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Underpowered PC

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August 26, 2010 3:54:00 AM

i have a video card that clearly states that it needs at least 400W power supply, but i've been using an old power supply with 350W MAX output. when i'm playing demanding games at max graphics, sometimes it crashes.

i don't push it to those limits anymore, but my hard drive just now seemed to have slowed down. it required about 2 times longer to reboot and my general computing experience is a bit glitchy. it stayed that way for a day and i was concerned so i run a check disk and defragmenter... didn't solve the problem.

then i decided from
[HDD]->SATA port1; [DVD]->SATA port2
to switch to:
[HDD]->SATA port2; [DVD]->SATA port3


you guys think my port 1 is permanently damaged now??

More about : underpowered

a b ) Power supply
August 26, 2010 5:13:59 AM

what makes you think port 1 is damaged? please list your entire system specs, cpu, vid card, PSU (brand, power ratings, amps on 12v rail, and any other specs listed on it)
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a b ) Power supply
August 26, 2010 5:14:46 AM

It's possible but I doubt it. If it speeds up when connected to another port that would indicate SATA1 is operating at a lower speed now for whatever reason. If that's the case you could have a dying chipset :o . If switching ports didn't do anything I would back up all the data because there is a good chance that drive may be on it's way out. You could get better advice if you listed your full system specs.
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Anonymous
a b ) Power supply
August 26, 2010 6:46:33 AM

ALWAYS use a psu with 50% headroom! Now the quality of a psu is very important also! What you want to run in a gaming rig is a psu with a high rated efficiency like 80% +. Another tip for psu's is that the wattage is important yes but more so the amps in the 12v rail, some power supplies have multiple rails witch in some cases are single rails with multiple lines ran off it. Sometimes multiple rails cause a cap of around 18 and 20 amps thus not powering high demanding hardware such as performance cpu’s and gpu's along with all the other parts such as fans, sound cards... efficiently. Under powered units do cause a lot of stability issues and slow performance. Think of it this way - if you had a performance car would you put cheap oil and gas in it? The psu in a performance rig is the most important as it is the engine of the machine! I am a gamer and performance system builder of 15 years i have seen a lot and smoked a lot lol. With that said i strongly emphasize the use of quality power supplies at all times as most stability issues i have seen was caused from under powered units. :sol: 


I forgot to mention that i once had a pc that was running a poor quality psu my hdd was a sata III 6.0gb/s and it was only getting 50 mb/s transfer rate! I upgraded the psu from a 700 watt 18 amp multiple rail ocz steathxtream 700 watt psu to a Thermaltake xT Toughpower 775 watt psu with a single 64 amp +12v rail, 89% efficiency and bingo! I am now getting better performance and stability ,hdd now gets 100mb/s transfer.

Now i am not saying that if you upgrade your psu it will fix the problem but it very well could and you do need a better psu anyway. I personally would start there and if it doesnt fix the hdd problem at least your biggest problem is fixed :pt1cable: 
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August 26, 2010 6:14:30 PM

alright, i guess there's no harm in telling a brief history of my PC...

processor:
Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 6000+ @ 3Ghz

motherboard:
Biostar TA690G AM2
http://www.biostar-usa.com/app/en-us/mb/content.php?S_I...

RAM:
2 sticks of 1GB Corsair (i forgot... 533 MHz ??)

hard drive:
MAXTOR STM3160811AS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD drive:
Samsung TruDirect SH-S223Q
http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/office/optical-disk-...

Power Supply
a generic 300W

OS:
Windows XP 64-bit (2003 server)


so that was my spec before i bought my video card...

i had the integrated graphics set to 511 MHz (the furthest the bios would allow me), instead of the factory set of 400MHz to squeeze whatever juice from my motherboard i can. and lemme tell you, that really does heat up my southbridge. that i had to buy some cheap copper heatsink to aid in the cooling; aside from a 4000 RPM fan (http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=14575&vpn=X-BLAS...), placed on the side of the computer case that i controlled using a cheap fan controller.

when i tried setting the integrated back to it's old 400MHz factory setting, it still heated up like crazy like it was set on max... figured i must've blown off the multiplier or something... so i kept it in 511, hoping that not only was the graphics overclocked but hopefully the whole southbridge was (<- is this bad logic??). after a long time my front usb ports stopped providing enough juice to power up some of my other gadgetry....

then i bought ze video card:
Powercolor Radeon HD 5550 @550MHz w/ 512 MB
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=52256&vpn=AX5550%20512MK3...

with the old 300W power supply, it would crash and jitter, so i swapped it with a 350W one from another PC in our house. doesn't crash anymore and everything SEEMED to be fine. then one time while i was playing and the level seemed to be big that it took a long time to load. it kinda hanged a bit and i got impatient that i tried closing the game and in doing so triggered the blue screen. so i pressed the reset button and ever since then the hard drive won't load as quickly as it used to...

that's what prompted me to burn more cash and finally buy this:
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=54842&vpn=CMPSU-...

and after some disk check and defragmenting, it was still slow. so i swapped the SATA ports and it solve the problem. the front usb also sprang back to life...


i'm no computer engineer, so you guys tell me what's going on.
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Anonymous
a b ) Power supply
August 26, 2010 10:10:28 PM


It sounds like a driver issue related to an illegal restart. have you tried using that original sata port again?
You may have forced windows to reinstall the driver when you swapped ports.
It’s hard to say when there is an underpowered psu in the computer.
If your machine is running good now than great maybe it was the psu causing stability issues.
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a b ) Power supply
August 26, 2010 10:44:40 PM

well your 300w psu was not up to powering your system obviously. I guess its possible a SATA port has gone bad, i have seen it before giving intermittant HDD errors. It could be a bad connection/dry joint on that connector. I would strongly reccommend you run some kind of hard drive diagnostic like HDD regenerator, or use Maxtors diagnostic tool which is downloadable from their website, to check for bad sectors.
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a c 85 ) Power supply
August 27, 2010 5:16:36 AM

Quote:
Sometimes multiple rails cause a cap of around 18 and 20 amps thus not powering high demanding hardware such as performance cpu’s and gpu's


Really? How would that work? Better question, how does this work?

Quote:
I forgot to mention that i once had a pc that was running a poor quality psu my hdd was a sata III 6.0gb/s and it was only getting 50 mb/s transfer rate! I upgraded the psu from a 700 watt 18 amp multiple rail ocz steathxtream 700 watt psu to a Thermaltake xT Toughpower 775 watt psu with a single 64 amp +12v rail, 89% efficiency and bingo! I am now getting better performance and stability ,hdd now gets 100mb/s transfer.


So way long ago you had one of the newest mechanical drives? And just giving the drive more power doubled its transfer rates????

As for the OPs problem, I suggest trying port one again. I'm guessing a driver issue between the port and the OS. Similar to when a drive slips into PIO mode. Using to little power shouldn't damage anything. And as DDS properly suggested, getting a better PSU is a good idea. I wouldn't want to run some generic 300 or 350W PSU.
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a b ) Power supply
August 28, 2010 11:34:51 AM

too little power can cause bad sectors if the drive fails a write to the drive, or spins down at an unexpected time. Why wouldn't you check it just to make sure?
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