For over a year my system Club3D HD 4870 + EarthWatts 500 + MSI P35 Neo ran without any problems, but now I'm thinking either my graphics card or PSU is dying, or in the worst case both are.
Problems started so that whenever I wanted to play a graphics intensive game I had to boot my PC, then turn it off for a few seconds and then turn it on again. If I just booted and started playing I would instantly see ATI VPU Recovery notification. I had to turn it off and then back on again before starting to play.
Now turning the PC off for a few seconds doesn't help anymore. I'm constantly getting VPU Recovery notifications. In Linux compositing crashes constantly.
On the graphics card a led titled D601 (critical core power fault) is lit all the time. It seems that in most cases this would mean that the PSU is not adequate for the system, but as said my system worked fine for over a year, and I've understood Antec EarthWatts 500 is a good PSU. So either that 4870 is busted, or then my PSU is busted and in the worst case it has fried my graphics card too?
The problem is I can't borrow anyone else's PSU or graphics card to see which components of my PC are broken. How probable is it that the fault is in the PSU, and if so, how easily will a defective PSU fry my next graphics card too? That said, I haven't had any other component related issues, so at least it hasn't yet broken anything else. And I've been having these problems for months, but up until now they haven't made my system unusable.
And if I'd go and by a new graphics card, what would be fitting for my system?
If the PSU is ok, would it be ok with, say GTX 460 1 GB? And would my motherboard support it (MSI P35 Neo has one PCI-Ex16 slot, do I need to worry about something else)?
Edit: And I've made sure all the cables are in place. But I'm guessing that as state of my system has slowly degraded it probably isn't anything that simple anyway.
My sympathy, without parts to swap you're between a rock and a hard place.
Were I in your place, and wanting to buy only one of the two, I'd buy a psu because the odds favor the psu being the source of the problem. If there's no change, I'd put the new psu back in its case and store it because sooner or later a psu will die on you . . . or you'll need one as a testing tool, or as a base for your next build.
A good quality 5XX watt psu will support any single gpu PC.
The Antec is a good unit, but even good ones fail.