3. Thanks for the replies. Here are my specs:

    Phenom II X4 (Phenom II X3 with 4th core unlocked)
    Sapphire Vapor-X Radeon HD 5770
    2GB DDR 800 (1 stick)
    Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H Mobo

    No overclocking on any of it. I was waiting to get a new heatsink and PSU before doing any overclocking.

    I'm still not sure whether it was the PSU, or just the HDD frying on it's own. Does anyone know of a way to test the PSU without plugging it into the motherboard?
  4. You should first just inspect the unit for any damage. I almost garauntee it's fried as well. I would just go ahead and buy a new QUALITY one. The two RetiredChief linked to are good, though I disagree with using Newegg reviews for anything...

    Other options:
    Antec Earthwatts 430W 80+ Bronze Certified $40 after rebate
    SeaSonic 500W 80+ Bronze Certified $68

    Basically, any Antec Earthwatts, Corsair, Silverstone, or SeaSonic would be great. OCZ is good, but you'll probably want a slightly bigger one from them.
  5. I do find the Newegg comments to be relavent BUT MUST add common sense and take with a grain of salt.

    I'm Not going to buy a PSU that has a 25% or greater i/2 egg out of => than 100 comments.

    Normally will disregare if under 20 -> 50 comments.

    Will read comments to see if there is a common problem, or postings are not valid.
    Example: Gigabyte H55M- UD2H. 40% out of 35 = 1/2 eggs. But looking at the reviews almost all bought as a Kit (w/i5-750). Most expected that they could attach the monitor to the provided HDMI/DVI connector. Unlike the I3, the I5-750 does not have Intergrated Graphics.

    NOTE: Do not normally even consider such a low end board. Was for an individual that (1) Email (2) Internet (3) Only games are ones that will play on integrated Graphics. Wanted Firewire and esata, I would have prefered the H57 / -USM3, But not in stock at microcenter
  6. Hey everyone,

    I started using my old 400w power supply again, and while playing a game, POP. Cue burning smell. The power supply stinks, but thankfully, nothing else. I guess I just don't understand power supplies. I thought my PC would just shut down if my card and CPU asked too much of the PSU. That's what everyone's told me. But I blew two power supplies in a week, just by playing a game for a few minutes.

    My fingers are seriously crossed that nothing else is fried.

    I've picked out a few possible PSUs for when I get some money. Thay'll be 80+ certified.

    I have 1 question. Most PSUs I have seen for sale have fans on the top. My PC has the PSU space on the top, Will this fan then move air out, or in? Will it be ok to mount a PSU like this upside down? Will it be bad for my temps?
  7. n0ah said:
    Hey everyone,

    I started using my old 400w power supply again, and while playing a game, POP. Cue burning smell. The power supply stinks, but thankfully, nothing else. I guess I just don't understand power supplies. I thought my PC would just shut down if my card and CPU asked too much of the PSU. That's what everyone's told me. But I blew two power supplies in a week, just by playing a game for a few minutes.

    My fingers are seriously crossed that nothing else is fried.

    I've picked out a few possible PSUs for when I get some money. Thay'll be 80+ certified.

    I have 1 question. Most PSUs I have seen for sale have fans on the top. My PC has the PSU space on the top, Will this fan then move air out, or in? Will it be ok to mount a PSU like this upside down? Will it be bad for my temps?


    I word of advice, dont do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. You had people telling you you were lucky already, and you went ahead and continued using that PSU.
  8. Yes, you can mount a PSU upside down. You need to verify that the air intake is intake, not exaust. That is air flow is into the PSU and out the Back. JUST make sure it is a quality PSU. AND Discontinue use until you replace the PSU, or be prepaired to replace more than just a PSU!!!!
  9. Technically, most PSUs are made to face down anyway. The bottom mounted cases are newer, but it doesn't matter. The fan on the PSU is intake, and it exhausts through the back. What most people ask is if a PSU should face up or down in a bottom mounted case.
  10. Two things:
    A PSU is supposed to shut itself down nondistructively when overloaded. One of the things cheap PSU's leave out to save money is these safety circuits.

    You never said what model and size of hard drive you have. Some of the larger Seagate 7200.11's had a firmware problem that would "brick" the drive.
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