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System Shutdown During Gameplay

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October 8, 2011 3:34:27 AM

During gameplay (between a half-hour and four hours), the system shuts off. That would imply either an overheating issue or a power problem, yes? I examined my case fans, my cpu, my gpu, and my psu for any problems.

My case is a NZXT Lexa S and comes with the four standard fans: topside 140mm exhaust, rear 120mm exhaust, side 120mm intake, and forward 120mm intake. Nothing is visibly or audibly malfunctioning with the fans, so I imagine they're working.

To check for case airflow, I also removed the side panel and directed a 220mm external fan at the case, but the temperatures remained consistent (according to SpeedFan). Since the fans seem to be functioning and this problem is recent, I think the fans and case are not at fault.

My cpu is an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T BE. I purchased/installed this X6 recently to replace my X4. Given the coinciding timeline between the installation and the system issues, I thought the cpu could be the problem. However, my X4 consumed no less power than this X6, so since my system was sufficient for the X4, it should have enough power for the X6. I also do not believe the cpu is over-heating. For one, the stock cooler, although a bit loud, is new and should sustain standard use (I don't overclock anything). For another, my BIOS is supposed to sound an alarm whenever the cpu overheats, which is never has. SpeedFan supports this with temperatures around 40C at idle. I don't think the cpu is my problem.

My graphics card is an AMD Radeon HD 4890. During gameplay, the card would become hot to the touch, enough that I worried my heatsink/fan combo (which came with the card, as indicated) was worn. However, I recently purchased and installed a new VGA cooler, which did cool the card somewhat better (according to my touch) but not enough to prevent a system shutdown. I suppose my graphics card is still suspect and merely needs an ever greater VGA cooler, but it seems unlikely.

Lastly, my power supply unit is a Xion PowerReal 700w. While I did consider a power supply issue, the power requirements for my computer haven't changed in the two years I've used it, even considering the replaced/upgraded cpu. As such, I don't think the psu lacks the power to support my system. If so, the psu must be overheating, as I've eliminated all other possibilities. However, I wouldn't know how to test this. For one, my hardware setup hasn't changed, so I don't know why the psu would overheat now when it never has before. For another, the psu comes with a 140mm intake fan that, like my case fans, sounds and appears as functional as it ever has. Would I simply need to replace the psu with an alternate and check if the problem persists?

When examining my voltages in BIOS (and SpeedFan confirms, though I know it's not as accurate), I see steady levels: +3.3V @ 3.25V, +5V @ 5.11V, and +12V @ 12.16V. SpeedFan also reports additional voltages: -12V @ -9.48V, -5V @ 1.43V, +5V @ 3.76V, and Vbat @ 3.25V. I know too little about voltages to know if SpeedFan's additional readings are troublesome, if even accurate.

And I've already cleaned and dusted each fan and everywhere in my case.

The only oddity I've noticed but can't place is a high temperature spike according to SpeedFan. At idle, Temp1 is 34C, Temp2 is 40C, and Temp3 is 80C. According to the SpeedFan How-To, Temp3 was termed "Case." Does that mean the air within my case is 80C, even at idle?

Thank you for even reading this payload of information, and thank you especially for any help you are able to offer.
October 8, 2011 1:21:43 PM

Dear Outsider,

I am having the same issue.

I am running an AMD Phenom II X6 3.3 Ghz, an MSI 990FXA-GD80 mobo, and a Radeon HD 4870. My power supply is a 550 Watt Codegen and my case is a Thermaltake Wingo Xaser. I am a pretty huge nerd; so, all my drivers are up to date and all that good stuff. I am also not overclocking the graphics or CPU.

I get random shutdowns during gaming, almost always right as a level loads or something dramatic happens, but it seems that it can be random as well. Starcraft II is fairly consistent at crashing as the level loads for me, which pretty much rules out online play ;-( You can also attempt to run the system performance evaluation from the control panel to recreate this crash pretty easily. There is never any artifacting or display corruption, it just goes black. Complete shutdown.

The Phenom II X6 seems to run hot, its max temp is 70C or so. I have also seen different programs report temperatures for this processor that are 10 degrees Celsius off from what the motherboard LED indicates (make sure you have accurate numbers when testing). I opened the door on the side of my case a crack to get my system temp down a bit

I also suspected my power supply. I have ordered a 750 Watt Rosewill to replace my old 550 Codegen (I don't have it yet to report on). The more I read, however, the more I suspect a hardware conflict with the Radeon 4000 series.

Let me know if you find a fix!
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October 8, 2011 1:25:23 PM

@Luzbeda
What?
Why is your temps at 70c?Is that bios temps
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October 8, 2011 1:43:36 PM

My temp is not at 70C, that is the max for the Phenom II X6, just for reference. I run at about 60C under stress and idle at about 45C.

My motherboard has an LED readout of the core temp, but that can be up to 10 degrees Celsius off of what different programs that monitor core temperature report.

[Edit] After further reading it sounds like even hitting 60C is probably too high of a temperature for this processor. I am starting to think that the provided CPU cooler is not nearly enough. I will try upgrading my cooler next paycheck, until then I think I am stuck to console gaming ;-(
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October 10, 2011 9:09:23 AM

Something else to consider, Luzbeda, if your PSU is overheating, it might be creating excess heat within the case, which then overheats your CPU, despite the stock cooler. So, if your PSU is faulty (like I'm thinking mine is), your stock cooler might be functional and would suffice with the replaced/upgraded PSU.

Definitely let me know how the Rosewill psu works. I won't have the funds to purchase a new psu for a while, but I want to make sure I don't purchase a dud.
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October 10, 2011 1:09:42 PM

Dear Outsider,

I am almost positive at this point my problem is heat, either from the processor or the PSU, or both. It has been unseasonably warm in WI and I was testing on days that were 80 degrees Farenheit or more, which is not ideal for air cooling.

However, at cooler times, in the morning or late at night, I can game on the machine without error.

The tipping point for my processor seems to be 57C. anything over that is probably going to cause a shutdown (for me at least). From what I have read, the processor will melt at 72C and 45C or less is optimal. I did not know these numbers before I installed this processor, which I guess was kind of careless ;-)

Overheating an AMD processor is new to me, I am not an overclocker, I am a gamer and general computer nerd. I actually prefer stability; so, I never anticipated these issues without overclocking. I am not terribly upset or anything, but I do think these chips need to ship with a better cooler in the future.

Let me know how things go for you!
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October 11, 2011 3:51:17 AM

Hrmn. AMD lists the max temperature as 62C, not 72C. I've read a few forums where people "aim" for 54C or less, though.

I'm right there with you on overclocking. Always wanted to avoid the complications. Now, looks like I'm dealing with it anyway.

I might run a few more tests, see just how hot my CPU gets during gameplay. It idles between 40C and 45C (idles, as in not gaming, but possibly doing other minor applications). As soon as I boot the game, it jumps to 50C. I didn't continue the test, though. I'll play with it more the next few days and let you know what I get.

I'm still thinking it's the psu. I mean, I imagine the cpu stock cooler is lousy, but I still think it should suffice, which would make my psu the culprit. Others are also confirming the poor quality of my psu model. We'll see.
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October 16, 2011 2:41:31 AM

I have installed the Rosewill 750 Watt PSU and a Corsair water cooler for the CPU. I also moved the graphics card to the very bottom PCIE slot to get it as far away from the CPU as possible. I removed all of the place-holder PCI covers in the back of my case to promote airflow and I set all my fans to 100 percent. I turned ON the "Overclock Genie" on the MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard and set the BIOS to default standards. I then set the drivers for the AMD HD 4870 to default as well.

In this setup I am stable! Stable at unexpectedly high temperatures. The processor will hit as high as 64C and the mobo will hit 58C. The graphics card has hit 80C stable at default clocks of 750 core 900 memory.

I am testing my system playing Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine online Multiplayer at full setting (1920x1080, no post-processing, no V-sync). I am watching MLG in Firefox at the same time. Stable as stated for hours on end!

I am not sure what exactly the fix has been, but cooling seemed to help a ton. I also made sure to enable all the default settings possible, despite some of them seeming counter intuitive. I have also sustained higher temps stably than I initially expected; so, again I am not sure exactly what the culprit was here. Start with excessive cooling and then look at your power supply is my best suggestion.

[EDIT] Here is a screenshot of me running the AMD stability test for the 4870 at the same time as the Windows performance test and watching MLG online at the same time with CPUID and AMD System Monitor as well! Temps stable as claimed (when overclock genie is on the core temps are reported as 0 by CPUID, but you can get an idea from the other temps reported from the mobo).
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-56gO8RJRnqI/TppWJZO8...

[EDIT] system score is 7.1 :-)
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