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Computer fails to turn on with graphics card plugged in

Last response: in Components
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October 30, 2011 2:53:33 PM

I've just built a new PC which ran wonderfully for about 10 hours until I fired up Battlefield Bad Company 2 with max settings to see what sort of framerates (etc) I could get. My system was performing great for about 3 minutes when it suddenly shut off as though someone had pulled the plug. Now, when I attempt to turn on my system, nothing happens. No LEDs, no fans, no error codes, no POST. Maybe an occasional fan twitch.

While I'm not an engineer, this is far from my first build either, so I did some troubleshooting on my own. First I connected my old 500W PSU since this seemed like a power issue. There was no change so I reconnected my OCZ 500W. Then I started to remove components starting with the GIGABYTE GTX 460. The first boot attempt after removing the GPU was successful. The system POSTs successfully and I get a short "happy beep", although I do get an error code (d6) which on my board means that it can't find a video card. Go figure. So I thought perhaps I had a lemon GTX 460. I connected my old EVGA GTX 260 and plugged it in to the PSU, and the system failed to power on. It should be noted that it'll power on with either card sitting in the PCI-e slot without PSU connections, but of course will not output video.

So what I have here is a mostly brand new PC that ran great up until trying to game and now seems to have exploded in some way. It should be noted, that I had 3 rather old SATA drives and a DVD-R drive all connected at the time of the crash.

The OCZ 500W may have been a bad choice. My i5 2500k Sandy Bridge should peak at ~150W when coupled with my GIGABYTE 460 GTX which peaks at ~300W. This is already in the neighborhood of 450W and adding the HDDs and DVD drive maybe that's another 30W or so, taking me pretty close to the limitations of the PSU. Also, the OCZ PSU comes with only 1 dedicated 6 pin PCI-e power connector so 2 molex 3 pin connectors must be used for the second 6 pin connection.

I hope this is a PSU insufficiency problem, I have bought a reputable 750 W PSU that should be coming Tuesday. I have tried many of the steps listed in your troubleshooting guide

Someone please tell me this is a power supply issue!
October 30, 2011 3:33:50 PM

I just realized I was looking at the power consumption specs for the GTX 480, not the 460. My 460 should peak around 200W not 300W.
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October 30, 2011 8:02:03 PM

Sounds like it would most likely be the power supply. You could check the voltages your getting from the PSU, since it won't post at all, even under a small load, you'll probably be able to find a voltage thats out of whack(hopefully way too low)

More rarely you could have some kind of problem with the PCIE slot itself. Or more possible if you find a really high voltage coming from the PSU.
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October 30, 2011 8:40:47 PM

Thanks, that's what I wanted to hear. :D  I did try the other PCI-e slot without success.

I think looking at wattage charts for too long might have been getting to me. I think I saw a list on here where the wattage pull from a GTX 460 was ~200w under load, but now with a Google search I have found this and this which seem to corroborate with one another that the wattage pull under load is in the ~270w region for the 1 GB model.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the help. If you don't hear back from me before then on this thread, I will follow-up on Tuesday when I recieve my new PSU from Newegg.

e: can exceeding the recommended wattage on the PSU actually permanently damage it? This would explain why it no longer is working. As I stated before, I also tried an older model 500w PSU from my prior build, but it is nearly prehistoric and gave the exact same results.
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October 30, 2011 11:27:46 PM

what is the model of your mothebord?
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November 1, 2011 7:27:21 PM

Well, it turns out I may have had 2 problems. Once I installed my Antec 750w PSU, my system POSTed with the GPU plugged in. However, my motherboard still complained that it could not find a GPU. I tried my old GTX 260 and now I'm running again just fine. RMAing the GIGABYTE 460 GTX, I believe it was at the heart of my problem. A 500w PSU probably didn't help, but also probably didn't cause the 460 GTX to fail.
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